Some Uplifting Quotes for Lost Love

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Today I want to share notes and quotes on lost love. Yes unrequited love. The achy break stuff that Billy Ray Cyrus would talk about. We've all been there. And if there are any kids reading this, don't be fooled with what people say, it doesn't get easier as you grow older.

Ironically, you're better off getting all the heart break out of the way when you're younger, although you're not emotionally equipped to handle it. You're like an open wound. Your skin will granulate when you get your heart broken again and again.

My best advice if you're going through hell. Get down the gym. Punch some heavy bags. Lay off the booze. Lay off the junk food. Get back in the saddle as quick as you can. By the way here are those quotes and sayings that might resonate with a few of you. I've tried where I can to cite the author.

  1. 'It's painful to think you will never be mine but it is even more painful to realise I knew all the time.' - anon

  2. (Coming home to find his partner has cheated on him and the guy is still in the house watching tv). 'You do not get to watch my f*cking television set!' - Vincent - Heat

  3. 'You can love someone so much...But you can never love people as much as you can miss them.' ― John Green

  4. (The end scene, Woody Harrelson says this to Demi Moore before signing the divorce papers). 'Now I know the things that people in love do to each other they remember. And if they stay together it’s not because they forget, it's because they forgive'. David Murphy - Indecent Proposal

  5. 'Love needs too much help, hate takes care of itself.' - Charles Bukowski

  6. 'I hate it when relationships peter out. Every relationship should end with crockery thrown or a door being pulled from its hinges.' - anon.

  7. 'The way to love anything is to realise that it may be lost.' - G. K. Chesterton

  8. 'True love waits.' - Thom Yorke 

  9. 'From day to day I'm not sure what I lost, but I always know what you lost.' Kristina Mahr

  10. (When his partner has walked out on him, he can't believe that she is leaving him he screams..). 'I'm the alpha baby. I'm the omega baby.' Bruce Nolan, Bruce Almighty

  11. 'I'm not in love, so don't forget it. It's just a silly phase I'm going through. I hang your picture on a wall. It hides a nasty stain that's lying there.' - 10cc

  12. (Tom Cruise in the role of his life, an entrance to a workshop where he encourages men to be men. His mantra is..) 'Respect the c*ck, and tame the c*nt'.' - TJ Mackey, Magnolia

  13. 'One day you're going to notice you should have tried. I was worth the fight.' Pinterest

  14. 'Nothing is lost, only misplaced.' anon.

  15. 'I'll always be a chipped cup because of you.' anon.

  16. (On reflecting his top 5 break ups. Realising the current one is not even on the list. She is incapable of hurting him like the others have in the past. He screams this out the window to his partner who is leaving him..) 'If you really wanted to mess me up you should have gotten to me earlier'. Rob Gordon, High Fidelity

  17. 'They leave and act like it never happened, they come back and act like they never left.' Pinterest.

  18. 'You and I will always be unfinished business.' Pinterest

  19. (Finding out that his partner has been having an affair, she tells him all the graphic details) 'Good thank you. Thank you for honesty. Now f*ck off and die, you f*cked up slag.' - Clive Owen. Closer.

 

How To Manage Stress: Dealing With Stress

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How to handle stress. Whilst out here on my travels I've been deliberating on this question a lot. Part of the reason why I've taken time out to go traveling is because I was feeling the physical effects of stress in my life.

I've asked many people the same question, what are their coping strategies for stress and have never gotten the same answer twice.

In this article, I'm going deep in the weeds. I want you to grab a mint tea and put that Bladerunner rain meditation track on YouTube. (Not the Hans Zimmer one). I'm going to give you all the information I have on how to reduce stress in your life.

What are you really worried about?

After reading The Art of the Good Life by Rolf Dobeli, I've adopted one practice that I really want you to try. It's called the worry bucket. You take ten minutes out of your day. Do it on your commute to work. And write down what's on your mind. The things that are causing you anxiety.

Is it your job?
Is it a reunion?
Is it a relationship?
Moving house?
Not being able to afford rent?

What's the worst case scenario?

I was given this advice when I was in my teens. What's the worst that could happen? I had real trouble asking girls out. Before the days of Tinder and Facebook, talking to a girl was a massive deal.

Without knowing it, I was already displaying symptoms of anxiety. The pressure of chatting to girls was building like an inferno in my guts. What if I run out of things to say? What if she says no to me asking her out. Hell, what if she says yes?

I was too young to implement the worst case scenario strategy. I didn't have the clarity of mind to initiate logic as a means to resolving anxiety.

However, now if I use this following algorithm into a thought experiment:


FEELINGS: (Start at the beginning, what are your immediate thoughts on how you're presently feeling).

Anxious, worried, restless, scared.

BECAUSE OF THIS PROBLEM: (Isolate one problem at a time).

Relationship issues.

WORST CASE SCENARIO: 

Isolation. Will be left alone. Will have to start all over again. Will lose a best friend.

STRESS PROGNOSIS: (How is this problem going to affect you if the worst happens).

Rejection, heartache, insecure, lack of confidence.


Right away you've identified your immediate problems and compartmentalised some actualities. Did you notice that in the worst case scenario that no one died? Did you notice that there was nothing in the stress prognosis that can't resolved time or without some intestinal fortitude?

If you imagine the worst case scenario for all the things that are causing you stress and anxiety, you might find they fall woefully short of the obstacles you've overcome in the past.

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How you can manage stress on a physical level? 

There's something cool that humans can do when it comes to dealing with stress and anxiety. It's what differentiates us from the animal kingdom. Well, and the fact we use cutlery.

As humans we can control our breathing in the way animals can't. Sure dogs open their mouths to cool from the heat. However, when we control our breathing we can control our fear.

There's a reason why Yoga and meditation focus on the breathing. Breathing can override the reptilian side of the brain that is reminding your subconscious-self of all the nasty things that are happening in the world.

Breathing slowly and deeply harnesses that fear. It's going deeper into the side of the brain that has the brain stem, this defuses the reptilian side of the brain, almost making it obsolete.

Life coach Martha Beck, Ph.D. also advises us to first focus on our body and take the attention off the situation that’s stressing you by getting physical distance.

Imagine you're in a hostile situation, a board meeting, an inquisition. Simply ask to take a nature break and spend a minute in the rest room.

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Observe the stories you're telling yourself

Most glib listicles such as 10 ways to manage stress, will all have this common denominator; observe your own thinking.

If there is no physical threat in the room, if you're not all of a sudden face to face with an escaped big cat from London Zoo, then your stress is an illusory fixation. You're telling yourself you need to be worried about such and such.

Perhaps the stress is genuine, like. 'How am I going to deliver this speech?' Or 'How will I be able to tell my partner that I've deleted the entire contents of her hard drive?’

These are all stories that we tell ourselves. This is the narrative that our mental health is governed by. If you are constantly the barer of bad news and pessimism to your conscious self, then you're going to exude all the classic symptoms of stress. 

What are the causes of stress on your body?

I've dug deep here and looked into scientific studies on stress. In a nutshell your body will react in many different ways when it's under mental or physical duress.

You might be prone to bouts of acne. Headaches, lack of sleep, the urge to consume more alcohol.

Does any of that sound familiar? Also does any of that sound like a recipe for success?

You could also incumber back pains due to an increase level of cortisol. Inevitable depletions in energy. Libido.

Jesus, not the libido, please!

Digestive disorders become more frequent in people that are experiencing high levels of anxiety. Heart fluctuation and good old fashioned depression which as we know, can be like a whirlpool into a plughole of mental sludge and general crap.

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What can I do?

You can start by talking about it to people. Sharing your thoughts with loved ones. Calling people up on the phone you've not spoken to in a long time.

Do your own research. Spend 20 minutes on Google, YouTube, chat forums. See how stress is effecting other people and ask questions of how they overcome their life adversities.

Always seek counsel from your local GP.

Lastly, give me a call brother. Or leave a message or comment in the box below. Drop me a line on my social channels. I'm Mr Responsive when it comes to this and am genuinely wanting to start making my own platform a place for people to come and start feeling better about themselves.

 

40 Inspirational Quotes About Travel and Adventure

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Today I'm going to give you some of my top Travel Inspiration Quotes to use on Instagram. As you can expect I've been reading a few of these whilst on my travels. I hope you like them, where possible I've cited the author.

  1. ‘If I were living in Roman times I'd want to live in Rome, where else. Today America is the Roman empire and New York is Rome itself.’ John Lennon 

  2. ‘It's not the years honey, it's the mileage.’ Indiana Jones, Raiders of the Lost Ark

  3. 'Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans. - John Lennon 

  4. 'Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.' – Jack Kerouac

  5. 'Because it's there.' George Mallory when asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest.

