Bring the Style to the Party with Haig Club

One of the greatest things I look forward to around the festive period is proudly and immodestly showing off my mixology skills to friends and family. It coincides with my theory that every family should have someone that is capable of making their own cranberry sauce for the Christmas Dinner.

I have elected myself as the man with the elixir, arriving at parties with a bottle Haig Club Clubman providing the ultimate stylish ingredient for the cocktail recipe.

I did promise myself that this year I'd create a special menu, have it laminated and issue them out via an email circular. On reflection that would take a lot of work, be borderline narcissistic and remove the element of surprise.

My favourite part of playing host or barman, is introducing people to Haig Club. It's an incredibly accessible expression for those that don't typically drink whisky. Conversely, and perhaps one could say surprisingly for a single grain, has been widely lauded by aficionados.

The Haig Club bottle is designed in such a way as to not disappear amongst the plethora of 'bring a bottle' gift. For that reason it works perfectly as a gift for that special stylish someone in your life.

The best cocktail to impress my friends

It's not just the job of a barman to serve drinks. It's to tell the story of the brand and why they coincide with your style and life choices.

When preparing my party special the Principle Lowball, a light Clubman serve with coconut water and sherry, I'll be characterising the blend by eulogising it's perfect proportions.

This cocktail has a wonderful myriad of tasting notes that will stimulate your palate.

As an aside, I've been dabbling in a bit of self-development of late, preparing for my meditative retreat to Bali in January. For that reason I've been noticing the importance of things like balance, harmony and symmetry. 

These subliminal references are a perfect description of Haig Club and encapsulate my thoughts on this expression. As someone that likes to bring a stylish differential to any occasion, being able to express my individualism through the prism of Haig Club is an added bonus.

Treat your friends, educate your patrons, surprise yourself.


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INGREDIENTS

40ml Haig Club Clubman
25ml Medium Amontillado sherry
80ml coconut water
5ml single malt whisky
A pinch of salt
A strip of barley to garnish (optional)

METHOD

Step 1 – Combine all ingredients and refrigerate

Step 2 – Pour into a chilled rocks glass with no ice

Step 3 – Garnish with a strip of barley

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

Just in Time for Christmas | The Jo Malone London Orange Bitters Collection

I'm always excited to announce the latest from the Jo Malone London news desk and this week, (for the first time ever) they have extended their Orange Bitters Collection to include a Home Candle as well as the Cologne for Christmas. 

The warmest of winter cocktails. Take a dash of sweet orange and a burst of ripe mandarin. Finish with a splash of bitter orange to reveal rich prune and a base of sensual sandalwood and amber. All dressed up for Christmas.

The Orange Bitters cologne is available in 100ml and 30ml at £96 and £48 respectively, whilst the Orange Bitters Home Candle can be found at a scoop for £47.

The cologne bottle is a slightly skewed-square, trapezoid shape. Clear, with a long rounded chamber in the middle that houses the orange liquid. It's capped with a beautiful ornate gold screw dome shaped lid. 

What makes Jo Malone London such a cool gift for Christmas? 

I'm going all out this year, making everything as personal as possible. I've personalised gifts with video messages, handwritten cards and now I can utilise the Jo Malone London engraving and monogramming service to customise my Jo Malone London scent.

It's the little details that shows someone you care and that's what I love about this brand. They truly know the art of gifting. You can choose from two elegant fonts, then engrave your Cologne, Candle or Bath Oil with a personal message, a special date or monogram it with initials. 

As an official Jo Malone London ambassador I've always got the inside track, but of course you can always find more information through the Jo Malone London official website

Available in all boutiques nationwide and jomalone.co.uk 

For stockist information, please visit jomalone.co.uk or telephone +44 (0) 800 054 2411

5 x Best Christmas Box Subscription Gift for Him

Today I'm going to highlight some of the best Subscription Services I've earmarked for Christmas gifts. A subscription service is truly the gift that keeps on giving and every month someone gets reminded what a good egg you truly are. 

DiscoverBrew

You might have seen me Vlog about DiscoverBrew where I talk about the benefits of being a BrewBox subscriber. Each month 6 of the best beers arrive on my doorstep, complete with personalised vids that will describe each beer and what food you can pair it with.

The merits of the brands rest on its fantastic selection of beers. Just when you thought you knew all there was to know about craft beer you get presented with a new one and you fall in love all over again. 

Each beer in the box is hand-picked from hundreds that are tasted by the DiscoverBrew team, and only great beers make it into each box. 

Coffee 

My favourite scene from Pulp Fiction is when Quentin Tarantino gives a thrift monologue schooling Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta and indeed the entire audience on why quality coffee is so important. (Unfortunately the dialogue is far too colourful to transcribe here, but I'm sure you get my point). 

If you have someone in your life that is serious about Coffee then introduce them to Pact Coffee.

Their coffee is bought directly from the best farmers across the world then roasted in small batches at Pact HQ in Bermondsey, to ensure the very optimum quality.

Grooming

A lot of us feel begrudged leaving the house at all these days. Especially in this inclement weather and for something so perfunctory as razor blades. 

Why not save someone else the hassle as well by treating them to a razor blade subscription service by the Bearded Colonel. Made in Germany, the high water mark for quality razors.

Delivered direct to your door and small enough to fit through the letterbox so you needed hang around waiting on the postman. 

Music

A promise I've made to myself in the new year is that I'm going to rekindle my passion for vinyl. Really Carl? You're such the go-getter trend setter. 

I know, it's about 20 years too late, but I'm a sucker for nostalgia and I've already got the beard so I feel like I'm halfway there. 

If you know someone that is an avid music goer or has seen High Fidelity and   on a regular basis why not sign them up to Flying Vinyl.

They're a company that sends its members a monthly box filled with the best new alternative music printed onto beautiful 7” vinyl records. 

Shirts 

Ok well you know I'm no shrinking violet when it comes to self promotion. I like to think I tread that fine line of eagerness and persistence. My Hawkins & Shepherd shirt subscription service is the ultimate gift for that man in your life that is career driven, professional and scrupulous about his personal style. 

Save him the hassle of going out and finding new shirts every other month and keep his wardrobe enlivened with new design led, sophisticated hand crafted shirts every month 

Delicacy

Finally, avoid the hustle and bustle of the farmers markets by signing up to the Neals Yard Dairy cheese subscription service. 

Treat your palette to a wonderful myriad of different British farmhouse cheeses. If anyone is looking to get me a gift for Christmas I'll be pleased as punch to receive this. 

Ideal for people who enjoy entertaining or those who like having a few hearty pieces of cheese to hand for both cheeseboards and cooking.

*This sponsored post was created in collaboration with DiscoverBrew

Ted Baker news: I’ve got something to get off my chest, YOU!

