A Lifestyle, Grooming & Technology Blog

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Let's Play | November 2018


This time of year is always HUGE for new video game releases! With Christmas fast approaching, game publishers are always keen to get their latest and greatest in the hands of gamers around the world as soon as possible, with a lot of us having a Christmas wishlist full of the latest releases.

I've picked up a couple of new games over the past few weeks, one of which is surely a no brainer for Game Of The Year. Even if you're not a huge video game addict like myself, you've surely heard of this one. So here's a quick look at what I've been playing recently...

Red Dead Redemption 2

I could probably write an entire post about my admiration for this game. I took a day off work to play it when it came out a few weeks ago and literally played it non stop for the first weekend I had it. Red Dead Redemption 2 is a prequel to the original Red Dead that came out almost 10 years ago now for the Xbox 360, and oh man have Rockstar Games been working their magic during that time to make this game a true masterpiece.

You can spend the first chapter marveling at the snow effects and drawing rude pictures by walking about but at some point you have to hit the story which involves riding on horse a bit (you have to hold a button to follow while they give you the story) , shoot a bit and then go back to camp. Repeat this a few times and you're on to chapter 2 where the game opens up into. Well more of the same, just less snow.

Now there are issues, just look at the endless YouTube rants and discussion to see that! Too slow paced, clunky controls, the character is slow, not as good as the first. Some of these comments are true but only to a point! Yes, it is a first slow but that’s story and character building. Anyone used to the current crop of twitch shooters and the hand holding and your character possessing the superhuman abilities of the Assassin’s Creed games will find Arthur lumbering. Controls can be fiddly but patience and a little time in the controls will help. But the key thing here is Arthur feels, well, real! He’s heavy and human and feels like flesh and bone and he fits his world perfectly.

The world itself is vast, being substantially larger than the original (even though it features the top half of the first game, anyway). It varies from alligator-invested swamps to open plains, from an industrialised city to farming commutnies, from mountain peaks to snow-carpeted wilderness; in terms of location, this game simply has it all. And the story takes you to a large amount of the map in an organic way, which is not only relevant to the story, but also gives you a chance to explore different areas out of your own leisure. The light effects are beautiful, especially when the dying light of sundown dapples through the arms of trees. The sound effects add to the immersive world too, with crisp sound quality that makes it again seem more than a video game. Rockstar’s attention to detail is the greatest achievement in video game history as of so far. Even rockstar themselves may not be able to surpass what they have achieved with this game. I play on an Xbox one X and on a 4K TV, and in Native 4K, this game is beyond stunning. Many times (more than I dare to admit), I was staring out into the game’s world in awe. I was simply left with pure wonder at how a game could look, feel and sound so real.

NPCs will carry on with whatever they’re doing or saying whether you’re there to witness it or not. Encounters happen frequently, meaning long horse journeys to and from locations are not mundane or lacking excitement. Rival gangs will ambush you or be up to no good within your proximity. Citizens will ask for your help or try to rob you. So much can happen that you almost can never predict when something will; that’s what keeps it fresh after countless hours of play.

You can pick up Red Dead Redemption 2 on Amazon here 



Overwatch - Game of The Year Edition

Overwatch has now been out for well over a year but I recently decided to pick up the Game of The Year Edition as it came with some cool extras including free loot boxes and an exclusive character skin. This is online only, so you will need an Xbox Live subscription to play. If you don't know what Overwatch is about it is basically a Team vs Team of various game types, and is usually more fun with friends. If you love competitive gameplay you'll enjoy this. It often does start to bore me after awhile due to its repetition, so I will often end up after 2-3hrs sticking in a RPG or something. You will find that you will get better as you play more, and you will start to learn what chararcters suit you most {I personally prefer Soldier, Tracer, Sombra, Hanzo and Widowmaker}, but for a casual gamer you will die, rage and sigh but cheer and feel a great accomplishment when you get your first kill, then your ten and so forth. Obviously not all players play fair, some games will test your patience.

There's a huge amount of variety on offer when it comes to heroes and the unique abilities that they bring to game play. You'll certainly find your favourites but all of them have some cool abilities that can counter those of other heroes. It's super competitive but if you're a casual gamer just looking for something that you can pick up and play then no fear as there's plenty of unranked modes that enable you to hone your skills before taking on some seriously high level players in the ranked match making. If you are up for a challenge then the leveling system on offer here is super rewarding, and offers periodic cosmetic items that can help you show off your level, but importantly never impacts the core gameplay by giving you overpowered weapons or characters. Everything on offer is purely cosmetic. 





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Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Dinner at The Warren - Wokingham*


*This is a sponsored post. The Warren were kind enough to gift the meal, however all opinions shared here are my own.

Last week, the team at The Warren in Binfield were kind enough to invite me to celebrate the reopening of their premium bar and restaurant. It has been closed for the last week or so whilst undergoing an extensive refurbishment. The pub has also extended the outdoor area including the car park so it can fit even more guests inside! There's also a fabulous new menu on offer, which is what we got to try during the press evening last week.

