Jimmy Choo Man Blue | Fragrance Review

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A bottle of The Jimmy Choo Man Blue fragrance arrived on my doorstep the other day and I wanted to give you my first impressions.

Who is the Jimmy Choo Man Blue for?

Jimmy Choo are looking to target the hip urban gent. The kind of man that skates to work in his suit and espadrilles. He's probably called Will, has great hair, your girlfriend can't shut up about how funny he is at work. We universally hate Will. 

Yet that's because Will is the man we all yearn to be. Now Jimmy Choo has introduced Jimmy Choo Man Blue fragrance that will help you channel your inner Will. 

 

The Bottle and Packaging

If you're thinking this bottle is reminiscent of a hip flask, you'd be right. It's curved at the back and, oozes sophistication and has graduated lacquering. Although it looks elegant, the dip-dye blue fade makes it hard to photograph. (Did my best). But that's hardly a disparaging remark on the design, more a pointless whine from a photographer’s standpoint. 

Another of the brand's signatures, crocodile, is worked as a textured effect on the soft rubber cap. 

It has strong bold shoulders making this an uncompromising and masculine looking bottle. 

 

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Carl what does Jimmy Choo Man Blue Fragrance smell like? 

It doesn't have that aquatic fresh opening that you might expect. It has a very peppery front, and then the woody, earthy notes settle in. 

I'm guessing I was after something more summary, casual, afternoon-date or a brunch meeting in Lululemon. But in fact it's more serious. It has a leathery base and I try to discern the wood notes. I'm never to crash hot on distinguishing the sandalwood from the cedar wood. 

I'll revert to the quote from the master perfumer from Jimmy Choo, Nathalie Lorson

"I composed this set of textures around three impacting elements: the aromatic velvety texture of sage leaves, the grained and raw texture of leather and the smooth texture of sandalwood (that settles that one) to create a masculine and modern addiction." 

 

Would I buy Jimmy Choo Man Blue Fragrance? 

Jimmy Choo Man Blue retails at £32, £46 and £66 for 30ml, 50ml and 100ml respectively. 

I would definitely have this fragrance on my shelf. It projects well, is undeniably masculine, has decent silage (I got 7-8 hours) and the spicy notes compliment my style. I'm not entirely sure it does what it says on the tin. I can't imagine myself getting on a skateboard with my white sneakers anytime soon. Leave that to the youngsters. 

Can Men’s Clothes Get Any Cheaper?

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Have you noticed that your email junk folder is brimming lately with 'Summer Haul' and 'Price Slashes’? A lot of men’s e-commerce stores are having some real fire sales right now and I echo the sentiment of Sasha Wilkins who spoke about men’s fashion reaching 'peak stuff' on the Wake up to Money podcast. 

In the interview Sasha (the former editor for the Wall Street Journal) mentions that we simply can't cram anything more in our wardrobes. Of course I'm paraphrasing, but it hasn't gone unnoticed that e-commerce stores are reacting to what's happening on the high street. 

 

So is men's fast fashion here to stay? 

God I hope not. It's at times like these I remember the quote from Stacey Wood from King and Tuckfield when she spoke about her new collaboration with Richard Biedul

"Nowadays we buy a top for £15 and forget about it. People from our parents and our grandfather’s generations would wear their clothes and cherish them, even hand them down. We need to get that back." 

The bottom line is that men are becoming more fashion conscious with the rise of social media and digital influence. However, the majority have been paying rock bottom prices for clothes for so long that it's very difficult to persuade them otherwise. 

The trouble is the more affordable clothes from the likes of H&M and Zara are good value for money and thanks to Zara, seasonal drops are becoming a thing of the past. E-Commerce stores and retailers have to introduce new collections a lot quicker. 

That all said, whilst disposable fashion is stagnating price rises, these clothes will not last. They simply won't. 

 

Wait, have we completely done away with seasonal collections? 

My thoughts are, yes. At least we don't need 4 seasons. The climates in this country is like the showers Eddie Izzard describes in stand up, 'fantastically hot, or effing freezing'.

Travel has become wildly accessible so it doesn't make much sense to stick to this draconian format of four collections a year. 

 

Final thoughts

We will see more closures on the high streets. It will get worse before it can better.

You'll see more e-commerce stores introduce charges for click and collect because free deliveries won't be sustainable with the margins getting infinitely more squashed. 

In fact I'm already feeling the squeeze on my own e-commerce store Hawkins & Shepherd and can no longer offer free deliveries even to UK customers. Couriers are raising prices higher than inflation and quicker than ever before, meaning that it's really hard on our margins and even harder to pass on these price hikes to customers. At Hawkins & shepherd, we're now subsidising delivery costs for our customers, meaning that as a brand we swallow part of the costs and the customer continues to see a consistent delivery price over the years.

You'll see more luxury brands offering finance deals or pay-later options such as Klarna to make luxury goods more affordable. But what is Klarna

 

Paul Smith Hello You! Fragrance Review

The new fragrance from Paul Smith fell on to my lap the other day. It's a unisex fragrance, the bottle isn't gender bias and has a universal appeal. The striped Paul Smith logo is evident both on the box and on the side of the bottle. We know Paul Smith is an avid book collector and this logo placement is a deliberate, yet subtle nod to his love affair with books.

The bottle is square, transparent and the liquid is also clear with a hint of pale green. Possibly to pair the inside pastel green coloured box.

Look out for the pin up girl on the inside of the bottle. Paul Smith is a huge fan of the pin up girls that the pilots would paint on their aircraft in World War 2. This vintage-retro throwback has a universal appeal; I know the pin-up portrait tattoos are ubiquitous right now.

 

Carl enough about the bottle, what does Paul Smith Hello You fragrance smell like? 

It's very crisp, has a lovely opening. Immediately I was confronted with a freshness, a citrus delivery and some lavender notes.

On the dry down I reached some more green notes, which would have been the apple cores. I can't say I identified the bergamot or mandarin, but there is an overall citrus texture that projects well.

 

Would I buy this Paul Smith Hello You fragrance? 

This is a very everyday fragrance. Nothing heavy or overwhelming. It's worth noting that Paul Smith is the biggest British fashion brand and for a heavyweight in the industry, the price point is remarkably modest.

50ml £35, 100ml £45.

 

The silage was also impressive for a summer fragrance, I got 6 hours and change which was quite surprising. The base notes of patchouli and vetiver penetrated through, perhaps not as masculine as the website description might have you believe but it's certainly present.

The Paul Smith Hello You fragrance is available through their website, it would also make a decent gift because of its universal appeal.

 

What I Think it Means to be a Stylish Modern Man & Grooming Tips for How to Look Your Best

Someone tell Jim Chapman he was right all along. I've just got wind that Norwich is home to the most style conscious men in the UK, according to a recent survey undertaken by Just For Men. Of course Jim, who heralds from Norwich, has been banging that drum for years. The survey, which spoke to 1,000 men, is pretty damning of guys from Cambridge who spend a dismal £11 a month on hair and wet shaves, compared to £45 for the average man from Norwich.

