The Style Thread

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Dating Tips

Dating in this modern world has to be one of the most difficult obstacles we have to overcome, what with the numerous social media outlets where people manage to create an illusion of how they look, (often not a true representation!) ...People taking to shows focused on matching people such as First Dates or Love Island in their quest for love. 
In addition to the the numerous dating sites and apps, our superficial and fast paced world means that we have an even larger number of haystacks in which to find our needle. 

We have never had so many methods open to us. 

I confess to having explored pretty much every avenue open to me during the 3 years I spent in the single life, which I think qualifies me to offer my guidance and observations to help you find The One - which I am more than delighted to say that I have. 

My parents way of meeting was pretty much straight from the song by The Human League "you were working as as waitress in a cocktail bar when I met you" the only difference being my Dad was the man behind the bar mixing the cocktails trying to impress my Mum, a similar story may of played out for many of their generation. Never too confident in my looks, the route of finding someone on a night out never felt like it was the route my love life was going to take, neither was it what I felt would be something lasting, I think that is rare to find that person amongst a crowd of hundreds unless you truly believe in fate. 

Combined with the me having high standards and being a fussy so and so, the small town in which I lived which had the sum total of 3 clubs (if you could call them that) & a Wetherspoons was never going to find me the lady of my dreams.

One thing I have always prided myself on being is unique...not one to blend in with the crowd, aiming to be memorable to the lady I wanted to impress. Judge yourself if some of my methods were either desperate or admirable. From leaving my name and number on a napkin for an attractive waitress, to sending a wrapped broom to someones place of work ( to sweep her off her feet) both of which secured me a date I hasten to add. 

For me working in recruitment which is extremely competitive, I have had to set myself apart from the rest to ensure a company comes to me above anyone else. Some values I try to impart here, is to be myself, honest, funny and listen. This translates in to the dating world too, whether making a daunting approach to someone you have your eye on, sending a message on a dating app or wanting to make a lasting good impression on a first date. 

As much as the common dating sites such as Tinder & Plenty of Fish get a bad rep for purely being a hook up destination, I found that they were best for my age group and if you are serious about finding a lasting relationship from it,  then surely there are plenty out there looking to do the same, and why would you want to restrict yourself to only dating someone from within the city in which you live? For me if I was to find someone that I was going to spend the rest of my life with, I was willing to travel to meet them. This was brilliant for getting to know people from many different cities and ensured there was variety in the locations of the dates. 

However this did sometimes result in getting rather lost and being late which isn't a great start, a situation that faced me when using a faulty sat nav and an iPhone that was about to run about of battery without an in car charger, luckily she waited, but boy was I on the back foot. However, it did provide the chance to poke fun at myself and make us both laugh.

On the subject of the actual dates, don't be boring here, do you really want to just sit opposite the person at a dinner table, waiting for them to finish chewing to ask them a question, limiting the chance for flirting or contact with one another to see if that famous spark is there. Especially in this day and age when people are quick to make their minds up and decide that the spark isn't there, make sure you pack a stick of TNT to blow the socks off your date. 

Think of somewhere that will get you having fun, try something like mini golf, bowling (but try and find a nice one with less stinky shoes) head to an games arcade, being competitive can bring out the best in both of you, the zoo or ice skating are also great ideas. These may not be for everyone granted  & there is nothing wrong with a nice drink date either, I would recommend letting your date say where they would like to go, if they pick somewhere they are comfortable with and know, they are likely to be more relaxed and more open with you on the date. 

So the date is set here are some top tips to follow 

* Think of what to wear, show you have made an effort and ensure it is suitable for the location. 
* Scent - Ensure you smell good, a polite peck on the cheek to greet them will allow your date to notice the hopefully well selected scent you have chosen, perhaps prompting a compliment and you offering one in return. 
* Take a gift. Although do not rock up with the largest bouquet of flowers you could find like Del boy, making your date perhaps feel uncomfortable and drawing potentially unwanted attention in an already nerve-wracking situation. Instead show that you have listened or paid attention in conversations leading up to the date, for example for my first date with Beth, I knew she loved to draw and that she loved elephants, a small token from me was a sketchbook with elephants on it, it went down a treat.  
* Don't be cheesy unless you can pull it off as being cheeky, and don't overload on the compliments, if you do they will come across as false. Pick the right moment and make it natural, don't just look around their face and pick out a part at random, put some thought in to what you are saying. 
* Don't reel off a list of standard questions either, think about subjects that will prompt a back and forth conversation, particularly ones that will get you both laughing. 
* Make eye contact, not in the way that you are interrogating them, but long enough to give off the signal if you are attracted to them, the right look can replace a lot of words. 
* Keep ex relationships off the table, you can't guarantee how anything you say will be taken, you could speak too fondly of them, sound too bitter or even worse get them thinking of an ex they still think fondly of and end up comparing you. 
* The first kiss doesn't have to happen on that first date, ensure there is an obvious signal that it is what your date wants, even then keep it classy and ensure it leaves you both wanting more. But leave it there if you want this to be something more than one time meeting. 

