Wednesday, November 30, 2016

‘The Meters Collection’ - free to enter jewellery competition

As part of my day job I get to do lots of cool things to promote smart meters. I know, it doesn't sound exciting, but wait until you see what I've been up to with three fantastic bloggers to mark the transition from old analogue technology to smart meters. 

Kat from Tales of a Pale Face, Aftab from Fresh & Fearless and Taislany from have taken the inner workings of an old analogue electricity meter and after working with North London boutique jeweller, Tomfoolery have up-cycled the components into stylish pieces of jewellery. The Meters Collection! So, from crusty old analogue meters to this.....
If you didn’t already know, every home in Great Britain between now and 2020 will be offered the opportunity to upgrade to gas and electricity smart meters. This means that over 53 million new meters will be installed in homes up and down the country.

Your energy supplier installs the new technology at no extra cost. Smart meters come with a portable in-home display that shows you in near real time how much energy you are using and the true cost in a language that we all understand, pounds and pence. The smart meter sends your meter readings to your supplier meaning no more estimated bills, you pay exactly for what you use.

You can see the pieces in more detail below. Now here is the good part, each blogger has five pieces of their creation to give away to their readers. All that you have to do is pop over to their blog, tell them one of the benefits of smart meters (hint, look at the paragraph above) and you’ll be entered into the draw, and just in time for Christmas.

Fresh & Fearless 

This is something that I could see myself wearing, it's a lovely male cuff. To enter Aftab's giveaway, click here.
Taislany Gomes 

This is industrial chic cranked up to 11, with a sterling silver collar that incorporates nameplates from the meter and black diamonds to the front and rear chain. To enter Taislany's giveaway click here. 
Tales of a Pale Face 
Understated elegance is the order of the day with this 9ct gold statement necklace that incorporates an aquamarine stone along with cast elements from the internal workings of the meter. To enter Kat's giveaway click here.
When analogue energy meters are upgraded to smart meters it is done by specially trained engineers and they are taken away and their parts recycled. This one-off jewellery project has been done under safe and controlled conditions using meters that have already been removed from homes. This should not be replicated at home!

I've had the chance to see the pieces up close and they are stunning. Sadly for me I can't enter (that would look ever so slightly dodgy) but you can, and if you live in England, Scotland or Wales you should. In fact, what are you still doing here?!?!? 

Finally, a special thank you to the great folk at CL Refurbishments for providing Smart Energy GB with the old analogue electricity meters. Without their kind donation of meters this project would not have been possible.

What do you think of the jewellery that has been created?
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Wednesday, November 09, 2016

FASHION: Atom Retro - Retro, Mod & Indie Clothing

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by Atom Retro asking if I would like to take a peek at their website and choose an item of clothing to style for this here blog. After deleting my initial response of “are you saying I dress like I’m stuck in the 1960s” I took a peek and was instantly hooked on the sheer amount of clothing available for both men and women and how reasonable the pricing was.

For the sake of transparency, I was gifted with my choice but as ever, I'm being incredibly objective when it comes to sharing my thoughts.
Atom Retro - Retro, Mod & Indie Clothing
Lounging in the library at work
So, who are Atom Retro? This is what they say about themselves over the site here:

'Based in the UK and launched in 2004, Atom Retro has quickly become the one-stop shop for every sixties fan, retro lover or heritage connoisseur looking for authentic, high quality and original clothing.

We specialise in stocking iconic heritage brands such as Baracuta, John Smedley, Original Penguin, Farah Vintage, Ben Sherman and Gabicci Vintage – but we also have an eye for new and original independent designers and brands with a Retro or Indie edge such as Madcap England, Common People and Gonsalves & Hall.

Atom Retro was inspired by the Carnaby Street boutiques of the Sixties – recreated here online for the contemporary era. Reflecting classic, timeless style with Fashion that will live forever.'

