ThatIsBeyond… A Taste for Change.

As I get older, it becomes abudently clear that my tastes are constantly changing and developing. Just a few years ago, I could not tolerate drinking white wine… whatsoever. But recently I found myself buying a lovely little Riesling, and found myself thinking “when did that happen?”

As time goes on your preferences may be informed by fashions or current trends but your choices are based on what you as an individual like, rather than what the rest of the pack do! I guess you get to know who you are, and your tastes will reflect that, in essence.

As a self-proclaimed bigger guy, I have spent a lot of my life wanting to be able to access fashion, but have been sized out, season after season. There are definitely many more options for the “bigger guy” on the local high street, but it can be a minefield trying to develop your personal style with the limited high street ranges that venture up the sizing scale.

Since dropping down in size, there have definitely been more options available to me, and I am finding that I can express my personal style, confidently. The problem is, that for many others guys with a bigger build, the options are extremely limited. Less choice means that the natural process of development just cannot happen because the options are not available.

I have always been a beer guy, In fact I love beer. But as I have got older I have wanted a bit more variety. Who knew when I first started drinking that I would ever choose a Gin and Tonic? Or opt for a Merlot over a Guinness? Through this exploration, I have developed my palette, and now I get enjoyment from many, MANY alcoholic beverages!! (with the exception of Sambucca – ThatIsBeyond… RANK!).

But what if the same could be said for fashion for the broad, tall and portly? Would we feel better about ourselves if we weren’t boxed into a wardrobe of basic-wear? If we could buy jeans on the high street that weren’t skinny, super skinny, extra super skinny, so skinny I can’t fit my arm in the leg hole skinny… would we have a more diverse sense of self.

Where women’s fashion has led, men’s fashion must follow. We need more variety in our sizes, and we must not be confined into the realms of sportswear. I want to see the high street offering fuller sizes in well cut gear, and offering more options to the large proportion of men who do not fit the skinny jean mould.

We want to sip our bourbon, have an ale, and hell, sometimes we want a glass of rosé instead. But as my picture shows… not all things change, I may be the only person in the world who eats pick and mix with my wine??? But that’s my choice and one that has developed years of discovery… but I ALWAYS go back to the Pick and Mix!

The thing with pick and mix is, that you can only pick and/or mix if the options are available to choose from. This is an analogy that I hope the high street can learn from.

TIB

ThatIsBeyond… Let’s Talk Below The Belt.

The internet has been all abuzz with with men’s brand Below The Belt.

With all the hype, I just needed to try the products out for myself. I popped to my local Boots ands tried to get my hands on some, but to no avail. A second store ended in the same result (and by this time in 30 degree heat my balls really NEEDED to get some!). Luckily at my third attempt (only a short drive away) I found the ‘Fresh and Dry Balls’ & the ‘Instant Clean Balls’. So I scooped them up into my basket and headed straight for the check out!

Let’s face it, if this spell of hot weather has taught us blokes nothing else, it has taught us how sticky and chaffing our balls can get. #word.

If I’m honest, it’s not something about myself that I particularly wanted to know more about… but I must say that the relief that this product gave was palpable!

I bought both products in the ‘Fresh scent’ as that was what was available, but I really wanted the ‘Active Scent’. On the Below The Belt Website there are four fantastic fragrances to choose from and the active one tickled my fancy! That said the F&DB product smells good (in fresh) and couldn’t be any simpler to apply:

How: squeeze a penny sized amount into your palm. Rub gently around your crotch. The moisturising gel is rapidly absorbed, drying to a silky fine layer.

Now, one word of warning ⚠️

For my first application, I did my thing, following the instructions, and straight away pulled up my @boxmenswear black briefs and went about my day. A few hours later I need to use the bathroom and upon unzipping my flies, I could see something rather unsavoury looking on my underwear.

Fear not it was simply a few white marks on the underwear (which came out in the wash) but given the right circumstances, this could have been a little awkward!!!

To that end my recommendation is to shower, then coat balls, then let it dry before putting your favourite boxers on.

