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ThatIsBeyond… Kennies boxer briefs, mental health and the models that I want to be mates with!

It’s not every day that you can truly say that you have an affinity with a brand. There can be lots of variables that get in the way. One of the key issues being tackled in recent months is male mental health and I think, that when it comes to fashion, I am greatly affected by what I see in adverts and branding, namely because I never see me.

Of course I’m not talking specifically about me modelling the clothes… but it would be nice to see greater representation. My body type is not a gym bunny, or a modelesque fashionista or a bronzed Adonis. It’s hard to put into words what I AM, because all of the words that come to mind are derogatory to my own self – and this is born from a lack of representation. So without the words to describe myself, let’s brave a picture (afterall, as they say ‘a picture is worth a thousand words).

Society and in fact my own psyche has chipped away at my person, and has left me wondering – what brand represents me?

I don’t know about anyone else, but I often google tips on what to wear often with wordings similar to the sentences below:

And do you know what the results say?

Very Little.

Because it seems that fashion (in the mainstream) isn’t made for men like me. People aren’t interested. People are disgusted by fat and the people that have it. Fat people are not good looking. Fat people are not fit. It appears that Fat people are not really people, at all.

With this in mind, you can imagine my surprise when I stumbled across Kennies a brand that featured men like me, having a whale of a time in their underwear…

Hold up, I actually re-scrolled to find the advert again, because I thought I was hallucinating!

As well as great pants, these guys had personality, charisma and the fun factor, the type of guys that I want to be mates with! So straight away I had to find out more – I placed an order and got some delivered! And since then I haven’t looked back.

Kennies have developed a great product. These boxer briefs are so goddamn comfortable, that it has been a game changer for me. Normally irritated by the bunching of fabric around my sizeable thighs and arse, I normally opt for briefs (especially for sport). But the micro-modal fabric that these bad boys are made from, means that uncomfortable bunching is a thing of the past.

The fabric is so soft and sculpts itself to your shape without feeling constrictive – in fact it moves with you. It holds everything in place but also gives it some room to move. In short, your are supported, but your willy has some freedom as well! I have now worn my Kennies Boxer briefs for a couple of gym sessions and a 10k run, and I have absolutely no complaints. They are breezy and seem to absorb the inevitable sweat away from the genitals, leaving you feeling dry throughout your work out.

You see the thing about guys like me, is that that we want a lot of the same things as the “sculpted guys”. We want comfort, we want to look good, we want support etc, but we also prize other qualities that a skinny man probably doesn’t experience! Like a waistband that folds over – when you have a curvy stomach to contend with, waistbands don’t sit like they do on the models, in fact it is a constant annoyance to me that it doesn’t stay flat, because I can’t escape knowing that it’s because I am carrying those extra pounds! And trust me a fat guy knows he’s fat, he doesn’t need reminding!

Next, this brand has a great ethos. A product that is sustainable and developed to be long-lasting and the antithesis to disposable fashion. The micromodal fabric looks and feels good and is ethical, with no harmful chemicals released into the environment. Kennies recognise that we can no longer close our eyes to the effects of our actions and so are very transparent about their processes and the product itself. They are also supporting the UK’s marine life:

£1 FROM EVERY PAIR OF BLUE KENNIES PURCHASED WILL SUPPORT VITAL MARINE CONSERVATION WORK IN THE UK

As you can see, Kennies as a brand is not afraid to break the mould. It’s not just about pants – it’s about the whole “bigger” picture.

I can stand proud in my new underwear and know that this brand has my back. I don’t need to be ashamed of how I look. I just need to be me – and with my new Kennies boxer briefs, I look good too. (Even if I do say so myself).

The boxer briefs (as modelled by me) and trunks are available from www.kennies.co.uk for £16 – and in my opinion, that is an absolute bargain. (I would like to know if briefs will be in the pipeline, as well?)

So whilst my own self-deprecation is unlikely to disappear, and nor is my discomfort with my own body, at least I have found a brand that I feel is for the everyman (and hence ME as well) and that representation is good for the mental health of all of us – No holds barred!

TIB

ThatIsBeyond… Summer starts with Havaianas

For me, summer hasn’t arrived until my Havaianas are planted firmly on my feet!

It’s part of the summer preparations – switching my beer for a gin and tonic! Shorts seem ever more appropriate for any occasion and I start being drawn to online shopping for new Havaianas!

Since my first pair was bought for me as a thank you gift, I haven’t looked back – the reason is, that no other pair has lived up to the quality (and style) of my Havaianas.

