Sunday, May 31, 2015

Shavekit - a better shave. For less...

In the last couple of weeks I have to say that I have shaved my face even more than normal - a combination of loads of products to try and just the general urge to keep my facial hair looking tidy has spurred me on to really try out a number of different blades, lotions, scrubs and cleansers. You name it, I‘ve probably used it over the last two months. 

Today I’m going to be giving my thoughts on Shavekit, a mail order company who kindly sent me their new five blade razors to try, and try I have, for the last three weeks in fact these babies have been keeping my face free from hair, but how do they stack up against the more mainstream brands like Wilkinson Sword or Gillette? Read on….



So, what do Shavekit say about themselves?

‘We wanted to create a smarter, sharper, simpler way to shave. In short, a modern shave. So we cut out all the fuss. We threw out the old barber's chair, the whisker twiddling, plus the cost and the hassle of shopping in store.

We got rid of the fluff, but kept the quality of a real shave. We just deliver the kit you need, every month. So you can enjoy the perfect shave, every day.’ 

So, for £8.95 a month you receive in the post 5 ceramic-coated carbon steel blades and a cracking rubber grip to attach them to. Yes, it is that simple. So why buy through the post? Well, if your local supermarket is like mine then razor blades are treated more as some form of treasure to be protected and you have to wait around for someone to take them out of a protective cabinet (seriously, has anyone ever been offered hooky razor blades down the pub? Is there a Silk Road type website on the dark web where shadowy figures trade in illicit blades?!?!?). This removes the hassle and each month you can return home to find the blades on the mat ready for action.

The actual grip is really solid in build and the rubber handle makes it incredibly easy to use - there is no danger of losing grip mid shave and taking half of your face off. I see this as a massive plus, particularly if shaving when my hands are going through a bit of a shaky phase (no, not hangover shakes, but the actual tremors I suffer with in my hands)




When thinking about how I would describe a razor blade I considered a mild rant about when will the addition of blades stop? I had considered patenting a 25 blade razor the size of an iPad as a joke but alas the lazy streak in me won in the end. Instead you’ll be stuck with the dry thoughts - the blades do what they are supposed to, they are, erm…..razor sharp…..see, I said it was dry.



In all seriousness, the shave quality is really good. The open back design means that even longer facial hair is rinsed clear of the blade between strokes and only a mild amount of pressure is required when moving the blade across the face. Following the shaving tips I’ve previously written about here I have to say it was a great finish.

Those irritating bits of hair just under my nose usually result in me cutting myself, but not this time. Being able to grip properly and the excellent cutting action on facial hair meant that I have managed to remain cut free for ages and for this I am truly thankful.

Personally I find these blades on a par with the excellent blades that come with the Cornerstone shaving kits and head and shoulders above premium brands like Gillette. 

Razor blades are not cheap by any stretch of the imagination and I think the blades from Shavekit are great. While I wouldn’t need a monthly delivery of blades Shavekit do have a system where deliveries can be suspended so you receive what you need. A very nice touch.

Cost effective, long lasting (I’m still using the first blade with the same results some four weeks later) and convenient I can’t find any fault (which is rare). Go on, give them a try. 

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Now for the good bit. The lovely people at Shavekit have provided a nice little voucher code for my readers to use should you decide you want to give the service and blades a try. If you enter the code ‘BEAUTYKINGUK’ when prompted during the order process you will receive 70% off your first order. 

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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Xanthe Men Post Shave Serum

Today I will be giving my considered thoughts on Xanthe Men Post Shave Serum, a balm like product that claims to be a soothing and calming light hydrating serum for use after shaving. 



Products like this used to be a godsend after I had been hacking away at my face with a razor. In fact, my shaving ability has been so bad over the years that at times my face has looked like I had been slapped after shaving by Freddy Krueger (from Nightmare on Elm Street). If I wasn’t feeling faint from blood loss (I’m overplaying it a touch, but not much) I would suffer with irritation, blotchy face and razor burn (not a great feeling if I‘m perfectly honest).

While I have found some amazing products, when I was asked if I wanted to try Xanthe Men it was a case of nothing ventured, nothing gained. Now I have been using this on and off for well over a month after shaving off varying lengths of stubble and in two cases, a full grown beard I think I'm in a position to give a reasoned and balanced opinion of the product. 

Paraben and alcohol free, Xanthe Men is a skin soother and hydrator to help protect from free radicals (aren't they an American jazz band?!?) and UV damage, replenish lost vitamins and minerals while calming irritation. Suitable for all skin types it doesn’t contain any artificial fragrances or colouring and best of all, it isn’t tested on animals. 



All things being considered, I expected a rather bland product where my ultimate recommendation would be based solely on the results after using. 

