The One thing All Bloggers Should be Doing Right NOW!

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What is the one thing that will drive people to your blog and get you those precious Google snippets? 

A. Infographics. Infographics have been around for ages but only recently Google has recognised that having consumable data in a chart or infographic is easier to digest visually and will actually keep people on your page for longer. 

Google wants you to have great user experience. Having great written content on your site is one thing, but having it a format that can help people understand the text in a more efficient way is priceless. 

Some examples of great infographics 

You might have seen me post this infographic on a recent blog on what makes a quality shirt. I also did a separate post on the same theme, posting quality photos of the shirt and describing the features. Can you guess what leveraged more click throughs to my website? 

Ask people to share

Check out the graphic regarding Influencer marketing at the foot of this blog. I was sent this by a PR company asking if it would be useful in any upcoming posts.

Of course I had to share this, look how great and in depth the infographic is! Also imagine trying to read all that information separately, you'd be there all day. 

The better your infographic is the more likely people will want to share it. Why not reach out to the people that are involved with the data you're trying to present and ask, 'Hey I included information about your brand/website in this Infographic, I thought you might like to see it and share it.' 

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How do I create an Infographic for free? 

You might be thinking 'I have no experience in web design. How do I design infographics?' The great news is that there are apps out there you can use for free and they're really easy to use.

The rest of this article I'm going to hand over to my friend Peter Brooker, Editor of From Tailors With Love

Make it original 

I used Infogram to help put together a playful infographic for my blog about James Bond cars. It's a great way to reimagine material and information that people might have seen a 1000 times before.

To start with I wanted to get some original data, so I posted a poll on Twitter asking 'What is your favourite movie that featured the Aston Martin DB5?'

Next Step

I then Googled four images of James Bond and the DB5, stuck them through a filter on Adobe Illustrator to make the images look original.

Everyone has seen photos of James Bond driving an Aston Martin, I find in the James Bond community people gravitate to new things rather than the same regurgitated photos that get spread and retweeted ad nauseam.

To finish 

I simply uploaded the four images to a free blank template, inserted some text and quotes that people tweeted me (including Aston Martin) and voila. The only downside to Infogram is that you can't download the graphic, you can only share links and code. 

Still if you visit my blog you might get a better idea.

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2 Killer Autumn Jackets all Men should own

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What are the best men’s Autumn Jacket on the market right now?

The two lightweight autumn jackets that I would recommend for you is the River Island Dark brown faux suede racer jacket for £70.00 and the M&S Suede Baseball Jacket for £129.

What's so great about these autumn jackets?

The River Island Autumn racer jacket is easily the best men’s autumn jacket on the market right now for price value. It's made of a faux suede fabric so you're not paying for the high end material. Yet the look is relatively indistinguishable.

It has quilted panels on the sleeve and a popper-fastened racer neck collar. Similar to that of a storm collar.

The only thing I'm not a huge fan of is the side slip zip pockets. I find putting my hands in zip pockets uncomfortable and scratches my hands. But it's an authentic look and it simply goes with anything.

A photo of the second jacket was posted recently on my Instagram page in partnership with Marks & Spencer to announce the news of their new pop up store in Soho.

One lucky winner got to win the jacket as part of a giveaway competition so make sure you're following my page as I'll be doing more posts like these.

This malleable-soft suede jacket has a regular fit, ribbed stretch cuffs and waistband to help create the classic bomber silhouette. Chunky zipper fastening and band collar. It's fully lined with a handy zipped interior pocket big enough to house a card wallet.

Why these autumn jackets works so well?

I often switch between both blue and black denim trousers. You can see in both photos that because of the dark brown and tan hues, I can wear both these jackets interchangeably. To see all the latest AW19 colour trends you should check out what's been on show at New York Fashion Week via Pinterest

They're also lightweight so NOW is the time to be wearing these jackets before the big freeze hits.

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Chester Barrie Reveal New AW19 Collection | Make Mine a Double (Breasted)

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It's always an unbridled joy to wax lyrical about Chester Barrie. Breaking news, they have just released their AW19 collection combining the sophistication of the modern world with the elegance and tradition of Savile Row.

The emphasis this season is on suits but there is a good selection of jackets, perfect for weekends as well as the office. We can cast our eyes back to the AW17 collection when Chester Barrie imbibed a whole renaissance with their immaculate double breasted jackets. 

Shapes are strong and flattering infusing premium cloth with detailed patterns and tactile finish sourced from a variety of mills, Loro Piana and Foxes Brothers being the pack leaders for this AW19 collection. 

Warm Autumn hues (not colour-ways. Colour-ways is not a word in my book. Nor is smart suiting for that matter) and subtle patterns combine to form timeless and elegant styles.

Having spoken to Pete Brooker, editor of the James Bond fashion blog From Tailors With Love, I’ve learnt corduroy is expected to explode this season after Daniel Craig was seen wearing a bloodied Massimo Alba cotton-corduroy slope suit on the set of No Time to Die.

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This will be in keeping with Chester Barrie's prophecy that corduroy is the seasonal must have. Corduroy features prominently in the AW19 collection with a selection of trousers and a jacket that are ideal for the cooler winter days.

From the super-soft corduroy jacket, made from using a mix of prime cotton and luxurious cashmere, to the sturdier cotton corduroy trousers it is a far cry from college lecturer cord of years gone by.

Although I still think the college lecturer cord is still a strong look. Rocking the corduroy jacket on campus will have the other lecturers get up and place their pens on your table like that scene from A Beautiful Mind (one of my favourite films ever!)

Have you seen inside Chester Barrie recently? They had a refurbishment late last year. They were the first tailor on Savile Row to have a virtual interactive 3D scan, allowing their long distance customers to feel a part of the brand's community.

It's further prove that Chester Barrie is a forward thinking menswear tailor, with one eye on its heritage, the other on consumer experience, and it's third eye (the all seeing eye) on sustainable fabrics and future trends.

From the sumptuous Prince of Wales check suit (also available as a three piece) to the Melange Texture Suit crafted in an exquisite cloth and completed with peaked lapel and extra ticket pocket, this a collection designed to help men look their best.