This year I am especially excited because I now have some sliders! They seem to be all the rage at the moment and so I had to get involved! With the recent heatwave, they also became as close to a necessity as summer footwear can ever be!

They are comfortable, stylish and bring that Brazilian flavour which is bang on trend! This is proper footwear for that beach lifestyle that we all crave when summer finally comes and if you are going to wear flip flops or sliders, then you might as well wear the best quality ones.

Now If only they could harness the Brazilian rhythm and put it into my feet – then we would be 100% there!

Click Here to check out what Havaianas have on offer for this summer of sun!!!

TIB

ThatIsBeyond… underwear questions I dare to BASK!

With the Launch of Bask Menswear being the talk of Instagram – I thought it was time to get to know the guys behind this hot new brand, a little more – as well as get the answers to some burning questions… I speak to Simon Crowther on of the masterminds behind the brand that has punctuated my underwear drawer since their launch.

So Team Bask, How did the company come about?

We are all friends and already run our own successful businesses independently of each other. We wanted to collaborate to create something truly amazing. Simon Crowther & Tom Gribby spotted a gap in the underwear market and to utilise their creativity, Nick Lempard joined with his clothing and manufacturing expertise.

We wanted to create an amazing brand which addressed all our gripes with existing underwear brands. Along with making our underwear comfortable, stylish and affordable, we don’t like labels… and removed the often-irritating label from the rear of our underwear. We also have a centralised front and rear logo on the band, and created vibrant and recyclable packaging. We want our customers to BASK in the confidence of knowing their underwear is better than everyone else’s.

Tom Gribby is the founder and Director of Northbridge Talent; a boutique agency with a proactive, committed and personal approach providing a high calibre of adult and young clients for TV, film and Theatre work.

Simon is an award-winning engineer and entrepreneur. In 2012 he founded Flood Protection Solutions Ltd, which has since grown into one of the UK’s leading flood defence companies. The company has grown year on year since 2012. Simon’s work in industry at FPS gained him a place on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list.

Nick Lempard is the owner of the Promotional Textiles Group which works with clients from conception through to delivery to provide a full supply chain solution manufacturing clothing across a range of specialist factories in China, Portugal and Turkey. Nick is quick to spot latest trends and Promotional Textiles grew rapidly supplying Jute bags during the purge on plastic and transition towards sustainable bags for life. Nick’s packaging experience is invaluable at BASK, and between his experience and Simon’s environmental qualifications and passion, it resulted in all BASK packaging being either biodegradable or recyclable. One of the most used items – the mailing bag – is made from potato starch instead of plastic!

We all will continue to run our own businesses and have collaborated to form BASK Menswear.

 

So, tell me about the launch it seemed to go amazingly – what we’re the challenges that you faced?

The launch was incredibly exciting for us, we opened for pre-orders one week prior and the interest generated by our Facebook ads was fantastic. Pre-orders were shipped out, and during our launch week, many of the customers who pre-ordered were already posting and sharing photos on their Instagram helping to create a buzz. We had a launch event in London at Pride where dancers in BASK underwear performed to a thousand people!

That’s brilliant! What I call a brand “making an Entrance”!

As well as amazingly comfortable and stylish underwear, I know that you have environmental aims as well. How does Bask give back?

At BASK we are extremely conscious of the World we live in today. Whilst it cost us more, we invested in recyclable packaging, and one of our most used items -the mailing bag- is actually made from potato starch instead of plastic and is completely biodegradable. As we grow, we will be looking for further ways to give back. We are also passionate of delivering our customers the best quality items, so they can BASK in style, comfort and confidence.

As well as potting a gap in the market, Were you underwear fans before creating Bask?

It’s safe to say we were all underwear fans before with wide collections. We all need underwear, and finding a favourite is always difficult. Underwear is usually only 2 of 3 things; affordable, stylish or comfortable. We wanted BASK Menswear to deliver on all 3.

Well it certainly seems that you have done that!

So next to the classic question for an underwear brand…Boxers or briefs?

Boxers on weekdays, briefs at the weekend.

Underwear brands can sometimes seem to cater to only muscled adonises – Do you have any tips for bigger guys when it comes to choosing underwear?

Don’t limit yourself and make sure to choose underwear which is comfortable and stylish. At BASK we aim to cater for all and stock from an XS to XXL.

And with that in mind, Do you think there is space for larger men in underwear modelling?

Completely.  We are all about BASKing in confidence, regardless of body type. Embrace you body and style. We encourage all of our customers to ‘tag us in their pants’.

So get tagging those pics Gents!

