London's best barbers | Men's grooming @ Ruffians

I think too many of us gents out there are settling for substandard haircuts from poorly trained hairdressers or barbers and the reason I think this is because about 5 years ago I used to be a 1 in that statistic. Getting your haircut can seem like a chore and therefore we spend less time researching good places and just go to the nearest one around where we live or from work. A quick 30 minutes and I can get on with the rest of my day kind of mentality. 

That has to change because barbering has come a long way in the last few years and places like Ruffians are at the forefront of this revolution. The shift from a quick "short back and sides please" to an experience where you can relax, work, have a drink, purchase some men's grooming products and of course get your hair cut are becoming the new normal.

Although Edinburgh is their true home, Ruffians now have 3 locations throughout London which are Covent Garden, Shoreditch and Marylebone and I'm sure their growth is going to continue so keep an eye out on their website for future openings. I went to the Marylebone branch which is just off Oxford Street on Wigmore Street, a perfect location to do some shopping, have some food around St Christopher's Place and now get an epic haircut and shave from Ruffians all a stones throw away from each other.

The store interior is low mood lighting, wooden paneling with a touch of industrial and copper finishing touches, whilst still being light and spacious - quite a feat. The staff are as expected polite, friendly and absolute, unquestioned masters of their craft. 

Just touching on the 'experience' aspect that I talked about earlier, whilst you are waiting to get your haircut just pull up a stall, get your laptop, macbook or phone out. Connect to their fast wifi and catch up on emails, stream a film, listen to music, whilst sipping away at a complimentary Ruffians pale ale or Monkey47 gin & tonic. I mean you had me won over at 'fast wifi'!

A full list of their services can be found here. Although an example of a couple are a 45 minute haircut package, which includes a consultation, shampoo & condition with a scalp massage, cut, finish and style. Or how about just popping in for a 15 minute quick beard tidy up? 

Gone are the days of booking yourself in for a haircut a week in advance of a special event because you had to 'give it time to grow out' - a haircut should be perfect the moment a barber has finished with their cut, finish & styling. 

 

BOOK YOURSELF IN USING THEIR ONLINE BOOKING SYSTEM

 

Photography by myself & Adam Bodini

It's time for a Spring Refresh | A few things I'll be changing

It's easy to see how many of us get a lifestyle boost around spring time, the colder weather is starting to give us a little break, the sun peaks out every so often which brings colour back into our lives and that summer holiday is in sight. Finally al-fresco dining, dog walking, pub gardens, commuting, outdoors fitness all become a little bit more bearable! Here are a few things that I'm going to refresh this spring and this 4-day Easter weekend is a great time for us to all get on-board.

My Wardrobe. A change of season always brings a wardrobe refresh, in fact last week it hit 25 degrees in London for a day then brutally dipped to around 13 the day after. It made me realise that I don't really have much spring/summer clothing that I can layer for the cooler days. So in the next couple of weeks I'll be shopping a lot, so keep an eye out for some of my spring style posts. Out go chunky knitwear and heavy woollen coats and in come warm, breathable fabrics, smaller jackets such as the denim one I'm wearing in these pictures or a bomber jacket and finally of course, lots of layering.

My Phone Case. Over winter I dropped and smashed my iPhone screen a record of 3 times, no insurance, no care and I was hit with massive costs for repairs. There was a period of 24 hours when I broke my iPhone 6 and had to buy a brand new iPhone 7. That evening walking back from my fitness class, phone in hand, I walked straight, bang smack into a lamppost (true story), at this moment everything went into slow-mo and after a few fumbled attempts of catching it, my phone smashed on the pavement face down...RIP.

I'm going to start the new season more organised and focused which I've started by updating my phone case, it may seem a simple fix but it has worked, I feel much more in control. OtterBox phone cases offer stylish protection for mobile devices with the protection part at the core of everything they do and for Mr Butter-Fingers aka me, that is my number 1 priority. OtterBox engineer their products to last and make an array of protective products for all different lifestyles. Being a men's style blogger, my life is very much on the go and having a phone case that offers real functionality is key. This OtterBox case is that, for example it is 'pocket-ready' which slides in and out of your pocket easily, it serves as a scratch protector so when I'm browsing through Instagram photos or reading news the screen will always be perfect. Finally the one-piece case slips on and off for easy installation, perfect for when you have two cases like myself. The black case I'm using in the above images is the OtterBox iPhone 7 Folio, it's designed in premium leather which I use for work outings, commuting London or when lacking pockets in my outfit because the phone case has a handy little slot for any credit or business cards. The one I'm using in the images towards the end of this post is the OtterBox iPhone 7 Symmetry case in blue.