I've visited The Warren quite a few times over the last few years. It's great for a cosy date night in the Winter or for the Summer months they've got a great outdoor garden space to chill out with a few ice cold drinks with your mates.

The evening started with some fantastic gin cocktails - cant beat that! We were presented with all kinds of interesting ingredients to create our own cocktails. I went with mint, red peppercorns and cucumber and it was amazing. The Warren has a fantastic drinks menu with cocktails from only £6.95, which is a bargain.


There were also some delicious canapés from the bar snacks menu including falafel, goats cheese and more. If you're planning on just popping in for a few drinks with some friends then these would have been perfect.  We then enjoyed a mini tour of the refurbished interior of the restaurant area, which has received a full makeover as you can see from these images. It looks super smart and inviting.

It's not just the surroundings of the pub that have received an upgrade, the menu has been completed overhauled too and now features some great midweek offers including 2 courses for £22 each or 3 for £26 each including a bottle of wine for the table on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. As if you needed an excuse to treat yourself before the weekend!





We were then sat down for dinner at a cosy spot towards the back of the pub just next to the roaring fireplace - perfect. For my starter I chose the Salt & Pepper Squid, which you can see below. The fried squid was crispy on the outside and nice and soft on the inside, not at all rubbery which is sometimes the case with this dish. The lemon was also a nice touch and gave it that extra zing. Just enough to get you started.

Starter - Salt & Pepper Squid
Then it was time for mains and OH MY GOD this was delicious. Honestly one of the best main courses I think i've ever eaten... I chose the pork belly, which came with scallops and the nicest gravy ever. There was also a healthy serving of greens as well just to make you feel better about all that meat. The presentation was incredible and almost made me feel bad about tucking in...well almost.As you can see below the cut of pork we were given was massive and there was also lots of crackling if that's your thing. I could have done with a couple more scallops but only because i'm obsessed with them and they were perfectly cooked.

Main - Pork belly with scallops
We then had a little break after all that food with another round of drinks before it was time for dessert. I'm a massive red wine person so i went with a large glass of Malbec (£8.25) which was really delicious. Then it was time for chocolate cake! Topped with mint and a large helping of vanilla ice cream, the chocolate cake below was really tasty and not too sickly sweet like you sometimes get with similar desserts. There was also a lovely warm salted caramel sauce drizzled around the outside, which was a great way to add another flavour but was also great to dunk the cake into. Yum!

Dessert - Chocolate Cake & Vanilla Ice Cream

We had an absolutely fabulous evening at The Warren. The pub and restaurant opens its doors again on Saturday 24th November so get a table booked ASAP because it's certainly going to be very busy for the first few weeks, especially as we get closer to Christmas.

It's the perfect place to meet up with a few friends just for drinks in the bar area, or even for a work party this festive season. There's an extensive drinks menu that'll offer something for everyone so head over to www.thewarrenwokingham.co.uk and book a table.

Here's a quote from the General Manager, Majka, who's been part of the team at The Warren for over 2 years - "The Warren is a hugely popular pub and provides a hub for the local community so we’re really excited to be part of the team as it begins its next chapter. We have some stunning changes planned that will allow us to create a modern, stylish look and feel to the pub – making it the ideal spot for family and friends to get together or for corporate gatherings. We are so looking forward to unveiling the brand-new pub to guests in November!"

Whilst you're checking out the menu on their website, be sure to sign up for their e-mails and you'll get a FREE drink on your first visit - top tip!







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Monday, 24 September 2018

iPhone XS: First Impressions

The iPhone XS and XS Max have arrived, and I thought i'd do some first impressions of the model that I opted to pre-order, pending a full review in a few weeks time once i've spent alot more time with it. I went for the XS in space grey with the 256GB storage option. I'm still puzzled as to why Apple has felt the need to add the 512GB option this year - that's massive! I know not everyone pays for additional iCloud storage for all your photos but that still seems excessive unless you want to own every game in the App Store.



Anyway, this year's iPhone refresh is the usual S upgrade that Apple makes every other year in it's development cycle. That means on the surface if you're coming from last year's iPhone X you'd probably struggle to notice any difference in the design of the XS - Apple have even made the call to remove the 'S' branding from the back of the phone so it's just the new gold finish that will make it obvious you're carrying around the shiny new model.



The flagship features of the X like the bezel-less display and Face ID are all still here on the 2018 devices so if you're upgrading from anything other that last year's phone then you're getting some pretty sweet new tech. Face ID has even been improved to make unlocking your phone up to 20% faster, and even from my first few hours of use I can really see the difference. Annoyingly it still doesn't work when the phone is horizontal, which is a shame, but new with iOS 12 you can add a second face to your device so that either someone else can have access using Face ID or it's super helpful if you happen to wear glasses. You can save a speckled and non-speckled version of yourself for easy unlocks.