With the success of your launch and Bask being the hot new name on Instagram we all want to know what’s next. I have heard you are also launching Bask Swimming trunks… when might we see them on sale? (Before my September holiday???) 

You may just be in luck! We are hoping to have our first trunks available by the end of August. Whilst we may miss the UK summer, our customers holiday all year round, and as swimming is such a fantastic activity for health, you may as well BASK in style, comfort and confidence whilst in the pool.

Here’s to that! And I am keeping my fingers crossed!

And most importantly, What makes a Bask Man? 

We don’t like to label our customers into boxes, however, BASK men like to BASK in the confidence of knowing their underwear is better than others.

Whether you’re on the beach or the sofa, enjoying brunch or sipping a glass of Veuve – BASK wants to join you for all your occasions.

Well it’s been great chatting to you – I think I speak for the world of social media when I say that we can’t wait to see what Bask does next…

BASK – Pants so good you won’t know how you coped before them!

 

 

 

ThatIsBeyond… MINI MODE

It’s always exciting when you can get the whole family involved in an event – and for this one, Mini Fashionistas are at the centre of the event itself!

This is a fashion event for MINI MODE And I am looking forward to my three year old experiencing his very first fashion show!

London Kids Fashion Week, returns for a fourth season to showcase both established and emerging childrenswear designers from around the globe. My little family will be joining Mini Mode who will showcase the latest childrenswear collections on the runway. There will be see-now, buy-now catwalk shows, entertainment and experiences.

The runway preview will see SS20 and AW19 collections from designers including London’s award-winning children sunglasses brand Zoobug, French cashmere specialist Oscar et Valentine, USA made-to-measure custom clothing brand KICOMO by Kiara C. Morrow, Turkish luxury kids’ brand Melis Kaptanoglu Kids, London based cool kidswear Little People London, Austrian sustainable, gender neutral children brand Me in Wien and Latvian colourful Rock & Mouse. Whilst past shows saw former Girls Aloud’s Kimberley Walsh debuting her Kimba Kids range, her first foray into childrenswear design that’s available now at Next.

 

Founded by UK childrenswear designer, Amanda Rabor – the creative mind behind global fashion kidswear brand Isossy Children – Mini Mode is about empowering and helping children to improve their self-esteem, whilst contributing a new business and sustainable fashion model for the UK industry that promotes inclusivity on every level. In this time of global social media influence, UK kids need an event, which is reflective of their global counterparts to feel included and be part of the fashion industry – Mini Mode fills this gap.

 

“Mini Mode is my little contribution to the creative economy”, says founder Amanda Rabor, “as a designer and business woman I wanted to create a global platform to enable and support incredibly talented designers. As a mother I created the platform to empower real kids who want to experience the fashion world.”

 

The spectacular event will take place on the 14th of September 2019 and is open i the general public – at the exclusive, centrally located St Mary’s, in Wyndam Place, York Street, W1H 1PQ.

 

Consisting of a matinee as well as an afternoon show, the event will feature the latest See-Now-Buy-Now collections for AW19, as well as a selection of children’s entertainment, Kid’s DJs kid hosts and interviews in between the show.

 

Having helped launch the modelling career of children from different backgrounds, Mini Mode is thrilled to announce their ambassadors. These young, aspirational children make fashion a more inclusive world: River Island’s face and double amputee Daisy-May Demetre, heart transplant receiver Grace Fincham, who went on to work with famous photographer Rankin on a national campaign for leukaemia, fearless alopecia model Freya Hawkes, first teen plus model Lexi Gibbon, Mini Mode long-term model Che Esson, professional model Catherine Umusu, siblings Zayn D and Zerina Zia and Mini Mode newest addition Ayisha Kassama.

 

Mini Mode Show

Saturday 14th September 2019

Showcase See-Now-Buy-Now Collections for AW2019.

To buy Matinee Show Tickets: Click Here

To buy Afternoon Show Tickets: Click Here

We are so excited to experience this with our little boy, so if you and your family want to be a part of this wonderful event – use the links above to get your tickets.

ThatIsBeyond… Top ”Summer” Tips for the modern man!

As the season of sun, sand & sea is now officially underway, I start to think about a few ways that I can improve my experience of Summer even from the office!

Looking good and feeling confident is especially important in the warmer months (it’s all the shirtless time, in short shorts and beachwear, which for me requires the additional inner confidence!). So it’s key to get a routine in place that will leave you feeling revived for those long Summer Nights.

A Breath of Fresh Air – Lush

Shooting to and from meetings, dashing through the commute to pick up the boy from Nursery and taking in a pint of some theatre in the evening, can really take a toll on your skin. If you are anything like me, then this means a build up of surface oils and a lot of shine! But rest assure that this product from Lush (A Breath of Fresh Air) is just the subtle thing you are looking for.