Other results state Norwich guys will splurge £77 on clothes each month, that’s £15 more than men from London. But what about Norwich guys that live in London eh? Jim Chapman wore a £1,500 Alfred Dunhill Jacket to LFWM. Does that aggregate a bigger score because he's living in London now? Anyway, well done Norwich. They're obviously putting something in the water down there. 

The survey was quite interesting in a lot of ways: 

"Four in ten said you know a man cares for his appearance when his teeth look white." 

I've said for a long time that your smile is your business card. Guys, we need to look at the teeth situation. My biggest bit of advice in this area is not do teeth whitening at home, leave it to the professionals. 

The poll also found that 32 percent said having the right facial hair was fundamental to looking good. The right facial hair is incredibly important. It's not only a fine line between looking well-groomed and looking slovenly.

We all remember Ricky Gervais dying his facial hair back in 2010, apparently succumbing to the pressure of Hollywood. 

I'd say it’s a great move and with the right products, highly effective for knocking some years off. 

“Since 2016 the emphasis has shifted from simply having the facial hair, to how well-kept that facial hair is, particularly in terms of being neat and full – both signs of stylishness according to this research.

“Just for Men Moustache & Beard brush in gel eliminates grey hairs, but it can also be used to enhance lacklustre beards, making them appear fuller and thicker – perfect for style conscious UK men.” A spokesman for Just for Men Moustache & Beard.

 

 

My tips on grooming for the modern man

I'll start with Just For Men Moustache and Beard. Men shouldn't loathe their grey hair, but if it increases one’s confidence to look younger, then I'm all for it. What's more, you don't need to block out any time in the diary, the easy brush-in application gets to work in just five minutes.

Whilst I'm on the topic of beards, invest in a decent beard oil to prevent itchiness, Just For Men also do a Face & Beard Oil made with soothing oatmeal, aloe, camomile and jojoba oil. The benefits of jojoba oil by Susan Patterson is a decent read. It's basically a liquid wax and doesn’t have as much of a greasy feel as other oils.

 

My Style tips for the modern Man? 

If you want style tips, ask the ladies what they look for in a man. Half the women I know will notice two things about a guy walking towards them in the street: 1, their height, 2. their shoes.

Your new 2k a tooth veneers and coral-coloured Tiger of Sweden suit won't mean much if your shoes look like they were bought in the 80's and last cleaned in the 90's.

If you're tardy with your trainers, simply don't buy white ones or ones with white crepes.

 

What trends are in right now? 

Notice that trends aren't big into motifs or logos. You can gauge what the big fashion houses are doing in recent years. Burberry has completely transformed themselves by putting the check on the inside of their garments. 

Ralph Lauren has shrunk its logo size to something completely imperceptible nowadays. People are striving for esoteric individuality, not tribal collectivism. 

I'm noticing the boating stripes are flooding in. I think the people that dress up for the Henley Royal Regatta don't want their Hackett jackets exclusive for one weekend of the year. 

 

My ultimate styling tip? 

You don't have to be the most stylish dude in the room to stand out, but the fit of your clothes will speak volumes about you. 

In the Just For Men survey 38 percent said a stylish chap would always wear jeans that fitted well. In a way it's sad that only 38 percent said that. 

Get to know your tailor or your local dry cleaner really well. Have all your old jeans nipped in, tucked or hemmed. Your body shape will change over the years and your jeans need to inflate or deflate accordingly. 

That's all I have for today, let me know your thoughts on this article and in particular, if you have any style or grooming habits of your own. 

The Just For Men Moustache & Beard is available to buy nationwide from Boots, Superdrug, most Major Supermarkets and Wilkinsons, while the Just For Men Beard Care range is available exclusively from Amazon. You can learn more about the brand here.

*This sponsored post was created in collaboration with Just For Men.

How to Take Amazing Smartphone Pictures & How I Edit my Instagram Images

 Photo by  Yen Vu  on  Unsplash

Photo by Yen Vu on Unsplash

Have you ever been wowed by a picture on Instagram, and then feel stupefied to find it was taken on an Smartphone? A friend recently posted an exotic photo from his trip to Thailand and it was like a screensaver. I asked him what camera he was using these days and to my bemusement (and mild embarrassment) he said, 'on my phone'.

I've had plenty of friends tell that posting native shots on Instagram gets way more traction. I.E taking a picture of something on your phone, in the moment, rather than a professional image taken on a high-resolution camera that has been edited in Lightroom, cropped etc. 

Someone that is on top of her game when it comes to making the most of the smartphone is Katrina Frazer, a pro-photographer known as the ‘Queen of light’. (That's a good name, sounds like the next fragrance from Beyonce). 

Along with the Nokia 7 plus, Katrina brings you her top tips for pro-style pics all from the tech in the palm of your hand.

 

Top Tips for Smartphone Pictures

Play with the shutter speed. Taking great pictures at night is just a nightmare. Notice you don't see too many night time fashion shoots on the streets of London? Lighting a shot is a massive operation and isn’t as simple as just pointing and clicking. 

To capture more detail, you need more light. A slow shutter speed keeps the camera lens open longer to let in more light.

* If you don’t have a tripod, try spreading your feet shoulder width apart and lean your back against a wall to create a tripod with your body

* If you have a desk/table/counter to lean on, plant both elbows on the platform - elbows should be wider than your shoulders

* Another way to steady a shaky hand is to take the picture as you slowly breathing out

Playing with shutter speed and movement in low light can help you create artistic effects.

 Photo by  Arthur Osipyan  on  Unsplash

 

ISO-what? While your smartphone camera auto-settings might work well enough, one simple way you can ensure pro shots is by playing with your camera’s ISO settings.

For the perfect portrait or selfie that brings out the contours and shading of a face it’s better to use a low ISO.

To make the most of the detail this setting allows, you should ideally try to position the subject in natural light, with the light focused on their face. In these circumstances, flash will kill the image so try to use the light available along with adjusted ISO settings to create pro-portraits.

Some smartphones allow you to manually change settings in your camera and play with ISO levels, shutter speeds and aperture – getting it right is sometimes a matter of trial and error!

Pro Mode on Nokia smartphones is the perfect interface to give you full manual control over all your camera settings. Available on its latest models including the photo-fab Nokia 7 plus, Pro Mode allows you to easily access manual settings in one swipe. Combining innovative optical hardware and imaging algorithms, the Nokia 7 plus captures moments into photos that are true to life. It’s optimised and integrated for maximum performance and battery life, even when you are broadcasting your #Bothie videos (videos taken using the front and back camera simultaneously to create a split screen image) live on Facebook or YouTube.

Available in Black/Copper, the Nokia 7 plus is available to buy for a RRP of £349.99.

 

Other smartphone tips for Instagram

Whilst I don't post many pictures from the smartphone (I would say that only 5% of my Instagram images are smartphone taken). I do post vids and snaps on the stories. Here are a couple of tips:

  1. When taking a photo, always try and leave space in the picture for some text, arrows and emoji’s. 
  2. Always Geo-tag your location and tag someone that might enjoy the photo. 
  3. If you're in London hashtag #VisitLondon. I find that the best tag for outreach on stories. 

