A Lifestyle, Grooming & Technology Blog

Monday, 30 November 2015

Top 5 | Luxury Fragrance Gifts for Guys



1. Tom Ford Noir (100ml) - £64.95


First on the list is one of my all time luxury scents by Tom Ford. This is a sophisticated and intense fragrance for the professional guy and lasts all day long. It’s also presented in this amazing black glass bottle. Featuring notes of vanilla, patchouli and oud wood this truly is an opulent experience and a great gift for guys this Christmas.




Available from allbeauty.com

2. Acqua Di Parma Colonia Essenza (180ml) - £123.00

This is the most expensive and exclusive cologne on my list. Certainly a real treat if you feel like splashing out this festive season! Colonia Essenza features notes of citrus and becomes even more pronounced with the addition of grapefruit, mandarin, and petitgrain. There are also woody notes, which creates this extremely masculine fragrance. Selfridges will also gift wrap the item for free which means you can put your feet up.



Available from selfridges.com 

3. Tom Ford Black Orchid (30ml) - £53.00


Another fragrance from Tom Ford for the list. Black Orchird is very pricey at over £50 for only a 30ml bottle but what a scent! This is one of the best bottles I’ve ever seen for a mens cologne and luckily it has the scent to match. Featuring notes of black truffle and ylang mingled with fresh bergamot and black currant, this fruity fragrance feels extra masculine and lasts all day to boot. A fantastic gift for the guy who’s tried everything.




Available from harverynichols.com   

4. Dolce & Gabbana Pour Homme (125ml) - £65.00

Finally a bottle that’s not black! This classic fragrance from Dolce & Gabbana is aimed at projecting the “irresistible sex appeal and tenderness of the Italian man” - sounds gross I know (unless you’re into that in which case this is perfect) but honestly this smells amazing! At the heart of the scent, lavender provides a soul of pure, dry freshness, like a Mediterranean breeze, while cedarwood lends it its masculine structure. The perfect gift for a classic gent  this year.

Available from harverynichols.com 

5. Comme Des Garcons Wonderwood (100ml) - £80.00

Finally, here’s a pick you might not have come across before. Wonder wood by Comme Des Garcons is a woody scent with notes of oud, cedar wood and sandalwood. Hence the name! It’s one I hadn’t tried before until I was unexpectedly sprayed with it as I wondered through Liberty a couple of weeks ago and just had to have it. It’s got a very strong scent so doesn’t need much to last all day but the results are great. A strong woody fragrance for the guy that’s looking for something a little different this Christmas.


Available from harverynichols.com 
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Sunday, 15 November 2015

Top 5 | Men's Fragrance Gifts under £50

If you're unsure what fragrance to get the guy in your life this Christmas then look no further. I've complied a list of my top 5 scents to get him this festive season. And don't worry you won't even have to spend a fortune - today I'm looking at gifts that are all £50 and under!

1. Mont Blanc Legend (50ml) - £39.00 at Boots.com



This is a classic fragrance for men. First launched in 2011, this is designed for a grown man looking for a classy yet rugged scent. It's very reasonably priced and comes in this great black bottle with silver finish. There's no doubt that Mont Blanc Legend smells exactly like the classic Abercrombie & Fitch scent so if you're looking for a much cheaper alternative then this is the fragrance for you.

2. Armani Code (50ml) - £48.00 at Boots.com


This is one of my all time favourites and one that I've been wearing on and off for a good few years. This sophisticated and irresistibly attractive fragrance develops gradually, reacting differently with each man's skin to give a unique and personalised scent. Right at the top end of our £50 budget but for 50ml this isn't a bad price. I find this fragrance lasts all day but isn't to over powering. It's kind of a spicy oriental scent with some citrus in there as well. 

3. Joop! for Men (125ml) - £33.00 at Boots.com


Joop! Homme is a strong, masculine fragrance that features oriental notes to create a sensual and bold scent for young men. This includes various scents including Orange Blossom, Mandarin, Bergamot and Amalfi Lemon to create a zesty fragrance for all occasions

4. Bleu De Chanel (50ml) - £47.50 at Boots.com


This is one of the best fragrances I've ever owned. My girlfriend bought it for my birthday this year and I've worn it everyday since! It's a little on the pricey side for only 50ml but if you want to really treat him then this one's perfect. This aromatic-woody fragrance unites the invigorating freshness of citrus and the strength of an aromatic accord with the woody whisper of dry cedar notes. New Caledonian Sandalwood lends it a warm and sensual trail.