They have everything you could possibly need to pull together an alternative look that will make you stand out in a crowd or simply state your own style in a unique and interesting way, without breaking the bank. Being a little conservative I opted for the Penny Dot Lane MADCAP ENGLAND Retro 60s Mod Shirt that sells for £34.99. A reasonable amount I think for a well made quality shirt. Normally when looking at casual shirts I can spend anything up to £100 so just £34.99 is not something to be sniffed at. 
Atom Retro - Retro, Mod & Indie Clothing
Atom Retro - Retro, Mod & Indie Clothing
Check out that retro old school phone! 
When I showed my better half my choice I could tell from the look on her face that this wasn't something she would pick for me but it has grown on her and she now likes the outfit when I combine it with dark blue jeans and my biker boots or my brown Chelsea boots from Chatham Marine.

I’ve worn the shirt twice now to work and I can categorically say I’ve never received so many positive comments about it – people love the shirt and the look, which is a shift away from my usual all black outfits for work! Navy is the new black people….Strangely, I wasn't even wearing the shirt to work today and someone commented on how cool it looked while sat in a meeting. 

Atom Retro don't just limit themselves to clothes either, you can also pick up some amazing retro stuff like this vintage record player for £169, this Dunlop flap satchel bag for £15 or these Winklepicker Chelsea boots for £89.99.
Atom Retro - Retro, Mod & Indie Clothing
Atom Retro - well and truly bookmarked and somewhere I'll be shopping from again and again. As I've said above, I'm being objective and there are lots of retro clothes on the site that I personally could not see myself wearing, in fact I just enjoyed looking at the wide range of sometimes bizarre clothes available. Go and take a look, I think you'll find something that appeals to you.


What do you think to my choice and the outfit?

*thanks Robbie for taking the pics!

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Monday, November 07, 2016

HAIR: Sachajuan Stockholm Hair Wax

For months on end I’ve been pulling a tub of Sachajuan Stockholm Hair Wax out of my box of products to try and immediately thought it was  a face cream of Rachel’s that had fallen in by accident. This resulted in it being casually lobbed back in without another thought. What a fool I’ve been!

Having never heard of Sachajuan nor seen any advertising for the product. I had even less idea of when or where it came from so I had to go and take a look and see what it was I was about to slick into my hair! Thinking about it, it probably came via Rachel who regularly pimps me out when she goes off to PR events. Anyway, back to my research (read Googling). It costs £20 for a 250ml tub. When I first wrote this post I misquoted the price and as such have re-evaluated my thoughts. 
The next thing I discovered is that Sachajuan is a salon in Stockholm and there are actually loads of hair care products out there available for men and women. 

This is what they say about themselves in shouty text over at the Sachajuan website here:




OK, well after all that shouting I’ll be slightly calmer lol, but first things first, this has an aroma to die for, and I really do mean to die for. I’ve become a little bit obsessive about this and mind that I’ve started playing with my longer locks just because I like the fragrance it leaves on my fingers (although after a while, it does leave a bit of sticky residue on the fingers). It reminds me of a rather clean and clinical smell you usually find with most Nivea creams. Looking at the ingredients I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m actually addicted to the smell of Lanolin. 

The second surprise for me was the texture, although it’s a wax it has the look of hair paste or cream rather than wax but when you dip your fingers in it actually isn’t as thick as paste. Weird city people, I really did think that I was through the looking glass. The texture is actually a massive plus and makes application super simple when applying to wet or dry hair. My hair is now so bloody long that it has started to curl at the back. Using hair straighteners would be a solution, but a solution this bloke is going to go in for just yet (I can imagine the mocking of my mates, and well, I don’t have time in a morning with the faffing).
So, does this keep the mighty mullet in place? Yes, yes it does. As I’ve said, the application is so easy that it is just a case of spreading onto your palms and then while styling from the back massaging it into the hair from root to tip. A quick brush and boom, leave it to dry naturally or apply a low heat from a hairdryer. Leaving it to dry naturally usually takes about thirty minutes and either approach I’ve found leads to the same results.

This won’t leave your feeling greasy, it won’t look slick, in fact it provides a medium hold on long lengths of hair at the front and sides and at the rear it has kept my curls under control, continuing to do so for a good eight hours at a time. This level of hold is only really compromised by my constant fiddling with my hair! When I say medium hold, what I mean is that it will stay in place as you move around and while it might get blown out of style by a gust of wind it almost immediately falls back into place. That's much better than the solid and crispy hold that comes from a hair gel. 

