A Lifestyle, Grooming And Technology Blog

Monday 27 February 2017

Vinyl Arrivals

Picking up new vinyls has become a bit of a recent obsession. I can't seem to go more than a few days without hitting Amazon or Depop to order some brand new music, or a few blasts from the past. As much as I'm a fan of the era of digital music and monthly subscription services, there's something about collecting physical music that's strangely rewarding - and certainly goes against any kind of minimalism ideas i've had over the past few months! Here's a few I've picked up lately..

The XX - I See You

A fabulous LP from The XX trio. As to be expected from them by now, instrumentation is sublime and the production / mastering is so crisp you can enjoy every single element of each track: vocals, percussion, bass, synths and keys... It's a great listen for audiophiles and fans of music.

This latest album moves them forward , and is likely to be one of the most popular albums of 2017. There have already been a couple of hit singles released before the main album, and there has been a sense of anticipation about the "difficult 3rd album" which many groups suffer from. Yet you can see how wonderfully they have evolved as a band and have produced something that is still new and unique.

Available here

Bonobo - Migration

An absolute must of Bonobo fans, his latest album entitled Migration feels like just that, a journey into something new for the artist whilst keeping that iconic sound. It'll take you through tranquil pop to a more upbeat house vibe, which feels quite new and yet all the while keeping to is trademark sound. Get into a dark room with a great set of headphones and enjoy!

Available here.

S O H N - Rennen

Starting where his previous album left off, the eerie mechanical sound of Hard Liquor makes for the perfect opener for Rennen, eventually closing with the sound of a needle skipping on a record. This is much more blues than the previous outing, but certainly doesn't disappoint. In fact, many of tracks are  very similar to the Tremors album, which was always going to be a truly hard act to follow.  Plus, how cool is that album art? One for the collection I think don't you?

Available here.

Have you got any new vinyl recommendations?

Sunday 26 February 2017

The Travel Guide | Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi in the UAE is easily one of my favourite places to visit around the world. It has just about everything to offer and is only a 7 hour flight away. Here's my top reasons why you should start planning your 2017 trip immediately... 

The Weather

This one kind of goes without saying I think. Abu Dhabi offers year round sunshine and temperatures that rarely drop below 20 degrees. If you like it hot then I'd recommend a trip during July-August when temperatures can reach over 50 degrees! However, a trip to the UAE is also a perfect winter sun getaway with temperatures during Nov-Jan of around 25 degrees. Perfect for all day sunbathing and exploring everything the city has to offer. Be warned though the shopping malls and tourist attractions tend to have very intense air con during the summer!

Things to do

A trip to Abu Dhabi would not be complete without a trip to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque (pictured below - although images will never do it justice!). I had never been to a mosque prior to my first visit to the UAE and am not at all religious but this place truly has to be seen to be believed. There are free guided tours available at the entrance in English, which I would strongly recommend unless you prefer a wonder. The tour guides are great and really made the trip with some interesting facts and history.

If you don't fancy a trip to the Mosque then my other favourite location is Yas Waterworld. It's the perfect place to cool off for the day in the Summer months and has some of the most exciting slides and rides of any water park in the world. It's not cheap at around £45 for the day but that's about the same as Thorpe Park or Chessington so it's not crazy expensive - and you can easily spend the whole day there with the amount there is to do.

Just remember to drink lots of water as it's easy to forget when you're surrounded by it all day in the pools!

Other great places to visit include some of Abu Dhabi's incredible malls! "Shopping on holiday??" you might be thinking.. but the are truly a great day out. Plus theres always super-cool air conditioning so handy if you're visiting during the hotter months. The 2 most popular ones are Marina Mall and Abu Dhabi Mall.

Both have a huge variety of shops including many that you'll recognise, as well as various restaurants and eateries. You're obvious Starbucks and KFC are there but try something new like the super-delicious PF Changs if you fancy a yummy Chinese.


Thursday 16 February 2017

New Arrivals | End Clothing

This morning I was greeted by an exciting parcel from one of my favourite menswear sites - End Clothing. One of the best things about End is their next day delivery price of only £4.95 (half that of Mr Porter just saying!).  Inside the iconic brown with white logo packaging were two items i'd had my eye on for a while but decided it was time to treat myself and finally get! 

The first was this grey tee from A.P.C, 100% cotton and a bit of a wardrobe staple for Spring & Summer really. I've got loads of grey t-shirt but most of them are pretty plain and not the best quality so I thought it was about time i invested in an upgrade! It's pretty simple and just has the A.P.C logo on the front. Available here

Next up was a sweatshirt I was a bit unsure of from the website but luckily it turned out to be just what I thought. This red sweat from Carhartt is another simple addition but I've not got a whole lot of red in my wardrobe so I thought this would mix things up a bit! Again it's 100% cotton but not the softest feel inside, which is a bit of a shame. I love the bold navy graphic on the front too.. no mistaking where it's from eh? Available here.

Thanks for checking out my latest post. You can shop all of the new arrivals at End Clothing here

Don't forget to follow on Bloglovin'  Follow

Tuesday 14 February 2017

Wireless Charging & The 10th Anniversary iPhone

2017 marks the 10th anniversary for Apple's flagship smartphone, and this year's model is shaping up to be an exciting upgrade if the rumors are to be believed. Last year's effort, the iPhone 7, was widely regarded as a bit of a 'meh' update with little more than a few under the hood upgrades to the camera and home button functionality, plus the addition of new black colour options - although let's not take too much away from Apple as it was still their best selling iPhone ever!

