Wednesday, June 29, 2016

MR Style Salt Spray by Jamie Stevens

I’ve been adding various lotions and potions to my hair for years, from gels, waxes, pomades and pastes. A casual glance through the postings here and you’ll see lots of varying products from a wide variety of brands. One thing that I had never used was a spray to add texture. All of this came to an end, and now in addition to the hair styling products I’m a firm convert to the use of salt spray, not just any old salt spray, but Jamie Stevens Salt Spray from the MR range.

Jamie Stevens Salt Spray
Jamie Stevens Salt Spray

I did receive a bottle of the salt spray from Jamie when he cut my hair a few weeks ago, but alas this fell foul of airport security after I stupidly thought that it was only 100ml (it wasn’t, it was and does come in a 150ml bottle). Whilst I spent most of the flight to Glasgow slow clapping myself the first thing I did on my return was purchase a further two bottles from Boots (even better it was on a 2-for-1 deal) for just £10.

So, what claims are made about the product over at the MR website?

‘A unique spray that will enhance the volume of your hair while imparting texture to your style. The salt adds body to the hair while the softening Pea Peptide ingredient adds volume while preventing stiffness.
  • Contains System-PPX™ active thickening complex
  • Natural matt finish
  • Against animal testing’
First things first, I love the smell of the salt spray, it’s actually becoming borderline obsessive. It has a fresh and clean fragrance very similar to that of the shampoo and conditioner from the range. Personally I still find myself getting whiffs of the spray as I wander around and it’s really quite comforting! Sad I know, but I really do miss it on the days where I have to rush out of the house and don’t have time to apply it.

After washing my hair, naturally using the shampoo and conditioner from the range I pat my hair so that it retains a little bit of moisture and then usually use around four to five sprays of the product to cover all of my hair. I mess my hair up to spread it through and then brush it into style while letting it dry naturally and also deciding which hair styling product to use.

After my hair has dried I find that it does add texture – my hair feels slightly more course rather than thin and rather limp. Imagine being at the beach, swimming in the sea for a few days but not washing your hair. The salt builds up in the hair and gives it that little extra body. Well, that’s exactly what this does for my hair.

Styling is no easier or harder after applying but I do find that the style stays put for longer and the additional weight in my hair means that even in adverse weather conditions my hair isn’t blown around as much as normal.

This normally costs £10 for a 150ml bottle and I really wouldn’t be without it now as an additional tool to help me style and create hairstyles that make me smile when I look in the mirror. If you want additional texture that adds a touch of volume to your hair then you should not be without this. 


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Sunday, June 12, 2016

Chatham Escape Suede Moccasin Loafers

Summer is nearly here and finding the right kind of footwear to go with shorts or a nice light pair of linen trousers is something of a bane. I already have a nice air of deck shoes from Diesel but when I was asked by those lovely folk over at Chatham Footwear if I would like to pick a pair from their new range I jumped at the chance. I’m something of a fan of their footwear and if anything, working with the brand in the past they managed to alter my slant on foot fashion and convinced me that I didn’t always have to wear thick and chunky biker boots, and yes, I now do wear different colour boots. You can see what I thought of their boots here, but today I’m going to be showing off my Chatham Escape Suede Moccasin Loafers with an ultra-comfortable padded in sock, durable moccasin style and lightweight sole.
The Escape show is available in a range of colours from cobalt, grey, navy blue and brown leather and cost £69. Not massively expensive and when you look at the other new shoes in the range or similar types of footwear from other brands I consider them to be reasonably priced. As I’ve already said, I’ve had footwear from Chatham before and they are still going strong nearly two years later. Quality and comfort are two words that immediately spring to mind when I think of the brand.

The Escape to be blunt is bloody brilliant - I opted for a navy blue pair and it’s like slipping on a second skin over your foot. The sole is thick and cushions every footstep. As someone who suffers from horrific back pain that cushion when walking takes some of the pressure off my lower back and unlike the shoes I wear for work, I don’t find myself struggling when off on a walk.

The grip is on the bottom of the shoe is solid and even better, if you are a driver they have a small grip on the heel to provide a decent grip for when driving. Nice touch, nice touch.

So, here they are….

Other shoes in the range include (pictured left to right):

Echo - £59

Echo is an elegant loafer boasting a premium leather upper with a contrast leather collar. For extra comfort, Echo is layered with padding underfoot and mounted on a studded sole unit for stability. Available in a range of bright, summer colourways, Echo offers the perfect combination of style and comfort.

Step - £59

Step joins Chatham’s women’s range, this stylish premium nubuck leather ‘deck trainer’, is designed on Chatham’s tri-density sole unit. Available in Tan, Dark Blue and Dark Grey with a contrasting lining and outsole.

Recoil - £69

Recoil is a classic ‘deck trainer’, combining cutting edge technology, tri-density comfort technology and 3mm memory foam to offer maximum comfort and spring. Recoil is available in Brown or Navy.

If these last as long as my last pair of boots from Chatham I would consider them to be excellent value for money. At just under £70 these are a stylish shoe that make a perfect choice for the summer. They appear to be well made (I have been pulling and examining the seams and stitching). Personally I really the way they look and feel and that readers is all I could wish for.


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Monday, June 06, 2016

Electric Shavers - Father's Day 2016

Shaving is a pain, and while you can reduce the likelihood of razor burn or those nasty red bumps when using a disposable or safety razor there are two ways of completely reducing that threat, either don't shave (and start to look like an extra from Lost) or just use a trimmer or electric shaver.

In the past I've used a trimmer from Braun but that doesn't take the stubble right down to the wood. For that I will need an electric shaver and I've been looking a few of the Panasonic men's shavers over at their website. While browsing I thought hey, this would make a great gift idea and hence, here you have it, I'm sharing my top three picks from their range.