For jackets the stand-out piece is a double-breasted baby camel jacket though the Hopsack Donegal Jacket, which uses different coloured yarns and a mix of cashmere and silk to give it extra dimension, is also a contender.

And finally, a note on Chester Barrie’s sophisticated range of Sea Island cotton shirts: their lightweight, cashmere-like feel and simple elegance are the perfect foil to Chester Barrie’s sophisticated tailoring.

Collections are priced from £499-£1500 depending on what you're buying. 

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How to Make The Most of Your Suit | One Suit Styled Formal to Casual

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In my recent video 'Burgundy Suit Five Ways' I gave some suit styling tips on how to dress a suit up formerly and down casually. A purple or burgundy suit might not be the go-to colour for office wear. Whilst purple is becoming more mainstream, voted colour of the year in 2018 by Pantone, it's still too ostentatious for regular 9-5. 

However, it's ideal for a date night, maybe a special event or if you're attending a wedding as a guest. 

The suit I've chosen is an Austin Reed London which you can procure from their made to measure service. They now do fittings door to door. I've also done a recent review of that service on blog which you can read about here

In this video, I've styled a burgundy suit from Austin Reed London 5 different ways. I've tried to show how you can style the suit smart as well as casually. How you can wear the burgundy blazer with a pair of black jeans, so it's all about making the most out of your suit...not just for smart occasions but also going out for a night out.

LOOK 1:

The smartest version. I've used my Hawkins & Shepherd blue and white cutaway collar shirt to give the look some lift. However, the key element here is the wine red college stripe silk tie Hammond & Co. by Patrick Grant. I think this tie is an absolute bargain at £22, considering how much you pay for silk ties elsewhere. (Turnbull and Asser charge 5 times that much). 

The college look has a preppy vibe, but also gives off a subliminal 'man that knows something about something' aura. This look would be great for a race day event. Maybe a dinner at the members club. Purple is a colour associated with wealth and this styling looks like you belong in Home House baby. 

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LOOK 2:

If you're not wanting to go super-smart, conscious that you might be overdressed, then simply notch it down a few with this look. I've dispensed with the shirt and tie but kept the look and the tones clean with a black roll neck jumper from Marks & Spencer. 

Again a very accessible price at just under £40. Available also in Navy and Plum. But the black offers contrast and will be perfect for those nippy Autumn morning commutes. 

It's also a great business casual outfit. I've worn this to a couple of client meetings and it puts everyone at ease. 

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LOOK 3:

How about this bobby dazzler. This is a great date night look. I've opted for one of my own Hawkins & Shepherd button down shirts without a tie. It's fitted and feels great. It's a great way to bring a casual element to a smart look without looking like I've just clocked off. 

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LOOKS 4 & 5:

Now we're getting into the last of the casual stylings. I consider this look a perfect 'meet and greet' style. Maybe a look you'd wear to the cinema, perhaps even down to the pub. I've swapped out the trousers for some ASOS black jeans and introduced some M&S white trainers. 

This is a good strong look for you gentleman who don't feel comfortable wearing suits, but want to start dressing with a smarter, with a bit more intent. 

You can check out all the links to the products I've worn in the bio in the video. If you like this video please give it a thumbs up and subscribe, it will encourage me to do more.

Spice Blend by Maison Christian Dior | Fragrance Review | The All Rounder We've Been Waiting For?

Today I'm going to give you some initial thoughts on the new fragrance from Maison Christian Dior, Spice Blend. The name is terrible. Sounds like two keywords dreamt up by a PR machine that have spent all day deciphering what people punch into Fragrantica. 

But that's all the nasty words I have for Spice Blend as I'm enraptured with this scent. From the nose of Francois Demachy, Dior's perfume creator, (who remarked upon this as being a nostalgic creation) Spice Blend is marketed as a signature scent, simultaneously fresh and fiery. 

The opening notes are very peppery. It has a knockout opening, like Tyson coming out for round one, swinging. Blistering. The fusion of rum and ginger feels slightly boozy yet exotic. It's catchy, its invitational, it's also a bit suspicious. Like going a second date with a girl, whom on the first date, confessed she's a Russian spy with orders to kill you. 

It has a middle of coriander, nutmeg and cinnamon, which sweetens on the dry down. This gives this underpinning of sweet and spice, an elegant and sophisticated mix. It did envelope me. It did make me question, what am I going to do with this fragrance? 

How can I categorise this? Section it off, box it up. We all need genres, we all need a certain taxonomy to help us identify who we are. This could be a signature scent but it has too much of an uppercut for a height-of-summer fragrance. 

That said, the piquancy of Spice Blend is a real joy to experience. If you like Tuxedo by YSL then this is in that ball park. I think the luxury and the spice element is closer to Ambre Noit, also in the Dior collection. 

It's available now for £200 for a 125ml bottle. Ask for a sample from your local stockist. It's available on their website

Men's Wedding Style | What to wear as a guest to a Winter Wedding

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Hello everyone. Today I'm going to bring some suggestions on what one could wear to a Winter Wedding here in the UK is 9 degrees centigrade, 5 degrees Fahrenheit. 

So I'd suggest a 3 piece suit and an over coat. Bear in mind that all these looks are just my opinion coming from a viewpoint of what I would wear. 

I'm not looking to subtract any eyeballs away from the groom. Yet at the same time I'd like to distinguish myself from the other guests. The fit will need to be perfect so planning is key. Don't leave it until the last week to get measured for a suit because last minute alterations might be required. 

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JUMPERS BENEATH SUITS

Having a V-Neck sweater in place of a waistcoat is a great idea. On a quick Google search I've picked out some interesting looks for you to consider. 

I really like all the looks in the slide below, only the middle one would not be appropriate for a wedding. Consider wearing a roll-neck throughout the duration of the day. You might want to take a jacket off during reception or at the dinner. Not wearing a shirt and tie at the dinner table of a wedding is unforgivable. 

The look on the left is more conservative than the dandy on the far right. But both would be more suitable for a winter wedding than the one in the middle. 

