Wednesday, January 23, 2019

SKINCARE: Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream by Black Leopard

Hello 2019, and what a way to bring in the New Year and mark my return to my little blog by looking at a new range of skincare products for men from Black Leopard Skincare. With a range that includes moisturiser, aftershave, and face scrub, today I’ll be focusing on Black Leopard Eye Cream.
Skincare by Black Leopard
Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream by Black Leopard
A 15ml tube of the cream will set you back A$29, that’s about £16 which for an eye cream if it works is in my view pretty good value for money. 

This is what they say about the eye cream over at their website here:
‘This anti-wrinkle cream developed using the most advanced anti-ageing technology is specifically designed for use on men’s skin. Reducing puffiness and dark circles. Increasing elasticity, locks in moisturiser and plumps the skin to reduce wrinkles. Be amazed by how good your skin looks by adding this one step to your nightly routine.
But obviously, the crux of whether you should lay out your hard earned cash on this rests with whether it will actually banish those bags and help make your face look that bit smoother and less battle-worn (like my own)

I received the full range as a PR sample back in October shortly after coming out of hospital when I frankly looked like I’d been dead for a month, buried and then dug up again. Not a good look. Wanting to feel better about myself this was the first product I reached for, and after a good eight weeks of using it in the evening I’ve discovered that yes, yes this really does have a positive effect. 

A tiny pea sized amount of the cream is all that’s needed – it has a great consistency that makes it easy to spread around the eyes and into the crevasses that I’ve cultivated over the years without leaving your fingers, hands and face feel greasy. Win! 

After a week of using the cream the skin tone and feel to the touch of the skin around my eyes had started to be transformed. By the end of week two the dark bags and circles were barely noticeable and the crows feet had visibly reduced. My skin was as they promised plumper and silky smooth.

I hate looking in the mirror and seeing a corpse looking back. Thankfully, by using this beauty of a product it’s no longer an issue for me. At £16 for a product that is still going strong I have to say it represents excellent value for money, provides outstanding results and will last for month after month.

Black Leopard knock the spots off the competition.

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Sunday, September 09, 2018

Apollon Morpheus with Gents Bracelets

Aside from my watch and wedding ring, I tend to wear a lot of male bracelets particularly those which feature of a skull and my interest and obsession all stemmed from Pinterest on which here you can see that I have a rather large board featuring bracelets costing anywhere from £5 to £5,000 that I would love to adorn my wrists.
Apollon Morpheus with Gents Bracelets
Apollon Morpheus with Gents Bracelets
The Apollon Morpheus bracelet from Gents Bracelet is the latest addition to my collection and it is just beautiful.   Gents Bracelets describe themselves as follows:
In this day and age of price wars in a race to the bottom between brands, quality inevitably begins to suffer. It’s a shame because, for the discerning gentlemen of today, quality is everything. It’s easy to tell when something has been crafted with love, skill, care, and attention. Gents Bracelets are breaking the mould and turning heads with our quality over quantity ethos… We don’t cut corners.
With Gents Bracelets, the word quality is one which features quite a lot descriptively alongside their products and this is because it is of such high importance.  Not only is each individual bracelet made from the highest quality leather, the production of the bracelet is just as important and this is due to the fact that only use leather that accrues at the traditional slaughter as a “Waste product“. At approximately 6mm wide, the bracelet isn't too wide that it excessively heavy, but it is big enough that it stands out.
Apollon Morpheus with Gents Bracelets
Apollon Morpheus with Gents Bracelets
Aside from the bracelet being of the highest quality, it also arrives in a stunning black box which has an pull string opening.  Inside there is a leather pouch which contains your chosen item and again, the presentation is just stunning.

Designed to be adaptable, comfortable and stylish, this bracelet is made of high quality materials.  What stood out to me was the bright white leather of the wristband which contrasts perfectly with my summer tanned arms and it also works well sitting amongst the other bracelets from within my collection, of all which are black.  This bracelet also features two black skulls and it is here that the craftmanship comes into its own.  Made from shiny stainless steal and the details, right now to the teeth is just incredible and to finish the black magnetic fastener is made of stainless steel with the gents bracelets engrave on the reverse.