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Poor Ray Kelvin, I bet he could really do with a hug right now. I was aghast to hear the news that the CEO of Ted Baker is now facing a staff mutiny in light of a 'forced hug' working environment. Personally I'm a hugging man. Unless I'm fresh from the gym and haven't had the chance to shower. So this current news article really resonated with me. Are we still living in a Joey and Chandler universe where hugging is deemed an every 10 minute occurrence? 

Does this mean that Jurgen Klopp won't be allowed to run on the pitch and hug his goalkeeper anymore? Personally I'm a fan. The keeper is always left out of the hugs. It must suck being a keeper.

Why do we hug? 

Early forms of communication we give to our children to comfort them. As children we liked to be hugged by our parents, it makes us feel good. The brain releases a special little chemical called oxytocin.  

Otherwise known as the love drug. As we move into adolescence we no longer get hugs from our parents we replace them with hugs from friends, siblings, or even our friends in the office. 

The exact origins of hugging is unclear but we can assume that we're born with the knowledge and desire to hug our loved ones.

Hugging be cultural and societal based, hence hugging is less prevalent in places like Asia and more prominent in others, South-America for example.

Where did Ray go wrong? 

Maybe where Ray went wrong was not just allegedly asking staff if they would like to sit on his knee (weird) or if they would like an ear massage (kinky) but apparently he never had an office! 

He would work out in the open with other employees, that's just bananas. Every man in power needs an office. That way we can earmark boundaries of professionalism and authority. 

The wider issue

Soon we're just going to nullify any form of body contact in the work place. These headlines aren't going to cost the brand 400 million like the Dolce & Gabbana racist screw up. But this could stem to another mini me-too movement with other work places indicting their bosses and co-workers. 

Put simply, guys, just play it safe from now on. Keep your hands in your pockets and play with your balls. No one will be signing petitions against that. 

When is it ok to hug? 

It's ok to hug me anytime any place. I'm going to turn up to the next Ted Baker press conference like Clubber Lang gate crashing the unveiling of a Rocky statue. "Hey chump, I'll hug you, anytime any where." 

But lets take a look at other hugs that are still, for the time being, deemed acceptable behaviour. 

 

The celebration hug

The hug born out of spontaneity. Usually at a point of immense jubilation. Intense and uncontrolled.

Appropriate when: a celebration is in order.

 

The tight squeeze

Long lasting hug with arms and legs interlocking.

Appropriate when: greeting siblings, relatives and close friends. Only applicable with someone who is comfortable with this close level of proximity. Greeting an old friend having not seen them in a long time.

 

The A-frame hug

The casual hug between guys who don’t really want to be seen in a hugging embrace for fear of it reducing their masculinity. Called A-Frame as it symbolises the shape of an open A-Frame ladder.

Appropriate when: Greeting someone that you've established a relationship with over time or have shared a unique experience with.

 

The back-pat hug

A hug that is necessary, but indicates awkwardness. A pat on the back is a non-verbal way of communicating that it's time to let go.

Appropriate when: you are looking to be polite with someone that is initiating a hug.

On a final note. 

Why is hugging widely ignored in Asia? 

Catching germs and getting dirty is one reason why some Asians aren’t keen on hugging. Being clean is something many of us pride ourselves upon explaining why asians remove shoes at home and in restaurants. 

More reserved by nature. This is a culture that is respectful of personal space and physical distance.

 

Why I'm Addicted to KOBOX and You Should be too

If you're following me on Instagram you'll know I've been hooked on KOBOX fitness classes for the best of 2018. It's truly been a revelation in my life and it's been great to see the brand grow and expand into different corners of London. 

There are currently 3 KOBOX studios you can find in London, Chelsea, City and Marylebone. They must be pumping up the music in the Baker Street studio to 11 because it feels louder and more energised than the rest! 

I'm sketching out some feel good thoughts today on why I love, neigh, why I'm addicted to KOBOX and why you should be too. 

Learn a new Skill 

Not only are you getting fit, you're learning something new. You're learning poise, balance, how to plant your feet and throw an effective punch. 

Sure you can just run on the treadmill every day and dream of that last holiday you were on. Here at KOBOX you get to develop your pugilistic skills as well as burn some calories. Win win. 

Stress reliever 

I don't think about anything else when I'm at KOBOX, other than my present environment. It just feels awesome parking all that mental crap outside for an hour or so. Ok so I might imagine the odd face or two when swinging at the heavy bag, but that's all part of the fun. 

Mental Health 

I touched on it, but I can't stress how important it is right now to expunge some of those demons. No better way to do it than to kick the crap out of a punch bag. It would be great to know some stats behind mental health and exercise. I'm positive that more people would look out on a brighter horizon if they were able to apply themselves physically. You know, release all them en-dolphins. (Sorry, not big on the science as you can tell). 

It's for everyone 

KOBOX is not prejudice when it comes to your boxing ability. Don't feel like you have to be Ivan Drago, or Ivan Drago's son (stoked for Creed 2 btw) to participate in a KOBOX class. The instructors are all there for you, to help you along no matter what level you're at. 

The Instructors 

Yeah, lets mention the instructors. They truly are awesome, with everyone. They make me feel like they want me there. You're made to feel like a community and when I visit a KOBOX studio, I feel like I'm dropping in on old friends. It has that close knit family vibe, two of the instructors got married this year. All the best to you Maciela and Ian.

Great for the kids

As Rocky says in Rocky 5, "You know Adrian, ain't nuttin' wrong with showing the kid, you know, some lethal punches'. They host a kids class, a great way for the children to expend all that run-around energy. Channel it into something decent and instil some discipline. 

Personal Confidence 

I'll finish here but I'm feeling a lot more confident in myself since starting these classes. I know the bag doesn't punch back, I know I'm not sparring or anything. But I'm feeling good that I can throw combinations, I can plant my feet, I can shift my weight. 

Knowing how to throw a punch or two, will ultimately lead to you having better self-esteem. Trust me, this is what KOBOX has done for me. 

Being a Gentleman & What Does That Mean Nowadays?

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When someone refers to a person as a gentleman, what qualities are they referring to? It's getting harder to discern these days right? Everyone offers the facade, with the advent of affordable made to measure clothes, a man can look the part of a gentleman for under £200 these days. 

"You could almost pass as a gentleman," Billy Zane remarks as he fleetingly witnesses the transformation of Di Caprio from his vintage plaid jacket into his peak lapel black tie tuxedo. To which Di Caprio's character Jack replies, "almost". 

It's an interesting juxtaposition. Zane's character effuses all the charm and verisimilitude of a gentleman when amongst his peers and contemporaries, but as an audience we are see his guard slip as he takes malicious pleasure in belittling the lower classes. 

Not the sign of a gentleman right? 

The uneducated Di Caprio successfully upstages Zane in the Gentleman department by way of virtue, displaying courage and honesty, treating all classes equally with either the same respect or disdain. 

OK Carl we get it, you've seen Titanic, we get it. 

So what makes a gentleman these days. 

I've got some thoughts. A gentleman should really abide by these rules. 

