Sunday, October 23, 2016

Gentleman's Gift Guide

As well as talking about Advent calendars for men (my post here) it goes without saying that there will be a few gift guides making an appearance on my blog in the coming weeks, after all Chrimbo is just around the corner. Whilst writing them I find them great for brainstorming gifts for friends and family but also to see if there is any really cool stuff out there.

This gift guide is designed for perhaps the Dad, Grandad and older male out there and perhaps the one I struggle with the most. Chums has an array of gifts for men and women across a broad spectrum of categories such as clothing and footwear to household items, grooming and even jewellery.

Gentleman Gift Guide
Salon Pro nose and beard trimmer - Ideal for trimming sideburns, beards, moustaches, eyebrow hair, nose, ears – the list goes on! Complete with steel blade, interchangeable nasal clipper, trimmer heads and stand. For £14.99 this is great value for money and I am sure a must have gift for most men!

Classic Razor - I am currently obsessed with these, so it is only fitting that it makes it into a gift guide. This one is beautifully made in rust-free chrome plated brass designed dome shaped top - for effective close shave! Supplied in a smart presentation case and complete with 5 free blades. At £14.99 this is an amazing gift.

Radio Controlled Battery Watch - This watch comes with a 10 year guarantee and is described as being a 'Super accurate Radio controlled timing which never needs adjusting'. It features a white face with gold effect bezel and a quality tan, 100% leather strap. At £59.99 it isn't overly expensive but looks pretty good.

Pegasus Fisherman Rib Sweater - One item you can guarantee hearing Dad say is 'Oh just a jumper will be fine' well this one is perfect because as a Classic fishermans knit sweater with contrast neck and cuffs, it is perfect for the would be Fisherman! At £25 each and with a range of 4 different colours, these are a bargain.

Cotswold Fully Waterproof Boot - Again as a fisherman, waterproof footwear is always helpful before dragging on those Waders. These Inspired by the wet conditions of the Cotswold terrains this UK label have now released the Castor weather boot with twin touch fastening straps. The waterproof upper and easy clean rubber galosh helps keep feet dry. Crafted with a textile upper and rubber galosh designed to resist water from penetrating the footwell. Priced at £45 they look like great value for money.

I hope that if you are struggling with what to buy any of the men in your life for birthdays, Christmas or any other celebration, I have given you some food for thought with this post.

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Sunday, October 16, 2016

5 Advent Calendars for Men

Last week while braving the wilds of Bolton the always lovely BeautyqueenUK and I ventured into a pub to grab something to eat before a heavy night out with my brothers. The pub already had their Christmas decorations up and it hit me like a ton of bricks that yes, Christmas actually isn't that far away. There have been a lot of posts for Beauty Advent Calendars across beauty blogs, the wife has found and written about over 50, yes 50 that are available for women. Once again though, there is a distinct lack of them for us blokes (pity us ladies) which is such a shame because I had quite fancied having a good choice to choose between this year after struggling to find just one at Christmas 2015. Anyway, all is not lost, there are a few out there and I've rounded them up for you lovely people below:

Clarins for Men - £95.  In the past I've found Clarins Men products to be a little bit hit and miss. Their eye creams are out of this world yet the having cream left me irritated in more ways than one. This 12-piece Clarins Men kit contains all of the skin care essentials for a radiant and healthy complexion and for me will give the perfect opportunity to decide one way or the other whether or not to look at other items in the range over the coming twelve months. 

Sadly it is out of stock but keep checking here just incase.
5 Advent Calendars for Men
The Bearded Man Co. - £29.99. This is great for all those bearded fans out there. This Calendar has 24 little window that house a new dose of love for us razor dodgers. Available right now here

5 Advent Calendars for Men

Wera Wear Advent Calendar - £39.95. The Advent Calendar by Wera is perfect for the professional and DIY enthusiast, included in this unique gift idea are 24 professional quality screwdriving tools so you can build your own tool kit in the run up to christmas. This years calendar contains many Kraftform Plus screwdrivers with exclusive red handles, as well as a bottle opener to really help you get in the festive mood. Available right now.
5 Advent Calendars for Men

Craft Beer Advent Calendar 2016 - £60. This Calendar has 24 removable windows each revealing a shiny bottle of quality craft beer in 330ml bottles which includes IPAs, strong ales, porters, bitters, blonde ales and more. Available now for pre-order, this one looks like a great gift for ale lovers. This is one that the my friend should deffo consider for her husband as he is really into his craft beers.

