That is beyond… A bad call at a wedding!

This year the festive season has brought with it the wedding season! In one month I have 2 weddings and a christening ( which is more than I have had all year!) having attended 2 events already, I thought maybe it would be a good idea to hit on a few grooming and fashion do’s and dont’s for us gents.

Lets get started with ties! Firstly if you are in a church, it is time to wear a tie. I am with all of you who hate wearing them, since I have had a job that requires me to wear a tie, the last thing I want to do is wear one on my day off – but this is a special occasion and it is expected of you. Don’t loosen it and have your top button undone (its just an hour, and we have all dealt with more difficult things than that!) have it tied in a neat Windsor knot and you can’t go wrong. Other neckwear is acceptable depending on the event itself, in my hipper days I have worn a loose cravat or a skinny tie, but that decision limits what you can get away wearing with it. I would say if you are in a suit then a standard tie is needed or it throws the whole balance off. It is perfectly acceptable to lose the tie for the reception and have an open collar (and most men do).
I prefer my facial hair to be in check, I have opted for a close shave for these events, but its important that you look like you’ve made an effort, you have been invited to share in someone’s special day, I have seen some amazing mo’s and beards at my events but I have also seen some that looked like they had been dragged through a hedge backwards!
If you know you are gonna be uncomfortable (my own hand is shooting into the air) then really think about what your outfit consists of. As I said earlier, generally I will lose the tie and open the collar, but I also am self conscious about my belly, and so I have opted for a three piece suit which means I can wear the waistcoat when I lose the jacket (it’s not a corset, but if it makes you feel better then what is the harm???)
It is neither polite or appropriate to be playing with your underwear in good company, the choice of undergarment is very much up to the individual but do choose something you are comfortable in, and will not need any (ahem) readjustments during the ceremony.

And here are a few ideas for little items that may make the day run that little but more smoothly
– take a sample size aftershave
– carry a handkerchief (to mop your sweaty brow after all the dad dancing your gonna do)
– pack some mints for you and anyone else (I have one my self if someone smells of smoke or just bad breath and offer them around!)
– always carry some cash (why do the CC machines never work???!)

In my humble opinion, weddings are there to be enjoyed, but you have to endure several parts of it to get to the good stuff, so make an effort and you’ll be remembered as that well dressed guy with the impressive mo and great breath, rather than the guy that looked like he had been peeled away from the bed, smelling like an ashtray and sweating on the table linens!

That is beyond the most relaxed I have felt all week!

So I have finally reached the end of an extremely stressful week, and with my neck and shoulders visibly tense, I thought i might just treat myself. Now i should probably precursor this whole review by saying that I never, ever spend this amount of money on “relaxation”! I would love to have the spare cash to do it, but sadly I just don’t. But as this has been a very stressful few weeks and in the name of research, I decided to invest £70 on a proper massage from nickel spa in Covent Garden.

Nickel spa’s website is great, I have come across it before and felt that this spa for men would be right up my alley. The marketing team deserve a medal because exactly the feel of the place is captured on website, which makes it an easy sell because all I have to say to you guys is visit the website:

www.nickelspalondon.co.uk

If it feels like your vibe, then trust me the place itself will be too.

This company recognise that getting a massage can be a stressful experience (counterproductive if you ask me) and they aim to de-stress the experience from the word go. The website covers everything from de-robing to tipping in simple (and humorous) statements. And offers a wide range of products from massage and hair removal to man facials. I felt completely at ease on arrival and for me that is a freaking miracle! I came straight from work and was a little flustered, but as soon as I entered the reception/shop area I was relaxed by the scent of the room and general like ability of the staff. (Please note on your first visit you should arrive early to fill in a quick five minute questionnaire)
I was then Greeted by my masseuse Kelly who was lovely and took me to the room where the massage would take place. She was the perfect balance of professional and approachable, and for someone like me who is self conscious of their beer belly and love handles (evidently these two things are also discussed on the website!) I was made to feel comfortable and relaxed about the daunting task of getting (semi) naked! Kelly duly left the room and gave me time to get undressed and get comfortable on the massage table.
When she returned, I honestly could not tell you what magic she worked, but by the end of my 50 minute session I felt like a new person. Totally relaxed and ready to face the world again.

I want to stress ( and this is again patently clear on the website) that this is a spa for men. It has essence of man but also a clean and professional style. There are male and female masseuses, and literally every member of staff I spoke to was lovely, Talkative ( not too much though) and well presented.

I was in a bit of a rush but I had a quick look at the product range on offer, from the king of shaves to dermatoligica (and what looks to be a fantastic range of in house nickel spa London products) at the prices I would roughly be expecting to pay for such items. It was good and I will be heading back there on payday to have a better look!