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THE ROYAL WAY 

Admittedly the wedding between Meghan Markle and Prince Harry was in May, not a Winter month. However, a traditional long morning dress, tailcoat, 3 x 6 double breasted waistcoat and trousers works perfectly for all seasons. You can go for a heavier fabric on the coat should you wish. 

Prince George you'll notice has double reverse pleated trousers probably from Gieves and Hawkes. Prince Harry and David Beckham have gone for flat front trousers. Becks has a tighter fit and a lower rise for a modern style. Doesn't Victoria look a knockout? 

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THE EMERGENCY OVERCOAT

Having a camel cashmere overcoat will be the true Excalibur of your winter wedding outfit. It's light enough that you won't sweat away and protective enough to keep you from freezing in a cold non-heated English church in early December. 

What's best is that this Cashmere Camel overcoat is not only half price but interchangeable with almost any colour suit. From burgundy, to navy, to black or blue, this coat will have you looking fine through all the seasons and ceremonies. 



How to Get Traffic to Your Blog in 2019

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Notice the title? How to Drive Traffic to Your Blog - The Tricks you should all be doing! It's a title that invites you to click, without being overly clickbait-y. Titles are just one of the ways to drive traffic to your blog. 

Here are some things you should definitely be doing before writing a blog post. 

Is the question a relevant and popular one? And do you have answer? 

One way to determine if your blog post is going to popular or not is to type the question into Google and see if the predictive text finishes the sentence. For example I typed in How to drive traffic to .. and it populated the words below. Which means people are asking Google the same question over and over. 

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Now if you scroll to the bottom of the page you'll also see the related searches. You should be covering all those elements in your blog post. Hitting as many keywords as possible, but importantly providing a definitive answer. This is not going to be a definitive blog on how to drive people to your website, just a simple checklist of tricks you should all know before writing your post. 

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Have you got Original Research Statistics and Data? 

We all know that backlinks is a great way to drive people to your website. But why would anyone backlink to one of your blogs?

ANSWER: IF you had original definitive data. (ODA). People like have their arguments backed up by statistics. By irrefutable facts. Let’s say you’re trying to prove that the price of a bespoke suit has escalated way beyond the price of inflation since the 1960’s. You could spend hours on the internet trying to cobble together a case based on fragments of information. The result will be derivative, confabulated and probably inconclusive.

You could also spend an hour on the phone calling up ten tailors and asking what they charged for a bespoke suit in the 60’s. And you do it like this..

“Hi I’m Carl, I’m doing an editorial on the price difference of bespoke suits in the past fifty years. I’d love to include you in the article and link to your site, could you spare a minute to help me out?”

Or something like that.

Do that with ten different tailors, they might even give you more answers to other questions and then after an hour you’ll have an ODA that people would want to reference.

How many times do you include hyperlinks to studies to back up your articles?

Original Infographics

Pick up a copy of Time Out Magazine, it’s free at most tube stations. Leaf through the articles and ask yourself, why does this look so damn good.

The illustrations are fantastic that’s why. They’re original, colourful and you’re lured in against your will.

How about this site FansOfJamesBondOnly. These guys are onto something with original illustrated graphics in their thumbnails. The site looks beautiful. I’m sure they’re putting stock images through an illustrated filter, but boy does it work.

This is something I’ve tried recently in an article What Makes a perfect Shirt.

You’re crap at drawing? Too time consuming? My friend Pete Brooker is on to something over on his blog. Just get a bunch of tracing paper and draw around some stock images and pencil in the rest. It’s different. It’s unique. If you want to know how to increase blog traffic then having unique content on your site is key.

Pull in Some Favours

The way I see it, everyone knows someone involved in digital marketing. It might be someone that’s involved in graphic design. Or someone that specialises in SEO.

This could be an old friend you’ve not spoke to in a while. Start liking a few of their posts on social media. Follow up a week later with a text saying they should catch up on a call.  

Then just ask them to help you out.

Explain

My website isn’t getting any traffic and I don’t know what’s going on. Can you take five minutes and take a look? I did this to 3 of my friends and they all gave me some sound advice to my blog.

One installed a defer images plugin that increased the traffic speed of my website. Google is using traffic speed as a metric on whether they want to send traffic to your page.

Another told me to increase my photo/text ratio on my homepage as Google likes to see some text so users have more of an understanding of what’s going on. I lengthened out the blurbs on my blogs snippets and we’ll see what the results are going to be.

We all get by with a little help from our friends. Just try and offer them something in return. That’s it for this one. If you have any other tips on how to drive blog traffic leave a comment in the box below.




Worthy of Bond | Brands We'd Like to See James Bond Wear

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What brands are synonymous with the cinematic James Bond? Typically they'd be British. They'd be handmade but ultimately, they'd be luxurious and denote quality. 

Today I want to talk about the brands Worthy of James Bond. I had a long chat with my friend Peter Brooker who has just launched a brand new website dedicated towards the style of James Bond, From Tailors With Love

He has also started a hashtag #worthyofbond highlighting brands he deems worthy of being in the franchise. Using brands from that Hashtag we cobbled a list together and welcome your thoughts and suggestions in the comment box below. 

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HEMINGSWORTH

A relative new comer to the fashion industry but already making some serious waves. Hemingsworth started making tailored swim shorts for gentleman looking to look stylish in and out of the pool. 

Manufactured and designed in the UK and of course modelled by my good friend Peter Brooker who surely must be in the running for a casting call by EON himself someday? 

Didn't Lazenby start out as an underwear model? 

SMYTHSON 

The heritage Bond Stationary and leather goods brand founded in 1887. Influential figures from Sigmund Freud to Sir Winston Churchill, recognised the timeless purity of their goods so why not add Bond to that list. 

Bond has used Louis Vuitton luggage before when he visited Chateau Chantilly in A View to a Kill. More recently he carries a Globe-Trotter Original Brown suitcase in SPECTRE.

I think Bond could mix it up a little. Surely a man with as many stamps in his passport as Bond would have some back-up luggage for worst case scenarios. 

