Estée Lauder turns off the Blue Light with New Advanced Night Repair Products

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As leaders in skin-related circadian research and its importance in skin’s natural nightly renewal, Estée Lauder has introduced New Advanced Night Repair Eye Supercharged Complex Synchronized Recovery. 

This revolutionary recovery gel enables the prevention and repairs the visible impact on skin of modern day assaults, including lack of sleep, UV, pollution and even exposure to blue light at night.

What is Blue Light? 

Sounds like something you'd see David Gandy splash on his face and neck before diving off a cliff face into body of water. In fact Blue Light Blue light is a very short wavelength that emits an incredible amount of energy. Studies suggest that, over time, exposure to the blue end of the light spectrum could cause serious long-term damage to your eyes. 

These findings show, for the first time that blue light impacts skin cells’ natural night-time rhythm. This means that night-time blue light exposure can inhibit the skin’s natural night-time renewal, which may result in accelerated skin aging.

The eyes are always a huge giveaway on how old someone looks. Why do you think Bono wears those glasses all the time? Sure, he bemoans about some sensitive eye condition. Please Bono. It's the same reason why Kiss wear make-up, you can carry on touring well into your seventies and no one will ask you when you plan on retiring. 

How have Estee Lauder turned off the Blue Light? 

Estée Lauder scientists designed a special incubator “blue light chamber”, and conducted a series of in vitro experiments to research the effect of blue light from LED light on skin cells.

They have manufactured a NEW Advanced Night Repair Eye Supercharged Complex Synchronized Recovery specifically for the delicate eye are skin, which is 40% thinner than other facial skin. 

The Results? 

The Night Repair Eye is ergonomically designed to reduce the look of every key sign of eye aging, including lines, puffiness and dryness; enhancing the look of dark circles in just three weeks. (You reading this Bono? We can do away with the pretence, finally! 

USAGE Apply AM and PM to clean skin around eye area. Dermatologist and ophthalmologist-tested. Patented until 2033. Proven for all ethnicities.

RRP: £45.00 NEW Advanced Night Repair Eye Supercharged Complex Synchronized Recovery will be available exclusively to Selfridges & Brown Thomas from late July 2018 and Nationwide from August 2018. 

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MASON AND SONS | Tailoring House of James Bond

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The company that has single handedly resurrected the original tailoring house of James Bond. Mason & Sons are an established e-tailor that house many concessions from established British fashion houses such as John Smedley, Baracuta and Fred Perry to name but a few.

They also provide a bespoke service run by appointment only from their Headquarters in Montagu Square, the very building where John and Yoko resided in the 60’s and was subsequently owned by Ringo Starr.

It’s argued that the brands USP is their ownership and revival of classic heritage brands such as Mr Fish and the original tailor to James Bond himself, Anthony Sinclair.

I reached out to Elliot Mason (the ‘sons’ of Mason & Sons) and asked him how they managed to acquire the lost brand and what are the younger generation looking for when it comes to tailoring.

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How did Richard Payne, an early apprentice of Anthony Sinclair get to inherit the Anthony Sinclair brand?

In the 1980's Anthony handed down the keys to his shop and his shears to his apprentice Richard Payne. Richard was there when Anthony was making suits for Connery, he knows all the tales and legends of Sinclair.

When Anthony passed away Richard carried on the business, cutting suits with the Anthony Sinclair label in, this went on for many years. Sadly, Richard fell ill and for years, the company fell dormant. When Richard was fighting fit again some years later he started cutting suits but putting his own name in.

 

How did your father David Mason get to meet Richard Payne and inherit the brand from him? 

My father was on Savile row and they (Richard and David) followed each other round the tailoring houses and they became quite good friends, and in 11’12 Richard unearthed how he was Anthony’s apprentice and owner of the business.

My father obviously couldn’t believe this and encouraged Richard to start up again and in 2012 together they relaunched. That same year the barbican announced the exhibition ‘50 years of Bond Style’ and went on its world tour. EON productions approached Richard and my father to recreate the Dr. NO midnight blue dinner suit and the Goldfinger suit.

 

How did they get blueprints to replicate the suits?

Well funnily enough there was one customer of my fathers who owned a suit from You Only Live Twice. It was a light grey suit in a herringbone and Holland and Sherry still make the same cloth because we’ve made them for a few other customers.

So Richard was able take the pattern from that suit, it was an original Connery suit. I don’t know how many are still alive, maybe one of two suits that are still in existence or that anybody knows where they are.

 

Are the younger clientele looking to dress more Connery?

For the past 3-4 years any of my friends that would need a suit for interviews would come in and ask for the conduit cut. They are taking inspiration from the way Connery dress. (Elliot is 25).

Nowadays most men want a slimmer fit, suppressed waist, less flare in the skirt, less drape in the chest, in the past 6-9 months its going the other way. Our clients want less fitted trousers. They’re adding pleats to their trousers, pleated trousers always have a wider fit. People don’t want the shrink to fit in the jacket so there is more drape in the chest. It’s going backwards, these things are cyclical, we’re almost at a halfway house between Connery-Craig, and its going towards Connery in terms for fit. 

They tend to take some time, so you’re see them on  the catwalk, pleats on the catwalk but will take some time to hit the high street.

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Can you give me an update on the Mr Fish collection please? I noticed it’s not on your website anymore.

Our first collection on Mason & Sons was a collection of printed shirts and we sold out. Then we did a collaborative version, that was always going to be for a limited time, now all those styles are available under the Mason & Sons label.

We are currently working on a new collection of Mr Fish ready-to-wear whilst working on bespoke orders for customers. More Mr Fish tailoring will revolve around double breasted garments. 

Michael sadly passed away last year in August. We are very much in contact with his family and they are in full support of what we’re doing.

 

Who is your favourite Bond when it comes to style?

Outside of Sean Connery it would be late Sir Roger Moore, he came to Montagu square, we made his clothes for his last few years of his life. I had the pleasure of answering the door and letting him.

My favourite scene is Goldfinger when he’s about to be chopped in half. The glen check 3 piece is the most iconic and is my favourite. Also in that film, he wears the casual long sleeve black polo that is very similar to the one John Smedley does now. So elegant.

 

And the next thing for Mason & Sons?

The next thing for us we’re remaking the barleycorn hacking jacket and cavalry twill trousers that Sean Connery wears in Goldfinger. It’s taken a very long time to perfect, but it’s there. We’ll do made to order for our customers.   

Catch the full interview with Elliot Mason on the From Tailors With Love Podcast available to download now in iTunes. 

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Don't Blow it | What to Wear on a First Date

Hello gentlemen, some of you may have got wind that I'll be appearing on the The Dating Live Show in November. Over the years I've been guilty of being over meticulous when it comes to selecting outfits for dates. Ironing my pocket squares and bleaching the crepes of my outer soles with obsessive-fastidiousness. 

Having pride in your appearance is one thing, but shouldn't be done at the cost of sucking all the fun and frivolity out of fashion. 

 

1# What NOT to wear on a first date 

No gilets. I made that mistake some years ago. My primary focus was utility on this particular date. It was nippy, we had been over familiar on the texts which meant I could dress down. My date arrived looking incredibly exotic in a Burberry dress and sequin jacket. Immediately she remarked upon my gilet and scoffed. 

