Sunday, September 18, 2016

DozenWinks Shave Box

It's back to shaving again, and this time I'm going to be talking and giving my thoughts on DozenWinks Shave Box, a mail order shaving box designed in the hope of bringing back the ritual of traditional British shaving, shaving with a proper razor blade. In the past I've tried the disposable razor box available from Cornerstone (which has an amazing face scrub) and The Real Shaving Company (that seems to have ceased trading) so the opportunity to have a crack at a new box was most welcome, after all, they usually contain everything you need to make shaving as simple and painless as possible.
DozenWinks Shave Box
DozenWinks Shave Box
Dozenwinks allows you the consumer to decide on how often you receive a box. At £29.99 you can decide on whether you receive a new box dependent upon how often you have to manage your mane. Personally as I treat shaving like a chore I would probably need a new box every 12 weeks. 

So what do you get for your cash? Well, the first box comes with a free safety razor and brush, but also inside the box you'll find enough razor blades to keep a prison in shivs for a good year, pre-shave soap, shaving cream and allum sticks should you, like me always nick some part of your face.

Double Edge Safety Razor
The double edged safety razor takes any double edges razor blades, and when you look at the cost of the blades it works out at a fraction of the cost of using disposables. It's a piece of cake to insert and remove the blade and despite having a chunky metal look and feel, it' actually as light as a feather which means that I can sweep across my bearded face removing fuzz effortlessly. 

I've been using a safety razor now for over a year and I have to say I'm impressed with the grip, the fact that it's typically about 80% cheaper than standard cartridges and haven't had one in-grown hair or outbreak of razor burn. 
DozenWinks Shave Box
DozenWinks Shave Box
Razor blades & Matchsticks
My box came with three packs of razor blades, so probably enough to keep me covered for about nine months! They are sharp (er, razor sharp). One gentle swipe across the face and my beard is removed, there is no having to go back over the same spot a few times to get rid of thick hairs as is often the problem for me when using cartridges. It's a personal opinion but I really do prefer the feel of my face after shaving using a safety razor when compared to disposables, there is little to zero stubble, the blades do take your beard back down to the wood.

Shaving Brush
The shaving brush is crafted using a wooden handle paired with high quality bristles to ensure a thick lather. Amongst all other bristle types, this shaving brush will be the kindest to your skin, all the while guaranteeing a smooth and luxurious shave every single day. That's what they say and I agree. I have about ten shaving brushes at home (I think I may be turning into a hoarder) and this sits up there with some pretty expensive contemporaries - the best thing? The bristles don't fall out as you dip it into the shaving cream and spread the lather across your face. It's a gripe I have with brushes, having to pull bristles off your face before you start shaving and thankfully I don't have this problem with the brush in my box.
DozenWinks Shave Box
Shaving cream
In my box came a big tub of sandalwood shaving cream from Taylor of Old Bond Street. I've used their coconut shave cream before and I loved it and again, this stuff is top notch, with one of the manliest fragrances, enough lather to sink a battleship and something of a moisturising effect this stuff lasts and last and lasts.

Pre-Shave Soap
Each shaving kit comes with a premium quality pre-shave soap which will last you the entire time, probably even longer! The one that came with my box did as promised have a strong scent of pine tar (OMG I love that smell). The soap does cleanse skin and help to unblock pores before shaving. I like it, it's not a good as using the volcanic ash based offering from Cornerstone but it's pretty damn close.

DozenWinks Shave Box

Want a shave box that gives you everything you need for a super close shave, with blades that make removing fuzz from your face as easy as 1, 2, 3 then you really should take a closer look at what Dozenwinks can do for you. With options to suit all and a price that won't break the bank (unlike purchasing disposable blades) this box will drop through your door at a time to suit you. Unlike Virgin Media, if you want to cancel your subscription you can do really easily which makes this a great little venture for us the consumer. Well worth a punt. It's a personal thing but given the results after using this box I'm inclined to stick with a safety razor now as shaving is so much easier. Now if you could get some of that volcanic ash face scrub in there I would be incredibly happy.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Bvlgari Man in Black Eau de Parfum + GIVEAWAY

If I could only ever wear one aftershave ever again it would have to be Bvlgari Pour Homme, this aftershave and I have some serious history going back now nearly twenty, yes twenty years. 