Spoiler alert: The people who bought the iPhone X last year were either constant early adopters or eager to upgrade then so they wouldn't have to wait until now. They'll either automatically get an XS as part of one of those increasingly common annual upgrade programs or they'll just keep on keeping on until they need the next something new. They know that. Based on how iPhone XS was introduced as a new iPhone X, not an all-new iPhone, Apple knows that. It's just the rest of us nerds who have to get better at remembering it.

Performance is just a little smoother too, thanks to the new A12 Bionic chipset tucked away inside the XS and it's chunkier brother the XS Max. Apps launch a little faster here than on the iPhone X, and in general, jumping in and out of running apps in the multitasking view is speedier as well. When it comes to this sort of mundane use, the changes are noticeable but not dramatically so -- that is, unless you're coming from an older iPhone. In that case, you're in for a ride. Apple says the A12's two high-performance cores are up to 15 percent faster than the CPU cores in last year's iPhones.

Full review coming soon!

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Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Suits of the future — how is technology influencing tailoring?

It is said that the suit that we all know and love today started in the early 1800s by a gentleman called Beau Brummell. He replaced long-tailed coats and silk stockings with the classic suit jacket accompanied by full-length trousers and it all went from there. But as we’re faced with new challenges (such as the lengthy daily commute) and as we strive to cut out time consuming activities (ironing a suit can be draining), what does the future look like for our tailoring? Charles Tyrwhitt, retailers of  men's shirts, investigate:


Past Innovations

One of the latest in shirt technology is temperature adjusting materials. In many cases, this works by controlling the body heat of the wearer. Researchers across the US developed clothing that changes how much radiation escapes from the shirt and how easily air can circulate around the body. Although heat controlling technology in clothing is not new, it is only in recent years that it has made its way into wearable clothing when it was once reserved for those in space. This sort of technology not only improves comfort levels for the wearer but can potentially have knock on positive effects on the environment. Air conditioning (AC) accounts for an outstanding 13% of energy used in the US. If our shirts become temperature regulated then it is possible we will be in lower need of constant AC — reducing our carbon footprint so we all benefit!

Non-iron shirts are more than convenient. Enjoy an extra 10 minutes in bed as you pull your work shirt out of the dryer and put it on straight away — wrinkle free and no need to haul out the ironing board. The technology behind the non-iron shirt includes a process that strengthens the fabric, preventing the molecules from moving as much and increasing its resistance to creasing.

It’s important to be able to move freely in our suits. Especially when you’re sitting in the same place for a prolonged period of time, such as at the desk, on your way to work or at a fancy dinner. This is where the latest mechanical stretch technology comes in to play. This sort of technology works with the materials of the suit to improve its flexibility. Some suit jackets and shirts achieve this stretch through incorporating a small percentage of elastane in the fabric and this is enough to enhance the comfort of the garment.



Future Innovations

Wearable payment gadgets are something that researchers and corporations are spending a lot of time exploring. Of course, we already have the ability to pay contactless with a smart watch or phone but that’s just not enough! MasterCard paired with fashion designer Adam Selman to explore the idea of inserting a microchip into clothing, perhaps in the sleeve of a jacket or into a bag — allowing you to pay for items with even less effort. This concept could have some effect on our tailoring trends as cuff links and pockets could become payment devices!  

Forget buying multiple of the same suit in different colours, colour-changing fabrics are here to shake up the fashion industry. The research behind it is ever advancing and there are a few ongoing projects developing the idea. One of the projects, explored by scientists at the University of Michigan, is looking at incorporating tiny crystals that react differently depending on the wavelength of light. This affects the crystal’s formation and how they look in terms of colour to others. Other research, carried out in Montreal, is investigating how electricity from human movement can power electric fabric and change its colour. It appears that the research is a long way off from our high streets, but it is paving the way for colour-changing materials in the future.



The price of a high-quality, tailored suit can be quite high and many take pride in keeping it in good condition. It is then unsettling when a sleeve is caught on a door handle or on something sharp and the material is damaged. The latest technology in textiles is addressing this issue through the development of self-healing fabric. It works by coating regular fabric in a special solution that, when ripped, is able to melt back together at low temperatures. Other research has founded that E. coli bacteria has self-replicating properties and this is being explored in order to discover if it can be used to knit broken fabric back together.  


From past to future innovations, it’s clear to see that our wardrobes aren’t what they used to be. Many developments are being made in order to make our lives easier and further enhance our suits to meet our highly digital and busy lifestyles. 

Sources


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Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Improving Older Blog Posts


After all of the time and effort that us bloggers put into every single one of our posts, why do we just send them out into the blogosphere and never pay them any attention again? Posts that are 3…6…9 months old are just as good as the content you’re writing today, they’ve just been buried underneath all of the other posts you’ve created.

