About THAT Andrex Skin Kind Puppy Commercial

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Today I'm going to talk about featuring in my first televised commercial, for Andrex toilet paper. Sure it might seem a little strange, talking about the ribbed wavy texture of toilet paper and how it feels good on your bum-hole. But in truth I'm super proud to be involved with this project. 

I've grown up watching the Andrex puppies on tv. I've actually always sought out Andrex toilet paper because in my warped mind I feel like I'm supporting the puppies. Maybe I am indirectly. 

I've done TV digital commercials before. Some great ones actually for Burton, BMWi and Mazda. But with respect to those brands, they all pale in comparison. 

I was quite out of my depth in a way, or at least, very far from my comfort zone. Yes I know it's a little cringey when I remark on the wavy texture, but it was a lot of fun to do. And by the way, we all know how it feels when we visit public toilets that supply desperately inadequate toilet paper right? 

Here are a quick 5 ways to find your way out of your comfort zone. 


This film (starring Jim Carrey) was very impressionable for me. I watched the movie, I read the book and downloaded the audio book so I could listen to it on the go. I've since said yes to a crazy amount of things that have opened up so many doors. 


Imagine what’s the worst case scenario if you do something that will make you feel exposed? Will someone laugh at you? I'm sure a bunch of people will be laughing at me for being in an Andrex commercial but I truly don't care. I loved every minute of that experience. It won't be as bad as you think, it never is.


If you have to-do lists make yourself a promise that you'll do it once a day. Even if that's talking to a stranger on the bus. Maybe texting that girl you've always fancied. Standing up to your boss or giving your supervisor some push back. Make it your daily challenge to get out of your comfort zone every day and conditioning yourself. Once you do it will become second nature. 


If you're like me then you'd probably rather not be anyone's best man at a wedding for fear of doing a Best Man speech. I've never been one to grab the mic and demand the room come to an instant hush. However, public speaking classes are a fantastic way to learn the craft and speak more confidently in front of people. It's a skill that will serve you well if you're job require you to make presentations or key note speeches. If you're London based you can take a 5 day intensive training course at the College of Public Speaking. 


You heard me! Live video and streaming on social channels can be really scary. But it soon becomes second nature and no one expects much from a live video. The algorithms are all gravitating towards live feeds because video is king and people want the information directly, first-hand. So start doing a live video on your Instagram or Facebook. Don't announce it, just do it and gradually you'll start to enjoy being out of your comfort zone. 


10 Best Places for Breakfast Brunch Around Clapham & Balham


Where are the best places for Breakfast or Brunch around Clapham and Balham? As a local I have been to every one of them and in this list I'll be offering up some reviews and recommendations. 

Milk, Balham

Not everywhere serves corn cakes, they were delicious but the Milk Cafe does. For healthy options I'd recommend the nut spread on sourdough toast. During the summer months it's nice outside. 

Incredibly tasty eggs Benedict! The food is fresh and served quickly. For an out there alternative you should take a stab at the grilled banana cake with burnt halva butter. 
18-20 Bedford Hill, Balham, London. SW12 9RG | http://www.milk.london/

Brickwood Coffee & Bread, Balham & Clapham

For a decent atmosphere you can't go far wrong with the Aussie-inspired Brickwood in Balham & Clapham Common. The infamous butchers breakfast is outstanding as is the banana bread (make sure you ask for the espresso butter with that!)

There is a little courtyard at back which is nice in good weather. For the healthy option I would recommend the avocado on sourdough bread with a poached egg and halloumi cheese. 
16 Clapham Common South Side, Lambeth, London. SW4 7AB | http://www.brickwoodlondon.com/

The Black Lab, Clapham

Every once in a while a man needs bacon. When I'm feeling carnivorous the bacon sandwich at The Black Lab calls me. They also accommodate healthy bites such as a tasty smoked salmon bagel and chilli flakes. 
18 Clapham Common Southside, Clapham, London SW4 7AB | http://www.blacklabcoffee.com/

The Diary, Clapham Old Town

If you're in this neck of the woods then definitely give the fixed price lunch at the Diary a whirl. Great craft in presentation and friendly service. 

I've been there with friends and shared dishes. It's great if your assembling a few people for a project meeting. Look out for the lamb main and pork belly flatbread. 
15 The Pavement, Clapham, London SW4 0HY | https://the-dairy.co.uk/

The Breakfast Club, Clapham Junction

Possibly the most sociable place for breakfast and brunch. The healthiest option I go for would be the avocado on rye bread with whipped feta cream and seed topping and a poached egg on the side. 

You also have the guilty pleasures such as pancakes, burgers and shakes. 
5-9 Battersea Rise, London SW11 1HG | https://thebreakfastclubcafes.com/locations/battersea-rise/

The Georgian, Clapham South

A serene, cosy little place in Clapham that offers brunches and lunches as well. They make a different cake every other couple of days so you order whatever is available. Don’t forget to pick up some churchkhela (typical Georgian dish) from the counter on the way out!

Other friends have tried the lamb chops with mash and cured aubergines. I wish I ordered that and the traditional dumplings stuffed with beef and herbs, but next time for sure. 
27 Balham Hill, Balham, London SW12 9DX | http://www.georgianrestaurant.co.uk/

Tart, Clapham Old Town

You know I have to have a cafe that is dog friendly, and The Tart is easily the best for this. All the tarts they make are gluten free, which is handy if you are on that diet, and there are vegan options too.

Best dish would be the prepared Salmon tart with some quinoa and green bean salad. Charlie also approves. 
25 The Pavement, Clapham, London SW4 0JA | https://www.tartlondon.com/

Brother Marcus, Balham

I love this place if I want something more relaxed and low key. It had a very casual and relaxed feel, nice for a low key brunch. Brother Marcus is famous for its Bloody Marys. Even if the fact they are called "Brother Marys" or "Bloody Marcuses" which is a nice touch.
9 Chestnut Grove, Balham, London SW12 8JA | http://brothermarcus.co.uk/

Balans Soho Society, Clapham Common

For service with a smile then this is the place to go. Ask for Richard who is a sweet soul that seemed to have all the time in the world for me and my client. who was happy to serve us and answer any questions we had.