Casting my impending old age to one side I’ve spent those heady years seeking out other fragrances from Bvlgari, some excellent while some have left me wondering what the hell they were thinking! Bvlgari Man is a fragrance that a former colleague called the “Stephen smell” as I wore it every day for a year but it may be under some serious competition now that I've had my sniffing tackle around Bvlgari Man in Black Eau de Parfum. I first smelt this my friend Alan at his recent birthday and was hooked yet didn’t go out and buy a bottle until recently. One question I’m asking myself constantly now is, why the hell did it take me so long to pick up a bottle for myself as it is lovely.
Bvlgari Man in Black Eau de Parfum
Before you think that’s it, if you read on not only will I give my thoughts on the fragrance, but being the oh so generous person I am, I bought two bottles so that I can share the fantastic nasal overload experience with one of my readers.

Bvlgari are a luxury fashion house, and their fragrances don’t normally come cheap - I remember paying well over £80 for my bottles of aftershave from the brand in the past but guess what, the price has come down quite a lot over the years. I paid £55 each for my 60ml bottles but you can pick them up online from places like Amazon for anywhere from £30-£45 so it really does pay to shop around. I opted to buy mine from The Perfume Shop as I received a Michael Kors bag for spending over £100, which will become my gym kit bag.

Having smelt this on my friend at his party and on a friend at work after recommending it to him I had a good idea of how the fragrance would evolve over time and what it would be like after finally drying down, but when peeking at the notes I was still surprised, particularly by the Tonka Bean as to me this fragrance doesn’t seem to have the sweetness that usually comes from such a note.

The notes to Bvlgari Man in Black are:

  • Head: Rum & Luminous Spices
  • Heart: Tuberose, Orris Root Absolute & Leather Accord
  • Dry-down: Benzoin, Tonka Bean & Guauacwood

Bvlgari Man in Black Eau de Parfum
Bvlgari Man in Black Eau de Parfum
As soon as it left the atomiser I knew I was onto a winner - a strong blend of rum and spice that immediately started to fade down to a subtle hint of spice. I confess that within seconds I couldn’t detect any obvious hints of rum but the spice was warm and not too overpowering. Bliss. It started to evolve within minutes as it was absorbed by my skin and again, I couldn’t pick out the  all of the notes but the tuberose (it’s a flower used as a note in aftershaves and perfumes) combined with the spice and leather note was almost heavenly. This post in fact has taken much longer than normal to write as I’ve spent at least twenty minutes sitting back and continuously smelling the fragrance on my wrists. 

After around five minutes you have the final fragrance and this is how it smells for a good ten to fifteen hours after applying. It remains really subtle but as you walk or move around you will pick up hints of the floral spice that comes from the top notes. I cannot stress how much I really like this fragrance.

This is not too dissimilar to Black Orchid by Tom Ford (and much cheaper), it has hardwearing notes that make me want to continuously sniff away at myself. While with Bvlgari Pour Homme it dries down and I can’t smell it (yet everyone else can) I still get hints of this on my skin some ten hours later. It’s just quite possibly one of my favourites. It has a beautiful blend of notes that produces a masculine and spicy fragrance that will have people asking you what you are wearing and where they can get some from. It’s immense and well worth the purchase price. Only a little goes a very long way given it’s strength and I for one will not now be without a bottle of it in my collection, in fact, this may well indeed become the new “Stephen smell”. It’s not going to knock Pour Homme of it’s perch as my favourite but it is pulling at it’s ankles from second place.

Perfect for daywear, nights out or special occasions you really should put down what you are doing now and pick up a bottle for yourself or the man in your life. There are a few mandatory entries which must be completed, otherwise your entry will be null and void. Ensure that you are over 18 or have your parents permission because I will need your home address and finally owing to the prize on offer, this is a UK only giveaway.