I’m not sure what I expected when I took it from the packaging, it certainly wasn’t the heavy canister I was presented with. It had much more weight than I expected from a 30ml canister but actually it felt really solid in my hand and you can’t criticise the packaging for not being hard wearing - I immediately dropped it onto my tiled bathroom floor. Thankfully it didn’t smash, in fact it didn’t even crack the outer shell of the canister (phew, in the heart stopping moments as it fell I had visions of canister shrapnel embedding itself in my bare feet.





Despite being free of any artificial fragrance it does actually smell really good - it is a subtle fragrance as you would expect from a hydrator/post shave serum and the only fragrance I could detect was an incredibly light Aloe (I love Aloe)

So, on the fragrance front it’s a thumbs up, but does it soothe and hydrate? Well yes, yes it does, and it does it in a no fuss way. The serum is absorbed quickly, the irritation I had around my jaw line after shaving when first using this was soothed and cooled - in fact, as you leave the serum to soak in I could feel my face cooling down after around two to three minutes. 

After using it during the recent hot spell in London I can hand on heart confirm that it does keep your face hydrated. After one particular long day in the sun and travelling on public transport in epic temperatures my face feel rather dry and tired. Layer after layer of this was applied to my face and soaked in instantly - after three applications my face looked hydrated, thos pesky dry patches that can break out on my face around my hair line were banished and overall, I have to say my skin felt smooth and soft to the touch. Result!

This isn’t just for after shaving in my opinion, it makes a bloody good hydrator for the face and after I had suffered a mild reaction to applying too much ginseng laced products to my face this cleared up the ensuing dry patches around my forehead. For me, the fact that it was soothing after shaving and doubled as a regular moisturiser really impressed me.

At around £20 for a 30ml canister of the post shave serum this doesn’t by any stretch of the imagination fall into a budget category but for the price and considering the results I think it is the bees knees. Cracking stuff that does what it says on the tin with no fuss and few frills.

Go on guys, give it a try. 

RECOMMENDED

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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Scaramouche & Fandango Gift Sets + GIVEAWAY

As Father’s Day gets ever closer once again, readers may be thinking “what the hell do I buy dad this year”. Well, if you are stuck for gift ideas let me help you out. Last year I wrote up a series of suggestions based upon different types of dads and the types of aftershave I would recommend. You can see my post from last year here (personally I think these choices stand the test of time).

This year however I have something that would suit any dad out there and for this I have to thank the lovely people at Scaramouche & Fandango who have launched a range of gift sets. You can see the full range here, but today I’m going to be talking about two of them, ‘Skin‘ and ‘Shower’. 

Not only are both of these gift sets affordable, but they are available here for delivery and would make a great gift.

So what do you get?

Scaramouche & Fandango Shower - £13.50

Within this twin pack you receive a 200ml bottle of the Sh (shampoo) and Bw (body wash)




I first started using the Bw after receiving a sample in my Selfridges&Co male beauty box last year and it firmly converted to the Scaramouche & Fandango range, oozing quality, a great fragrance and the ability to banish body odour it really does knock the spots of the competition. It’s good stuff!

Sh is something I hadn’t used until this morning! While I use a certain brand to remove the gunk that builds up my hair after using styling products, I have been on the lookout for a shampoo to use on a day to day basis. The cleansing shampoo has a mix of Black Quinoa and Shea butter and my first impressions are hugely positive. My hair felt clean, it has a lovely subtle aroma and my hair doesn’t feel like straw after it dries (a problem I have had with most shampoos I’ve tried over the last six months).  

For £13.50 you really can’t grumble - the Sh and Bw are likely to last for well over a month, even when using on a daily basis. A little goes a long way and while it may appear that you are telling your dad he needs to improve his washing regime I personally think this is worth it. 

Scaramouche & Fandango Skin - £25 

This triple pack contains three products that will do the business for skin. You receive 100ml of Fs (face scrub), 100ml of Sc (shave cream) and 100ml of Hy (hydrator)




I have already written about the Fs and Hy and you can see my full reviews by clicking on the abbreviations. Each were recommended when I wrote up my thoughts and nothing has changed since, I still love the results that they both produce. 

Sc was a new one on me and again, this morning I shaved using the cream and am impressed with the finish. No irritation, soothing in nature and a lovely fragrance to boot means that when I do write about this it gets the thumbs up.

All in all, three great products for just £25.

The gift sets come in rather lovely stylish black boxes and no matter what, every time I look at them I think of the introduction to Breaking Bad where the periodic table comes into focus. It’s a strange link from a rather strange bloke! 

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED



Here is the best bit ladies and gentleman - Scaramouche & Fandango are giving you the chance to win one of the two gift sets above as part of a giveaway here at Beautykinguk. That's two winners who will each win one gift set each. The first name drawn will win the Shower set and the second person the Skin set.