The instant clean balls, is essentially a ‘ball and crotch freshener’ and it’s super comfortable to wear. A application is cooling and freshening below the belt and keeps you fresh and clean all day long. Perfect for the festival circuit and for a little spruce before a date, this is a product that I think most blokes would have a use for. (Before a date we want everything fresh down there so that nothing is getting in our way)!

Each product was less than six pounds, which I think is a fantastic price point, and there is no danger of the stinging willy that you can sometimes get by squirting deodorant down your pants!

Below the belt grooming is all about focussing on a simple issue, which all of us blokes suffer with (no doubt) and coming up with a simple and effective solution, that also doesn’t need to break the bank.

The purchase of both products also donated 20p each to Prostate cancer U.K. which is also a fantastic cause. So why not try it out for yourself by visiting www.btbgrooming.co.uk

I have also picked up the sports lubricant and will be testing it’s anti-chafing abilities when I start upping my marathon training.

Let me know what you think in the comments. I am also, always happy to answer any questions that you might have.

Keeping it cool, below the belt.

ThatIsBeyond

ThatIsBeyond… Sondos Alqattan – The Age of Entitlement.

Sondos_aq was an Instagram handle that thankfully, I had never heard of until a couple of days ago.

Her comments regarding removing the passports of Filipino workers to ensure they “stay put”, were alarmingly nonchalant and uttered with the naivity of youth. She also doesn’t believe in breaks and feels that her needs as an “employer” (or slave owner) should rank more highly than her workers (or slaves).

She is yet another example of a minority of a generation, that feel because they think something that the world must listen… and now that the world IS listening, and rightly berating her for her absurd viewpoints and vehement entitlement, shock horror, she is trying to weasel her way out of it but without being, even a little bit repentant of her actions.

Phrases like “you don’t know me”, “you haven’t experienced what I have” and toe-curlingly, “thank you for saying I am beautiful on the outside”, have not won her any favours. In fact, the best thing that could happen, is that the world of selfish entitlement that she has built around herself implodes cataclysmically. Associated brands not taking action is affirming these archaic and belligerent standpoints – and they should also be held accountable.

It is a symptom of the times, unfortunately. I hope that she learns from this (which is unlikely) but more than that I hope that this generation of entitled people who do nothing but gaze at themselves in a camera lens, learn a simple lesson that they must be accountable for their views.

My support is with the Filipino community (and all other communities across the world whose mistreatment continues to happen every day). But I do urge everyone to remember that one vile person should not reflect on a nation.

Stand with us all, and bombard any brand that she is an ambassador for.

Max Factor have led the way, now we must ensure that the rest will follow.

Perhaps she will learn her lesson when SHE has to go out to work?!

Humility and remorse when you have done wrong, are beautiful qualities in an adult. I hope her eyes are opened by this experience and that all people across the world get the human treatment that they are entitled to.

ThatIsBeyond… Two DC Movies drop their trailers!

Exciting things afoot from Warner Brothers and the DC franchise, just a couple of days ago we were lucky enough to get two trailers in one day!

I for one am really excited to see both of them!

Why not check them out below – and start freeing space in your diaries….

Shazam!

We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out.  In Billy Batson’s (Asher Angel) case, by shouting out one word—SHAZAM!—this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult Super Hero Shazam (Zachary Levi), courtesy of an ancient wizard.  Still a kid at heart—inside a ripped, godlike body—Shazam revels in this adult version of himself by doing what any teen would do with superpowers: have fun with them!  Can he fly?  Does he have X-ray vision?  Can he shoot lightning out of his hands?  Can he skip his social studies test?  Shazam sets out to test the limits of his abilities with the joyful recklessness of a child.  But he’ll need to master these powers quickly in order to fight the deadly forces of evil controlled by Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong).

Due for release April 2019.

Aquaman

From Warner Bros. Pictures and director James Wan comes an action-packed adventure that spans the vast, visually breathtaking underwater world of the seven seas, “Aquaman,” starring Jason Momoa in the title role.  The film reveals the origin story of half-human, half-Atlantean Arthur Curry and takes him on the journey of his lifetime—one that will not only force him to face who he really is, but to discover if he is worthy of who he was born to be…a king.

Release Date December 14th 2018.

ThisIsBeyond… A Saturday morning’s loungewear

Today I choose to be comfortable.