Essentially a toner water, its mineral-rich, featuring carrageenan seaweed extract and rose absolute to tone and balance the skin. (And don’t run for the hills because of the mention of rose! This doesn’t smell like your grandma at all, but I do find that the rose is soothing to warm skin and helps tackle any redness or inflammation). This is perfect to use when you need to cool down, and when you need to freshen up in a hurry! It also features one of my favourite ingredients patchouli oil – which is cooling and astringent on the skin.

Just spray on to the face and let dry or use a cotton pad to start a full toning experience!

Www.lush.co.uk

Fresh and Dry Balls – Below The Belt

If you haven’t heard of Below the Belt, where have you been?

With a whole range of products with the specific purpose of making men more comfortable underneath their underwear – you know the team have got your best interests at heart!

With heat comes more sweat, which means more discomfort for the active modern man especially below the belt. There are certainly medical concerns related to too much heat down there, even affecting your sperm count! From a cooling spray to an anti-chafe lubricant, there’s something for your every need, but “fresh and dry balls” is a long lasting solution to Betty Swollox!

Simply apply after showering and begin to feel the improvement immediately. For those more athletic fella out there, then the Below the Belt Sports Lubricant is a gym bag essential whether it’s Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall!

Www.btbgrooming.co.uk

H20 on the go! Ion8

Keeping well hydrated is vital. It’s the essence of good skin care to start with! So by drinking more water you will be setting your self up for whatever this summer has in store for you.

With the spotlight being on single use plastic, and rightly so, it’s important that we all do our bit to limit the damage that we are doing to the planet – and that we use our individual platforms to make changes in the companies that we work for – our voices and actions can really make a difference.

On a personal level I have been using my #gifted Ion8 bottle to make sure I always have water on the go, and avoid the single use plastic bottles. The benefits for the environment are obvious, but a bottle like this is also offers us users some great benefits too – a safety catch avoiding any leaks on the daily commute and this bottle also retains coolness for much longer – meaning a better tasting water at all times. Add to that a spout that means ice cubes can easily be added, and drinking water is a whole different experience.

Perfect for the beach, by the pool or on a touristy open top bus – the possibilities are endless and you can refill at your leisure!

Www.ion8.co.uk

Moisture Wicking Boxer-Briefs – Kennies

There are many fantastic underwear brands out there, changing the shape, style, and feel of men’s underwear for the better. But with a son who likes to explore I can already see that we will be spending a lot of our family time this summer out in the open, being active and when it rains dancing in the kitchen!!!

With this in mind, I had to head straight to kenniesuk for their moisture-wicking boxerbriefs. What I love about these are that they are so comfortable (so much so you sort of forget you are wearing them!) They eliminate chafing which, let’s face it, no one wants to experience if they can avoid it! And dbecause of the longer cut I would be happy to go for a paddle in a stream or something in them without the whole scenario being too scandalous.

For me I expect a whole lot more from my underwear than I used to, and so I am happy to pay a little extra for my specific needs. With Kennies you feel like these pants have been tailored to you, and that is the best underwear experience that you can ask for.

Summer is going to be a whole lot more comfortable!!!

Www.kennies.co.uk

Skyda SPF 50 – Gruum

We all know that being out in the sun is not good for us, I mean it’s the number 1 cause of skin cancer. Add to that how it ages your skin, and the conclusion is surely that we should be wearing a decent sun protection?

You want a product that offers a high level of protection from UVA and UVB and also something that is kind to your skin.

Gruum has collaborated with Altruist sunscreen to produce a sunscreen formula that is non-greasy, kind to sensitive skin and hypoallergenic and I have to say that this is a lovely product. My favourite thing about it is that it doesn’t sit o. The surface of the skin, it absorbs nicely and doesn’t leave you all sticky! It’s also water – resistant so you are all set for the beach or the pool.

Vegan and Paraben free, there aren’t any nasties that could irritate your skin. I decided to opt for the factor 50 as I am looking for an everyday product for my face, that will see me through summer (and through the other seasons too!)

I have also used this on my son and the hypoallergenic formula was suitable for his sensitive skin too!

Just add it to your skin and rub in like a moisturiser – then you are on your way, knowing that you have sun protection on your side!

Www.gruum.com

So get your confidence together this summer – and show the world that we can look good in all shapes and sizes if you wear it with pride!

TIB

ThatIsBeyond… Wild Cosmetics – can you support this naturally derived deodorant brand?