We are on this earth a small time, too small a time to not put the effort in to find someone that makes us truly happy, for anyone that has read the book called The One (if not I highly recommend) the methods of finding that soul mate may yet change again dramatically, but one thing is for sure it will feel truly worth it if you put the effort in, and don't feel like you haven't taken what could be your only opportunity. 

Happy dating people. 



Sunday, 22 April 2018

10 must have items for Spring 2018

The clocks have gone forward, the mornings are lighter and the darkness staves off for a few extra hours. The weather may still be very unpredictable but we are at least stepping away from what has been a brutal Winter with all kinds of elements being thrown at us.

So lets pack away the heavy coats, the scarves and gloves and start putting together outfits with a much lesser focus on keeping warm.

My target items this season have already been identified, and hopefully may assist you in what to look for that is on trend and a must have for this season.

Number One - A lightweight spring jacket.

Now the thick parkas, duffle coats are away, my first requirement was to find a jacket that would be suitable for a couple of upcoming trips to Poland & Wales as well as here at home. My search was something that was light, durable for changeable weather conditions and that could be combined with a few outfit options. Arise this little beauty that I came across in Topman, a Khaki Rubberised Jacket, also available in Navy but I have not stopped loving the amount of Khaki that has been available since the Summer really. It looks great, with the lining made up of a cream and khaki check that looks great when you turn the sleeve up a little. Layer over a simple jumper or T-shirt with jeans and chelsea boots for a great outfit option.

Number Two - A Casual footwear option

It may not be the same for everyone, but as the weather improves I love being able to head out for casual walks of an evening or at the weekend. If that so happens to take in a nice little pub for lunch or a beer garden for a light refreshment, then so be it. When style can't take a back seat though, what is the best option for such an eventuality. For me there are three types of footwear I would look at here.

A simple plimsole type shoe that isn't a trainer would be perfect alongside trousers, cropped or full length but also shorts for those rare but lovely el scorchio days.

Brown leather lace up boots with dark trousers or jeans slightly turned up will offer a combination of comfort against the elements, lets be honest there is still plenty off risk that the sun will succumb to the April showers.

Perhaps if keeping it casual with some jeans or chinos, a pair of pastel yellow trainers would look great.

Number Three - Cropped Navy Chinos

Make life easy for yourself by adding these to your wardrobe, they can form the base of many an outfit. They can balance out a variety of bolder colours for your upper half, or support a tonal look with various shades of blue.

Number Four - A White Oxford Shirt

You should probably own a few of these, they are the perfect accompaniment with a pair of tan or navy chino trouser or shorts, a non too formal option for a wedding or event. For the warmer days there is no law against rolling the sleeves up either.

Number Five - An Unstructured Blazer

Hopefully your social calendar is filling up nicely and the weekends are spent attending bbq's, garden parties, weddings, outdoor events or dining al fresco style. An unstructured blazer offers a stylish statement while keeping it cool whether worn over an oxford shirt, crew neck t-shirt or a casual shirt and look great no matter which you opt for. When selecting colour, if having one ensure its something you can make work with a number of outfits, personally I would opt for navy as a staple piece, but if looking for a varied option to that, a pastel blue or pink (think rose blush here not bright or bold) would work great this season.

Number Six - Polo Shirt

A Polo shirt, can instantly create the look you need for the long lighter nights ahead in beer gardens or bbq's. Worn with chino shorts or trousers, it will still look like a well put together outfit, for a layer of emergency warmth, wear under a linen blazer or zip through cardigan.

Number Seven - The Overshirt

Personally this season I have opted for a zip through khaki overshirt, I can't get enough of the khaki / olive green colour, and hope that it doesn't disappear any time soon from the mens style line up.
This can be worn during this season over a plain t-shirt, patterned or plain shirt too for a variety of looks. It would easily be at home too during the colder seasons over a knitted jumper.