This Dad is battling his son to eat that last bite of porridge! He’s looking after his Bunny whilst he fixes the car crash that happened around his tiny toes and Dad and mum are also trying to juggle their cups of decaf Coffee and Tea respectively!!

When your parenting, sometimes the most important thing is to be comfortable and supported and that is why this morning @boxmenswear , I choose you.

Being more of a brief man in everyday life, I picked out some of these boxerbriefs, mainly because all of the reviews had talked about the comfort factor that they provide. The classic black style but with a contemporary bold logo on the left leg, makes this a super nice blend for the modern man who also likes the classics.

Their slightly longer cut makes them great loungewear (the neighbours walking past the kitchen window really don’t need to see me in something skippy!) and the fabric is soooooo soft. It has a blend of 92% cotton and 8% spandex which means there is a lot of manoeuvrability without bunching in the crotch! (Which let’s face it, is never pleasant!). The support for your junk is really good, which means that a dad on the move, can be at his very best all of the time. No readjustment necessary!

The waist band is also a nice feature with its shiny finish contrasting the matt of the fabric and the BOX branding over the right hip.

All in all, a fantastic product that looks great (even on me) and has that Dad comfort-factor that we all know we need!

I have also just seen some new pastel colours, available for pre-order now or if your whole underwear drawer could do with a spruce up, then there is a Bundle for you (which will save you a few quid too – probably enough to treat the family to a little something).

Check out the website below and tell them that ThatIsBeyond sent ya!

Boxmen

ThatIsBeyond…Frustration!

Frustration is one of those words that is often overused. The F word is often the go to phrase for a mild inconvenience (myself included) but actually this doesn’t even touch the surface.

The dictionary (The Oxford English Living Dictionary, in case you were wondering!) describes frustration as follows:

The feeling of being upset or annoyed as a result of being unable to change or achieve something.

‘tears of frustration rolled down his cheeks’

But for me this description doesn’t even come close to the sheer finger – curling unpleasantness and helplessness that I experience when the world seems out of balance and I just can’t roll with the metaphorical punches.

The only way that I can navigate through the instantaneous draining of positivity, is to let out a stream of consciousness, that once started, cannot be stopped or halted. It’s an insular feeling that I think can only be understood by me. My wife can see this from the outside. She supports and gives me room to verbally tumble around like a drunken badger, without her judgement, but from inside this mess I have no control.

The best way to describe the incapacitation that I feel, to give some context, is when a sad event happens. I have spoken at a couple of funerals in my lifetime. As a trained performer I have managed to pull myself through a flood of emotions and move from start to finish seamlessly. But at my late grandmothers funeral I only made it to the penultimate line. I felt a heat rise within me, a flush of the face, a pull in my cheek bones, a closing of the throat, a sharp intake of breath, and then as quick as a hiccup a grief-filled inability to breath gets moist with tears and raw emotion halts my flow.

Frustration tastes of tears and feels like my insides are bigger than my outsides. It’s a steam train and caboose edging nearer and nearer to the end of the tracks but it’s clear that it’s running out of steam.

My frustration is frustrated further by the fact that I am out of control. It physically hurts and emotionally drains me.

It’s a feeling that my lot in life is pre-determined, so why bother?

It’s simply, that the buggy that I just bought arrived broken, when every review on line was 5*.

It’s that no matter how I feel, i look, I will never stop caring what the person in the street is judging me for. It’s the computer, that never works properly, it’s the 5th time I have to repeat any instruction… this list is endless.

But with all of this comes the big G. The Guilt. That when I am inside a frustrated episode, I cannot see the good and the fortunate position that I am in. It’s hurtful to those around me to hear “why me?” With an attitude of “my life is so rubbish”. When I am really the luckiest guy alive.

Being inside this mess is physically and emotionally exhausting. It’s not the “frustration” of not getting the team that you wanted in the World Cup sweepstake, or missing the train by 30 seconds! It’s a physical battle to hold the tears back with a heartfelt feeling of helplessness.

I’m no doctor or therapist. I just know how I feel and what I can do to continue on over these stumbling blocks. I let my words out on this page, and even if no-one reads them it somehow feels better.

