ThatIsBeyond…Bobby Abley and some Loony Tunes!

Early in the new year @lqdlondon passed on an invite to the hotly anticipated showing of the new collection from Bobby Abley. I couldn’t have turned it down if I had wanted to!

The buzz of the show was audible upon entry to the home of London Fashion Week Men’s (LFWM) and the whose who of the industry were celebrating in style! The party atmosphere continued into the collection itself, which featured the bold brights and graphic checks that you would expect from Abley and a whimsical nod to the cartoons of our childhoods (presuming you are as old as I am!) and some voluminous texture that was out of this world.

A clever catwalk and incredible music meant that each outfit was viewed from several angles and the greyish space was the perfect backdrop for the potent bursts of colour that traversed the walkway. This collection is fun fun fun and on the most part, very wearable.

The checked trousers in vibrant yellows and oranges strolled down the catwalk with a breezy ease that could have easily have continued through the front doors and into the night.

The whimsy of the faux-fur Bugs Bunny overalls was brought down to earth with streetwear stylings and a bunny ear bandana.

The sweatshirt character faces, were fun but the over- sized, yet perfectly cut garments were far from child’s play, they were stylishly donned pieces of street/ sportswear that I guarantee we will be swing across the media in the coming months.

And finally THE beaded tracksuit in green that seemed to me to be a nod to the vibrancy of London Fashion Week – a fashion forward cut but on a basic tracksuit, that rose to the occasion with embellishments but somehow seems completely wearable.

Also a nod to the hats, throughout the show, that took the styling to another level.

Thanks Bobby – now to get my hands on the “Bugs Bunny Face” sweatshirt.

Off to put on my LQD face mask and take my skin to another level!

TIB

ThatIsBeyond… The only daddy at Playgroup.

I can’t believe that my little one is almost 2 years old! Time literally flies and he has gone from this…

To this, in what equates to the blink of the proverbial eye!

As you can imagine there have been a lot of trials and tribulations throughout my relatively short foray into the parenting world. From the time it took me to come to terms with my son’s birth, to the utter elation of the day he said Daddy for the first time, the ever increasing temperature he gets when he is ill to the endless tiredness that only parents can even conceive (I REALLY did not know it was possible to be THIS TIRED).

But above all of these things, I still have not mastered the navigation of adult talk at playgroup. This may seem like an odd thing to say, but every group I go to, I feel that I am missing out.

The big secret is that these groups are just as much for the parents as they are for the kids – a chance to chat over a hot beverage and a jammy dodger to someone who can relate to you without even an ounce of judgement. All of my friends and my wife swear by it:

“I couldn’t have got through this first year without the playgroup mums”

“Thank god for NCT, they are some of my best friends in the world”

And other such sentences are uttered every day – but for me, not so much. Being of a nervous disposition around new people, but a extrovert when on stage, its a combination that a) people don’t understand, and b) it’s confusing to live! Part of the reason my career never took off was that I found networking an impossible task. I would hug the walls and skirt the inane conversations with nods and silence.

Meeting new people is difficult because I have the personality type that needs a little time to grow on people. I am not a quick thinker, so if I am left with the task of “making conversation there are invariably difficult silences to navigate through, which raises my stress levels and makes me even more self-conscious.

I envy my confident friends and family – I wish I could change it.

So it’s not surprising that being the only Dad at playgroup can be a bit challenging, for me. After almost 2 years of attending various different groups, you would think that I would have got the knack for it by now, but I haven’t, I just sit in a Siberia of my own making.

As much as the majority of this is in my head, there is also some truth to why I feel the way that I do…

I am literally the ONLY Dad.

All of the mums have a shared experience of childbirth, and I represent the person RESPONSIBLE for it. That and the fact that I haven’t had to push a baby out of me (which is a fair point).

Mums think I am hitting on them.

I am not. If I approach them to start a conversation, you know like “how old’s your little one?” I must automatically be coming on to them, right? Why else would the only guy in the room want to speak to you?

Mums stay in cliques.

If it’s bad enough walking up to a lone mum, try joining a conversation circle – or if you are me, don’t!

I am at playgroup on a Wednesday morning, so I must be a jobless, useless,sorry excuse for a man

I am not. But I did negotiate each of my job contracts to include some regular time with my son.

I am not like the other dads that I know.

All of the dads that I know are cool, calm and confident. Good-looking men whom people seem to want to speak to. I wish it was a case of just being too hard on myself, but the reality is, all of my dad mates are genuinely nice, interesting people and it can be hard to compete.

I want to get more out of these experiences and have someone to talk to. Being a dad can be quite lonely sometimes and I would love to make more of it. I feel I get so little time with my son that I don’t want to spend 2 hours a week internally worrying about what that mum thinks of me.

I don’t dispute the struggles that all of the amazing mothers go through every day, but I know how alone it can feel to be a dad and the judgement that people can have of us. I am not unique in this. I am sure there are men and women who feel exactly the same. But if you are blessed to be one of those amazing confident parents, promise me you will try to include the loner sat on the floor playing dinosaurs with his son – he/she probably looks like they could do with a chat, and behind the nerves they could well be the best mate that you never had.

TIB

ThatIsBeyond… Braving the Night Tube!


These days I am not much of a socialiser. Gone are the days when I would be out "clubbing" in the deep of winter dressed in ripped jeans and a French Connection tee shirt, instead I am now found having a snooze on the sofa in front of episodes of Law and Order SVU or reruns of my favourite series White Collar.