LONDON SOCK CO 

As worn by Daniel Craig so I'm lead to believe. You may have also heard me wax lyrical about the London Sock Co company in a previous article on my blog. 

It's a great gifting item because you can record a 60 second video (displayed within the box) that will make you feel like a super spy. 

OLIVER SPENCER 

Oliver Spencer offers great casual wear, and features UK design with around 40% of the collection is made in England. I think Bond would have championed his plucky spirit, abandoning his education in favour of opening a stall at Portobello Market. The kind of entrepreneurial spirit on which this country was founded. 

HAWKINS AND SHEPHERD 

And lastly but leastly! Whilst we're talking about entrepreneurial spirit. Whilst we're talking luxury and British design? My Hawkins & Shepherd shirts are made of the finest quality cotton. With some of my new range being a mix of cashmere and cotton. 

I do a range of Tab Collar shirts, a look favoured by Daniel Craig in the photos we saw when Prince Charles went to visit him at the Pinewood Studios. Make sure to check out the video I did with my friend and co-host of the From Tailors With Love podcast Pete Brooker on what makes a quality shirt. (You might find an amazing discount code tucked away in the show notes). 

Sauvage Parfum by Dior | Fragrance Review

Before I crack on with the Sauvage Parfum by Dior review, let me set the table with a quick history of the releases so far. Sauvage EDT (Eau de Toilette) was released in 2015. The EDP (Eau De Parfum) version was released in 2018 and we have the latest Sauvage Parfum.

I wish perfume companies would name their fragrances like Fred the Weather names his hurricanes. There is no doubt in my mind that Dorian is happening right now off the coast to the Bahamas. I haven't confused it with other category five hurricanes like Hurricane Carla, that hit Texas in the 60's. 

Spread the names out a little. 

We'll skip past the fact that the latest advert for Sauvage Parfum has been axed after it was accused to be racially insensitive to Native Americans. Which it's not by the way. 

I always like to start the reviews by giving you an idea of what to look out for, according to the press release. 

From the press release: 

For 2019 Dior presents Sauvage Parfum. Composed by Francois Demachy, Dior Perfumer-Creator, this enriched variation pushes the limits, amplifying the signature freshness and crafting new contours. 

Leading with a zesty whirlwind of bergamot and notes of pulpy mandarin, cardamom and Elemi, the addictive complex of Sauvage Parfum reveals entrancing notes of dry amber core, Virginia cedar and Sri-lankan sandalwood. 

Sauvage Parfum offers extreme freshness coloured with warm oriental-style hues and evocative oriental notes. Adding touches of colour, Sauvage Parfum is highly concentrated with an intoxicating scent, delivering new depths and a palette of contrasts. 

From what I've gathered by following various perfume forums and talking to my people at Dior, the signature bergamot that was used in the original Sauvage is now mixed with a juicier mandarin.

Which might explain why this updated version has a less scabrous dry-down than the EDP. Others have referred to that as the shower-gel tones. I don't think it was quite that bad. Although it does depend on the quality of shower gel you use. 

It's certainly more refined. It does sit closer to the skin and the background is overall very inviting. It wants you to come in and play around with the layers. Price wise it comes in around the same as the Beau de Chanel perfume. So it's towards the high end, which might be too rich for someone that's just after the Parfum as a flanker to the EDT and the EDP. 

But for DIOR nuts, I'd say there's plenty of reason to invest in this. It's a more broodier scent. Darker, smoother, perfect for the upcoming winter months. 

Do You Have it in You? Dreaming Big With PokerStars

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Anyone checking out my stories on Instagram can see I've become massively immersed into the world of Poker out here in Barcelona. However, you might want to know how to start small and work your way up. At all times gamble responsibly and be mindful this is not a shortcut to fame and riches. But of course you should always dream big! 

For example you might be interested to check out my interview with Kalidou Sow. Here is a gentleman that was a needle starting at zero going the other way, then he got his life back on track, started playing poker with friends, worked his way up through the ranks and is now an ambassador for PokerStars. 

Some people just have it in them. You might have it in you! You can get involved from as little as £2.99 and join an unforgettable experience worth over £8,150. 

The EPT Barcelona Main Event has broken the attendance record once again. With 1,988 entries to date, the 2019 edition has surpassed last year's then-record field of 1,931 entries. 

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I was surprised how few women there are taking part in these tournaments as there is a real sense of community within PokerStars. It's refreshing to see that people can be so accommodating and friendly, whilst remaining focused on the task at hand.

The conversations aren't always about poker too. A lot of people were here with friends and family, sharing stories of their travels, recommending museums and restaurants. It's an international stage and it gives so many people the chance to experience new things. 

As part of my research for a previous post on What Life lessons can poker teach us? I tuned in to many of the philosophies that Annie Duke, professional poker player and author of the book Annie Duke: How I Raised, Folded, Bluffed, Flirted, Cursed, and Won Millions at the World Series of Poker.

Jesus that's a massive title for a book. Luckily it's great and I recommend it even if you're not a poker player yourself. 

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SO HOW DO I START? 

You can start by losing yourself on the PokerStars website. There you’ll find more tournaments and games than any other poker site, with 24/7 support, secure deposits and fast withdrawals. There is a game starting every second and if you've taken two minutes to read this you've already missed.... er....wait a sec.. 120 games. (Phew). 

You can start playing for free with Play Money until you build enough confidence to play for money and work your way up the ranks. You'll also find rules and hand rankings for Texas Hold'em, Omaha and other poker games.

It's been a real blast being out here and I can't thank PokerStars enough for the invitation. I'll be looking to get some games going when I return home so drop me a line or a comment if you'd be interested in joining. 

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Outfit of the Day | Smart Tailoring

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For anyone looking to get into smart tailoring, take a look at the following combination that I'm currently enjoying. I was recently asked in an interview by Vuelio for my favourite go-to outfit and I instantly gravitated towards this. 

The flannel double breasted suit is from Suit Supply and I've had this in my locker for close to 4 years now. It's a flannel wool so has that nice texture to it. Close up you can see it's almost a marl sky blue, with some fleck which from a distance gives it that two tone look. 