Number Eight - Ombre Sunglasses

Imagine Eighties Terry Tibbs glasses but worn like Don Draper. Check this link for inspiration - Bronze Ray Ban. This look may not be for everyone however, so head over to Arete who have put together a great post on finding the right sunglasses for your face shape.

Number Nine - Chelsea Boots
Ideal for the evenings where you are looking for a little less ankle exposure, a classic Chelsea boot should be in your footwear repertoire, my advice is to ensure you get a couple of colours for outfit options, brown and dark grey would be my choice.

Number 10 - Scent

I may not fall into the thinking of many here, but I simply cannot limit myself to a couple of scents, not only do I tend to keep around 7 going at one time, I do like to find ones that are suited to the conditions. You can't go far wrong with Prada Luna Rossa, a mix of lavender, sage and citrus. It sits as fresh scent without being overpowering.

Spring is a great time and many of these items can form parts of your summer wardrobe. I look forward to bringing my Summer guide to you.


Sunday, 8 April 2018

First time buyer house guide

Well they say it is the one of the most stressful things in life that you will do, I can testify to that having done it twice so far in my life. However stressful it is, it is also one of the most satisfying.

First confession, and judge away as you please - one of my career moves took me into the world of property, for little over 12 months I was an Estate Agent, It isn't something I shy away from admitting as I thoroughly enjoyed that job, it perfectly brought out my sales and customer service ability plus I thoroughly enjoyed nosing around other peoples houses. During that period though it did teach me some valuable experience and things to consider and do when going through the house buying process, as calling on Kirsty & Phil hasn't been an option.

When buying my first house, I was a young bachelor looking to get my foot on the ladder, this was difficult to find a house that fell within my budget, was the right area and wasn't going to cost an arm and a leg to decorate. The search must of been at least 18 months, but this is one of the biggest decisions you have to make in life so I wasn't about to rush in, I only viewed 5/6 houses during this time, I may be renowned for being fussy but I needed to be swept off my feet by bricks and mortar.

For a good 2 years I made sure I saved every penny that I could, I purchased items I knew I wanted when they were on offer as I had time on my side and although my Mum didn't thank me for it, I had her house to store it in.

It was important to understand what I could afford before making any commitments or falling in love with something I couldn't afford. I sought out a mortgage adviser who guided me through the various options available at this point it is important to have prepared

* As many payslips or earning evidence as you can provide - my profession pays me commission to it was important to show that this was regular as not all mortgage providers take this in to consideration.
* Regular expenses - its important to know what you need to spend your money on and what you can do without.
* Debt - any money you owe can play a bug factor in what you will be allowed to borrow, in particular car finance, mortgages can be heavily affected by car finance, they really don't like it, so I used some of my savings to pay off the balance to remove any debt i had, I couldn't believe the difference this made to the amount I could be lent.
* Deciding on type of mortgage - I opted for repayment as I didn't want to simply pay off the interest (this is almost like just paying off the minimum payment on a credit card) but for a much larger amount.
* Who you bank with - Some banks have great offers for their customers, ensure you ask to ensure you get the best deal you can.
* Avoid hefty fee's where you can, I have to be honest I was cheeky, the mortgage advisor presented me with many great options, however was going to charge me quite a large fee to do this, either by a one off payment or adding it to your mortgage. As I had been shown the places offering these deals,  I went direct and ended up getting an even better deal. So it was great to see what was out there but I wasn't about to lose precious funds.

Initially I thought I had found the one, it was in an ideal location, perfect size for me, a mostly modern interior, within my budget but needed an update to the kitchen and bathroom. Some negotiations ensued and an offer was accepted. Something was a miss though, I didn't have the tingle you  are meant to have when you find the house for you. At the time my office was working above the Estate agents I used to be at, I needed to pop down to discuss my mortgage and my old Manager happened to ask if I had seen the local paper, as she had seen someone that if I was a shaven headed thug convicted of burlgualry was my lookalike. she insisted I take it for my colleagues to decide (they didn't agree)

Now it may be down to the modern way of doing things, but during the 18 month house search I never once looked at the property section, only focusing on the popular websites such as rightmove and zoopla etc. But there it was a right little stunner , a little semi appeared - no no you you naughty lot, a two bedroom Semi detached modern house, in a private cul-de-sac, with stylish decor and a large conservatory. I headed straight to the website to see more pictures and I was in love, straight on to the phone I went to book a viewing the next day, I had such a sleepless night thinking about it. It didn't disappoint, I loved it, barely a thing needed doing to it and it was within budget.