 

 

How I edit my photos for Instagram

I often get asked this and in all honesty I don't have a particular Lightroom preset or any template to use. What I tend to do is edit each photo individually but in a similar way to achieve my desired look and feel.

The first stage of a good Instagram image is an exceptional photographer who knows you and your style. My Instagram tends to be quite dark, shadowed, sharp, high contrast, simple colours and cool tones. So the first stage is to make sure your photographer knows your style, for me there is no point in getting professional images that have warm, pink, earthy tones to them because 1. It doesn't fit my feed and .2. If I then re-edit the image, I'll be pissing off the photographer and the quality of the image will deteriorate. 

If I have time on my hands, I tend to use the RAW files and edit in Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. Although this isn't always possible, so more often than not, I just use mobile apps to edit my images. 

So if I only have 5 minutes to edit and post a photo to Instagram, this is what I'll do:

1. Transfer the photo to your smartphone. Make sure the transfer doesn't affect the resolution of the image.

2. Open the photo in the Facetune App. I ONLY use this app for the Details and Whiten features. I do not and will never ever edit my face, spots, greys, wrinkles etc. If there are any green trees or bushes, I'll use the whiten feature to grey them out slightly. I'll then use the same feature to whiten any tungsten, amber light or features. If there are any details in the image that I would like to sharpen and highlight, I use the 'details' feature to go over, such as a watch face or pocket square. Export the image.

3. Use the above exported image to post to Instagram. Use the custom editing tool and never a preset filter, to create your own style. Again, it depends on the image but here is roughly what settings I use to edit in Instagram:

- Brightness 0
- Contrast 0
- Structure +2
- Warmth -30
- Saturation 0
- Colour 0
- Fade 0
- Highlights 0
- Shadows -100
- Vignette +80
- Tilt Shift 0
- Sharpen +35

Trial it out and let me know what you think.

 

New Motion Fitness Launches in Vauxhall, London

If you're thinking that the treadmill is becoming a bit of a bore of late, then you should try out New Motion Fitness; a bespoke 4 class workout that has been specifically designed to challenge and excite people of all fitness abilities. The instructors skilfully utilise the hypnotic and captivating lighting as well as premium sound systems to give participants a workout like no other. You have 4 different cardio workout classes to choose from.

Box ‘n’ Bass: A workout that incorporates pad work, technique and strength combined with the best bass soundtrack.

4Kardio Dance: Easy to follow, full of energy and sweat-inducing workout is perfect for all abilities.

HIIT vs House: A high intensity workout accompanied by an insane house soundtrack to help you hit every muscular component in 45 minutes.

Vinyasa Flowz: A workout that harmonising the movements of your body and breath in creative sequences in this fully rounded modern yoga workout.

Henry Weston created New Motion after spotting a gap in the market for developing real human connections in the health and fitness world. Inspired by non-conformers, Henry believes in constantly finding new ways to move, new ways to live and wants to push boundaries to create a truly unique fitness experience for Londoners.

Following the launch, all classes and packages will have an incredible 50% off for the entire month of July. Each workout has been specifically designed to challenge and excite people of all fitness abilities. The instructors skillfully utilise the hypnotic and captivating lighting as well as premium sound systems to give participants a workout like no other.

Weston comments. “But it can also be a very isolating place. There is a real lack of sense of community in not only the health and fitness world but in London as a whole; I would often leave workouts not knowing anyone else’s name in the class.

I created New Motion as a way to combat this. I wanted to create something more than just fitness, I wanted a community of likeminded people.”

Not only does New Motion actively encourage and train their instructors to get to know their participants, but they also host monthly socials, give out awards, celebrate personal achievements and get to know each other over a drink or two in the food garden.

Henry comments that “this simple notion is one of the most effective when it comes to creating a space for success and empowerment for all involved.”

Henry previously worked with outdoor fitness start-up Rabble, where he helped created an incredibly strong fitness community and is bringing his expertise and knowledge to New Motion.

Leading by example, Henry will be at Lightbox, (30 seconds from Vauxhall station) every night welcoming guests, driving the social environment to new heights and instructing his signature class Box ‘n’ Bass.

Photo Credit Alex Blake

INANCH LONDON Spa Mist Hair & Scalp Treatment Reviewed

Being in my thirties I look at myself and feel blessed with a good, solid set of hair on my head, no baldness and thick hair that is pretty easy to style. The negatives are that it is very curly so I have to blow-dry it most days to get the desired style that I'm looking for. On top of this I have very dry and sometimes itchy scalp and I've had this for as long as I remember. Because on this condition, I have a bad habit of scratching or even picking dry patches on my scalp. Not nice for those around me!

It's something that I've just lived with and done nothing about because you only see the dry red patches when my hair is shaved to a 0 or 0.5 around the sides and it also tends to be outbreaks rather than 100% of the time. 

Making do is not something that is in my blood and if there is something that can improve the condition and my wellbeing then I'm going to give it a damn good go. So to ease my itchy scalp, I headed off to Inanch London to trial their Spa Mist Hair & Scalp Treatment

Inanch London is a short walk from both Regents Park and Great Portland Street tube stations and you'll be greeted by their charismatic, attentive staff. They have two variations of the treatment, both perfect to nip in on your lunchtime break. The first is a 20 minute (Spa Mist Express) and the second is 40 minutes for an intense treatment (Full Spa Mist) and uses a deep conditioning product.

You'll be taken into the spa room where the member of staff will prepare the hair with products for the treatment. Then they will apply a kind of hat which heats up and applies the mist. The heat will help the conditioning product absorb, followed by a cooling period to lock in the moisture. The Spa Mist Hair & Scalp Treatment rejuvenates your hair giving it back its strength by taking the nourishment where it is needed the most and practically ‘healing’ your hair from the inside out. The treatment will leave your hair visibly smoother and softer. 

After this highly recommended treatment, you'll get your hair styled as you would normally after a haircut, ready to go on with you day with a scalp that feels and looks healthier and hair that has a soft shiny glow to it! 

 

VISIT INANCH

Clergerie launch new AW18 collection for MEN

Clergerie has launched a brand new AW18 Collection for men and in this article I'm going to be giving you a sneak preview and some styling guides. The first men’s collection designed by Creative Director David Tourniaire-Beauciel represents a fresh start for Clergerie. 

 

Who are Clergerie? 

Clergerie is a French show brand founded in 1981 with ateliers dating back to 1895 blending a continuous research in design with outstanding manufacturing techniques and feminine shapes with masculine details. (Sounds like Caitlyn Jenner's Tinder profile). 

Men’s shoes are a natural expansion of the brand, which was founded on the dialogue between masculine and feminine and made in its ateliers once dedicated to men’s shoes in Romans-sur-Isère, in Southern France.