Great atmosphere and food also. 
16A Clapham Common South Side, Clapham, London SW4 7AB | https://www.balans.co.uk/

Megans, Balham & Clapham

It's probably the most busiest and on trend place to eat in Clapham. I'd say the food is the best styled and if you get onboard with the bottomless you'll have a great day out. 

Service with a smile and sometimes with a song. Would recommend for big get-togethers and anniversary's. More of an event dining experience. 
55-57 The Pavement, Clapham, London SW4 0JQ | https://megans.co.uk/



Casino Style & Manners For The First Time Gambler


Going to a casino for the first time can be a stressful experience – there’s lots to remember and you may also have concerns about how to look and act.

Having the right style and manner at a casino can be the difference between having a great time and a horrible experience.

In this article, I give you four foolproof tips that will make sure your first visit to a casino has the best chance of being an enjoyable one.

Recommended reading: The One thing All Bloggers Should be Doing Right NOW!

Confidence means knowing the games

It doesn’t matter how good you look, if you’re not feeling on top then it’ll dilute your style – to drag out a tired cliche, it’s not what you wear, it's how you wear it. Feeling confident is the first step to looking good in a casino and there’s a simple trick to help – learn the games you’re going to play inside out.  

Before you set foot in a casino, decide what games you’re going to play. Then read or watch some guides that explain the rules of the games you’ve picked. You can then test out your skills at a world-class online casino – this is a great approach because it takes away the prying eyes of fellow players, making it less stressful and helping to build up your confidence. 

Keep the chatter to a minimum

Speaking from experience, chatter is a tricky one for first-time casino gamblers – you don’t want to be rude to people, but it can be distracting (which might be the tactic of the person chatting to you). My simple advice is this – keep the chatter to a minimum. By this I mean be polite and don’t ignore people, but by the same token don’t initiate conversations.

Dress the part (that you want to play)

While you should always wear the suit and not the other way around, it does help your style points if you pick the right clothes. However, that doesn’t mean picking the slickest suit around. When you head to a casino you should dress the part that you want to play.

There are a number of roles you might want to play while visiting a casino. For example, you might want to be the stylish high-roller – if this is the case then a finely tailored suit will do the trick. However, you may just want to slip into the background – if this is you, then jeans and t-shirt are fine. You may even want to distract your fellow gamblers – if this is your game then pick brightly coloured and garish gear.   

Don’t use any gamesmanship

Sports fans will know the idea of gamesmanship – it’s gaining an unfair advantage that’s not against the rules, but is contrary to the spirit of the game. Gamesmanship exists in casino games, with poker, in particular, being ripe for this – angle shooting is the technical term. If you want to stay within proper casino manners then NEVER use gamesmanship. Not only is it frowned upon, but it could get you kicked out of the casino.


While this isn’t an exhaustive list of style and manner tips for your first casino visit, it covers the key points. So, when you do head to a casino, make sure you’re prepared, wearing the clothes you want, prepared for polite conversation, and don’t even consider angle shooting!

Photo Credit: PIXNIO

Are Alcohol Free Beers Good For You?


Q. What is the healthiest alcohol free beer to drink? 

A. Nanny State by BrewDog is known as having the lowest calories per bottle, approx. 26 calories! A perfect option for those looking to tackle Stoptober head on. 

With StopTober on the horizon I wanted to do some research and ask, Are Alcohol-free Beers Healthy? I'm seeing a lot of non-alcoholic beers in the supermarket, I want to know if my body is going to reap the benefits. 

I've spent the morning researching whether Alcohol-free beers are good for you or not. And also, a recommendation from those non-drinkers as to which beers to try., 

Alcohol Free beer is not a recommended substitute if you’re trying to give up alcohol for good. From my research and looking at comment threads, people are resorting back to normal beer after not getting a proper 'fix'. 


Good to have after the gym

Alcohol free beer still has the hops, it's only the alcohol that has been removed either by vacuuming, reverse osmosis or boiling. 

The hops is apparently a health benefit if you're looking to recover from any exercise exertion.

Good for you and you want hops to sleep, alcohol free beer can help your recovery from gym. I've heard the same about Guinness also because of the Iron content. 

Low on Sugar

Alcohol-free beers are the healthiest drinks in a pub unless you're having water. Which will probably cost you around the same amount as a normal beer.

Many soft drink alternatives are usually high in sugar and caffeine, plus the sugar free alternatives are usually high in aspartame. 

Aspartame is a very controversial sweetener, you can find out more about that on a blog by EcoWatch

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Will I lose my Beer Belly? 

According to an article on Beer Fattening by Micro Brewery, the beer belly is not the result of beer, but of the beer-drinking lifestyle.

Think on all the poor decisions you've made after having a few beers. The greasy takeout’s, the lack of exercise the next day due to fatigue, it's a slippery slope that culminates into inevitable Dad-Bod. 

Non-alcoholic beer good for the blood? 

Some people drink non-alcoholic beer every day for health. Research suggests it lowers the white cells which is good for people with lymphoma. (*non-scientifically backed). 

Something new I learnt

Alcoholic calories are used by the body first – they are not stored and converted into fat. Alcohol is processed in exactly the same way as beer but removed by a second heating process. The boiling point of alcohol is lower than water at 78 degrees Celsius. 


Top 5 Popular non-alcoholic beers 

To get you through Stoptober you might want to take a look at these alcohol free beers, recommended by various users.

  • Zero Zero

  • Nanny State

  • Patronus Weissbier

  • Heineken 0.0

  • Becks Blue

Do You Have it in You? Dreaming Big With PokerStars

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How many hours do you practice? 

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

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

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

Your favourite Casino? 

Bellagio in Vegas.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit PokerStars and Neil Stoddart

The 3 Massive Life Lessons to Take From Poker


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

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


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

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


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

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

Lesson 1:

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



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

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

Lesson 2: 

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


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

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

Lesson 3: 

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







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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Sniph Wardrobe | A Different Scent for Every Occasion

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


Tips & Research on the Latest Instagram Algorithm Updates in August 2019


Today I'm going to share some research notes on things going on with the Instagram algorithm. Instagram are targeting a lot of proxies and automation services. We know this because they only used to do 5 updates a year. In the last 2 months they've done 8 consecutive updates every week. Every time on Friday so 3rd parties have to work over the weekend (or in most cases don't) to fix compatibility issues.  