  6. 'I think that I shall never see: A poem lovely as a tree. A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed: Against the sweet earth's flowing breast.' - Joyce Kilmer

  7. 'We must reach far beyond our own lifespans. We must think not as individuals but as a species. We must confront the reality of interstellar travel.' Dr Brand, Interstellar

  8. 'There’s an awful lot you can tell about a person by their shoes. Where they’re going, where they’ve been.' Forrest Gump 

  9. ‘Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure.’ – Bob Bitchin

  10. ‘Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop to look around once in a while, you'll miss it.’ - Ferris Bueller

  11. ‘I don't ever remember feeling this awake.’ Thelma - Thelma and Louise

  12. ‘If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine, it's lethal.’ - Unknown 

  13. ‘They came up with the idea that I should make a round-trip of the most exciting cities of the world and describe them in beautiful, beautiful prose. This could be accomplished, they said, within a month.’ Ian Fleming - Thrilling Cities

  14. ‘The gladdest moment in human life, me thinks, is a departure into unknown lands.’ – Sir Richard Burton

  15. ‘You develop a sympathy for all human beings when you travel a lot.’  – Shakuntala Devi

  16. ‘You should try it some time. Get away from it all. It really lends perspective.’ - Bond, Skyfall 

  17. ‘When one is in Egypt, one should delve deeply into its treasures.’ - Bond, The Spy who Loved Me

  18. ‘Stop Searching. Start Traveling.’

  19. ‘Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.’

  20. ‘Your future hasn’t been written yet. No one’s has. Your future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one. And where we're going, we don't need, roads.’ Doc Brown Back to the Future

  21. ‘Just tell them I'm coming.’ - Wilson, The Limey 

  22. ‘The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.’ - Michael Althsuler

  23. ‘Carpe diem, seize the day boys. Make your lives extraordinary.’ Keats - Dead Poets Society. 

  24. ‘Travel like Gandhi, with simple clothes, open eyes and an uncluttered mind.’ – Rick Steve

  25. ‘How do the geese know when to fly to the sun? Who tells them the seasons? How do we, humans, know when it is time to move on? As with the migrant birds, so surely with us, there is a voice within, if only we would listen to it, that tells us so certainly when to go forth into the unknown.’ – Elizabeth Kübler-Ross

  26. ‘Take the wheel and steer
    It’s driven me before
    And it seems to have a vague, haunting mass appeal
    But lately I am beginning to find
    That I should be the one behind the wheel’ - Incubus Drive

  27.  ‘And here I go again on my own
    Goin' down the only road I've ever known,
    Like a drifter I was born to walk alone
    And I've made up my mind
    I ain't wasting no more time.’ - Whitesnake

  28. ‘Sometimes the wrong choices bring us to the right places.’ 

  29. ‘When was the last time you did something for the first time?’

  30. ‘Did you ever notice the first piece of luggage on the carousel, never belongs to anyone?’ 

  31. ‘It doesn't matter what the others say, you can go your own way.’ - Fleetwood Mac

  32. ‘Every direction is the right direction.’ 

  33. ‘Apparently there is a collection of travel sick bags on at the V&A. It doesn't say if they've been used or not.’ 

  34. ‘We've gone on holiday by mistake.’ - Withnail, Withnail & I. 

  35. ‘We came, we saw, we kicked its ass!’ Dr Venkman Ghostbusters 

  36. ‘So if you want to join me for a while. Just grab your hat, come travel light. That's hobo style.’ Littlest Hobo theme

  37. ‘I’ve known adventures, seen places you people will never see, I’ve been Off-world and back… frontiers! I’ve stood on the back deck of a blinker bound for the Plutition Camps with sweat in my eyes watching stars fight on the shoulder of Orion… I’ve felt wind in my hair, riding test boats off the black galaxies and seen an attack fleet burn like a match and disappear. I’ve seen it, felt it…!’  - Original Peoples' script for Bladerunner

  38. ‘I was born under a wanderin’ star Wheels are made for rollin’ Mules are made to pack I never seen a sight that didn’t look better looking back.’ - Lee Marvin 

  39. ‘Moving just keep moving 'til I don't know what I’m saying I’ve been moving so long the days all feel the same.’ - Supergrass

  40. ‘There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.’ - Jack Kerouac 

The Art of Solving Any Problem: Advice from the Greats

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Today I'm going to share with you all some recent thoughts I've had about problem solving. If you think about it, who in your circles do you go to for good advice? Who are the most pragmatic. Are these people hot-headed? Do they have a wild temperament?

I've been quite horizontal these past couple of weeks and I've found a very relaxed stable frame of mind has helped unravel a lot of complications. I've solved quite a few complex problems because I've managed to emotionally detach myself from said problem.

It's that same old adage, why can you always give good advice but never take your own. Because when you're knee deep in your own problems, it's harder to be objective. There's too much emotion involved.

I've done some more research, looked up a couple of smarter dudes than I on YouTube and wanted to share with you some content on how to be a better problem solver.

TONY ROBBINS 

Motivational speaker and author Tony Robbins was immediately top of my list, and Google's list when it came to finding an authoritarian on the subject of problem solving. 

Here are some quotes and synopsis on the art of problem solving from Tony Robbins: 

Problems are part of life. Life would be boring without problems. As the Chinese say, 'may you live in interesting times'. 

What you should be doing is once you've assessed the problem, work on the solution. Break it up into chunks, 80% of your time should be spent on resolving the problem, whilst only 20% on the problem itself.

Little problems become monsters the longer you dwell on them. First ascertain what is the challenge and how do I turn it around? 

You need to control your focus. And spend less time on the negatives like, 'Why is this happening to me. Why now, why always me?' 

None of that redundant thinking will get you anywhere. Instead use role models in your life to help get you out of a bind. Who else has been through similar crap and how did they manage it?

Imagine you're a parent and your problem is sleep deprivation. Or you can't get your kid enrolled in the school you wanted. Well look around, leverage your rolodex. Who managed to solve this problem previously. Or who has been through similar experiences that you admire and respect. Get their take and have them hand down their secrets on problem solving. 

Important tip

Don't get emotionally overwhelmed. 

Your inherit ability to handle any problem gets squashed because you have not managed to control your emotions.

Remember how great it feels to solve problems. Get in the problem solving business. Take on a massive challenge and pull it off. Be happy. Confident. Systematically handle every problem. It gives you great confidence and ensures a pride of accomplishment.

Manage your own state. Keep your shit together.

Define the problem, then solve the problem.

Come up with a brilliant plan and have momentum. A problem hates your momentum. It really hates when you have a rocket up your arse and won't quit.

3 by STEPS TONY MAZE 

I've never heard of Tony Maze either but I liked his take on reframing the word problem. I've done a quick summary of his theory below. 

Eliminate the word problem from our vocabulary. The oxford defines the word problem as a thing that is difficult to deal with or understand. This implies difficulty which leads on to destructive emotions.

Instead of framing a problem as a problem, call it a 'situation'.

The definition of a situation is as follows: All the circumstances that are happening in a  time and place.

A situation is what is happening. A problem is the difficulty we assign to the situation.  Remove the destructive emotions.

BEN SHAPIRO 

Ben Shapiro famously took down Piers Morgan on his argument for gun control. His take on how to solve problems are closely linked to his theories on how to win arguments. A lot of people’s problems are linked to others that hold some sort of domain over them. How can I confront my boss? How do I stand up to him/her etc. I've summed up some theories by Ben Shapiro below:

Facts don't care about your feelings. (Great quote). 

When you go into debate, say what you want to say. Know what the lead tactic is before you go in. When I took down Piers I knew going in he was going to bring out a kid whose parents had been killed by guns. 

I immediately told him that content of the argument was intellectually dishonest. That he was standing on the graves of murdered victims to make his point. Bring it back to facts, not emotions. If you want to attack me for being emotionally detached, then you're attacking my character not attacking my argument.

TED TALK Shreyans Jain 

God love me a Ted Talk. I often think what would I be able to do a Ted Talk on. Maybe the art of cooking steak. I make a mean steak. 

I digress. 

I got my head into a few Ted Talks regarding the art of problem solving so here are some thoughts shared by a gentleman by the name of Shreyans Jain. 

"We'll figure it out." The more you say it, the more you'll action it. Make it your mantra. Deconstruct any problem and kick ass in life. Say that every morning when you get up. 

Break down your problems, consider it a war of attrition, distil them. 

Important tip 

Problems are solutions waiting to be found. Stay cool. 

You to visualise the outcome. The power of visualisation is incredible. You need to focus on how we fix the problem. 

STEPHEN DUBNER

Fascinating dude that offers alternative sideways views on solving problems. Basically Stephen encourages the notion that you have to be creative to solve complex problems. Sometimes it takes an outsider, an anomaly to view conventional problems in an unconventional way. 

Many big problems are hold to solve because they're multi-layered. They include a lot of variables and people with perverse incentives. How do you solve the famine in India? Not doable. That's why the Brits moved out years ago, there was no hope in solving that problem. 

But what after many years of calcification, you have an anomaly, a freak of nature that comes along. Once in a lifetime like a Ghandi, or Bob Geldof or a Martin Luther King, Malcom X, Nelson Mandela. Someone that can galvanise people to look at problems for what they are.  

How did they solve problems? Through belief. Through optimism. Through peace. 

 

 

 

My Thoughts on the Latest Lifestyle Trends of 2019

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What are the latest trends in Lifestyle? I've been posed that question a few times this year so I wanted to sketch down some thoughts for you today.

What lifestyle trends are on the rise?

I would say that people even of a younger age have been paying a lot more attention to interior design. The advent of social media has changed the game for people that work at home. This includes people like me. My favourite Instagram account for home interiors and interior design right now is fourseasonsofhome, whoever is behind this account has impeccable taste.