This is where my Estate Agent experience came in, I made sure the sellers knew I liked it, there were no lies, but it was important they knew my interest as I knew I was one of 4 people viewing that day. upon leaving I rang the agents and put my offer in, but darn it they had already had 2 offers at full asking price and we were required to go to a best & final offer which basically means you all put your best offer in and the seller then gets to decide.

I had enquired to my rivals position, there was a cash buyer & first time buying couple. I asked straight away could I book to see it again the next day, this time with my Mum. The second viewing really was my chance to impress upon the sellers that I loved the house, I needed them to buy in to me not just the money on the table, I couldn't stretch my mortgage anymore and their price was at the top of my budget, so an inspired moment came to me, my offer came with a combination of property price offer, but also a cash amount to buy some of the items that they were prepared to sell.

It suited us both as they didn't need them and I couldn't afford to buying everything from new. 24 hours later I was presented with the news that they had accepted my offer, despite the cash buyer offering more money and being able to proceed quicker, the sellers really liked me and wanted their house to fall in to good hands. So a big tip is to to make sure the sellers like you.

Patience was needed after this, we agreed on a 12 week exchange and completion, but they had complications with their purchase, for me this didn't matter too much, my excitement had to be reigned in, but it allowed me time to keep saving for the items I needed upon moving in, which at this point I would also recommend for any electrical or big items you try and buy with a credit card as it will extend the warranty which is always a good thing.

It eventually took 5 months and I was in at the start of the Summer, its at this point I would advise keeping on top of your solicitors, I don't wish to berate a particular industry but I have found that they just go at their own pace and need constant prodding to chase things and equally to keep you in the loop of what is happening.

What I can say is that moment when you finally get the keys and open to door in to your own house is  a sensational feeling. There was nothing like having a first night building furniture with my Mum and my friends, having a few beers and the customary fish & chips out of the bag. Hopefully some of these tips and my experience have helped for anyone going through the house buying experience.

Next up will be my guide to buying a new build property along with the selling part too.


Tuesday, 27 February 2018

City Breaks

Whether it be home or abroad, there is nothing like an extended weekend to take you away from the stresses of working life.

Living in Nottingham provides a fairly good location to commute to most U.K locations whether by car or train, also having an airport within a 20 minute drive is handy for European exertions.

Despite not working in a manual or labour intensive career, managing a large recruitment agency branch takes its toll, especially when dealing with the demands of my clients and the constant changing environment presented by temporary workers. It is more a taxing of the mind, which when not fully charged or rested can make the weeks seem that bit longer.

Last year we made a vow to not waste time, and enrich our lives where possible. We don't make life easy on ourselves, having bought a new house last year, we are spending money on that where possible, with decorating, furniture and accessories throughout. Attempting also to put money aside for a wedding that we hope to plan for 2019, not helped by the aforementioned house, our weakness for shopping, nice holidays and occasional city breaks.

This year it looks like we are on course for a minimum of three mini breaks, although if Beth gets her way, it will be more.

They are great ways to experience new places for longer than a day at time, a lot of us have the distress of long commutes and constant battles with traffic, so where possible I find it essential to try and at least get one night away in a hotel when visiting a U.K city, otherwise it could be a very early start to make the most of your time away from home.

In the world we live in too, there are so many avenues to discover and gain opinion on not only the best places to visit, but also where to frequent when you are there too, where to stay, to tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, idyllic walks and maybe a bit of shopping, just maybe of course. Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Bloggers, Trip advisor, tabloid paper travel sections - the only problem you can have is too much to research and compare against.

Happily from experience some of the finest places we have visited that you may want to research further are.


A must on on most peoples list I am sure anyway, but this city is just incredible, always something to draw your attention and to keep you entertained no matter the reason for visiting. A place that needs visiting on more than one occasion because there is literally so much to do and see.

Where to stay in London?  - The Hoxton Holborn - A stunning boutique hotel, with unique styling throughout, with a fantastic bar and restaurant to suit all sort of reasons for your visit.

Favourite restaurant in London - Gaucho  - Amazing Argentinian Steak, such a wide choice and great service in a very cool setting, have visited both Chancery & Charlotte Street Restaurants.