OtterBox are offering YOU the chance to win a trip to Paris
*Details at the bottom of this post*

OtterBox iPhone 7 Premium Leather Folio Case

OtterBox iPhone 7 Premium Leather Folio Case

My Garden. It is a complete mess, it really is. I mean I would post an image of it but I'm actually a little embarrassed about how I have let it get in such bad shape. The decking is rotting away in places so I'm going to have to take it all up and put some new decking, slabs or maybe artificial grass down. Obviously this is a pretty major project, so I don't think it's a weekend job, so I'll keep you updated on any progress made.

Commuting around London. With the weather getting better as the spring weeks go on, I'm going to make sure I use public transport less and instead use more leg powered exercise for getting around such as running, walking or cycling. One thing that I'm going to try to do more during my walks around London is to not use maps and instead find my own way around because when getting lost you can find some of the most incredible hidden gems. Also to look up more, as the architecture we have in London is world-class and I would like to appreciate it more - keep an eye out for my Instagram stories!

Book some holidays. How have I not been on holiday this year yet? Although I do feel that I have been on many holidays already by living vicariously through many of my Instagram friends who seem to never be in the UK. This weekend I'm going to change that and book a holiday, even if it is on my own. Top destinations include, Mexico, Cuba, The Serengeti, anywhere in the US, Greek Islands, Bali or maybe even Vancouver for the F1 Grand Prix.   

Sort out my love life. Frankly it is about time I sorted this out once and for all as I can't spend hour after hour swiping left on Tinder for the rest of my life! Something I wrote on an Instagram post recently is that 'timing is everything' and I truly believe that to be true. It's time do what is right for me and not to spend time with anyone that doesn't see or appreciate my true worth, cliché by true.

Spend time with friends & family more. A simple one to fulfil as I love seeing friends and family. We are such a close group and I love them all to bits. 

Get fit and eat healthily. I'm not in bad shape for a 36 year old guy but of course this could be better, for me it is not about looking like I should be on the front cover of Men's Health. It is more about keeping fit, maintaining shape, eating healthy foods and feeling better in my own wellbeing. 

OtterBox iPhone 7 Symmetry Series Cases

OtterBox iPhone 7 Symmetry Series Cases


How to enter the OtterBox competition to win a trip to Paris this June?

To be part of the #SpringRefresh competition there are two steps you must share with your followers:

  • Step 1 – Be inspired by spring and share an image that represents your #SpringRefresh moment tagging @OtterBox_Europe
     
  • Step 2 – Fill out your details on Covered – OtterBox’s brand blog here.

Winner will be announced 26th April on an @OtterBox_Europe Instagram post on the day and the winner will also be contacted via email.

Link to the competition Terms & Conditions here.


Photography by Rebecca Spencer

Monetary compensation was made by OtterBox for the creation of this post. 

 

 

 

BRING YOUR HOME TO LIFE

Is the colour pink just for women? No. Are plants just for women? Of course not. Living in London I'm not blessed with having acres of green space, well...any green space for that matter - so indoor plants are really important to the aesthetics of my flat and my personal wellbeing.

I'm pretty sure many guys out there have dipped their toes into the idea of owning plants. I mean, hands up if you have once had a chilli plant? Ok, hands up if it died?! What about one of those plants with big red leaves that you only see around Christmas time? Exactly. My point is, that many of us already love plants and can appreciate their benefits of having them decorate our homes. So this post is to help direct those of us that need to know where to buy minimalistic plants suited to men and for the sceptics, to just think 'maybe this guy has a point' either today, tomorrow or years down the line (when you have manned up!)

For me personally, I just haven't had any direction on what plants are best for men - as I'm not a bouquet kind of guy. The Joy of Plants is my go to destination for plants that suit my style - I love the minimalist style and the quirky scientific style pots.