TIP: Don't use 3rd party engagement funnels, especially don't give away your password. Instagram detects each time you enter your password and if you're doing it more frequently then it will target you and more than likely block you. 

If you've experienced a drop off recently in your engagement levels its time to look at some ways to get your spurs back. 

At the end of April Instagram announced there is a connection between followers, friends and stories. These are the most important factors. 


You need to level up with your stories and make them more engaging. Polls, questions, share peoples responses and answers. 

The story algorithm has taken over. 

This gives you a greater chance on getting on the Instagram explore page. Previously it just used to be grid posts on the explore page, now they're publishing stories. If you're on the Instagram explore page, you're in a pretty good place. 

Instagram want you to stay on the platform for longer. 

We've always known this. The longer you stay on the platform, the more adverts you'll see, the more money Instagram make. 

So wow does the instagram algorithm work? 

One theory is the 'Casino Effect'. IF you lose every time you hit the slot machine, you'll not get sufficient amounts of dopamine (the feel good chemical that your brain secretes) and you'll lose interest. Same if you win every time, you'll feel like a 2 year old at Christmas that gets too many gifts.

The idea is that you have to keep guessing how your posts will fair. You don't know if you'll get sh*t tonne of likes, or a remarkably low score. Instagram even delay the amount of people that view your stories so you keep checking your feed to see how many people are looking. The reward is more intense when it finally arrives. Genius. 

TIP: Start dm'ing your followers more. Develop better relationships. Even if it's with a couple of emoji's. People get wow'd that you're checking out their stories, they often wonder if they're getting viewed at all! 

Also keep your grid clean and consistent. We like to look at pretty things. We like to see the same filters if its on a page we follow. Don't suddenly switch to black and white for a few weeks and get arty if your audience are craving your unique formula. 

TIP: Ask questions in your captions. Ask them for their thoughts, ask them to rate an idea. Engagement keeps people checking you out and makes sure that your latest content plonks straight to the top of their feed. 

TIP: Check out your insights if you have a business page. See what time people are active and make sure you upload your posts around that time specifically. 

TIP: Tag other users. They will start tagging you in their images and you'll develop stronger relationships and more traction. 

References and research 

How the Instagram Algorithm works

The future of Instagram Growth

Huge Instagram Algorithm Updates 


11 Best Fashion Books You Need on Your Shelf


Today I want to breeze through some of the fashion books that I've read in the past year. Some I use as reference books for blogs, others I use for design inspiration, some I just the like pictures ok? 

I think these fashion books offer something for everyone and I'd love to get some recommendations from you in the comments below. 



The impact of the Bond films on popular culture is impossible to overestimate. (BTW if this is your cup of tea then I can recommend  my friend Pete Brooker's podcast From Tailors With Love where he dedicates an entire 30 minutes every week to the style of James Bond). 

Dressed to Kill follows the sartorial transformations from the 1960s chic of the Nehru-collared jacket in Dr No to the classic Italian tailoring by Brioni in Goldeneye. 

Dressed to Kill is available on AMAZON: 25 GBP



The visual dictionary of fashion design. This is very much a reference book for me that I must turn to at least 2-3 times a week. It has everything from flat designs, collar types to the anatomy of a mans dress watch. 

From the Fashionary Website: 49 USD (I purchased mine in the Saatchi Gallery).



I probably started my modest collection with this beautiful book a few years ago. Again this is a great reference guide for me. Behind nearly every item in the modern male wardrobe is a 'first of its kind' - the definitive example., often designed by a single company or brand for specialist use, from which all subsequent versions have evolved (and originals of which are now collected in the booming vintage market). 

Icons of Men's Style: Available from Waterstones for 10 GBP 



Christopher Laverty is a costume and fashion writer and consultant. Fashion in Film celebrates the contributions of fashion designers to cinema, exploring key garments, what they mean in context of the narrative, and why they are so memorable. Be sure to check out Christopher's blog

Clothes on Film is available through his publisher Laurence King: 30 GBP



House of Nutter tells the story of two gay men who influenced some of the most iconic styles and pop images of the twentieth century. A fascinating read and wonder through 60's, 70's menswear. Anyone who loved Rocketman and is interested in the suits Elton John wore would definitely be interested in this book. Tommy Nutter also designed the clothes worn by 3 of The Beatles on the cover of the Abbey Road album. 



This is a real comprehensive view on the subject of fashion. Maybe you'd struggle to take this on your summer hols, it's quite hefty. However, it's a glossy treasure-house of information. I was lucky enough to pick this up in a charity store. Sadly I've not managed to find one online. 



John Stephen first came to London in 1952 at just eighteen years old, but his expertise and unerring eye for cut and detail propelled him to the front of the fashion brigade. You'll find his blue plaque on the fringe of Carnaby Street. 

Available from Waterstones for 20 GBP



To any style conscious Londoner in the sixties just two places mattered: the King's Road and Carnaby Street. By the end of the decade the whole world came to be seen, to take part in the theatre that played out of the new boutiques and onto the street. 

This book is beautiful, wonderful images and really captures the essence of the time. 

By this used on Amazon right now for 15 GBP 



Master cutter Richard Anderson has worked on Savile Row for over 35 years. He started his career at the age of seventeen as an apprentice at Huntsman. In 2001 he co-founded his own Savile Row company, Richard Anderson LTD, with Brian Lishak. 

I learnt a lot from Richard in this book and its beautifully presented. 

Available through Thames and Hudson for 30 GBP



James Sherwood is currently working with Henry Poole I noticed. He did a book with Turnbull and Asser and it's hard to believe that this book is nearly 10 years old. It's the real almanac for Savile Row tailors and it's elite and lustrous history. 

Available on Amazon for 30 GBP. More information on James Sherwood can be found on his website



Another great reference book for the history of inspiration. Each of the 50 designers is analyzed according to his or her most significant contributions to the dialogue of fashion. There is a special emphasis on who and what influenced each designer, as well as how the designer has inspired others, thereby revealing connections that have helped to shape the history of fashion. 