I’ve noticed a lot of social media accounts where people are becoming less interested in posting pictures of their dinner, but more of their surroundings. More poignantly, interior design goals. Upcycling is prevalent in fashion but its big in lifestyle also. Antique furniture refurbishing, etc.

Sustainability is having a meteoric rise. It's just a very safe bet for people to hang their hat on. No one is going to call you out on social media for putting your flag in the ground and supporting sustainability.

No one wants to be on the wrong end of a Stacey Dooley interview endorsing £10 dresses made in the most impoverished regions of Bangladesh.

So what brands can I look towards for sustainability?

You should certainly take a look at brands that are built to last. Read my report on King & Tuckfield if you're looking for sustainable denim and other small things we can do to make that gear shift towards a more eco-friendly society. Also check out &Saunter for eco friendly women’s swimwear, I love their brand message and ethos. Other brands like Universal Works, Hemingsworth and Orlebar Brown, N.Peal and Sunspel are really coming to the fore right now with casual tailoring trends. 

Read long form prints and stories like Delayed Gratification from the Slow Journalism forum. Despite them never answering a single email they're still in my good books, doing the Lords work.

Check out antique stores that sell quality refurbished and upholstered furniture. The Old Cinema way out west in Chiswick town is just a never ending labyrinth of rooms and booths selling some of the most eclectic pieces. You can really find something unique that will bring an ordinarily dull room to life.

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Speaking of interior design

Also I’ve noticed people are wanting to show off and express themselves in at least one room of the house. The rest of the house could be a normal looking place, regular, fairly sterile even. But they allocate one room in particular where they just go nuts. My friend has just installed a light helicopter in his kitchen and is putting up brick wall paper.

We just can't help ourselves. A bit like that one item in the wardrobe that doesn't go with anything else. It's not even your style but you can't bring yourself to throw it out and every once in a while, it makes a cameo.

Living room design ideas

With more people staying-in than ever, it’s no surprise you’re seeing Netflix hitting the headlines. Disney is making a big push for live streaming and bolstering its own platform to compete with Netflix. Apple and Amazon are also in the hunt. This has a knock on effect. People want bigger better TV’s. They also want to maximise space so everything is either integrated or wall mounted. 

Soundbars are now a must have. It used to be surround sound but now tech companies are trying to make speakers less intrusive and more elegant in the home. I reviewed an LG Soundbar last year and I knew then that tech companies had started to sit up and take notice of the need for elegance. 

Which is these are well established versus emerging trends?

Interiors design is not a new thing obviously. Lifestyle was never even a word in my lexicon until other industries started to hijack the word and fashion bloggers like myself started to become Lifestyle bloggers. The food and drinks industry, now Lifestyle. The motor industry, now lifestyle.

But that’s a lateral move. Let’s take James Bond for example. People that are interested in how James Bond dresses, are no longer just scrutinising his clothes, they want to know more about the watches. They want to be brought up to speed (pardon the pun) on the latest Aston Martin. What countries does James Bond visit. All of these things have now become sub genres. The one big word tying it all together is lifestyle.

Emerging trends versus on the wane

I’d say that emerging trends I’ve noticed are people are wanting things to be more personalised. In everything! You hear me talk all the time about Jo Malone London fragrances, but are built for layering so you can make your own scent.

People are striving to create their own identity in a crowded market. Brioni are now doing made to order denim, you can put your own initials on it. It’s crazy. Is it narcissism? Maybe. But we’re all taking more selfies. Spending more time in the mirror, falling in love with ourselves just a little bit more every day.

Just some thoughts, would love to hear yours in the comment box below. 

 

How to Transform Your City Dwellings Into a Relaxing Country Abode

How to transform your city dwellings into a relaxing country abode? How can you be town mouse and country mouse, without even moving house? 

As some of you know my folks live on the outskirts of London in Surrey. It's always a wonderful retreat for me coming from Clapham to take Charlie and enjoy the idyllic trappings of the countryside. 

Especially whilst I'm out here in one of the most serene and tranquil of settings in Bali. I've began to really embrace my surroundings, often made from materials provided by the local jungles. 

When I get back I'm going to be looking to bring a part of the countryside with me and in this article I wanted to share some of my ideas on how to make your city home, into your country retreat. 

Install a Wood Burning Stove

A wood burning and multi-fuel stove can be quite a process to install if you live in the city. Like most things in London, home renovation can be an endless game of checks and measures. 

By the time winter rolls around in the UK and you finally take the plunge, you could be too late to the game. You need to take into consideration site visits, the potential of structural work, chimney surveys and sweeping etc the whole process from start to finish can be a lengthy process.

That said, like Dolly Parton would say, 'You can't have the rainbow without the rain'. I'd love to fast track 7 months from now and be curling up to a Wood Burning Stove with Charlie, fresh from a quick brisk run around Clapham Common.

So what are the restrictions of installing a Wood Burning Stove? 

I've been doing some digging. There are certain smoke-control restrictions that need to be considered before any stove installation.

Firstly you need a DEFRA approved stove. DEFRA, short for Department of Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (Defra) need to put their seal of approval on all wood burning stoves to ensure they meet the criteria for emission levels.

A DEFRA approved stove provides the minimum level of combustion air so that wood burns efficiently without producing unnecessary smoke. 

I've taken a look at the Defra Approved stoves from Arada Stoves who are the sponsor of the article. I might need your help as I'm between getting a contemporary cassette installation with an integrated log system or a classic freestanding style. 

That's probably the most middle class I've ever sounded. But do check out the Arada Stoves, who are working to create the most eco-conscious and smoke-reduced appliances on the market. 

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Repurposed Suitcase Dressers 

Old trunk or suitcase dressers just scream 'character' to me. I used to own a suitcase. It was a suitcase not a satchel and I'd take it to school with me when I was little. It had my Fathers initials on it. The rest of my mates would laugh, but I just loved that old leather suitcase. 

You can really improvise with old suitcases. I'm a dog owner, I'm thinking I could hollow one out for Charlie and his bed will now become a feature for the house. 

Alternatively you could make bunkbeds from the bottom draw of the suitcase. Perfect little nesting spots for cats. Introducing a pet into the home will really bring the countryside, inside! Pets are proven to reduce stress levels, a much needed device for city folk that need to decompress within their own four walls.

Replace the Digital with the Analogue

When you have something in your home that brings echoes of nostalgia with it, then it changes the timbre of the room. The ambiance has shifted. Vinyl players and typewriters are great retro instruments that transport you away from the tech-led world in which us city folk have become so dependent on. 

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Analogue devices in place of digital and contemporary are more aligned with life outside of the city. That's not to say country folk aren't tech savvy, but typically the country life is catered around utility and space. Not design. We need digital in the city as we're not blessed with a tonne of square footage. 

Find a way of introducing an archaic element. Maybe a Citrus Hand press in place of that mutli-function blender? 

You can't forget the Hammock 

I'm putting together quite the list of creature comforts. 

  • I've got my wood burning stove as the main feature.

  • I've peppered the interiors with reclaimed wood furnishings, repurposed suitcases and tables.

  • I've added elements of analogue instruments. 

Now it's time to introduce the hammock. Can it work in such a small space? Sure check out the image below. You can introduce a hammock anywhere into the house as it's such a cool design feature. 

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Added extras 

These are just some of my initial ideas for reshaping those city walls and breathing some life into an ordinarily uniformed space. I've been to friends’ houses in the city that look so clinical. It's almost as if they're afraid to hang a painting on a wall. 

If you're really looking to have your room look more zen then please stretch further than those glib empty calorie signs that say 'Love Life, Laugh'. They do nothing to enliven a space. Have something unusual. Be creative. 

Buy an upright piano, remove the casing from the harp and thread fairy lights through the piano wires. No one’s done that yet right? Exactly. How many people do you know in the city that own a wood burning stove? Exactly. Think different, be different, act different. 

 

*This paid post was sponsored by Arada Stoves.

Top 10 French Bulldog Accounts on Instagram

French Bulldogs are the most cutest things on the face of the planet. It's also my favourite waste of time, rifling French Bulldogs instagram accounts. A great way to kill time in the airport that's for sure.

Here are some of my favourite French Bulldogs that you should also be following on Instagram.

It's Charlie the Frenchie

AHH I miss you buddy. Yes I did look into shipping him out here with me. But I couldn't get him any first class tickets, only business. Charlie refuses to fly anything but first class you see.

He's the apple of my eye my blue, brindle Frenchie. Been through the wars recently but showing some true character and pulling through. Never complaining. Back soon buddy, I promise.

Tiny Mighty Frenchies

Who doesn't love a French Bulldog puppy? If this account doesn't make your heart glow then there is no saving you. I do wonder if puppies know they're cute, I'm guessing they do. That's why they get away with chewing through your newly acquired Louis Vuitton sample-only sneakers. Isn't that right?

Wrinkless Ralph 

Take a look at the loveable Ralph the Frenchie. Ralph is a beautiful Blue Fawn Pied French Bulldog. Ralph you have no wrinkles? How do you do it? I need to know your skincare regime. Call me, we'll make a fortune. Moisturiser for dogs, it's the next big thing.

Frenchies.1 

A great way to get featured if you want your little French bundle of joy to become an Insta-sensation, use the hashtag #frenchies1 for features.