Wild Cosmetics launches with new naturally derived deodorant range

What took my fancy about new company Wild Cosmetics, was that their products are answering a very real demand for natural deodorants. As is very on trend at the moment, you can set up a subscription to get them delivered to your door – or indeed you can buy them direct as a one off purchase.

You can choose a deodorant stick or a roll on, and there are four varieties to choose from:

Mint and Eucalyptus

Rose and Geranium

Lemon and Thyme

And for those of you who feel that those are just a tad too fancy, then there is also an Unfragranced option!

What’s more, all of those little nasties, that can cause irritation to your sensitive skin are all missing from the ingredient list. Aluminium, parabens and sulphates are all commonly found Antiperspirants, but not in these deodorants.

The range is also vegan friendly and never tested on animals – so you can sleep easy knowing that this product is ethical too!

But how does it work you say?

Wild use active naturals to combat the smell of sweat whilst still allowing your body to sweat, which they see as a natural and important process used by your body to remove toxins and regulate temperature. 

The Roll-On range comes in glass with refill bottles that will reduce plastic use by more than 80% vs normal deodorants.

Company owners Freddy and Charlie are embarking on this business venture with a wealth of experience and a keen eye for ethical products.

Freddy

“As a market dominated by a few large incumbents we believe the deodorant category is ripe for disruption for smaller more agile, transparent and personalised brands which is what we hope to deliver with the launch of Wild.”

Charlie

“As knowledge about the environmental effect of single use plastic and unsustainable business practices grows, consumers are beginning to demand a higher standard of product that has a positive impact ecologically. Wild will look to meet and exceed this demand. We feel we are in a position to create positive change and that’s exactly what we aim to do.”

This might just be the product for you.

It’s a business start up with a unique USP and one that focuses on natural ingredients and a good fusion of scents.

I haven’t tried it yet, but I will.

Every start-up needs support and with this product and brand authenticity, this is a campaign that that I can get behind.

So if you want to support these chaps and Wild Cosmetics, why not use the link below to support their kickstarter campaign and for your support you could also get your hands on some of the product.

CLICK HERE to support wild cosmetics

ThatIsBeyond… Why Wednesday is my favourite day!

There are many reasons why Wednesdays are the tops! One being that it’s the middle of the working week so every day after that, the end is officially in sight! Another is that I avoid the hordes of drunken idiots (no judgement – on occasion I am one too!) who make my late night commute that little bit more stressful.

But the key reason that Wednesdays are the best is that this mid-week haven is a day devoted every week to my son!

In our house Wednesday is “Boy’s Day” – this means that daddy doesn’t go to work, father and son get some one on one time together, and mum gets a well deserved break after work (some weeks).

The magic of boy’s day Is that Dad’s list of “needs to be done” tasks, blends brilliantly with my son’s leadership of the day as a whole!!!

Three loads of washing can transform into a morning of bouncing at a trampoline Park, our weekly shop can divert via the zoo and a quiet book on the sofa can transport us to the desert, the moon or even Buckingham Palace!

Whatever we do together, we discuss and he makes the final decision. I think it’s so important for young children to have a sense of making decisions in their own lives -equally they also need to know that they can’t always get their own way and that their behaviour will affect the outcome.

I am a child in an adults body. And to that end I really have very few issues with the various ideas that my three year old has, to spend a Wednesday together. We are also really lucky to have a selection of activities available to us, most of which are very affordable but more importantly FUN.

There is also something to be said for sharing something inherently adult, like getting your hair cut at the Barbers 💈 with your kid, it is something special for them to share with you. Often at my barbers @mancavecompany we will sit beside each other, having our haircut and having a little chat – these are the memories that I cherish.

Some days we will kick a ball in a park, him with determination and me with a carelessness that only decades of loathing football can achieve! Or we will build forts in the den and hide from the Shere Khan and Kaa or monkey around with King Louis. Time can slip away whilst we scooter to the local shop, make pizza dough from scratch or build outlandish monsters from Duplo (I cant wait until we make it to proper Lego!)

I am so proud of his imagination – he really sees the worlds that he creates, he can taste the foods he eats, he can hear the transport vroom past us and he can smell his imaginary Friend’s farts!!!

Some people question our decision to limit his time in front of a television to an absolute minimum – sometimes people can think that we are cruel, that he’s missing out. But I think he has gained so much from being the author of his worlds and for sharing them with us every day.

There is no judgement here – there is no parenting pathway that applies to all. We just found that this worked for us… and so we stuck to it – I think that is what parenting is really about – Do what works for you and your child and stuff everyone else’s opinions!!!