The date was terrible, partly because my confidence was blown before we had even reached the restaurant. 

TIP: Make the effort. This is an audition. You're not watching the footy down the pub with your mates. 

  

2# Make that change

That's right listen to immortal words of Michael Jackson. If you're going to a date straight from work then you must prepare before leaving the house. Don't crumple your date gear into a plastic bag along with your lunchtime bananas. Make the effort; it's the best way to make a first impression. 

TIP: There are plenty of clothes carriers out there to help you keep your clothes immaculate during travel. I would recommend the David Gandy designed Aerodrome travel carrier for Aspinal of London.

 

3# Don't put on a costume

You're going on a date, you're not opening a store on Savile Row and there won't be a swarm of paparazzi flocking in a rugby like scrum taking pictures of you both. My point is you don't need to wear the punisher for this one. (The punisher is the one outfit in your wardrobe you wear to stop traffic). Wear something you feel confident and comfortable in. 

TIP: Choose comfortable fabric and less constricting clothes. Don't opt for any figure hugging. There is nothing more off putting for a woman than having a button pop off and land with deft defying accuracy in her flat white or Aperol Spritz.

 

4# Smart Casual 

When I go on dates I tend to wear neutral or monochrome colours, fitted jeans, contrasting each garment but softly. Ultimately I want my outfit to be reasonably safe, no garish or bilious motifs or logos. I'm a huge proponent that you can't go far wrong with a crisp white shirt.  

Just please wear clean brogues or trainers. (Despite my self-effacing opener about bleaching the crepes of my trainers, I still dutifully clean them before leaving for a date). 

TIP: To coin a football analogy you just need to run this into the corner flag. You've done the hard work and got her on a date, don't risk going for broke on anything ostentatious. Simply obey a couple of rules; clean trainers, fitted clothes not spray on, no gambles. If you'd like to embellish the look at all accessorise a little with bands, bracelets, necklaces, certainly a watch. 

 

5# Envisage and give her something new

Dress your age. I've completely forgotten about that one. Remember you're 35 not 25, no need to rock the R2D2 tee shirt, unless you're taking her to a convention. Actually, screw that. Who cares if it's a convention, dress like you're auditioning for the role of future husband.

When you arrive on your first date you should also wear something that she hasn't seen in your online profile picture. She might see you in that outfit that you're wearing in a dozen or so Instagram posts and think you're wardrobe survives on shoestring budget. When you ask her to go halves on the coffee, no matter how 'new man' you want to come across, her suspicions will be confirmed. 

TIP: Not every date warrants a new trip to Reiss, but change the order up. Make sure there's a new combination that hasn't been snapped or seen before. If you're really on a shoestring budget ask a close friend if you can borrow 'that shirt' you like. 

  

6# Believe in yourself

You know my philosophy of never being in competition with yourself. This ideology has to be nailed down before you arrive on the date. 

You need to project the best version of yourself and your choice in wardrobe will say a lot more than the spoken word ever could.

Being comfortable and most importantly confident in the clothes you are wearing will breed confidence in other areas of your date, such as the chat and the flirty interactions.

Remember above all else, have fun. Remember to smile, like she said, 'You're never fully dressed without a smile'.  

TIP: Don't slouch; make sure your posture is not slovenly and hunched. Try and arrange the date in a venue you're familiar with to ease anxieties. Opt for comfort over style. Again, this is a date, not a lifestyle shoot for GQ. 

 

UK Shirt Subscription Service | Hawkins & Shepherd


I've been asked on a variety of occasions to explain the minutia of the shirt subscription service on Hawkins & Shepherd, so I'd like to walk you through it. 


Why do I need a shirt subscription service? 

Reason One

Shirts are the most used item of clothing a man could own. Unlike our American counterparts, us Brits rarely wear a vest beneath the shirts so the garment is in constant contact with our skin. Meaning it should be washed or dry cleaned more regularly. 

We also wear out our shirts quick. The elbows start to perish as they meet every day demands of being rubbed on our desks. The collars start to deteriorate and discolour. It's important for someone who wears shirts daily not only to equip oneself with a decent supply of shirts, but to have them on rotation. 


Reason Two 

You also don't want to be the guy in the office that is Mr Predictable. You don't want your co-workers to think 'he's wearing his Monday shirt' or 'he's wearing that shirt still with the toothpaste stain on the chest'. 

You're redoubtable presence in the office will not go unnoticed if you appear fresh and well-groomed for the workplace every day. 


Reason Three

Save time, save money. You don't need to shop around and look for discounts, waste weekends fruitlessly maundering the high street in search of your correct size. With the Hawkins & Shepherd subscription service we take out all the heavy lifting and ship direct to your door. 


How does the shirt subscription service work? 

We have broken the subscription service down into 3 tiers, dependent on budget and how demanding your lifestyle can be. 


Enthusiast - One Shirt per Month 

If you are a business traveller or maybe you just love the feel a crisp new shirt gives you, then this is the package for you. You can either opt for a 6 month or 12 month subscription package. UK Customers Only. You'll be asked for a few details such as collar size, colour and fit and once selected we'll be sending a shirt out to you every month at 40% off the price of an average shirt. 



Executive - One shirt every 2 months

If you wear shirts every day for work, they can become stiff, discoloured and worn. Keep up your sartorial game with this package. 

With a 12 month subscription package you'll be able to get 6 shirts a year at 30% off. 



Essential - One shirt every quarter

Everyone should to be able to wear a Hawkins & Shepherd luxury shirt. Split the cost of one shirt over the period of 3 months with this package. This is a great deal for those that are on a limited spend, but still want to have the option of getting a fresh look with an investment piece. With the Essential package you'll be getting 4 shirts a year with a 20% discount. 

If you have any questions regarding this service then please do not hesitate to ask. We aim to answer all questions within 24 hours. 

 

BADR Clothing Review | Athleisure & Casual Wear

Your athleisure game should never be in disrepute. One of my biggest pet peeves is seeing guys at the gym looking like they've just mined the lost property bin. Of late I have been road testing a few pieces from BADR Sport range. BADR come to the table with an incontestable edge, what Apollo Creed might refer to as the Eye of the Tiger. Their range of men’s premium casual clothes and accessories are inspired by fighters and their streetwear transcends active gym wear and street wear. 

Each garment exude an attitude, replete with fresh designs, premium fabrics and the iconic BADR B Logo on every piece. 


The Classic BADR Print Tee

Perfect for everyday wear and suitable for training or for layering underneath a denim shirt. Contrast these with a pair of distressed denim and give you're streetwear game a potent look. It's the BADR's best Seller and is available in eight different tones. 


Short Sleeve Hoodies

When I'm in the gym I like to pull my hood down, gives me focus. Plus it makes me look bad-ass, a hand look to achieve in a boxing gym. The short sleeves make it a breathable piece, which comes as a welcome reprieve post session when I need to sit down and simmer. 

Available in Black On Black, White On Grey And Orange On Camo. A decent hoodie is what every man needs coming into Autumn/Winter for those runs down the river. 

Badr Jeans Skinny Fit Jeans

You know how I'm a fan of skinny black denim. The BADR skinny fit is machine washable so you don't have to treat them like a pair of treasured Japanese selvedge. They have a stretchy quality so will be a universal fit unless you're supremely rugby-figured. 

