A Lifestyle, Grooming And Technology Blog

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?


Saturday 29 August 2015

Pinspiration | Home Office Ideas

Recently I've been toying with the idea of creating a home office to really focus on blogging and also doing a few bits of work at home for my full-time job. My current set up is pretty basic so I took to Pinterest and IKEA.com to get some inspiration. 

I'm basically looking to create something extremely simple and super organised. The black IKEA desk above looks great and there's even a cut out coffee cup holder - awesome idea! A leather chair is a must and ideally some storage around the desk as well for storing important files and the mass of blog post ideas I have scribbled down on various bits of paper and post it notes.

These framed inspirational quotes are a bit cheesy but potentially something to look at for ideas and help get rid of the dreaded writers block.

Look at all that storage in those white drawers and filing units! I'm starting to think that the acquisition of an iMac is going to be essential to this whole home office project...

What would your dream home office look like?

Monday 24 August 2015

Weekly Wish List | Reiss AW 15

Reiss is one of my favourite places to shop for workwear as well as sharp casual wear staples like brogues or slim cut knits. Here's a few of my favourites from their Autumn Winter 2015 collection, which dropped earlier this week

  1. Contrast hem jumper - £90
  2. Leather trim backpack - £170
  3. Pocket polo shirt - £50
  4. Button down shirt - £70
  5. Jack Purcell leather trainers - £95

I love these iconic Jack Purcell Converse in white leather. They can be paired with a casual skinny or slim jeans but also styled with a more formal shirt or knit like the contrast hem jumper. Made from a blend of wool and cashmere, this crew neck is super soft and effortlessly stylish - not a price price either for that kind of quality. Perfect for cooler evenings this autumn.

I've been on the hunt for a leather backpack recently and this black number really ticks all the boxes. It doesn't come cheap at £170 considering it's only leather trim, but really looks the part. It also comes with various zip compartments and two adjustable shoulder straps. Great for the office or a weekend break.

What have been your menswear favourites so far for Autumn/Winter?

Sunday 23 August 2015

August Lush Cosmetics Haul

I've been a fan of Lush for a long time, but have never purchased anything other than their amazing range of infamous bath bombs & soaps. I thought I'd give a few of the products from their cosmetics range a go...and boy was it worth while! Here's a few of the items I picked up this weekend. 

Happy Hippy Shower Gel -  £7.50 / 250g

One of Lush's most popular shower products, the Happy Hippy shower gel is bursting with pink grapefruit and bergamot essential oils. The fragrance reminds me of holidays, which is always a plus in my book, and overall it feels great on the skin. Don't let the addition of essential oils put you off either - it'll leave your skin feeling soft for hours afterwards. Yum!

Kalamazoo Beard & Facial Wash - £6.50 / 100g

First things first - you don't need a beard to use this! I've got barely more than a bit of stubble and still saw some great results. The combination of pineapple and apricot kernel oil helps to soften beards but also will do a great job on your skin too. Just scoop a dollop onto your face and massage for 20-30 seconds to create a soft leather and you'll soon start feeling the results. The oils aren't greasy and the pineapple enzymes remove any dry skin yet condition oily parts too. This isn't cheap per 100g but it's certainly one of the best facial washes I've tried this year.

Karma Kream Hand & Body Lotion - £13.95 / 225g

Karma Kream is full of almond oil, cocoa butter and glycerine with the aim of nourishing and softening your skin both day and night. I opted for the 225g tub thinking that it need to use loads each day but I've found you only need a small dollop for each application. Karma is one of Lush's most famous scents and I can see why! The orange and pine is certainly strong but in no way overpowering. After a couple of days I've found my skin to be much softer and the lotion also seems to be doing a great job at keeping insects at bay. A must-buy.

What're your favourite Lush buys? 


Tuesday 18 August 2015

The Review | Apple Music

A new beginning? 