Wednesdays are my favourite day because I decided that this was the type of father that I wanted to be. Wednesdays taught me that if you want something enough, there is always a solution if you tackle it in the correct manner, and mostly Wednesdays taught me that every moment with my son is worth more than an hourly wage – for me it is priceless.

I write this post on a Tuesday so as not to interrupt my quality time – we will be visiting Little Street, a sort of miniature world where he can zoom around on a blue BMW or work in a supermarket or arrest me for over-decaffeinating in the cafe! He’ll choose where to eat, and the books we will read together. He will “help” to weed the garden and he’ll probably choose to eat a choc Ice (which he will have found on Pluto!). There may even be time for the monkey bars or slides in the local park… alternatively he may just want to explore!

So whilst he may not have tv as a predominant factor in his life – on Wednesdays (the best day of the week, officially) after he has gone to bed, I get an alcoholic beverage and switch on the tv! I want to develop his imagination, I’m not a monster!!!

And besides Killing Eve is BRILLIANT!

ThatIsBeyond… @boxmenswear What’s in the box?

Underwear is a very functional item of clothing. You could be forgiven for putting little or no thought into your choice or undergarments – but actually there is a lot more that they offer. One of the appeals of my underwear, is how I feel when I am wearing them – and so that is why I tend to be quite picky about my choices!

I can’t escape the fact that I will most likely never look like an underwear model – and that’s ok, but if I feel amazing in my underwear does it really matter? My minimally clad body is unlikely to earn many Instagram likes or sexy comments, but actually that’s not why I put my image out there anyway. For me it is actually about projecting how I feel in my underwear and to also show the world that “this is who I am” I am not disgusting because I have a some fat on my body, nor am I unusual, in fact men like me have been crying out for our representation, because whilst muscly guys and six packs are certainly how the media depicts Male perfection, for others, the person behind the muscles (or the beer belly for that matter) is much more important.

Personality sells and inner confidence sells too. It’s what’s inside the box that counts… so to speak!

Inside the box that arrived in the post was my order of @boxmenswear and I was really pleased, because I have tried their pants before, and had been really impressed with both the fit and the style – but more importantly I felt good wearing them.

I have chosen briefs in Peach, Pink and Red, and also the box feature fit boxerbriefs in logo’d white. Generally a briefs guy, I liked the look of the Feature fit and wondered how they would look, when they were on my frame?!

When I photograph’d them I wasn’t happy with the pictures, I got too focussed on my physical attributes and not how I felt in my new underwear. That’s the problem sometimes with instagram, you can only see what’s on the surface.

So I post them here knowing that I don’t love how I look, I know that a lot of people will wonder why I post them when I’m not getting thousands of likes and I’m certainly not getting paid for it. But I like how they look and feel. And we should see more body shapes out there – ones that reflect society as a whole.

With BOX you are getting underwear that will make you look AND feel great no matter what your size. They make the most of your manly assets and offer comfort and support. So why not try them out for yourself and maybe, you too, will like what’s inside the box…

Visit http://www.boxmenswear.co.uk

There’s currently an maxing sale on at the moment so you can get all of your favourites, from boxer-briefs to jockstraps from £5.49 per pair.

ThatIsBeyond… the small life changes that make a big, big difference.

As a perpetual worrier about what people think of me, I have a pretty full-on work ethic. I have been super driven about attaining my achievements and always wanting people to believe in me and my work. The pressure that self-builds and rests on my shoulders can be pretty debilitating and stressful.

Along with this, I have a few decades of lacking body confidence to also contend with. Ingrained and visible to most, it is hard to hide, and when I do manage to hide it, it can sometimes feel like an exercise in mental self-harm. My polished smile and jovial attitude can sometimes just mask the pain that I have pushed to the back of my mind.

For me it has always mattered if I was “liked”. I think that years of bullying set me up for a lack of confidence in my own self. As an adult I was drawn into a friendship to which I was dependent on their social skills to have friends, and they were dependent on something else entirely… their dependency I would often be told was because of the pressure of having to “put up with” me.

I’ll be honest (that’s what I’m here for afterall) and tell you that sometimes I still believe it, to this day. And this sort of thinking, does not pave the way to a healthy relationship with yourself, whether it’s in the workplace, the home or out in the wider world.

The wear and tear, of this sort of thinking can really begin to tire you out. You can begin to fray at the edges and eventually fall apart at the seams – so I decided to try (you can but try) to change my outlook, lose some of the stress and enjoy spending some time with me! (Something I have detested for all of my adult life).