It's tempting (hence the amazing pic above!) to just leave your older content alone, especially if you found it performed well at the time. Why fix something that aint broke? However, older posts are far more likely to have SEO benefits for your blog and can actually be used to bring new traffic and readers to your site – here are a few ways you can show some love to posts gone by:


  1. Regularly tweet out links to old posts (don’t go mad, maybe oncee every 6-9 hours)
  2. Every day, pin one of your old posts to a Pinterest board so it can get some fresh exposure
  3. Update old posts with new photos that match your aesthetic
  4. Update old posts with new/better information e.g. travel guides
  5. Write a follow up (“part 2”) post in response to one of your older posts, and make sure to link to the original article in the follow

6. In any future content that you write, try to link back to old posts that are similar in topic - Incredible SEO benefits to be had here!
7.Install a “Similar Posts” gadget on your blog that displays under each blog post
8.Showcase “Popular Posts” or “Reader Favorites” in your sidebar
9. Link to your all-time favorite posts you’ve written on your About Me page

10. Add Pinterest-friendly images to old posts so they’re more likely to get pinned and go viral

What techniques are you using to give life back to old posts?
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Thursday, 12 July 2018

An Affordable Stay In London*

It's a well known fact that spending a night in the capital is NOT cheap. If you want to be anywhere near the hustle and bustle of central London then you're looking at forking out hundreds of pounds just to get a decent night's sleep. 

But don't panic.. the team at Imperial College London have a solution! They are opening up their accommodation to the public all through the Summer from 2nd July to 23rd September at extremely affordable rates. You can even get a buffet breakfast included too for a small additional charge.


I was lucky enough to stay at the Prince's Gardens accommodation in South Kensington. As I didn't actually go to university I wasn't quite sure what to expect in terms of how well the rooms would be kitted out, but I was actually pleasantly surprised! I was greeted by a big double bed, desk area and even a seating area with coffee table. There was a large en-suite bathroom with a shower and plenty of toiletries. Just remember to pack a toothbrush and toothpaste as they weren't provided in the room.


Just outside the accommodation building there's a shop which has a full selection of snacks and drinks. Perfect if you just need a light meal.. or a midnight snack! It also overlooks a the leafy area of Prince's Gardens would be ideal for a short walk or a picnic in the Summer. At reception I was given a map and guide to the area which was super useful for someone that doesn't live in the area. It made me realise what a fantastic location the accommodation is in. Literally a stones throw from attractions like the Royal Albert Hall, Science Museum, and the V&A.



As you'd expect there was also FREE Wi-fi throughout the accommodation building and it was actually pretty fast considering there are over 1,500 other rooms! Good enough to stream Netflix and surf the web without any trouble whatsoever. Alot of hotel chains still feel the need to charge for internet access so the fact that Imperial College London offer it for free is a real bonus for me.

Tea and coffee making facilities were also provided, which was a nice touch. Plenty of coffee sachets and tea bags which would have been plenty even if i was staying there for a few more days. There was also two bottles of mineral water which was a life saver due to the heat wave we're enduring right now!





There are also a couple of other locations as well that you can choose from including Notting Hill and Paddington. The rates are super competitive and start from £95 per night for a single room. The Imperial College London accommodation really is the perfect choice for a reasonably priced overnight stay in London. You'd be very lucky to find a quality room at these prices from a hotel chain. 

There's also overnight parking available for an additional charge if you need it, however this must be booked in advance so make sure you mention it as part of the booking process. The reception staff were all super helpful at guiding me around the area, giving me tips on places to see and also some recommendations on places to grab a bite to eat. 

I also really appreciated the quick check out option the next morning. I had to leave by 7am so it was super handy that I could simply drop off my room key into a box in reception without having to go over to the check in building a short walk away. You can find out more about the accommodation on offer here. 


The video below gives you another chance to see the accommodation



*Thanks to Imperial College London for providing the accommodation free of charge for review. All opinions are my own.
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Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Gift Guide: Father's Day 2018

Dads are impossible to buy for - is it just me? Whether it's Christmas, birthdays or Father's Day, I'm never sure what to get mine even though we're actually quite similar. With the big day just a couple of weeks away now I thought I'd pull together some of the ideas I've had so keep scrolling to see if my gift guide has something yours will love too...

If he's a massive movie or TV buff why not pick him up The Wire - The Complete Series on DVD. This gritty american crime drama is just what dads need for that Sunday afternoon binge. What makes The Wire unusual is that it's a cop show that refuses merely to be a cop show. It inhabits Baltimore in all its attributes. We see inside the local politics, the local media, community groups, the lives of the city's homeless people, the personal lives of its law enforcers, and above all the lives of its criminals. It's very brave and unusual to show us the criminal side of a community from the criminals' point of view, and The Wire is innovative in being so unflinching in depicting this. It's a far cry from the glossy world of, say, CSI.



If your Dad is a bit of an audiophile and Apple geek then why not pikc him up the brand new Homepod. At £340 it's certainly a luxury gift but he's obviously worth it right? If you still live at home then at least it's an excuse to get one in the house and experience the incredible sound that you get from a high spec speaker like this. The HomePod is covered in a seamless cloth grille, which Apple claims lets sound emanate without altering it in any way.

