ThatIsBeyond… ion8 mad at it!

One of the frustrations with summer commuting is the need to carry a water bottle, which invariably leaks all over your gym kit, important work documents, laptop (insert wet item here!)

So when I discovered the Ion8 from http://www.leakproof.com I decided to put the technology to the test!

My commute from Kent involves a 30

Minute walk to drop my son off at his nursery, a one hour train journey and then a 15 minute tube, so I think that this is probably a pretty decent challenge and will really put the Ion8’s technology to the test!

There are a couple of quite clever design features, which mean that you can make them most of this flask all year round. The wide mouth of the bottle means that ice cubes fit nicely into the bottle to keep your beverage colder for longer. The thermoshield vaccuumed design ensures that your drink retains its freshness and full flavour throughout the day and keeps your drink hot/cold for longer.

And for when you’ve got a morning tea in there, the rubber grip will ensure that you don’t burn your hand…

This is a stainless steel flask, sleek and available in a few different colours. But more than that these flasks are built to last, they are not flimsy and cheap, you are getting a quality product that will last many a long commute with you.

Why it’s good?

The average family easily disposes of over 2,000 single-use plastic bottles a year – so a quality and long- lasting flask such as this one, can make a real difference to the environment. We all need to take stock of our plastic footprint and explore alternatives, so this is a great place to start.

The one touch thermal insulated bottles are made from food safe, pro grade stainless steel which means that it’s hard wearing and It’s easy to clean (hand wash only).

The seal and lock system comes with a claim that it is 100% leakproof, and having used this for almost two months, it has absolutely supported this claim (especially as I have the luck of a git and have drenched my stuff on numerous previous occasions!)

The easy drink system allows you to open with a single finger, no annoying screw tops or tough nozzles to battle with. Whilst driving it is sometimes necessary to have a little sip of water and this bottle makes it super easy to do safely (even though I would recommend always having two hands on the wheel at all times.) I

All in all, I love this product. It has already become a staple item in my work bag and means that I am not wasting money or harming the environment with daily plastic water bottles.

The Ion8 100% leak proof BPA Free vacuum insulated stainless steel travel mug & flask comes in two sizes, either 360ml or 480ml in colours Red, Rose, Navy or Black. Available from £19.99-24.99 at www.Leakproof.co.uk

TIB

Please note that products were gifted for the purpose of review, but all opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced by outside sources.

ThatIsBeyond…Supporting your tackle with HOM

With all of the trials and tribulations of Marathon training I had to take some time to explore the right underwear to protect my tackle on the big day!

Style, fabric, anti-chafe and airiness are all factors that needed to be considered, when committing to the pants that I will be wearing for the 26.2 miles… and a little bit of sports technology didn’t go amiss either!

I had lowered the options down to briefs, a jock or compression shorts, and was really looking for an option that would resist chafing for the longest, when I saw these delightful trunks and thought I’d give them a go in training…


This underwear line is dedicated to the sportsmen (professional or ameteur) who are embarking on their next sporting challenge. (Or for those who like to wear a super well-fitting bright and bold pair of underwear on a daily basis!)

The first thing that attracted me to them was the bright colour and then I dug a bit deeper and discovered that they were made in a stretch, micro-aerated fabric which (to you and I) means that they a super comfortable and airy down there (which trust me is a great thing)!

The Cross collection from European underwear experts HOM is inspired by professional basketball and features a traditional sports style with fluorescent details on the seams and inside the waistband.

They are essentially a mesh, but nothing too translucent and your modesty is absolutely kept in tact! But this mesh allows decent airflow, a good amount of stretch and I have found that they stay pretty firmly in place without riding uncomfortably up whilst you are trying for a PB.

The ones that I have are a Neon Orange, but they are also available in navy, green, blue and black.

These trunks in polyamide elastane were designed for athletes and will accompany you in your best performances. And make sure that you stay comfortable throughout. The support is really good, and the fabric means you get it without the unnecessary heat that a compression short causes.

So far I have “tackled” two half marathons in these nifty trunks, and they have treated me right! I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending this active underwear range for anyone needing to tackle keeping their tackle safe and sound!