The big news this year though is that the iPhone 8 (or 10th Anniversary as it's more commonly called) is rumored to include a long-awaited feature that competitors such as Samsung have been using for a year or so now - Wireless charging! Fed up of carrying around those pesky lightening cables and untangling them? This could be the perfect solution for you.

The concept image below also imagines a new 5.5" OLED display with no bezels around the edge that would include an IP68 waterproof rating meaning that you could theoretically leave your precious device in a full bath tub overnight and it would be undamaged.. although I'll let you try that one out for yourself.

It's also been reported that Apple will likely remove the home button area of the device entirely and instead allow Touch ID login straight from the OLED display - effectively the same idea as the Touch Bar from the new Macbook Pro. Perhaps this added real estate could be used for app-specific dynamic controls? Very handy.

The only turn off about these new rumours surrounding the iPhone 8 and wireless charging is that it's been suggested that Apple would not include the charging pad in the box with the device - it would be an added accessory. So that begs the questions would you really want to pay almost £1,000 for a brand new shiny iPhone only to find that to use it's latest and greatest new feature you have to spend another couple of hundred pounds?! Own goal there Apple.

What are your thoughts? Would you consider an upgrade to the iPhone 8 just based on wireless charging? It's a fantastic gimmic but I feel as if people will just up carrying around even more cumbersome charging pads rather than lightening cables, which doesn't really feel like a step forward to me.



Monday 6 February 2017

10 Things You Can Do Today To Improve Your Blog

Do you often feel uninspired and unmotivated to write a new blog post? Is your blog looking tired and in need of a refresh? Same! I thought I'd pull together a few quick ideas on how you can up your blogging game.. right now! No long term project or expensive hacks.. just quick and easy steps to a better blog and a more motivated you!

1. Update an old post

This seems like it could be a waste of time but seriously.. re read your 5 most popular blog posts and update them with fresh experiences. Have your views and opinions changed on the subject? Let your readers know! They must have been popular posts for a reason so it makes sense to keep them fresh right? Maybe add some new or better quality images as well to really freshen up your content.

2. Don't forget self-promotion

Got a load of new content but nobody reading it? Don't forget to shout about your latest posts across social media and share on Bloglovin'. That's where I get over 75% of my page views from so it makes sense so share your content with as many people as possible using popular hashtags. Self-promotion can be a daunting thing when you're just starting out but it's the best way to get eyes on your blog. Tools such as buffer or Tailwind are great ways of automating and scheduling your content across social media. 

3. Get a new template

Now I tend to do this every 3 months or so just because I get bored easily of the layout of my blog, but it makes sense to refresh your template a couple of times a year just to wow your existing readers when they come back to look at your content, and of course entice new visitors into your blog! I always use Pipdig for my templates, which don't come cheap but are amazing quality and come with all the instructions you need to create an amazing new layout. 

4. Cross-link to new content

Be sure to add cross-links from older blog posts to newer ones with a similar theme to make sure your readers are finding your newer content. This will also help to stop losing visitors after reading only a single post on your site. This is also a great way of encouraging new followers and comments when people discover new content that they enjoy!

5. Submit your blog to search engines

Sites like Google Webmaster and Bing allow you to submit your website to ensure that it's always listed on their respective search engines. You can also learn handy SEO tips to get your blog listed as high up search result pages as possible to maximise traffic visiting your site.

6. Reach out to new brands

If you want new opportunities and sponsorship deals the easiest way to get them is to just get out there and communicate with brands that really match the content of your blog, and suit the interests of your readers. Brands are always more attracted to blogs that seem to fit the style and tone of their brand and products. So start chatting to them and who knows!

7. Clean out your side bar

If you use Google Analytics to track how visitors engage with the content on your blog then you should be able to identify widgets and areas of the sidebar that your readers simply aren't using? Are there any elements you could remove to allow you to focus on other things? Popular post widgets are often a waste if the content featured in them is out of date. Definitely worth a look.

8. Brainstorm future content

Does blogging inspiration always strike at the weirdest times or is that just me? The only time I can't think of a new post is when I actually sit down to write something so make sure you're constantly taking notes throughout the day if you get new ideas for content. You'll always forget later on! Try and pool your content ideas into categories then create and share new posts from each category over time. This will ensure readers are always enticed to return to your blog with the promise of fresh posts. 

9. Create a survey

If engagement with your most recent posts has taken a nose dive and you're not sure what's wrong then why not create a survey using a tool such as Survery Monkey to find out what's frustrating your readers. There's almost nothing worse than getting decent sums of traffic to your blog but very limited comments and feedback on your content. If you don't ask then you'll never know.

10. Buy your own domain

Having your very own fancy .co.uk or .com not only looks more professional and appealing to potential new readers but also gives you a whole host or new options when it comes to customising your site and adding new widgets and content. I always use GoDaddy for cheap and reliable domains and hosting, you also get a few business e-mail address too..fancy!

I hope these tips have helped inspire you to give your blog a 2017 refresh! Have you got any other ideas to share?

Blogger Template Created by pipdig