To win, all you have to do to enter is fill out the Rafflecopter entries below where the fields are marked mandatory. There are also additional entries to be had and bonus entries for tweeting about the giveaway on a daily basis.

The giveaway is global this time and I will arrange for the winners to receive the gift sets in time for Father’s Day. 

If you are aged under 16 please obtain permission from your parent or guardian as I will require your home address to post the gift set to you if you win.  

With that in mind, what are you waiting for? Good Luck!


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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wingman Skin Fuel

It has been a while since I was originally sent and opened (with glee) a massive package from the lovely folk at Wingman. I had expected maybe the face scrub but instead I received the entire Skin Fuel range and have well and truly put it through it’s paces. 

So what will I be talking about today? Well, I’ll be giving the low-down on the face scrub, face wash and moisturiser.



Purifying Face Scrub Ginseng + Vitamins  - £4.49 for 150ml

If you follow the link, you’ll actually get to the apricot, ginseng and vitamins page for the face scrub - I actually received the scrub with just ginseng and vitamins although I really like the idea of an apricot fragrance and infused scrub and will be one I try out.



So, this is what Wingman say about the face scrub: 

‘Purifying cream scrub exfoliates dead skin cells, unclogs pores and removes impurities like oil and dirt. Ginseng helps stimulate and activate the skin, leaving it looking fresh and feeling smooth.

At Wingman we favour a no nonsense approach. We make awesome products that are easy to understand and do exactly what men need them to do.’

Thick in texture as soon as the scrub is released from the tube you can see the little flecks that will act as the abrasive when massaging into the face. I was surprised that it seems to lack a powerful fragrance instead opting for a subtle yet clean and fresh smell. In my opinion you can detect a touch of ginseng but there is nothing here that lingers on the skin longer than a few minutes after using it and rinsing your face.

As it’s massaged into the face you can feel the fine sand like particles brushing across the skin - not too abrasive but clearly (from the colour of the water) removing the dirt and oil that had built up on my face.

It spreads really easily and after rinsing off my face (with a beard most of the time) not only did my skin have that just scrubbed glow but it stayed, I was positively radiant all day when I caught glimpses of myself in the mirror. Now that’s good.

To the touch my skin felt smooth so step one gets a thumbs up from me.  

Sensitive Face Wash Aloe Vera + Vitamins - £3.00



So, this is what Wingman say about the face wash:

‘Foaming gel cleanses dirt and debris from sensitive, dry or easily irritated skin. With soothing Aloe Vera to help reinforce natural defences, skin will be nourished and refreshed.

At Wingman we favour a no nonsense approach. We make awesome products that are easy to understand and do exactly what men need them to do.’



Now this has a stronger fragrance, and boy you get a good old blast of strong Aloe Vera (which I love) as soon as you squeeze it into your palm. The fragrance only intensifies as soon as it comes into contact with warm water and lathers up surprisingly well considering the fluidity of the face wash. 

While the face scrub removed any grime and dirt I found the face wash to be really soothing, and leaving on my face for a good 30 seconds before rinsing resulted in a fantastic cooling sensation. Despite the cooling effect that radiant glow on my cheeks, nose and forehead remained. In the words of Mr Burns from The Simpsons……”excellent” (if you can, picture me tapping my fingertips together with a slightly manic grin….).

After rinsing my face again I was again surprised that the face wash had removed another layer of grime (or I missed a spot with the scrub - I’ll never know) and the water was slightly discoloured (ewwwwww).

After patting dry I have to say I got that feeling that face was truly clean - my pores felt unclogged and my skin not as tight. Did my face feel refreshed? Oh yeah…...

So all that is left for me to say about the face wash? Nice one (said in a deep Mancunian accent)

Sensitive Moisturiser Aloe Vera + Vitamins - £5.99 for 100ml


So, this is what Wingman say about the moisturiser:

‘Hydrating gel with Aloe Vera helps soothe sensitive, dry or easily irritated skin. Actively supporting natural defences, it moisturises and mattifies with a non-greasy finish.

At Wingman we favour a no nonsense approach. We make awesome products that are easy to understand and do exactly what men need them to do.’



With a slightly more subtle Aloe Vera fragrance the moisturiser to me seemed a little too thick when I first dispensed it. The touch of concern that niggled for just seconds that it would take an age to be absorbed or from the feel of it that it, would leave my face greasy were thankfully unfounded. 

Absorption is quick, really quick in fact and it spreads across the face becoming clearer in colour. It soaked into my skin so quickly that I actually went back and applied a touch more. 

No signs of a greasy face, in fact my face just had a rather matte glow and I was impressed.

To the touch my face was soft and smooth - it certainly felt hydrated and for that I am truly grateful! 

So after using these as part of my day to day skincare regime I have to say I was impressed with the range. While I found that I had a bit of trouble when applying too much product containing ginseng this speaks more about my skin than the product.