The price point is very accessible and can't be sniffed at. Pair these with one of the BADR classic print tee to complete the look. They do recommend going up a size to avoid disappointment. 

BADR Signature Shorts 

Finally the BADR Signature shorts. Deftly designed and uber comfy. It's made from 97% cotton, soft to the touch and is incredibly lightweight. I've spent the past week lounging around the house in a pair, as well as rocking up to my KOBOX sessions wearing them. 

A highly versatile garment that is emblematic of the brand. Practical, aesthetically sound, comfy and truly delivers in performance. 


SHOP THE STYLE EDIT

The Best Dressed at GQ Men of The Year Awards 2018

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The dust has started to settle on the crazy week that was. A huge thanks once again to Haig Club for inviting to the GQ Men of The Year Awards 2018. As I sauntered around the red carpet, making my way through the woods of immaculate cut dinner jackets and picture-perfect people, it occurred to me that there is nothing quite like Black Tie.

It's really the Champions League for all men’s attire. I've compiled a list of the GQ Style Awards (Men of The Year) Best Dressed. I'd like to caveat the fact that none of the candidates slipped me a tenner or bought me a round of drinks on the night. They don't call me Carl 'the incorruptible' Thompson for nothing you know.


Toby Huntington-Whitely

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In no discernible order. Toby Huntington-Whitely went for an incredible elegant single breasted, one button, peak lapel dinner suit. The jacket follows the line of his upper body with extreme finesse and he had a fantastic leonine strut on the red carpet.

The jetted pockets on the skirt ensured the clean lines. The jacket has soft shoulders, Toby has gone for a single fold pocket square which emphasises the chest. His shirt has black stud fastens on the placket which really ameliorate the classic look. 

Darren Kennedy

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Darren is always keen to distinguish himself, no matter if it's black tie or gym wear. Here he has laid down a marker in a beautiful red wine tuxedo, I'm guessing has a dusting of mohair in as it drapes so well and has that hint of sheen. The peak lapels are black silk facing, this is consistent with the black trimmings over the barchetta breast pocket and jetted pockets on the skirt. Notice how Darren has opted for a little more sleeve length so as his shirt collar is not exposed. This is typical of Darren’s tastes when it comes to Black tie tailoring.

It looks like his black shirt are adorned with white buttons, but they are just iridescent mother of pearl black buttons catching the light. The look is perfectly bookended with some stunning black patented leather Oxfords. 

Sasha Baron Cohen

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In this Paul Smith Tuxedo suit, Sasha Baron Cohen is offering tutelage to all naysayers that putatively dismiss the idea of a velvet jacket-velvet trousers combo. 

Sasha is able to pull this off with consummate ease. The velvet suit emboldens his posture, the two tone blue-black shimmer along with the pleated shirt brings out a real regal quality in Sasha's look. 

Any of you youngsters out there wanting to know how to conduct themselves out in the spotlight, look how straight Sasha stands. It's like every cartilage in his spine has been fused for the purpose of the event. 

David Gandy

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The Chester Barrie guys had a strong show this year at the GQ MOTY Awards. David opted for this refined double breasted Chester Barrie 4 x 6 Navy Blue jacket with black peak lapels. 

The pleated blue shirt and jumbo butterfly bowtie are a real standout. David is also wearing a silk navy and white polka dot pocket square. A deft finish. 

John Legend

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You can't leave out GQ's most stylish man of the year from this listicle right? Like Sasha, John opted for an all velvet suit. This one is an ink blue, slimmer cut, with a suppressed waist. John has paired this with some Velvet Hugo Boss slippers.

Notice how John has gone for a completely covered placket on his shirt so as not to interrupt the chest. 

The effect is a crystalline look that looks as effortless as his piano playing. 

Bluey Robinson

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Bluey looked a knockout in his long dark green, double breasted 2 x 4 jacket with incredibly broad shawl lapels. The buttons were covered as all double breasted should be for black tie. The roped sleeves gave the jacket a musculature finish and he added a little flavour to the evening with his shoes; patented leather uppers with a tan mid-sole ensured he wasn't going to be overlooked. 

Tom Hiddlestone

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Presenting the Haig Club Icon of the Year award to Jeff Goldblum was Tom Hiddlestone. Tom also has a penchant for velvet and deep shawl lapels. The jacket is cut to a 4 x 6 construction with padded shoulders, a high arm hole and a little flare on the skirt. 

He's arrived looking more roguish than we're used to seeing him with the beard and swept back locks. Perhaps he's trying to distance himself from the luvvie-label he's been inarticulately labelled with by some corners of the press. 

Chris Hemsworth

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Chris Hemsworth and I point to each other when I come down the escalator at Heathrow terminal 5. It's the Tag Hauer promotional poster that has been there for nearly a year. Alas, when we point, I feel like we're great buddies about to embrace. 

A very simple yet powerful clean classical look. One of the few gentlemen that opted for a tie. His dinner suit is a Navy Blue, with shawl lapels self-facing in black silk. These are also continued on the trimming of his straight flap pockets on the skirt and across the breast pocket. His jacket is a cut short enough to expose the cuff a quarter inch. 

His tie is also paired with the Navy Suit fabric of his dinner jacket and flat fronted low-rise trousers. Chris is not one for flamboyance when it comes to dinner jackets, but does the simple things well which I admire greatly. 

Richard Biedul

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My good man Richard, never letting us down. A very polished and double breasted 4 x 6 in the key stone configuration with modest width peak lapels. He has embellished this look with a 3 step pocket square fold. 

It's not a look that hit the headlines like say my friend Oli Proudlock had going for the jacquard gold and black Joshua Kane suit, but there is a refined elegance in Richards look that is emblematic of his character. 

Richard can articulate his look from classic 20's-30's inspired Edward Sexton and New & Lingwood dandyism, to classic and restrained like you see here.  


Oli Cheshire 

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Oliver plumped for a Marks and Spencer Ivory dinner jacket with a red rose boutonniere. This christened a black deep rounded U-neck 4 button waistcoat and black flat front trousers. 

The shawl lapel has hand edged finishing and the white shirt has black studs along the placket, spaced with deliberate minimalism. 

He has a fantastic symmetry to his face does Oli. Out of all my contemporaries his features are the most enviable. 

Carl Thompson

Well what am I chopped liver? I'm reticent to say that I saved the best 'til last, but I will. I couldn't resist, but hopefully you'll agree that my AW18 grey Ebury velvet blazer from the Chester Barrie ready to wear collection was a decent enough choice. 

The peak lapels are grosgrain facing, ostentatious and I paired it with a double breasted 6 x 6 shawl collar waistcoat. All the buttons were covered including the sleeve. Covered buttons are perfectly fine for black tie as you'll not wear it as frequently as a normal day to day business suit, hence the wear and tear will be minimal. 

Thus completing the list. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed being a part of this event on behalf of Haig Club and who knows, maybe if I start lobbying now I could usurp Mr Legend next year.

 

American Crew Introduce ACUMEN | Premium Men's Grooming Products

It's not every day you get to meet a legend. But it's been something of a 'meet the legend week' for me so far. Check out my blog post about my night at the GQ Awards, but for now let me talk about meeting David Ruccuglia, the founder of American Crew! 