With your woman

You need to ask about the ladies health. How she is feeling. What part of her body aches. She might be stressed at work, you need to ask how her day was and what's on her mind. You need to be the confident, the carer, her counsel and everything between. 

With your friends

You need to respect their boundaries. You need to ask permission for things. Remember birthday's. Remember their daughters and girlfriends names. A gentleman will pick up the conversation where you left off, remembering what it was that you had going on in your life.

I remember at a recent party being incredibly seduced by an acquaintance who asked about Charlie, my blog, he remembered the name of my brand and the troubles I was having with distributors at the time.

I was utterly seduced that this guy, quite high up in the social pecking order, could actually remember all that. Store it all away somewhere. It meant a lot to me and it was the sign of a gentleman. 

Remember. Remember. Remember!! 

Before turning up to any party I will always take a quick askance at someone’s social feed and see what they've been up to. Enquire about their latest holiday. You probably blindly liked every picture on Instagram but now it's time to investigate and ask would they recommend the city, what were the locals like etc. 

A gentleman will be worldly, or opinionated. 

I don't mean well read. But a gentleman will never be found speechless when it comes to current affairs. For example did you know that at one point the wildfires in America were spreading at the rate of 80 football field a minute? 

Be prepared to have something to say on anything topical. Read the news and don't be found out if someone turns to you and asks, what do you think? 

A gentleman will know. Or at least, convince everyone else he knows before making an excuse to leave before anyone finds out he's a charlatan. 

What does it mean these days? To be a gentleman, sure we can all look like one. But it's in the way we conduct ourselves. Be in control of ones faculties (I.E not hammered on the dance floor at 3am asking anyone with a pulse for a shag), be on time, be professional, respect the dress code. 

Appreciate the flaws in others. The flaws, in yourself. Be willing to admit your sorry. Pick your battles. Don't send spam. Have you ever received a mail out from a gentleman? Doesn't exist.

A gentleman will send a personalised email, thanking you for your time. Your hospitality. He will remark on something personal he took away from the time he spent in your company. 

That's it for now. I don't pretend to be the moniker for what constitutes being a gentleman. This is really a stream of consciousness, a cerebral expunging of my thoughts as I get asked a lot, what is a gentleman? 

Please Note: I’ll be one of the men’s coaches at the Dating Show Live in June if anyone would like some one-to-one advice or support.

Best and Worse Christmas Adverts | By Social Media Ratings

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It's a strange pageantry this, deciding on which Christmas advert has the bragging rights and what constitutes a great Christmas advert? Is it based on sentiment? How emotionally engaged we are? Surely the spoils go to the campaign that drives the most amount of sales n'est-ce pas

No, sadly the battle is either won and lost within the comments section of the Daily Mail website, or whichever campaigns survives the spewed vitriol of the panellists on Loose Women. 

For the record here are my winners and losers from the runners and riders of the 2019 Christmas TV Adverts. In reverse order. 


John Lewis Twitter UK man 87k Views 

I love this and I'm sure you've seen it to do the rounds on Twitter. An American by the name of John Lewis on Twitter who gets repeatedly mistaken for the high street retailer has decided to do his own advert this year. 

I'm unsure who has backed this, Twitter, YouTube, John Lewis (the brand) or John Lewis the man, but it's on the money and a good rouse. 


Marks & Spencer 123k on YouTube

It has my man David Gandy in it! If anyone is looking to place bets on the next James Bond, David is displaying some very Roger Moore-esque eyebrow raises, looking scintillating in his grey charcoal waistcoat.

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Debenhams 150k on YouTube

A compilation of videos of smug people knowing they choose presents tailored for their recipients. The humour is good, it actually gets better with every watch. The fella who picks a dinosaur gift-set for his niece is the best. 

They've gone for humour, which should be commended. They've also done well to highlight gift ideas, (So John Lewis only sells piano's?) not sure why this hasn't rated better on YouTube. 


Iceland - 5.2m on YouTube

There are no losers in this list, well maybe one. Iceland have created a few waves in having their Christmas advert banned for being too heavy-handed with the political theme. Perhaps it's the only way it could hang on to the coattails of all the others, by selecting an Orangutan as their central prop. It's an anti-palm oil campaign, as Bond would say, "It's hardly Christmas is it". 

That said it's driven people to find the advert on YouTube, 5 million views is not to be sneered at. 

Phil Beastall - 9.8m on YouTube

Love is a gift was the short video created for a modest £50 by Phil Beastall which has amassed a hugw 9.8million views on his Facebook page. It just shows what you can do with a small budget and passion.

John Lewis 10m view on YouTube 

It's always worth the wait isn't it. I hope John Lewis are stocking up on piano's this year because this is genius. Selected from 300 scripts, this advert delineates the path of Elton John, working in reverse-linear, charting his emotional journey as an artist. 

"What's on my mind how we move it on creatively but hold on to the heart of hat makes it special. Elton John is a national treasure, and hopefully this advert will make you think about what gifts you can give your families." Craig Inglis Customer Director for John Lewis

It's poignant, it's ambitious, it's ladled in emotional saccharin but you can't help be swept away with it. I loved it. 

Introducing DiscoverBrew | Craft Beer with a Personal Touch

Today I want to talk to you about a new monthly beer subscription service that has hit my radar called DiscoverBrew. This has landed just at the right time for when time is stretched and gift buying for those awkward non-hobbyists suddenly makes you wonder whether you know people at all. 

Each month 6 of the best beers in the world are dispatched to BrewBox subscribers, arriving in a beautiful box that has the essence of something that was lovingly prepared. Aside from the packaging I'd like to highlight some of the admiral qualities of the DiscoverBrew subscription.

PERFECT GIFT FOR MR AWKWARD

It really is the gift that keeps on giving for each month that you subscribe and there’s no minimum term making it even more flexible. Despite having endless commercial optionality, we all have that friend or relative that we struggle to buy for. This gift is rather exceptional in a way because the recipient gets monthly reminders of what a good altruistic soul you are. 

THE QUALITY

Each beer in the box is hand-picked from hundreds that are tasted by the DiscoverBrew team, and only great beers make it into each box. So there are no dregs (pardon the pun) or runts of the litter when it comes to these crafted beers. 

It also differentiates DiscoverBrew from other beer subscription services where the beer can seem to be whatever was in stock or what they could get cheap that month.

PERSONAL TOUCH

Every beer that arrives on the doorstep comes with a personal message from Conor, the ‘Brewmellier’ of DiscoverBrew. I like that name Brewmellier, sounds like one of the Musketeers. 

Under the tutelage of Conor, I can now understand what tasting notes my palette is trying to discern. I can heighten my tasting experience by pairing each beer with a recommended culinary dish.

I can also then extend my new-found knowledge onto other like-minded craft beer lovers so we can all reach the same equilibrium of beer enlightenment.