I think that picture on the far right will be my new screen saver.

French Bullevard 

Stuck on ideas on what to get your Frenchie for Christmas? I know they already have everything a dog could want. Check out this site however, accessories and gifts for your dog, (or even someone else's dog hint hint) will go down a storm.

 That Dog Rupert 

Okay I might have to confess, this is probably the best account I've ever seen. I'm also including humans in that statement. Rupert the Dog has always got his tongue hanging out. I might start trying this in my posts, what do you think?

King Cody Frenchie

King Cody is the biggest French Bulldog fashionista. Looks so regal. Like the Roger Moore of Frenchies with his straight back, swathe, smooth and elegant. He really does suit the title of King.

Frenchie Ninja 

You know that your dog has true influence when other people on the internet draw pictures of them. If anyone out there can draw a decent picture of Charlie? I'll repost in my stories recommending your services.

Lily the Masked Frenchie

Lily is just adorable. With those panda eyes and those huge upright ears. She looks to have a wonderful temperament. French Bulldogs can be a bit feisty at times, but only around people that are new. Charlie has gotten to love the Deliveroo guy, maybe not a great lifestyle indicator.

Dash and Bolt

Dash and Bolt, Dash (Chi) & Bolt (Frenchie). These guys deserve their own Disney series. It just goes to show you can mix and match. Although these guys looked like they've grown up together. Unsure how Charlie would feel sharing me with some other pup. He'd probably take a dump in my Chelsea boot, standard protest for unhappy Frenchies.

 

 

 

 

Top London Architecture Accounts to Follow on Instagram

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I don't care what you say, this is the best City in the world. We have the bars, the cuisine, the architecture, the history, Savile Row, Carnaby, Soho, need I go on?

If you're not living in London you might follow these generic 'Top London Accounts' and get some beautiful airbrushed pictures that turn London into Disneyland.

Today we're going to zero in on the Top London Architecture accounts to follow on Instagram. It will be a very real authentic look at London, I recommend you follow these Instagram accounts from the people that truly love this city as much as I.

Hazem Aljarallah

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Top of the tree. (See photos above). Every picture looks like it could be its own movie. There's not much to go in Hazem's bio, but his pictures tell many stories. 

Adam Sheath

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Adam has a distilled beauty to his work. Taking little less known pictures that others would miss. (See above). Such as the puddle reflections in the Soho lights as opposed to the lights themselves.

Adam is a London based graphic designer & photographer. Hit me up Adam, be great to do a shoot with you someday.

Brutal Architecture

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Okay so not exclusive to London, but there are many London posts on this account. For those that have to take pictures of London landmarks like Centre Point and the Welbeck carpark, this is the account for you.

New London Architects

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No one paints a better picture of London than these guys. They're bio reads 'Bringing people together to shape a better city'. Which is bunch of empty calories to be honest, but you can't argue that the pictures show you many sides of beautiful London.

David Bleeker

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Oooh check out this fella. I once heard the art to taking a great picture is all in the framing. Well David certainly knows how to frame London in a stunning way. Geometrically my favourite of the bunch so far.

Derelict London

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I don't know about you but there is something dirty/beautiful about forgotten parts of London. It has a serene sadness to it. Many parts of London have suffered due to several boom-bust social economic vicissitudes over the years.

Paul Tallin, author of Derelict London & London's Lost Rivers also does walking tours.

Why I'm Traveling: Mental Postcards From Beside the Pool

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In case you hadn't been following my Instagram page of late, I thought I'd let you know I'm just popping off to Asia for the next 3 months. 

It's something of an open ticket. However, I've landed in Singapore, the place where chewing gum is illegal. That's right, wise up London. Apparently when they installed the new metro system out here, a member of state sat on some chewing gum and that was it. Not even a day old and some numpty had already left their taint. 

So that's that. No more chewing gum in Singapore. 

I'm doing some sunning by the pool here and wanted to get some thoughts down on why I've gone traveling. So strap yourselves in I'm going to spill my heart and guts a little. 

I've lost my MOJO

As Austin Powers would say. I've been enmeshed in something of a mental funk for a while now. Partly down to a break-up, unrequited love and all that. 

I've also become very dispassionate of late with my work. Compounded by this recent slew of negativity and backlash within the Instagram community. When I first started posting on Instagram promoting my own Hawkins & Shepherd shirts I used to walk down the street with my head held high. 

Now I'm looking down the street, looking over my shoulder, on edge man. Not secure. I want to get the shot and get the hell out of there before anyone sees me and sniggers, 'there goes the instagrammers'. 

I've never been 100% comfortable doing the street style stuff if I'm honest. But I certainly had more hutzpah back in those early days. 

Line Drawn

So this is a line in the sand people. I'm hoping this trip will heal some wounds, give me time to reflect on the future rather than ruminate on the past.

Already I've done my first one-on-one yoga session, seen some beautiful architecture, I've had a dip in the pool and the good people here at the Six Senses Maxwell have pointed the toilet paper for me. 

Why you should go traveling also

As James Bond would say, 'you really should get out more, it lends perspective'. I'm hoping to meet new people out here, experience new things and shake up the mental etch a sketch. 

Whilst saying goodbye to my friends and family a strange thought came over me. Why am I saying goodbye to the people that I love. They'll still be there when I get back.

I should be saying goodbye to the trolls. Goodbye to the demons in my life. Goodbye to the heartbreak, the insecurities, all the things that have cloaked me in piss-pungent robes of dourness. 

You know it's true, you never know you're on top of a mountain until you're sliding down, and never know you're in a troth until you're climbing out. 

This will be the first of many of mental splurges. I want everyone to start thinking carefully about the ones they love. Make sure you be extra nice to at least one person a day. Have patience with those that grind your gears. Only love can conquer hate. 

Right, enough for now. Happy hour calls. 

 

 

Cyber Bullying: Are You Doing it Without Knowing?

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It's been a weird couple of weeks for me. As many of you know I was on the receiving of a very personal and embittered cyber campaign that attempted to expose me and many others as Instagram frauds.

I've written a complete rebuttal addressing the accusations of the article, which has since been removed. You can read that article in-depth here

It's a very strange place to carve a living; the internet. I've had some people tell me you haven't arrived unless you're upsetting someone. If you’re pleasing everyone you're pleasing no one. Can you imagine what it's like to fear picking up your phone each time you feel it vibrate. 

Those little notifications that often feel like a mini pat on the back, suddenly feels like someone threading live rats through your letterbox. 

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Carl aren't you a little old to be cyber-bullied? 

Firstly, age is but a number when you're getting your name dragged through the mud online. Secondly, this is a brave new world we're living in. Instagram wasn't around when I was at school. Those were the halcyon days of old school bullying. 

This is a new wave. 

What are the effects of Cyber-bullying? 

I'm fairly thick-skinned. I don't like to get into it on social media and many times in the last couple of weeks I had to sheath my tongue. It can be a race to the bottom and for what? For some elusive moral victory? I'd rather not and to immortalise the words of Ron Burgundy I'd much rather 'stay classy'. 

I implore you to do the same. 

The basic effects of cyber-bullying and its manifestations are increased depressive symptoms, lower self-worth, panic and in my case anxiety. 

Is this just snowflake mentality? 

I get that a lot. The man-up, go hard or go home attitude. Sure, that's all fine with me. But I can tell you this last week I've had some bloggers and influencers whose names were also enmeshed in that article, in my living room, in tears. 

This is a real thing, with real repercussions. Some of the research I've done on this matter tells me although the bullying stops quite quickly, the harm can permeate for a long time. 

The only thing I can say is why cyber-bullying gets wrongly dismissed as snowflake mentality is because it's something our reptilian brains have come accustomed to. 

We don't have any physical battle scars. We're needing to deal with this modern day scourge on an intellectual and emotional level. Some of us are predisposed to handle cyber bullying better. Maybe older, mature and maladaptive. Others climb to the top of a water tower and jump to their deaths. 

Did that make you uncomfortable? Sorry, this isn't a comfortable subject

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What can we do to prevent cyber bullying? 

I'm sure you've all heard of the software ReThink? Devised for a Google Science fair by a 14 year old. ReThink is a product that gives adolescents trying to post offensive messages on social media a second chance to reconsider their decisions.

Basically it's like a vetting notification that says, 'hey, this comment sounds like you didn't take your asshole pills today, you sure you want to make someone else feel as bad as you?' 

It won a spot as a Global Finalist at Google Science Fair 2014 and winner of PowerPitch 1871, Chicago’s technology and entrepreneurial hub. 

Another way? 

Tweet others how you'd wish to be tweeted yourself. You might think the person is so popular or too big of a deal to read your glib remarks on social media. But they do. They get through like farts between the sheets. 

My suggestion is try and offer someone a bit of encouragement instead. Try and be nice to one single human being a day and see how that makes you feel. 

 

 

Why Do People Hate Influencers?

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In today's article I wanted to speak about the current negativity towards the current modus operandi of Influencers. For transparency I was asked to write this for a friend Marcus on his Blog Chic Geek but sadly missed the deadline so will publish my thoughts here. 

Is the Influencer Bubble about to pop? 

I remember a few years back when the word 'influencer' was getting tossed around. Actual non self-proclaimed 'influencers' were starting to distance themselves from the term.