FORGET THE REST, TRY THE BEST

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Sunday, September 11, 2016

Secret Scent Box

I have a slight obsession with fragrances, I search out bottles when I get even a hint that I might like them or simply buy bottles without smelling them entirely on impulse. Sometimes I pick up lemons (as in really bad aftershaves) and sometimes I pick up some little gems (Eros by Versace springs to mind). It’s like a Stephen style touch of aftershave roulette, except unlike real roulette I win more often than I lose. When I was asked if I would like to sample a subscription aftershave box I naturally was intrigued and after taking a peek at their website I couldn’t help but say yes to the Secret Scent Box

‘Secret Scent Box is a monthly UK fragrance box subscription that lets you discover new designer & branded perfumes or colognes. Get a 30 day supply of three fragrances delivered through your letterbox every month for just £15.’
Secret Scent Box
Secret Scent Box
Secret Scent Box
So, for £15 you get a box that contains three different fragrances - aftershave and cologne if you choose the male box and perfumes if you choose the female box. You don’t just get three little testers to try, you get the notes to the fragrance as well which for me lets me sit back and imagine how I think they will smell not just on first application, but also as it evolves through the heart and dry down notes. I can see myself becoming very addicted to this service! 

In my first box I received three aftershaves that I hadn’t smelt before:

Davidoff Champion
Secret Scent Box
Head: Bergamot, Lemon
Heart: Galbanum, Clary Sage
Dry-down: Cedarwood, Oakmoss

Boss Selection by Hugo Boss
Secret Scent Box
Head: Grapefruit, Lemon, Mandarin, Pepper
Heart: Geranium, Star anise, Cedar leaves
Dry-down: Cedarwood, Patchouli, Vetiver, Musk

Jimmy Choo Man Intense
Secret Scent Box
Head: Lavender, Honeydew Melon, Orange
Heart: Davana, Geranium, Pepper
Dry-down: Patchouli, Cistus Labdanum, Tonka Bean

After reading the notes, making a prediction of what they would smell like on me and actually trying them I have been impressed. If I asked my friends to pick out three aftershaves for me to try I would expect to dislike at least one, but not here, I love them all. Davidoff Champion stands out from the box as one where I will have to go out and buy a bigger bottle.

I received my male fragrance box a few days ago through the post (the box fits through the letterbox so no red cards from the Post Office and a trip to the local sorting office to collect) as you would expect and I have to say it wasn’t what I had expected. I’d had the thought myself of a creating a fragrance box when I first started this blog and considered just sending out one 30ml bottle of aftershave a month. Secret Scent Box have taken that idea and added in variety. For £15 you receive 27ml of fragrance, three 9ml testers with atomisers that should, with frugal use keep you going for a whole month. 

For me personally I really like this concept - I’ll get to sample a number of new fragrances every month, get given the low-down on the notes to each and I know this is sad, but just opening the box to see a card say “hello handsome” first thing in the morning brings a wry smile to my face. 

Cracking concept, I love the contents and the price won’t leave your bank account less than fragrant. For just £15 you can sample some really cool new fragrances before you go and shell out for a larger bottle. Bravo people, bravo.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

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Get 15% off your first Secret Scent Box when you sign up here by using the code:

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Sunday, September 04, 2016

Myths Man by Amouage

I had seen the rather stylish bottles for various aftershave and perfume offerings from Amouage on Pinterest for some time. When I was asked if I would like to try the new fragrance, Myths Man by Amouage I actually expected a really small tester as this isn't by any stretch of the imagination a budget brand, it's expensive. When a 100ml bottle arrived oozing style I was not only grinning from ear to ear I was intrigued as to how the notes, which seem predominantly floral to me would play out on my skin.
Amouage - Myths Man
Amouage - Myths Man
Amouage - Myths Man
Amouage - Myths Man
Amouage - Myths Man
Here is the sting, a 100ml bottle of Myths Man will set you back £195 (ouch) and is available from Selfridges hereThis is what they say about the fragrance:


'Myths Man by Amouage is a Oriental fragrance for men. Myths Man was launched in 2016. Myths Man is a surreal mirage of oriental elements intoxicated with enigmatic tones of smoke and wood, creating a fusion of dream and ambivalence. 