When I consider the results and the fact that these products to me fall into the affordable to the masses category there is no reason for blokes out there to neglect their faces. They do what they say on the tin, the products aren’t tested on animals and they look manly enough that even the hardest of hard men wouldn’t be embarrassed about having these in the bathroom.

Most blokes at some stage of their lives have had a wingman (reference Men Behaving Badly circa 1992), as I grow older, this is the only wingman I need. 

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

As a post note, it is worth me pointing out as a final clincher that Wingman products are endorsed by Help for Heroes, the UK charity who give practical, direct support to wounded and injured men and women from the armed forces. Every time you buy a product Wingman make a donation to an incredibly worthwhile charity.

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Nip + Fab Skin Dragon's Blood Fix Plumping Mask

Let me explain how I came to try Nip + Fab Skin Dragon’s Blood Fix Plumping Mask, no, I didn’t buy it, but it had been sat on the shelf in the bathroom for weeks until I finally picked it up. As soon as I saw the words ‘Dragon’s Blood’ my inner child and curiosity couldn’t resist trying it. I will, for the avoidance of any doubt state, I just wanted to see if it was blood coloured! 

So, it captured my imagination and so it came to be that one rather uninteresting Friday night while bouncing around my flat I decided to give it a try. 


Doing a bit of digging into the product I found that you can buy it from a range of stores with a 50ml tube costing just shy of £15. That puts it in the affordable price bracket to me and is on a par (price wise) with the excellent Nip + Man products I first tried back in February. 

Marketed as being an intensely hydrating gel mask combining multiple skin perfecting complexes to plump the look of wrinkles + refine the skin's appearance for a brighter, more youthful-looking complexion. 

Considering that I had thought about employing the services of a panel beater from my local garage to knock out the lines on the forehead and the developing ones around my eyes I very much went into using this product with an open mind (an open, very childish mind)



After washing my face and opening up a pore or two with the steam I slapped this on as directed (yep, I even read the instructions this time) applying a thick layer to every inch of my face. A little goes a long way and it has a perfect consistency in that it is fluid enough to spread easily yet it sticks to the skin so no real danger of it dripping down your front.

You are directed to leave it in for ten minutes - after about three I was seriously creeped out by the tingling sensation on my face, and this continued until I rinsed my face off. Not painful, but a strange mix between pins and needles in a joint and rinsing your face with really warm water. Curious! The other half tends to stick this in the fridge before using, I don’t, I’ve gotten used to the sensation now! 

After rinsing off the results are immediate, for me I could see a noticeable difference in the colour of my skin, particularly around my cheeks and forehead, my skin seemed to be really radiant, in fact a similar glow to the packaging. To the touch my skin was super smooth, my skin felt clean and when looking down at the colour of the water it had clearly removed grime that had built up over the day. 

You can leave this on overnight, although I can imagine myself waking up with my face glued to my pillow (the mental image makes me laugh) so it’s a no from me on that score, but hey, why the need when just leaving it on for ten minutes kicks your face back into the game.

Looking for radiant, smooth, soft and hydrated skin that does knock years off your face then you really should give this a try. I’m a firm convert to using it now and have found a reduction in the depth of the lines on my head and around my eyes. The effects do wear off, but you won’t find a need to be using this more than twice a week in my opinion and that means that 50ml will last for a considerable period of time.

Sadly, it doesn’t look like blood….

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Eau de Cade by L’Occitane

Fragrance, particularly aftershave is such a personal thing, and while I like the opportunity to test out my nose when trying new fragrances (I try and detect the notes before looking them up to see how I’ve done - hours of fun for the family) I have to say that light and citrus head notes (that initial blast of fragrance) in an aftershave usually mean that I’ll be a happy camper with it. Eau de Cade by L’Occitane has turned this on its head.

My 100ml of Eau de Cade was kindly sent to me by L’Occitane along with a number of other products in the male grooming range. Apparently, when asked if I wanted to sample some products my response of “yes, but can I try something that isn’t overly girly” caused much amusement in the PR office.


Rather than lump them all together I have to say my levels of happiness with the products means that it would be remiss of me not to outline each individually. If you read on, I’ll tell you why - yes, I am a tease… 

A 100ml bottle of Eau de Cade is available here from the L’Occitane website here for £42, which makes it a mid-range fragrance in my collection in terms of price, but as with all things smelly, the acid test is fragrance, longevity and how it reacts with skin. 

This is what they say about Eau de Cade in the marketing blurb (the finest piece of copying and pasting on my part that you are likely to see this side of Christmas):




'The Cade - Eau de Toilette is a spicy, woody fragrance that evokes the dry woods, red soil and hot stones found in the sunny Garrigue landscape of southern France. Top notes of bergamot lead to a generous heart of cedar wood and pink pepper. A base of cade wood and citrus linger on the skin throughout the day. Enriched with essential oils of cade wood and pink pepper, this eau de toilette complements all of the products in the Cade collection, emblematic of L’OCCITANE.