One of the most charismatic, unassuming, yet at the same time wildly fascinating and gregarious souls I've yet to encounter. David started American Crew mixing products in his house, playing a various assortment of fragrances and scents. The backstory reads like a Roald Dahl novel (Georges Marvellous Medicine reference there for you Millennials) and he struck gold when he went to Japan and chanced across a water based pomade that didn't exist back in the US. 

The US pomades long ago were very greasy and you commit to several washing to get the residue from your scalp. Not a pleasant experience. With this discovery David began his obsession with male grooming and launched his Brand American Crew in 1990. 

Since then American Crew's styling products have all centred around the expression of excellence and attaining masterful poise the American Crew acumen assembly of products was created with the successful man in mind.

Cue the music and the dry ice, tonight Matthew, I'm going to be Mr Success. (Rapturous applause). That at least was the inner dialogue as David snapped away. Can you believe he was taking pictures of me? The day couldn't get any more surreal. 

 

 

American Crew introduce ACUMEN

I'm already a huge proponent of American Crew grooming products, so was buoyed by the news of a new product launch; ACUMEN,  a line of scientifically formulated products with proprietary ingredients to fit a mans grooming needs, available exclusively in Selfridges

American Crew, the official supplier to men, is proud to announce the latest innovation in men's personal care.

'As the official supplier to men we hope to inspire men to groom with confidence each day,' said David. 'Acumen brings a level of sharpness, sophistication and aspiration to the skin care beard grooming and body care routine.'

Being the unyielding gatekeepers to Grooming tradition, the Acumen collection  of grooming and skincare products are formulated exclusively for men who have specific issues and needs due to their male hormone levels, oily skin, thick skin, large pores, sweating and the inevitable dreaded ageing. 

 

 

What's so different about Acumen? 

You might want to know a couple of the ingredients so I've sketched some down for you. The Acumen products contain both Vitamin B5 and E and are fused with superior performance hyaluronic acid, ginger root extract, bisabolol and cranberry extract to increase blood flow retain moisture fight free radicals. How do you like those apples?

In total there are 15 products in the range specifically engineered to fit a man’s tone texture and grooming needs designed as a regime of 4 steps covering shower, shave care and style. 

Introducing the ECCO Trainer | Perfect Day to Night Attire for Your Feet

ECCO has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the past half a century – from a diminutive shoe factory in Bredebro, Denmark with a small flock of employees, to a key player on the world shoe-stage with 19,500 employees and sales of over 20 million pairs per year across 87 countries.

For years I've been breathlessly monologuing about needing someone to break in my shoes. Seriously, I will open up a position of employment; will pay them in grooming products, for anyone that is interested in breaking in my new shoes. Additional duties include walking Charlie and fetching my flat whites. Must be available to multi task. 

Well as of today that position has been annulled. I know, more job shrinkage in the fashion industry, when will it end? 

You have Karl Toosbuy to thank for that. ECCO was founded in 1963 by Karl Toosbuy’s and his main focus was to make shoes that did not need to be broken in. This guy should be made patron saint of shoes!

Designed for a supreme fit, straight out of the box. 

If you're looking to reset and refresh your footlocker, these ECCO ST1 Men's in black that you see me rocking, (also available in Grape leaf. Yes that’s a colour) could be the winning ticket.

The silhouette is clean, smooth, unobtrusive. You should also watch their YouTube videos, it's like these are the shoes come with their own Hans Zimmer soundtrack.  

Ecco shoes embrace an adequate suspension technology they term SHOCK THRU. Intensifying the velocity of shock absorption from the previous models.

A full leather lining adds to the luxurious feel and a light-tan heel tab accents the rear of the cuff – an understated brand detail.

 

Price Point? 

I like these a lot. I would stretch to their price point now I've had the opportunity to road test them. A great transitional day-night trainer. You can hang around a few bars during the day and still look good heading out for a dinner down Chiltern Firehouse. 

Although the brand has a lot of history, I can't attest to them being a household name brand here in the UK and that might be the only withdrawal I have. Are the British public willing to pay £150 for a shoe brand that's only on the 'heard of' fringes. I'd be interested in hearing your comments on that below. 

 

HAIG CLUB Awards Jeff Goldblum Icon of The Year at the GQ MOTY Awards 2018

If any day was to be my Groundhog Day, then this was the one. I was cordially invited to the GQ Man of the Year Awards at Tate Modern by the good people at HAIG CLUB, the Single Grain Scotch Whisky from the House of Haig. The awards will honour the iconoclasts who shape the world's cultural landscapes in style, politics, entertainment and sport. From the best of film, music, sport, TV, books, politics and this year, even Royalty.

This year, HAIG CLUB was the official spirit sponsor of the awards and after-party. As a sponsor, HAIG CLUB also awarded Jeff Goldblum Icon of The Year – for his long service to awesomeness. 

He wore a two tone gold and silver jacket that looked to made of a silk-viscose blend. Twin jetted skirt pockets and a skinny grey tie. His silver shirt really complemented his grey stubble, accentuated by further grey tones on the side arms of his glasses. 

Is silver going to be the colour of the year for 2019? Pantone, I'm calling it now. The voguish silver-grey movement is coming through the field like Seabiscuit. 

 

So what did I wear to party?

The agony of choice. Of course the de rigueur of such an esteemed show demanded black tie. My weapon of choice, the AW18 grey Ebury velvet blazer from the Chester Barrie ready to wear collection. As Tommy Nutter once said 'the only company you could have quality clothes (ready to wear) made by in this country is Chester Barrie.' (He also cited that they were too expensive, but you get what you pay for).

The jacket has no vents (black tie means black tie) and is crafted in a cotton velvet with silk Mogador facings. The waist is suppressed and the lapels are peaked. I'm also combing a few pieces from a previous season to hammer the point home, these pieces are investments. I don't need a brand new everything, every time I'm on the red carpet.

With the wardrobe nailed down I was shipped off to Barber & Parlour. A salon connected to Soho House with beautiful vintage decor, with reupholstered tanned leather seats and faded chestnut panelling.

To appreciate this escape from the humdrum, this quiet before the storm, I indulged in a Haig Club Clubman Espresso martini. This was to be one of four serves presented to the 850 guests during the awards dinner and at the HAIG CLUB Bar at the after-party.

 

The other three:

  • Haig Club Clubman Boulevardier - Haig Clubman, Belsazar Rose Vermouth, Italian bitter aperitif, orange twist.
  • Haig Club Clubman & Cola - Haig Clubman, Fever-Tree Madagascan Cola, fresh lime.
  • Haig Club X GQ Cooler - Haig Club, elderflower, Fever-Tree Ginger ale, fresh cucumber.

After pressing the flesh on the red carpet for a spell, hanging with the irrepressible Timothy James and Toby Huntington-Whiteley, sampling some HAIG CLUB X GQ MOTY cocktails, it was time for the 3-course meal prepared by Paul Ainsworth.

Then it came time for the awards. Prince Charles picked Prince Charles won Lifetime Achievement for Philanthropy. On stage he jokes: “I thought it might be some sort of fashion award. I’m like a stopped clock - fashionable once every 25 years.” He also quipped “I didn’t want to show you all up with my very snazzy dinner jacket.” (Referring to his double breasted Navy lounge suit). 