I think they are GREAT! So if you want to get your hands on a pair, simply visit www.hom.com

TIB

ThatIsBeyond… BeautyPie Skincare so good, that you can share it with your wife!

My wife has been raving about her new skincare regime. So much so, that I thought I had better try it for myself. With the shift work that I do, it had to be easy to stick to, and I NEED to see results quickly or I often get bored!

Three quarters of the products that I have introduced are from BEAUTY PIE a membership scheme which gives you access to quality high-end formulations for a fraction of what the retail price would be.

You simply sign up for a monthly sum (£5, £10 or £20) and this gives you access to a set amount of the retail value. (Think Costco, where you pay your annual membership to get your hands on cheaply priced goods)

Each item is marked with a “retail value” which is what your allowance is in reference to, and the heavily discounted price that you as a member needs to pay, to get your hands on it!

What you are getting is quality ingredients and formulations for a massive discount, which makes these high end products totally affordable. And any allowance that you don’t use will carry over to the next month!

Now, let me tell you about the skincare…

I’ve got a tough face to please. Combination skin which has peaks of extreme dryness and oiliness! Prone to blemishes and tired, tired eyes with large dark circles!! So we have introduced a 4 step programme for dads looking for decidedly better skin!

Stage one is the Japanfusion pure transforming Cleanser. First off, it comes in a pink tube (shock/horror/gasp!?!) but when you get over the packaging this is a really nifty product that really helps clean out the pores and rid your skin of the muck and grime that causes those irritating impurities. It squeezes from the bottle as a solid cream but as you apply it, it breaks down into a more oily consistency and works deep into the top layers. Once full coverage of face and neck is achieved then you add warm water to the mix and it takes on a milk like consistency and pulls all of the impurities with it. The scent is not overly feminine and just smells clean and fresh – but the formulation is what makes this product something pretty special and easy to use.

A Beatypie product:

Value: £25

Paid: £5.84

Stage Two is The Ordinary Marine Hyaluronics Serum

The Ordinary is a company that has only just been brought into my consciousness, again to it’s no frills approach to skincare and the value for money that their products offer.

I was dubious as to why I needed a serum – it seemed like an unnecessary step ahead of a moisturiser, but this serum serves an important process and takes literally seconds to apply!

A serum penetrates the skin deeper than a moisturiser and prepares it to get the most out of the skincare stages that follow.

This little glass bottle is less than £6 and comes with a pippette to apply. Half a measure covers my massive face with a good coating of this serum – just apply directly onto the face and work into the skin with your finger… it couldn’t be simpler.

£5.90 for 30ml

Stage Three is the QI Energy ginseng root and ginger brightening eye fix.

Of all of these products, this is my favourite. (Evidently the subscribers to BeautyPie are in agreement as this product is currently Out Of Stock!) This cream and a good night’s sleep literally changed overnight how prominent my dark circles were. They are lightened and brightened and I honestly feel like a new man. The circles have become an unwanted feature on my face and to get some sleep and also look better was a #dadstylemiracle

The formulation has a mild tingle to it which you can feel working into the under eye area. You only need a very small amount (so don’t be surprised by the tiny tub) and you gently apply and part into the affected softer skin around the eyes. Bish Bash Bosh. Job done.

BeautyPie item number two:

Value: £40

Paid: £8.27

Stage Four (the last hurrah) is the Jeju overnight moisture superinfusion. An intensely nourishing moisturiser that gets to work bringing life back into the skin, plumping it up and creating a natural glow.

To apply, simply use your fingers to work into the face and neck. And leave to sink in overnight.

The final BeautyPie product:

Value: £70

Paid: £9.01

This routine takes less than 5 minutes to complete and whilst my skin is by no means perfect, it is much improved. And at the end of the day, if I feel better about myself, then this dad thinks this may be a huge success.

So what have I learned?

That there’s no shame in sharing your wife’s skincare! In fact, I may just join BeautyPie myself, so she can share MY Skincare 😂

ThatIsBeyond… Self-conscious

A self-conscious man is not what I wish to be, but a self-conscious man I undoubtably am!

In the past week a cataclysm of telling events occurred, and this was surely fate at work… but it wasn’t until today that I got some sort of clarity on what this all meant. So I had to put pen to paper and try my best to articulate what it is like for a dad in his thirties to cope with a preoccupied sense of self-consciousness!