For generations, Provencal shepherds have handed down from father to son the secrets of Cade wood, a symbol of a tenacious character and strong values of tradition and generosity.’

Well there you have it, from the marketing blurb this fragrance shouldn’t really appeal to my nasal palette (I really couldn’t think of a better phrase) due to the warm and woody tones but actually, after getting over the incredibly strong first blast from the atomiser it has an almost addictive property that made me sit and sniff away at my wrists as I tracked how it changed over time.

At first whiff this transported me back to the mid 1980s - I can’t put my finger on it but it reminds me of an aftershave my father used to wear when he was still working for the 5-0 (go me with my street slang, I do of course mean the police). I have been wracking my brain for weeks trying to nail this down to no avail. That said, that initial first blast was so strong it actually had me thinking that I’d literally sprayed myself in liquid wood and moss - heavy is an understatement. If I spray this in the bathroom it seeps across my entire flat - potent! 

Fearing that this fragrance would trail after, and gag those around me I waited a good ten minutes before realising that it had faded dramatically and taken on a warmth that would make this amazing as a winter EDT. The bergamot is really over-riding at first but dries down more of a spicy  

I’m sure I can pick up hints of juniper, if anything it made me crave a gin and tonic (and I haven’t had one of those in years).  

After around thirty minutes you can pick up a hint of spice from the pink pepper, and as the heart blends with the dry down notes it takes on a more rugged scent, it becomes lighter and more subtle yet retains the ability to turn heads for all of the right reasons. 

Three squirts from the atomiser and you are good to go - and this will stay on your skin and remain evident to those around you for a good eight hours at least. It had body to it and longevity that makes it a little cracker in my book and actually really good value for money. 

Eau de Cade oozes those deep, warm woody and earthy notes from every fibre of its being (obviously it doesn’t have fibres being a liquid but stop splitting hairs). This screams “I am man” (from a fragrance perspective), remains fresh for hours until turning into a warm and spicy blend where you can certainly pull out the juniper note. 

I like this, I like it much more than I expected to when I first cast my beady eyes over the notes. Not being one for the heavy and warm fragrances I was surprised by how quickly I converted to this, particularly when using it with the Eau de Cade moisturiser and Eau de Cade hair body wash from the same range.

Personally I wouldn’t wear this on a night out, but for daywear this sits up there with Fahrenheit, Gruhme and Invictus as perfect for days in the office. Your colleagues will thank you for wearing it. 

Go on, pick up a bottle, ewe (feel free to groan, I accept that this is a poor reference to the marketing blurb about shepherds) know it makes sense.

RECOMMENDED

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Bracelets for Men Wishlist

I recently picked up a bargain pair of Buckle Boots from ASOS for £35. Not wanting to waste the rest of the voucher I had another £15 to spend and made light work of spending it by picking up a bracelet to go with my watch and usually dark clothing. 

So, you can thank ASOS for this wishlist of bracelets for men, and ones I will be getting my hands on over the coming weeks as I prepare my wardrobe for the summer. If interested, I have a board on Pinterest here with hundreds of bands and bracelets for blokes that vary in cost from a couple of pounds to a small mortgage.

These are my five favourites for this year that sit firmly in the could afford bracket rather than the 'if I win the lottery' category:

Colana Double Wrap Onyx Bracelet



This baby looks the part and certainly has a price tag to match costing £137. For me it is the fact that is has quite an intricate design interspersed with Buddha heads while retaining a rather understated look. It oozes class in my view and is one I will be buying.

Alexander McQueen



To say I’m a huge fan of accessories from Alexander McQueen would be an understatement of epic proportions. The skull designs really appeal to me and go with large swathes of my casual wardrobe (I shop on the basis that if it has a skull on it I’ll wear it) but McQueen also have some amazing cufflinks and bracelets for blokes that you can pass off, even with formal wear. 

The metal skull and woven bracelet is £185, but the weave and solid look appeal to me and my inner Goth. 

Men's Spiritual Evil Eye Protection



While my first two choices are on the expensive side in my opinion and rest within the luxury category of accessories this bracelet not only looks cool, it is made with a number of semi precious stones such as Tiger's Eye, Green Imperial Jasper, Bone, Lava, Amber Murano. The evil eye charm is made from copper and finishes off the look really well. 

This one is available here at the moment for just £29.95.

Rosary Bracelet for Men



While not overly religious (I only seek divine intervention after a heavy night out), I do like religious iconography and this hand-made bracelet jumped out at me. Made with black onyx gemstones, stainless steel wire, a magnetic clasp, bronze medals and brass spacer beads it is affordable (£18.64) and looks the business. 