5. Hugo Boss - Boss Bottled (50ml) - £43.00 at Boots.com


Another classic for the professional man. Again this one is at the top end of the £50 budget but so worth it. The apple, cinnamon and vanilla leave quite a feminine fragrance that I found a little bit too subtle in comparison to others, however it certainly lasts all day and is the perfect treats for a special occasion. I also love the bottle design on this one - great to open on Christmas Day!




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Sunday, 8 November 2015

The Review | NEW  TV (4th Generation)



Finally, after over 3 years the Apple TV has received a much needed extensive hardware & UI update. This time around Apple has signalled that the end is now for traditional TV channels and that the future is apps.

Joining the updated little black box beneath your TV set is a neat new remote control that utilises both touch and voice with the help of Siri functionality. It consists of just 6 buttons that are used for the basics like volume controls and menus options. The star of the show here is the touch screen technology that enables you to swipe around the user interface and simply tap to delve into an app - a very similar experience to the newer Macbook Pro trackpads. This consistency between devices continues on the home screen of the new Apple TV, which has been refreshed with a much similar yet  colourful look - something similar to the latest version of iTunes on PC or Mac. The new interface shares the same UI and UX cues as iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan. From the font to the images, everything looks modern — yet familiar.



I've never invested in any of the previous generations of the Apple TV purely because i've only really seen it as a way to stream content that I already own via iTunes or watch TV shows and other video content via basic apps like Netflix & YouTube. I purchased a new 4K Smart TV earlier on this year, which has all of that functionality so why would I need a separate set top box to stream said content? 

When Apple announced the new Apple TV at an event on Sept 9th this year, the factor that changed my mind was the idea of gaming and shopping on the device. I have to say I'm very impressed with the results! Although there aren't currently a huge number of apps in these categories to choose from, there are certainly some real stars including Crossy Road and Airbnb. If you've got a big TV then this is certainly the perfect way to shop and play games. For years, developers have wanted to build and sell apps on Apple TV and now they can with the addition of tvOS. I'm sure we can expect a huge number of apps to flood the new Apple TV before the year is out. 

One of the few downsides to the Apple TV is the process by which you sign in to various apps and services. For some odd reason the device doesn't remember you're log in credentials for apps such as YouTube, which requires you to sign in with both the e-mail address and password - easier said than done with the new Siri remote. This seems lazy from Apple - they've already got all my log in info linked with my Apple ID so just use it here like they would across iPhone/iPad/Mac etc. ?

The Verdict

The Apple TV has a starting price of £129 for the 32GB option, which means it's certainly not cheap when compared to competitors like Amazon Fire or Chromecast that are half the price. If you're already part of Apple's ecosystem it makes sense to pay the premium and go with the Apple TV, however if you already have a smart TV with a breadth of interesting apps then I wouldn't bother with the upgrade this time around.



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Wednesday, 28 October 2015

The Review |  iPhone 6s Plus


I've had the new iPhone 6s Plus for just over a month now right from launch day so I thought it was time to give my impressions after a my first few weeks using the device as my daily driver. My previous iPhone was last year's iPhone 6 in space grey. This is the first time I've opted for the "Plus' version of an iPhone and I'm so glad I did! Within 10-15 mins of switching from my 4.7" display on the 6 to the massive 5.5" 6s Plus I was already completely sold. 

The iPhone 6s Plus mirrors the pricing model of it's 2014 predecessor, which means you could spend between £619 - £789 on the phone depending on your choice of storage options. Here's where my first issue with the device appears - why on Earth are Apple still making 16GB iPhones?! With apps regularly topping 1GB and the newly arrived 4K video files taking up twice as much storage space as regular HD video, it feels like Apple are still trying to keep their base price model without offering power users or storage hungry consumers a 256GB capacity option. 