I can focus on being me. Me the dad. Me the husband. Me the guy who is as he is, frustrated or not.

ThatIsBeyond.

ThatIsBeyond… the Zippo you never knew you needed.

As a fashion-forward man, trying to discover the ULTIMATE look, lifestyle and family experience, I find it extremely important that I accessorise every aspect of my life!

As the song goes “You’re never fully dressed without a smile” and no holiday is complete without the ultimate swimwear, an easy to use sun cream, a margarita in hand and now (as I have recently discovered) an attractive cover for your passport!

As soon as I saw this sharp case for my travel documents, I knew I had to have it. It’s not that I needed it… but I wanted it. And sometimes that is simply enough!

This high-quality black leather accessory is a sleek and masculine addition to your holiday packing. It protects that all important document from such disasters as:

When you go on a work trip to Rioja and discover the lid is no longer on the upside down water bottle!

Or:

When a “mate” throws a passport to someone else to show you truly terrible pic and it instead lands in a pint of fruit cider.

(Ok, so it’s not water proof but you get the point, right? Stuff happens!and this bad boy will protect it from general wear and tear!)

The finish of the red stitching is super stylish. The debossed Zippo logo adds that modern gentlemanly flair to it which just emanates class. Zippo bring you their synonymous lighters, but they are more than just that one product – they can offer the accessories you didn’t even know that you needed in your life.

I also love a product that could be the perfect gift for the man that has everything… because this really is a treat that will brighten any trip. And amongst this amazing leather range, there is truly something for everyone.

Check out their whole range of accessories from key rings to wallets here http://www.zippo.co.uk To hey may just have the accessory that you didn’t know you needed!

So when you are passing through check in, be THAT guy, the one with with style from the tips of his toes to the tips of his fingers…

Much holiday essentials picture also includes:

Summer print Swim short from HOM

Asda Protect factor 15 refreshing clear Sun Mist

& A Margarita

Follow http://www.thatisbeyond.com for updates and for my Summer Favourites post which will follow next week, and features the products above and many many more!

ThatIsBeyond… wobbling on a knife edge!

Perhaps, it’s just me.

It’s a constant worry.

I suspect I am not alone in my manly insecurities. It’s hard to tell, because let’s face it, blokes (in general) don’t talk about their feelings.

I have struggled with body image for a long time – not a struggle with an illness or a disorder, but instead a complete helplessness about my size, shape and general wobbliness.

The high street has battered me down, shopping trip after shopping trip, until I have forgotten what it’s like to look into a mirror and think… you look alright, Wayne.

Like many others, I detest how I look. Marathon training and a sharp eye for fashion haven’t helped one iota. Still my little pouch of belly fat, the fold of neck flab protruding awkwardly atop my work shirt collar, and moobs that cannot be perceived as pecs unless I’m wearing a T-shirt in winter, all obstruct my confidence and lead me to the family-sized bags of crisps!

It therefore, took me by surprise to discover that I had recently lost some weight. I was standing in front of the mirror in some @boxmenswear pants that arrived and I thought 💭

“D’you know what, Wayne my boy – there’s less of you than last time”.

This was especially disarming as I had made no effort whatsoever to lose weight. No diets, no gym sessions, no nothing! Now don’t get it twisted, David Gandy or some other modern Adonis was not staring back at me either. This is not a Segway into a sales pitch for a diet pill! It was just me, but I didn’t 100% hate the creature staring back at me.

Over the coming weeks I was preparing for a friend’s wedding and discovered I had dropped a good 3 inches from my waist. I forgot my work shirt and bought a replacement… my size no longer had 2 x’s in front of it (or one x for that matter).

My confidence had peaked and I thoroughly enjoyed the amazing wedding, feeling as great as the atmosphere in the room.

Feeling fabulous in a room full of fabulous people is not something I have ever experienced!

A few days later (having recovered from a partial hangover) I decided to go through some of the pics that had been taken by me and some of my friends…

Hang on a minute… I was fat again!

I hated how I looked in almost all of them. My friends all looked like ballers. Trim figures, smiles on show and this beautiful glow around them. But I was just a stomach.

I am so angry with my own mind. Why can’t I look back at this incredible day and not be so self – obsessed – self-loathing is such an insular way to feel.