Buy used from AMAZON for 2 GBP 


The Perfect Shirt | Top 5 Ways to Know if You’re Buying a Luxury Shirt

Today I’m going to give you 5 things that make the difference on a luxury dress shirt. I’ve been running Hawkins & Shepherd for around 6 years now and have acquired a lot of knowledge and experience in the shirt making industry. Here are some things that I look out for immediately when determining the quality of a shirt.


The collar on a man’s dress shirt needs to be high quality. The first thing I look for is edge stitching. What is edge stitching? This is a term given when the stitching runs to the edge of the seam It’s harder to do as a tailor because there is less room for error so therefore it takes longer. It’s a technique that takes greater skill.

Most shirts will have quarter edge stitching.

Another thing to look out for on the collar is whether the collar is non-fused. There will be a lining in a collar that is sometimes fused to the fabric on one if not both sides. It’s a cheaper and quicker way to manufacture shirts. Sadly that adhesive used to fuse the collar can perish and react with the fabric over time and washes. You may have recognised a bubbling effect on your collars if you’re buying entry level shirts. To test whether you are buying a quality dress shirt you should be able to pull the fabric away from the lining on both sides. 

Lastly don’t forget about the removable collar stays. Entry level shirts will have them fused in which can be problematic when ironing. Plus ironing over plastic is not desirable and over time will leave nasty indentations on the collar.


Let’s talking about stitching on a dress shirt. Stitching is the most expensive part when it comes to manufacturing. Especially if the shirt is composed using single needle side seam stitching. (Try saying that after one too many Heinekens). A cheaper method of manufacturing is to use the double needle. But single needle leaves a beautiful finish.  


The all-important split yoke. I’m talking about the block of fabric situated on the back of the shirt that sits over the shoulders. A split yolk means that 2 pieces of fabric lay over the shoulders. It fits better on the shoulders and there is more flow if you have a split yolk. If there is a pattern shirt then it’s more of a design aspect as to whether you chose to have a split yoke.

Personally I like a non-split yoke when its striped or checked. Watch for a split yoke on a lower quality shirt, quite often the patterns will not match up. 


I love it clean no stitching. These might come down to personal preferences but there are certain features that will distinguish a luxury dress shirt.

The front placket should without question have mother of pearl buttons mother of pearl buttons, tightly sewn to the placket.

 Every buttonhole should be sewn vertically, apart from the bottom one. This needs to be sewn horizontally which will allow freedom of movement. The bottom button hole will often be the one that sees the most action and needs to flex with the body.  

Talking of movement, look at the gusset of the shirt. A well-constructed shirt will have the triangle area to allow for more movement. It also cleans the hem to a nice finish.

 Some shirts are over engineered with different fabric on the front. I personally don’t see this as a luxury choice. Just extra fuss and a distraction.

The fabric entry level for a luxury shirt will be a  cotton twin 100's. The higher you go up in the yarn count the finer is going to be and more often the softer. Lower yarn count like 40’s, 60’s will be a thicker fabric and not conducive for a dress shirt.


It’s crucial that the shoulders line up pattern wise with the arms. Again there should be no fused linings in the cuff. I also look for a smaller button on the sleeve placket. I love double button cuff personally, but that it not deemed a feature of luxury, more tradition. If I have a sharp cut in the collar I would also look the same in the cuff, rounded cuffs and collar. 

The Oblique Life: The Ultimate London Community

Today I'm very pleased to announce the news that Hawkins & Shepherd are now on the Oblique Life platform. People that have subscribed to the Oblique Life membership can now enjoy 15% off Hawkins & Shepherd shirts. Let me tell you about the Oblique Life and why you should sign up. 

The Oblique Life is a lifestyle brand that receives access to an array of high-quality experiences, unique editorial content, and benefits from hand-selected partners. 

The Oblique Life was originally created around a shared vision of helping Londoners meet, connect and engage like they used to, before the days of dating apps and social media. 

London can feel quite all-encompassing sometimes. I can't remember the quote, maybe it was Pepys, but London was once referred to as being something and nothing to everyone at the same time. Meaning, London is your oyster. But it can be all encompassing too. Overwhelming. Disconnected. 

If your family is not in London you can feel like they're on the other side of the world. That's the London bubble effect. 

Life moves faster here. It's 6am starts. It's moving between the raindrops and rush hour on the tube. It's breakneck on foot and gridlock on all roads. 

Whether it’s an exclusive discount or a queue jump, complimentary tickets or special access, they have a commitment to customer service that mirrors the merits of my own brand. Personalisation. 

They have a concierge and lifestyle management service, which helps members save time on researching, planning, and booking, thus enabling them to spend more time doing the things they love. 

Like watching Love Island. Wait, what happened? I meant going to the National Gallery, and stuff. 

Members of The Oblique Life can access their Make It Happen (concierge) service 24/7 via the live chat built into The Oblique Life mobile app.

They organise over 150 experiences a year across all areas of lifestyle; Food & Drink, Music, Culture, Fashion, Travel, Health & Technology. 

How is Hawkins & Shepherd involved with The Oblique Life? 

Yes let me get to that now. Plenty of information is available over on the Oblique Life site about the experiences but here are some of the other benefits you can receive through the Oblique Life platform. 

As a member you'll be offered exclusive discounts with over 70 carefully selected partner brands. 

These include: Opium Cocktail & Dim Sum Parlour | 20% off drinks every day. Goat Chelsea | 20% off total bill every day. Little Yellow Door | 15% off total bill every day. Anami London | 20% off all treatments and packages. Elliot Rhodes | 15% off products in store. Appleyard Flowers | 20% off all bouquet deliveries. Laundrapp | 10% off Laundrapp services. 

The Oblique Life Digital Magazine is also an online lifestyle publication. (I'm sure you guys are already aware).

From in-depth editorials and curated guides to videos and podcasts, it's quite something that these guys are doing over there and I'm excited and honoured to be invited into the community.

They accept membership applications throughout the year. If you would like to apply, please visit the following URL to submit your online application: www.theobliquelife.com/apply

Jocks&Nerds Revival: Can Print Magazines go Advertisement-Free?

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Jocks & Nerds returns after a 2-year hiatus. Founder and Editor, Marcus Agerman Ross spoke to one of my contributors Pete Brooker about why he has revived the brand and got his take on the current climate for the print industry. 