It would make a perfect little gift and won‘t break the bank. In fact, the seller of this bracelet has a number of other equally awesome offerings and is worth checking out. 

Black Leather and Silver tone Cuff Double Skull 



Last, but not least and by far one of the cheapest and coolest bracelets from one of my favourite online retailers, Skull Clothing. This weave of leather with silver skulls would go perfectly with my watch and my usual all black clothing. 

Currently on sale for $16.95 this is affordable, looks awesome and is one that will be in my collection by the end of the month! 

I hope you liked my choices - do you think men can pull off bracelets or is it just a step too far?

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Monday, May 11, 2015

ASOS Buckle Boots in Leather

The time came, the biggest, heaviest boots I‘ve ever owned finally succumbed to the ravages of time and after nearly ten years of loyal service the sole on one of my New Rock boots (purchased from a great little shop in on Camden High Street, Camden Town) split. I had considered some form of Viking burial (I’ve been watching Vikings too much recently) on the pond in the local park but assumed I’d probably be prosecuted for some form of environmental crime. 

Instead, they were tossed unceremoniously into the bin and the search for a new pair commenced. Step forward the missus with a voucher to use at ASOS and boom, I was onto the Internet faster than a rat up a drainpipe. 

I rather quite like the ASOS website and could spend a fortune on shoes and jeans (I ventured into a pair of skinny jeans recently from ASOS and love them). After casting my eyes over their offering for men I plumped for the ASOS Buckle Boots in Leather. Originally priced at £55, but reduced in their sale to just £35. 

Yes, £35 for a pair of boots…..that’s a quarter of the price of my last pair.

And here they are…….

ASOS Buckle Boots in Leather
ASBO the cat likes the boots....

ASOS Buckle Boots in Leather

ASOS Buckle Boots in Leather
ASOS Buckle Boots in Leather

ASOS Buckle Boots in Leather

Well made, I find these boots really comfortable and despite having wide feet they are easy to get on and off. You might think that a strange comment to make, but just a few years ago I spent £100 on a pair of boots for work and they ripped as I struggled to get my feet out. 

The zip up the side fastens up the boot rather than a conventional Chelsea boot style but this for me is much better as the boot then closes around the ankle making them great for wearing with suit trousers, skinny or tapered jeans.

I’m happy with my boots and at £35 I just can’t find fault. They also look cool to in my opinion, especially when worn with these jeans here (known as my bondage jeans by friends).

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

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Saturday, May 09, 2015

Velvet Smooth Express Pedi by Scholl and GIVEAWAY

I think feet and I reach for the nearest sick bucket - there are no redeeming features in my own humble opinion for the slabs of meat at the end of our legs. That said however, there are things you can do to make sure that when the sun arrives (should I say when, what I mean is if) and the summer footwear comes out of the closet you don’t look like a Griffin from the knee down.

Not wishing to traumatise my readers I can assure you now that I will not be posting pictures of my feet!

Nail care is key, but what about any unsightly hard dry skin on the sole and ball of the foot? Step forward the Velvet Smooth Express Pedi by Scholl. It’s basically an automatic foot file that is designed to remove hard dry and dead skin leaving your feet looking beach ready.


Velvet Smooth Express Pedi

My Express Pedi was a sample from their lovely PR people. If you want one yourself wait until you get to the end of this review! Prices can vary by up to 30% depending on where you look, but you can buy it now for £30 from Boots online here

I have an overwhelming urge to use the phrase ‘for feet to die for’ but when you read the next few paragraphs you’ll realise I probably shouldn’t laugh, even though I do quite a lot when reflecting on this particular period of my life….I never used to take care of my feet and to say that they were a mess would be an understatement - in fact it wasn’t until I got married in 2004 and my feet nearly killed me that I started to pay attention to them - I can look back and laugh now, no really I laugh in a slightly crazed, deranged way. 

How do your feet nearly kill you I hear you ask? Well, I bought a new pair of shoes for my wedding and decided to break them in before jetting off for my nuptials. The problem was that I got a blister on my heel that was ignored for weeks that became infected. Being a typical man I ignored the throbbing pain, and then the shooting pains up my leg until I stood up from my desk at work one day and my leg gave way completely as the pain shot up from my foot to my chest - cue much embarrassment for me face planting the floor and very worried looks from my boss (thanks Maria for putting me in a cab to accident & emergency). I had developed septicaemia (blood poisoning) and ended up with a doctor immediately cutting into my foot (lots of gross puss) with a scalpel, seriously strong antibiotics and painkillers, all ten days before I was due to say "I do". 

One thing that sticks in my mind and make me chuckle was that the politician I worked with at the time phoned hours after I had left hospital - instead of asking how I was, he instead told me to take a paracetamol and get over it - helpful!