As Bill Hicks so famously said, "It's my duty to pass on information at all time so we can learn, evolve and get off this planet.”

There is no minimum subscription length and the subscription renews automatically each month but can be cancelled at any time. 


SUBSCRIBE TO MONTHY BEER DELIVERIES FOR YOURSELF OR AS A GIFT

*This sponsored post was created in collaboration with DiscoverBrew.

Jo Malone London | Men's Christmas Gift Sets

For the first time in the history of Jo Malone London, they are presenting 2 dedicated Men’s Collections for Christmas. Jo Malone London are incontestable pioneers in the art of giving and thankfully for us gentlemen, after much lobbying from yours truly, they have subverted the rules. 

I got an awesome response from my last Jo Malone London Back to School post where I learnt to finish a candle, tie a bow to a box (much needed for my Christmas gifts) and how to combine a fragrance.

I've already chalked up a Top 5 Jo Malone London scents listicle and I was honoured to be the first UK Menswear blogger to report the Huntsman X Jo Malone London Fragrance release last month. (I tried to incept the 'makes perfect scents' into the zeitgeist, but alas...). 

I'm super-excited about these new men's collections that I was sent in the post. They are sleek, in black sets congruent with many of my go-to colour palettes for clothes, interiors etc. 

First New Men’s Set: ‘English Oak & Hazelnut 30ml Cologne and Basil & Neroli Body & Hand Wash’ (£62)

Second New Men’s Set: ‘Wood Sage & Sea Salt 100ml Cologne and Black Cedarwood & Juniper Duo’ (£109)

Both of these Jo Malone London Men’s Collections are now available to purchase.  Find the closest one to you, available in 55 countries worldwide, by searching visiting their online store.

Jo Malone London are the synthesis between aspirational grooming and fantasy gift-giving. These colognes emit masculinity, project strongly and have incredible silage. Perfect for any Christmas black tie parties. 

Ladies I'd say this is a perfect gift for that sophisticated man in your life. The Jo Malone London Men's Collections could offer a much needed departure from his lacklustre grooming routine. 

The Best Laurent-Perrier Champagne & Food Pairings

For those asking if my recent jaunt to Reims was as good as it looking in my Instagram pictures, it was. 

You probably guessed that I was there on behalf of Laurent-Perrier to celebrate 50 years of the esteemed Cuvée Rosé. A champagne with an illustrious history. Perfected in each stage of its making, remarked for its consistency and its high quality. 

The city Reims can be found in north-eastern France's Grand Est region. If you're heading there by train from Paris take the train from Gare de l'Est. 

This vast campestral Champagne wine-growing region is truly the most heralded. Laurent-Perrier holds its Headquarters and Vineyards there. For the most discernible of wanderlust Vloggers the vineyards and wine cellars of Laurent-Perrier are incontestable. We (motley crew of well-heeled bloggers) sauntered up and down the vineyards doing impromptu boy v girl catwalks, before being escorted off down a long cobbled tunnel on a tour of the cellars. 

Allow me to give you some of the findings of my tastings. 

Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé

It's what we all came to see. The headline act. You don't have to take my word for it that the Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé is truly a Champagne made with elegant design. It's been lauded by many wine connoisseurs and sommeliers across the globe as the apex of Rose Champagne. 

Made from 100% grape, the Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé delivers a cocktail of red ripe fruit aromas, high intensity with an astounding aromatic depth. It's an extremely supple and well-rounded wine. Your palette will be awash with black cherries and red currants. 

Best paired with? 

The food on the tour was sublime. The Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé is best teamed with marinated raw fish, grilled prawns, or Parma ham. 


Laurent-Perrier Ultra Brut

Sounds like a planet eating Transformer. Seriously, it's known collectively in the upper echelons of champagne aficionados as 'the great wine without sugar'. It too has an esteemed history, launched in 1981. 

The Ultra Brut is a Chardonnay and Pinot Noir blend which is delicate, with a surprising length. You'll get an instant plume of citrus and white fruit notes, which quickly diffused before the honeysuckle arrives and steals the show. 

Best paired with? 

If you're serving this at home, why not prepare a seafood dish. The citrus notes are enlivened white fish ceviche and feel free to flirt with other sushi dishes, you can't really go wrong. 


Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle 

Sounds like something Elsa shouldn’t have crossed in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The Grand Siecle is created from 3 exceptional years, blended for a following 8 years before it can be enjoyed. An esoteric, almost other-worldly unique expression borne from a Chardonnay and Pinot Noir blend.

This champagne is ameliorated by the clever injection of grilled almonds, a subtle layer of honey, a dalliance of fresh pastry which combined, provide a perfect balance between strength and delicacy.  

Best paired with? 

You really can't put this with your bangers and mash. A Champagne that boasts this level of personality, has to be served with refined dishes such as surf and turf. Of the posh kind. 

That's it from me on this one. Happy birthday Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé, hope to see you around for my 50th.

SHOP THESE INCREDIBLE CHAMPAGNES

THE PERFECT GIFT

Get Yourself Back on Track | Introducing the Zelo Journal

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I had a great response from a Mental Health blog  I posted on the site a few weeks back. I'm really pleased it resonated with so many of you and thank you all for your contributions and comments. Here today I'm wanting to draw a spotlight on a well-being journal that's being launched on Kickstarter entitled The Zelo Journal

I was lucky enough to get my hands on a sample and I can tell you it is a thing of beauty. It's all black, sleek in design with a clear listing of all the techniques you can use to get the most out of every day, according to your lifestyle. It's a book that lets you find productivity at your own pace, with subtle nods of encouragement without boxing you into a corner screaming 'Drop and give me 20!' 

I have a few things I'd like to get off my chest when it comes to productivity and wellbeing. Here's a little insight into my first entry.



Gratitude List

They say its the pathway to enlightenment. So how thankful are we that we get to speak to our loved ones on the other side of the world on a device no bigger than a pack of cigarettes. Do we thank the universe for Steve Jobs for accelerating the evolutional bell curve, or do we just curse the heavens each time one of our Instagram story fails to upload. 

Having gratitude is truly the key to happiness. Having the capacity to remember that all your problems are relatively tiny in the grand scheme of things is another thing entirely. 

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Obstacles to overcome

The big ones for me are maintaining focus and discipline. Not getting so easily distracted. It's never easy when social media is your gig; I've carved out a career out of social media but it can also be a huge distraction for me. 

I need to pull in some focus over these next couple of months. Especially as a blogger, these months are the time to dip your bread. Brands are looking to amp up their outreach and they become heavily dependent on people like me to spear head their campaigns. 

I guess what I'm getting at, is it's time for me to get my game face on. 


Daily Actions

I'm a huge proponent of exercise. My KOBOX classes are not only inspiring me to new levels of fitness, but massively reducing my anxieties. I'm convinced that we need to expel and exert our inner pressures through physical exertion. 