The Apollon Morpheus Stack is a set of two individual men bracelets that is offered for a special price. Of course, both skull bracelets can be worn individually. Also ideal as a gift and at the mention of gifts and with Christmas on the horizon, the lovely people at Gents Bracelets have given me a bracelet, exactly the same as the one above to give away to one of you.  All you have to do is complete the widget below!  
  • This competition is open worldwide
  • If you are aged under 16 you will need parental permission to enter as I will need your name and postal address if you are selected as the winner.
  • The winner will be selected at random from Rafflecopter.
Competition is Closed and the winner is Archie Welling. 
Archie, I have emailed you.

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Saturday, August 18, 2018

Matching a shirt and blazer: a man’s guide

The staple blazer and shirt outfit has been at the forefront of men’s fashion for decades. From casual get-togethers to formal affairs, this look has carried men effortlessly through almost every style of event — but are you maximising its full potential? 
 Matching a shirt and blazer: a man’s guide
Here, we’ve put together a fool-proof guide on creating a suave jacket and shirt outfit that’s fresh and on-trend. Not sure which colours, fabrics and patterns got together? Check out our shirt and blazer guide for style tips and tricks. 

Colour - Your suit palette is perhaps the first feature of your look that people will notice — so it’s critical to get this right. Essentially, you can go down three avenues to pinpoint the perfect suit colour: block, tonal and statement. 

Block colouring is your more adventurous option — and it’s a big trend in men’s fashion for AW18. When you colour block your outfit, you go for bright panels of contrasting, solid colours. Think electric blue blazers with canary-yellow ties and pure-white shirts. This is a tough one to perfect, but the trick is to contrast warm and cool colours and then tone it down with a neutral shade. Something like a steel-grey suit jacket with a blush-pink shirt and lemon tie or a red tweed blazer over a forest green shirt. 

Tonal colouring is almost the opposite of block colouring, as you choose a single shade and wear its variants. Say you go for purple. You could throw on a velvet jacket in a rich, dark plum shade over a lighter, mauve shirt and polish off the palette with a bright lilac tie or dickie bow. Pick your favourite colour and just turn up or down the pigments on your shirt, blazer, trousers, etc. 

Statement colouring does what it says on the tin: makes a statement. Similar to tonal colouring but focusing on a single shade surrounded by neutrals — like brown, grey, white, and black — this colour style exudes understated confidence. Pair a wine-coloured Oxford shirt with a rich, chocolate men’s blazer or go for a teal, seersucker suit with a white shirt and skinny black tie. 

Texture - Next up is the fabric. You probably already have a favourite blazer texture, but if you usually stick to the same kind, maybe it’s time to switch it up. Fabric plays a big part in how formal or not an outfit looks, so make sure you get the combination right. 

Go for the staple, lightweight polyester suit jacket and cool cotton shirt for a comfortable outfit during long occasions or try a boxy wool blazer and flannel checked shirt for a touch of old-time style that’s suited for casual events. 

Brown or khaki tweed has an unmistakeably rural gentleman appeal and looks ideal with a plain white, cotton shirt and tweed waistcoat, while a clean and crisp white or silver jacket in linen delivers a laid-back vibe that goes great with a fine pinpoint Oxford cloth shirt — ideal for relaxed, outdoor events. If you’re after something formal but slightly against the grain, corduroy and velvet are spot on. The former is a type of woven cotton with a distinctive, raised texture that looks especially good in a rust or maroon shade with a white shirt in a twill fabric — the slight shine of the shirt will contrast perfectly against the thicker corduroy. 

For the ultimate in masculine luxury, try velvet or satin. If you’re going for this fabric, make sure you do it in style by opting for a dinner suit or smoking jacket in a rich, elegant shade — like royal blue or emerald green. As a thin, light, modest fabric; smooth broadcloth shirts look best with luxe velvet or satin blazers — scarves and pocket squares also look incredible with this jacket fabric. 

Pattern - The pattern can seal the deal on a good and bad jacket-and-shirt combo — and the trick is to not splice different types in a single outfit. Either go for a patterned blazer or keep this plain and enhance your look via your shirt. 

