Monday, 28 August 2017

Meraki Soap & Hand Soap

Confession time - I have more bathroom products than my Fiance (this is saying something considering she's not exactly the most reserved person in the world when it comes to splurging on lotions and potions). Whilst I do sometimes get it in the neck for the amount of space they take up (the bathroom cabinet houses only the mere beginnings of my stash), I do enjoy having a wide selection of products for all sorts of occasions or needs. I can just take my pick of whatever suits my mood/tickles my fancy on a particular day and I'm good to go...I never get bored.  Enter my latest brand to my ever-growing collection - Meraki (just a couple more won't hurt, right?)

On a day trip out to Stratford Upon Avon, we decided to take a detour on the way home to Leamington Spa. While looking for a car park we drove past a little independent looking shop - Berylunewhich I thought looked nice and was the type of place me and Beth like to explore. It didn't disappoint. Filled with various products from stationary, gifts, books, home interior pieces and - uh oh - a selection of toiletries. 

Immediately my eyes and nose were drawn to the soap. A unique looking package made out of thick paper, with grey stitching down the sides with a silver eye hole. There was a small opening at the top which allowed me to obtain a whiff of the green seaweed soap and it smelt lovely - a very fresh plant based scent with a hint of mintyness.  A brief typography on the front in charcoal, describes it as being refreshing, and with it containing minerals for the skin, I felt this would be a great purchase to help the repair and hydration of my skin following a recent 10 day holiday in Crete. 

There is an immediate good lather. I didn't feel that you had to use loads in order to gain good coverage. There was a very fresh scent, that with the water you could easily of been by a coastal rockpool surrounded by the sea and fresh seaweed. You could feel the mint rather than smell it, a very slight tingle was refreshing and not uncomfortable and is ideal for a early morning perk up and skin refresh. 

What I found here, was that unlike some shower gels, it felt that it had been a healthy addition to my skin regime - it cleansed really well, smelt great and afterwards I didn't feel my skin crying out for a more hydrating product in addition.

Next to this was a hand soap by the same brand - Meraki - a simple brown bottle with a textured almost wood-like label, which wouldn't look out of place in any high end interior magazine or editorial. It has all the Aesop vibes going on! The cotton haze range is described as being gentle and effective with a warm & spicy scent. Cue me taking the lid off to take in the soaps scent. It did not disappoint - I was hit with spicy, citrus, warm notes which are of a real appeal to me. What I will add to this is that this would be best saved for the winter months, the scent is quite festive and could easily belong in a christmas themed candle (If there are any readers that have smelt or used the Lush shower gel - Hot Toddy, you are getting a very similar scent).

The actual soap itself provides a good lather when washing your hands and the fragrance hits you with out being overpowering, what you would also hope is that the scent remains for a period and doesn't simply disappear straight away. I'm pleased to say this sits with you without taking over any other fragrances you may be wearing, you feel it has done what you want form a hand soap and just as important you don't feel like your skin has been dried out which a number of hand soaps I find do. 

Meraki has a great look to their packing; very on-trend with the skandinavian looking packaging and typography which is consistent across the ranges, this would like great adorning any home bathroom that has the Skandi style theme about it.

I can't wait to try some of the other ranges they have to offer and highly recommend a trip to my new favourite independant store in Leamington Spa - Bery Lune


Tuesday, 22 August 2017

BBQ Ready Summer Outfit 2017

The British Summer, reliable isn't it? We can count on a few things in life; England failing at a major tournament, the DFS sale never ending, Greece & Cyprus voting for each other at Eurovision and of course The Great British Summer.

It teases us, great blue skies, scorching sun - oh but wait there - that's usually during the week while stuck at work. You build great plans, invite friends round, get the beers in, the variety of meat and the bag of charcoal ready, accompanied by a carefully selected playlist to provide the perfect ambiance, (depending on taste of course) Saturday morning arrives, its cloudy, theres a few grey ones, it will pass by you think, then the inevitable happens......

However that sunny day or two will come though, and what I would urge you to have in your wardrobe, is an on trend go-to Summer BBQ outfit.

This is my choice for 2017. I feel this is an outfit that can be worn to a BBQ / summer gathering, to the beer garden, a day out where you want the right balance of smart and comfort in the heat or equally perfect for a holiday evening.

The main focus and most prominent item is the Black Feather Short Sleeved shirt. I feel I am well suited to darker colours. Rarely would you see me in bright bold colours and when looking for a summer shirt I was keen to find something with a nice pattern to catch the eye without being too bold and garish.

It fitted the bill perfectly, the gold feather contrasting detail against the black fabric - it was lightweight (made out of 100% Viscose) which was ideal as it was purchased primarily for my upcoming holiday. I also felt it could be matched well with some light colour trousers offering a great outfit combined with the right footwear and accessories. I decided to layer underneath a plain round neck white T-Shirt, I felt it added a nice contrast to this particular outfit and the look that I was looking to obtain.