They say that astronauts lose muscle mass after spending time in space. This is because they are not exposed to gravity. Now equate that to the modern man. Our muscles, our mind, are all atrophying due to the super-safe world we have created. We have incubated ourselves within our safe little homes, screaming at the world voyeuristically through our faceless Twitter handles, we're not exercising the reptilian side of our brain that is hard wired to fend of sabre tooth tigers. 

Jesus Carl, are they handing out free marijuana cookies down there in Clapham? 

I guess what I'm getting at is I need to get back in touch with the more primitive Carl. I want to do more things outside the tech world. 

The KOBOX gym is great. I'm going to give myself 20 minutes in the morning before checking the phone. Allow myself to get centred. More time with humans, have talks about ideas, less talks about other people. 

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Weekly Planning

I haven't even mentioned my diet. It's one of the hardest thing to nail down due to the lifestyle of press events and coffee meetings. 

  1. Strictly no drink during the week. 

  2. Have the fruit bowl full at all times. 

  3. Each time I pick up the phone, ask yourself what am I doing? Am I just seeking distraction? Attention? 

  4. Drink more water. In fact drink water like it's my job.

Setting Goals

The goals baby! I recommend you all listen to the Joe Rogan interview with Tyson Fury that went out last week. Tyson Fury was a man who had everything, beat Klitschko, Champion of the world, money, women, fame and the wheels came off. 

Tyson Fury was stripped of his belts, caved to the trappings of success, became suicidal. In that interview he talked about his return to the ring and now he is on the comeback trail. He cited goals as the biggest thing that got him back on track. 

Starting by losing the weight he had gained. Bit by bit, day by day, getting fitter, stronger, now if manages to overcome Wilder on the 1st December, he has earned himself a shot at claiming back those belts. 

What a fight that will be by the way. Both undefeated, Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury both over 6'7 tall. Both punchers, Knockout artists. I'm in baby, take my money now. 

More about the journal: www.thinkzelo.com/zelojournal

Support the brand on Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1566841865/992004581?ref=593691&token=3bff5e26

 

FRAGRANCE DIRECT | My Christmas Fragrance Picks

I consider fragrances to be the skeleton key of Christmas gifts. No one can turn their nose up (pardon the pun) to a decent fragrance when it comes in the guise of a Christmas gift. It works on so many levels; you get to be the stylish arbiter of someone’s scent, they get to inject a room with nice aromas courtesy of your generosity. 


But how do I know what fragrance someone likes? 

I associate that sentiment with, well which kind of woman do you normally go for Carl? Let me tell you something for free. Hot is hot. I'm not prejudice towards any make or mould.

"Hot" as the Americans say, or "Fit" as we Brits like to say, transcends all genres. 

Now apply that logic to fragrance. 

If the bottle looks well presented, the fragrance projects well, sits close to the skin, has decent silage and smells luxurious, then I'm going to like. And so is the person you're gifting it too. 


Fragrance shopping made easy 

That's what I love most about shopping with Fragrance Direct. They house all the best marquee names under one roof, indexed this season into 3 easy categories; for her, for him and new launches, as part of their ‘Festive Fragrance Wonderland’ Christmas theme. 

There a select number of brands to feature which include Gucci, Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein, Chloe, Marc Jacobs, Joop and Lacoste.


Which ones did you choose Carl? 

Thanks for asking. I'll be honest, it was a coin toss to see if I was just going to gift myself some nice scents this year. (Happens to us all right?) I still might, the prices are the best I've seen on the web. 


NEW FOR 2018

I have a friend who is a Hugo Boss nut so this will be perfect for him. I especially like the bottle, I'm a huge proponent of Black Tea in anything, be it after shave, cheesecake, you name it. HUGO URBAN JOURNEY is a fragrance for the modern urban explorer and embodies the intense aromatic heart of Black Tea, which is reinforced by the masculine Guaiacwood to fuel you with a daring new energy. 


FOR HER

I can't say who this is for because she reads the blog, but this Gucci Guilty Gift Set is an absolute banker for a Christmas gift. This Gift Set includes 90ml Eau de Parfum Spray, 50ml Body Lotion and 7.4ml Roller Ball. Gucci Guilty Absolute Pour Femme is a non-traditional women’s fragrance created for a contemporary woman. 

Yes I'll be looking forward to smelling this on her as well. 


FOR HIM

Yes another Boss number. I'm a huge fan of The Scent myself, the bottle is designed as such to look like a cage, a fragrance so powerful it needs to be behind bars. (It's true, I have credible sources). 

This Gift Set includes 100ml Eau de Toilette Spray, 75ml Deodorant Stick and a 50ml Shower Gel.
BOSS Parfums is expertly crafted to reflect the strong personality of the BOSS Man and Woman.

 

Summary

Just to recap on why I'm plugging Fragrance Direct.

  • Easy to use

  • A bevy of options for both men and women 

  • Great prices, not seen cheaper anywhere else online

  • Free delivery over £20 

  • Perfect Christmas gifts for those difficult people that you never know what to get

 

*This sponsored post was created in collaboration with Fragrance Direct.

City Tattoo Removal | Never Too Late to Start Again

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I love the scene in American Psycho where Reese Witherspoon says to Patrick Bateman during the separation discussion. "We can't split up, your friends are my friends, my friends are your friends, I don't think it would work". To which Bateman replies stoically, "I've thought about that. You can have them." 

Truth is it's a complex dirge that all couples inevitably suffer; the break up. Relationships just used to be about dividing up the assets, who gets the fridge, who gets the dog. The next level, beyond visitation rights, is the cruddy-hangover of tattoo removal.

An unwanted tattoo really can feel like a second skin. A skin that should have been shed the minute you both went your separate ways. But oddly what once was a romantic glue you shared, is now a battle scar you have to explain away to your next would be spouse. 

Crikey Carl that's a bit dramatic isn't it? 

I guess. 

But it happens every day. Look at that poor Pete Davidson, not only do you have to go through that mire of being dumped by Arianna Grande, you also now have to start googling 'tattoo removals'. 

Of course tattoo removals aren't always centred around name or face removals. Perhaps the artist was not up to scratch, maybe it's faded or been warped into something you just can't bare seeing in the mirror any more. 

So here's a company you should be checking out. City Tattoo Removal, established since 1991 by Pulse Light Clinic


How Laser Tattoo Removal Works? FAQ's at Pulse Light Clinic

City Tattoo Removal now has over 15 years of experience in laser tattoo removal and is staffed exclusively with experienced and fully trained laser tattoo removal specialists.

Their tattoo removal lasers are the tip of the spear for laser tattoo removal, meaning they can remove tattoos safely and effectively unlike many pop up clinics that have outdated machines and a lack of experience. They are one of the only clinics in the UK to use PicoWay and PicoSure which offer faster removal than a Q-Switch machine. I’m pretty sure if I ever have a tattoo removed, I’ll want it to be the fastest possible removal!