I am constantly concerned with what people think of me. Dealing with how I dress, what haircut I get, what my first impression is, whether or not people like me, getting changed in the locker room, what class of person I am… the list is endless. It’s sometimes hard to navigate my own feelings and actually be myself. I have always subconsciously surrounded myself with amazing people, who have that Je Ne Sai Quoi about them. They ooze cool and confidence and I think that I was desperate for some of that in my own life.

I am lucky to share my life with a truly inspiring family and a group of friends that bring joy to my life, but there is no escaping that sometimes I feel like I don’t belong amongst them. I feel like a fraud – not good enough to have them in my life.

What some people misinterpret is that self-consciousness is just about how you look, but in reality you can be self-conscious about your very being.

I caught myself out, the other day. We were preparing for a trip to the hospital with my two and a half year old, and I noticed some porridge had landed on his sleeve. Instantly a fence sprang up and I started to get agitated about “what people would think”. The stress and worry associated with the hospital visit had manifested itself in how we would be perceived as parents. In my head I felt that people would judge us for having a son in the hospital and that we probably deserved it because he had porridge on his sleeve. I knew what my brain was doing, my stress was now contained in one word “Judgement”. It didn’t matter how ludicrous this was, I needed to make it right. So I changed my son’s top.

What I didn’t need was more stress. I needed to focus on my boy and make sure that he was safe. I’m not afraid to say that I was ashamed of myself. But with shame comes more of the mental self-harm.

Next I came face to face with someone who told me, to my face, that I wasn’t good enough. They had taken me by surprise and I met them

when I wasn’t expecting to, in a place that I wasn’t anticipating that I would, either. Life can be a cruel mistress and because of the work situation that I was in I had to be polite, when I wanted to tell them that they had busted me down when I had only just managed to get my head above water. When duty called I said hello, and that they would probably remember me. They knowingly said that they were sorry but they didn’t remember who I was…

After a re-introduction I made polite conversation holding my stomach in and my head high, but when they asked me what I did, that familiar feeling came over me and I was immediately ashamed of myself for something that I am ordinarily so proud of myself for. To this person, I was the shit on the bottom

of their shoe (and I knew it) but I still cared what they thought of me. And the self-guilt began again.

“Looking Silly” is something that I have never been comfortable with. I have always tried to “fit in”. But there are times that I can’t hide how I feel and it doesn’t become apparent very often… but I LOVE to DANCE!

Often inebriated (but not always) I can let go on the dance floor and truly have a marvellous time. I can let go, and the discerning stares of work colleagues and acquaintances don’t matter any more. I can flick my flip-flops off and pirouette, split leap through the sky and roll around on the disco- lit floor.

I had forgotten what this abandonment of consciousness felt like. It has been years, maybe a decade since I had let loose like this. To have a few hours without a thought of what someone thought of me – or how I looked – or what any of this meant, was liberating. The only way I could describe that night was “the most fun”.

I know that this is a small thing. But for me this was the the feeling that reminded me of my best self – the one that not only looked like me, but was me. The “My lips but better” lipstick, the guy that wasn’t consumed by thoughts of himself but instead was in the moment. This brought Joy into my life when these other moments had brought me… UNjoy.

This was just a week in my life. But it was also a much-needed lesson that even if I can’t control what people think of me, as long as I know who I am and that I am not hurting others, I can dance where I like to the beat of my own drum, and who cares what people think?!

Of course this isn’t every day. I wish it was. But more than anything I don’t want my son to be afflicted with the self-loathing that I can sometimes feel. I want him to throw off his shoes and socks and dance like there’s nobody watching ( and even if someone is, to keep doing what he’s doing.)

If parenthood has taught me nothing else, if this little creature can love me for my crooked teeth, big belly and black bagged eyes, then nothing else really matters.

TIB

ThatIsBeyond…The @boxmenswear internet trolls

This post is a kneejerk reaction. No doubt it will generate its own comment feed of hate, but I have OFFICIALLY had enough.