Not a hint of residue in the hair from application, after eight hours or when waking in the morning, so no danger of those nasty white flakes on your dark top or woe betide under a UV light when on a night out. It actually represents good value for money when considering that 250ml costs £20 and will lasts for months. I’m confident in the level of hold and I like the way it leaves my hair looking and feeling. It’s good, and I’m glad the wife pimped me out to try this hair wax (thanks Mark and Karl). If anything, this has spurred me on to look at other products from the Sachajuan brand as if their other stuff is as good as this I really want to be trying it. 

It’s a hit in my book.


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Sunday, November 06, 2016

BEARDS: Citrus Tonic Premium Beard Oil by Seven Potions

I’ve always struggled to grow a beard, it’s not the actual hair appearing on my face that’s an issue, it’s the fact that within a week my face feels awful as the growth starts to itch. Throw in the fact that I look like I’ve been dragged through a bush backwards (copyright K Myers circa 2013) and usually the razor comes out after two weeks at the most. Beard oil is not something I’d ever used seriously prior to writing this blog but now I seem to have the stuff on every shelf and finally I’ve got around to using a diverse selection of brands in an effort to reduce the discomfort and produce a beard that doesn't make me look homeless. Step forward Seven Potions Citrus Tonic Premium Beard Oil, and today I will be giving my thoughts on it after a good two weeks of use, until the beard was removed so not to upset my aunt at her daughters wedding.
Costing £18.97 for a 30ml bottle of the beard oil I have to say that application couldn't be easier, with the glass pipette making a measured application every time a sure fire thing.

This is what they say about the beard oil over at the Seven Potions website:

'Everything about this all-natural and organic beard oil will revive your senses while rejuvenating your hair and skin.

Manly, naturally refreshing and uplifting, no day will be complete unless you treat your facial hair with the best beard conditioning oil.

A man must not be preoccupied by unruly facial hairs, beard itch, dandruff or split ends. Actually, shining nourished locks as well as moisturized skin will help you assuredly navigate new, unknown territories.' 

The fragrance is out of this world and as a bit of a fragrance snob I could forego wearing aftershave or a cologne during the day while wearing this as it the cedarwood really combines well with the lemon to give a medium masculine scent that isn't overpowering but noticeable to those around you. It has more of a rugged and earthy aroma I think on first impression but as it dries into the beard and skin (which is does so very quickly as promised) the lighter citrus seems to come through and stays. My personal preference is citrus when it comes to aftershaves so this suits me down to the ground.
What I have found however is that this beard oil actually enhances the lovely fragrance of Paco Rabanne Invictus and has resulted in me going back to it as a daywear aftershave.

So does it eliminate that nasty itch?

Yes, yes it does and it does it quickly. My beard got long for me and was a nightmare to the point where it drove me to distraction but after applying this the itch subsided after about 15/20 minutes and was absent until the next morning. What I did find was that every morning I would wake up and the beard would again feel scratchy (if you know what I mean) but again, after showering 5 drops of this and boom it was gone. That's good and meant that I could get some peace from scratching my face!

When you first apply this you'll look like you have dipped your face into a bowl of Olive Oil but that doesn't last, so don't worry, as I've said it dries in really quickly but that initial oiliness actually makes it much easier to style your beard both shaping and just simply brushing it down.
Personally this has really turned my head in terms of using beard oil more often and it's a brand I will be reaching for again as I start to grow out my 'tache for Movember. It removed the itch that comes from growing a beard, my skin was silky smooth and best of all there was no unsightly dandruff/dry skin in my beard. Just after applying the oil it was a dream to style and even if I do say so myself I didn't look like I'd spent the night sleeping under a tree in the local park. Result as they say.

At this price and with a fragrance that complements Paco Rabanne Invictus perfectly you should be taking a peek if you haven't done so already.


Seven Potions Citrus Tonic Premium Beard Oil contains no chemicals, none of those evil Parabens, no preservatives, no artificial fragrances or colourants.

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