The brand DNA was therefore the starting point for Tourniaire-Beauciel for designing the collection, which includes some cross-over styles with the women’s line.

The highlight of the season is the signature articulated sole, available in stacked leather and an extra light version in micro, on brogues, moccasins and boots, available in calfskin or metallic leather.

 

THE SILVER SHOE

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I've highlighted the ARY Specchio Calfskin Silver Oxford with brogue detailing around the toe cap. I'm loafed to see any Oxford styled with joggers, although I respect my contemporaries for doing so it's not a style choice for me. 

The Oxford is still a formal shoe and should be treated as such. However, the colour, the brogue detailing, lends itself to a more casual look so you can afford to go sockless and style with a cuffed hem. Try and deliver some contrast to the silver with a black jean or chino. These are currently available for £525. 

 

THE PLATFORM

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The Handwoven Raffia is a basket weave derby with an exaggerated elevation. Perfect look for the short guy. 

The platform or elevated heel is a tricky one to pull off as most shoes will try and conceal the fact that it has a prominent heel. Here Clergerie is encouraging you to own your height by drawing attention to these ostentatious shoes. These are currently available for £445. 

 

THE BIKER BOOT

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The Callum Camel vegetable-tanned/black calfskin Biker boot has been produced in the classic style. With supple leather uppers and no gimmicky side zips to break the silhouette. 

It's Goodyear welted with a round toe and if worn will sit perfect with any other leathers or paired with a classic denim look. These are currently available for £645. 

 

The Clergerie’s FW18 men’s collection will be sold worldwide online and through selected retailers.

How to Win Most Stylish Man at Chester Races

Mr Green Ladies & Gents evening kicks off on 13th July at Chester Races and now is the time to start planning the outfit if you want to be in contention for the best dressed male. Gates open at 4.30pm offering the perfect excuse for an early dart from work. Take advantage of their ticket offer before the expiry date and make this Friday the 13th a lucky one.

Before I throw my hat in the winner’s circle with style tips, let’s take a look at the dress code pulled from the website.  

*It's worthy to note that different stands will have different codes. The Open Course has no dress code although they advise you to dress for the conditions. The more exclusive the enclosure the stricter the code. Below is the code for the Winning Post. 

Dress Code: Gentlemen are required to wear a well-tailored suit or a blazer/sports jacket with smart trousers, together with a shirt, collar and tie. Ladies are required to wear smart dress. No denim jeans of any colour, no trainers, no sportswear and no fancy dress will be permitted.

Notice the words 'well-tailored'. This doesn't mean we need to get a bespoke suit fast tracked for the price of a king’s ransom. But we do need to have a think about when was the last time you wore that event day suit. 

 

How do I win best dressed male at Chester Races? 

We can start by looking at last year’s winner Mr Stewong on Instagram. He is dressed in a light blue double breasted 2 piece from Gieves & Hawkes

The material is possibly flannel which is boiled wool, that gives it a textured look which will definitely help you stand out. In my opinion this is a great look, a cracking suit, but not tailored to my style. 

The jacket is suppressed at the waist so follow the lines of his body well. But the jacket is too short for my liking, it has a rather feminine look to it. I would have liked to have seen the jacket come an inch past his wrist. 

Notice also on the leg how tight the fit is around his thigh and crotch, yet the calves have plenty of fabric. It's an uneven look on the leg and it has a jarring effect. The cuff of the trouser falls neatly on the break which tells me this has been tailored. 

Don't be so mean on the guy Carl! 

You're right, and this is only my opinion. I actually like the suit and think the light blue colour and the accoutrements are brilliant. The Navy Silk Pocket square contrasts perfectly with the light blue. The loafers keep the look youthful and overall, it's the details such as the tie pin, the sunglasses etc that has distinguished Mr Stewong from the competition. 

If you'd like to follow in Mr Stewong's footsteps I've picked out some other blazers from the Gieves & Hawkes online store that are currently in the sale

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Should I wear Tweed to the Races? 

It's a free world baby. Tweed and horse racing go together like Ike and Tina, before Ike got a bit hands on. One thing to bear in mind with tweed is that whilst it looks amazing, it is a dense fabric and won't circulate your body heat. But tweed has been made more accessible with the likes of Dashing Tweeds in West London introducing lighter 'city tweeds' for the urban man. 

I'd say there's nothing like a girl in tweed so I prefer to see it on women than I do men. That said if you break up the tweed look with a pair of white chinos that will certainly get you noticed. When it comes to ties and pocket squares match the colour with one of the over checks in the blazer. Notice the gentleman on the right pairing his green and purple over check 3 piece suit with a magenta tie and pocket square. 

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That's about it from me. Above all make sure you enjoy the day and drink like a gentleman, not like a hooligan. Try and wear something that will turn a few heads but without being overly-peacocky. Below is a gallery from Chester Races to give you an idea of what race-goers have worn in the past. 

*Article sponsored by Mr Green: Ahead of Chester Races, the award winning UK casino Mr Green are offering a special welcome offer. Get up to £100 in Bonus Cash on 1st Deposit of £20 or more & 200 Free Spins *x35 wagering applies to bonus cash & free spins. New customers only.  T&Cs apply. 18+ BeGambleAware.org

 

IWC Schaffhausen & Santoni | In Selected Boutiques Worldwide

If you're an IWC Schaffhausen nut, then you'll be pleased to know that they have collaborated with luxury leather specialists Santoni to offer leather accessories by in boutiques across the world. This collection of meticulously hand-dyed leather items is designed to echo IWC timepieces, some of which are already fitted with Santoni leather bracelets.

The product range includes a credit card holder, belt and bracelets. 

Giuseppe Santoni, CEO of Santoni, adds: “Santoni and IWC Schaffhausen share a passion for authentic hand-crafted items, select materials and uniqueness.

I am proud that we are developing our collaboration further and are able to offer an exclusive selection of handmade Santoni products in selected IWC boutiques”.

This collaboration adds to the further work they're doing for the Charles Darwin Foundation (Providing scientific research, technical information and assistance to ensure the preservation of the Galapagos Islands) Formula 1 and the Sport for Good Foundation amongst others. 

 

A wide range of colours

All accessories are made from high-qualify calf-leather and come in up to nine different colours.

They range from classic, subtle colours like brown, blue and black to striking, trendy tones such as orange, red and pink.

These products echo the colours of the Santoni bracelets IWC has outfitted many of its watches with since 2009. Each item is meticulously hand-dyed in Santoni ateliers, developing a unique patina over time.

 

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Who wears IWC Shauffhausen? 

No doubt the demographic is for the man with a disposable income. The prices are not listed on the IWC website but through a little digging I've found they can cost as much as £80k and some entry level IWC's can start around £3.5k. 

The ambassadors I've seen championing IWC are Lewis Hamilton, Bradley Cooper, Sir Patrick Stewart, Dev Patel and Cate Blanchett.

 

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A little history on IWC SCHAFFHAUSEN

With a clear focus on technology and development, the Swiss watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen has been producing timepieces of lasting value since 1868.