I had a 50 minute “relaxing massage” and it cost £70. If I had the spare cash I would go once a week (as it is easily worth the £70 I paid & it has sorted right out!) As it stands I will have to treat myself when funds allow!

This is a great company with a great ethos and I highly recommend them. I think the next time I go, I would like to try the deep tissue sports massage ( this marathon training is doing me in!) for more info head to the website.
Here it is again:

Www.nickelspalondon.co.uk

But don’t all go… I would like to still be able to book in there at some point in the future!

That is beyond… Not strictly grooming!

Now I have to be honest and say that today’s post is not strictly about male grooming, but I also felt that my new purchase needed to be shared with you guys.

For the festive season I needed some boots that doubled up as fashionable items to go with various casual party looks ( I literally hate the way I phrased that but I can’t think of anything better) but also some boots in which I can wade through the inevitable snow in. Generally speaking I am a cheap skate and so won’t pay more than 25 quid on footwear. But I had not seen anything that ticked both boxes.
Then as if by magic my wife dragged me (almost against my will) into clarks! She found a pair that she wanted and I asked the most important question a cheapskate can ask… How much? The figure was £80 and after hyperventilating for a good few seconds, I said “if they are what you want then you shall have them!” And then the second stroke of magic occured and my eyes got taken by what I can only describe as a beautiful pair of boots.

Immediately I wanted to try them on and (of course) they didn’t have my size. (This in hindsight was the work of fate) because that meant I could order them for delivery and on top of that I saved 20% by ordering them.
So my amazing boots cost a mere £64.

Now, fairytale aside, these really are a winter staple, they can go with a casual look with tapered or skinny jeans, they look hard wearing and have a stitched sole (not just glued). They are furry inside and so are a great winter warmer. They also have that timberland feel to them. I know I will be wearing these all over the winter period.
So here’s the vital stats:
Price: £80 (£64 with the ordering discount)
Style: Naylor Top
Colour: Brown (also available in grey and tan?)
Size: uk 11 eur 46
Where to get them: your local Clarks store or online at: www.clarks.co.uk/c/mens-boots

Delivery time 3-5 working days
( reality 3 days)

20% off online with code BLING apparently and free delivery and returns

Why not treat yourself this winter?!

That is beyond …Time I told you about this product!

That is beyond … Time I told you about this product!

Welcome to Grease Lightning by Lush. Probably the best reasonably priced effective spot treatment there is.

At almost thirty years old, I had thought I wouldn’t need to worry about buying a spot treatment, but I have to be honest and say that my skin is as bad now as it was in my teens! Especially my collar line and under my ever so fashionable sweeping fringe! Also my over developed thighs can some times rub together causing agitated spots. In all three cases I have found this spot treatment to be effective at reducing the swelling and ultimately vanishing the spots (god I sound like one those awful clearasil adverts!)
It contains the all important tea tree “infusion” as we’ll as thyme and rosemary, and (another classic) witch hazel.
As with all of Lush’s product range (as far as I am aware) it is fresh, and handmade (mine was made by Patricia on the 08/10/2013!) it’s easy to use, you dab it on the affected area with a clean finger or cotton bud, and because of the black bottle and the fact that its only 45g it’s a good gym washbag item too.
They have got it absolutely right with this product and I commend them for that.
I have to say that entering a lush store can be intimidating, to start with you have the aroma, and secondly there is an array of pink things! But I have to give credit where it’s due, for blokes ballsy enough to brave the potent smell, the staff are amazing. I went to the Covent garden store and asked a lovely girl what she would recommend for guys, and her bad her colleagues know their products inside out. There was no hard sale, just a great knowledge and helpful attitude. She suggested another product (which I duly bought) which had rose petals in it. I literally would never have picked this stuff up, but I have to say its s great pre shave mask.
Grease lightning is a great product and the staff are amazing too. What’s more is that there are amazing products for manly men, you just have to take that step through the door.
Grease Lightning £5.95 45g from a Lush store near you!

That is beyond the basics of skincare!

My intention last week had been to bring to you a review of samples of some of the men’s products that Lush offer. (Behind the slightly nauseating smell of soap they have a really clever and effective range of products for the modern man, who knew?) Alas the day job has got in the way and after an exhausting week where I have worked a frankly insane number of hours, what I’ve needed is some r&r. So lets have a little chat about all the wrongs I’ve done to my skin, and how you can save yours, from the predicament I have now found myself in…as you can tell I am not at all dramatic!!!!!