It's double breasted but I like to wear it open. Because the jacket is reasonably short, almost like a peacoat, and the fabric is light it drapes well open. When it's closed it's a 2x6 construction and I have the sleeves cut to a modern length so the cuffs can pull through. 

The shirt is one of my own, a Hawkins & Shepherd Blue Stripe Luxury Shirt made from 100%c Soyella Duecento cotton. The cuffs you can see are mitred which gives it a little extra. I love how the blues marry between the shirt and the suit jacket. 

I've kept the pattern on the tie simple so not to interrupt the visuals. A Deep silk navy polka dot tie done in a four in hand. 

It's a look that you can pull off in client meetings, event dinners or even on first dates. I wouldn't personally wear it on a first date as it looks more business than smart casual. Depending on the setting of course. 

I've also modernised the look by wearing ankle socks. This shows off the tailoring of the trouser and breaks up the darkness. You could even where light or stone coloured khakis with this double breasted jacket for a nautical look. I once toyed with the idea of changing the buttons over to brass, but never got round to it. 

Someday maybe. 

SHOP THE LOOK

A Look Inside the Poker Mastermind of PokerStars 2019 Ambassador Kalidou Sow

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Today I had the pleasure of sitting down and talking to Kalidou Sow at the European Poker Tour (EPT) Barcelona, Poker Player extraordinaire and PokerStars ambassador. His backstory can be an inspiration to all of us. How sometimes we all have to rebrand. Hit rock bottom and start clawing your way to the top. 

Kalidou Sow was a former Basketball athlete with a promising career in the NBA ahead of him. An injury cut that career short, before it really began. This lead to a downward  spiral of clubs, excess and nihilism. 

It all reached a head one night when Kalidou crashed his car on the way back from a club after falling asleep at the wheel. The man who came out of the wreckage knew it was time to change his ways. 

He started playing poker with friends in small tournaments and gradually broke through the ranks of the Parisian poker circle. Today he is a force to be reckoned with and I got the chance to sit down and talk life, poker and croissants. 

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Kalidou Sow you're now a PokerStars ambassador. How does that rate in terms of your achievements in poker?

It's amazing for me. People come up to me and ask for my photo, it's crazy because I haven't changed. 

How do you juggle everyday life with the demands of poker? 

It's not easy when you play poker, it’s better to be a single man. I'll play an event for days ten days, then I go home. When I'm home it's family time. No poker.  

How many hours do you practice? 

I play with my instinct. I don't practice but I do watch other players. 

Do you have a personal style when you're at the table? Is style important to you? 

Before I had a son I used to go shopping a lot. Style used to be very important to me, but not as much anymore. 

Your favourite Casino? 

Bellagio in Vegas.

Sunglasses Kalidou, talk to me. Sometimes you wear them at the table other times not. How come and do you agree with sunglasses being allowed period? 

It’s important to do what you want. Sometimes I wear sunglasses to mask my expression. You don't see nothing. I'm neutral. When I'm more relaxed I won't wear glasses.  

But sunglasses or no sunglasses, I'm very focused and nothing disturbs me. 

Do you have any tips for someone looking to get into poker? 

Yes watch a lot of videos and streaming. If you watch all the players, you'll learn something. Something different from each one. You'll make many mistakes and you'll learn from them. Keep thinking about the game you played afterwards. Have a debrief. What did you do right, wrong etc? You have to evolve. It's not bad to make a mistake, but its criminal to make the same mistake twice. 

And let’s just say I'm on the poker table for the first time, what should I do? 

Know where your weaknesses are. Don't take a lot of risks. You must play the best hands. If you're just starting out go with your guts. Your impulse. You must have confidence, if you don't I'll take advantage of you. 

Photo Credit PokerStars and Neil Stoddart

The 3 Massive Life Lessons to Take From Poker

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Today I'm going to share some thoughts and research on the world of Poker, and what life lessons we can learn from the game of poker. 

If you've seen my Instagram stories you'll know I've teamed up with PokerStars who are the proud sponsors of this blog. They've kindly invited me over to Barcelona to join an event and I'll be cracking wise and learning all about the psychology of Poker with some of the best players in the world. 

WHAT CAN POKER TEACH ME? 

What are the mental benefits from playing Poker? Everyone knows that exercising the brain is good for longevity. It's why we're encouraged to do Crossword puzzles the more we get older. 

I've discovered the same can be said about Poker. There are life-lessons that you can take from the game of poker. 

ACCEPT SOME BAD LUCK 

You could be an amazing poker player. Imagine you're the best poker player on the table and you've calculated the odds that the hand you're holding has a 99% chance of winning. 

The person across from you wins, through fluke luck. That 1% didn't go your way.

Lesson 1:

You sometimes have to accept that you don't lose to the better person but you lose to lady luck. 

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COMPARTMENTALISE 

When you win at poker you're the best and smartest in the room. When you lose it was because you had crap cards all night. How many times have you heard that or told yourself that? 

You have to be able to admit your faults. Maybe you didn't play those crap cards as well as you should have? Maybe you waiting too long for the right hand, not doing enough with what you were given? 

Lesson 2: 

Admit your faults and don't rush to pat yourself on the back when you win. Even when you win, think on how you could have improved. 

THE GREAT STUDY OF OTHERS

This is a game unlike any other. You have what is known in the trade as an immediate feedback loop. Meaning on average, each hand of poker lasts 2 minutes. You can learn something about peoples behavioural patterns every two minutes. 

Was someone too impetuous to raise? Did someone go all in an attempt to bully their way out of trouble? Is someone averting their eyes, uneasy, unsure? 

Lesson 3: 

Watch people’s reactions. How do people react under pressure and what does that say about their mental state? How do you handle stress and what facade can you create to help shield your emotions? People watching, not naval gazing. So much more fun. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outfit of the Day | My Signature Autumnal Style

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What is your go-to Autumn outfit? If you're looking down the road once we pass the summer heatwave for some Autumn menswear ideas then here is my signature look. 