One of the main reasons their clients get tattoo removal is in order to get their perfect cover-up. You might be thinking it's time to finally shed that skin and start afresh, they also offer a 0% finance scheme so you can spread the payments out evenly. 


Laser Tattoo Removal - Before and Afters

*This sponsored post has been created in collaboration with Pulse Light Clinic.

Books + Beer | Time to Bin the Box-sets

Today I'd like to talk to you about Books and Beer. Sounds a great cop-buddy duo from the 70's right? Books is a learned detective with 10 years on the force. He has a resplendent moustache and immaculately dressed in 3-piece city tweed suits. Beer can do shoulder rolls across the hood of an SUV and doesn't wait for back up. 

I'll be the first to admit that in the advent of Netflix, box-sets etc, there's been a huge disparity between the books I currently own and the books I've read. Meaning I have every intention of reading books when I buy them, yet find the months tick by and they've sat on the shelf, unmolested by eyes and hands. 

Well today's the day I end this procrastination. Especially with the launch of Books + Beer, a brand new subscription box inviting members to relax and take time to broaden their minds with fascinating reads and a couple of the finest craft beers.

Reading has always been a stabilising influence for me. However, I spend so much time reading and researching articles, that I've become like the chef in the restaurant that orders a take-away when he gets home because he can't stand the sight of his own kitchen. 

Books + Beer aims to provide a monthly prompt to slow down, with all you need for a relaxed night in, in a box – the perfect chilled-out moment to enjoy the simple pleasure of reading. 

Members select their preferred genre - (I've opted for business and self-development) and receive a recently-published paperback, along with two craft beers. Doesn't that sound like a better night in that thumbing through endless reams of odious and self-congratulatory social posts. What nourishment are you really going to get from seeing someone’s birds eye view of a bowl of pasta? 

What about the craft beer Carl, are those any good?

Each box features two interesting cans or bottles, from pioneering, up-and-coming breweries. They choose brews to suit most palates – and also include tasting notes and recipe suggestions plus a curated soundtrack, so you’ve got a chilled night in, in a box! 

Need one more reason to sign up? 

Books and Beers have also partnered with CALM, with a 50p donation from every single box benefiting the male mental health charity and its vital work. Suicide remains the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK, what a horrible fact! This is a worthy cause and a great subscription service. 

And the price? 

Books + Beer costs £10 per month, plus P&P, with discounts of 5% and 10% on six and twelve month subscriptions - and including a donation to CALM.

 

Philips OLED+ 903 TV | Treat your eyes. Amaze your ears

Everyman's television should be the pillar of his community. His community being a comfy sofa, a doting pet and the HD Sky Sports package. Last week I was cordially invited to Abbey Road Studios for an immersive experience for my eyes and ears.

Introducing the new Philips OLED+ 903 TV

It combines the best in picture and sound quality and is the first result of the partnership between Philips TV and the premium British loudspeaker company, Bowers & Wilkins. Working in partnership with Philips TV, Bowers & Wilkins has created an elegant, discreetly integrated speaker system along the bottom and rear of the screen that delivers superb performance.

Why do I need the Philips OLED+ 903 TV in my life?

You might be able to afford tickets to the footy every weekend. Or indeed any weekend if you're  Londoner. Did you know the top 5 most expensive season tickets on the market are all London clubs? Tottenham topping the list charging £2,200 for their most expensive season ticket in a stadium not even finished.

Fusing the Philips P5 Perfect Processing Engine and a unique three-sided Ambilight system, this picture and sound depth is the next best thing to being there.

The Philips OLED+ 903 TV also brings space economy to your environment. With the special integrated system built in, the concept of high fidelity minus the additional clutter allows you to dispense with additional external paraphernalia such as amps and sound bars.

Your Personal Assistant

For those tech-savvy fans the OLED+ 903 (available in a 55 inch- and a 65 inch-version) comes equipped with Google Assistant which is immediately available and can even connect to your smart phone.

Conclusions and prices

A very comprehensive package, a perfect bridge for those looking to upgrade their home entertainment without the unwanted fuss of add-ons and oversubscribed audio additions.

At the time of writing I've seen the OLED+ 903  fetch £2,499 for the 55-inch model, and £3,499 for the 65-inch version.

Can anyone visit Abbey Road Studios? 

This event went beyond the quotidian of immersion. It's been a lifelong dream of mine to visit Abbey Road studios. Perhaps the studio is largely synonymous with the titular Beatles album, and the infamous zebra crossing

Radiohead also recorded The Bends here, John Williams recorded amongst many, the theme to Indiana Jones. And Cliff Richard was a permanent resident here during the 60's. 

Naturally the lure of one of London's most heralded musical landmarks drew in influencers from all around the world. Whilst you can loiter with intent around the entrance, peruse the gift shop, even capture your crossing on CCTV, there are no guided tours of Abbey Road Studios. 

There really couldn't be a better, congruent environment in which to parade the capabilities of the Philips OLED+ 903 as Abbey Road have been using Bowers & Wilkins in their studios since the 80's

It is often said “The music that will soon be heard everywhere is first heard through Bowers & Wilkins speakers”. John Bowers - Founder of Bowers & Wilkins

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The people behind Philips 

One of the driving forces behind the development, manufacturing and marketing of Philips branded TV sets is consumer electronics brand TP Vision. 

Using the design heritage of Philips and the operational excellence, flexibility and speed of TPV Technology, TP Vision are able to engender high-quality TV sets to market; smart and easy to use with sophisticated styling.

TP Vision is the exclusive brand licensee of Philips TVs and employs close to 2,000 people in several locations around the globe and is 100% owned by TPV, one of the world’s leading monitor and LCD TV manufacturers, selling and marketing Philips branded TVs in China.

 

 

Mental Health | Why Social Media Can be the Catalyst

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It's been a whirlwind few weeks for me. Most of you may have guessed that something was afoot from the dogged-dour undertones in my latest stories and Instagram posts. As the old adage goes, you never really know you're on top of the mountain until you're sliding down, and conversely, never know you're in a pit, until you're forced to climb your way out. 

This past week the eyes of the world have turned to Mental Health. It seems weird that as a society we only allocate one day of the year to focus on this blithe. I've developed my entire brand around social media. In a way it defines me, it emboldens me, whilst simultaneously being a saboteur of my sanity. 

I'm sure we all know that feeling of needing attention, but there is no catharsis for the out-bleeding of emotions on social media. Although we've come to depend on that short-sweet spike of attention that comes with a flurry of likes and comments, it pales in comparison to an arm around the shoulder.

It lacks any form of nourishment and in the end, the virtual family we've become so heavily dependent on to prop us up with that false sense of appreciation, eviscerates. It compounds our hollowness as we're constantly looking for it to satiate something illusory.

Put simply, Social Media is purely a crux, a servitude for our boundless narcissism. It's not equipped to tackle nor cure such complex personal issues such as depression, heartbreak or loneliness. 