Some far too modest, others a little embarrassed to be referred to as someone that can hold sway over peoples buying predilections. Perhaps they didn't see any benefit in being given a moniker that gave them an unelected responsibility.

Influencers not wanting to be referred to as influencers then repackaged themselves as content creators. More ambiguous and less offensive.

The package is suddenly more appealing. Influencers, Bloggers, Igers, Vloggers, Podcasters no longer had to pigeon-hole themselves.

They could market themselves as all-rounders. Jack of all trades. Truth is, they're all glammed-up expressions. When you distil us all down we're only digital marketers. Some take ownership of that, others are blissfully unaware.

So that's a little thumbnail sketch of how the sands shifted in recent years. At least in my eyes.

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Why do people hate Influencers? 

Firstly I don't believe people hate influencers. If everyone hated them you'd never here of them. You might not like Justin Bieber but 104 million people do (on Instagram at least).

I think there is certainly a jealously factor at play, both inside and outside the influencer circle. I like to use the DB5 analogy.

Imagine you've just bought your dream car, an Aston Martin DB5. You've worked tirelessly for it. Then your neighbour buys an Aston Martin DB5. Only this one has been driven by Sean Connery. All of a sudden you start to resent your own Aston Martin DB5. Those seats have not had been blessed by the arse cheeks of James Bond, it's value has depreciated and your neighbour is the root cause.

It's human nature, it's exactly why we hate influencers. They make their lives look so fantastic don't they? Those beautiful sunset photographs in the Florida Keys. That breakfast in bed in the hotel with the idyllic view overlooking Gaudi Square. Fair enough, we say. They've earned it.

But have they? Have they worked harder than I have in life? Do they deserve that sunset more than I do? What’s more, they're not even paying for it. In fact they're being paid to attend press trips, often in exotic locations, being treated like royalty, living a life of utter decadence. How?

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Are my friends jealous? 

No wonder influencers are hated. I've had many friends that have known me from my I.T days. Whilst on a recent stag-do, a friend curious to know about my career asked 'you've landed on your feet with that Instagram gig haven't you?'

It's funny in a way, I could take so much from that simple statement. Landed on my feet, like I won the lottery or something. That Instagram job, like Instagram hired me to fly to Bali.

At the consequent wedding I was also confronted by the same gentleman we shook hands and in an unguarded moment confessed 'Every time I see you on Instagram I think, that lucky ****'.

In a way it's a backward compliment. That the quality of images on my Instagram page are good enough to make people wish they were there, or at least in my shoes.

However, I know it comes from a place of jealousy. People think my ship has come in and I'm off gallivanting around the world having everything paid for. So that's why influencers are viewed negatively. We look like lottery winners. That's why so many people want to be one.

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Why Instagram is a big deal? 

You can communicate instantly more information in a picture than you can in a blog post.

A picture of a product or a location, can tell you many things, whether visually its something that aligns with your identity. 'Can I see myself wearing this jumper?' for example, or 'I'm booking holidays right now, where can I go that's warm and not too far.'

I follow a lot of travel bloggers for this reason. Getting great tips on places to see and things to do, from people that have been there can be like having your own travel guide sometimes.

With regards to negativity on Instagram, you can point to a few things. People being jealous of others. Perhaps they feel like they haven't earned the quality of life they are either living or portraying. Ultimately, you have the choice not to follow people.

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Real life and virtual representation

You can like a person in real life and be indifferent to their 'virtual self'. How many times do we look at social media, see a post from someone we thought we knew and say 'why is he/she posting that?'

Maybe we think we know a person well but they're always going to have beliefs, interests, or a different interpretation on things. For example I follow people that never talk to me about football in real life, but all they talk about online is football.

Same with politics. I never post about politics, it's not my area. I don't think my audience would be interested in those subjects either. So guess what, in real life people might not bring those subjects up because they know it's not on my radar if they follow me online.

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What is the future for Influencers? 

The future for influencers is going to be an interesting one. Already we're seeing the CMA clamp down on what many still think is the wild west of the internet.

There will be more transparency. There will be more regulations. As there should. But who will enforce those and what punitive measures will be introduced is another question. Take Facebook right now, has anything really changed since Cambridge Analytica?

Was anyone brought to justice for the mis-sharing of data that was used to profile US voters? Did Facebook shares go down? Nope they went up.

With influencers it's a very saturated market. It will all come down to hard data eventually. ROI's will be more closely monitored and evaluated.

The big players that have been there since the beginning, will still be able to name their fee. Others will have to continue to fight for campaigns, adapt and augment their platforms so it can always offer something new and look to reach out to new audiences.

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What lies ahead for this 'influencer'? 

For example I'll be focusing a lot on wellness this year. I'll be posting more articles and YouTube content on positivity, mental health etc. I've been on the receiving end on what I class as cyber-bullying quite a bit in recent months.

I've had to dig deep sometimes, go to the emotional well as they say. As you say there is a lot of negativity around Influencers, we're not immune to it, we see it. It might not be happening on Instagram, it's probably happening on Twitter more as people can vent and live more voyeuristically that way.

I hope you've enjoyed this ramble, I've got a lot more to say on this matter and you can also catch my thoughts on the Instagram Fraud article that was doing the rounds last week. 

 

 

 

Improving Your Home Ambiance With Indoor Plants

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There are many upsides to being a blogger and a founder of a successful e-tailors. However, the downsides for me have always been the long enduring days at home copywriting or painstaking editorials

I know, it's not a real job. I'm not digging trenches or laying brick in sub-zero temperatures, but it can get lonely as hell.

One trick I've employed this year is bringing a little culture within my working space. I've brightened up my working environment and treated myself to a couple of indoor plants from Patch.garden.

I've even taken to naming and talking to the plants from time to time as it helps me unpack a few feelings, externalise, you know all that 'new man' stuff. I know what you're thinking, those poor plants.

It's not often I'm glued to the desk. The peripatetic nature of my job allows me to work wherever, so long as there is a good WiFi connection. But I can't recommend getting some plants to enliven your working space.

Sure, it's pretty fatalistic to surround yourself with things that will ultimately wilt and die in your presence, but they look fantastic and even purify the air in your home.

What kind of plants have health benefits? 

Currently I'm stocked up on Snake Plants. Yes, partly because having a Snake plant heightens my animalistic vigour (ego talking) secondly they look great and according to NASA it boasts a natural capacity to remove toxins from its immediate environment. And, while most plants take away oxygen at night, this one gives it off during night hours, making it perfect for the bedroom.

Other disciplines to work from home

It's hard right, you're just looking for an excuse to be distracted, jump on an email, check social media. I set real goals when I'm at home. Making sure that I spend no longer than one hour on any feature.

The One Hour Blog

It's not just the writing that takes time. The pictures, the editing, the uploading. Then you have to farm the article out on all the social media channels. Sure there's tools and apps that does that all for you but I prefer to do it natively.

Plus I blog every day and I appreciate not everyone will read the majority of my ramblings. So that's why I now give my self a curfew of one hour per blog. (Writing).

Times up

This one for example has taken me to the hour point. In summary my home now has a very lavish and welcoming feel. Be warned however, if you're a cat owner, do not get lilies for the home. Lilies kill cats, it's their kryptonite. Trust me.

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Fighting Back Against Poor Oral Health

How guilty are we all when it comes to neglecting our oral hygiene? It's something I've been putting off for a while so was delighted when dentist Dr Saul Konviser at Dawood & Tanner General Dental Practice reached out to me and invited me in for a check-up and a chat.

The practice is located in the most central of locations and just down the road from the KOBOX on Baker Street. The location in the Montagu Mansions has a very 'homely feel'. 

After having a sit down talk with dentist Dr Saul Konviser, a young and enterprising gentleman, I started to feel pangs of guilt that I hadn't come to the realisation earlier. Poor oral health has larger ramifications than just poor teeth.

There are detrimental effects to your heart that can lead to respiratory disease. Not to mention that neglecting oral health can directly impact sporting performance, which was an instant red flag for me. 

I have been around fighters who had told me their diet is suffering terribly due to cracked teeth. Imagine training for a fight and having to eat through a straw because it's too painful to chew your food! 

Dawood & Tanner have come up with an innovative way of emphasising the importance of this issue; personalised mouth guards. It's such a novel idea and the prototypes that Dr Konviser showed me were fantastic. Incredibly unique. The gum shield is such a crucial part of the fighter's armoury, protecting not only the teeth but the jaw. 

Although I don't do any sparring at KOBOX, it's a place where fighters do come and train. Most are savvy enough not to get the entry level self-moulded guards. As well not offering offer inadequate support and protection, they can be super uncomfortable. 

I've invested in a mouth guard, not for fighting, (Hey I don't want to mess up the cash register at my age) but as I grind my teeth at night. A mouth guard for evening wear will be thinner than a gum shield, although created from the same mould. 

If you're interested in a mouthguard Dawood & Tanner offer a 1 week turnaround to reduce away time from training and competition. Let Saul know I sent you. You can find further articles on Dawood & Tanner online. If you're interested in teeth whitening my friend Peter Brooker has written a decent article on his blog. It stresses the importance of why you should leave teeth whitening to the professionals.