Why did we take two years out and what have you learnt in your two year sabbatical?

I was forced to close it down because the business didn’t work anymore. When I realised I had to shut it down I realised I was exhausted, physically and emotionally - aside from the financial pain of it all. I always says there’s only one thing harder than running a business and that’s running a business that’s failing. It’s a horrible place to be.

I started working over 20 years ago and, for better or for worse, I saw what I did as journalism and that journalism was something independent - an important view on the world.

That has all been stripped away before our eyes - I don’t think anyone really understood how it happened or how quickly. (When I started Jocks&Nerds Instagram didn’t even exist and smartphones where a totally new thing!!)

I found myself in a tough situation. Middle-aged with professional experience in only one industry - one that essentially no longer exists. The skills people want today are brand new and I find them really boring.

(I was actually looking at the site of a fairly creative company recently - not for work but for something else - I clicked on their jobs board and all the jobs were things like UX developer, coder, etc!!) I genuinely think it’s very hard to be a creative professional right now. There used to be outlets for creativity that might not have paid so well as the commercial work but all of those avenues are being torn down by the new technology.

I looked for work in places where I thought my skill sets and experience would be really valued but I got nowhere. I also looked at working in totally new sectors but nothing was really coming together.

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In that time, I decided to start a Jocks&Nerds radio show on Soho Radio so that we could keep the name alive and some connection with our audience. I think radio/podcasts are about the only place where you can be journalistic and independent right now. There’s no money in it but there’s essentially no cost either so you can reach people fairly easily and say what you want. It doesn’t tick every box for what I want to say as an editor but it is very useful.

Over that period I kept meeting readers and fans of the mag who told me how much they missed and that there was nothing else out there. I realised that although the advertising had gone, the readership still remained and I started to think how I might be able to put something back together. That was really the start of it.


The word is there will be no advertising this time around in Jocks & Nerds, how do you expect to finance the publication?

I’m incredibly lucky that I have managed to build an incredible team of contributors around Jocks&Nerds who believe passionately in what we are trying to do and that we stand up for something important that no one else is doing right now. They give up their own time, money and energy to help make it happen.

Now I’m printing the magazine digitally which means I don’t have to print more copies than I can sell. The downside of this the unit cost is really high hence the higher cover price but it is the only way to get it out.

In reality I’ll lose money doing it but I can’t see any other way right now. I value complete control and the ability to do something of value over advertising. Besides, advertisers ultimately destroyed what we were doing in the first place so it’s much better not to have them.


Were you tempted to completely rebrand?

We already have a recognisable name and we’ve built a sizeable, loyal audience over the best part of a decade so it makes sense to continue as Jocks & Nerds. But we have redesigned the magazine and made a new logo.

This is partly down to the fact that the content is slightly different now and we want people to regard it more as a book or periodical than a magazine - it’s designed to be archival and of value on the bookshelf.

I was lucky that the art director who worked with me at the very beginning, Phil Buckingham, was keen to get involved again. He knows the ethos behind the magazine inside out and knows how to work with me so that was really helpful in this process.

What part of the physical print format did you miss most whilst you were away?

I’ve said this many times recently but I think it’s a really important point. Magazines are in many ways completely anachronistic today whilst also being vitally important. There are issues about them being hugely expensive to produce, difficult to distribute, slow, bad for the environment, etc.

Equally, they are important because no new media format is able to do what magazines do. By that I mean if you think of audio (music, radio, etc) and visual (TV and film) the end user experience isn’t really altered. If anything some things are better. Digital radio is crystal clear and podcasts can be listened to on the go.

But magazines which are edited around a theme, idea or view on the world, that use design as an integral part of the editorial voice, that combine imagery and text in a considered way, that have scale and impact - nothing else exists that can do that - so they are important if those things are valued and I mean that from an editor/journalist point of view.

As I said at the top, the business model is broken so I hope there can be a new way forward with printing costs, distribution, etc and a break-up of the tech oligopolies somewhere down the line. Independent voices like ours are being crushed and I think it will set a dangerous precedent for media going forward.

More of this interview can be found on Pete’s site, Human Research.


You can find all available stockists for Jocks&Nerds through their website.

Introducing Sniph: Explore the Scents

Today I'm going to introduce you to a new fragrance company out of Sweden called SNIPH. I flew out to their Headquarters in Stockholm for a couple of days and was introduced officially to the brand.


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

The idea is quite simple. The expert perfumers at SNIPH have already sampled hundreds of artisanal scents from the best boutique perfume studios around the world and keep searching globally to find new niche and exclusive fragrances for you. They then select the ones they think you’ll like best and sort them out in their 6 distinctive collections.

Gradually your selection gets more refined as SNIPH comes accustomed to the scents that you prefer.

Finding a new perfume can be tedious. Sniph is a discovery service for perfume that enables you to try new perfumes. Every month they deliver carefully selected perfumes from exclusive brands in a smart and chic 8ml bottle. With 6 distinctive collections to choose from, you’ll receive a new fragrance that is perfectly tailored to you every month, directly to your door. With no commitments and always free shipping. Basically, they are here to make it simple and fun for you to explore new scents, for you to fall in love with and for any mood or occasion. Perfect for finding your new signature scent, or building a scent wardrobe.

They don't do high-street brands, instead they celebrate uniqueness and are welcoming you into the hidden world of scents to let you enjoy carefully selected perfumes from exclusive brands. Sniph partners with amazing perfume houses worldwide. This means the scents in your subscription may be available in the UK or exclusively available through Sniph.


Firstly, it's always good to mix and match your fragrances. I'm a loyal lover and brand ambassador for Jo Malone London for example, but my shelf is not exclusive to their scents.

By experimenting with different fragrances from SNIPH this enables you to 'explore the world of scents' (to coin their campaign slogan).

You also might like to have some of the heavy lifting taken away from you when it comes to shopping for fragrances. Let someone else with experience select a fragrance for you.

Another thing, that I learned during these days with Sniph in Sweden, is the power of scent. Scent has the power to stir emotions, awaken memories, set moods and captivate the imagination.

Think about it, would you want to smell the same at an important meeting and at a date?