The company has gained an international reputation based on a passion for innovative solutions and technical ingenuity.

One of the world’s leading brands in the luxury watch segment, IWC crafts masterpieces of Haute Horlogerie at their finest, combining supreme precision with exclusive design.

As an ecologically and socially responsible company, IWC is committed to sustainable production, supports institutions around the globe in their work with children and young people, and maintains partnerships with organisations dedicated to environmental protection.

 

A little history on SANTONI

Santoni started operations in 1975 in Corridonia, in the heart of the shoemaking district of the Marche region of Italy.

What was originally a high-end footwear atelier turned in forty years into one of the leading players in the global luxury goods market.

 

Carl where can I get my hands on these Santoni Accessories? 

These accessories will be available from March 2018 across select IWC boutiques: Madison Avenue in New York, Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles, New Bond Street in London, Residenzstraße in Munich, Nanjing West Road in Shanghai, and Hong Kong Heritage.

You can see a couple of styling shots below should you need some inspiration on how to take photos of watches.

 

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Are Facebook or Instagram Reading my WhatsApp Messages?

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Have you ever googled a product or a brand, then seconds later found that same product or brand advertising on your Facebook feed? Ever thought it a wild coincidence that you've just googled 'How to wear Chelsea Boots' then to find endless pictures of Chelsea boots on your Instagram feed?

The critical mass finds this somewhat invasive, creepy but are still willing to waiver the targeted adverts as the price you pay for free social media. But I have to tell you about an experience that happened to me the other day.

I was discussing with a friend the benefits of sugar free Ice Cream over WhatsApp. My friend had never heard of the brand, never googled it, it was not on my friend’s radar whatsoever. Then as if by magic, said Ice Cream was all over her social media banners.

A coincidence? Pull the other one Zuckerburg, it's got bells on it. Facebook own both Instagram and WhatsApp, so it's not surprising that adverts are interlinked and cross pollinate through different platforms, but aren't WhatsApp conversations encrypted?

I had no idea that Facebook are listening in. This was not only creepy as heck, but the first real wave of targeted advertisement that made me sit up in my chair and look around.

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So are Facebook listening in and if so how are they doing it? 

I pulled this from an article from Lifehackers written by Nick Douglas, a very interesting read.

"Facebook’s mobile app theoretically could listen in on you, at least while you have it open. It even has a public feature that will try to recognize any audio in the background, like music or TV—but only while you’re entering a status update, and only if you’ve opted in. Facebook says this feature is never used for advertising."

I should state as thorough and insightful as this article is, it is dated a year ago and the author is convinced that Facebook is not listening in due to its credibility and Douglas is quoted as saying in the article:

"Facebook is cagey, but they don’t tend to openly lie about huge data-collection schemes."

But the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal which rocked the Facebook community has changed people’s perception of that. 

To counter this argument, it could also be said that there have been a million Facebook advertisements that I don't identify with? I'm admittedly very susceptible to confirmation bias. That's when your brain notices positive examples of what you were conditioned to believe, but doesn’t notice negative examples.

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But what about WhatsApp? What about the Ice Cream convo? 

Again there is another decent blog by Natasha Lomas for TechCrunch.com that offers the following advice. 

“When your messages are end-to-end encrypted, only the people you are messaging with can read them — not WhatsApp, Facebook, or anyone else.”

How interesting! This encrypted messaging service only works by the way if both parties agree. So make sure your text buddy is onboard. 

 

So what does Facebook want from my WhatsApp number? 

Facebook has your number, in a lot of ways! They use your mobile number for Custom Audiences ad offering. So any WhatsApp users that have given a business the same mobile phone number they use for the app can be served targeted ads by that same business via Facebook. And let’s face it, we all just use the same number for everything right? 

 

Final Verdict. 

The tools are there. Sure you have encryption on the messages, but your iOS has no added security for archive chat. The database that stores your chats on your iPhone does not benefit from an extra layer of encryption. 

That said I don't want to start sounding like a conspiracy theorist and we should state that there has been no evidence of proven case studies of Facebook reading or using data from encrypted WhatsApp messages.

Although how can Instagram serve both myself and said 'friend' with the same Ice Cream Sponsored Post on our feeds the day after discussing it on Whatsapp? I'm sceptical. 

In April 2018 Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress and directly implied that WhatsApp chats are inaccessible to Facebook because of end-to-end encryption.

 

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS AND EXPERIENCES, COMMENT BELOW.

 

Dermot O’Leary Introduces the Earl Grey & Sandalwood Fragrance | Exclusive to M&S

Following the runaway success of Dermot O'Leary's skincare range and his first two fragrances, M&S is proud to announce the launch of the newest fragrance Earl Grey and Sandalwood, launching in June 2018. Earl Grey and Sandalwood sounds the name a working title Arthur Conan Doyle had for Sherlock Holmes and Watson. Maybe it came down to a coin toss. We'll never know. 

Dermot O'Leary launched his debut fragrances through M&S back in 2017; Bergamot & Basil and Vetiver & Cedarwood. The Earl Grey and Sandalwood is a lighter projection, appropriate for summer use. 

 

What is the bottle like?

The bottle sits square, square shoulders, square base and is transparent allowing a dip-dye effect of aqua marine to sit at the bottom. Almost the opposite to the Vetiver & Cedarwood which had a darker hue of blue at the top and faded to clear at the bottom. 

 

How does Earl Grey and Sandalwood smell? 

Earl Grey and Sandalwood opens with fresh, sparkling notes of bergamot and mandarin, leading to a heart that features aromatic earl grey tea accords and blackcurrant.

The base is composed of complimentary woody notes from galbanum, musk, cardamom, sandalwood and petitgrain, evoking sparkling high mountain streams in the heat of the summer sun.

Speaking of the collaboration and his growing relationship with M&S, Dermot commented; "There's no bond that's more quintessentially British than M&S, and I have loved working with the team there on this latest fragrance which will join the family of products we have created together. I hope everyone enjoys wearing it as much as I do".

Earl Grey & Sandalwood by Dermot O'Leary launches on 7th June 2018 online at www.marksandspencer.com and in M&S stores for £22.

Dermot O'Leary has coincided this new fragrance with the launch of his 24.hr Grooming for Men, a skincare range exclusively for M&S available in store and online. 

With many years in the entertainment business, Dermot has tested a huge variety of products and wanted to apply his learnings to create a hassle-free, affordable grooming collection of his own.

Jo Jenkins, Director of Womenswear, Beauty and Lingerie at Marla & Spencer adds: "We are absolutely thrilled to have worked with Dermot on the launch of his first grooming range for men. Recent research has shown that the male grooming market holds a great potential opportunity, and we are delighted to have partnered with Dermot as we feel both our male and female customers will really relate to him."

 

Would I buy Earl Grey and Sandalwood?

Absolutely. In a heartbeat. Dermot has got a great product on his hands here and the best thing is he isn't trying to over sell his cache. He is a public figure, he is immaculately dressed and a gentleman. Accessible, good quality and a very decent caveat for my Summer outings. 