I went for the 64GB storage option this time around and haven't run into to many issues yet it terms of the device filling up but then I don't tend to store a huge amount of data on the device itself, opting for Apple's own iCloud monthly storage plan instead.


There's no doubt that 3D Touch is the stand out feature from this year's iPhone. The clever screen technology has previously been found in the Apple Watch and the track pad of the new MacBook Pro. It enables the new iPhones to recognize the level of pressure you're applying to the display, and react differently depending on how much force you're using.

At launch, 3D Touch felt like a gimmicky addition to this year's iPhone with very few developers having had time to build the tech into their apps prior to the devices hitting shelves. It was only a handful of Apple's stock apps that utilised the ability to launch specific elements of apps from the home screen so the experience felt very disjointed.

However, just over a month later I'm pleased to say that thousands more apps have now have 3D Touch capability including Facebook, Twitter, and Bloglovin to name but a few. It now feels as if 3D Touch could well become the next pinch to zoom or swipe feature that iOS users around the world now use on a daily basis. It feels so fluid jumping right into the selfie mode within the camera or launch right into a new tweet straight from the home screen!

Apple claims the new 64-bit A9 offering is 70% faster than its predecessor at CPU tasks, while it bests graphically intensive GPU tasks by a whopping 90%. Those claims aren't exactly noticeable right off the bat when doing every day tasks like browsing the web or messaging but as developers learn to take advantage of the new power under the hood I imagine we've not yet even scratched the surface of what the device is capable of.


The Verdict 

Apple has reinvigorated its phablet without rewriting the playbook thanks to its smart 3D Touch technology and a more power under the hood. It's not the upgrade some will have been hoping for, but it's unexpected hit features and continued best in class camera optics make this the best smartphone of 2015.


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Sunday, 18 October 2015

INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS I'M OBSESSED WITH


Instagram is simply addictive. There's something about scrolling endlessly through amazing images that just helps relax and inspire you, whilst simultaneously making you envy every post and wonder why you're not spending your life on a beach somewhere posting pics of Margaritas. Here's a few accounts I've been enjoying...(and stalking!) recently.


Jim Chapman

I've followed Jim across his various social media platforms for around a year now. His YouTube channel is where i first discovered his useful how-to type videos for guys but Instagram is where his content really shines. He's often posting pics of fashion events, holidays around the world of just snaps of his puppy. Go check him out, you won't regret it.


@jimalfredchapman

ASOS Grooming

ASOS only created their grooming account a few months ago and it's already become one of my favourites for finding shopping and blog inspiration. They feature loads of their new product ranges and brands, plus always give you the product codes in the description so it's super easy to find the featured items on their website. Great for finding new mens skincare and grooming products.

@asos_grooming

Good Life Eatery

For the foodies amongst you this one's a must. The Good Life Eatery is a juice bar in Sloane Avenue, London and they post daily pics of their products and they look incredible! I'm still yet to take a trip over to their juice bar but they also have a regular spot at Borough Market so I might see if i can catch them there one weekend. Drool-worthy updates everyday.

@goodlifeeatery

Chris Pirillo

I've been following Chris's YouTube channel for a good few years now. He has quite a large following in the UK both for his personal vlogging account and his technology review based collection of videos. He's seriously into everything Apple but also a complete Star Wars nerd - what's not to like right? He posts regular pics of his tech hauls and also the latest addition to his family - baby Jedi (no seriously that's her name!)

@chrispirillo

Jack Wills

One of Britain's best loved heritage fashion brands and certainly one of my favourites across all of social media. Jack Wills post regular updates on new product launches across menswear and womenswear, and sometimes even launch sale events first on social so this is obviously one to keep an eye on. 

@jackwills

Urban Outfitters

Another one of my favourite brands, UO are constantly posting new products and outfit ideas both for girls and guys. They also have a great range of homeware items, which gives the account another dimension entirely. Certainly one to watch if you're looking for home inspiration as well as fashion. They also post some incredible shots of photoshoots from all corners of the globe!

@urbanoutfitters

What are your favourite Instagram account to follow at the moment?