The trousers you see featured here are a cropped greige pair from Zara. They are made from polyamide & cotton, with a little elastin allowing a nice bit of stretch, which is particularly welcome after holiday dining. These as an item alone are such a staple of my more formal summer attire. They are easily combined with smart shirts, polo's & cardigans. Keeping colour contrast in mind I would recommend navy, blues, black and white as an ideal combination.

Here I use a woven leather belt to break it up, the brown leather keeps a nice tone alongside the dark gold detail in the shirt, which you will see I have complimented this with my choice of watch, which is my Daniel Wellington St Mawes featured in a recent post.

Now for the footwear. This year while on holiday I was strict with myself with how many I took (it was seven last year) What couldn't be left behind were my brown leather woven laced loafers. Made completely of leather apart form the synthetic sole, they are the perfect addition to your summer wardrobe. The tan leather isn't too light in colour which maintains a look of quality.

Short sleeved shirts may not be at the forefront of every guys mind when putting together an outfit for  the summer, but it should. A look pioneered by the likes of James Dean & Marlon Brando, with plain shirts in the 50's & 60's, before more Miami vice inspired patterns hit the scene. They look best with a good fit on the arms. I'd recommend working on those biceps and triceps to fill out the sleeve to get the best look, if not a gym goer just ensure you go for a slim fit without being too tight, this is even less of an issue if worn open over a plain T-Shirt.

Enjoy the summer, enjoy your holidays. I would love to see how you have put together your short sleeved shirt outfits this year. Tweet, Instagram or email me your summer style.

Some of the items featured here can be found at the following links

Black Feather Short Sleeve Shirt 

Tan Leather Woven Loafers

Cropped Trousers

Daniel Wellington St Mawes Watch


Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Marshall Headphones - Mode EQ

Music, I love it - nothing surprising there I am sure... now more than ever we are provided with access to music instantly, whether simply listening to the radio, music video channels, iPods, Deezer, Apple Music, spotify and the revival of LP's which is something I will be covering over time in this blog.

Have we ever had so much choice and the forums in which to listen to it? The subject I raise here is how we choose to listen to the music on portable devices such as our smart phones & iPods.

Perhaps through laziness and often only using headphones to listen to music while at the gym (admitedly only in recent months has this become a need) and while on holiday laying on the sunbed, I have simply only used the earphones provided with my iPhone not really appreciating that there was a better listening experience out there.

After recently receiving a lovely present from my fiancé in the form of a Marshall Acton speaker (to be reviewed in a later post) the quality of that speaker along with a historic and renowned reputation since the 1960's in the amps & speakers market, Marshall were my one and only destination. 

The choice I made was the Marshall Mode EQ in ear headphones. Firstly I liked the look of them, the styling from the box was the same as my speaker with an edgy tattooed hand holding them with the iconic font spelling out the name. The colour of the black wire, headphones and remote is contrasted with lovely gold detailing on outside of the headphones, the L plug and 3.5mm Jack. A classic combination that is understated and not showy, but provides you with that assurance of quality.

The technical description obviously vastly more important than the styling, with my music taste being very eclectic my requirement was something that could handle a good deal of bass for Hip-Hop, keep good deep tones for soul & instrumentals, bringing to the fore raspy guitars without too much distortion. A lot to ask from such small buds and not with a large budget either. They are described as having huge sound in a small package, a comfortable fit, an EQ switch enabling a customised sound, from warm heavy bass to brighter mids & highs.

While listening to one of my favourite 2017 albums (Big Sean - I Decided), the quality was immediately evident. Switching the EQ to offer me the highest level of deep bass, it picked up detail and tones that had been seriously lacking in previous headphones. At no point did it feel that the singing was overpowered or taken away from whether that be the lead or the backing singers, even on    a heavy bass song such as Bounce Back, you really do however feel the bass pulsing through you which is something I enjoyed. Switching to Calvin Harris ft Frank Ocean though, the EQ setting was changed to EQ II, it suited the lighter and more upbeat tones and yet still retained a pleasant amount of bass. It was great to have this choice especially when making my way through an extremely varied playlist.

Making pool side listening even easier was the remote, it comes with a clip to thread on to your collar which is suitable for the capability it has as a microphone allowing phone calls to be made or answered with ease. The raised gold button next to the matching engraved marque has several functions, as a phone it can answer and end calls, for music it can pause and re start with one press, a double click will take you to the next track, three times will take you back with ease.

If looking for a pair of headphones that aren't overly costly, that offer great sound quality and that also look the part, the Marshall headphones really are an all round winner. As a leader in the industry combined with the great overall styling, you won't go far wrong.

The Mode EQ Headphones and other Marshall products can be found at Marshall 

Happy listening from The Style Thread.