My Research Notes on CBD

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I've been doing some research into the world of CBD and wanted to share some of my findings with you today. I'd like to make it clear I've not tried CBD and I'm not advocating or endorsing brands in the article.

However, I've had some sleepless nights of late, momentary issues with anxiety so I'm looking into experimenting with this oil. Oddly I heard about it through a mutual friend who is a chocolatier, she has a client that has asked her to put CBD in chocolate bars. Crazy right? 

So here below is some information I've rounded up from watching a few hours of YouTube I'll include links to all the videos I've watched. 

What is CBD exactly? 

CBD is short for Cannabidiol which is a compound found in the cannabis plant. It's legal in 50 states in the US and is not psychoactive as it does not act of the same neuro-pathways as THC. (THC is the chemical found in Cannabis that gets you stoned). 

CBD can be extracted from the hemp plant. Industrial hemp plant has less 1% THC.

For more information on Hemp production and CBD check out the Carolina Hemp Company

How much CBD can I take?  

If you're just starting out taking CBD oil, then it's recommended you break yourself in gently. 10mg a day if you're starting out. If you're not feeling anything then you can double the does, 10mg in the morning 10mg in the evening. 

It's recommended that you do not exceed the daily allowance of 200mg. Check out the CBD woman for more details on YouTube. She has her own website where you can buy all the CBD goods

How do I take CBD oil? 

You know how to apply Beard Oil. You put the dropper in bottle and squeeze a couple of drops on your palm and rub it into your beard. So with CBD you can vape it, you can take CBD tablets or digest it like I mentioned earlier.

Apparently one of the best and most effective ways to ingest CBD most oils is to put a full dropper load under your tongue, place it there for 30-90 seconds. 

This will allow it to get into your blood stream faster. Take it on an empty stomach. For more on this check out Trey Jones on YouTube

What can I expect to feel taking CBD oil? 

I caught a few YouTubers taking CBD oil. One chap called Expression with Depression vaped it on a video and I found that to be the most candid and honest review.

If you vape CBD you'll feel the vibration of the oil and a slight buzzing as you inhale. There will be a cool sensation on the lips. It's odourless so you won't have to sneak off to the toilets during the lunch break.

It's very relaxing, no coughing. For more on CBD and Mental Health check out Scott Ste Marie

Will CBD help my sleep? 

CBD can enhance your deep sleep cycles. THC allows you to sleep and it decreases sleep latency. (How long it takes you to fall asleep) but it reduces the amount of time you spend in deep sleep.

If you're mind is racing, hyper charged and you have to sleep immediately then use THC. (Again I'm not recommending this personally, this is just research notes from YouTube videos). PLEASE NOTE: That in using THC you run the risk of missing deep sleep which could impair memory consolidation and general body system repair.

With CBD you don't fall asleep as fast, but you will experience higher deep sleep cycles. THC you fall asleep fast, but your deep sleep isn't as high. - Joe Rogan Podcast

CONCLUSION 

Before I invest in CBD I'm going to first focus on basic physiology, control my breathing. Box breathing exercises and alternative nostril breathing. If done right this can decrease stress. 

I'm weary of some side effects that have also been documented such as light headiness, diarrhoea etc. If people have suffered any side effects I'd be interested to know. If you have tried CBD please drop a comment and let me know what you think. 

 

It's Time to Talk About Carl

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I was made aware of the defamatory article anonymously and callously published on the medium.com website, which has named my e-commerce business Hawkins & Shepherd and myself personally amongst other businesses and influencers.

I'd like to take this opportunity to clear a few things that have circulated some social commentary since the article was published. It's been a very traumatic week for me personally having to be on the receiving end on what I consider to be a pernicious article, published on an open platform without approval or checks for authenticity.

It's been very tough keeping emotion out of this. Some of the scathing consistent attacks I would even categorise as cyber-bullying. I'll do a follow up article to this about that in due course.

Now I'm a 38 year old man. I've developed a thick skin and can rely on a certain muscle memory to get me through this kind of onslaught. I don't suffer from depression but I feel anxiety pangs like anyone else. 

When my phone pings, my heart races. I don't even want to look at my phone right now.

But some of the bloggers I've spoken to that are implicated in this article have only just turned 20. I've had private conversations with them who are on the verge of having a break down. 

Now I don't want to advocate for one second the flagrant use of ‘Insta fraud’ as it’s been labelled. I think the industry is on the mend. I think it's right to highlight where the regulations need to serve the industry better. I can speak about this because I have reformed. I used to follow and unfollow around two years ago but that's not my scene anymore. 

However, I think this article is more a personal attack, laden with spite, resentment, with a pernicious undercurrent and I want people to realise that we're still dealing with human beings.

People that share and retweet thinking they're throwing a spotlight on the issue of Instafraud, are actually sharing an article that was removed, with unfounded accusations from an anonymous source. It's cut deep into the people that are implicated, and is still having a profound effect. 

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I've not risen to any of the comment threads on social media that are continuing a very aggressive media attack on my name and brand.

Instead I've been spending my time talking to the brands and management companies of whom I've had the pleasure of working for and alongside as an ambassador for many years, reassuring them of the inaccuracies in the article, of which I'll get into soon.

I have a very open and honest relationship with these brands (there names I will refrain from disclosing for now) I've been honoured to work for and I've been overwhelmed with the support I've received in return. You can see some of the messages of support I've received below. 

From one brand:

"A member of our team did see the article, but I’m aware that we’ve already spoken to you about your historical follower pattern. We were satisfied with the conversation we had with you and are happy to continue working with you on projects that we feel you are suited." 

From an agency: 

"Hey Carl. We were made aware of the article last week and having read it we agree it comes from a place of spite. The “facts” presented are heavily laden with opinion, conjecture and are overall slanderous to everybody mentioned.

We also realised it was quickly removed. I think your statement on the article is strong and unemotional which is more than can be said for the original author of the article itself. It’s a shame that you’ve been put in a position whereby you need to address it.

On a personal level it doesn’t change how we view you nor alter how we’d like to work with you moving forward.

If you need anything from us to help support you then just let us know."

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Some of this might sound like lawyer talk, because I wanted to detach my emotions and just deal with the facts.

ADDRESSING COMMENTS IN THE ARTICLE

“Allegedly another one of the biggest cheats in the Men’s fashion space, Carl Thompson is one of the biggest frauds out there in terms of inorganically growing his account. His cheating goes as far back as records go, which is January 2016. From January 2016 until July 2017 he aggressively followed and unfollowed hundreds of people per day, cheating his Instagram and cheating his way to over 54,000 from practically nothing.”

Back in 2016 it wasn’t unusual to follow a lot of accounts. I personally followed thousands of people - every blogger, friend, fashion enthusiast etc, who I knew as part of the Instagram community and who helped to shape my own style.

From around April 2016 to April 2017, I used to follow some accounts and have engaged with them, later unfollowing.

I want to note here that despite what the article says, by that point, I have already amassed around 20-25,000 followers from my consistent men’s fashion Instagram posts, presenting and TV appearances.

Instagram at that time was mainly to promote my business Hawkins & Shepherd, where I invested over £100,000 of my own money, and for the love of the industry and the fashion.

During that time I did not know where the Influencer marketing would go and if I would be a part of it. It was a very new industry with no guidance.

In summary, with all due respect to the anonymous authors, I’m a massive part of this very much nascent industry and I have earned the respect from multiple fashion designers, business owners, journalists, PR’s and other Influencers.

“After the scandal of July 2017, he then appeared to have stopped, and his account has been in decline since, which is no coincidence. His Instagram name comes from the brand he owns (which also has manipulated Google reviews), but he uses this to promote himself as a blogger, and has a blog in his own name, carlthompson.co.uk.”

I have stopped following and unfollowing in April 2017 when I realised that this form of marketing had a serious influence on consumers and that it was something that I wanted to be a part of for the long-term.

In addition, I have been building trusted relationships with brands and wanted to offer a great ROI. My Instagram account did slowly decline for a while, however, I actually have perceived that trend as a good thing because real followers who may have just followed me because I followed them, decided to unfollow.

As the rate of decline was very slow and gradual, I have still been gaining followers and have been retaining ones that truly wanted to engage with my posts. What the article fails to mention is that my Instagram account is growing again and has never been more engaged. I would like to comment here that I have never bought fake followers.

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I would like to point out that the comment regarding my e-commerce business Hawkins & Shepherd being a “complete slander” is based on no evidence whatsoever, which again just highlights  the fact that this article is a personal attack.

Hawkins & Shepherd has 400 reviews, all 100% verified customers that have to be legally registered on the Yotpo review platform that I use. Below is a screenshot of this:

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The Google Reviews that the article has suggested were also manipulated in fact are genuine reviews, most are customers and some are from friends/family that I’ve gifted product to and they have kindly written a review.

“He is one of the most disingenuous and fake Influencers out there. The perfect example is working with several shaving brands, pretending to use their razors and products, then his beard magically stays on his face in the next photo, despite claiming that the razor is good and he’s apparently shaved it off.”

I regard the opening statement  as defamatory with the purported “supporting evidence” taken out of context.

My captions and images have been consistently well received, I have invested  a considerable amount of time and effort in creating these images and in ensuring that the content is exactly what the brands expect and is of an exceptional quality.