Myths Man, represented by the celestial Chinese dragon, a symbol of enlightenment and honour, opens with the classical beauty of Chrysanthemum and Orris. The fragrance paves the way to an intoxicating heart defined by an interpretation of a thorny rose accord. The culmination is a base projecting both peace and calamity with Labdanum, Ashes, and Leather.'

Now my nervousness came after seeing the notes, as it seems jam packed with floral notes and I honestly couldn't see how this could blend to provide an oriental vibe on dry down. The published notes to Myths Man are:
  • Top Notes - Chrysanthemum, Iris
  • Heart Notes - Rum, Rose, Vetiver, Elemi
  • Base notes - Labdanum, Ashes, Leather
The first blast from the atomiser is overly floral as you would expect yet has a warmth and almost immediately becomes heavier and spicier. This isn't for you if you like your fragrances light and airy, oh no, it gets heavier and warmer. It took about fifteen minutes of intense sniffing but eventually I could detect the vetiver but overwhelmingly the leather base note becomes the most prominent and remains the most prominent note until it eventually fades away.

If I hadn't read the marketing blurb I would have placed this as more of a fragrance from the Middle East, it reminded me of a visit to a perfume store in Egypt some years ago. It certainly does evoke a strong reaction from me, and it can be quite polarising. My wife doesn't like it, she says it's too heavy yet everyone else who has smelt this on me says that it's actually incredibly lovely.   
If it was a little cheaper I'd probably be screaming that this is one you should always have (over the screams of my wife saying never to buy a bottle) in your aftershave collection. This last for well over fifteen hours so you have a very hardwearing, almost exotic fragrance that knocks the spots off a lot of other high end fragrances. Personally I'm a Creed man even if I have to re-mortgage the house to buy a bottle but this is a very close second and actually last much longer than any of the Creed fragrances in my collection.

If you see this stop and try it, and please do let me know what you think to it - I'm 90 per cent certain that people with a nose for all things manly scented will become addicted to it.

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Friday, September 02, 2016

Toni&Guy Men Styling Fibre



I once had a totally horrific experience using a Toni&Guy product – it was called TX Wax and once I had applied it to my hair it took days and many, many different other products to try and shift it. It made hair styling impossible and drove me to the brink of actually shaving my head to get rid of it. So, with that in the back of my mind when the GQ Grooming Power Pack2016 dropped through the door and I saw that it contained a 75ml tub of Toni&Guy Men Styling Fibre it was popped into a box to be forgotten for a good few months until I ran out of Schwarzkopf Men 3D Molding Wax. 
Toni&Guy Men Styling Fibre

Toni&Guy Men Styling Fibre
Toni&Guy Men Styling Fibre
This did come as part of a cracking beauty box. If you haven’t yet seen what else came with the GQ Power Pack 2016, you can do by clicking here (after reading this obviously)Personally the sheer number of products in the GQ box and the size of the samples surprised me. 

To buy this you have to part with just under £5 for a 75ml tub. So, what do Toni&Guy have to say about their product? Well this is what they use to flog the stuff over at their website:

'Creates casual, lived in texture with a matte finish. Loosen product between palms and work through dry hair for medium hold.'

For starters, this has the consistency of a paste rather than a cream or gel and is so easy to get out of the tub, onto palms and eventually into the hair. Personally I always apply this to damp hair, styling from the back to the front before drying into place. The fact that the paste is so pliable means that only a tiny bit of the product is needed to cover what I consider to now be a substantial amount of hair - my hair is now stupidly long! So, on point one, it's an absolute breeze to apply which immediately makes it better than the wax of theirs that I tried.  

Hold again can't be faulted. My hair style at the moment is swept across and back (see below) but as I have to stand on the tube to work, usually in front of the carriage door without any product my hair would be a tangled mess by the time I got to the office as it's blown all over the place. With just a small amount of paste it adds weight to my hair and holds it in place. It isn't a set like hold you get from a gel or hairspray but it keeps it where it should be for well over eight hours which in my book is pretty decent. What this won't do is keep your flowing locks in place during a gale - it holds, but if you want a hairstyle with the cranial protection of a crash helmet then this isn't for you. 
Toni&Guy Men Styling Fibre
Before using the product

Toni&Guy Men Styling Fibre
Toni&Guy Men Styling Fibre
After using the product and with a strong breeze on my terrace - no hair movement
As my hair gets longer I do tend to fiddle with it far far more often than when I have the shorter messy spikes. Using certain products can leave hair looking greasy and even worse, leave a sticky residue on fingers. Surprisingly after drying my hair looks completely natural I think, it doesn't have a greasy shine and best of all, the residue that rubs off onto my hands throughout the day is minimal (win). Best of all though, after drying there are no flakes, nada, zero. No fear of looking like you have a horrific case of dandruff. 