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Sunday, 11 October 2015

The October Wishlist | Topman




Topman is one of my favourite high street stores. Great value and for the most part great quality to match. Here's my top pieces from their autumn collection, which dropped couple of weeks back. My two favourites have to be the green brushed twill shirt and the classic skinny chino. Green is certainly a theme this season and I'm happy with that!


  • Black Suede Zip Boots - £50
  • Check Wool Blend Coach Jacket - £65
  • Green Brushed Twill Long Sleeve Casual Shirt - £30
  • Khaki Borg Lined Hooded Jacket - £65
  • Stone Stretch Skinny Chinos - £25
  • Black Ripped Denim Long Sleeve Casual Shirt - £35
  • Mid Wash Stretch Skinny Jeans - £38


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Sunday, 4 October 2015

October sounds




It feels like October has already been a great month for new music, and we're only 4 days in! Here's some of my favourite tracks that I've been listening to this week. 

There's something for everyone here from the incredible soul vibes of Leon Bridges to a more acoustic pop sound from Jamie Lawson's latest offering (pictured above). I also added a track from Ryan Keen as I went to see him live a couple of weeks back in Hoxton, London and he was incredible. 

'Trouble' is one of the best tracks on the album, check out this clip from the live performance...


A video posted by Matt Maidment (@mattmaidment) on




Here's my top tracks for the week:

What have you been listening to this weekend? 
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Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Men's skincare on a budget


Men's skincare appears to be booming. You can't walk the aisles of your local Boots or Superdrug without seeing some cracking offers on some fantastic new brands. In this post, I'm going to pick out some of my favourite mens products for the gent on a budget. Forget fancy moisturisers and oils you'll need a personal bank loan to afford - here's my pick of the best products on the high street that combine value for money and amazing results.

1. Bulldog Original Moisturiser (100ml) - Boots.com

At just £6.35 there's no doubt this is one of the best value moisturisers on the market. It's super soft and doesn't contain any nasty synthetic fragrances. A cheap and cheerful product that can be used day and night to soften the skin. One of my all time favourites, and available at most supermarkets and various high street retailers.





2. NIVEA Sensitive Face Wash (100ml) - Boots.com

The clue to this face wash is in the name. It's aimed at guys with sensitive skin. All to often, face washes dry out your skin and can leaving your face feeling red and taut. This product from Nivea can be massaged into the skin in the shower then washed away after a couple of minutes. Your left with skin that's clean and the appearance of dirt and oils is gone. A great product and a steal at just £4.35 from Boots



3. L'Oreal Men Expert Hydra Energetic Eye Roll-On (10ml) - Boots.com

This roll-on from L'Oreal Men Expert helps to revive tired eyes and reduce the appearance of bags and dark circles. The first time you try this it feels a bit strange - an ice cold sensation under the eyes as you roll the product under your eyes. But within a few minutes you can really see and feel the benefits. A great way to disguise the tiredness from a late night. 








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Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Apple unveils the most powerful iPhone yet

As I'm writing this post, the September 9th Apple event has just come to a close. Were all the industry rumours that have been spreading their way across the past few months proved correct? Mostly yes, but there were several surprises - read on to find out more...



Here's a summary of today's key announcements:
  • iPhone 6s & 6s Plus unveiled and launching Friday 25th Sept. Available for pre-order from this Saturday 12th Sept.
  • Apple TV receives a monumental hardware & software update. Launching late October of this year.
  • 12.9" iPad Pro announced with innovative new accessories including Apple Pencil and keyboard. Launching November of this year.
  • iOS 9 and Watch OS2 available publicly from September 16th.
  • OSX El Capitan set for public release on September 30th.

iPhone 6s & 6s Plus

Let's start with what Apple calls "The world's most popular smartphone". This was always going to be the highlight of today's event and it certainly didn't disappoint! The brand new iPhone 6s & 6 Plus is faster, smarter and takes even more incredible photos and video. Also, check out this new rose gold colour option...



The biggest innovation here (and trust me there are lots considering this is an 'S' model) is the introduction of a cool new feature called 3D Touch. This is basically an evolution of Apple's multi-touch technology, which has been present in the iPhone since the beginning way back in 2007. 