Favourite attractions to visit in London -

The Lion King Theatre show - An emotional and mesmerising experience - a must whether a fan of the film or not.

Madamme Tussauds - The world famous wax works of celebrities past and present - I've just seen that they have added Tom Hardy to the collection which surely means another visit soon. - highly recommend getting your tickets in advance here as the queues are substantial to say the least.


One of the friendliest places I have had the pleasure to visit on a number of occasions, this city has so much to offer during the day and night.

Where to stay in Liverpool

Hope Street Hotel  - Chic hotel with interior styling made up of solid wood and exposed brick work.

Favourite places to go in Liverpool

Albert Dock - A waterside hub of bars, restaurants, galleries, museums and shops, a must visit while here.

The Beatles Story - A brilliant museum and archive of the story and music of the global phenomenon that was the greatest band to come out of this city.

The Cavern Club - This is a true bucket list for me, although I have visited this iconic venue, it wasn't for a gig, I can only imagine how good a venue this is to see a band playing. Even without that, you can still feel the history and what an iconic place this is.

Cheshire Oaks  - A McAthur Glen outlet, its huge, and a great place to visit on the way to or from Liverpool, a great place to pick up some bargains from last season or discounted items from the likes of Ralph Lauren, All Saints, Ted Baker, Jack Wills among many more.


This city is one that I would happily return to time and time again, the vibe, the culture, the people, the food, the architecture is outstanding. A snippet of places to go to below, but you can read a much more in depth guide to Barcelona that I put together last year and can be found at Barcelona City Guide. 

Where to stay in Barcelona

The Andante Hotel - A stones throw from the Las Ramblas, this ethical focused hotel is a  comfortable and quality base for Barcelona.

The best restaurants in Barcelona

Flax & Kale - For Breakfast you can't go wrong here, an all vegan & gluten free menu leaves you spoilt for choice, but totally satisfied and feeling great after.

Bar Lobo - A vibrant and cool setting, allows you to feel at ease as you watch the night pass by, indulging in a vast and tasty tapas menu.

Places to visit in Barcelona

Parc Guell - Essentially an outdoor art gallery made from the incredible mind of Gaudi, a great day out also offering incredible views over the city.

Sagrada Familia - The building that never seems to be close to completion, an imposing structure from the mind of Gaudi, inside and out you will be openmouthed. The detail and magnitude of this place is truly amazing.

Camp Nou - Football fan or not, I would urge you to visit this unique stadium and immerse yourself in the Catalan club, a tour will take up a couple of hours but it really is worth it.


We've made this historic city a stop off on the way to the North Yorkshire Lodge we stay in, but in just 3 years we have visited York on 4 occasions. Its a wonderful city with so much to offer.

Best Hotel in York

Hotel Indigo - I love this brand of hotels, they are unique in their styling in each and every city, often taking influence from the culture or history of the area. This particular one is designed in a way that very much appeals to our taste and has actually provided influence to elements of our house, in particular with the amazing tiles they have thoughout.

Best places to eat in York

Bettys - The iconic tea rooms, keep me in constant supply of quality tea and I'm a happy boy, and this is the place to come for the best brew around, a little afternoon tea is a delightful way to top off the visit.

What to do in York

The Shambles - The famous cobbled street of buildings leaning everywhich way in beautiful tudor styling, made up of cracking individual shops, like a real life Diagon Alley.

York Minster - I am a sucker for stunning buildings and historic architecture in particular, I am wowed by the skill and techniques used to create building likes this, especially considering they are from an age without high tech machinery that we are used to now. York Minster is beautiful inside and out and right within the city,  if you are feeling fit you can climb the steps to see a stunning view of the city.

York Dungeon - Not one for the faint of heart, hence why Beth won't let us go, however as a youngster I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of York's dark history, now it has become a more interactive experience.

So you've decided to look at a city staycation or European hotspot, here are my top tips to make the most of the experience.

* Book direct where possible - I will often use to locate the best hotels that a city can offer, you can read reviews, get a range of pictures and a very competitive price guide. However on most occasions I have found that contacting the hotel direct will get you the best price. Even if you are determined to use a site such as, don't assume you are always provided the lowest price, I have often found, revisiting the site either later in the day or another day will result in a lower price being offered.

* Don't waste money on parking - This has mainly been a factor for London, but try to find a hotel that either has its own parking for free, or as we found with the Hoxton Holborn, we got a heavily discounted price at a car park only a few minutes walk way because we had said we were stopping there.