 With this being said a scent wardrobe, where you choose your scent after mood and occasion, is the new way of looking at scent. And to be honest there is a full world out there of amazing scents that would be a shame to miss out on. 


Sure, they come in very handy travel vials together with a neat and smart case. Less than 100ml which is also convenient for the bathroom. I know it sounds like woe is me sometimes, but I don't always have the space for all the fragrances on my nightstand or bathroom shelf. (Remember this is London, no walk-in wardrobes here).

They are also really hear to share their love for scent with the world and invite people in to their world. To educate people about the world of scents is one of their missions which means that you will never just receive a random scent with learning about it as well. 


Thanks for asking guys, it was short and sweet but a very interesting and relaxing affair. You may have seen from my stories I enjoyed some yoga sessions at the Djursholm Country Club.

It was a perfect induction into sensory awakening. How often do we close our eyes and listen to what it is we're smelling. 

So much focus is on the visual. Instagram is a proven benefactor of that. Imagine an APP that delivered a scent to your phone. (Jesus that's a great idea, Zuckerberg lets schedule a meeting).

After that we made a flower crown and had some drinks. You know, standard Swedish customs. 

In Sweden they have a Midsummer tradition where you place 7 different flowers under your pillow. You then dream of your one true love.

SNIPH had a neat twist on this tradition and left 7 different fragrances for us to spray on our pillow. I dreamt of ice cream!

I'd like to thank SNIPH for inviting me to Sweden and introducing me to their brand. I had a real sense of community and kinship with the founders and staff. I'll be writing more about SNIPH and the fragrances I receive in later posts.

SNIPH offer subscriptions for 14 GBP a month with free delivery. I am very pleased to be a SNIPH ambassador and all thoughts here are my own. 

DISCOUNT CODE: Use my personalised discount code below which will give you 25% OFF.


Is it Too Late to become an Instagram Star?

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Are you thinking now is the time to make a big push on your Instagram account? It's getting a lot of traction but now we need to monetise the traffic?

I think a lot of people have that leap of faith moment, but are unsure on whether they've missed the influencer boat. 

Is it too late to enter a saturated market with only a modicum of the following that some of the big boys have?

You might want to first ask yourself the following questions such as Why do you want to become an Influencer? 

  1. Is it to get freebies?

  2. Is it because your current job sucks and you need a way out that doesn't involve study or rebranding?

  3. Did you just catch your own reflection and think you're too good looking to be working as a cashier or flipping burgers?

Ok so you whatever the reason, let me just emphasise that I know very few influencers, even the big ones, that have given up the day jobs to leverage their social media accounts. Especially a lot of friends I have in the industry will often utilise other content related skills. Videography, podcasting, ghost writing etc. 

My short answer is, NOPE, never too late.

I like this article from Nicolas Cole who posed a similar question in INC magazine. Basically none of the monoliths in the tech industry today knew their terrain when they first started out. 

Even AMAZON started solely selling books. Facebook was exclusive to University students. Let's just say when you started your page you might have been posting pictures of your chicken dinner, now you want to focus on fashion or beauty products. 

Who cares, what you want to post about. So long as it's a genuine interest of yours. 

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Here are 3 chunky facts for you to take away:

1 billion people use Instagram every month

I recommend you check out this article on Hootsuite that gives you the skinny on some Instagram facts for 2019. 500 million people use Instagram every day. That's a huge global resource and if you're telling me that your genre is saturated then perhaps you need to find the niche within a niche. 

OR just think logistically, that you have the potential to reach 500 million people. No matter if there's a bunch of you all focusing on the same thing, no one is doing it the way you're doing it. 

Instagram Posts That Include a Location Receive 79% More Engagement

Check out some more statistics about Instagram in an article on Influencer Marketing Hub. What does this tell you? That some people still don't know how to truly leverage their audience potential.

Imagine if you somehow did shed tonnes more research than the person who is competing for your campaign, on how to capitalise on a theme or product, then all of a sudden it's not such a saturated market after all. You can climb the ladder and get a bigger market share. 

Photos With Faces Get 38% More Likes

I pulled this one from Omnicore. So imagine what people are engaging with? People. The personal touch. The human element. No matter what your face looks like statistics show that it’s what people are more interested in engaging with. 

I hope this has helped. I hope you find what you're looking for on Instagram. Remember it is work, although not real work

The Best Wildlife Instagrammers to Follow


Awhile back I did an article on The Best French Bulldogs to follow on Instagram. Sure I was just killing time between flights, but it actually got a great response. It's prompted me to do another one in a similar vein, this time the best Wildlife Photographers on Instagram.



Wow. Simply wow. Just makes you thankful that you're an apex predator right? Can you imagine sharing the same postcode as some of these guys? Your head would be on a constant swivel, wondering if today's the day you're going to be eaten alive.

Also I heard the lions always start with the wedding vegetables because it’s like a delicacy for them. What a way to go eh?


WWF International 

A very important account to follow if you want to support the protection of wildlife. I used to sponsor a Tiger back in the day through the WWF. His name was Rocky. It was actually quite rewarding. Rocky would send me letters letting me know how my five pound a month is helping him sustain a better life in the wilderness. Although I suspect he just spent it on fags and booze. Who can blame him.

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From Kevin's bio. 'Landscape, wildlife and travel photography. Prints available through my website.' Kevin centres heavily on the birds. As we all do I suppose. A lot of owls in his photos.

Do you ever wonder why we consider owls to be wise? They really flatter to deceive owls don't they? They look clever, but really, have you ever seen an owl on Countdown? Ever seen an owl in a lab coat working on a vaccine to prevent the common cold?

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Varun Aditya

From his bio. 'Natgeo Nature Photographer of the year 2016 (1st prize)' His photos are truly spectacular. What's more amazing is that someone else must have beaten him to the NatGeo pic of the year 2017/18. I wonder if I send in my pictures of Charlie chewing on the recycling I'd be in with a shot of winning that thing.


Florian Schulz Visuals

From his bio 'Florian Schulz. Photographer | Filmmaker | Speaker Contributor to National Geographic. Passionate about protecting earth’s wilderness areas and its wildlife.'

There's something fascinating about bears right? I mean more so than any other animal. I love the fact that in all the survival guides that tell you to puff your chest out and make yourself big if confronted by a bear. Whatever you do don't run.