Apple Music was launched on June 30th this year in over 100 countries worldwide as part of the release of iOS 8.4. It was hyped as being the long awaited "Spotify-killer" that would bring some much needed competition to the music streaming market.

The idea is simple. Apple Music aims to combine it's infamous library of millions of songs with an internet radio service entitled Beats 1, which is curated 24 hours a day by some of the hottest DJs around the world including Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden and Julie Adenuga. All of this content is available for $9.99 per month and is billed straight from your Apple account.

Apple Music vs. Spotify

I've been an avid user of Spotify for a number of years now, so clearly I was interested in what Apple could bring to the table in terms of a music streaming service. More specifically, what could the silicon valley tech giant possibly bring to the market that was innovative here? Apple have unbeliveably done just that. Don't get me wrong, Spotify is an incredible service and works almost perfectly with synced playlists across a variety of platforms and devices but they simply can't compete with the breadth of the iTunes music catalogue.

Aside from having pretty much the entire iTunes library available to stream wherever and whenever you like, Apple Music also includes several levels of curation that have enabled me to discover new tracks and completely new artists - something that the Spotify experience just never invited me to do. The "For you" tab within the app analyses the tracks you stream and recommends new artists that match the genres you listen to most. Moreover, the app curates entire playlists of songs for you to enjoy and store for later. This for me just takes music streaming to another level.

Beats 1

I was initially quite apprehensive and the Beats 1 worldwide internet radio service. I don't normally listen to radio at home or in the car so why would this change my habits? I was also worried about what kind of tracks would be played because the service aims to provide listeners with a variety of music across lots of genres. I've been pleasantly surprised by the quality of the programming and now find myself listening to Beats 1 both at home on my laptop and also on the go during my morning commute. Again, this is another level of curation that no other service is currently able to even come close to. There's so much scope here for several version of the Beats 1 service that could cover a variety of genres and shows. I never thought I'd be excited for the future of internet radio in 2015.

The Verdict

Apple music really is a powerful new candidate when it comes to music streaming and internet radio. Is it perfect? Absolutely not. The user experience is sometimes confusing especially on the Mac but then this is very much a version 1 for the app across all devices. With a few tweaks across the board this is certainly a compelling option for those looking to stream millions of songs for fixed and competitive monthly fee. 

If you're transitioning from Spotify then Apple certainly hasn't made it an easy experience, which is something they definitely need to work on. If you've spent years creating playlists for every eventuality in Spotify then there's currently no easy way to transfer those across to Apple Music. The 3 month free trial is a great taster and I for one will certainly be continuing with my subscription long after the end of September. 


Sunday 16 August 2015

Weekly Wish List | Oliver Spencer AW 15

Unfortunately as we approach the end of August, Autumn is now upon us so it's time to add some key pieces to your wardrobe before the inevitable British drizzle and cool evenings arrive.

Here's a few of my favourite pieces from the new Oliver Spencer AW 15 collection, which dropped at the end of last week. I love this heritage brand because they create a variety of capsule collections that enable to mix and match between a few pieces to create lots of different outfits.

Take the Scar Tee, which can be worn either on it's own with a pair of skinny jeans or teamed with an unbuttoned navy shirt like the Clerkenwell Tab. The Doctor's bag is a real investment at almost £400 but again goes with so much of the AW 15 collection.

Links for my favourite pieces are below.

  1. Cali Crew Jersey - £110
  2. Clerkenwell Tab Shirt - £99
  3. Slim Fit Jean Hexton Denim - £159
  4. Doctor's Bag - £389
  5. Scar Tee - £69

Are there any other brands that are already launching a must-have AW15 collection?

Thursday 13 August 2015

Falling for Budapest

So I've recently just got back from a long weekend break in Budapest, Hungary. I'll be honest, before booking the trip I knew very little about the city or Hungary in general - except that they always seem to get a good few points more than us in Eurovision, but then again so do most countries... anyway I digress.