*Booking flights, again as when finding accommodation, be sure to do your research, can you be flexible with the dates of the trip? if so, ensure you look at dates close to your intended one and see if there are cheaper flights available. It might sound cheap, but from my point of view, money saved on the travel and stay can contribute to a great meal or attraction admission fee.

*Plan - It may sound boring, but creating an itinerary is vital to a city break, especially when wanting to make the most of a short break. Look at the location of your hotel, where you want to visit and map out where else is close by to ensure you aren't wasting time and energy. A great App to download is Sygic, which allows you to store hotel and destinations you want to visit. It also enables you to use it offline too, so you don't get stung on data usage.

*Substance over style - It wont be often you hear a term like this from me, but particularly after Barcelona, we learned the hard way about footwear to wear for a city break, we walked a total of 19 hours across 3 days, make sure that the footwear you have is suitable for plenty of walking, you don't want a trip ruined by blisters or painful limbs, despite that this may be an excuse for a massage to relieve the pain.

* Take plenty of pictures - Fair enough, not everyone in this world is a blogger or big on taking selfies etc, however its great to be able to look back on visual memories, but also to be able to put pictures to the words when you are recommending on where to go.

*Enjoy it.

I would love to hear from my readers the places that they have visited and what they enjoyed about them.

Our next trip is to Krakow in April, I cant wait to bring my post to you about that trip.


Sunday, 18 February 2018

Products of the month - February

Open letter to 2018, you seem to be clinging on to Winter a little too long. I can't recall so many weeks so full of rain, cold winds and snow and its taking its toll. My body seems to be crying out for warmth and protection from the elements,  elements that seem to have no regard for my skin, it was time for action.

As is the way come January, we all seem to make new starts in one way or another, taking part in dry January, hitting the gym, new job etc. It is just as important to look after the outside of our bodies as much as it is the inside.

Unlike snakes & spiders, we don't shed our skin exposing a nice new shiny outer layer, we need help to get rid of that layer, then giving it lots of hydration and protection against the weather, I hasten to add, this is also a routine that you would be well served using ahead of the summer months, in order to ensure you get the skin prepped for sun exposure, whilst always been mindful of the damage the sun can do, you can at least take the right steps to limit the damage while prolonging the length of your tan.

So this month I have put together a group of products, that contain a combination of ingredients that strip back & nourish the skin and hair.

You will see here some very reasonably priced products all of which that can be found within your high street retailers.

My self imposed role as a style blogger will of course expose me to a wide variety of products and brands, however I am not someone with an excessive budget and I seek out products that do exactly what I need them to do, from this starting point it will be easy to compare to more premium products to see whether you can really tell the difference in what they offer.

Grounded Coffee Body Scrub

Not only does my first highlighted product have the perfect sounding combination of coffee & coconut, its packaged in a brown paper bag with a simple font and imagery of whats contained inside.

Applying the the Grounded product to the wet skin, you can gently move the grains over your skin with your hands, you feel a light scratching but isn't something I would describe as being too uncomfortable, and in all honesty the amazing coffee fragrance will divert your senses to take in the wonderful smell, letting it do its work for around 10 minutes will be enough to reinvigorate the skin, and once you wash it off, you will immediately feel the benefits and wonder how you were living without this product. I have found in the last couple of years it is brilliant to use this in the lead up to a holiday, to prep for the sun rays to get a longer lasting tan.

L'Oreal Black Charcoal Face Wash 

Although you can use the Grounded scrub on the face as well as the body, I wanted to experiment with the benefits of charcoal, L'oreal for Men have provided a fantastic product made up of black charcoal & menthol, and wow can you feel that menthol. The product draws out the impurities and is a great protector against black heads, spots and oily skin. I have to admit my method of putting it on does begin with making two lines of the black product under my eyes, making me look like an American Footballer.

Dove Body Lotion 

Once phase one of the regime is complete, to the hydration - for the body I have genuinely found that Dove offer everything in this bottle that one could need, it smells great with the coconut scent, and offers instant repair to damaged and dry skin. It doesn't require over liberal application and is quick and easily absorbed in to the skin.

Skin Drink by Lush

It is important to remember that most body moisturisers aren't really suited to the demand of a mens face, of course each person is different, the rigours of wet shaving every other day while maintaining a level of stubble mean the face has a lot to cope with. Skin drink from Lush offers the perfect antidote, well fragranced with orange & rose, the nourishing ingredients of oils, butters, aloe vera & avocado make up a great smelling and effective facial moisturising cream.