Other standouts for me in the style department were Paul Weller who won song writer of the year. His 3-piece chalk line jacket and waistcoat looked fantastic. The roped shoulders and broad lapels didn't scream black tie, but nonetheless followed the lines of his body intensely. I'm curious as to why he wasn't wearing the tuxedo issued in the GQ press release that looked very much like a Hugo Boss suit, the official partners of the event. He styled the jacket and waistcoat with flat front grey flannel trousers with a turn up over his eye catching white and brown penny loafers. 

The award for the most stylish man went to John Legend won also serenaded us during the event. He wore a shimmering cobalt blue velvet tux with black facing peak lapels and a nice barchetta breast pocket, reminiscent of Tom Ford. (I want to say it is Tom Ford, but am mindful that most of the celebrities would have had their wardrobe catered to by the event sponsor). 

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The after-party was buoyant with some well-heeled souls, everyone looked like they had pulled out all the stops. The HAIG CLUB cocktails were going down well with all attendees, a testament to its unique smooth versatility. There is no better single grain whisky on the market that caters to both the whisky aficionado or dram novice. 

HAIG CLUB CLUBMAN (70cl) is available from Waitrose, Tesco, ASDA, Sainsbury’s, Morrison’s and Co-op, Drink Supermarket. RRP £25.

Responsible drinking is at the heart of HAIG CLUB. 

Here is a full list of the GQ Men of The Year 2018 Winners.

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*This sponsored post was created in collaboration with Haig Club.

 

Introducing the Evo Square Pucks | Men's Haircare

These past couple of weeks I've been road testing some of the professional hair products from EVO. Recently EVO have revamped their packaging and dispensed with the cardboard boxes and round packaging and have introduced a new and improved square look for box o’ bollox, cassius, crop strutters and the newly formulated casual act.

(Box o' bollox eh? Sure why not I'll have a box o’ bollox please. It sounds better if you order it in a Noel Coward voice). 

 

Who are EVO? 

EVO hold a strong party line on innovation. They manufacturer with individuality and integrity; and want to be seen as a manufacturer that speaks the truth. If Abraham Lincoln was around he'd be calling EVO a professional hair product by the people, for the people. Of course he'd need to take off his top hat for the promo adverts. 

 

Do they have organic ingredients? 

I know it's all the rage, we have to know exactly where everything is sourced and precisely how many monkeys were killed in the process of making it.

I'm happy to announce no animals were harmed, in fact you’ll find certified cruelty free products that are gluten, sulphate, paraben, dea, tea and propylene glycol free.

 

What other products are in the EVO range? 

Aside from the aforementioned box o’ bollox, you'll also find cassius, crop strutters and the newly formulated casual act. Box o’ bollox, (I can't stop saying that, I do hope Googles spiders won't be punishing me. Away with you Google spiders, go knock on Tom Ford's door. He's got real swear words in his perfume range) cassius and crop strutters contain the same great formulas while causal act has undergone a complete revamp. think better shape, better formula.

 

My thoughts on the EVO range

I'm pro saving the planet, like the move guys. As far as the products go I also like how it's water soluble, non greasy. The new formula provides increased separation, almost reupholsters my hair with texture and style versatility.

They are fairly ubiquitous these days. Readily available in most reputable salons.

 

Tom Ford Fougère D'argent | Fragrance Review

Today I'm going to be giving my verdict on Tom Ford Fougère D'argent which I've been road-testing for the past couple of weeks. The ardent Tom Ford fans can get amazingly squabble-some when it comes to which is their favourite fragrance from Tom Ford. I'm personally divided between the Plum Japanois, Tuscan leather and Tobacco Vanille. All are classy fragrances that project amazingly well and reflect my ambitious style.

But now we have the Fougère D'argent Fragrance, the agony of choice! It comes in different sizes, 50ml, 100ml and 250ml. Word on the street is that the 100ml is hard to come by, but as of today I can tell you that all sizes are available from Harvey Nichols for £162, £238 and £395 with free UK delivery.

As ever Tom Ford has flexed his muscles on the pulpit of luxury, despite being chagrined at the price point there is no denying that since leaving Gucci and starting out on his own in 2005, he has established himself as an incredible tour de force as a designer and now a prominent disrupter in the world of perfumery.

 

 

What's Tom Ford Fougère D'argent Fragrance like?

Firstly, the bottle is brick-ish, bold, heroic; it looks like it could pull you out of a house fire it's that heroic. I think it is masculine, both in aesthetics and in smell, despite this being marketed as a unisex fragrance.

It's classy with a gold square lid and has the Tom Ford insignia across it.

You'll only need a couple of pumps because it's strong, immediate. 3-4 max. You'll initially get a citrus vibe as the mandarin orange, ginger and lavender comes out of the traps first.

It will sit, before the middle notes of labdanum and akigalawood middle notes start to take shape.

What are these middle notes?

Labdanum is extracted from boiling leaves and twigs and has enjoyed a renaissance of late because it's seen as a close second to Ambergris which has been banned in most countries.

Akigalawood was actually the name of my reggae band in secondary school. Only joking. Since Oak Moss is no more in perfumery, akigalawood has arrived on the scene. It's a man-made synthetic fragrance similar to that of patchouli, combined with vibrant spicy aspects of pepper.

This is an upscale perfume. Think black tie, think Opera. It's going to last awhile, I got close to 8 hours silage and I got plenty of remarks from my other half on how polished this fragrance is.

 

Summary of Tom Ford Fougère D'argent Fragrance

A very powerful scent, not incredibly versatile as people are making out. It's not an everyday scent. It's high end, both in performance and in price. I love it, perhaps not as much as the Oud Wood and Tuscan leather, but it has a fresh delivery, it's opulent, it will sit well in the Tom Ford canon for sure.

 

Wearing Khaki White & Black | Men's Style Edit

Yesterday I was staying over at the girl I'm seeing's house with the heating on and a duvet watching Netflix, yet today I've been sweltering at home with all of the doors and windows open. Those weather contrasts are typical of this time of year and therefore your style has to match this diversity. T-shirts and shorts need to be in your wardrobe next to knitwear and jackets. 

A look that I'm really enjoying wearing right now is a plain t-shirt layered with a shirt and khaki/black/white is a great combination of colours for this 3 piece casual outfit. My khaki shirt was purchased from ASOS as well as the black jeans and white t-shirt. The mid-top white canvas trainers are from Superga, where you can design your own artwork and the in-house artist will paint your design onto your trainers for a small fee. My accessories are plentiful with EMOM sunglasses, a watch from Esprit, rings from Serge Denim, bracelets from Gentlemens Chuckaboo and pendant chains from Alex Orso.

As always if you like this Men's Style Edit, you can shop the pictures below. 

 

SHOP THE STYLE EDIT

Abercrombie & Fitch Launch First Instinct Blue

Abercrombie & Fitch have launched a new fragrance (or juice as they are referring to it in the press release) entitled First Instinct Blue. My first impression of First Instinct Blue is how innovative the bottle design is. I use the word innovative knowing full well how hackneyed the expression is. But these are first impressions, not a studied nor deliberated perspective. 

The packaging is a new imagining of the original design from Fabrice Legros, this quote from the press release "based on a rectangular structure [...] and inspired by that magical moment when you get butterflies in your stomach."

Its silhouette has the square, bold aesthetic and is underlined by an ethereal rippling surface as you look through the bottle. I like it. It speaks to me. It tells me this is for a man that exudes confidence, masculinity, yet there's a more complex, mysterious underbelly once you scrape beneath the surface. 