Window-pane checks are large and bold — ideal for making a statement at an event that matters. Pair this style with a block-colour shirt and plain tie for maximum effect. Smaller checks are also in-season, so switch it round — keep your blazer plain and go for an Oxford shirt with a burgundy base-colour with navy gingham checks. 

Vertical stripes create a longer torso and look great on men dressing to impress in a smart jacket and shirt. High-contrast shades are best for stand-out impact — think two-stripe coral and white or multi-stripe red, navy and white — and remember to consider the weight of your stripe choice. The thicker the stripe, the less formal the event. 

For casual get-together with mates, tropical print-shirts are on top form this fashion season — we recommend keeping to the casual tone by pairing it with an ultra-lightweight cotton jacket. Alternatively, panel shirts let you combine multiple block colours that you can tone down with a neutral, wool-blend blazer. 

There are many ways you can wear a shirt and jacket for a knock-out effect that’s on-trend for modern men. Combine the patterns, fabrics and colours above to create a look of your own or pair up with your dates dress at your next social event.

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Sunday, June 24, 2018

AFTERSHAVE: Michael Bublé Pour Homme

When it comes to celebrity fragrances I tend to steer well clear, they often smell cheap and nasty and I'm convinced (with zero evidence to back up this feeling) that more often than not it's just cheap stuff whacked in a bottle and flogged to the gullible. I've had to kind of reassess this after being asked by the wife to review Michael Bublé Pour Homme.
 At £39 for a 70ml bottle or £55 for 100ml, this I think sits in the mid-range for aftershaves - anything over £60 and I take a serious whiff of it before forking out my own cash. The attractiveness of the bottle, with its sharp angles and lines, are said to have been inspired by the microphone with the shade of blue being a reference to Buble himself and his usual choice of suit (or so I'm told).
MB Pour Homme is described as a rich signature scent for the sophisticated modern gentleman. The notes to Pour Homme are:
  • Head: Grapefruit, bergamot and pink pepper
  • Heart: Geranium, neroli and blond wood
  • Dry-down: Patchouli, sandalwood and musk
Almost as soon as this left the bottle I was in love with the fragrance - it's unique, fresh and has a depth of fragrance that sits right in the middle of the woody and spicy fragrance familyThe freshness of the citrusy notes really make this fragrance for me and blended with the Patchouli, you have an aroma that seamlessly takes you from day to night and one which is suitable for absolutely any man in your life.
My only question is if you've sold 55 million albums worldwide, why would you branch out into aftershave? You can't be short of a few quid. The many questions that run through my head aside, this is a lovely fragrance that isn't too heavy or warm on the nose. If you are looking for something a little unique this summer then you can do a lot worse than this. 

In terms of celebrity aftershaves and fragrances, this stands head and shoulders above any other I've had the chance to sniff at. 

Perfect for any occasion, this is one where throughout the day you'll close your eyes and think "mmm, yes, this is actually a good fragrance" and you'll be feeling good.


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Sunday, June 17, 2018

BEARDS: Schwarzkopf Got2b Beard Oil

Last week a massive box of the new products from the Schwarzkopf Got2b Phenomenal range was delivered - everything from a beard trimmer, hair paste, wax and sprays. As part of the package was Schwarzkopf Got2b Phenomenal Beard Oil, and for the last seven days I've been slapping it onto my ever growing beard, stepping back and then making the other half feel the results.
Schwarzkopf Got2b Beard Oil
Schwarzkopf Got2b Beard Oil
Given my experience with this beard oil I thought it deserved a post all to itself, so check back over the coming weeks if you want to read more reviews of the range.

What does the marketing blurb say about the beard oil under review?

'Discover the real gentleman in you. The lightweight conditioning oil softens and tames your beard, leaving it well-groomed and non-greasy.'

I had no idea that this sat firmly in the budget range of grooming products (it's RRP is £4.07 for 75ml) but prior experience with the got2b hair styling range meant that I had some pretty high hopes. Had I seen the price beforehand I would have expected little.