There’s a chunky woofer powered by a custom amp, a 360-degree seven-tweeter array, and a six-mic array for capturing your voice from a distance. The mics work well and pick up voices capably, even at a distance and with music blaring. If you really want to treat him this Father's Day then the Homepod is the perfect gift.


If you'd rather sort out his skincare routine then why not pick him up the Clinique For Men Daily Oil Control Skincare Kit which you can pick up from John Lewis. At £26 it's a real bargain for Clinique and contains a few of their bestselling products to get his skin in shape. The Oil Control Face Wash thoroughly cleanses and removes excess oil, while the luxurious Cream Shave provides a rich buffer against razor drag and nicks. Whereas the Mattifying Moisturiser delivers lightweight, oil-free hydration and skin-strengthening ingredients, plus helps skin stay matte all day.


If he's more into fashion then why not pick him up a nice new shirt for the office or for weekends. You really can't go wrong with any of these from Jack Wills and Ted Baker...


Don't forget to check out my other gift guides for guys here:


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Monday, 28 May 2018

Summer Holiday Packing Essentials


It's that time of year again where most of us will be jetting off on our Summer Holiday. Therefore will need to begin the daunting task of packing (and ensure you don't forget anything!) The art of packing, as so often in life, you learn from your mistakes. Countless times we’ve all packed just shy of our baggage allowance and ended up just wearing a handful of items. But it’s undeniable that packing is notoriously known for being difficult and is one job almost all of us dread, myself included.



When going on holiday, it is crucial you have the essentials in check. Always ensure you’ve got your passport with you when heading to the airport – and make sure it is in date! – as well as any visa details if one is needed. I always pop my passport into my hand luggage as the first thing I do. Be warned - if you do need to order a new passport prior to your holiday then you must allow at least 4-5 weeks for it to be delivered once you've sent off all the paperwork. Don't risk it by ordering one late! They only have to be renewed every 10 years and cost around £70. 

If carrying around lots of cash or loose change makes you feel uneasy, it is worth considering a cash card. For example, the Post Office offers a ‘Travel Money Card’ which is essentially a prepaid multi-currency card that’s convenient, easy to use and secure. These cards are often used if you're planning a trip to several countries and just want to take a single card, or in countries where there isn't a specific pre-paid card that carries that currency.

If you're off somewhere hot and sunny (lucky you!) then some top notch sun care should be on the top of your packing list. Kiehls do an incredible range of sun care and I've linked some of my favourite products below. The Daily Reviving Concentrate is a must have for keeping your skin hydrated whilst you spend all day sunning yourself, along with the infamous Ultra Facial Moisturiser. They also do a pretty extensive range of sun creams and aftersun, which although they aren't cheap, are super easy to apply and range from SPF 15 all the way up to 50. 

Sun Care Must Haves


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Saturday, 26 May 2018

Let's Play | April 2018


Welcome to my monthly Let's Play series, in which I tell you all about the games I've picked up and been playing over the last 4 weeks. You can check out my previous Let's Play posts here. This part of the year is always pretty good for new game releases, plus I also picked up a Nintendo Switch last weekend so you can expect some initial impressions on that over the next few weeks. I  actually found quite a bit of time for gaming during April so here's where I've been spending my time...

Far Cry 5 

I'm to to say this right off the bat.. Far Cry 5 is already one of my games of the year for 2018. It perfectly combines the freedom of a massive fully destructible open world with great gun play and player progression. I've not played anything like it so far this year.

The story isn't great so I would advise ignoring the majority of it right from the outset and concentrate on the awesome gameplay that seeps out of every inch of the huge playable map. You'll find random events happening constantly, which keep you engaged in the action rather than the story. There's just so much to do beyond the main story thread so don't worry about running our of side quests and collectables to find. Sneaking your way through all the various outposts eliminating the enemies that guard them are some of the best moments in the game.

Buy it here > https://amzn.to/2J9xv1i 


Sea of Thieves

Now from one of my games of the year to one that has really disappointed me, even after the incredible hype that seemed to surround it right from when it was announced. We haven't had a decent pirates game for ages now and i was really hoping that Sea of Thieves was going to start a new trend, but unfortunately this empty "go here and grab this" simulation feels more like the awful No Man's Sky than the start of a cool new genre in multiplayer console gaming.

Sea of Thieves’ opening hours are a magical recipe of wonder and mystery. It never explains much, but figuring out the subtle, multi-layered functionality of everything from a compass to your sails is fun and surprising. Jaw-dropping lighting works in harmony with the deep, rich waves of the open sea as clouds puff in and out of existence. However, from then on it turns into an extremely repetitive buggy experience, which proves to be especially boring when playing solo as there's seemingly no AI to fill the world with so you're just left to your own devices.

Random matchmaking works fine, but real friends are best because if you get people without mics or a cooperative spirit you might as well set sail with a hole in your boat. Sea of Thieves works well when treated like a chat room or a party game, where it serves as catalyst for having a good time with the people you’re with.