Does anyone believe that a Kodiak Bear weighing in at half a tonne in pure muscle is going to think twice about running scared just because mini-me is flexing his 38" chest? I'll run for the hills if it’s all the same.


Laurent Ballesta

From his bio 'Laurent Ballesta - Leader of GOMBESSA Expeditions - Underwater Photographer - Marine biologist.'

Does anyone have an unhealthy fear of the ocean because they saw the movie Jaws way to young? Makes sense thought right? The land is our domain, the sea is theirs. Think of it this way. If you saw a Japanese Spider Crab at the bottom of your local swimming pool, you'd have the lifeguard remove it before you went anywhere near it.

Same but different in my eyes.

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Beverly Joubert

From her bio. 'Award-winning photographer & filmmaker. @dereckjoubert & I produce African wildlife conservation documentaries. More images at Natgeocreative.com'.

What's your favourite nature film? Mine has got to be Bigfoot & the Hendersons. Only messin'. Although that was a great film from what I remember. Did you know that the guy who played Bigfoot also played Predator? Anyway what was I on about. OK top of my head, best three wildlife movies:

  1. Turner & Hooch

  2. Planet of the Apes  (any of the Andy Serkis ones).

  3. The Incredible Journey



Do you know what I completely forgot about that Grizzly documentary. About the dude that took his wife to Bear land and got eaten. Apparently the woman tried to stop the bear from eating him and gotten too.

Now THAT is the kind of woman I'm after. A woman that will jump on the back of a Grizzly Bear and stop it from eating me.


Tommas On Photo

From his bio. 'Wildlife Photographer. Tom Mason. Wildlife Photojournalist. YouTuber. Nikon Europe Optics Ambassador.'

Guys I'm running out of steam with the wildlife captions here. Forgive me, I'm just gaging to get a top ten listicle together. Does it really matter what I write? Nothing is going to trump to Elephant Seal head-butting each other right?


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And that's a wrap folks. I hope you've enjoyed this one. I think after this I'm going to book some tickets and get over to South Africa for a Safari.

My Thoughts on 3 Month Achievable Body Goals

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Is anyone else feeling the footy void? Luckily we have the women’s World Cup to carry us over for a few weeks but then what happens after that?

Maybe instead of looking around for discounts on your Sky Sports subscription, it's time for some physical action.

What can we do before the start of the next season? What kind of body goals are achievable before the start of the Premier League's 2019/20 season on Saturday 10 August 2019. How do we achieve them?

Try for 3 months

Cut out bread. Cut out sweets. Get off your phone and take control.

Plank Challenges: 

You've heard of the 30 day plank challenge? Well why not stretch that out. The plank challenge encourages routine, discipline and is one of the best exercises for developing your core. Grab a matt, do it first thing while the kettle is boiling, add more time incrementally for better results.

Regain Your Fitness Plan:

Take a look at other plans that are specifically designed to help you shed weight. Regain Your Fitness’s online fitness programs for women and men boast that past clients have lost 7 – 10 kg in the first 30 days. I'm not affiliated but I've done some HIIT training before and I can tell you it's gruelling, but worth it.


I am a brand ambassador for KOBOX and I can tell you that the classes are fantastic. The instructors are like family and it's a very sociable way of working out. If you stick to weekly classes you will not only increase your overall stamina but will be well on your way to learning a new skill.

Personal Trainer 

As a rule of thumb, the average amount a personal trainer in the UK will charge is around £30 an hour. Though if you're London based that can rise quite steeply.

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Set aside a budget. Develop a plan with a personal trainer and explain the body goals you would like to achieve. Have pictures of naked dudes at the ready to help your trainer. Only kidding. Don't be weird.

Remember the Diet

So how much weight can you realistically lose in 3 months? You can possibly lose as much as 30 pounds according to this article by Live Strong.  But so much centres around your ability to maintain discipline around your diet. A low-calorie, highly nutritious eating plan combined with increased physical activity brings about weight loss.

Gadgets that will help you lose weight

Lemon squeezers, blenders (not juicers) veggie steamer and salad tossers. You can find a bunch more on the Everyday Health site. I'd say out of all the gadgets, the best one is the alarm clock. Get up early, don't dodge the best part of the day when no one is around.

Best Apps to help you lose Weight

Check out all the fat-busting apps in this article by Gotta be Mobile. Personally I'm always keeping an eye on the step count and know some friends have eulogised over Tabatas which is themed around more HIIT routines. (High Intensity Interval Training).

If you so happen to find yourself in a Novotel hotel like I was last week, check out the CALM app they have which helps facilitate sleep, positivity and meditation. All crucial ingredients if you're serious about achieving your body goals.

Document your 3 month work out

Be honest with yourself. Set yourself some very open goals with your online audience and pictures of yourself naked. Only kidding, come on, liven up!

But take personal pictures of yourself in the mirror. It's not easy to see gradual improvement but you will come a long way within 3 months and before you know it your body transformation will be there for everyone to see.

Your Fail-Safe Father’s Day Gifting Guide

Father's Day is upon us people. This year I've collaborated with Boots to provide you with a Fail-Safe Father’s Day Gifting guide for the ultimate Father’s Day gifts. All the products that you see featured I've selected as the gems I'd personally buy for my Father.

I'm also running a competition that you can enter by leaving a comment on this post. The competition winner will receive a free gift from the Boots Father’s Day page. All you have to do is leave a comment at the bottom of the Blog, Mention one thing you're going to be doing or gifting your Father this Father's Day. 

We'll pick the names from random and will announce the winner by email. 

What are the best Father's Day presents? 

It can be a nightmare to know what to get your Father for Father's Day. Ok you might have the box of Hazelnut Whirls already in the bag, but once the sugar spike is over what else surely your Dad is worth more than a fleeting spike in his blood sugar levels? 

I'll get to the Boots gifting guide momentarily, but first here are some suggestions for places and activities that you can enjoy together with your Father. 


It's the oldest restaurant in London and right in the heart of Covent Garden. It has plenty of game dishes (which all Dad's love). Proper British cuisine like Pie and Mash, Steak & Ale pie, Pheasant etc. It's typically very busy and you'll have to book. 