Internet trolling is now so prevalent that I think it’s a cultural issue that needs to be nipped in the bud. Often the younger generations get the blame, but not being comfortable in your own skin affects all generations and judgements are made by one and all. In short, people with their own issues will always try to pull others down whether they are 16 or 60.

I should preface what I am about to write by saying that choosing to put anything online, means you are opening the door to those ugly trolls (and if you are going to put yourself out there, then know that this is almost certainly going to happen). But come on, self-expression shouldn’t be hindered by others – it’s simple, unless you have something nice to say,

DON’T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL.

This morning I was checking one of my Instagram feeds and I saw a post from a brand that I have reviewed in the past, called BOX MENSWEAR. (For the record, really good quality underwear that is long lasting and very supportive).

What struck me about the picture was that the model who had submitted the picture was a “normal” good-looking chap (I hate using the word normal. He is simply a guy without a rippling six pack who had purchased some excellent new undergarments and felt amazing in them) and has been trolled for not having the Greek Adonis physique. But worse than this – it is by multiple people who feel that his image should not have graced their feeds.

Click here for link to image

What A World We Live In.

Luckily we have brands like BOX Menswear who stand up to this bullying, but could more be done?

Almost certainly it could be. I for one would like to see some variety of body shape in their campaigns. I would also like to see their online competitions to find models, to feature a wider spectrum of people and a better representation of the diverse society that we in fact live in.

Box Menswear at least did something about these unpleasant comments.

Unfortunately it won’t be enough to stop future incidents – maybe the only way to stop these waste of space comments is for everyone to not engage with them.

In support of positive body image of any shape size or colour, I have added my own @boxmenswear pic to the fray and if I get trolled, then so be it.

I’m starting the hashtag:

#thatisbeyondmyownbody

Let’s show these trolls what a real people look like! (And please note that you can support this and still have the body of a god… we are all different after all).

I always love your comments, likes and shares. But with a post like this, the more we spread the word, the more change we can affect… so please press that share button to cascade this message far and wide.

TIB

ThatIsBeyond… What’s new on the Men-ü?

Well it’s a new year, and that means a whole host of new products to get trying! And top of the this January is this Citrus and mint shower gel from the Men’s skincare experts at Men-U.

This Ultra-concentrated liquid is really quite clever, it’s a viscous formulation that actually feels sticky to the touch and therefore seems to cling much more effectively to the skin – which in turn means less wastage through your fingers and down the plug hole 🕳 !

There are several moisturising elements within the formulation, which make sure that the skin isn’t left feeling dried out and has really helped with conditioning which can be tough in the winter months with out sometimes abrasive weather conditions.

With less packaging, MEN-U are putting the environment in mind. Alongside the experience of using this product, anyone familiar with this brand will know that they are known for miniature tubes with huge results – their tiny clay mask for example is a triumph. This is not “mini “ in the sense that their previous products are but this is also not a full size like other brands. A perfect bottle to compliment your gym bag grooming regimen.

For me the best asset of this product is the fragrance. It’s Long-lasting and smells like a proper Mojito! I was actually concerned that this might end up smelling a little feminine, but the mint brings a depth of fragrance that lingers throughout the day, whilst the citrus fades into softer note – which I think makes this the perfect masculine scent.

In summary, this is a brand that is doing all of the right things – tailoring to the modern man and also tackling wastage, which is something that we should all be aware of. It smells good, it’s effective, and it’s improving the shower experience. At £8.95 it’s not the cheapest product on the market, but remember that the 100ml bottle will last for 4-6 weeks (because of its ultra-concentrated formula) and their 500ml version (£26.85) is 6 months worth of your daily showers!

Click Here for the Men-U website

TIB

ThatIsBeyond… Keep CALM and carry on to Murdock London

The manly thing is to NOT talk about your feelings, Right?

WRONG.

It’s tough to circumnavigate life, feeling alone and not being able to express how you feel. It’s also incredible that you can spend your life surrounded by people who love and care for you, but you can’t reveal your feelings to them because you don’t want to “burden” them with your “problems”.

For a lot of men, how they are perceived is fundamental to how they live their lives – and over the years showing the world how you feel has definitely been viewed as a sign of weakness.

We lose good men every day.

In 2017 alone we lost 4382 good men to suicide in the U.K. alone.