Firstly, I changed my attitude to work. I banned myself from checking my emails more than twice a day! In order to achieve this I put a structure in place that simply involved letting my boss know that if he needed me for anything that couldn’t wait til I got back to work (which never really happens) he could call my personal mobile. This was more for me than him – but this did make the transition a little easier to deal with.

Next I stopped focussing on the letter X. When buying clothes I would choose the item that I liked and pick it up in three sizes. I would then try on all three in no particular order and the one that fitted best, I would buy, without looking at the size again. Online purchases were more difficult – but I would always search by the measurement and not the dreaded sizing (which to be honest means absolutely nothing – but that is a whole other conversation!).

Thirdly, I wanted to try and get a better representation of Male bodies into the ether. I began to seek out brands who valued my body shape and my personality above a six pack. I decided to put my image out there to sit between the Greek Adonis, the bodybuilders and the models, so that other men might bravely put themselves out there too. Maybe this would be one small step to changing the shape of masculinity, blur the edges of what it is to be a Modern

Man.

Lastly, I could not post only the pics where I am all sucked in and and shot from a flattering angle in good light and with a filter. I had to also post images where I don’t like how I look. Where my chubby belly hangs out, where I am grimmacing, and where I don the panda eyes of a parent who will never catch up on their missed sleep!

I think you’ll agree that these were all pretty small changes (mainly just adjustments in the ways that I think) but the results have the potential to really change my relationship with myself – and that is what has been at the heart of my body issues all along.

This is not a formula to achieve self-confidence all of the time, far from it. It’s always going to be a daily challenge, but I have begun to notice a difference. Leaving work stress at work and instead using my time to bounce on a trampoline with my son, or to read a book, or to write my blog, or to sing at the top of my lungs. I was then much better prepared to to deal with my workload and approach the work place with a genuinely more chipper attitude.

When I tried to stop focussing on the size of my clothes I began to enjoy wearing them much more. I actually considered whether or not I liked an item properly, and I bought what I liked and not what I thought I “should” wear. I knew that everything that I bought fit me and I felt confident wearing it – not because of the size label but because I like how it fits my body.

In my Instagram search of a more varied representation of Male beauty, I not only discovered brands who value the same things as me, but I e-met other men who didn’t fit the mould (for a variety of reasons) and whom were battling their own demons. People who have a lot to offer just not the physical attributes that society seems to prize above all else. And so I put my image out there (many times) and I actually began to care less. It wasn’t about the likes that didn’t come or the brands who were not willing to work with me because I’m too fat (they didn’t say this of course – but it was exactly what they were thinking!) It was about me showing myself who I am, and that the world probably didn’t care!

The last section was the hardest. Putting images out there -that you are super critical of yourself – can sometimes feel like you are kicking yourself in the nuts! The trick to it, was finding at least one factor that you did like about it, even if you hate everything else! That thing can be the lighting, your smile, you bulge in your @kenniesuk boxer-briefs or really anything at all – instead of perfection you are simply searching for one redeeming quality! The pressure is off!

The biggest difference is that I feel that my mood is more stable, I have maintained my productivity at work, I enjoyed clothes shopping again, i engage with family time differently and I am less scared of what people think of me.

I worry that I will never quite feel that my friends are fully mine – there is always a fear that one day they will wake up and realise that they can’t remember why they like me, or that I will do something to damage our friendship beyond repair. I will probably forget to stop judging myself and I will definitely keep hiding behind Instagram filters! But if i can believe in myself and keep challenging the image of What it is to be a man, then I think I am in a much better place – a place where I come first (at least some of the time).

Not posed – looks like natural old me!

So I set you a challenge… post a pic of yourself that you are not 100% happy with, tag @thatisbeyond and caption it with whatever quality it is that you love about it. Or simply comment below with the pic!

Perhaps together we can change the shape of beauty on social media and prove that a little change can sometimes make a big big difference.

TIB

ThatIsbeyond… I never win anything! (Ham Yard Hotel prize breaks my losing streak)

I am a serial loser.

Raffles, the Grand National, The lottery – I lose them all.

BUT my losing streak was brought to a 33 year halt when mirculously I finally won something. The “something” in question was a 1950’s fancy dress party and the prize was so good that I kept it for over a year to make sure that I used it at the right time… the night after the London Marathon 2019!

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce you to the Ham Yard Hotel.

My prize was a three course meal in the Ham yard hotel restaurant, a night in their fabulous hotel, and breakfast the next morning. As you can imagine, after completing the 26.2 miles around our capital city, I was ready for some rest an relaxation, and I was not disappointed – not one iota.