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What about the name? 

The name does little for me. Every Instinct, is a first instinct is it not? Isn't it somewhat tautological to call something First Instinct? I guess Basic Instinct was taken. 

 

What about the "juice"? 

Don't look at me pal, I'm only going with the language from the press release. First Instinct Blue carries notes of cardamom, rosemary, frozen apple, lavender, pepper and tonic beans. 

 

What is Cardamom? 

Cardamom is derived from the ginger family, used in the culinary world to enhance savoury and sweet dishes. The Swedes are huge proponents of Cardamom, apparently it's the spice best suited for Autumnal and Winter dishes so perfect timing. 

 

What do I think? 

It's got a great energy to it. I was enlivened and I got in engaged with the scent very early on. It had that aromatic mystery, a charm and it projected well. The dry down was enjoyable, offering a more herbal, sensual delivery with the peppers and the frozen apple. 

For my money it was spicier and herbal, than woody and earthy. More forest floor than forest oak, so I'm not sure it echoed cries of masculinity for me. Perhaps it could have done with bringing the sandalwood to the front of the mix. 

However, I enjoyed wearing this. The price point is fine; the bottle looks great. It's got an everyday appeal to it and actually works perfect as an autumnal scent. 

 

La Mamounia in Marrakech, Morocco | Hotel Review

La Mamounia embodies the Moroccan refinement; an oriental atmosphere made of noble materials worked with ancestral know-how, games of perspectives and lights, harmony between the plant and the mineral. I was tempted to take a complete hiatus from social media the other week whilst out in Morocco. But with an oasis like this, it's hard to holster the smart phone. You feel naturally compelled to document the splendour of La Mamounia in its entirety. 

Although founded as late back as 12th century,  it wasn't until the 18th century that Prince Al Mamoun gave his name to the hotel after receiving the gardens as a wedding present from his father.

Fast track to 1923 and the hotel La Mamounia opens its doors, a subtle blend of Arab-Andalusian architecture and the Art Deco atmosphere. 

A retinue of my well-heeled heroes have graced these ornate marble with fleck floors. (All of the rooms are marble floors and have local artwork and mosaic tiles).

What the hotel likes to call "An anthology of Great Men" (yet fail to realise that two of the ones cited are women, tut-tut). 

Nevertheless knowing that some of the style greats, such as Yves Saint Laurent and Marlene Dietrich have found solace here makes me feel like I'm part of a rich eclectic history. Of course they have a Churchill bar named after the nodding dog from the insurance adverts. (Only joking, just wanted to make sure you were paying attention). 

La Mamounia is in the heart of the city. It is walking distance from the souks, the medina and Jemaa El Fina square, not to mention countless bars and restaurants.

When you enter the hotel you'll do well not to appreciate the surrealism of the 12th century wall and dazzled by the play of light - between inside and outside - by the colour contrasts - zelliges between Majorelle blue, green and orange. 

Side note - I keep telling people it's the little things in life that make a difference. For example given an authentic leather key card for your room and for unimpeded access to the luxury mosaic tiled spa and swimming pools. 

 

My takeaways of La Mamounia

The astonishing attention to detail and rich proud history reverberates around this cavernous palace. It embodies it's heritage, it doesn't disappoint with its reputation for supreme levels of service. 

You can lose yourself here. There are 8 hectares brimming with over 1200 plant species! The idyllic snow-capped mountains of the Atlas provide an indefatigable backdrop whilst the medieval ramparts for protection and lush gardens for cocoon, the "Moroccan House" is steeped in culture, traditions, scents.

You are invited to share a dinner in the hotel with the choices of Moroccan, French or Italian cuisine. Each can be served on the terrace should you wish. 

And in the mornings you can have breakfast at the pool pavilion, no black pudding or HP sauce but instead a superb buffet to savour at the water's edge. 

The Spa is an inevitable indulgence with which one must lose themselves. If you're taking your girlfriend or 'willing accomplice' then this is where you earn your brownie points. 

This is a space dedicated to the well-being, between massages, body care, hairdresser not to mention the legendary indoor pool, to totally decompress in water at 28 ° C. I recommend the Hammam treatment followed by a massage.

That’s it from me. This hotel provided me with what Lance Richardson might class as “A rare starburst of unadulterated joy”.  This being my second review of hotels and resorts in Marrakech, be sure to email me if you need any help or advice on visiting the area.

 

WHERE IS LA MAMOUNIA?

 

INSTAGRAMMABLE?

A Quick History of Menabrea | Italy’s Iconic Brewery

What an incredible place Milan is. It has a unique energy, steeped in history, the architecture is beguiling and importantly, the beer is sensational. Last week I was introduced to the wonderment that is Menabrea beer, with a guided tour of Italy’s iconic Menabrea Brewery with Menabrea’s master brewer and 5th generation of the Thedy brewing family, Franco Thedy, as my personal guide.

In 1846, Giuseppe Menabrea travelled to the town of Biella in the foothills of the Italian Alps. There he discovered an underground cave system, ideal for the traditional process of 'lagering'.

The combined elements of pure water and cold fresh air of the region made conditions conducive to build a brewery.

Fresh off the plane, a lunchtime arrival in Milan and I was quickly chaperoned through the provenance of authentic Italy, stepping off the beaten track to explore the historic town of Biella. There, residing in the foothills of the Alps – the birthplace of Italy’s premium Birra, the Menabrea brewery. 

When you visit Biella, you'll still find Menabrea brewing their award-winning beer on the same site, made in the same way, by the same family, with the same ingredients, passion and care.

Biella is a northern Italian town situated midway between the two historic cities of Milan and Turin; it’s nestled in the Bo mountain range in the foothills of the Alps – an area rich in springs and lakes.

The brewery has that inimitable Italian beauty, an eclectic blend of historic brickwork, vaulted ceilings, now modernised with sophisticated production lines carefully manicured by the dedicated staff that oversee operations. 

Both varieties of Menabrea (Blonde and amber) are matured gently in the perfect temperature of the brewery’s cave cellars for a taste of superior clarity, made with alpine water, and distributed around the world.

The blonde (Bionda) is my go-to beer, a sumptuous blend of citrus, bitter tones and floral, fruity undertones giving a consistent and refined flavour. It has a complex malty, hoppy taste with exceptional head retention due to the quality of the ingredients and maturation process.

The Amber beer (Ambratta) is served at a  A 5.0% ABV amber beer, full bodied and well rounded, with a moderately bitter flavour. Amber in colour with bronze undertones, this lager is another example of the brewery's exceptional capabilities.

Whilst in the UK we serve scampi fries and pepperoni's to caveat the blandness of our beers, in Italy there is no need for such apology.

In classic establishments, serving a Menebrea is usually accompanied with an aperitivo - traditionally a bowl of olives or nuts as something to whet the appetite so you can sit back and savour la birra perfetta. We also had a chance to attach some ‘Sbirro’ to the tasting, a Menabrea-infused cheese fresh from the cheese factory situated next door. 

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Milan is the metropolis of northern Italy, the global capital of fashion and design, and a hub for first class arts, culture and hospitality in Europe.