And I, for one, wonder whether any of those lives could have been saved with a safe space to talk. A place that fits into your everyday life, a place that isn’t daunting to cross the threshold of, and a place with other men who are open, without an ounce of masculinity missing.

Murdock London @murdocklondon are leading the way in providing this service with their barbers receiving Mental Health first aid training. This is one step closer for the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) @calmzone and their battle to destroy male suicide.

On this blog I have poured my heart out – about the birth of my son and my own body perception, but I have never shared this:

My depression was thankfully short-lived. Onset by an accident that I was hundreds of miles from, I just couldn’t shake a feeling of helplessness. Not being able to do anything was the hardest part. My brother had almost died when I was younger and I froze and couldn’t do anything to help him – and this time he almost lost his life and I couldn’t get to him – I was too far away. The guilt of not being able to support my family and wishing it had been me instead was a constant struggle.

My face was growing paler by the day as I couldn’t leave my bed, harming myself so that I would feel something, anything other than the sensation of sinking into a chasm.

When I eventually made it out of bed I would watch the working day slip by, in third person.

I had many friends, colleagues and family who I could turn to, but I didn’t. What would they think? Why would they care?

Eventually, I asked for help. Someone I didn’t know that well. But someone.

And I got the help I needed. Because a lot of the time it’s a lot easier to talk to a complete stranger, than it is the people who are closest to you

I suffer from low moods, but I would say that I haven’t been depressed, since. I am a much more open person than I was back then.

So when I learned about this new initiative from Murdock of London, I had to get involved. I can’t stand to lose another person in my life because they don’t feel able to be open.

The CALM initiative, now means that when you next sit in a Murdock barber’s chair, there is someone Coiffing your hair, who you know that you can talk to. Someone who won’t judge you. And someone who won’t pass any judgement. We need to stick together – and this is a great start.

I learned some life lessons at the barber shop. Good Banter, safe sex and dealing with facial hair to name but a few! But in a world where time is at a premium, this has sort of been lost in translation. So let’s all take some pride in our selves and put ourselves out there… why not chat it out, whilst your barber gets you looking good!

It’s time to get sharing (your feelings and this post) and please share these hashtags too. #calmzone #murdocklondon #morethanabarber Perhaps your ‘share’ could help save a man from himself – let’s show the world that sharing is looking after yourself – and everyone knows that a decent haircut or a shave will make you feel a whole lot better about yourself too!

Murdock says:

“Looking after men is fundamental and part of our DNA”

And perhaps we all need to think a bit more like this ourselves.

I firmly support this initiative. So why not restyle your hair and your mental health???

Keep Calm and carry on to Murdock’s of London

TIB

ThatIsBeyond… The Haircut – A Rite of Passage

Just this weekend I took my two and a half year old son to get his haircut. This is only the second time he has had it cut, and after the first time we approached our second visit with a little trepidation.

The first cut was a spur of the moment, spontaneous dive into a barbers with no queue and we had little clue what to expect!

We knew that the loud hairdryers and the buzzing clippers were “not going to be his favourite”… getting him to sit still for longer than a few seconds was going to be “a challenge” and the new environment a bit of a “sensory overload”, but goddamn it… he needed that cut!

This time, we knew that we had experience on our side! He knew it wasn’t going to hurt, and this time I was on home ground – because I was taking my son to MY barbers. I knew what had attracted me to this local little hole in the wall would also be the reason my boy would love it too.

A) there are Lego aircrafts hanging from the ceiling.

B) there is a stormtrooper in the window.

C) the staff are tremendously friendly and down to earth

D) this is the MANCAVE!

What was intended to be just his haircut, became an experience for us both to share. Distinctly, this was a father/son moment and one that we both enjoyed. My wife was there to talk to him and keep him calm, and sat next to him I could interact and marvel at him from the mirror. He felt like a big boy because he got his own chair (just like Daddy) and the booster seat meant that he was tall enough to see in the mirror and that he could see me at eye level.

I felt my shoulders drop and I relaxed into that chair even just for a few minutes. Toby made sure that everyone in the vicinity knew that he “don’t like the hairdryer” which raised a few gentlemanly chuckles (mine included). He loved the experience and got a sweetie for being so good.