That's not to say that Social Media doesn't have it's upticks. Who's to say a simple comment or like can't be anodyne to ones insecurities or loneliness? I've carved out a career around Social Media. It keeps the lights on here in the Thompson household and both Kevin Systrom and Mike Kriege (founders of Instagram) can sit at the head of my dinner table anytime. 

For the greater good we must appreciate the very essence of what Social Media has imbued into our day to day lives. People are less likely to slip through the cracks of life now that we have a more connected society.

For example, how many times have you seen someone post or share news on a missing person or pet? I love the quote a criminologist from Florida used citing Social Media as the new milk carton campaign to find missing teens.

As a business tool it of course helps my outreach, but it also inspires me to do better. It's a fine balance, somedays social media makes my life feel a little anaemic that I'm not in that perfect relationship, on that amazing holiday, wearing that awesome coat. But conversely, we all need things to aspire to. So long as those aspirations and expectations are realistic. 

 

Christ this supposed to be a blog on positivity and gratitude Carl! 

I'll get to that at the bottom. My five things that have helped me but first I'd like to refer you to a video that has been doing the rounds, all the words in this video have resonated with me so thank you Steven Bartlett. 

Steve talks pointedly about social media being the biggest killer of relationships today. It was simpler times for our parents and grandparents that never had to combat the perils of having a thousand and one 'keenly filtered faces' being one coquettish DM away from having your partners knickers down. It's something that Steve so aptly names 'the illusion of choice'. 

The choice is another thing that magically disappears once your now re-indexed from forbidden fruit to rebound-damaged goods. 

But the biggest takeaways I got from the Steven Bartlett video was how we've now mistakenly identified what a true relationship looks like. If you took a myopic-digital analysis of all relationships it would probably look like every moment was lived on a Hollywood movie set.

You'd be drowned in a cacophony of balcony shots overlooking the Eiffel Tower or Lake Como. It would sound like the constant 'clinking' of champagne flutes and every photo would be lauded with saccharin lovey-dovey sentiments. 

No wonder we're so surprised when people break up these days. No arguments are documented online, no trouble on the home front can ever be exposed to the masses. 

"I don't get it you two seemed perfect together. You were the most romantic of couples, always declaring your unbridled affection for each other, what happened?" 

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How do I turn my life around? 

Don't take it so personally

That's right snowflakes, it's not always about you. It's sometimes about the other party not having the god damn self-awareness to know they've turned you down. Oh unrequited is the worst word in the English language isn't it? Followed by, not feeling that spark. Urggggh. Girls, keep on searching for that illusive spark. Is it a thing or have you just seen it on someone else honeymoon reel? 

Find the humour

It's the best medicine, trust me. Have a glance through your rolodex, pick out your friends you know that will cheer you up. They're probably the worst listeners also, which is fine. You're not seeking to unload all your crap onto them. You call on them to do the opposite, take your mind off it. 

Absolute radio silence

In my experience the fastest and easiest way get over a breakup is to go cold-turkey. I’ve got a really stubborn side to my personality that actually makes this possible without the need for blocking but I have to be honest, I’ve cracked and it’s most often after a few too many drinks.

However as I’m offering advice here…no more back and forth on the text, checking you're ok, wishing you happiness and all that. A clean break is what you need. If you think, 'Maybe I didn't try hard enough to keep her, I should fight more for this relationship' then you've watched too many Bridget Jones Diary movies.  

Get to work - be like Liam Neeson 

Get in shape. If you're already in shape get in better shape. The exercise will tire you out so you're not watching box sets 'til 4 in the morning. If you're already making money, make more money and revel in it. Do everything and more. Liam Neeson never turned a single script after his wife died. 

Be grateful, it's not the end of the world

Someone else is having a worse day than you. Jesus Christ did you see that story from New York about that Limo crashing on the way to a birthday party, killing all 18 people inside and two pedestrians. Four sisters died in that crash, you imagine being a parent to that? I know right, your problems aren't worth sh*t in comparison to that. 

Back to School with Jo Malone London

One of the most frequent questions I get asked as a blogger is 'what is the best event you've been to?' Alongside with 'how do I make money blogging?' and 'Carl can I have your hand-me-downs? You're not going to wear that £700 Karl Lagerfeld Jacket are you?' 

The recent Jo Malone London School is right up there with the best event I've been to this year. As for the rest of the questions, 

  1. Will tell all in my new book called 'Don't set your emails to Out of Office, it's God Damn annoying'. 

  2. I will be wearing this jacket into the ground so get lost. 


Let me tell you about Jo Malone London School 

It was an incredible 2 day event that I cordially invited to and was honoured to be their only London Male Ambassador. The spirit of the campaign was themed around the education of Jo Malone the brand and their products in what was described in the press release as 'A Thoroughly British School Trip'. 

A private car escorted me to the Rosewood Hotel where we enjoyed a welcome breakfast in the Scarfe's Bar. A resplendent bar adorned of course with Jo Malone scented candles. The roof aligned with two spherical-caged chandeliers, a library at one end punctuating an elongated Ruffle’s-esque bar. 

I can't remember school being this much fun. The only thing my school could rhapsodise about was an extortionately priced vending machine, this event had the Zoltar Machine from the movie Big, a teddy picker with Jo Malone gifts and an Air Hockey table. 

The evening was capped with a Scented Supper at Kettner’s Townhouse. (Any excuse to whip out the Chester Barrie grey velvet jacket). 

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Between all the tom-foolery which featured traditional British Pub Quiz & Dinner at The Albion, we were sequestered to attend the Jo Malone London Townhouse. 

There we truly learnt how he fudge was packed. How to finish a candle, tie a bow to a box (much needed for my Christmas gifts) how to combine a fragrance. All very antiquated with old school settings such as the swivel-chalkboard. Singular flip-lid study desks. All those modern day communal work desks are for the birds. Give me these Dickensian props any day of the week.

At the end of class I was a cigarette paper distance away from standing on the desk and harking 'Oh captain my captain'. Alas, I showed restraint in fear my Dead Poets Society reference would be lost on my younger classmates.

I can't imagine how much work went into staging this event. The presentation and execution was some of the best I'd seen. I'm deeply honoured to be part of this Jo Malone experience and share tales of their journey with you. Stay tuned for future articles from me as I can tell you Jo Malone will be moving further into male orientated genres in the new year. 

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Holly Harwood | Her Inspiring Journey, Making Her Own Gin

My passion with gin started when working at Dolly's Gin Palace in Falmouth (whilst studying for my history degree). This was about 8 years ago and I actually had my eyes set to create my own gin then. However I felt I needed more experience in the industry. After a big move to London and many hours working in pubs, bars, gin festivals, a role as a gin brand ambassador and drinks blogger... I still couldn't get making my own gin out of my head! 2 years ago with a lot of support from my family and friends, I started Holly's Gin.