Biella is a nippy one hour drive from Milan and well worth the detour should you be looking to escape the city for a day or so. You can enjoy lunch al fresco at Menabrea Brewery Restaurant before taking a tour of the brewery and cheese factory.

Milan of course is dripping with fantastic bars and restaurants that I was lucky enough to frequent during my brief stay. The famous Duomo di Milano, Galleria et Emmanuelle (don't forget to twist your heel in the mosaic Bulls' testes 3 times for good luck) not to mention the Italian nightlife culture along the famous Ripa di Porta canal.

 

Lastly, I know I get a lot of comments from people saying how they're super jealous of me travelling here there and everywhere. Well soon you'll also be able to enjoy a pint in northern Italy’s beautiful town of Biella, exploring Menabrea’s historic brewery. 

That's right I'm talking about my new teleport machine that I've toiling away with for the past couple of months. You've all seen The Fly? Imagine that, without the wires. And the carnage. 

Of course I jest, but a visit to the Menabrea brewery is made possible through virtual reality technology. Menabrea will be touring restaurants and premium bars across the UK with the VR experience - offering a 360degree tour of Italy’s oldest brewery. 

The VR tour can be experienced later this year in selected bars in London, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh. More details will be available at Menabrea UK on Facebook.

Es Saadi Marrakech Resort | Hotel Review

The other week I took a mini trip over to Es Saadi, a luxury 5 star hotel and resort that boasts eight hectares of gardens in the heart of Marrakech. The resort sits in a lavish private park where you'll be invited to unburden your city woes to the singing birds that thrive amongst the palm trees, banana trees, olive trees, bougainvillea and small roses of Marrakesh.

The resort reflects a rich cultural heritage, and since 1952 has housed some of icons of mine and bygone eras; the couturier Balmain, Josephine Baker, the Rolling Stones and Leonardo DiCaprio have all frequented. 

Footnote - I did enjoy the caption on the companies website;

As you enter the hotel grounds, you have to imagine Mick Jagger, who is young, posing by the pool, .. (let's not think of a 75 year old wrinkly Mick Jagger clutching onto an 18 year old cocktail waitress shall we?). 

Here, the walls and furniture have kept the legendary Es Saadi intact, with 50's lines that delight connoisseurs. Examples of Moroccan art can be seen on every wall and corridor. It's emblematic of the young artists in the country that provide a great source of optimism and energy to the decor. 

On the quest for 'best son 2018' I took my Mum who conveniently seconded as my camera-woman for the trip. Mum is a dab hand in the kitchen so luckily the boys in the kitchen at the Moroccan restaurant Coeur des Lions and at the Gastronomic French restaurant did not disappoint. A great breadth of wines and cocktails are on hand at the Palace. 

The Spa with the indoor pool is a bloggers dream and I certainly dipped my bread, getting enough 'throwback' pictures to last me through a nuclear winter. 

The Es Saadi is conveniently located, a short ten minute ride by taxi and the old town is about 25 minutes on foot. I can recommend. It's a little slice of heaven if one wants an option to stay out of Medina and very reasonably priced too.

 

HOTEL ES SAADI MARRAKECH LOCATION

Italian Style 3-Piece Suits for Under £200 | House of Cavani

Hello gentlemen, today I'm wanting to introduce you to House of Cavani, an Italian inspired menswear brand that specialises in tweed suits, wedding suits, blazers, waistcoats, shoes and boys suits. These suits have an extremely accessible price point and will be ideal for any man on a budget who was looking to upgrade his wardrobe. You might also be entering the workforce for the first time and are looking to make a decent first impression by wearing some smarter attire.

Their ready to wear collection is a further indictment of how accessible smart tailoring has become. Not so long ago you'd have to pay a king’s ransom to own a suit of this quality. Now it's becoming an increasingly competitive market, and with the up rise of poly-blend suits this has effected market prices dramatically.

If you are looking for a classic style, then check out the Kemson Navy Skinny Three Piece Suit which I'm modelling in this style edit.

This is a Flannel Wool Polyester blend cut in a skinny silhouette. The two button jacket is single vented and the waist is suppressed, cut straight with no flare around the skirt. The lapels are notched and high on the lapel and the Navy is also underlined with a tan-coloured windowpane check.

A nice touch is the branding on the 4-button resin buttons found on the cuff. The last hole is accented. The lining is adorned with a passport stamp motif, although the fabric could be a little heavy for hotter climates although the cut and comfort is suitable for short travel.

The trousers are flat fronted with slanted pockets and the waistcoat (judging by the collection) will also have notched lapels.

House of Cavani have a showroom in Birmingham is you're local, appointment only. When on the site you might want to check out the Chelsea boots with the zips currently on sale. With the stretch denim jeans also going for less that £40, you can certainly get a decent AW18 haul if you're working from a tight budget.

 

SHOP THE STYLE EDIT

 

SHOP MY HOUSE OF CAVANI TOP PICKS

*This sponsored post is created in collaboration with House of Cavani.

Water Wednesday | Wake up and Smell the Addiction

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Has coffee become the nation’s scourge? My beloved pubs are taking a battering in light of societies palpable shift from Carlsberg to Costa (other watering holes are available) and at the current rate of growth, researchers expect coffee shops to outnumber pubs by 2030.

Charlie and I have too much of a steak dependency to embrace 'No Meat Monday' but I can get behind the new Water Wednesday initiative set by Aqua Optima. It's aimed towards encouraging more people across the country to give up their caffeine fuelled beverages and calorific drinks in exchange for water every Wednesday. 

Coffee is like any form of ritualism. You must first recognise your dependency, and accept the substitutes will be more beneficial. Replacing water with these drinks borne out of a fraught medley of societal dictum and egregious commercialism, will be no mean feat. Going against the grain; breaking patterns, I know, it's time to start moving to a strange new rhythm. 

 

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Breakfast: Coffee? Of course. How many of us hit the kettle before we pull our eyes into focus? Drinking water stimulates the metabolism which is far more productive for your body.

The six to eight hours of recommended nightly sleep is a long period to go without any water consumption. "Drinking a glass or two of water right when you wake up, however, is a good way to quickly rehydrate your body," says Rania Batayneh, MPH, a nutritionist and the author of "The One One One Diet," about the potential benefits.

"Most people have their coffee first thing in the morning," she says. "Although it is a good source of antioxidants, it is also dehydrating. You can offset this with water."

 

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Lunch: Oh coffee. Let's just meet for coffee. Of course you drink soya milk which is an extra 50p in every damn coffee house. Of course you want to try a hazelnut cappuccino because it's the most expensive damn thing on the menu.

Let's just reign in it shall we with this lunacy. Let's also stop turning everything into a damn hashtag, no one is interested in your flat lay laptop and coffee Instagram pictures. Knock that off millennials, please. 

I switched my flat white to a cup of hot water with lemon, and when my lunch date arrived I ordered a bottle of large Evian for the both of us. I offered her a hot water with lemon and of course she ordered a macchiato. What can you do, I tried. 

 

 

Afternoons: I normally take a bottle of water to my KOBOX boxing workout, but sometimes slip into vending machine mode. They say you shouldn't shop in a supermarket when you're hungry, same goes. Don't hit the vending machine and think that sugars going to be the antidote for your dehydration. 