Buy it here > https://amzn.to/2INnQOP 


Check out the rest of my Let's Play series:

January 2018http://www.theguyontrend.co.uk/2018/01/lets-play-january-2018.html 
May 2017http://www.theguyontrend.co.uk/2017/05/lets-play-may-2017.html
March 2017 http://www.theguyontrend.co.uk/2017/04/lets-play-march-2017.html


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Tuesday, 17 April 2018

3 PODCASTS I CAN’T STOP LISTENING TO


Podcasts have certainly made a massive comeback over the past couple of years, with tens of thousands of them now available across a wide variety of platforms. Hosted by everyone these days from your favourite bloggers  to politicians and footballers, there's so much choice and you're bound to find a podcast to suit you. I can completely understand the fascination with them nowadays thanks to Apple creating a standalone Podcasts app in 2014 as part of iOS 8, which really put this rather stale platform right back under the noses of millions of users around the world.

I thought I'd share a couple of the podcasts I'm addicted to right now..

Wrestle Me

If you're a fan of WWE or wrestling in general then this weekly podcast really is a must listen. It's hosted by two guys, Pete and Mark, but only one of them has been a life long fan of WWE and really understands the sport whereas the other host is brand new to it. The weekly shows are basically reviews of each Wrestlemania event since the early 1980s and filled with hilarious comments and trivia about the history of the "Showcase of the immortals". A fascinating look into the world of pro wrestling whilst hearing a perspective of someone who has previously been on the outside looking in.  A really enjoyable show with well researched background info on some of the biggest names in WWE, as wells some of it's little known jobbers. Check it out here

Stephen Fry's Great Leap Years

Now this is a brand new podcast that only actually launched a week or so ago but you need to download it RIGHT NOW. Hosted by the wonderful Stephen Fry, these incredible hour long episodes dive into some of the inventions that have changed the world over the past 400 years or so. I won't ruin too much but the first episode delves into the dawn of language and written text. The depth and detail of the research that Fry and the team have clearly conducted is breathtaking. You're sure to learn a lot here. It's a really insightful listen and the perfect way to spend a morning commute.

How I Built This

Now this is my current podcast obsession. The How I Built This series has actually been running for a couple of years now but I only recently discovered it and have listened to literally hundreds of episodes already. It's basically a series of interviews with the creators of some of the worlds most recognisable and respected brands. Inspirational listening for anyone running a small business or dreams of making it big. Some of my favourite episodes include the fascinating stories behind Dyson, Toms, Instagram and AirBnB. It's incredible listening to the entrepreneurs behind some of the world's biggest businesses, who often started out broke in their college dorm rooms, describe their journey to making hugely successful brands. Give it a listen you really won't regret it, and if anything you'll probably arrive at work feeling inspired!

What are some of your favourite podcasts?




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Thursday, 12 April 2018

HOW TO SPEND 4 DAYS IN PRAGUE


We recently took an Easter city break for the long weekend and decided on a trip to Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic. There's lots to do (especially if you're a fan of beer) so I thought I'd get all the top things you need to see and do into one post, as well as some tips on where to stay. Enjoy!

Visit St. Vitus Cathedral 

For me St. Vitus Cathedral had the biggest wow factor for me out of everything in Prague and the outside is absolutely stunning with such a gothic feel and you can choose to climb up the tower to reach the views at the top. Now considering the cathedral already sits on a pretty tall hill climbing up gave absolutely amazing views even if I did feel like I was going to collapse when I reached the top. Sometimes I regret walking up attractions as I don’t feel the view is worthwhile but this is one which certainly was.


Walk along The Vltava River

One of my favorite moments of this trip was our morning stroll along the Vltava River. It was still quite early, and while there were some tourists already, it was far from the mass we usually encountered during our stay. There are loads of great spots to take some pictures of the Castle across the other side of the river and some incredible artists doing paintings of passers by and landscapes of the city. You can pick up a couple of these for around £10 each.

 
The view from Prague Castle

If you choose to venture across the river you must head up the 200+ steps and visit Prague Castle. Once you arrive there's quite a number of courtyards and buildings to explore, as well as museum about the history of the castle if that's more your thing - but we just preferred having a wander. Make sure you catch the changing of the guard every day at midday. Once you reach the far side of the castle grounds you'll find a hilltop which offers hands down the best views of the city on a bright day like we were lucky enough to have....

 


Walk across the St. Charles bridge

This is perhaps the most well-known monument in the city! The huge bridge connects two sides of the Vltava river and is a great opportunity to have a panoramic view of the city. We visited the bridge early in the morning and snagged some great photos while avoiding the droves of tourists that came later in the day.

The bridge was originally constructed under King Charles the IV in the 15th century as a primary connecting point between the Old Town Square and Prague Castle. Lining the sides of the bridge are baroque sculptures depicting religious saints and figures. Most of the current statues have now been replaced by replicas, but are nonetheless still very striking.