American Cream by Lush

No matter your hair cleansing routine, I highly recommend American Cream once again from Lush, I have to confess that my introduction to this came from my partner, she came and sat next to me after using it and I could not stop myself from smelling her hair!!!! This literally is like drenching your hair in thick strawberry milkshake, crammed full of strawberries, honey vanilla & oils, ensure you grab a big dollop and smother every strand in this absolute beauty of a product and you'll be smelling it all day.

Hope you've enjoyed some of these for yourself & see you soon for next months product choices, lets hope the weather has improved by then.


Saturday, 10 February 2018

Returning to the Gym - Beach body ambitions

Booking a holiday. It all sounds so idyllic. The sunnier climes, the salvation of the swimming pool following hours in 30+ degree heat, a chance to go on a summer clothing spending spree, the relaxation of sitting pool side reading books, and our guilty pleasure of playing as much crazy golf as possible.

What perhaps isn't contemplated with great detail is the preparation required to get ready for that holiday. It has already been a month since booking our 2018 summer holiday, and I can honestly say that I haven't done a single thing to get myself some of those bulging triceps, a set of calves that don't belong on a poorly fed chicken or a six pack that doesn't belong in the fridge. If only it was easy as picking these items off the shelf in the local supermarket.

Even as this is being written, I have postponed intentions to visit the gym this evening and taken to writing this post instead, whilst my Fiancé is in the kitchen doing a home workout to kick start her fitness regime.

The truth of it is, I envy the men and women who frequent the gym multiple times a week in their quest to have the bodies that belong on the cover of fitness magazines. I have in the past had a consistent level of sport and gym in my life that provided me with a body and feeling that I was happy with, albeit not one that anyone would of been particularly envious of.

I find it all too easy to come up with the excuses. I leave the house by 7am, not often home until 18.30 / 19.00 then cooking upon my return home. The weekends tend to fill up with visiting places, writing content and taking pictures for my blog, considering the dark nights make it difficult to take any good photos in the week. Since making the move to Nottingham, I am now an hour away from where I used to play football so that has become difficult to fit in too, especially as sometimes the opposition wouldn't turn up and driving all that way for nothing became too much of a pain.

What is even more laughable is that the gym that I pay a monthly amount to and haven't visit in 6 months is precisely 1.5 miles away.

So I am going to make a conscious change. In my day to day work, once a meeting has been booked in my diary it has to stay there and I commit to it -  this is the mentality I need to apply to my gym visits.

In truth I love sport. I am extremely competitive and that gets me going. Lifting weights and being stationary doesn't - so over the coming months I am determined to try new things such as yoga, find a local 6 a side football team (maybe a veterans team now I have turned 30)

Cutting out the bad foods and being more nutritionally conscious, I can cook really well and love healthy food, turning down chocolate (though will be a whole other challenge I am not quite willing to take on yet.) So my Nutri Bullet will be dusted off, after purchasing some of the great ranges from Aldi, such as the smoothie mixes, protein powders & ingredients to create my own snack bars to stave off those naughty cravings.

So over the coming months, I will document my efforts with the hope that by July / August I will have created and kept to a routine that I can enjoy a fully reap the rewards of. Watch this space.


Sunday, 4 February 2018

Smeg - Coffee Machine

Bleary eyed and under duress, the snooze button being hit several times, cramming in an extra two minutes shut eye, i've never changed, I love my sleep and my bed.

However the day has to start at some point, like many I am sure it doesn't feel like the day can start properly without my morning coffee.

For a long time however, I was making a huge mistake with my home coffee making. Despite thoroughly enjoying the fresh blends and especially a flat white coffee from Starbucks, at home I settled for a couple of spoonfuls of instant coffee, having never invested in a coffee machine, I was getting maybe a tenth of the pleasure and taste of a freshly brewed coffee from ground beans. 

Upon us purchasing our house in early 2017, I was determined that I was finally going to add a coffee machine to our kitchen applicances. 

This came after the perhaps the easiest 3 months of my adult life, living at my in-laws while waiting for our house to be completed. I was seriously well looked after, and it was here that I had the use of the coffee machine they had. My senses were awakened and thought to myself, what on earth have I being doing with these jars of instant coffee, that just pale in to insignificance when compared to the fresh ground bean.