Features like Peek and Pop allow you to get a look into your apps straight from the home screen. This includes getting a peek at unread e-mail and messages, as well as checking in on Facebook or getting a quick view of your location in the maps application. So simple but some real time savers here for power users and the general public alike. More details here 


Both the front and rear facing cameras have also seen considerable upgrades with 12 megapixels on the back and 5 megapixels up front, which should make for some better high def FaceTime calls. A new feature called Live Photos also creates photos that move when you press down on the screen - effectively a fancy .gif that can also be used on your lock screen. Check it out here




Storage options and pricing remains the same as the previous generations, plus the addition of the brand new rose gold colour option which looks great. The iPhone 6s starts from $529 and is available for pre-order at apple.com from Saturday 12th September. 


Apple TV

This is big, and I mean very big for TV. In fact, Apple is launching its' new TV device with the strap line "The future of television" and they might just be right. For less than $200 you'll be able to get your hands on the new Apple TV in November. It's primary functions are streaming video content from your iTunes library and online services including Netflix and Now TV. However, the device now doubles as a full fledged games console with titles on the way such as Crossy Road and the new instalment from the Guitar Hero Series.

The introduction of an iOS-style app store enables social networking applications such as Facebook and Youtube to find their way into your living room. Plus, there's all kinds of other app categories like shopping, new, and sports. You'll be able to start watching a movie on the commute home, then carry on the experience straight on your TV when you get home. Awesome! Further details here


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Monday, 7 September 2015

Sept 9th Apple Event | The Preview


Another Apple event is upon us. This year's September gathering of Apple execs and media reporters is rumoured to be one of their biggest in years, filled with various announcements and product launches from all areas of the Apple eco system. The most dependable reports are suggesting the launch of the next iPhone (likely called the iPhone 6s & 6s Plus), but also a very long overdue update to the Apple TV, the long rumoured iPad Pro and a hint at what's to come for the Apple Watch in Watch OS2. Where to begin?!

iPhone 6s & 6s Plus


The "S" generation of iPhone that Apple has launched over the past couple of years has largely been about under the hood spec updates rather than a complete design overhaul. We can therefore expect a new model that looks almost exactly the same as the iPhone 6 - but better. 


There's various rumours regarding Apple's flagship device, most notably the arrival of Force Touch for iPhone. If you're lucky enough to own the Apple Watch then you'll already be able to appreciate this astonishing piece of tech. It's basically a touchscreen that can detect the difference between a simple tap and a deep press. Useless I hear you say, but hang on. It's designed to save you time in all kinds of situations around the device. Actions like adding songs to a playlist or getting directions home could be a lot easier to perform. Just wait till developers get their hands on this stuff - exciting third-party app updates coming soon no doubt!

Other rumoured updates for the iPhone 6s includes a brand new 12 megapixel camera capable of filming 4K video. This would be a fantastic boost as I've found the camera has always been something that's lagged behind the competition over the past few years. An improved front facing camera will also provide less pixelated FaceTime calls - nice!

Apple TV


This is a biggy. It feels like years since there's been much of an upgrade to the Apple TV. It's also an area in which Apple has been seriously lagging in terms of content recently. With the success of video streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, it's understandable why Apple would want to up it's game in this product category.



Get ready for a fresh new design, more on-board storage options, and most importantly a refreshed UI with touch-sensitive remote control. Rumours suggest an iPod Touch-like experience here. With HomeKit products starting to arrive on the scene, it's likely that Apple wants your TV experience to be the basis for all the goings on in your home. Apple TV is a product that's never really interested me. Why would I need a device used primarily for streaming content I already own on iTunes? I've got my Macbook for that. Movie streaming subscription? Gaming? Who knows but it's sure to be a massive focus of the event. 

Watch OS2


If you splashed out like I did and bought yourself a shiny new Apple Watch then you know you it's been a slightly rocky road so far. There's no doubt it's a beautiful device but the user experience doesn't quite seem as instantly familiar as Apple's other products. There's so many restrictions and confusion around what you can and can't do without your trusty iPhone nearby and an OS that seems to be struggling under the weight of all that data syncing over bluetooth. Well that leads nicely on to Watch OS2.