As we walked across we were constantly distracted by entertaining street musicians and bands that really made it an enjoyable trip across the river. Just make sure you watch out for pick pockets if you do decide to visit during a busier period of the day as the bridge gets absolutely packed.


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Sunday, 11 February 2018

Why Do So Many Men Have Ginger Beards?

Do you have black, brown, or blond locks atop of your head but still play host to a touch of ginger in your beard? Don’t worry, orange tones often appear on the face either as a ginger tint in the beard or even as the domineering colour of the facial hair in men of a different hair colour but the question is – Why?

The Science

Whilst not a lot of research has gone into hair colour it is understood that you require two recessive alleles to possess ginger head hair, one from mam and one from dad, but it only takes one of those ginger alleles to have an orange beard. Whilst you were probably never told you only need one for a ginger beard the rest is basic science that is taught in school. But despite what you may have been taught in biology class hair colour is not strictly determined by one gene from mam and one from dad. It is in fact a lot more complicated than that – as science often is but we will do our best to explain it.

Your DNA and genes determine the pigments you have and the quantities of them and it is these pigments that dictate what hair colour you have. In essence your hair colour is decided by a multitude of gene combinations which can express themselves differently in different people.

The wonderfully complex nature of hair means that not only does so many peoples’ seemingly change over time (and we don’t mean turning grey that one happens to us all) but it can be a different colour in different places.  This doesn’t mean you will necessarily have a black mop on top of your head, rock a ginger beard and boast blond eyebrows but you know what we are getting at.

when you think about it, it is unsurprising that your head hair can differ in colour to your beard. Beard hair is very different to our head hair. It looks different and feels different and as such it abides by different rules including what colour it takes on.

Here we can see a family tree showing two parents with three children together. Each member of the family has the two alleles for hair colour displayed. The children’s alleles are all a combination of one from each parent. As shown the first child has received ginger alleles from each parent and she will have ginger hair. The second child has received two brown alleles and so will have brown hair. The third child has one ginger and one brown allele, the singular ginger allele will not be enough to produce ginger head hair meaning his hair will be brown but this child could potentially to grow a ginger beard thanks to this lonely ginger allele.

The Simple Science

Unfortunately, we cannot give a better answer than that, that is all that the research into hair colour can tell us. Having a ginger beard is not associated with an illness so it is not a priority when it comes to research. But we know a thing or two about the science of rocking an awesome beard so here is some of our research around ginger beards. Ginger beards are best flaunted, if you have orange facial hair don’t be a baby face express yourself with an awesome red beard. As with all beards, ginger beards love to be groomed, they also love beard oils and beard balms and above all they demand respect. Having a kickass ginger beard is a privilege and is sure to make some others envious of your awesome face fuzz but remember with great power comes great responsibility so it is your duty to treat your beard right.  
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Saturday, 13 January 2018

Let's Play | January 2018

My last Let's Play was one of the most popular posts I've ever done so I thought why not do another one and tell you about the games I've been playing so far this year. There haven't been any big new releases yet in 2018 so I actually picked these games up before Christmas during the Black Friday sales and got a couple of really good bargains. Enjoy!



Assassin's Creed Origins

First up is a game I've been obsessed with over the past few weeks and certainly one of my games of the year for 2017 - Assassin's Creed Origins. I've been a fan of the series for a long time but fell out of love with it over the past few iterations, but buy has this got me right back into the franchise! Set in ancient Egypt, your character is on the hunt for revenge and discovers the secrets of the Pyramids and the desert along the way. Amazing game, great combat and visuals with amazing RPG elements this time around. In terms of reinventing a stale formula, Origins knocks the franchise's previous entries out of the part. A beautiful, huge open world populated by realistic characters and interesting events around every corner. A must buy for any gamer.

You can pick it up on Amazon here.


Destiny 2

Now this next game has caused a huge amount of outcry from fans of the original who say it's just a copy and paste of the first game with a somewhat boring story mode this time around. Destiny 2 has truly split the gaming community. There are those who loved the addictive multiplayer and futuristic weaponry from the original game and are happy for more of the same, but then the other side of the argument is that is this really worth £50 for what feels like DLC more than a fully fledged game?

I sit firmly in the first camp and believe this is a stand out game that feels far more polished and better executed than Destiny 1. Players will notice immediately that the storyline has been given much more focus which is nice to see since this was one of the biggest complaints about the first game. So far the stability has been good for me, in around 30 hours of play time I've only been kicked off 3 times. The gameplay is just as good as ever and there are a whole host of minor improvements which will really please veterans of the original Destiny.



The campaign is brilliant but a little short, that is not a criticism though as it's such a tiny part of the game, the real bulk of the game is working your way up to the current level cap of 300 and getting good enough to complete the raid, past level 265 progress is slow but there is still so much to do. I have to admit I'm slightly addicted and can see myself racking up many, many hours on Destiny 2!

You can pick it up on Amazon here. 