The 'blogger approved' key to layering articles will be hitting your feeds very shortly. I'm looking to get out in front with this look. 

First it's the Hawkins & Shepherd Camel Cashmere coat, currently half price on the website. This coat has been a staple piece in my Autumn wardrobe for the past three years. It's interchangeable, it's light and it's perfect for those slightly chilly months on the run up to Winter. 

Underneath I'm rocking a faded denim shirt by Zara. This brings out a wonderful contrast, not only colour but in texture. The shirt has the worn in look, whilst the coat looks brand new (although it's three years old).

The Autumn look has to have something earthy, something honest. The black Superdry jeans and tee, are fairly run of the mill but keeps the look clean. 

I do have distressed jeans, knee blow outs and honeycomb stacks, but that would have been too much of a clash, I didn't want anything to break the lines of this aesthetic. It may look simple, but it's a classy look. 

Take a look at the watch. It's a Rotary GMT Henley with the red/blue Pepsi Cola bezel. The chain strap gives it the verisimilitude of a dress watch, which upgrades the entire look. Same with the Ray-Bans. 

Let me finish by waxing lyrical about these Dr Martens. Don't they look supreme? They are the Cherry Red Vegan 1460's Boot and unlike most men’s boots, don't need to be worn in. Normally I like to hire one of my lackeys to break in my boots for me to save the blisters. (Only joking). 

They are currently available for £130 and I can't recommend them enough. The colour is tailor made for autumn wear and they bring a real classy yet street finish-vibe to my Autumn look. 



SHOP THE LOOK

 

The Fashion Hero | Why I've Decided to be a Part of This Movement

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Today I want to officially announce my involvement as a mentor in the upcoming TV series The Fashion Hero. The Fashion Hero is a TV series filming in South Africa next year, the theme is centred around influencers who promote positivity, diversity etc. 

These influencers will get paired with mentors who will offer advice and frame their narrative. I'll be giving their platform a boost and bringing general awareness to all the good work they're doing in promoting mental health. 

As Steve McQueen always used to say, when you take something you need to give a little bit back. The world of social media has been very good to me. It's now time for me to pay it forward for the youngsters coming through. 

There is still an opportunity for you to get involved and be selected. This goes out to all those people that have also hit me up recently complaining that they can't get their accounts off the ground. That the Instagram algorithm has knocked them off their perch. 

Instagram especially is something that's always shape-shifting on us. Soon they might be doing away with the 'likes' and it will level out the playing field for a lot of people. 

If you want to get your head above the parapet, it's going to take more than just emailing brands your media deck. You might have to start door knocking, the old fashioned way. 

Picking up the phone more, writing about brands for the love of it. Rather than the endorsement cheque. 

That's why I'm daring you to get involved with The Fashion Hero. 19 million people have already hit the website and 66,000 contestants have already signed up for their chance to be on the show. 

If you're selected you get the chance to go over to South Africa and more importantly, by being part of The Fashion Hero movement and TV series, you will become a role model for future generations. 

The future is what you make said the Doc, so make it a good one. 

My Sniph Wardrobe | A Different Scent for Every Occasion

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been slowly introducing you to the Swedish fragrance discovery service brand SNIPH, where you can explore the world of scents. You can read all about how the discover service works and my trip to Stockholm to meet the founders, here.

In a nutshell it is a monthly fragrance discovery service. They cater for men’s, women’s and unisex perfumes so this is truly something for everyone.

This time around I want to walk you through what fragrances I suggest wearing for different occasions.

It's one of the most asked questions I get when reviewing fragrances. 'Can I wear this scent to work?' or 'What fragrance should I wear on a date?' You see each scent has its own character.

If I were to use a football analogy you can't switch your best defender and your striker and expect them to do each other’s job as proficiently. (Putting Des Walkers last minute goal for Nottingham Forest versus Luton on January 1st 1992, aside).

For those that are looking to sign up to SNIPH (USE CODE HAWKINS25 FOR 25% OFF) and I can thoroughly recommend the value and the quality of the products.

IN THE MORNING - BERLIN by GALLIVANT

Fresh and zingy top notes of grapefruit, clementine, lemon and schinus molle CO2 extract. A spicy heart containing black pepper and black tea and woody, earthy undertones of Haitian vetiver, cedarwood and patchouli.

It has a real zip to it. I now start the day with one minute under a cold shower, instil some grit and have the body and mind battle ready. Two coffee's, black. Followed by a small spray of Berlin by Gallivant.

IN THE GYM BAG - BSX by OPTICO PROFUMO

It's the locker room scent that I've been dreaming of. It has just the right amount of freshness and mystery that makes me leave the gym on a high.

It's primarily an aqua fragrance so I feel enlivened and invigorated. Not overly complex, not too ambitious. It's sleek and the stripped down bottle design makes it very easy to carry around. Perfect travel accessory. Try this scent via SNIPH.

DATING - MASSAI MARA by BERDOUES 

It's what I like to call the punisher. When you wear the jacket that makes you feel bulletproof. You've hit the barbers a few hours earlier and your breath smells fantastic.

Now it's just the fragrance that is going to help you get that deal over the line. Massai Mara by Berdoues is a very exotic and intriguing scent. With subtle honey notes, blue camomile from Egypt - Labdanum from Spain - Buchu from South Africa.

It's incredibly hypnotic, it makes me feel like I'm bringing my A-game and it's so esoteric, even if the date doesn't get me the result I want, I know I've left a lasting memory.

URBAN NIGHT OUT - NORDIC CEDAR by MAYA NJIE

And how about that voyage into the unknown? For me it could be a press event in unfamiliar settings. It could be a photo shoot for a casual outfit. Or just a night on the tiles in the centre of town,

My go-to for this would be Nordic Cedar by Maya Njie. It's spicy, it's warm. It's reassuringly herbaceous and irrepressibly masculine. Soft Musk and notes of amber sit as a foundation in this warm and piquant fragrance.

Discover a new scent every month, delivered to your door for just £14 a month. No hidden costs. See SNIPH for details and use discount code HAWKINS25 for 25% off.