First up is the Panasonic ES-RW30 - it works wet or dry, so no chance of blowing yourself up which is always nice. But seriously, with twin blades this is my personal pick as it's available for just over £20 has more power than a Toyota Aygo and has a pop up trimmer so I can say goodbye to the crusty old Braun.
Panasonic Shavers
Second up with the Panasonic ES-SL41 - it costs upwards of £30 but for that you have a three blade electric shaver that not only looks cool but also like the ES-RW30 it can operate wet or dry. With a decent ergonomic grip the blades are designed to follow the contour of your face which should make shaving that bit speedier.
Panasonic Shavers
Last, but not least is the Panasonic ES-LV95 which is basically the Mercedes of the electric shaving world. Out of my price range, but at upwards of £150 you get five blades that say they deliver a shave that’s gentle to the skin. For that price I kinda want dinner and a trip to the cinema thrown in, but it does profess to do good things. It has a quick lift foil to remove those beard hairs that lie stubbornly to the face. Guys, it also has sensors, so for gadget freaks, this is for you.
Panasonic Shavers
Throughout writing this post I’ve had the awful Remington shaver advert from the late 1980s stuck in my head. Arrrgggghhhhhhhhhhhh

What are you planning on buying your dad this Father's Day?

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Saturday, June 04, 2016

Aftershaves under £20 - Father’s Day 2016

For Father’s Day in the past I have pulled together a series of recommendations of aftershaves depending upon what type of dad you have - back in 2014, yes that long ago, I broke down my recommendations based on sporty, trendy and earthy dads. You can read that post here and I stand by the recommendations I made then. Today however I’m highlighting three aftershaves that are affordable on a tight budget and available for under £20. 

1770 by Yardley London
Notes: Rich woody amber fragrance with citrus, fig and spicy black pepper top notes complemented by a floral, cocoa bean and woody heart with a warm base of patchouli, vetiver, moss and musk.

My take: Bizarrely, this starts off for the first minute with a smell that would make your mother weep, but that first blast is so wildly different from how it settles you would be out of your mind to cast this to one side, it is actually one of the nicest and cheapest fragrances I've had the pleasure of smelling in my many years of collecting aftershave. It does have a slight chemical aroma for thirty to sixty seconds and it masks the notes. I can't put my finger on what it reminds me of, but thankfully you really get a melting pot of notes that blend beautifully. 

The top notes of citrus remain for a good thirty minutes and while it starts off warm it does get deeper and warmer as it starts to dry down. For me personally I like this after an hour when it has fully dried down and you can pick out the vetiver and musk. 

The wood amber provides a solid base that means this isn't an aftershave you spray and forget about. You can throughout the day smell this on yourself, well I can and I love it. More than eight hours after a few sprays and you can still pick up hints of this. I've worn it consistently to work over the last few weeks and it has attracted positive comments. Hardwearing with a great blend of notes.

Cost: £14.99 for 50ml

Buy from: Yardley London

The Dreamer by Versace
First of all, congratulations to Ness who won the 100ml bottle of The Dreamer in my giveaway. 

Notes: Head: Juniper, Mugwort, Tarragon, Heart: Ambered Lily, Flax Flowers, Iris, Dry-down: Amber, Tobacco Flower

My take: This starts off light with a slightly fruity twist that comes from the juniper. It fades yet gets warmer and last for ages. 

It has depth and warmth but the fragrance almost evolves through a series of stages. The ambered lily and iris blend with the juniper after around an hour to make this less fruity on the nose and actually it’s like a mild floral explosion for around thirty minutes until it moves into the dry down. The amber and tobacco flower provide an excellent base that compliments the tarragon and lily to make this well worth a look.

Cost: £19.50 for 100ml

Buy from: Allbeauty

Ambre Noir by Yves Rocher
Notes: Essential oils of patchouli, vetiver, bergamot, cardamom seed, mandarin, cedarwood, elemi and lavender, violet leaves and tonka bean absolutes.

My take: First impressions were good, it is very light and fresh. To me, I was sure that the main top note was a light and very subtle lavender which blended with the mandarin to give a rather fruity citrus aroma (if you really do keep sniffing away you can pull out the sharpness of the mandarin just momentarily).

Within fifteen minutes the top notes die down yet the aftershave becomes sweeter on the nose - weird, but a good kind of weird. This sweetness remains for moments, less than five minutes. 

At this stage, the amber and tonka beans blend beautifully. It’s almost a weird union of the warmth of the amber and the sweetness of the tonka bean. Without the amber this would probably have the same sweetness as Versace Eros, Joop or Valentino Uomo, instead it starts to dry down to a lovely warm reliable fragrance very much on a par with Fahrenheit by Dior

As I have said, the fragrance on dry down has the warmth of Dior’s Fahrenheit, it has a depth of both spice and wood to make this probably a bit too earthy and masculine for me to wear out and about at night, but perfect for daywear on a regular basis. That depth and the dry down base keeps Ambre Noir sitting on the skin really well and for over ten hours which is always a plus. 

At every stage of wearing this what I found was a series of ingredients that blended so well it was a pleasure to wear Ambre Noir, and I rarely say that.

Cost: £17.90 for 50ml

Buy from: Yves Rocher

All three sit in my collection and while I have bottles that cost in excess of £100 for the most minute amount these all come in good quantities (over 50ml) for under £25 notes and have above average lasting power, lovely fresh and consistent fragrances and in the value for money stakes rank highly in my opinion. While I received the Yardley and Yves Rocher aftershaves as PR samples they are staples in my collection and all are perfect for daywear. You won’t repulse people wearing any one of the three and in my view these would make perfect gifts this Father’s Day for people who don’t want to or can’t break the bank.


Do you think any of these three aftershaves would be a good pick for your dad?

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