Call of Duty WW2

Fans have been waiting for this game for what feels like 5 years. Boots on the ground COD in a world war 2 setting has been what fans of the franchise have been asking for for a long time now and we've finally got it. The new Call of Duty is a vastly different game from previous iterations that have been set in a futuristic world with jet packs and crazy weapons (think Destiny 2) but now the franchise has gone back to it's roots with this gritty WW11 thriller of a game. The campaign is short but very respectively presented whilst putting the player right into the boots of soldiers on both sides of the war.

Some of the better moments of the campaign I felt were around the stealth aspects including a tense level of spying in the German headquarters in Paris. Trying to return a child blended both the gameplay and cut scenes brilliantly to make you feel like part of an action scene that had some emotional weight. Even supplying ammo to frontline soldiers in the Ardennes forest was welcomed as a change of pace from the run-and-gun moments that you see plenty of (albeit in a hand-held way).



Multiplayer has followed suit with Destiny by having a community ‘lobby’ where you can equip your soldier, test weapons, prestige your class, take up daily and weekly orders – there’s bloody loads of stuff! At first it can seem daunting as there are lots of things you need to do and the game itself doesn’t do a great job at helping you to get started. There are so many things going on at once – daily orders, weekly orders, weapon upgrade tasks, player upgrades, perks, ribbons, appearance unlocks it can be a headache to navigate especially as there are so many menus to go across and the UI isn’t the best. It took me ages to find some features and in the end I had to just google ‘How do I…” and I found the answers. I’m not in a hurry to get the most badass class going so I am taking my time with a lot of the things and I feel I enjoy it more, the game can feel a little pressuring on some of the options as there are time restrictions to achieve objectives from a week down to 30 minutes for some. A lot of the rewards are either coins or loot crates.

You can pick it up from Amazon here. 

What games have you picked up recently? I'd love to get your recommendations on what to play next.




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Thursday, 11 January 2018

Vinyl Arrivals #3

It's been a little while since I did a post about my most recent vinyl purchases, so here we go! I normally pick up my records on Depop just because it's usually quite a bit cheaper than amazon. You can pick up vintage ones too, which for some reason just sound even better. Here's what I've picked up over the past few weeks...


Baby Driver

This is one of the best films I've seen over the past few months so I thought why not pick up the vinyl of the soundtrack, which was incredible. As a "soundtrack" it's great. Many songs and instrumentals you hear, you can easily have the scene running through your head. That's the sign of a great and memeroble soundtrack & film. But as an "album", playing in your living room or car, the tracklisting is all over the place and doesn't flow well at all. Going from the Damned's "Neat, Neat, Neat" to a slow, soul ballad doesn't sound good at all. What would've been better would be to collect all the tracks used in the film and rearranged their sequence, just to flow better instead of putting them in order of the movie. You can buy it here.


Bob Dylan - The Freewheelin' 

Dylan's second album from 1963 has hardly dated at all, and contains some of his most famous and most remarkable songs. Any album that contains the originals of "Blowin' in the Wind", "Girl From the North Country", "Masters of War", "A Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall" and "Don't Think Twice" has to be essential listening. Each of these songs remains as relevant today as when written. The album also features one of his most beautiful love songs (Girl From the North Country) as well as the first of many brilliant and caustic put-downs (Don't Think Twice). This album really is a classic and your collection shouldn't be without it. You can pick it up here.


Gavin James - Bitter Pill

Gavin James is an incredible British artist with some amazing (if very depressing) songs. His debut 2016 album Bitter Pill is a great example of this. Previously known for supporting Ed Sheehan at various performance, here Gavin gets the chance to shine on his own and he really does! m so glad that he is getting the recognition he deserves, proof that talent and hard graft can win out. I've never seen him live but would love to oneday. For now, I'll satisfy myself with listening to his haunting melancholic voice and beautifully structured songs.

What are some of your favourite new releases? Any recommendations for what i should pick up next?

Check out my other Vinyl Arrivals posts below:

Vinyl Arrivals #1
Vinyl Arrivals #2



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Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Weekly Wishlist: New Year Sweats

I thought it was time i brought back a series from a little while ago called Weekly Wishlists. Each week I pull together my favourite new fashion arrivals from around the web and group them into chunks or trends. This week I thought I'd focus on a category that's sure to be big in the early part of 2018 - happy new year btw - Sweats!

The popularity of so-called "Loungewear" over the past few years has sky rocketed and it's high time that your Sunday Comfies got an upgrade. Sure enough, everywhere you look there are people out and about wearing what would formerly have been considered stay-at-home clothes. At one end of the spectrum, it’s no longer a surprise to see people in pyjamas at the supermarket, or in their cars on the school run. At the other end, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has taken loungewear into the boardroom with his trademark hoodie look. I've picked the best of the bunch below so enjoy!
Jack Wills Cruxton Crew  |  ASOS Pink Contrast Sweatshirt  | Acne Fleece-Back Crew


Topman Navy & Cream Joggers  | Rag & Bone Slim-fit Sweatpants  | Paul Smith Cotton Sweatpants

Shop The Looks

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