There were also balloon animals, swords and flowers… for the kids both big and small!

Yes, this was just about a haircut, but for us it was also about so much more. These are family moments we are building here, and that is what life is all about after all! (and what’s better than the embarrassment that we will cause when he’s older and we tell his partner that he “don’t like the hairdryer!!!”

That my friend is another Rite of Passage as well!

MANCAVE offers a virtual queue system during busy times, so that you can wait in comfort (in the pub with a cool beer) and they’ll text you when it’s your turn!

Support your local small businesses, and if you at in Maidstone, make sure you check MANCAVE out.

2-4 Pudding Lane

Maidstone

ME14 1LN

Mancave website

Twitter: @mancavebarberuk

Facebook:

MANCAVE Maidstone

ThatIsBeyond…My body confidence musings.

New Post! Only this time i’ve experimented with with the media of film!

This is a little look at “body confidence” for a man in his thirties and how my wavering body confidence has shaped my adult life. It’s not all doom and gloom! Just an honest and open exploration of life under the veil of lacking body confidence.

As always please follow, share and comment with your body confidence experiences.

TIB

 

Thatisbeyond… the shortlist of swim shorts (to be seen in).

As we approach the end of the season, it’s finally time to look back on the swim shorts that have punctuated this glorious summer!

I’m not afraid to admit that my swimwear game has been very strong in 2018. I have experimented with pattern colour and of course style – and along the way I have discovered some amazing pairs which will become part of a more permanent collection!

So what brands have really done it for me this summer? Well… I think you might be surprised about some of them, because they are not necessarily brands that are synonymous with swimwear! So here a little SHORTlist of SwimSHORTS (geddit?!)

HOM

HOM are one of my absolute favourite underwear brands, the cut and the quality of the material, knocks their ranges out of the park season after season. I was therefore so excited to see that they had released some pairs of trunks ready for the heatwave.

There was no way that I could not try this bright blue pair with neon florals. A “big guy” balances a very fine line with florals, but I found that the ratio of pattern to base colour was perfection, and ensured that this stylish beachwear didn’t look clown’ey on my ample figure!

How can you not feel summery in these? They are really quick to dry and the mid length cut, means that there is a bit of room to run around in or play beach volleyball in (if that’s your sort of thing!) They are priced at £45.

And I should say that these are really excellent quality and so stylish ,that they will last season after season.

H & M

What I really love about this pair. is the cut. They are very 2018 (no doubt the sort of shorts you’ve seen in reality tv shows like Towie or Love Island) the short, sporty line is pretty flattering for most body types and the pipework around the edges, keeps the style luxe and well finished. They are also the cheapest of the round- up at just £12, but I suspect, that you wouldn’t suspect the tiny price tag! The material is not my favourite texture (it’s sort of parachute-ey) but the camouflage pattern more than makes up for it, leaving these stylish swimmers looking great on the beach or ont’ telly!

Jockey

This sporty pair are tip top quality and on trend for this season (as well as being classic cut to see you through the summers of years to come). I love the bright orange colour and the black sporty stripes on the side. Invisible zips on the pockets make these super practical for a trip to the beach and they ease perfectly from the sand to the bar!

These are super comfortable to wear and look great on. A mid-length is going to suit most guys and the cut is flattering to a fuller leg (like mine).

I LOVE these swim shorts, so there is now way that you will prize them away from me!! Jockey have used all of the underwear technology to create a really strong product that looks good and feels great.

Oddballs

Not technically a swim short… more a swim brief (or speedo if you will!) but I had to mention these as they are a fun,bright and jazzy design (called Digital Rain – Magenta).

This cut of brief is not a natural choice for a bigger guy, but sometimes you want to catch some proper rays in the garden (where no one is looking) and these do the job excellently. Yes, these are not going to be everyone’s cup of tea… but I like ‘em #judgemeifyouwant

On top of that, oddballs invests money into its charitable cause The Oddball foundation, which aims to raise awareness about testicular cancer around the world. Their underwear, “obble hats” & swimwear all helps this mission so every purchase makes a difference.

So as you can see this summer has been filled with amazing swimwear that offers style longevity.

What have you been wearing this summer?

What brands should also have made this list?

TIB