 

Manual.co | Skin Care Review and Men's Health Tips

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Today I'm going to introduce you to a brand called Manual.Co, a company that actively promotes awareness for Men's Health. They've forwarded on some products for review so we'll take a look at that, some surrounding themes and Men's Health facts. 

Manual.Co have a mandate! They look empower men with solutions and provide education to proactively own their well-being.

When it comes to the face we have to our skin we sometimes forget that the human organ accounts for 15% of our body weight. It's the largest organ on the body and it's nuts to even think that we're encased in an organ right? 

The Manual.Co Skin Kit stars Mr Moisturiser - 100 ml and a Wrinkle Warrior - 50 ml.

A note on the website also. It's very easy to navigate, some compelling articles that will teach you about skin care. There are plenty of articles on Men's Health Online but this is definitely one to book mark.

THE SCIENCE IN THE PRODUCTS

The Wrinkle Warrior is composed from Coenzyme Q10. Never heard of this? Me neither. It's a compound that regenerates the skin’s energy and protects it against premature ageing.

MORE SCIENCE

Mr Moisturiser contains natural biopolymers. For personal care products biopolymers offer many functional benefits. More on those benefits here. How about we talk about the products?

THEY FEEL GOOD ON THE SKIN

The packaging is solid, sleek minimalist, un-fussed. My face does get rejuvenated in the morning and I like the overall style and ethos of the brand. 

Other Mens Health Forums: I want to give a shout out to my friend and comrade Darren Branch who has just released his website and this Vlog on the highs and lows of social media. 

I've also written a lot of content around Men's Health, a big one you should dive into is on the research I did on how to manage stress

Clinique For Men | Maximum Hydrator Eye 96-Hour Hydro-Filler Concentrate Review

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If you're like me then you're constantly asking yourself two questions. How do I reduce under eye bags and wrinkles? Can I legally register my fists as weapons?

Today I'm going to focus on the former and coincide that with a look at the all new Maximum Hydrator eye 96 hour hydro filler concentrate from Clinique For Men.

I loathe my under eye bags and constantly by drinking plenty of water to release the high salt concentration in the area. 

I'm also interrogating brands beauty bloggers on tips on good ways to remove eye bags. 

The Clinique For Men Maximum Hydrator is a light water-gel that helps eye-area skin replenish its own moisture using Auto-Replenishing Lipid-Sphere Technology.

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Sounds good right? 

Well maybe not as cool as putting cool green tea bags under your eyes first thing in the morning. (Yes I have tried that. Apparently it’s the cool temperature that helps reduce eye bags. That's why you have people doing the whole cucumber thing). 

What's the science behind it? 

Auto-Replenishing Lipid-Sphere Technology with pure aloe butter helps rebuild skin’s lipid barrier to minimise moisture loss while encapsulated antioxidants break the cycle of environmental stress that can lead to premature ageing.

Does it work? 

I've been using it for a couple of weeks now and I'm starting to notice some difference. My eyes look a little less dark and my skin under my eyes has more of a glow. 

If you're looking to remove the bags under your eyes entirely then that's going to take surgery. That's a separate blog entirely. 

Do men find under eye bags ugly? 

Whilst most of the advice in this blog I've cobbled together from female researchers. The best one telling me I should just separate egg whites and rub those into my skin. AMAZING! 

However, to finish I want to tell you ladies, that men don't really give two hoots about your wrinkles or bags under your eyes. 

Think about it

Ladies when you're sizing up guys coming toward you on the street, you check out their height first, their general appearance (not got muddy shoes or carrying an axe) then it's looks and swagger. 

Same with guys. Check out this scene in the movie Shame where the guy at the bar is explaining to a girl at the bar that he has an amazing eye for detail. She then closes her eyes and proceeds to ask what colour they are. He fails. 

Why? 

It's not on the top of our list. We're more consumed with how we're coming across in the conversation. Figuring out what we can say next so we don't look like dumbasses. And talking of asses, we're probably looking at yours in a reflection somewhere. We're guys. We're not complex, we're easily distracted. 

Blogger Advice: Don't say yes to everything (take the money & lose your audience)

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Today I'm going to open up about some of the brands I've had to turn down and why. When people ask me for tips on how to be a blogger or influencer, I immediately tell them not to bother. I don't need extra competition right now. 

Only joking. 

The best advice I can give to anyone starting a blog is don't sell out. Make everything align with your brand, your style, your moral code, no matter the price. I built a pirate ship from nothing, back when blogging shipbuilding industry was barely a thing. 

I have established relationships with numerous PR companies and I get approached regularly to endorse products. The good ones that I'm happy to wax lyrical about get the good coffee when they come to my place. Others get the decaf, some don't get invited in. I'm not sure if that analogy works, hopefully you get the idea. 

Here are some brands that don't get invited in. 

OPPO SUITS 

A friend of mine offered a handsome price for a couple of hours work in London, posing for OPPO SUITS street style. 

I should say for clarity this was not OPPO SUITS that approached me, I've never had any contact with them personally. Whilst I appreciate that OPPO SUITS has its place in the world, has its audience, it has no place on my back (deep referential sniff). 

These suits are party pieces. Novelty items. Fine for fancy dress or if you're Keith Lemon. However, I think it would be quite jarring for people to find me in this kind of get up. 

CBD OIL BRANDS

I'm not sure if these offers started to flood in because I published my research on CBD oil back in the day. I'm guessing it's an ever increasing industry, it has a slush pit of funds and it’s trying to gain traction into the lifestyle genre. 

I'm just dubious about endorsing anything medicinal. I would never seek out CBD oil personally. I'm not curious about it. Having someone write me a cheque to try it, feels like a science experiment. There are plenty of bloggers that take CBD oil. I've watched a lot of reviews, good reviews. But it's not for me. 

DIET PILLS 

I don't like the message. I want people to get off their ass and move more. I want them to pay more attention to what they eat, their calorie intake and appreciate that your body is something that doesn't like to be cheated. 

Now hand me that flask of coffee. 