Basically we wanted a city break that encompassed three things..
  1. Cheap flights, hotels and restaurants
  2. Lots to see and do
  3. Not a million miles away
I have to say that Budapest surpassed our expectations on all accounts.

Our hotel was the Boscolo Budapest Autograph Collection, located right in the heart of the of the city. It was a five star luxury hotel with an amazing spa, restaurant and bar but was also very reasonably priced. Breakfast wasn't included but we had a great time getting out into the city early each morning and found a couple of fantastic places that served fresh coffee and a great selection of bagels.

A real must is the free 2 hour walking tours, which take place twice a day in the centre of town, and are led by a group of very friendly and helpful locals that aren't employed by the government to drive tourism but simply want to show visitors the city they grow up in. All they ask is a small contribution at the end of the tour.

This is one of the local sweet treats, which are available from lots of street food traders across Budapest. It's called a traditional Chimney Cake and is covered in your choice of cinnamon, vanilla, coconut and various others. All for less than 60p!

You'll visit all the sites by foot instead of on the open top buses, which when you're as lucky with the weather as we were is no bad thing. This gives you so much more time to stop at market stalls, take pictures or just have a wander and explore.

One of the first stops was the famous St Stephens Basilica. 


Monday 10 August 2015

The Reading List | Netflix Re-design & What is 'Alphabet' ?

Here's my list of stories from around the web that you should be reading about this week:

  • Netflix is having a re-design - Finally! Netflix now has over 60 million subscribers worldwide and is treating its users to a new website within the next few weeks that has been 4 years in the making. Check out the full story from Wired

  • A new company called Alphabet now owns Google. The tech-giant's co founder today announced a major reshuffle in the structure of the business, which essentially separates their core project such as YouTube and Chrome from more ambitious products including X Lab. More info from Wired

  • Reports suggest that Apple has addressed the "Bendgate" issues experienced by many of its users by constructing a much sturdier outer shell within the yet to be announced iPhone 6S. The shell is also purported to be up to 2g lighter than its predecessor and made from 7000 series aluminium, which is said to be 3 times the strength of the material found on the iPhone 6. The new iPhone along with an updated Apple TV are reportedly going to be announced at an Apple event in early September. Details from TechCrunch

  • 'Lol' is dead according to a study conducted by Facebook. The research found that 'haha' is now a far more popular term for laughter claiming over 51% of apparent laughter in the comments and posts that were analysed. The use of emoji has also increased dramatically over the past 12 months and now accounts for more than a third of all laughter across Facebook. More info via TechRadar...lol


Sunday 9 August 2015

The Playlist | Chilled Morning Commute

The morning commute can be an all together stressful affair. You find yourself barely awake navigating the unbelievably crowded maze that is the London Underground, whilst trying to cobble together your to do list for the day. 

So grab a hot drink and a croissant (or insert healthy morning snack here) and enjoy a few of these chilled tracks I've chosen to give you a morning boost. One of the highlights below has got to be a track from the new album by Lianne La Havas entitled "Blood". This cool mix of R&B and pop is a sure fire way to get your morning off to a great start. 

  1. Ben Howard - Old Pine 
  2. I'm Yours - Jason Mraz
  3. She Will Be Loved - Maroon 5
  4. Freedom - Pharrell Williams 
  5. King - Years & Years
  6. Can't Feel My Face - The Weekend
  7. Sweet Nothing - Gabrielle Aplin 
  8. Green & Gold - Lianne La Havas
  9. For Emma - Bon Iver
  10. Royals - Lorde

What must-haves do you have on your morning commute playlist?


Friday 7 August 2015

Friday buys.

There's nothing quite like the excitement of a delivery from Mr Porter. Their exquisite packaging oozes quality and really makes you feel like your purchase has been cared for.  This week's Friday buy is from one of my favourite french brands A.P.C. I picked up one of their new crew neck t-shirts, which features beautiful embroidery of several Parisian land marks. The fabric is 100% cotton and feels great.  

A.P.C. Embroidered Cotton-Jersey T-Shirt £65

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