The Royal Exchange Gift Guide for Men

Who knew you could cram in so much luxury into one space. If you've not had the chance to frequent London's luxury nerve centre; The Royal Exchange, then I suggest you down-tools immediately and get yourself down there. Immured in this beautiful historic building is an unrivalled collection of boutique shopping and dining that serves as a fervent reminder that shopping is not just an experience, but one that should be embraced. 

Here are my top picks that spoke to me when I attended a bloggers breakfast there the other week. 


Like many brands in The Royal Exchange, Smythson has a wonderful and illustrious heritage. But not every brand can hold claim to being the recipient of 3 Royal Warrants. 

(Royal Warrants are a highly prized mark of recognition of individuals or companies who have supplied goods or services for at least five years to the Households of the British Royal Family). 

These sift deerskin backpacks illuminated the product bench and was almost speaking to me from across the room as I feasted. Needless to say after I finished my bacon & eggs, I gravitated towards this backpack, other sizes and colours from the Smythson Burlington range are available. 


Guys if you're looking to catapult your grooming game into the stratosphere then you should definitely check out the beauty products L'OCCITANE has to offer this season. It's a highly eco-conscious brand that invests heavily in research. A team of 100 researchers works in 11 laboratories, focused on topics from molecular biology to plant extraction to analytical chemistry so they're the good guys basically. 

I've been invited to review some rather doleful looking grooming products of late, so I was pleased to see some colourful packaging, certainly caught my eye they were kind enough to leave me a shaving balm in my goody bag. You never know a collaboration might be in the offing sometime in the future, watch this space. 


As you may have been getting the feel for recently on my blog, I'm in serious need of a  holiday. I'm in the market right now for some buccaneering swim shorts such as this Bulldog swim shorts from Orlebar Brown. 

It's got intrigue, it evokes aquatic escapism, in short (pardon the pun) it's a bit of me. Based on the pattern of a traditional man’s tailored trouser and crafted from quick-drying polyamide fabric with signature side-fasteners to adjust. 

Georg Jensen

Georg Jensen is a Danish brand, named after the eponymous Georg Jensen who founded the brand back in Copenhagen in 1904. The collection embodies that creative elegant-dynamism that propelled Georg Jensen to the front of the Art Nouveau movement. This Koppel watch was revolutionary when it first debuted in 1978; the current generation continues this tradition and remains a masterclass in understatement.

Sage Brown

Lastly but not leastly you should also check out Sage Brown. They do a variety of high end Man Bags, in a variety of formats such as this handheld, to messenger bags and rucksacks. If you're a jet-setter then Sage Brown can accommodate you with a plethora of travel accessories. Check out their site for details. 

Carl Thompson x Royal Exchange.jpg

There's plenty of other brands in the Royal Exchange that I want to mention but, this gift-guide can't go on for perpetuity. It might start sounding like a Tom Hanks Oscar speech. (Remember the one he gave for Philadelphia? 'I do know that heaven is over-flowing with angels..’ blub blub). 

Make sure you check out all the boutiques on offer at The Royal Exchange website.

Let me know in the comment bar below what you think to my choices. 

What to wear for work in Canary Wharf

Are you new to working in the city of London? Have you just got your first job out of university or college and struggling to know what to wear to the office? I've been there and had to work it all out for myself - so here are my tips on what to wear to work so you don't turn up with a Simpsons novelty tie and therefore ruin any promotion opportunities for the next few years! 



Invest in a good well tailored suit, it makes a big difference if you invest in something that will last. A cheap suit will wear out quicker and the fabric will not wash as well as a higher quality yarn. 

When choosing a suit colour avoid black, as although it may feel like your first day in the office is like a funeral, it is not. Instead opt for more warming, approachable colours such as a navy or grey. You'll find these colours will also be easy to style with different colour ties, shirts & pocket squares.

Have your suits on rotation. It is always best to have 3 suits, rotate so that you avoid wearing out the fabric and for hygiene reasons. I mean wearing the same suit everyday on the tube is bound to kick up a little bit by the end of the week.

Do not iron your suits, or you'll be left with a shiny look to them and when that happens, it is time to get rid.


Keep colours simple and if in doubt you cannot go wrong with white and a variety of different shades of blue. Pattern, check and striped shirts are acceptable, although they are harder to match with ties and better worn with the collar undone. A general rule would be that if you are wearing a check, pattern or striped shirt, then match it with a plain tie. 

Join a Shirt Subscription Service, so you are never running low on shirts and keep up to date with new trends and fabrics. Hawkins & Shepherd offer a variety of different Shirt Subscriptions at discounted prices.

Always have a spare shirt and tie in the office. I've lost count of the number of times I've had after work drinks and had to sleep in the office, having a crisp shirt, toothpaste and toothbrush is critical. Or what about that time when you had your yearly appraisal and spilt a whole mug of coffee down your favourite shirt? 

Have a Friday shirt, one that has a foot in formal and a foot in casual, so you can keep things professional in the office then let it all hang out (the shirt) after work.


Wear something comfortable as the chances are you'll be doing a lot of walking to and from the office and once you are there walking too and from the coffee machine. In my work photos in this post, I absolutely love these shoes come slippers from Donhall & Bell. My footwear tip would be to have a pair of these in the office to wear around the office and use a more hardier cheaper pair to walk to and from the office. Wearing these powerful, striking shoes you'll stand out for all the right reasons.

If you are wearing leather shoes, it's simple but make sure they are polished regularly or if you are wearing Donhall & Bell suede footwear, invest in a suede brush and give them a brushing every time you have worn them - this will help keep them looking pristine.


Wear a watch. A watch will complete any outfit and they do not need to be expensive. There are many more fashion watch brands out there producing affordable stylish watches. I've recently found this watch brand called Kartel from Scotland and every single one of their watches are modern yet classic but most importantly only around £90.

Do not be afraid to accessorise with socks and pocket squares, although keep things relatively simple and not too over powering. Subtle hints and sartorial touches should be discrete. For example don't wear a bold red tie, red pocket square and red socks - it's too much.




Photography by Ella H