“This was comically seen when he posted about Harry’s and more recently Gillette and their razor blades, foaming up his face with razor in hand, and in the very next photo, his facial hair magically re-appeared a day later. Either the razor is not very good, he grows hair like a werewolf or he’s lying. We’ll let you be the judge.”

Whilst I applaud the anonymous author on his/her diligence in finding the one inconsistency from over 1,800 posts on my Instagram channel, posts on my Instagram grid rarely correlate to a physical date/time timeline.

When working with brands many posts have to be vetted and authenticated weeks, sometimes months in advance. The consistency of my beard between posts is arbitrary.

“He holds almost no authority, no influence and is disliked by many of the other men’s fashion bloggers and influencers, for cheating with his Instagram and being incredibly fake. His Instagram engagement is currently at 2.06%, and has been manipulated.”

I have no comment regarding this other than I have evidence to the contrary available to brands on request.

“FAKE INFLUENCER PARTY”

The Hard Rock Hotel invited me as an unpaid guest to create content on their behalf. After seeing the results of the engagement and the quality of the content provided, I was invited to promote their newly opened Hard Rock Hotel in London.

“He has now set up a new ego website, to showcase his arrogance and for people to believe that he’s kind of a big deal. “Who Is Carl Thompson .co.uk” is a website telling you who he actually is.”

The website https://www.whoiscarlthompson.co.uk/ serves as an online visual Media Pack/CV. It serves no other purpose other than to provide detailed information on my portfolio.

“According to it, he’s a TV presenter, model, influencer, photographer, YouTuber, business owner, blogger.”

Each of these are correct and accurate. I’m happy to forward on examples of each on request.

“It seems he craves the fame, being on First Dates along with Dinner Date.”

I make no apologies for appearing on these shows that are watched and adored by millions of viewers.

“According to his Instagram, he’s currently an ambassador for Haigclub, Jo Malone and Kobox. He has worked with Debenhams, House Of Fraser, Panasonic, ECCO Shoes, 360 Coffee, tk Maxx, Lab Series, Kronaby, Starbucks, Philips, Reiss, Burton, Mazda, and many more.”

That is correct and I’m extremely proud to have worked with each of these brands.


FURTHER READING

VOTED TOP 6 MEN’S LIFESTYLE BLOG IN THE UK 2018

https://www.vuelio.com/uk/blog-awards/shortlist/

TOP 10 UK MEN’S LIFESTYLE BLOG 2017, 2018, 2019.

https://www.vuelio.com/uk/social-media-index/mens-lifestyle-blogs-uk-top-10/

These are all based around official Google blog statistics, domain-authority, quality of writing and imagery. Voted by industry professionals.

MY OWN BLOG STATISTICS PUBLISHED

Earlier this year, I have published my Blog Statistics with screenshots of Google analytic data (I note the extremely low 1.03% bounce rate for the year of 2018).

https://www.carlthompson.co.uk/further-reading-blogs/2019/1/18/carl-thompson-all-the-stats-from-my-blog-revealed

YOUTUBE

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7saYubGIW4nDfajCS9Kkqw?view_as=subscriber

My channel has around 8,800 Subscribers with a very engaged following and has almost 1million views on the videos published.

 

 

 

The Perfume Shop | Deals of the Week Fragrances for Valentines Day

Valentine's Day is looming boys and girls. In this article I'm going to recommend 5 his and her fragrances from The Perfume Shop that will make the perfect lovers gift. I wanted to highlight both genders as I know a lot of female readers come to my blog for gift ideas. 

The Perfume Shop (winner of the coveted Retailer of the Year Award at the Fragrance Foundation Awards for the past two years) have some great deals on this week so you need to jump on this quick.

You can purchase the perfume in any of their 256 stores across the UK & Ireland or through their website. Choose from a multitude of delivery options; click & collect or next day all available.

Valentine Gift Ideas for Him

NEW RELEASES

Emporio Armani Stronger With You Intensely EDP 50ml

(Launching at The Perfume Shop 30th January 2019) RRP - £56.00

You may have seen the 'Together Stronger' web series on YouTube. A brilliant marketing campaign that has clocked up more than eight million YouTube. The same couple will be featuring in a new campaign for 2019 set in the Mediterranean entitled “Together we are shooting stars”. 

This fragrance has more of an oriental push. Floral notes at the heart with Sage and Lavender, underscored with Tonka Bean and Cinnamon. Perfect for your fireside companion. 

Hugo Boss, Boss Bottled Oud Aromatic EDP 100ml

Launched January 2019 RRP - £88.00

The ultimate Black Tie fragrance. ‘BOSS BOTTLED OUD Aromatic opens with a refreshing orange flower note on top and a seductive myrrh on the dry down. Very masculine. Your partner will effuse a woody leather trail with this fragrance. 

Perfect for those one on one black tie events that are slightly unusual. I was recently invited to a cigar and whisky tasting event down at Churchill's. Although I couldn't make the event, I would certainly look to wear something immediately distinguishable, to an event with an unusual theme. 

Alien man Fusion EDT 50ml

(Launching at The Perfume Shop 4th February 2019) RRP - £47.00   

Of all the new fragrance releases from the Perfume Shop, this Alien Man Fusion has a slightly more accessible price point. The bottle is ostentatious, it's different and the green coffee and smoked beach base notes give it a real kick. 

I would invest in this one if you're really looking to take your partner by surprise. 

Deals of the Week for Him

Eau De Lacoste Blanc EDT 100ml

ONLY £24.99 (offer valid 31st January – 6th February 2019)

You need to jump on these quick because they're amazing marquee name fragrances at a great price. This Eau De Lacoste Blanc EDT 100ml is one of the best every day scents on the market. For your sporty partner who enjoys a healthy and fitness focused lifestyle. 

It has a very citrus opening, plenty of grapefruit, rosemary and my favourite spice to put on salmon currently; Cardamom. (Honestly, get some Cardamom on your fish it's the best). 

Lacoste rarely make a misstep both in fashion and in their fragrances. It's a safe bet and a very versatile scent. 

Boss Bottled Night EDT 100ml

Price TBC (launching 7th February – 14th February 2019)

If I were to do an 'editor's pick' this would be it. Such an amazing spicy, intense fragrance for under £30. BOSS Bottled Night has an undeniable, palpable, masculine aura to it. 

It's compelling, sits close to the skin, has great silage and plenty of character. Trust me this more of a present for you than it is for him. You'll love it!  

WHY SHOP AT THE PERFUME SHOP 

Before we get into the women’s selection, a brief note on why you should shop through The Perfume Shop. Firstly they're the proud sponsors of this feature and by supporting them you're also supporting this blog, keeping the good CT ship afloat. 

Secondly,  their staff are trained and developed so that they are the most knowledgeable sales advisors within the perfume industry, with over 400 industry recognised experts.

You can visit any store (there are ten in London) and the experienced staff there are equipped and able to assist you select your perfect fragrance for you or for your Valentine.

Lastly, you can also personally engrave the fragrances starting from £5.99, both online and in selected stores.

 

Valentine Gift Ideas for Her

Emporio Armani In Love With You EDP 50ml

(Launching at The Perfume Shop 30th January 2019) RRP - £68.00

The flip-side to the Stronger With You Intensely for him is this very delicate In Love With You for her. It evokes and encapsulates all those unquantifiable emotions of love and obsession. 

Featuring the iconic double ring. Mr. Armani wears two single rings, one belongs to him, the other belonged to his life time partner, Sergio Galeotti. This double ring design was Mr. Armani’s inspiration for the caps of the bottles.

CACHAREL Yes I Am EDP 50ml - £60.00

New to the fold this year is the affirmative fragrance Yes I am by Cacharel. If your partner is into her makeup, has an infinity with lipstick then this iconic-shaped bottle will be just the ticket. 

It's bold, daring and reflects all the positive qualities in your partner. You'll be entranced by the scent, composed of Mandarin, Jasmine and Sandalwood. A very Oriental flavour and texture that will keep you on your toes. 

Daisy Love Sunshine EDT 50ml

(Launching at The Perfume Shop 30th January 2019) RRP - £57.00

This Daisy Love Sunshine is just brimming with optimism. A beautifully encased fragrance that effuses Summer vibes and the promise of good times. From the mind of Marc Jacobs, this perfectly balanced Sunshine Limited Edition will transport your partner to a happy place where optimism overflows and the carefree spirit of daisy is celebrated.

She'll love it if yellow is her thing and she has a penchant for fruity floral fragrances. 

Deals of the Week for Her

Lacoste Touch of Pink EDT 90ml

RRP - £55.00 down to £27.99 SAVING of £27.00 (offer valid 31st January – 6th February 2019)

A very playful scent and an absolute bargain with the reduction price! It's a very youthful scent. The pink bottle is hardly a subtle feminine touch but works perfectly. There is a citrus, there is floral notes and with it the promise of Spring. 

It has an everyday feel, a versatile scent that can worn to any event during the day. Even casual dinners or meetings. 

Gucci Bamboo EDT 50ml

Price TBC (launching 7th February – 14th February 2019)

Lastly on the ladies deal range is Gucci Bamboo. The bottle and the scent combined are remarkably elegant. It's notes of ambery and orange blossom just give it a velvet intensity. 