How to keep myself awake?? Well obviously coffee and energy drinks, right? I tried it, and yes I won’t deny that the sugary boost of a bottle of lucozade or the caffeine induced hyperactivity achieved with a large latte may work short term, with the appearance of awakeness, but longer term I found both to reap havoc on my sleep cycle and that the positive effect become less noticeable with each use. And to put salt in the wound, add insult to injury, they are both really bad for you and your epidermis. Whether a direct effect of either substance or of the lack of sleep they caused me, I have just had to go to a family wedding wearing my wife’s concealer! I mean I am a metro, but that is just too far beyond, even for me. Water water and more water is what the doctor called for … Tap, still, sparkling even the fruity stuff will do ( although do bear in mind that those flavoured waters are extremely dehydrating) but drink it, lots of it, and in a week you will notice the difference.

Who’s been sleeping in my bed?
Well… Not me so much. No time. But sleep is the best remedy for improved skin, and I am in need of your share too! I’m sure there is a science to it but for me if i go to bed before midnight, eight hours will do. For every hour later than that I need another hour in bed so 1am = 9 hours, 2am =10hours etc.

Now if the spots arrive anyway (and trust me some times they do, even when you are almost 30!) there are products out there ( one of these products is in my lush sample review: to be posted this week!)
But here are some helpful tips
Witch hazel yes
Sulphates no
Moisturise (you know your skin better than me) but on the whole yes
Toothpaste yes…. Sorry but yes if you want the spot to disappear a bit of Colgate dabbed over it and left to dry over night may just do the trick (strange but true) and if all else fails: grow a full on beard ( mainly because you have no time to shave) and sport a slightly eccentric looking hat! Both of which I am currently doing until I have time to drink some water and get some sleep!

Do subscribe/ suggest should you wish to I’d love to take you all on my journey

TIB

Thatisbeyond…the best product I have tried this year!

That is beyond the best product I have tried this year!

It’s not often that I rave outright about a product. (Or anything in life for that matter!) But I have to say that this is the best £7.50 that I hav spent in a loooooooong time.
Champney’s current line of men’s sports therapy products are really at the top of their game. The focus for this review is their anti-chafing protective balm. But I will be moseying on down to boots to get some more of the line whilst they still have their 342 offer on.
The name of the product should give us all some clue as to what this is for! It’s a gel like product that puts a lubricated layer on top of the skin to stop it chafing on the fabric of your clothes or on other areas of skin. As someone training for the Stockholm marathon next year this is a product that I have some use for. The key areas that affect me are a) my nipples b) My thighs & c) my groin. These I am sure are complaints of many athletes ( as well as complete amateurs like me.) Firstly the nipples! Plaster do do the job but some times stick funny or come off if I sweat too much. I wear cycling cycling shorts to stop my over developed thighs from rubbing together, but it still chafes against the fabric. And wearing sports underwear does provide the needed support but fabric can be uncomfortable down there (so to speak)!
The good news is of course, that this protective balm actually assists in preventing all of these occurrences, really bloody well. It has a silicone gel formula, which reduces friction and irritation, and as importantly, doesn’t feel like you are an oiled up male stripper! It’s water and sweat resistant and hence sits nicely where you rub it in.
It’s easy to use, you just slather it on the skin and rub it in to the areas where it is needed, and then you are ready to go. #simple.
I really commend this product and am excited to try more of the range. It’s great that this is a product that really solves a real problem, and that its affordable to use on a regular basis. If you are involved in any sports and want to avoid chafing this is the one.

Oh and it smells quite darn good too !

That is beyond… My Christmas Routine.

As the party season is approaching, it’s soon to hit that time where I am bound to over indulge in my friend called “beer”, I almost certainly will be burning the candle at both ends and not getting anywhere near enough sleep. So here are a few things I will be doing this winter in order to… Well survive!

1) I will start with the simplest and the cheapest – Water I will be drinking at least 2.5 litres of it. Water is magical. It is the simplest way to avoid a hangover. And a dancer friend once told me that if you add a tiny pinch of salt to a two litre bottle, it really helps to rehydrate much more quickly.

2) I will be religiously cleansing before I go to bed, it literally takes 3 minutes to do ( and to save time I brush my teeth while I do it) the simple steps… Warm water splash on face… Use your cleanser and smear it all over your face ( I am currently using the “simple kind to skin vital vitamin foaming cleanser” (£4.49 for 150ml boots.com) its easy and effective and available from a high street store near you!) I literally use three pumps of it, leave it on my face while I brush my teeth and then massage it off with some more warm water. SIMPLE!