5 Advent Calendars for Men

Bath Body Collection Advent Calendar for Him - £29.98 on Amazon. This isn't anything I have come across before and it came up in a Google search. However, it does contain 24 surprises across a range of grooming products and a few useful grooming tools. Available now here.

5 Advent Calendars for Men

So there you have 5 advent calendars for you husband, boyfriend, dad, grandad, brother or friend and whilst we don't have luxury of over 50 like the ladies do (see the wifes post) there is at least some choice!

These can be very pricey, but for a novelty gift set to really get the Christmas spirit flowing in your home I think they are worth every penny. I haven't managed to get my hand on mine, my preference would have to be the Bearded Man Co and Bath Body Collection calendars - they contain products I know that I'll use and don't require a second mortgage to purchase. At under £30 they really do represent decent value for money.

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Barbour for Him EDT

Many moons ago the positively lovely BeautyqueenUK was asked to give her thoughts on a new aftershave from Barbour the outdoor clothing and lifestyle brand. When she first mentioned that they had released Barbour for Him EDT my initial reaction was to jokingly say "I bet it smells like a pair of damp wellies" - yes, it's true, I am an unrivalled wit (that should possibly say twit rather than wit). It doesn't smell of old and damp wellies and I genuinely can't believe that it has taken me so long to get around to writing about it. 
Barbour for Him EDT
Barbour for Him EDT
Barbour for those unfamiliar are better known for their jackets (which are cool), motorcycle heritage and all things country bumpkinesque (I'm just making up words now). The new aftershave released in early 2016 is available all over the place and retails from between £30-£50 for a 100ml bottle making this in my opinion a mid-range fragrance and to be honest at that price I'd probably use it as a daywear aftershave and save the higher end ones for special occasions and big nights out. 

So, what do Barbour say about the aftershave?

'A warm layer of frosted violet leaves and cinnamon are cast on a bed of vetiver, sandalwood and musk, while a burst of grapefruit and hint of black peppercorn enliven this captivating blend.'

First things first, this is one hell of a cool, yet weighty bottle that has more in common with a glass decanter than an aftershave bottle, and with the amber fluid inside it does look like it could pass as holding a drop or two of the old fire water. It does immediately shout in your ear "country-life" in a Blur-esque Southern accent.

More important than making you feel like some form of landed gentry, the fragrance stands out for itself, and the description of being warm is bang on the money but to my nose the description doesn't really reflect my own experience. I can detect some violets that give a bit of a floral scent for around five minutes but this is almost immediately overshadowed by the sandalwood and musk. The musk is strong in this one, oh yes indeed! The 'burst' of grapefruit was again not identifiable as grapefruit but you can pull out a slight, ever so slight hint of citrus for about the first hour of wearing this.

After an hour you can expect more warmth and it comes in spades as the sandalwood and peppercorn give his more of an an almost spicy edge but again this dries down as the aftershave evolves. After around two hours the whole fragrance is more subtle in terms of detecting notes but the warmth is still there as it steadies itself for the final fragrance which I have to say is rather pleasant. The sandalwood and musk do blend well and when trying to cast my mind back it reminds me of an aftershave my late grandfather wore when I was a child - weird how the memory works! 

Perfect for winter this will have your nostrils convincing your brain that you are not freezing to death waiting for the next bus, but instead make your nostrils feel like you are warm and snug wrapped up in a blanket - I know it sounds corny, but imagine that warm comfortable feeling on a cold day when you don't want to get up and that's how this made me feel. I believe the phrase is, snug as a bug in a rug. Those around you won't be offended by the smell either but for me it's just that little too heavy and warm on the nose to make it an aftershave that stands head and shoulders above it's similar priced competitors. It's a nice fragrance, in the same way that seeing an old friend you haven't bumped into for years is 'nice'.