I choose to say “not this time”.

I am training my brain to accept how I look and also embrace that what I think are imperfections, could be part of what makes me… well, ME.

How funny that in the mirror I felt like a million dollars, but a couple of pictures have sent me wobbling on a knife-edge. I try not to judge other people, but perhaps it’s time I offered myself the same courtesy.

Perhaps, it’s just me.

But as RUPaUL says:

If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else… Can I get an amen up in here? 🙏

ThatIsBeyond… This dad’s swimming trunk dilemma!

Sometimes there is a cataclysmic event that leads you to believe the world is working in some unbelievable and mysterious way. But other times the merest hint of coincidence can click days later! Today’s post is about the latter…

Recently I decided that it was about time that I took my little boy for his first swim at the local leisure centre, and as with most things I avoided the high chance of procrastination by packing the night before (because if your bag is packed, you may as well go!)

All of the essentials were folded neatly into a gym bag that was a long time retired from use. Swim nappies and trunks, towels, my favoured Korres shampoo, spare pants, a comb, some change for the locker (it used to be 20p and now is a pound…I guess that’s inflation for you) and of course my David Gandy swim shorts in a classic Navy blue. It was all placed carefully in the bag ready for our momentous trip awaiting the addition of my phone and car keys the next morning.

We arrive at the local leisure centre, pay the toll and make our way to the family changing room. It is there that the screaming begins.

My son Toby decides that under no circumstances is he going to stay in this damp, echoey, poorly lit cubicle and worse than that “Evil Daddy” is trying to take his socks off (which is perhaps the worst thing that could possibly happen, evidently…)

Getting him ready to swim took a lot of effort, something akin to removing a Klingon from the starboard bow, I imagine. Every piece of clothing had to traverse his resistance whilst he attaches himself to me with a vicelike grip. Thank god for a mini seat with straps that meant that when I had finally got him ready he was held secure long enough for me to change into my designer trunks.

I have reviewed David Gandy’s range of swimwear on a couple of occasions:

David Gandy Swimwear

I stand by my opinion that they are great. I feel good in them, excellent quality and of course the fit is impeccable… at least it was.

Since the arrival of my darling boy, I have not had a holiday anywhere where a jumper was not necessary, let alone where I am out in public in a relatively small piece of fabric! So when in my haste to get the boy ready, I pulled up the shorts to discover that they had gone on rather too easily! I tightened the handy side toggle which tightened the waist to its smallest circumference and still there was massive risk of a permanant builders bum!

It dawned on me that I had two options. Remove the oversized trunks Re-dress, take the chance of riling my son again and getting him dressed back into his clothes and speed off home forgetting that this had ever happened, OR I could hold him with one arm, my trunks with the other and dive right in… figuratively speaking.

So that is what I did. I figured if I had got this far I might as well continue, (and I wanted to avoid any more grabbing of my neck-fat by my fantastic son!) It was fine. We struggled through the visit and the next day I was elated to hear my two year old say “I like the swimming pool, Daddy.”

I was aimlessly surfing the world of Instagram a few days later, and saw some sunny pics of couples soaking up the rays on the beach, when it dawned on me … I was too skinny for swimming trunks I wore two years ago.

Between work, Dadsponsibilities, Buying a house and life in general I had somehow managed to drop a full waist size!

Coincidently, for the first time ever I will be searching for trunks in a size that doesn’t start with an X.

If I hadn’t packed my bag the night before I never would have gone to the pool, and I never would have put the trunks on, and probably not realised that I was looking like a teenager in low hanging denim! It’s not earth shaking for humanity, but a positive conicidence for me.

But what should I buy? What does a broad, far from David Gandy Sized guy, buy to swim in when he’s hardly a beach bod, but has miraculously managed to lose that X that had been weighing him down?

I have since been swimming again and took some shorts to wear instead … they went pretty much see-through, which is one look a person of any-size should avoid in a leisure centre!

If you can help with my swimwear woes, any suggestions are welcomed in my comments. Hit me up with you fave brands and what swimwear is hot this coming season.

Share and like this post, if this is your sort of thang!

ThatIsBeyond