A Lifestyle, Grooming And Technology Blog

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. 


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


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! 


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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