 

 

Kilian Miami Vice | Love the Way You Taste | Fragrance Review

Ever wanted to smell like a Mojito? Who doesn't. There's no better cocktail to have on the balcony this summer than a Mojito and this fragrance, Love the Way You Taste by Killian is a perfect caveat to your summer parties. As part of their Miami Vice Collection by Killian has launched Love the Way you Taste and Love the Way you Feel. 

It's engineered to be unisex, so guys this won't be the most masculine of scents you'll be adding to your bathroom this year. That said there's plenty of perfumes out there for night wear, black tie and so on. Think of this as a more 'boat party' than 'after party' kinda fragrance. 

Straight away you'll get some peppermint, some lemon, plenty of floral freshness. Nothing is over powering, nothing is an assault. Everything is measured and gradually the heart notes of green leaves and magnolia flower seep through.

The box has an 80's Miami vibe. Broad brush strokes of red and green over white. The sort of design you'd see Charlie Sheen and Daryl Hannah squabble over in Gordon Gekko's flat in the movie Wall Street

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Kilian Hennessy composes exclusive perfume creations, which include only the finest ingredients of the highest quality. He is always in search of subtle and perfect harmonies that provide exceptional and impressive olfactory pleasures.

"My intention is to create fragrances that confer power and also seduce and provide protection. My ambition was to create perfumes that would shine with the same splendour of the early 20th century - but combined with a modern note." Kilian Hennessy

It is a slightly unusual turn for Kilian, a side step from some of the heavier perfumes they've released in the past. But this is a pleasant detour and I really dig this. As someone mentioned on one of the forums, its fragrances like these that make me hate the winter months so much. 

Both the fragrances from the Miami Vice collection are available to buy online for £185 for 50ml. 

 

The New Aston Martin DBS Superleggera | A Brute in a Suit

It's here, everyone down tools. The DBS Superleggera has arrived. From the minds of innovative image maker Nick Knight, Aston Martin’s Chief Creative Officer Marek Reichman and his team comes the new DBS Superleggera. 

 

What is an innovative image maker? 

When I first read that title I thought 'we're just making it up now aren't we?' I mean long gone are the days when you can tell someone you're a Blacksmith and you both on with your lives

Nowadays, its Content Creator, it's Senior Marketing Data Analytics Executive Secretary etc. Bring back the Sheep Shearers that's what I say. Good old fashioned titles. 

I digress. 

No I don't, I was talking about Innovative Image Makers. You want to know what that entails, just watch the video for the new Aston Martin Superleggera and ask me how it's done. That's what innovative image making brings you. 

Nick Knight is a long-standing Aston Martin owner with a passion for bold forms and striking imagery.

A true pioneer in digital photography and filmmaking, Knight combines his mastery of image-making technology with a unique eye for portraiture, still life, fashion photography and the moving image.

The film depicts shards of warped metallic objects coming together like a Thelonious Monk piano ditty. I know I bet every blogger is making the same comparison right? 

But if you listen to Thelonious play the piano he starts every song by playing the main signature riff, but cluttered with bum notes. Eventually as the song transpires, all the bum notes fall away and the melody blooms. 

It's a stunning short film and I was pleased to see some of the Aston Martin signature moves like driving up the inclines of road banks, reminiscent of the car chase down the Tiber in the James Bond movie Spectre. That Aston Martin DB10 sold for £2.4 million at auction

At the start of the process, Knight sat down with Aston Martin’s Chief Creative Officer Marek Reichman and his team for a briefing on the character and qualities of the DBS Superleggera.

‘I asked what the single key attribute of the car was,’ Knight says, ‘and the answer was ‘speed’. The DBS Superleggera is Aston Martin's flagship, a super GT that pushes the boundaries of performance and design. 'It is a brute in a suit, an unpredictable rogue.'

'Torque is such an important feature of the DBS Superleggera, it's the delivery of the power that throws you back into your seat as you accelerate,' says Reichman, 'this power is what defines the DBS Superleggera. This car is about bold, athletic muscularity.'

It certainly boasts muscularity with the 5.2-litre twin-turbo V12, tuned to produce tremendous power and immense torque for breath-taking response and extraordinary in-gear performance. 

'I believe we can look at film in a different way, throw out the linear approach and create a purely emotional way of presenting imagery,' says Knight, 'I think it’s totally appropriate for Aston Martin to trust completely in someone’s creative vision and push the boundaries.'

'Artistic collaborations bring a fresh perspective,' says Aston Martin's Director of Global Marketing and Brand Strategy Gerhard Fourie. 'Nick Knight's work is very arresting, thoroughly modern and above all, it embodies Aston Martin beauty.'

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Some Spec on the Aston Martin Superleggera

With 725PS, 900Nm of torque, a top speed of 211mph and blistering acceleration that dispatches 0-62mph in just 3.4 seconds and 0-100mph in 6.4 seconds, DBS Superleggera is a car dedicated to delivering an unforgettable driving experience and class-leading in-gear acceleration, with 50-100mph achieved in fourth gear in a mere 4.2 seconds.

Evolving innovative aerodynamic concepts first seen on the DB11 - such as the curlicue and Aeroblade - and then taking things further with an F1-inspired double-diffuser, DBS Superleggera generates 180kg of downforce at VMAX: the highest figure ever for a series production Aston Martin.

This significant increase comes with no additional drag penalty.

Supple, aromatic leather and Alcantara upholstery comes as standard, as do the Sports Plus performance seats and steering wheel.

Should anyone need a detailed spec sheet on this stunning piece of machinery leave me a comment and I'll email one through. 

Priced from £225,000 in the UK, EUR 274,995 in Germany and $304,995 in the USA, deliveries of DBS Superleggera are scheduled to begin in Q3 2018.

My Favourite High-street Tailoring Brands | Men's Style Edit

Recently I have been reading up on the history of Savile Row tailors and I think Nick Hart said it best 'Savile Row is a reminder of qualities and values that outlast and transcend depressions, recessions, fads and here-today-gone-tomorrow fashion'. However much I adore Savile Row tailors, their craftsmanship and skill I also realise that their prices are also out of reach for many Londoners.

That said my go to brand for a decent suit, on the high-street is REISS who have a large selection for suits for the masses priced at around £450-650. Another alternative is my very own Hawkins & Shepherd suits which are currently on-sale from £650 down to around £250 - a massive saving on a suit made from 100% British Wool fabric.

 

SHOP MY SUIT PICKS

Your Ultimate IGTV Guide | How to Upload Videos to IGTV on Instagram

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It's been getting a bit crazy on Instagram of late. The IGTV platform feels like it's been talked to death already and it's barely a week old. Now the proverbial dust has settled what is it all about and is it truly the game-changer everyone is making it out to be? How can you monitise it and how do you edit you videos for the IGTV vertical format?

 

I'm still unsure, what is IGTV? 