At home, my living space is also my workspace, and I have now worked from home for the last 3 years. Initially I treated my home desk like I used to treat my corporate desk...piled up with papers, 3 cups of half drunk coffee, post-it notes galore and a keyboard full of crumbs. All the mess was just stressful and getting me down and I found myself seeking other work spaces, although theres only so many coffee shops you can plonk yourself down in before that environment seems worse that the one you have just left at home. 

My solution was to renovate my home office desk. I mean its not difficult, I wasn't building a new desk from scratch! All it took was a bit of pride, a bit of elbow grease, some polish and most importantly some inspiration. What's extremely important to me is to make my workspace as relaxing as possible. I have done this by simply removing all the clutter and replacing the piles of papers with some cacti (not for eating this time *Dinner Date joke)!

It's weird because I always assumed that the only way flowers or plants would ever be displayed in my home would have been when I let my girlfriend move in and she adds the woman's touch to my bachelor pad!

Now, I just add to my plant collection every month or so because I have found so many benefits of owning these little green things. My life is very fast paced and occasionally work can get on top of me. But one thing that I'm militant about is having a clean and tidy home. For most people, that moment your bum touches your office chair at 9am on Monday morning, a small part of you dies! It is the total opposite for me - I'm most at ease and relaxed when I'm sitting at my desk.

Does owning plants make you more attractive to your partners? Much like flowers give off their scents, I feel that I'm giving off an air of confidence and also a bit of vulnerability which all women love, right? I mean who doesn't like a guy that can 1. Look after himself without mummy's help and 2. Can care for something such as a plant, dog or pet pygmy goat? Is it that you are showing a nurturing, caring, loving side of you? I certainly think so.

Lets be honest, we all want our homes to look as best as they can and there are some that are more homely than others. These seem to be the ones that focus on the small details, such as indoor plants.

Thejoyofplants.co.uk inspires people to brighten up their homes and their lives with a bit of green.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Flower Council / The Joy of Plants via Mode Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Flower Council / The Joy of Plants.

MID MOVEMBER GROOMING GUIDE

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Is it just me or does Movember seem to be fading a little this year? Its probably just me as I have been living in my little home office bubble and haven't got out much recently, but I havent seen many people sporting epic 'mos'. It made me wonder why? The only reason I could come up with is that the current facial hair trend has taken the spontaneity out of the fund-raising event. If you have spent months growing an epic beard - it becomes part of you - many name it and for that reason are less inclined to shave down the the skin. 

For those of you who have done the good thing and supported Movember this year - its now just over midway through your challenge and depending on your facial growth you may be at the 'slight stubble' phase or maybe the 'this is annoyingly itchy' phase or maybe even the 'acceptance' phase. Whatever stage you are at, it is probably time to start and properly maintain your new found facial hair.

I think Dickies Store blog has summed up some great 'Facial Hair Care Tips' and here they are:

I'm currently growing my beard for a December campaign and I'm going through the horrible stage of an itchy, unkept, bristly, mess! So I thought it was time to take my own advice and get shopping for some men's grooming products. Any product that can tame my thick curly beard will work wonders on yours.

My first stop (as I was in the area) was a newly opened barbers in Spitalfields market. 'Barber Barber' are not newcomers to the grooming industry as they already have had major success in Liverpool, Leeds & Manchester...and now London. Spearheaded by award-winning barber Johnny BaBa this store is a sure-fire success story especially with their secret downstairs 'relaxation' area. I'll leave the details for you to find out - head down there and take a look for yourself...it will be worth it! 

Whilst in the shop, I purchased this Beard Oil 'ZEUS' by First Olympian which was very pricy at £45 - you can also buy online here.

Next I needed some moisturiser...I wanted one that wasn't too thick, its needs to spread easily over my beard and still moistures the skin underneath. I found this daily mosturiser at the Dandy Lab by a brand called 'The Gentle-Man' and I also got an awesome moustache comb by 'Carter and Bond'.

I have always been one of those people who are a little lazy when it comes to beard maintenance, I wash it and leave it to do whatever it so wishes. After only two days of using the beard oil, I can notice the texture of my beard hair is softened, it now has a nice shine to it and smells much better than before! My facial hair is better kept and shaped due to the moustache comb and I find myself possibly over-combing it as it has become a comfort thing...all being said, it's most certainly an improvement on my old un-kept self.