Anyhow, I digress massively! I highly recommend visiting the Scholl website - I found the FAQ section for the product really helpful and the tips straight forward that even I can follow them (however retaining this information in my brain has pushed memories out to make space - probably how to drive or something)


Velvet Smooth Express Pedi

Velvet Smooth Express Pedi

I have been using this on my right foot (always go to the right, a phrase that has always served me well) as I need the left one for another similar product I have to try. The skin on the ball of my foot and sole was to be blunt rock hard and actually had been starting to cause a few problems, particularly with my new boots. 

The first thing that surprised me was the weight of the Pedi, with four batteries (they come included) it feels solid, is well made and the once switched on it is almost whisper quiet. The diamond crystal encrusted roller spins really quickly and as soon as it comes into contact with rough and hard skin it works through it like a hot knife through butter - you can see it working away and while at first this may seems strange it‘s nice to be able to see where I‘ve already covered.

Now for the sensations  - having sensitive feet my only worry about using this was that it would either hurt or tickle so much I couldn’t apply any pressure. Nope, none of that - while it tingles and tickles slightly I had no problems applying light pressure as it sanded away. Indeed, considering that it is sanding off skin I was impressed by the complete absence of any discomfort, pain or irritation. Top stuff.

After using and washing my feet off the results were immediately noticeable - the skin was smoother, softer and slight colour blemishes on my heel has gone. Beach ready feet? Oh yes, these babies are now ready for anything and the removal of the hard skin on my sole means that breaking my new shoes is much more comfortable. As I only tested this on one of my feet I have to say that I really can tell the difference between the right that was treated and the left where there is still hard skin waiting to be treated. 

It’s a cracking little orbital sander/buffer for your feet. For me there were a number of massive positives when using this even when you put the exceptional results to one side and for that I am very grateful for the opportunity to try this out. I will be using it again, and again, and again. 

Usually retailing at £40 I would still say it is worth the money just because of the cracking results (that means good, not literally cracking).

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED 

Now here is the good bit, I have a brand new Express Pedi and a 30ml tube of Scholl Velvet Smooth Intense Serum to giveaway to one lucky reader.  It is a UK only giveaway and the prize will be posted to the winner by the PR company. If you are under the age of 18, please ensure you have parental permission to enter because I will need to obtain your home address if you win.

Please also ensure you complete the compulsory entries and anyone found to be using multiple accounts or not adhering to the terms and conditions will be excluded.



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Tuesday, May 05, 2015

The Drift - Bishopsgate, London

Today we have a joint post with @Bromley_Boozer - we had an agreement, I would write about the food and she would stick to her comfort zone of writing about the drinks we imbibed whilst at The Drift, a surprisingly large bar split over two levels located at the base of The Heron Tower, on Bishopsgate in the City of London.


The Drift - Bishopsgate, London

You can’t really miss The Heron Tower, it’s massive and this is why I was happy to laugh in the face of directions from Mrs Boozer and take massive offence that she had brought a map. After fifteen minutes of looking aimlessly around Bishopsgate it dawned on us that we were walking in the wrong direction, a swift about turn and we finally arrived. It should be easy to find, you don’t need the map reading skills of a special forces officer, no, if anything, the struggle to find it speaks volumes about our sense of direction (think dead homing pigeon).

So, on with the important bits.

What drift bar says…

‘Escape to a bar & restaurant that wants you to stay, linger, explore & quite simply drift… a sanctuary in the heart of the city, the drift brims with quirky collectibles, hidden alcoves, a mixology table & fine dining nook, whilst offering delights such as a flambe menu, seasonal menu & innovative cocktails.

‘Open for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner & drinks, the drift can meet your needs any time of the day. quirky cocktails & a wide selection of wines sit alongside a carefully crafted seasonal menu, whilst music & a late license until the early hours on Thursday & Friday make the drift the perfect place to start & end the party.’


The Drift - Bishopsgate, London

The Drinks

When Beautyking invited me for dinner at Drift Bar (all his real friends were busy) the first thing I did was peek at the online drinks menu, in particular cocktails.  And not only did the cocktails look outstanding the menu quoted Alice in Wonderland “You’re entirely bonkers, but I tell you what….all the best people are.” And as everyone knows that the best people are most definitely the bonkers ones I couldn’t wait to get there.

First up was a Skinny Russian Rose Martini with Smirnoff Black vodka, leeches liqueur and ginger syrup, garnished with a rose petal.  Not only did it look pretty with its flower, it also weirdly tasted pretty, sort of perfumed but in a nice way.  As an added bonus you won’t be piling on the pounds as it’s listed as only containing 80 calories. What more reason do you need to have at least a few more? 


The Drift - Bishopsgate, London

Beautyking’s Mojito of choice was a mango one (he could have chosen mint classic, strawberry & lavender, passion fruit or kumquat).  And from the sneaky bit that I drank whilst he wasn’t looking it was tangy with the fresh mint working well with the sweet mango.  One to try at home for a summer BBQ, if I can eat enough jam to collect the jars to serve them in.