IGTV is a standalone app and one that can have integrated into your Instagram account. You can upload videos up to an hour long if you have a verified account. Although I believe there are some hacks or ways to get around this limitation for non-verified accounts.

For those minnows like you and I we will be restricted to 10 minutes. Which is plenty of time for a vertical video. (We'll talk about the vertical video problem/solution later). 

It will certainly enhance the sales of Gimbals as the jittery homemade videos will soon get tiresome, much like all the found footage movies did after The Blair Witch Project.

It will certainly separate the men from the marines when it comes to video content because you'll need to be a bit more clued in with editing, creating ideas that doesn't just involve 15 seconds of you filming yourself blowing out a birthday cake. 

Ten minutes might be a very long time for people with so few ideas. 

 

Will using IGTV benefit my business? 

You bet your ass it will. Imagine having an hour long video platform where you can demonstrate your products to your audience, of course there is also LIVE for that but let's be honest, what brands really use that? It also helps brands or Influencers who do not currently have a presence on YouTube target their audience on Instagram with more engaging video content. 

There are insights available for your IGTV video. So far IGTV insights include: Views, Likes, Comments, and Average percentage watched.

There's even a handy chart to show you the points at which video viewership increases and drops.

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How do I edit IGTV videos for a ten-minute format? 

Well this is where you need to get that big brain a'cookin’. Firstly, lets talk about the editing. As IGTV presents videos ONLY in vertical format then any new videos you shoot for IGTV should be filmed in portrait but make sure there is enough resolution left after the cropping. 

It would be great for a horizontal format to be introduced but for now make sure every time you film something with your cameras you need to keep the object in the middle of the frame. As we're the guinea pig generation for this new format then I wouldn't start hiring out film crews or studios just yet. 

I'm going to film everything on my Sony A7Sii, then import the videos to my iMAC and edit them in iMovie or FinalCut. For this demo I'll use iMovie, so this is how to create a video for IGTV from scratch:

1. Film your subject in portrait NOT landscape. Copy from your SD card to your iMac. Open iMovie, create a new project "IGTV Test" and import the video into the project. Even if you've filmed in portrait, iMovie will rotate the content to display in landscape...don't panic.

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2. On the top right-hand side in iMovie, click the "Cropping" icon, then "Rotate the clip clockwise" until your movie displays in portrait as below.

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3. Edit your video as you would normally and save to file. If you are using Airdrop to transfer the video from your iMAC to your iPhone then save in 1080p although I do believe that IGTV supports 4K resolution.

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4. Then simply open IGTV and upload your movie. Remember that on IGTV you can add URLs in the description and they become clickable links --> use this format https://www.hawkinsandshepherd.com/

I haven't had the chance to experiment with including music on the videos. Currently IG stories can be uploaded with music, (royalty and non-royalty) but posts on the home feed that contain music that require royalty fees, get taken down almost instantly. 

According to Digitial Music News it looks like Instagram is also working on layering music into Stories. This is still at the rumour stage, though monetization would likely include both background music and intentionally added clips.

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I'm a blogger/instagrammer, what are the best videos to upload to IGTV? 

I already uploaded one of me working out in KOBOX. I can imagine fitness vids and instructors making huge use out of this. 

 

FITNESS TUTORIALS

What will this do for all those fitness apps out there like Tabatas that you need to subscribe and pay for to see this kind of content? They'll need to rethink their model that's for sure. 

 

UNBOXING

We mentioned product demos but I think Unboxing videos will be great for this. Unboxing vids on the stories is tricky, and boring because it takes 15 seconds just to get the damn sellotape off. 

 

EXCLUSIVES

How about doing content that no one can get on any of your other platforms? Imagine a news release or a giveaway code for a product? 

 

Recently I thought David Haye missed a massive trick. He announced his retirement on his website with a very thorough and well thought out blog post. 

Then he just reeled it all off on an Instagram vid for those that he said 'can't be arsed to read'. I mean there's repurposing content and there's just killing all the emancipation. 

 

Why should I move over to IGTV? 

When a new platform is started, there is an opportunity for content creators to get noticed. New platforms lack content so there is a greater chance of your content getting noticed.

When it comes to bright and shiny new things people are in “exploring mode” looking for people and content to enjoy and follow. Which makes it much more likely for your content to become popular.

Also we're migrating more and more to our phones. The IG blog highlights that “by 2021, mobile video will account for 78% of total mobile data traffic" and that they’ve “learned that younger audiences are spending more time with amateur content creators and less time with professionals”.

 

How to get a kiss on the First Date - Live the Moment

No kissing on the first date Andy Garcia said in the movie Things to do in Denver When You're Dead. That's insanity! What if it's Groundhog Day and you only have one date? What if your date gets hit by a firetruck and you need to give her the kiss of life? You need to Live the Moment sometimes and go for broke. So in this article I want to share some secrets on how to get a kiss on a first date. 

Firstly, it doesn't matter if it's the last night on earth, you won't get a kiss nor anything else if you rock up to the date with toothpaste down your tie or mud on your trainers, so let's get the wardrobe element sorted first. I have a couple of staple garments that take up the 'dating wing' of the wardrobe.

I'm not sure if it's a good thing but it's constantly evolving. This week I've made some key additions that fuse that tricky line of smart/casual perfectly. You'll want to look smart, but not stiff and certainly not as if you've just come from the office, on the way to the office, or still in the office. (If you're in the office it's not a date gentleman, it's a meeting at best). 

I have recently injected some fresh looks courtesy of JacamoA Joe Browns Dylan Blazer. It has a subtle white check over a herringbone pattern. Casualise the blazer with a smart plain coloured tee underneath. The blazer has a hint of purple in it also, slightly imperceptible but it just adds texture. 

The Long Sleeve Tan polo is erring on the casual side, but the tan is a fresh colour. So many polos come in navy which is dull with indigo jeans. You just fade into the background. Style over a white oversized tee (or simply untuck your tee) and you'll get some good contrast or 'colour spacing' as the stylists like to call it. 

The Black boots are high shine, less susceptible for getting scuffed and dirtied before, during and after the date. Will also give you an extra half inch or so in height with the reinforced heel. 

 

Make sure you touch her hand during the date. 

A girl did this to me just in casual conversation once and I've never felt more electrified in my life. It was so unexpected, nothing was insinuated, it was the most natural experience I've had. I sound like I've never been touched before right? 

If her hand is on the table opposite you, lean in and cup it, give her the punchline to a joke or something natural, and then un-cup and lean back and smile. 

 

Bring up the conversation of kissing

If you've already broached the subject, then it will grease the wheels for when you go in for the kiss at the end of the date. 

Perhaps a story of how bad your first kiss was. Maybe a story of how bad you screwed up a first date kiss and it wasn't reciprocated. Laugh about it and show her you're not egotistical, you can be self-effacing and modest.

But also joke, 'the joke is really on her because I was awarded best kisser in the class of '89'. It was the only badge I got in boy scouts.' (Obviously make that gag your own). 