It's a complex fragrance that communicates perfectly for the essence of today’s multifaceted woman. The modern Gucci woman shares Bamboo’s characteristics of confidence and poise. 

There is so much positive allure I would have to make this Gucci Bamboo my editor's pick for fragrances for her. 

 

 

 

Latest News, Tools and Social Media Tips

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In this article I want to give you some crucial updates on everything that is happening in the world of Facebook and Instagram. What's more, how you can utilise these changes into making them work for you. 

CROSS POST AND SWIPE UPS! 

You can now double up on the exposure of what you share across your social media platforms as Instagram has now launched the capability of sharing swipe up links from your stories over to Facebook. 

Although some people like to go native on their individual platforms, for businesses this is a great time saver. Also for people that are more dominant on one channel than the other. For example, I'll confess I don't do much on Facebook compared to Instagram, so having this feature to share across my audiences at least keeps my Facebook page active. The easiest way to get started is by following the instructions here.

FREE MUSIC! 

After I've done a Vlog it can be quite painful having to trawl the net for a song that will fit. Not only that it has to be royalty free otherwise YouTube will set the dogs on you. 

The clever folk at Facebook have sorted this out for us. The Facebook Sound Collection now has over 2,000+ songs and 1,700+ sound effects available for use.

All content from Sound Collection can be used freely on our platforms without any additional licensing. Check out Sound Collection in Creator Studio here.  

WHY THE MERGE? 

You may have heard the news that Facebook are going to merge the messaging services of Facebook, What's App and Instagram by the year 2020. What will this mean for us? More than likely more adverts. WHY? Because Zuckerberg needs to start making a return on Whatsapp since he bought it for $19 Billion. 

Facebook announced increases in revenue today despite all the noise around Cambridge Analytica. And now we have the introduction of a homogenised messaging service. Joy! It just goes to show if you get a product for free, you don’t own it, you are that product. For more information on the combined messaging services there is a great in depth article about that on The National

BACK TO FACEBOOK

You may be looking to boost your posts and services on Facebook, but you're weary on all the technical jargon. There are a dozen ways to improve your skill set on Facebook without having to hire an intern or tech guy. 

Firstly you may want to think about getting a blue certified tick, which can be done by taking an exam via Facebook Blueprint. This will school you on a variety of different subjects such as Ads ManagerBoostingBidding EffectivelyCarousel AdsGenerating Leads from Ads, and Pixel.

I hope this helps. If you have any questions regarding blogging, the latest CMA rules for Instagram or how to monetise your blog you can always comment me below. I know it can be a bit of a labyrinth, maybe daunting for some. So don't hesitate to get in touch. 

 

The Ultimate Way to Travel Light | Moment Lenses

Do you really need a Camera these days when travelling? 

What would be the best alternatives? 

I recently posted an article on my site listing most of the gear bloggers need for traveling. I've had some people message me on my instagram page about a new piece of technology that could help me streamline my gadgets. 

Now I'm implacable when it comes to getting product imagery with my Sony A7S2, but it can be a bit cumbersome when traveling. Whilst out in Bali recently it simply wasn't practical to take it everywhere. 

Moment is a lens company for smart phones started on Kickstarter. They make a couple of lenses, cases, for most of the smart phones that are out today. Currently available are Wide lens, Fish lens, Macro lens. 

They can all be stored in a neat case no bigger than your toilet bag and that can house all the lenses. 

The 170 degree fish eye lens is very wide. It does come out a little shaky without a Gimbal because of the depth of its periphery. But the images I've seen have a neat effect. I think it's more for landscape pictures and balcony panoramas than for day to day video. 

TIP 

Moment will tell you that if you're looking to use this with a Gimbal then you can DIY a counter-balance to the phone. Tape a roll of 20p's to the other end and that should fix it. 

Conclusion 

Moment do look like a very travel orientated brand. They even do travel gift accessories on their website so it's perfect if you want to give your wanderlust friend a unique gift. It's going to be hard for me to part with my Sony but maybe it could also do with a holiday, away from me. 

Other tips to Travel Light

It's not a competition to try and fill the suitcase. 

2 x pair of socks, 2 x pair of pants. Clean them in the sink, dry them on the balcony. Keep rotating them and go one day commando. Boom, you're good for the week. 

Don't take books. You don't read those books at home, you'll never read those books on holiday. I'm determined to read a bit more this year but I won't be doing that on my back by the pool. 

If you're traveling as a couple share the chargers and devices. You can probably half the load if you share.

One pair of smart trainers. I find that shoes take up the most space. In the past I would always take a pair of smart shoes for evening dinner. But I'm not Elton John, I have no entourage schlepping mass amounts of luggage behind me as I throw my keys to the concierge.

Check out the Cole Haan style edit I did, these trainers are incredibly versatile for all climates and events. 

 

 

COMING TO LONDON? How expensive is London?

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You might be thinking of moving to London this year. I've got some news for you, it comes at a premium. I wanted to share with you some of the outgoings I have and ways you guys can save some money. 

Cost of Fish and Chips 

Yes this is the most pressing thing. Now I'm a man of the people, I know a pint of Soya milk is £1.60 from the local co-op. However, dependent on where you go in London the cost of a bag of fish and chips will fluctuate. 

Here in London you should expect to pay double for the price of fish and chips than you would anywhere else in the UK. Undoubtedly the best place to get Fish and Chips is in any of the Ivy restaurants in London, priced at £14.75. 

According to the latest article on the average price for Fish and Chips in London the average cost of a regular cod in London is £7.60. 

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Gym 

As you know I go to KOBOX, and would absolutely recommend that if you're looking to join a gym in London you subscribe to KOBOX to improve your network, your fitness and also your self defense skills. A single class is £20 but you can buy them in bulk for a bargain discount. 

A regular subscription at Virgin Active will cost you north of £85 a month. But with that you can go to regular spin classes, yoga classes and Pilates. 

Cinema 

The infamous ODEON of Leicester Square where most of the London premieres are held will cost you from £10 a ticket. If you want to catch an afternoon showing of Bohemian Rhapsody for example that will cost you £13.25. 

It's been ridiculed in the press recently as some prices can go up to £40. But then again, the IMAX over the road will charge similar amounts. 

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How much for a pint of ale in London? 

It will vary of course, but let me tell you something. We make some of the best ale in the world. Our craft beer in this country is second to none and if you really want to treat yourself and safe some money then invest in a Craft beer subscription box like DiscoverBrew

Surrey is now the most expensive part of the world to buy a pint and the average pint in London costs £4.08, according to the Good Pub Guide

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How much for a Savile Row Suit? 

Well check you out! Flying into London for the weekend, may as well pick up a Savile Row suit whilst you're here eh? Like your style, pun intended. 

According to Beam Fashion, Prices for a bespoke suit start at nearly £5,000 and can go up £10,000 for very exclusive materials. (Silk, Mohair, or a 150 Merino wool). 

The ready-to-wear suits are available starting from £2,200, (although Chester Barrie will have discounted 2-piece ready to wear for half that). 

Don't forget you'll need some shirts, and whilst a trip to Jermyn Street where you'll find Turnbull & Asser, Emma Willis and New & Lingwood will be a box-ticked, you might need something more accessible (price wise at least). 

You can get a Hawkins & Shepherd shirt for as little as £54 if you sign up to a shirt subscription service today. 

 

SIHH 2019 News: What Brand Ambassadors & Celebs Turned up

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I was gutted not to make it over to SIHH 2019 this year after being invited by IWC Schaffhausen. I've had a few events that I've sadly had to turn down, but I've told myself that I can't make them all and I have to make my peace with that. 

That didn't stop me checking out all the amazing chronographs and news from the red carpet, following the #sihh2019 in case you haven't already. 

A lot of the brand ambassadors turned out, if not all of them and I wanted to put together a little scrapbook of celebrities that rocked the red carpet this year. You can also find a YouTube video below from the event. 

Hugh Jackman

Hugh was there front and centre as always with Montblanc, sporting the Montblanc Geosphere 1858. He is the ultimate ambassador, never in a scandal, happily married for 20 plus years. His wife is 63! That shows you that he's got dignity people. What a champ. 

David Gandy 

It would be remiss of me not to mention my good mate David Gandy who was also there representing Montblanc. Decked out in his grey single breasted suit, blue woolen-fleck tie and grey cotton shirt. 

Bradley Cooper

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IWC had a whole host of celebs show up for ambassador duties. Rosamund Pike, Dev Patel and the man of the moment Bradley Cooper. Bradley chose to wear a midnight blue tux with hand stitched edges. A white shirt without a placket and a low-rise flat front trousers. The single button is too high up on the jacket in my opinion, I prefer a deeper shawl. But hey, who am I to judge. 

Michael B. Jordan

Representing Piaget was Michael B. Jordan. Some fan shots revealed Michael walking round in both a red leather overcoat with black piping and a black roll neck sweater. 

Pierce Brosnan 

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Ever heard of Speake-Marin? Neither have I. They don't have an atelier in London but Pierce is definitely helping them to boost the brands profile. He looks the business in his blue peak lapel suit. I'm guessing there is a little bit of mohair and silk in the blend to give it its lustre. Possibly from the Brioni collection. 

Did you manage to go to SIHH 2019? How does it differ from Baselworld?  I’d love to know what you thought of the event in the comments below.