 Seriously. I'm not having a go at people that struggle with their weight, I would rather them take up a cardio activity and appreciate what it takes to stay athletic. To stay healthy. Do you think it would look right for me to advertise Diet Pills after a KOBOX session? 

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DIET TEA/COFFEE

I'm all good thanks. I like my coffee with all the fat. Plus coffee is only calorific once you start messing with it. You start putting in cream, chocolate powder, sweetener honey, basically you're doing everything to get away from the joy coffee. 

THE HOVDING AIRBAG HELMET

I mean are you ever going to believe me again after you see me in this thing? How am I going to review this without becoming a crash test dummy? I'm a huge advocate for road safety, but I don't cycle anywhere in London. This wouldn't fit in with my lifestyle in anyway. I think we all know that right? 

OTHER DEDICATED SHIRT MAKERS

In case you hadn't heard, I'm doing ok for shirts. I make my own via Hawkins & Shepherd. I invest in quality, I champion durability, I'm a fan of looking good. Saying that, I have the upmost respect for all shirt-makers especially those steeped in history.

 

48 Hours in Palma, Mallorca, Spain | Thing to See and Do

Friend of the blog and contributor Peter Brooker, editor of Human Research, has just landed back from a long weekend in Palma. Lucky so-and-so, dodging the English rain as per usual. 

In this article Peter will give you the skinny on where to stay in Palma, restaurants to visit and some tips on things to see and do. 

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Palma, Mallorca, or Majorca for the English-phonetic, is a drop below the luxury of Saint Tropez, but a class above Ibiza. (So I'm told, have been to neither). 

All I can say is that Bilbao was a right-off. I've been in the dog-house ever since for taking my girlfriend to Bilbao, the place with one decent looking building, one inaccessible James Bond location and beyond average unadventurous cuisine. 

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The missus has since revoked my rights to book anything accept short stay car parking at Gatwick. Which was actually harder than it sounded given the immediacy after the BA debacle at Heathrow and reported fire at Victoria. Trains were out. Flights got cancelled/delayed. We really had to walk between the raindrops just to catch this flight. 

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Where to stay in Mallorca

Hotel Tres has it all. It’s a twenty minute cab ride from the airport that will cost you 20 Euros. We stayed for four nights at roughly just over 200 GBP a night. This came with breakfast included, which was decent enough. Though they charged for the coffee which didn't sit well with me. Sure you can get a regular black coffee, but we asked for soya cappuccino and got given a bill. I mean sonofabitch. Is it really that much of a calorie burner? 

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Ok I'm angry, but I would still recommend this hotel. I asked them to recommend restaurants ahead of our arrival and they did so. They also helped me try and get some movie location spots locked down, which was real sweet of them. 

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The room has one of these rolling tables that stretches the entire length of the bed. Genius. Someone is finally listening to me. I'll once again lay out the essentials of what I look for in a hotel room. 

1.   Room to dump stuff. 

2.   A bidet. 

3.   Soft pillows. Medium to soft mattress, queen size minimum. Not to single mattresses wedged together. 

4.   Decent shower pressure. 

5.   Air con that won't give you the lergie. 

6.   A telephone that you don't need a degree in astro-physics to use. (The phone did not work). 

7.   Decent WiFi. 

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The rooftop had something close to an infinity pool. You had a view of the Cathedral opposite. (Shut on a Sunday). Every now and then we saw the waiter, Thomas. We liked Thomas, he was an enterprising young man. 

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Where to eat in Mallorca

The good people at Hotel Tres were able to offer the following recommendations. The hotel is within walking distance of all three restaurants we frequented. Less than 5 minute walk. 

OMBU - Rating: 8/10 decent food, good service. We got a seat outside both times. Best dish? The Corvina ceviche with avocado, kumquat in syrup and kilos. 

KOA - This was our favourite. No outside seating but very tranquil and classical interiors. Best dish? The 
Golden ceviche, ginger sweet potato, seasonal fruits and fried plantain.

Caballito del Mar we tried on the first night and had the black paella. In fairness that paella lasted us for days, but generally this was the most touristy of all restaurants. 

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Just bear in mind that all restaurants will bring out white bread and olives. Which you won't have asked for, and isn't free. But this covers a service charge that most restaurants in London will charge you for regardless. 

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Shops to visit in Mallorca

The Puzzle shop is the most famous. The lady in charge is a lot of fun. She invites you to solve puzzles and there's nothing more satisfying than proving your manliness than cracking the puzzle in under 30 seconds. 

That only happened once. 

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Opposite you'll find the Vilebrequin store. Of course lots of overpriced swim shorts but it's handy to go in and try some on. I now know what size I am should I find some crop up on eBay. Yes I'm sorry, but I'm not spending 250 Euros on a pair of swim shorts. Do you know how much travel writers get paid? 

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Favourite store has to be Typographia. Now here I did a mini splurge and bought 3 t-shirts. The fit and quality is immense and the designs are quirky. They currently stock in Tate Modern, no international shipping which is nuts. So if you see it, you buy it ok? 

Ice creams are consistently good everywhere. Fill your boots. 

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Train Ride to De Soller and Boat Trip to Magaluf

Sadly I can't recommend the company we booked with as they gave us mis-information which nearly led to us missing our boat. However, you'll find plenty of companies online that you can book through. 

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The train ride through the mountains is a very famous feature of the island and you shouldn't pay more than 50 Euros a ticket. There are no toilets on the train, so don't get caught out. The train ride will take you an hour but it's open-window, cool and feels antiquated in a good way. 

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The full day boat ride is also a very popular touristy thing to do. Both beaches you'll reach on the tours are saturated. No space to build a sandcastle. But you can jump off the boat and cool down in the sea. The food is thrown in and is actually quite tasty. 

It's a good way to spend a day if you're running a tight budget. 

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Hop on Hop Off

These run fairly regular outside of the Cathedral. It will cost you 18 euros a ticket. Nice way to kill an hour but you'll learn very little about the city from the commentary. 

I actually dozed off. But don't let that deter you. It's important to take bus tours I think to get a feel for the city.