 

Go for Broke

You don't have to wait until the end of the date. You can just go in for a kiss anytime you want you know. I'd try and judge the chemistry and body language beforehand, but if you're getting good signals just go for it. 

It will show you're capable of being spontaneous, ballsy, works great if you're actually none of these. She'll have to rethink her whole assessment of you. You know that's how Tommy Lee pulled Pam Anderson? He just went up to her and kissed her. 

 

Point to the cheek but then go for the lips

A little misdirection and guile is needed to pull this one off and probably a little bit cheeky, so this one comes with a warning, that you have to judge the situation prior to attempting. Effectively everyone will go for a kiss on the cheek at the end. So if you go in for a kiss on the cheek but at the last second peck her on the lips it's a brilliant boyish manoeuvre.

 

Ask her

I always forget this one but it's the most blindingly obvious. She is more than likely wanting you to kiss her, but is reticent to initiate and also doesn't want to ask herself. 

So be the man, be the GENTLEman, take advantage of how polite we are as a culture and ask her if you can have a kiss. Best of luck gentlemen, let me know how you get on. 

 

SHOP MY JACAMO STYLE EDIT

*This sponsored post was created in collaboration with Jacamo UK.

David Gandy x Aspinal Aerodrome Collection Review

Aspinal of London, pioneering English brand, has joined forces with iconic British supermodel, David Gandy, to launch a design collaboration capsule that takes its inspiration from the skies of Great Britain’s heroic past. I haven't seen a man stand next to a plane and look this good since Tom Cruise released a production still from the upcoming Top Gun 2 movie. 

Firstly, you should check out the promotional video of David Gandy boasting the Aerodrome Collaboration, a comprehensive collection of 18 pieces of a modern man’s accessories and travel kit, launched to coincide with the centenary of the RAF.

Not only does the collection look great, of course David looks on the money, but the shearling coat he is wearing is sublime! I must have it David.

DAVID DAVID!! (Whispering husky voice). I can't help but do the guy from Independence Day whenever I say the name David, followed by 'I better call my lawyer, oh forget my lawyer'. 

Carl please dispense with the 90's references and talk about the Aspinal Aerodrome Collection.

But of course.

You know me I'm a sucker for a good story and the details of any garment or accessory. Here we have both. 

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There is a bag for any occasion, weekender bags, backpacks, business etc. Distinguishing features include the leather used; the same grain as a traditional pilot’s flying jacket and the lock on certain pieces is an exact copy of the Spitfire Mk I firing button.

Masculine, oiled calfskin leather in rugged chocolate or tan combines with lightweight khaki or navy canvas to offer a highly functional and desirable collection to compliment every modern wardrobe.

The price point is at the luxury end of the market, but what you're paying for is the quality of the robust stitched leather and intrinsic design details. 

The core leather used is traditional pilot’s flying jacket grain and a stunning vegetable tanned golden tan, whilst the hardware closely reflects specific key components of the plane. The lock for several pieces of the collection is an exact copy of the actual Spitfire Mk1 firing button.

Pared back military styling, robust stitched leather, the precision of aviation design and the distinctive uniforms and goggles of our brave and dapper wartime pilots have all additionally provided design inspiration for the collection in a concept created by M&C Saatchi Merlin, David Gandy and Aspinal.

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Who is the Aspinal Aerodrome Collection for? 

It's certainly catering towards the demographic with a disposable income. For men that are looking for a stylish yet practical companion for their traveling needs. Perhaps men of a certain age that will appreciate the heritage of our armed forces, the RAF in particular. 

Also business men that commute, that require a bag that can offer cable pathways, charge packs for their devices etc. It's a mini bug bear of mine that I can't find room in modern bags for a pair of trainers. We can't live in our shoes for the entire business trip. 

All the key travel bags also have tech capabilities, with tech path cables and functional pockets for gadgets. For business needs, a classic briefcase, business bag and zip folio are included in the collection, with day to day, more casual requirements taken care of with a choice of canvas or leather backpacks.

Small leather accessories including wallet, travel ID card case and key rings complete the collection, which is built to last like the Spitfire, crafted from the finest European pebble leather and robust English canvas.]

Let’s not forget the fans of David Gandy. He is one of the best British style icons we’ve had in a generation. A keen promotor of British Fashion, always championing British brands and a regular at the St James Catwalk on Jermyn Street for London Fashion Week Mens.

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About the collaboration, David Gandy added:

“I’m delighted with the 18 pieces of beautifully crafted bags and accessories form my Aerodrome collaboration with Aspinal of London. My inspiration for the design and details of the collection have been taken from the RAF Spitfire, arguably one of the greatest pieces of British engineering of all time.

All of the individual items are an extension of my own personal aesthetic where the sophisticated, subtle feel of luxury and heritage meet with modern usability and technology. I’m very proud that the attention to detail has been captured through the quality the materials as well as the finer details such as the stitching and hardware.

It feels masculine, yet functional and stylish. As a frequent flier and keen traveler, this collection is an extension of my travelling wardrobe and truly a representation of my own personal style blended with luxury heritage English design.” - David Gandy

Panasonic ER-GB80 Multi Groomer Reviewed

A few weeks back I reviewed the Panasonic i-Shaper ER-GD60 3-in-1 Trimmer. Since that review I've had countless amounts of you stopping me in the street asking when I'm going to review the ER-GB80 Multi Groomer. Well cool your jets guys because here it is! 

 

ER-GB80 Multi Groomer Reviewed

You know what it's like when you need to do the full monty of shaves, but doing the back-sack and crack regions with the same clippers you use for your face is too 90's Neil Morrissey. 

Now Panasonic has introduced the new ER-GB80 Multi Groomer, a multi-functional and easy to use trimmer with three attachments for beard, body and hair. 

The groomer has been designed with wider blades for heavy usage, narrow blades for precision trimming and offers 40 adjustment settings between 1mm and 20mm for a trim adjusted to your personal style.

The 4S-degree angled precise cutting blade is durable for even the hardest to trim hair.

The body comb attachment is a great addition to standard groomers allowing you to groom delicate areas including underarms, shoulders, legs and groin alongside both facial and head hair.

 

What are the positives of the Multi groomer? 

It's really the all-rounder for grooming clippers. Although as an all-rounder it does spread itself a little thin (pardon the pun) in some areas. For example, I've noticed I had to do a few more passes and actually found the ER-GD60 a better and closer shave for the face. 

But the ER-GB80 is smaller, lighter, a better battery life and I can keep the key areas under control if I'm away for a spell. 

The biggest distinguishing feature is that it's 100% water proof. Very handy if you're just in the shower and want to shave on the go. 

 

What are the key difference between theER-GB80 and the ER-GD60?

You get plenty more combs and attachments with the ER-GB80, 40 lengths compared to 20 lengths. ER-GB80 has a 45-degree head whilst the ER-GD60 has a rounded edge blade. 

 

Would I recommend this product? 

Yes for those that travel regularly. This is perfect for someone that might be away from home for long spells or who is living out of a number of suitcases. 

 

*This sponsored post was created in collaboration with Panasonic