I know a blogger that has given up alcohol that talks about hidden triggers. What lies down the track that could cause imminent derailment. The vending machine is one, the McDonalds on the way home is another, and the cinema! Don't get me started. Well actually, let me finish with that. 

 

Evenings: I've been feeling good all day. I haven't lapsed into a coma or felt like my eyelids are tied to 10k dumbbells. In the evening I took a friend to the cinema, and I figured out why I love the cinema. It's just a glorified Willy Wonka Factory for adults. There is a 100g of Sugar in a large 32oz post mix Pepsi. It's lunacy. 

Of course every assistant encourages the bumper bundle large drink and popcorn deal, that should come with a list of all the local dentists you'll need to fix the holes in your teeth once the movies over. 

I ordered a bottle of water and snuck in some apples slices, of course my friend had the sugary treats and I just cried all the way through the movie. Maybe I should move movie night to the Weekends. 

It's a great idea, 'Water Wednesday'. Shame it's only once a week, but it’s a start. 

 

Robert Graham Fragrance Review | Valour Courage Fortitude

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For the uninitiated Robert Graham is a luxury men’s fashion brand, famed for its contrasting cuffs and collars and exotic bold prints and fabrics. The shirts come at a premium price but certainly worth checking out, they say it's as close as you can get to wearing art. I'm going to be talking about the three fragrances, Valour, Courage and Fortitude, designed to reflect the essence of the brand.

 

The inspiration behind the fragrances

Robert Stock. Founder of Robert Graham, was inspired by the rare craftsmanship of blended spirits for his baptism of fire into the world of men's fragrance.

"Like a great liqueur single malt Scotch or small-batch Bourbon, I saw these fragrances blended from a little bit of this, and of little bit of that," said Robert Stock. "We started with a feeling, where each blended essence had to have its own personality."

 

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The Robert Graham Bottle

It reminds me of something you' expect to house an exotic bottle of Peach Schnapps. Perhaps only served at The Beaufort Bar at the Savoy or The Connaught.  It's angular, housed in a faceted decanter and finished with a foulard print. In the 250ml range they become more ornate in the cap decorations. 

 

What are the fragrances? 

Let's start with Courage. First off all the names sound like names that were on the whiteboard when it came to naming the next fleet of Autobots. And I don't mind. I mind First Instinct, that's not a good name. 

Courage by Robert Graham opens with a citrus-y vibe. It has the bergamot going on but that's at the back somewhere. You hit the spicy vodka, but it's not direct. It's tangled in a delectable web of aromatic woods and herbs. It's the lighter of the 3, though not casual enough for every day. I'd wear this if I wanted to make a good impression at a smart/casual event. If I was into Ballet this would be my night at the ballet scent. 

Valour - This is my favourite of the 3 as it has a better projection. I noticed the silage was an hour or two longer. Maybe 6-7 hours I carried it round. Moving into the colder months this warm-wooded Oriental fragrance will be better suited for the Autumnal months. 

It opens with a nice spicy hit. There's sage, there's amber. It has a very smooth-creamy feel to it; makes me want to buy a box set of The Man from Uncle and watch them back to back in a Velvet nightgown. This is one that I'd wear to the Gentleman's Club. 

Fortitude - Lastly Fortitude, another Oriental fragrance that is peppered with tobacco sweet balsamic vinegar and Patchouli

 

What is Patchouli? 

Ok so I like to do a little teaching on here. I don't know the qualities of every herb and spice, I'm assuming no one does so here's a quick fact: it's a species of herb from the mint family and performs slightly different to other oils in that it matures better with age. 

The ancient Egyptians couldn't get enough of the stuff and treasured as highly as gold back in the day. 

 

My thoughts on Robert Graham Fragrances? 

I thought the show pony was Valour. It really spoke of luxury in a non-complex way. Courage and Fortitude would be good squad additions to your cologne bench, however, I wouldn't justify having all three for the price point. 

Valour and Fortitude both have that Oriental vibe so for variety, I'd pick Courage and Valour. Autobots Transform! To Cybertron! Sorry, couldn't resist. 

 

LAB Series Handling Your Oily Skin | Men's Skincare Oil Control

We all have oily skin because our glands produce a natural oil as a defence mechanism. However, some of you gentlemen might be experiencing some extra oil on the skin surface and that's why LAB SERIES, your source for innovative skincare for men, has introduced a three-step 8-Hour Oil Control System. I'll be getting into how you can use the Lab Series 8-Hour Oil Control System momentarily. First a couple of tips on how to treat your oily skin.

 

Don't over wash

As your skin is trying to help you by producing natural oils, you don't want to be over washing your face. Your job is to help your body maintain a smooth distribution of oil on your skin and of course, wash away any toxins or daily residue. By washing face too much you're stripping away the natural layers and your skin goes into oil producing over drive. Morning and Night cleaning is all that is required.

 

Your cleanser is harsh

You might be using a cleanser that is too abrasive, use a mild one. If you're using an exfoliator that has micro beads, then you need to carefully monitor how frequently you're using it. I recommend 3-4 times a week.

 

Too hot and too hard

Your skin shares none of the qualities of shoe leather. It shouldn't be attacked with brute force and you're more than likely being too aggressive when ex-foliating. Don't scrub the living crap out of it and don't scold the skin with hot water. Warm waters will open the pores, hot water will do it no favours.

Ok let’s get into looking at how Lab Series can help maintain your skin with a three-step 8-Hour Oil Control System.

The bottom line is you want skin that looks smooth and healthy. No 3pm shiny forehead. No 4pm greasy nose.

We mentioned earlier that your skin produces natural oils through the sebaceous glands, Lab Series is engineered to get oily skin under control by helping to regulate sebum production. Over time it's designed to fade discolouration and improve skin tone.

The cleanser, toner and moisturiser system helps diminish oil that can lead to breakouts, blemishes, and generally shiny skin.

 

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What are the key ingredients that will help me get rid of my oily skin?

The advanced formulas feature Amazonian White Clay, famed for its ability to deep clean and detoxify skin, helping to absorb and remove excess oil that can lead to breakouts. (I have asked Lab Series where they source their Amazonian White Clay, other brands have it very loud and proud on their site. When they reply I'll update this post accordingly at the footer of the article).

Additionally, a Salicylic/Lactic Acid Blend includes Alpha-Hydroxy Acids & Beta-Hydroxy Acids, plus Willow Bark Extract, to help gently slough away dead skin cells and purify the skin.

(Crikey that reads like the ingredients to Astronaut food right?)

Below is a list of ways on how to use the Lab Series 8-Hour Control System:

 

Step 1: Purify & clear

Oil Control Clay Cleanser + Mask (Dual-Use Formula)

As a cleanser, it purifies skin & instantly eliminates oil, dirt, and debris with immediate, visible reduction in pore size for clearer-looking skin. As a mask, it unclogs pores of oil and debris that can lead to breakouts and provides instant mattification."

 

Step 2: Swipe away oil

Oil Control Clearing Solution

This two-phase toner swipes away oil and dead skin cells that can lead to breakouts and absorbs surface oil. With frequent use, it helps to regulate sebum production.

 

Step 3: Hydrate + 8-hour shine control

Control Daily Moisturiser

Oil-free moisturiser provides up to I hours of shine control for oily, blemish-prone skin and helps to diminish the appearance of pores for clearer-looking skin. It also helps fade discolouration's and even skin tone over time.