My day job focuses firmly on creating a level of service that is of the highest calibre, and to that end I have quite discerning standards when it comes to the service industries, I expect the very best, especially if there is a sizeable price tag attached to it. So, needless, to say, I was extremely excited to spend some quality family time in this high-end setting and to really put the facilities to the test.

Upon entry to the hotel, we were greeted with a smile, doors opened for us and a personal greeting was made to our 3 year old. (this makes a huge difference to us, as parents). Check in was a breeze, and we were given the opportunity to ask questions – but more than that – we had a fantastic converstion about the London Marathon and I was congratulated on completing it!

In such a high end setting, I can sometimes feel like an imposter in someone elses world. This isn’t the sort of hotel experience that we can usually afford, and couple that with the fact that I have arrived wearing my sweaty marathon gear (and a slight hobble) and I could have easily started to feel self-conscious, but I didn’t. The fantastic team had made the whole family feel at ease and had also offered us a tour and morning paper! Thank you very much.

Our room was on the second floor, and due to the hobble and our son in a buggy, we took the lift to get there. Every inch of this fantastic venue is vibrant modern and comfortable. The lift itself was lined in yellow fabric with some blue highlights and featured some incredible pieces of Art! It really was quite the experience for such a short journey!

Arrival to our room was bliss. A sumptuous bed, stunning bathroom and space a plenty! We also had a view of the old Windmill Theatre, and a cheeky little sign which added a fantastic retro feel from the floor to ceiling windows. This is LUXURY. And not “stuffy luxury”, but a modern and welcoming sort of luxury that isnt all gilded picture frames and ancient paintings – the modern surroundings speak to fun and drama, and really make a feature of the staff and their elevated level of Customer Service. Nothing said this more that the fact the we arrived to our room less than 2 minutes after checking in, and we arrived to two hand written notes, one addressed to my wife and I, wishing us a fantastic stay with a selection of chocolates, and a second addresses to me personally congratulating me for completing the marathon and a gift of massage oil sat just beside it! I was genuinely quite taken aback.

My son and I both took advantage of the excellent tub and shower facilities – for him it was a mini swimming pool, and for me it was a welcome and relaxing relief for my aching muscles and a chance to watch some TV in the tub! The RikRak Products were fantastic and I really enjoyed the Gardenia Sandalwood shampoo which worked up an excellent lather and was 100% appropriate for men and Women (so good choice). Then there was the robe… the robe was soft and fluffy and just so comfortable, if I could have done, I would have worn it to dinner!

We dressed for dinner (for the sake of others thankfully not in the robes!) and made our way down to the restaurant. First and foremost the food was excellent (so good that I have limited pictures, as I couldnt wait to eat it!) I had the soup au pistou to start, which was a very tasty vegetarian soup not dissimilar to a minestrone only vegetarian and with beans. My wife had the Dorset crab mayonnaise, cucumber and dill, rye crackers which was so good that my fussy 3 year old was also a fan (which really is high praise). For mains, I had the Ribeye Steak and Frites whilst my wife devoured the Roast duck breast, duck hash, celeriac and rosemary. Yummm.

Throughout the meal our son was treated like a king, which made a huge difference to our enjoyment of the evening because we were so much more at ease. The wait staff were friendly and efficient and interacted with him throughout. they gave him a colouring book and crayons, the quality of which was terrific. (Unfortunately, we realised that we had left the colouring book under our table, which was gutting, as we would have loved to have kept it as a momento.)

For dessert we shared the Chocolate liégeois, which was a “Super-Sundae” filled with chocolate in many forms and lashings of cream! And the Vanilla panna cotta, poached rhubarb, lychee, raspberry and rose sorbet … need I say more?

After a little Veuve Cliquot Yellow label and a bloody good Clemens Busch 2017, Riesling it was time for bed. I am pretty much an insomniac. Sleep does not come easily. Add to that the fact that my whole body has been through a physical hell and you don’t get the most favourable sleeping conditions. But I have to say that taking all of that into account that I slept pretty well. The bed was comfortable and roomy, the blackout curtains and blinds created a great space to chill out and catch those zzz’s.

The next morning we had a hearty breakfast, read the paper and caught up on some TV, before heading back to reality. From the minute we arrived, we were looked after with care and attention and this didnt stop even from our last second leaving the next morning.

The Ham Yard Hotel is part of the Firmdale Group, and is a fantastic Central London location to really feel the luxury that the capital has to offer. If I had the money I would stay here all the time, but thanks to my losing streak finally being broken (by me not making a very pretty woman at all!) I have at least had the opportunity to experience this amazing hotel, even if this is the only occasion.