I was presented with a problem though, Beth was adamant that we weren't going to have a large silver machine out on the counter or kitchen island, so I had to find one that met the needs of being able to make a variety of coffees, but not wanting one that required capsules, all the while being stylish enough that it didn't have to be put away everyday after being used.

We had already purchased a cream SMEG kettle, so I thought I would see if they had one in their range of appliances, and it just so happened that they had released a coffee machine very close to that time, something that I hadn't actually seen in any retailers by that point.

Due to it being styled with that retro 50's look, synonymous with the SMEG brand, it was the perfect accompaniment to the kettle and the look of our kitchen.

It may not have the vast array of gadgets compared to its more expensive and cumbersome rivals, but it more than makes up for that in its ability to create coffee options including, single/double espresso, latte, cappuccino, steamed & frothy milk - which also comes in handy for hot chocolate too.

All of these capabilities are housed within an extremely great looking machine, a narrow unit dressed in  a curved cream shell, with the functional elements such as the buttons and lever in chrome & stainless steel. Helpful too are the functions that allow you to heat your mugs by placing them on the metal plate on top of the machine, a drip tray that has an indicator to let you know when it is full and an easy to view clear water chamber at the rear to keep an eye on the levels.

All thats left then is to experiment with the huge number of coffee options out there, perhaps one for the weekday kick-starters, another for after dinner and one for the lazy weekend where you can get a bit more creative with your milk and dustings of chocolate / cinnamon etc.

I have personally found the variety on offer from Taylors of Harrogate offers so many options, tasty flavours all at great value.

So if you are in the market for a stylish coffee machine, backed up with quality and substance then look no further than the SMEG Coffee Machine - Your morning routine deserves it.


Sunday, 28 January 2018

Triumph & Disaster

There are boxes all over the house and in our garage, full of products that have caught my attention over time. They may have made their way to me via gifts, GQ style pages, spontaneous visits to independent retailers, a new range at the hairdressers or perhaps an eye catching packaged brand that simply has to be tried.

Well Triumph & Disaster falls in to the latter, while looking for products to feature in my xmas gift guide, I found the products on ASOS, firstly loving the packaging and then the name upon further inspection.

Then what do you know, a couple of cheeky hints and my Fiancé had purchased me the shampoo for christmas. Come on though, am I supposed to have just one item of their range to trial? a quick visit to their website and another three items were promptly on their way.

There was so much more than some stylish packaging, This is a trendy and very fun brand, every link and description of their products has a quirky and humorous element to it, which sets it apart from most in this industry.

They offer a pleasing emphasis on creating products that are crammed full of natural ingredients including local indigenous ones such as Horopito oil & Ponga Fern extract.

In this world where more than ever we analyse what we are putting in to or on to our bodies, there is something reassuring when you know that the products is derived from natural sources.

The products I have used so far are

Coltrane Clay 

A clay that offers a matte finish, with  a medium hold. A lovely scent to it which is created by the American Tobacco infused into it. Easy to mould and warm in to your hands, It doesn't clump or become difficult to run a brush or hands through, it offers volume and style that provides hold but can easy be restyled.

Karekare Hair Tonic

Salt spray but not as you may know it, a combination of sea salt and natural root extracts, this spray offers excellent volume & texture without drying the hair out, which I have found is common with a lot of texturising sprays. I use this on damp hair, blow dry and then add the the Coltrane Clay to style.

Shampoo & Conditioner 

The shampoo firstly can be used sparingly to ensure good coverage and lather. It contains everything you would want from a shampoo, a great smell and with impact of nourishment from the keratin & argan oil. As they describe themselves, its a treatment disguised as a shampoo.

The Conditioner is fragranced with cucumber and mint, made by a combination of fruit and plant based ingredients, the conditioner quickly moisturises and softens the hair providing volume and shine.

All of the products look the part to adorn any bathroom, and deserve to be on display. Most importantly though, they pack the substance needed to be a great range together, to become your daily routine for hair styling.

Aside from the hair tonic, you can get great value by purchasing the set titled It's a mess aint it Sheriff    which has the other three products in and saves you £10, which I would strongly recommend.

Triumph & Disaster have quickly become my favourite hair range, I am yet to try the face & body products but I am sure I'm not far off doing so, with a review to follow shortly after.

As is their aim, I will now be a walking zombie billboard of Triumph & Disaster speak.

Blogger Template Created by pipdig