And what Dad doesn't like a James Bond movie. Just over the road from Rules Restaurant is the London Film Museum. In the London film museum you can see all the cars featured in the James Bond movies. There's also costumes worn by Roger Moore and Daniel Craig, as well as a fantastic gift shop.


If the weather is good you should treat your Dad to a London Walk this Father's Day. There are many walks to choose from to match his predilections. The Beatles Walk, The Jack The Ripper Walk, The Hidden London Walk etc. It's relatively inexpensive (10 GBP per person last time I checked). Each walk brings a fascinating insight into London's beautiful history. 


Yes you can take your Father anywhere, so why The Connaught? Well the interiors are just extra special. They have their own Martini Tray and bespoke bitters so you can have a very personalised tailor-made Martini experience. All the mixologists are consummate professionals with an encyclopaedic brain for remembering cocktails. However, ask for Walter, I've found him to be the most flamboyant. 

There are some activities you can contemplate. Now for the Father's Day gifting guide. Neigh, The FAIL-SAFE gifting guide. You can't go wrong with these items. 


L'Oreal Men Expert The Daily Expert Gift Set

Your Dad will thank you for levelling up his grooming routine with this Daily Expert Gift Set from L'Oreal. It has the essentials, the Deodorant, the moisturiser and the all-important eye-roll on to help combat fatigue. It's a giveaway price, currently at 9.99 GBP. 

L'Oreal Men Expert Hydra Energetic Anti-Fatigue Face Wash 100ml

Sticking with the grooming line, this L'Oreal anti-fatigue face wash is just what your Dad will need to get him through the day. After all he has to put up with us right? Not to mention he needs to look his Sunday best when you take him out for that surprise London activity. 

L'Oreal Men Expert Hydra Energetic Deep Exfoliating Face Scrub 100ml

If your Dad is anything like my Dad he's not one for spending much time in front of the mirror. But that's all going to change and my Dad is now dependent on me when it comes to providing him grooming advice. The Hydra Energetic Deep Exfoliating face scrub deeply purifies and cleanses the skin, removes impurities and excess shine, and helps to unblock pores.

BOSS Bottled Eau de Toilette 50ml

This is the true embodiment of Fail-Safe. A fragrance which remains as contemporary and relevant today as it was at launch 20 years ago.

A very woody, - citrusy fragrance that has great silage. More notably it's not overtly sweet. A very saccharin sweet fragrance doesn't sit well on the seasoned gentleman. BOSS Bottled Eau de Toilette has all the character synonymous with tradition and masculinity.

Gucci Guilty Cologne Pour Homme Eau de Toilette 90ml

If you want to go slightly up market then how about the Gucci Guilty Cologne Pour Homme Eau de Toilette. This has a medium intensity that is a bit more exotic than the Boss one. If your Father is a fan of the Mediterranean then this Gucci fragrance carries all the hallmarks with the intense heart of Spanish Cypress Essence, its heady resinous tones uplifted with elegant floral notes including Heliotropine and Violet. 

The Father’s Day Essentials

Treat your Father with the all-in-one gift set designed to start off your day the right way. The gift set comprises of 3 male grooming entry level essentials, moisturiser, eye-roll on and deodorant.

Does your Dad have a short beard or stubble? Then why not treat him to a ‘The Beard Club’ essentials gift set by L’Oreal. Wash, moisturise and style that beard with this grooming set which is enriched with cedarwood essential oils.

So your Father may not be a fan of facial hair, which means he likes to be clean shaven. Treat him to Harry’s shaving products direct from Boots. I personally would recommend a trio of Harry’s Shave Gel, Harry’s Post Shave Balm and Harry’s Face Lotion.

Imagine you and your Dad spending some rest and relaxation time watching something on the Discovery channel whilst wearing the L'Oreal Men Expert Hydra Energetic Hydra Energy Face Masks. A great talking point and a bit of fun, plus your skin will be feeling refreshed for good measure.

Now on to three fragrances that will be a guaranteed Father’s Day present success story. All three are popular and mainstream for a reason; affordable and luxurious, your Dad will love them. Paco Rabanne 1 Million EDT is a fresh, spicy, leathery fragrance. Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male EDT is sweet and spicy. Whereas Gentlemen Givenchy EDT would be described as masculine and woody.


*This post is an advertised collaboration with Boots but all thoughts are my own.

13 at KOBOX: The New Boutique Pay-As-You Gym Studio

As a proud ambassador of KOBOX I'm very pleased to announce a new option to their work out schedule.

For anyone not wanting to be tied to a gym membership this is for you. For anyone fed-up with not being able to access their workout station due to overcrowding, this is for you.

At KOBOX 13 you have all the space and time to train how and when you like. It's festooned with all the trimmings you'd expect from a KOBOX gym. There's state-of-the-art equipment as well as a full size boxing ring as its centrepiece.

The concept is brilliant. I'm not claiming it's solely original or exclusive to KOBOX, you'll find others like Barry's offer a similar format. But Barry's have a PT that offers a pre-programmed schedule to around 40 people. KOBOX has more flexibility, you can work out at your leisure or have the KOBOX team organise your station before your arrival.

I had the option of having a programme put together for me by either Toby or Shane the trainers, targeted towards my body goals. It's a unique and holistic approach to working out.

This is the response I got from KOBOX when I booked a 13 Class.

“Hi Carl

Hope you are good? I see you’re booked in with a few space for a session with us tomorrow. If you need help planning what you want to do when you’re here then please let us know. We’d be happy to prepare a training plan that will make sure that you get the best out of your visit. Just let us know what you want, maybe you want to sweat, maybe you want to lift, maybe there is a specific body part you want to work on, or a sport you are training for. Let us know and we’ll have it ready when you arrive. 

If you want to come and just use the space yourself that’s also cool."


What I loved was the freedom it gave me. I felt like I owned the place. Very few people, easy access to all the equipment. It allowed me to focus on what I came to achieve. It's a perfect way to train if you're working out infrequently, maybe you're not in the City that often. Perhaps you just enjoy the freedom of space and don't want to hang around waiting for your station to free up.

It's located on the first floor of KOBOX's new flagship Chelsea studio - 107 King's Road, SW3 4PA