It can be described as nothing other than a manly, heavily masculine fragrance and for that reason it's not one that will ever become an aftershave I instantly reach for, instead it will be used for daywear and knocking around the house. That said, it's not bad and if you like your fragrances earthy or woody then you really should have a sniff. 


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Monday, October 03, 2016

Casual workwear from Hugo Boss

Now that the cold weather has arrived it's time for me to retreat to either consider hibernation or start dressing for the weather. Personally hibernation appeals but I don't think my boss would be too happy if she didn't see me until March 2017. With that in mind, the tees are going back in the draw and it's time to grab my warmer clothes, not something I was quite yet ready to do, until this mornings commute - cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey to coin a phrase.

I don't have to wear a suit and tie for work (rejoice) but I do like to think I dress casually smart (at times) and I choose items of clothing from brands that I know wear well, as I have an uncanny ability of looking a state due to my weird body shape. Old favourites are Hugo Boss or Peter Werth because they are more than worth their money in terms of style, comfort and just the length of time the clothes last. That said, I always like to renew a few pieces from my wardrobe each year, despite only dry cleaning my long cashmere coat, I have had it for a few years and the cuffs have started to fray, I need a few new shirts and one of my favourite jumpers from GAP is now beyond repair (12 years isn't bad for a $30 jumper bought the day after I got married).

Hugo Boss Smart to Work

So this is what I am currently looking at and saving to my Pinterest boards in the hope that the missus will take pity on me and refresh my wardrobe (she has final purchasing decisions when it comes to my clothes as frankly I suck at styling my clothes).

Right in the middle is the Hugo Boss Men's Migo Cashmere-Mix overcoat which has a three button fastening and notched lapels. Crafted from a luxurious wool and cashmere blend, the tailored fit overcoat features two flap pockets on the front, shaping darts and a single rear vent. Complete with a full lining, two internal welt pockets and four-button cuffs. At £245 it is more than a bargain and very very tempting!

Shirts are always long sleeve for me and if they are suit shirts, a double cuff is preferable, but otherwise I let the wife decide. On the left is a Boss Orange (£63) patterned long sleeve shirt which is made from pure cotton construction and repeat stitched pattern and has a button collar and cuffs and the other is a Bugo Boss Roy Slim Fit Micro Geo Shirt which has a fleck pattern and currently half price at £64 in House of Fraser.

Three jumpers all different styles adorn my wishlist. Starting with the Amare Half Button jumper (£70) to the left which has a three button neck with ribbed neck and cuff looks incredibly warm In the middle is the Boss Orange Wandros Shawl Neck (£50) is ribbed with a shawl neck and just looks so cosy I want to be wearing it right now. Finally The Sarrow Crew Sweatshirt (£77) is for those days when it isn't freezing cold but cold enough I want to be warm rather than snug. A long sleeve sweater with a crew neckline, this jumper features a contrasting faux leather trim to the neckline.

Finally we have jeans.  I have coveted a pair of Boss jeans for years now and everytime I walk past a shop, I want a pair. Boss Orange regular fit jeans (£50) seem too much of a bargain to miss out on especially when they have your size on offer (massive hint Rachel).  The final pair are more expensive at £119 but these Delaware slim-fit stretch jeans have that timeless rinsed look and are versatile enough to be dressed up or down.

What do you wear for work in Winter?

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

WIN! £250 worth of Superdry vouchers

How would you like to win yourself £250 worth of Superdry Vouchers? Fashion powerhouse and lifestyle brand Superdry are celebrating their latest A/W collection with an exclusive giveaway with Personally I'm a fan of their jumpers and tees, they are great for knocking around the house in or lounging in the nearest drinking establishment.
Their latest collection celebrates the versatility of Superdry with a focus on the finer details, whether that is Leather patches for the sleeves, subtle embossed logos, woven labels or even tonal metal finishes, they all carry the signature Superdry branding.