The Drift - Bishopsgate, London

The Drift - Bishopsgate, London

My Tiramisu Martini was listed as a pudding cocktail and I’m certain that I’ve never drunk a cocktail with mascarpone in it before.  And I’ve drunk a lot of cocktails. I’m not sure you could  taste it though, as the overwhelming flavour was of coffee and gingerbread. It was delicious though and worth the chocolate powder moustache that is every cappuccino drinker at work’s worst nightmare.


The Drift - Bishopsgate, London

Beautyking’s pudding cocktail was a cranberry brulee (Tanqueray gin, cranberry sauce, egg white, sugar, lemon & a dash of danger) and almost looked too weird to drink.  A tiny sieve was balanced in the drink with the egg white bit, leaving the cranberry cocktail underneath. I’m not sure what the dash of danger ingredient was though but it has an incredibly sweet taste and as someone who doesn‘t like Cranberries, Beautyking was adamant in between sips that this was a taste sensation. 


The Drift - Bishopsgate, London

The Food

The nicest thing for me was the unhurried service we received, while Mrs Boozer got slightly irritated by the wait I actually liked the five to ten minutes we were given to soak up the atmosphere, have a look around, do a spot of people watching and get an all around feel for the place. 

The menu was impressive, I knew what I wanted weeks before I arrived. In fact, when approached and asked if we would like to go along the first thing I did was identify a meat dish that would knock years off my life (joke) it was so large and make up for the fact that I would be dining with a vegetarian (another joke). Step forward Reef & beef, but you’ll have to wait as the starters simply had me drooling.

I opted to start with Great British Bloody Mary mussels. First of all, the presentation, stunning, the aroma, out of this world, the taste, oh my god, it was like an orgy in my mouth (phrase probably copyright of Stewie Griffin from Family Guy). The mussels were cooked to perfection and almost melted in the mouth.

Rather than a fishy taste, the mussels blended with the thick rich tomato sauce to add an edge of bitterness that made this a match made in heaven. 

The portion size was superb, not too much but just enough to take the edge off my grumbling stomach. 


The Drift - Bishopsgate, London

Mrs Boozer opted for roasted Portobello mushrooms and Taleggio cheese on bruschetta and with the speed with which they were demolished they must have been good! 


The Drift - Bishopsgate, London

So, onto meat overload, the Reef & Beef, half a lobster, and a 4oz steak with onion rings and a plant pot full of chipped potatoes. I shamed myself, I couldn’t finish it all, I was stuffed by the time I had finished this to the point where a) I couldn’t have a dessert, and b) had to force down my drinks. Satisfied would be an understatement at this point.


The Drift - Bishopsgate, London

The Drift - Bishopsgate, London

The Drift - Bishopsgate, London

Once again, the presentation did nothing to let down the dishes, they looked amazing, I was provided with the right tools to attack the lobster (although I did fear that I would take out those at nearby tables with bits of lobster shrapnel once I started cracking the claw) and the steak was cooked to perfection and as I had ordered - medium rare. 

Needless to say, the meat was tender, just hot enough and bloody in the middle. I broke out into the mental meat sweats in my head, and that is a sign that I’m really enjoying it. The lobster again melted in the mouth. When it first arrived I thought that it was tiny but looks can be deceptive, any larger and I would have had to have left it.

The onion rings were crispy, the batter light and fluffy. Normally onion rings can lack taste but not these, packed with onion I was hooked. Indeed, the chipped potatoes (chips to you and me) were also really tasty and I kept reaching for more until I physically couldn’t force any more down my throat. 

Mrs Boozer went for an Halloumi & hummus burger with red pepper, roast mushroom & tomato chutney. Strangely enough this looked really nice. There was a huge, thick slice of halloumi and the aroma had even me feeling as I though I could wolf my way through it in seconds. Needless to say, she was satisfied with the burger and even managed to eat more chips than me (the plant pots conceal what appears to be a bottomless pit of chips).


The Drift - Bishopsgate, London

The Drift - Bishopsgate, London

With both of my dishes coming in at well under £30 in total and Mrs Boozer’s at £15 this really was great value for money. 

The bars on both levels are wide and open, and it does have those little nooks with seats to get away from the crowds. I liked the interior, it was peaceful and the LED lights in the wall had me thinking my drinks had been spiked until I realised that they were slowly flashing! 

I enjoyed what was a very civilised Tuesday night in the City. The bar was busy and I can imagine it gets packed on a Thursday and Friday. That said, it has that much space, two long bars and a great location. Combine this with the out of this world cocktails and lovely food and you do have an affordable bolt-hole to drink, eat or just be merry in the heart of the financial district. 

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED 

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