So what did the product do? Well, it surprised me immensely from the moment it left the bottle and for hour after hour later. Why? Well, many reasons. The first being the silky smooth oil that really could not be simpler to apply. Two to three pumps from the dispenser should be enough according to the directions but given the longer length of my facial foliage I use two to three on the beard on my cheeks and chin and another two to massage into the shaft of the hair that hangs about five inches down from under my chin and on my neck.

The oil is a lot thinner than pretty much every oil I've ever used before but this helps with the absorption into the hair and within a matter of seconds you'll hardly know that you've applied it - it isn't greasy as promised and washing it off your palms is much, much easier than other premium brands.

The results are out of this world - after three days of using this my beard was noticeably softer to the touch, and I mean really soft so much so that I spent most of last week stroking my beard. Normally if using oil on my beard this would result in residue bein transferred to my fingers and the risk of oil stains on my clothing but not with this - excellent.
 Schwarzkopf Got2b Beard Oil
The beard some six hours after using Schwarzkopf Got2b Phenomenal Beard Oil
While much runnier than normal this doesn't detract from the hold it provides when styling the beard - I've found that it keeps my long beard in place for a good seven hours before the hairs start to lift up off my face and look untidy. That's much better than oils you can find yourself paying upwards of £20 for elsewhere.

They say that the Got2b range is truly phenomenal and when it comes to the beard oil I'm inclined to agree. Not only can you pick this up for under £5 when fully priced (you can get it from Superdrug here for just £3) it also leaves you feeling like you've just stepped out of the barber's chair. I has a fragrance that will throw you back to your childhood (it reminds me of the smell of Barbicide used by barbers) while also taming your beard - it softens so well, in fact, better than any other beard oil I've used and it keeps my fairly long beard well and truly under control.

Price, availability and results taken into consideration and pow, you have an absolute belter of a beard oil.


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Saturday, June 16, 2018

SKINCARE: Peel & Polish by Pixi

Every now and again I'll play shower roulette, this involves me reaching onto the shelf, picking up a product without looking and then giving it a try. No, seriously, I do.....and that's how I came to try Peel & Polish by Pixi, a kind of peel and exfoliating potion the other half must use. 
SKINCARE: Peel & Polish by Pixi
I've never used anything by Pixi before that I can recall so I had no prior misconceptions or indeed any expectations for this to do anything to my elephant hide like skin. Needless to say, that after the first application I've now been using this twice a week on my face to banish dead skin - but at £26 for a 80ml tube does this really compare with other face washes, scrubs and general exfoliants out there? Read on folks, read on.

This is what they say about the product:

'This radiance revealing enzyme peel resurfaces for smoother, softer skin, and a healthy looking glow. Natural fruit enzymes loosen dead skins cells, lactic acid gently exfoliates, cellulose peels & sugar extracts polishes, lifting away dullness revealing brighter skin. Professional salon peel treatment without leaving home.'

After taking the lid off and giving this a good sniff I was pleasantly surprised to find that it has a rather gender neutral fragrance, not too light and flowery and equally, not too heavy on the nose - the orange, papaya and lemon extract provide a fresh and fruity aroma that can become rather addictive.

Whacking a healthy dose of the cream onto my hands I rubbed it gently into my dry face and neck. First up, the grains within the cream are really fine, noticeable, but this is a gentle exfoliation rather than a full-blown sandblast of the face. As advised, I left it on the skin for a couple of minutes and that is when the tingling started - and it was good. Like a really weird mild burning sensation that tingles rather than hurts you can almost feel the dirt and dead skin cells being removed. Top marks.

As the tingling starts I tend to rub the cream into my face a bit to provide an extra touch of exfoliation.

As the particles/grains are so fine they are washed off really easily, leaving results that can be summarised in one word - "wow". To see the colour of the water after using would make you wretch - it clearly does eliminate built up grime and dirt but best of all, my skin looks radiant after using and to the touch it's smoother than it's been in years. When I say years, I can hand on heart say at least a decade.

This is a lucky find for me and while I wouldn't have ever sought this out or bought it myself I can't honestly see this out of my skincare routine now. It's excellent and does exactly what it says it'll do.


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