Finally, can you wash it out easily? Well yes, it comes out with just a hint of shampoo and it doesn't seem to build up on my hair over time which has meant for the last few months I have been able to ditch my weekly use of de-gunking shampoo and my hair has never looked better.

With a staggering amount of confirmation bias* I've tried desperately to find some fault with this product due to my intense dislike of their wax but can't find a thing. It does what it says on the tin, a little goes a long way and it won't break the bank. Bugger! So, that said, you can do a lot worse than this stuff and if on the lookout for a new hair styling product or just fancy a change I can put my hand on my heart and recommend this.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

*Confirmation bias is the tendency to search for, interpret, favour, and recall information in a way that confirms one's preexisting beliefs or hypotheses, while giving disproportionately less consideration to alternative possibilities.

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Monday, August 29, 2016

Coats and Blazers

Yesterday in London there was something of a rude awakening. The sunshine of summer faded and it looked as though the warm weather and glorious rays had been kicked to the kerb. Just wearing tees or a shirt (with jeans) to work even though the tube is packed at rush hour is not an option as I still need to ensure that I stay warm and more importantly dry as I walk from the station to my office. Coats and blazers have always been a stock item for this time of year and since I've managed to either leave or lose my other blazers I have been on the lookout for suitable and affordable replacements.

Shopping online is usually my first port of call to look at new fashions, new designs and decide what it is I want/like the look off before trudging to the high street to try something on, or in my lazier times, just order it and hope for the best!  These are the items I am currently deciding between!

Autumunal Coats


On the top row we have a Blazer from Scotch and Soda and a Navy Twill Coat from Only & Sons.


Scotch & Soda Grey Knitted Wool Blazer 

This Knitted Wool Blazer in Grey from Scotch & Soda is something I can wear both formally and informally. It features Inside pockets which are a definite must and one welt pocket to the chest left and two front flap pockets. This is a long sleeved blazer and has a two-button front. It does retail for £215 which is not cheap, but considering the amount of wear I would get from it, then I think it is good value for money.


Only & Sons Dary Navy Twill Coat
I am a fan of long coats, I think they can look pretty fantastic if they fit right. This one is Navy in colour and features and has a two pocket design to the front along with long sleeves, loose cuffs and button closure to the front. This jacket also features slip on back and Inside pocket. Again, I am a huge fan of inside pockets, they are great for disguising valuable items when I don't have my laptop bag with me. At £110 I think this is an absolute bargain and is pretty much top of my list.

The bottom two have two coats which are totally different from one another but I like for different reasons.

Minimum Charcoal Melange Allston Coat
I spotted this because it is quite unusual and not something that I would initially choose, but it drew my attention. It comes again with a two pocket design to the front and has long sleeves, loose cuffs and front zip closure, something again I am not used too because I often opt for buttons. I like the next on this coat, definitely one for those windy days when you forget (or lose) your scarf! At £210 it isn't overly expensive and it does look incredibly stylish.

Gant Navy The Riverside Pea Coat
Gant is the only brand I have been familar with within this post. This Riverside Pea Coat from is Navy and features large lapels and a double placket. There are also slit pockets at both the sides and an inside pocket with button closing. This coat happens to be the most expensive within my selections, at £350 I love that looks incredibly smart and it definitely a coat for those more formal occasions.

I now have a choice to make as to which coat to buy and how many blazers I am really going to need, I have one left from many at the start of the year in my wardrobe which isn't enough and I do need a new coat for Autumn Winter.


Which ones should I go for?

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*This is a collaboration, all words are my own.
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