Sunday, 13 August 2017

Daniel Wellington St Mawes Watch

Men and watches - plenty of friends and colleagues don't have a watch adorning their wrists. I wonder if men of my generation find it even less of an essential item when most of us have a smartphone that can tell us the time? Even smartwatches aren't purchased to provide the service of telling you the time.  For me I prefer to stick to the traditional method of simply looking to my wrist to whichever time-piece I selected that day to match my outfit.

My love of watches started quite young, with a little metal number featuring the Tasmanian devil on the face (clearly, my sense of style would come later...), this was followed around the age of 12 when I asked for a very bright sky blue Adidas digital one for my birthday. With maturity has come taste, but what hasn't changed is my love of having a watch.

GQ magazine regularly features watches, even providing a watch edition once a year designated solely to showcasing the leading brands and what they have to offer, whereas women often have various jewellery pieces, from earrings, necklaces, bracelets, watches and rings and an awful lot of choice in each of these areas, us men don't often look to accessorise with jewellery unless with our marriage ring and unless something quite out of the ordinary that isn't going to be something that will catch the eye. Watches are the perfect opportunity to accessorise an outfit, they are a great addition to completing a suit for example, and you can find a perfect match to all variety of colour's, material's and style's.

I admit my collection as it stands isn't particularly vast, nor is it an array of extravagant and designer names. What I have looked to put together though are watches that will match colour schemes, formal & casual attire, as well as different materials, such as silver, leather or rubber - all in various colours.

Shopping within a set budget, I try to ensure I combine quality & style while being economical with my finances available - luckily there are some great online retailers who are able to offer just that combination.

The most recent addition came after one of my watches broke, and I felt that I needed an upgrade after deciding not to get it repaired. It needed to be a brown leather strap, a simple face, nothing 'blingy' and one that could be worn at work and out and about. After casting an envious eye to the wrist of a colleague at work, I knew that I was heading straight for Daniel Wellington.

What I really love about this time piece is its classic simplicity, whilst being great looking too.

The genuine brown leather is of a really nice tone, not too dark or light, which contrasts perfectly with navy and white in particular. The finer details though are what I think set it apart, although in all honesty if the hands, numbers and brace had been in plain gold I would of been happy, however that they have chosen to use rose gold on all of these elements set against the plain egg shell white face is an extremely welcome addition.

Minimalistic in the look is my preferred taste, and Daniel Wellington does this really well - it's not shouting out its name, but there is just enough there to let people know the brand you have chosen. The initials with the back to front D, with tiny lettering underneath with the full name, the same again on the underside, then the brace has the brand marque engraved which won't really be seen by yourself while wearing it but its a nice touch.

More than one watch - I have to admit that until doing my research on Daniel Wellington as a brand, I was unaware that I could purchase numerous different straps and simply change them over to match my outfit, occasion even my mood! so you can chose an alternate colour or even move to the classic and original NATO band.

So whichever face or starting band you go for, I can assure that you will not be disappointed with your decision. I would also highly recommend checking out the ladies section as they go down a storm with a loved one.

The St Mawes Watch and other styles can be found at Daniel Wellington.


Sunday, 6 August 2017

Love at First Smell: Tom Ford Noir - Extreme

Love at first smell. I wonder how many times I will use this phrase (or channel my inner Russell Brand and come up with some whimsical & evocative words that will fully describe the feeling I get from each new fragrance that I bring to my blog). As you will discover I am a sucker for a beautiful scent. With each passing day at work and on  getting ready for outings with my fiancé, I had noticed several of my collection becoming increasing low. We have all, I am sure, tipped those bottles every way to get the last remnants out - knowing that the next step will be to stick with what you know or get that nose out there and see what grabs you.

So to the chosen one, Tom Ford Noir - Extreme. Meandering through Duty Free on the return from a wonderful holiday I had tried a few on the sample cards. Enter the Tom Ford counter. Literally from the first smell I knew this was to my taste. Intense, dark, with scents combining woody,  nutty, warm & spicy notes with a smidge of sweetness, which suits me as high citrus or overly sweet isn't something personally I go for.

The bottle is simple with a timeless classic box shape, with black glass and a ridged gold lid, with the embossed TF on top and subtly on the sides of the bottle too. I can see it taking pride of place on my fiancé's mid century dressing table, neither of which looking out of place from Don Draper's apartment.

From the airport, though the flight to home, I couldn't stop smelling myself and even more pleasing was that my fiancé was in complete agreement of how beautiful it was. It was never over powering and yet remained subtly there for a good 6/7 hours from a couple of sprays.

Perhaps with its tones it may be more of a autumn / winter scent and I would envision wearing for evening occasions rather than at work, unless you are looking to get colleagues to enquire what that amazing smell is (which I will be doing I confess) within my workplace, clients and friends this isn't a scent I have come across previously which is another reason for the purchase, as I love people commenting on how I smell and that they hadn't before come across it.

Tom Ford Noir - Extreme starts from £72.00 (50ml)

I look forward to bringing my fragrance favourites to the blog soon, watch this space.

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