3) Moisturiser – it just replenishes any moisture lost to the skin whilst cleansing. ( I am actually in the market for a new moisturiser but I am currently finishing my No7 MEN energising moisturiser (£8.75 for 50ml boots.com)

4) my teeth will be taking a hammering over the festive season, sober or drinking I will never be too far from one of the popular cola brands (although I have to say that where possible I will be drinking caffeine free cola) a good tooth paste and mouthwash is definitely in store. And the ones I will be using are pearl drops pro white tooth paste 50ml (£3.60 boots.com) & listerine total care sensitive 500ml (£4.60 boots.com)

5) My miracle solution to spots ( which reminds me, I must do a proper review of this product as it is a life saver!) the face boutique spot-less . This product is so good I outright refuse to leave home without it. This product can stop a spot from appearing in a matter of hours. As soon as I see or feel any of the tell tale signs, I use a tiny bit of this get to stop the little blighter in its tracks! Best used overnight. I truly believe that this is made from magic and that it should be listed on its list if ingredients! This stuff is not cheap but I recommend you accio some immediately ready for the Christmas season! It’s a tiny tube (8ml) and costs £10 (www.faceboutique.com)

Finally if you want to pick up any of these items, boots currently has 3for2 on beauty and skin care and loads of other offers as well.

That is beyond the end of this post!

Thatisbeyond… Sexy little salt spray

Loreal Paris Studio Matt & Messy shine free salt spray

For that is beyond’s one for the week, I have picked this sexy little salt spray from loreal. It’s a snip at £2 (asda) and is actually quite useful for my withering fine hair. I can achieve a Justin bieber (circa baby) where it does exactly what is says in the tin and creates a tousled look! Adding volume and texture to my lifeless hair. Or for work it has just enough hold for a smarter quiff without looking like I’ve used cooking oil to hold it in place! If you’ve got medium to long length hair and its quite fine this is the product to create that off the beach look. And at £2 you can’t really go wrong.

Thatisbeyond… A revaul

Men never follow the instructions so why have any?!

A cross between a haul and a review, I offer you a …revaul!

So here are the products that I bought from uncle asda:

The Wilkinson Sword finest bristle
£3.20

The Wilkinson Sword shaving soap 125g £2.00

The Gillette Fusion Proglide (limited edition ENGLAND) £3.00

Those of you who are sharp with a calculator will note that I got all three products for under a tenner! (£8.20 to be precise) and providing you factor in a good moisturiser as well I reckon if these products are any good, this could be the modern man’s staples for less than £15.

Now before I get onto the good stuff I have to say… Why?????
Gillette answer me this, does the fact that this razor has an England flag on it really warrant it being a “limited edition” or is it the same old product With a cheap sticker attached to it?

And secondly, Wilkinson Sword… Just because some Men choose not to read instructions, doesn’t negate their necessity. I mean, its boarding on farcical. It actually has instructions on how to care for your shaving brush, when I would more appreciate how to look after my FACE. Call me vain if you like but that is how I roll!

This is my first impressions of these products, I have used them once and will feed back, my intention is to recap after a month and let you know about maintained use, and of the maintenance of the products themselves.

So I’m gonna start with the Gillette fusion Proglide. And say that this is actually a good razor (despite the needless patriotic packaging). It boasts of the new technology used to create it :

5 thinner finer blades,1 Precision trimmer blade
1Reformulated lubrication strip (ooh er misses)

But I have to say its a much better shave. For a few years now, I have felt like Gillette have repackaged the Mach 3 in various incarnations and there was no noticeable step forward in the quality of the shave. But in the Proglide I got a close shave ( smooth as a baby’s bottom, some would say!) I got no shaving cuts and it is easy to use and comfortable to hold (ergonomic???). So the first impression is pretty good.
I should probably add that some of you will be wondering why I didn’t get a wilkinson sword razor as I was looking at two other products from the same range. And the answer is I value the skin on my face too much! I have never used a WS razor that hasn’t cut my face to shreds and I’m not about to start now!
Now to the other two products, which go hand in hand.
Despite the lack of instructions these products are reasonable. I was hoping for more suds from shaving soap ( who doesn’t) but it smells amazing, like a barbers but fresh and generally nice. The shave overall was good and the razor effortlessly glided along the surface of my face including the tricky bits under the nose and under the crease of the chin. Now in order to make the is product foam up, it contains something called Sodium laureth Sulphate (SLS) this is the current bad guy of beauty and grooming as it is incredibly drying for the skin. This product is there to create those bubbles but in doing so steals the moisture from you skin.
The simple answer which I briefly segwayed into earlier, was use a moisturiser to combat this. (I use done with SPF 15 from no7 for men, which cost about £7 at the time of purchase)
The shaving brush is a novelty and it needed in conjunction with hard soap and its fine. I will be interested to see how we’ll it works in a month, will it dry out or go a bit… Well weird?!
These are obviously two high street equivalents to products that you can pay hundreds of pounds for and I think they are fun and I much prefer the feel of them to foam or gels. Although I must reiterate, the lack of instructions is lazy, when using a blade on one’s face we need all the help we can get!