The Gintern

Some people reading this may be following my story as Gintern for ILoveGin.com. This was a viral job advertised last year for a gin lover to visit distilleries and create gin recipes and content. It really is the best job ever and I couldn't believe I actually landed my dream job at the beginning of this year. My journey has influenced my own gin massively, from the design of my bottle to the botanicals I used to create the recipe.

The Design

I was very fortunate to work with my talented friend Ryan on the design of my bottle, as well as Allied Glass believing in my madness! I love anything Art Deco and have a fascination with this era. I really wanted to give the bottle an antique feel. The frosted green really stands out, and I love how the gold shines in the light. The shell logo was inspired by my love of Cornish beaches and the gold leaf design has some of my key botanicals added in! The design is actually printed onto the bottle itself which really looks fantastic.

The Taste

I love London Dry Gins and just knew I had to make one! I also wanted to use some unique botanicals and create something a little different. There are 9 botanicals in total. The 3 key ones are Orange, Gentian root and Passion Flower. I actually drank passion flower tea for years, as it is recommended for its calming benefits. The flower looks pretty cool too! It doesn't taste too floral but perhaps similar to Meadowsweet. There is definitely an earthy, rich aroma. The gin itself is fresh, vibrant and perfect with a premium tonic water!

Cornwall

It was very important to me to have my recipe distilled in my treasured home county of Cornwall. After a meeting with Trevethan Distillery, I knew I wanted it to be made there! Not only do they have Art Deco inspired bottles with a history dating back to the 1920s, but John the distiller has so much expertise and has been fantastic at knowing how to scale up my recipe correctly. This is something that was trickier than I first thought! With the help of John and the team, it tastes wonderful. John will be using their two 300L Copper Pot Stills, called Doris and Rose. Each still will produce around 300-350 bottles each. I will be bottling and sticking the back labels and seals on myself, so you really know it is handcrafted!

Pre-Order Now!

I am crowd funding to make the first batch and make sure the bottles go out before Christmas. All the money raised will go into the production (bottles, labels, corks, distillation, duty), as well as helping me actually get the gin out to you! This is a true labour of love but I am very excited! The support I am receiving means the absolute world to me. I am doing this on a very small budget, but I am determined and just know everyone will enjoy my gin as much as I do!

http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/hollys-gin

My Predictions on The Vuelio Blog Awards 2018 | Men's Lifestyle & Fashion

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Oh the woes of a Blogger. We bloggers love to bemoan how hard we work, the endless hours we spend chasing brands for payments, the RSI we endure through fiddling with Instagram pins. 

Yes it can be a slog, as Tom Cruise would say in Jerry Maguire, 'a soul swallowing siege, that I will never fully tell you about'. But we all make our choices in life. And some days those choices feel vindicated. Days like when your blog gets nominated for an award.

That's right, Vuelio, have picked me from the many esteemed and well-heeled bloggers for this year’s Mens Fashion Award. The Bloggers award ceremony is now in it's 4th year and the winners will be announced at the Bloomsbury Big on November 30th. 

Here are the other candidates and I'd like to just share some quick thoughts on each and how I see the contest going. 


Ape to Gentleman - apetogentleman.com

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Run by Chris Beastall. A very tidy platform, easy to use site that delivers quality and informative articles. Very fashion centric, I love how the site never compromises on image quality.

Chris will be a tough opponent, he's tall and will have a long reach. But I figure if I catch him early with some counter punches and keep myself away from his 'hammer' right hand, I predict an early knockout, with yours truly coming out on top. 

Prediction: KO round 3 - Thompson wins



Clothes Make The Man - clothes-make-the-man.com

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Run by Anthony McGrath. A solid seasoned veteran with an all-round game. I think Anthony will struggle to keep up with my level of fitness though so I expect him to tire in the later rounds. 

Prediction: Thompson wins on points, unanimous


Grey Fox - greyfoxblog.com

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Run by the ever studious David Evans. David is a former English teacher so I'd struggle to win the war of words. I know he's a keen cyclist so his fitness coming into this contest will be on a parr with mine. 

David however does struggle with concentration. I know he is on social media a lot and I expect his mind to wonder halfway through the contest. When I see his concentration levels dip, that's when I'll go in for the kill. 

Prediction: KO Thompson wins round 7


Man For Himself - manforhimself.com

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Robin James and his lustrous hair. Strong all round game. Trouble is with Robin, he's too much of a nice man and too good looking. I don't know how much he really wants to go to the trenches with me on this and mess up the cash register. 

Prediction: Thompson wins, Man for Himself forfeits the contest


Permanent Style - permanentstyle.com

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Simon Crompton, well with 500k page views a month Simon will certainly have the home crowd on his side. He has a tidy game, his site is dynamic, his content engaging. However, I know Simon is used to fighting in the upper-divisions, coming down to this weight class will be a huge wake up call for him come fight night. 

Prediction: Thompson wins, KO round 12 Thompson 

I'll keep you posted and will be sharing my thoughts leading up to the event but for now a huge thanks to the good people at Vuelio for the recognition. If someone can inbox me where I need to drop off that envelope of cash that would be great. 

 

Edward James | My Hair Salutes You | Keratin Hair Treatment Experience

I've been asked a bunch of times by friends and contemporaries, how long do I plan to keep on blogging? How many times can one review beard oils, how can you keep on finding new ways to describe the projection of Cedarwood in grooming products? 

My answer? So long as I have hair on my head. I am duty bound to exploit my lustrous head of hair; live vicariously for my follicle-y challenged chums. 

Most recently I was cordially invited to visit the luxurious salon of Celebrity hairstylist Edward James. Edward James has spent 20 years perfecting the art of good hair and is the catwalk creative behind brands such as Stella McCartney and Chanel.

His passion and commitment, expert knowledge and artistic eye make him one of the UK’s most heralded and sought-after stylists.

“Our philosophy always remains the same, to create beautiful manageable bespoke hair for each of our clients,” says James.  "And our team is always striving to create new and innovating ways to enable our clients to be the best and most polished versions of themselves”.

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Edward is wildly charismatic and a great conversationalist. It was a great experience meeting him in his Clapham salon (he also has one in Putney) and my hair never looked better. 

However, it was the added extras that made the whole experience such a delight. I felt like a Saudi Prince as I was treated to a massage during my short wait with some relaxing oils. During the wash I got to further enjoy the feeling of relaxation in the massage chairs. 

It's so important to have trust in your barber. Before I even sat down in the chair this emanated throughout the experience. I scrutinise everything. How old are the magazines on the table? How good is the coffee? Do they even offer coffee? 

Along with his creative team at Edward James’s Salons & Spas, James has won numerous industry awards including ‘Salon of the Year’ and ‘Business of the Year’ and remains committed to reaching ever higher; as he continues to build on his creativity, drawing new inspiration as he strives to reshape the global beauty landscape.

Edward James ticked all the right boxes and having him on my doorstep here in Clapham is a Godsend. How can one ever give up blogging? My hair would never forgive me.