This season’s menswear collection unites what is referred to as a cool monochromatic palette with robust Autumn colours. Having had a quick look myself at the range, I could quickly spend £250 on items such as this:
Superdry AW wishlist

If you have your eye on clothes from the brand, then you need to enter this competition and it is really easy to do. To win this awesome prize, all you need to do is register at the Superdry voucher page to receive alerts for exclusive Superdry vouchers. Once you sign up they will pick a winner at random and you’ll be able to get your hands on £250 worth of Superdry merchandise. The competition is for UK entrants only and ends at midnight on Tuesday October 4th.

To be in with the chance of winning more prizes, check out the hashtag #mysuperdry, where fans, customers and followers can share their unique Superdry moments and win a prize each month.

It's free to enter, so why not take a peek, check out the bargains and exclusive offers while also putting yourself in with a shout of £250 of free clothes. It's a win win.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Get Stroppy Executive & Artisan Box by Clever Shave

Not everyone has the time, inclination or steady hand to be a shaving purist, and from time to time I really struggle using a safety razor to shave. I have a tremor in my hands, which when playing up can mean that using a safety razor is reckless, nay borderline suicidal. When these days come I opt for a normal run of the mill disposable razor from either Gillette or Wilkinson Sword. Have you seen the price of those disposable razor heads? Jesus wept (well he would of if he had shaved) they are expensive so anything that can prolong their life is bonus. I’ve written in the past about RazorBrite, a solution that removes the crystal build up on your blades but today I’m going to be looking at the Clever Shave Get Stroppy Executive & Artisan Box.
I was offered the chance to review this product by Clever Shave and it’s been with me now for a few months so I think I’m now in a position to give my thoughts on the product, whether it works and whether it offers value for money. Despite receiving this as a PR sample gratis I can assure you that I’m being incredibly objective, and if you think I can be swayed, well folks you really need to read more of my stuff - if something is crap, I’ll say it’s crap and via versa.

So, what do Clever Shave say about themselves over at their website here?

‘While creating the Clever Shave brand, the idea of ‘Giving the World a Better Shave’ was our driving vision. But then we thought, to live up to that vision, we need to go further, delve deeper and do things which REALLY make a difference to the World around us.

At the heart of Clever Shave is saving money. Our shaving strops cleverly clean and re-align your razor blades, giving you a better shave and extending the life of your blade, giving you a better shave, day after day.

In creating our headline products, we chose to do the product development and manufacturing in Thailand, because of the tradition of hand crafted woodwork and the availability of rubberwood – a sustainable source of hard wood.’

The Get Stroppy Executive & Artisan Box costs £30 and details on how to use the product are below, but before you read that, I have to say that I dived straight in and struggled - reading the instructions is a must otherwise you just end up shaving one side of the strop! 
So, the strop should remove build up from blades and also straighten them. After the usual two shaves with a disposable razor it had already started to blunt and wasn’t cutting through my beard without snagging and causing much colourful language! While the blades looked already straight there was a large amount of beard stuck between the blades and I could see a film on the blade. A couple of firm glides up the strop and not only had most of the blocked hair been removed but the film had also completely gone on the tips and for about half of the blade. It’s the tip and the sharp age that I was concerned about and was pleased to see that it appeared like brand new. Win! After I started to shave with the blade no more snagging and the shave was totally even. 

That was the first time I used it, now before every shave or trim using a disposable I run it up the strop and now, on my ninth shave with the same head and the shaving experience is only now at a point where I might as well just change the head. 

To give this a thorough road test I stuck a pair of tweezers between the blades on a Mach 3 head and moved them out of position. Had I tried shaving with the blades positioned as they were in the head then I’d have been in accident and emergency within minutes and possibly suffering from blood loss. Running the wonky head up the strop while applying a fair bit of pressure did indeed pull the blades back into place so that I could shave without fear.

All in all, in just a few months this has saved me buying more disposable razors, I’ve sent less to landfill as a result and there is also the positive environmental impact of not having to make so many blades. It’s doesn’t cost a lot and looks very stylish hanging in the bathroom by the sink and for that I’m truly thankful. If you use disposables you should look at picking up one of these, and if you are looking for a gift for your other half that will also save money over the long term then look no further. Top notch people, top notch.


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