We've already seen a preview of OS2 at a WWDC back in June, but now we'll finally be able to get a hold of the update in person. The release date will likely coincide with the launch of the refreshed iPhone - probably Friday Sept 18th. There's some nice new time-lapse watch faces, which will look great especially the one of London! There's also a cool new nightstand mode in which the Watch is placed on it's side and the time lights up all night while you charge the device - super useful.

Numerous apps will now run natively on the watch, meaning they won't need to be tethered to your iPhone's bluetooth connection to function. This should reduce lag and also improve battery life dramatically. No more watching the rotating wheel when all you want to know is tomorrows weather or the location of your next meeting.



I'll be back at 9pm on Wednesday evening to find out whether the above rumours are true and whether we've got a great new line up of Apple tech on the way. What are you most looking forward to seeing? For me it's got to be the huge Apple TV update! 






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Thursday, 3 September 2015

Weekly Wishlist | Barbour AW 15



Now that Autumn is well and truly upon us, it's time to think about picking up some more cool weather pieces like a jacket or chunky knitted jumper. Here's a few of my top picks from Barbour's new Autumn Winter collection, which dropped earlier this week...

Bristol Wax Jacket - ASOS

The waxy jacket above is a real classic. Perfect for cooler evenings paired with a pair of jeans. It's available from ASOS and I think I'm going to have to pick one of these up this year. There's lots of alternatives from the high street but nothing quite compares to the original waxy Barbour. 


Motorcycle Print T-Shirt - ASOS

I love this motorcycle T-shirt, also available from ASOS. The site describes it as regular fit but it appears to fit more like slim for the photos, which I prefer anyway. 

Tartan Chick Shirt - ASOS

This check shirt looks great and it really sums up the classic British heritage Barbour style. I don't own many green shirts either so I'm definitely going to have a closer look at this over the next few weeks. 
Tweed Holdall - ASOS

This tweed holdall would make a great weekend bag if you're planning a city break this Autumn. It also has a stylish leather address card holder and Barbour logo patch.






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Sunday, 30 August 2015

Etsy Favourites | September

It's that time again. My last Etsy favourites post has been one of the most popular I've done, so here's another list of what I'm adding to my Etsy wishlist this month. As always if you find anything you think I'd like then please get in touch. 

How awesome is this leather iPad case?! It's available here and comes in various different colours including red, black and this rather smart dark brown. Not only that but you can also select whether you're using and iPad Air or Mini and you'll receive a hand stitched case that fits any size device nice and snug. On the right you can carry all kinds of A5 notebooks but the seller recommends the large classic Moleskine. Also included is a handy slot for your debit card and a spot for your smartphone. Everything you need for a day at the office 





These geometric wood shelves are really cool - plus look at all the colour options! I prefer the walnut shown below but there's something here for everyone's taste. Mind you they don't come cheap, almost £300 for a set of 3 in walnut! However they are handmade from various kinds of reclaimed hardwood so you're definitely getting good quality for your money. 259 five star reviews can't be wrong!



I really love the idea of using a vintage trunk like this for a coffee table, what do you think?! It looks great and you can use the inside to store all those old magazines that might come in useful someday rather than an ugly magazine rack next to the sofa. It's got a really rustic feel to it as well, which I think looks really stylish. Great idea just don't go spilling anything on that leather!


Can decorative pillows ever be considered manly? Very unlikely but this geeky owl cushion is pretty cool. It's made from washable linen to so it's recommended for hand wash only. Another of it's masculine features... but I like it. A few of these would look great on a grey fabric sofa like this. Perfect for watching the footy...or PLL i guess.



Last but certainly not least, what do you think of these awesome custom Nike Roshe Run's in the style of Kanye's Adidas Yeezy 350 boost? They look great and each and every pair are actually hand painted by the shop owner. Can't justify the £350+ price tag for a pair of of Yeezy's? Then these are your best bet. 

If you're feeling super snazzy and want to splash the cash then the shop owner will also make you a completely custom pair of Rosche Run's with whatever colours and style you can imagine. All delivered within 2-3 weeks, not to shabby and in fact slightly speedier than the official Nike ID service.




That's it for my September favourites, what have you found on Etsy this month?


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