The other day however, after a long day at work, I decided to meet a friend for some drinks after my late night finish. Other than work, I can't remember the last time I was out past 11pm! And so with this in mind, this was the first time I have ever used the NIGHT TUBE…

Before I continue on, I think it's important that I level with you. I have an issue with sickness. Actually, it's more than that, it's a phobia – a very real one that affects my life every single day. Just the mention of the work "Sick" can be enough to trigger physical reactions. My mouth becomes dry, I get tension in my neck, my stomach churns slowly and deliberately and then my mind kicks in and I start to see pale faced people, liquid droplets in the air and it all gets too much. Sometimes I run, I get out of there to fresh air or a bottle of water, other times I am stronger and can try my best to take control back. It can be debilitating but I can't let it win. So these days I  don't really go where drunk people will be. I have a quiet drink in a local pub and that's about it.

So enjoying the conversation and prosecco at my post work drinks, I didn't think much about my journey home. I knew I would get the night tube, but presumed it would be quiet… HOW WRONG I WAS!

When I approached the platform at Leicester Square, people were 3 deep on the platform and staggering around clutching half finished cans of Stella Artois or applying lipstick as though their makeup artist had travelled from Clown Town! Three people were seemingly passed out on the floor or asleep on the benches  and some very sleazy and questionable chat-up lines were being used by a group of chubby Essex boys with over waxed eyebrows and quiffs that made them seem half a foot taller! 

The bustle gets onto the next tube, and as I squeeze on I find one lone seat. There is a girl next to it, leant against the greasy glass, who had been one of the bench sleepers a moment before. I Sit. It's a bit loud but nothing too much to worry about, my anxiety is lowish at the moment. At Covent Garden the girl sits up all of a sudden, smiles broadly and then I see the colour drain from her face – one of her companions asks 

" U Ok?" 

She can't reply she just points to her mouth. My anxiety spikes and its uncontrollable… I bolt to the other end of the carriage and antibac my hands for good measure.

Next I find myself in close proximity to the group of "Lads" who are now taking it in turns to "chat up" an Aussie Lady whose responses are comedy gold, but all in good humour. We smile at each other whilst I stifle a  lol at one of the boys inviting her to "Mum and Dad's" but it was ok because his room was at at the opposite end of the corridor!

Next a young guy, who had been listening to gangsta rap on his headphones, realises this is his stop and bolts for the bleeping doorway. In doing so he forgets to "mind the gap" and plummets face first into a light green suitcase, which in turn topples its owner over like a domino rally!

A young girl who clambered over the suitcase and roadkill humans, makes her way into the door before it attempts to close again and begins to manically laugh… before we reach the next stop she vomits into the Selfridges bag that she is clutching and then cries because she realises she was sick on her purchase (who knows what she had bought!)

There was a tap-dancing preacher, 3 people wearing no shoes and a man plucking his eyebrows (travel will never get in the way of his skincare regime #goals). But beyond all the hubbub I hadn't given more than a cursory glance to the vomit… I realised with all the craziness that I had managed to stay put, in a carriage, knowing all the time that "Vom in a bag" was literally a few feet away! 

I'm not gonna lie, the night tube sucks! It's a lovely idea in theory but in practice it's just plain grubby. But I did it, I braved it – and whilst for most this is no challenge at all, for me I battle my phobia everyday, and by George am I proud of myself!

TIB

ThatIsBeyond… What’s a family day in the park without an ice lolly? #fruitfull


Weekends are about family. (well at least for us, they are!) We facetime Toby's Grandparents and catch up on all of the family gossip, we visit his cousins at the local park, and of course our little family sit down for a lovely meal together and catch each other up on our coming weeks.

Whilst on our Sunday jaunt, soaking up the 9am sunshine, climbing play equipment, shooting down slides and see-sawing with the best of them – it was time for a pit stop, and a bottle of water was not going to do it! As a lactose intolerant, an ice cream wasn't an option, so I presumed that I would have to have one of those sickly-sweet syrupy monstrosities, (not at all conducive to early morning eating!!) But then I saw a sign for a new type of "frozen fruit bar" called Fruitfull.

"Why can’t something taste great and be good for you without a lot of fat and calories? It CAN – if it’s a Fruitfull® bar — one of the healthy and delicious products offered by Happy & Healthy Products, Inc."
Firstly, they taste great! I had a brilliantly subtle and not too sweet Green Tea & Melon bar, which was full of natural flavour, and chunks of Melon along the way! My wife chose the Strawberry and cream (from the fruit AND dairy selection) and she said, and I quote "this is way better than a magnum". 

With 100% natural ingredients, you know exactly what is in the product and it doesn't taste artificial or filled with E numbers for your kids. In a world where we are constantly watching what ingredients are being eaten by our little ones, The fruitful frozen fruit bars, are a great alternative to mainstream products that are filled with preservatives, artificial colours and sugar!
They are also pretty good for you…in the standard fruit bars at least there is no cholesterol and no fat! But there IS great tasting fruit!
Fruitfull® Dairy-free Fruit bars come in 11 tasty flavours: Strawberry / Raspberry / Pineapple / Lime / Watermelon / Green Tea Melon / Fuzzy Navel / Tropical Splash / Passionate Cherry/ Lemon / Guava
Fruit & Dairy Bars – Luscious and lush with the taste of real cream – a real treat! 8 scrumptious flavours: Banana / Piña Colada / Strawberry Cream / Raspberry Cream / Mango / Peaches ‘n’ Cream / Coconut / Horchata
And the Fruitfull® Chocolate Yogurt Bar which has No fat & no cholesterol… remember!

So why not spruce up your summer time park days, with these delicious fruit bars? They are so good, your kids may never find out that they are good for them!
TIB 

ThatIsBeyond…The Return of the Grooming Routine!

Throughout my hiatus from blogging, it has become clear that I have not been looking after myself as well as I should doI My once stringent grooming routine has fallen by the wayside to make way for… well more sleep!

Those with little ones at home, will know the affects that sleep deprivation has on the minds' of parents… and for me, in the end, something needed to give to make more time for more slumber – with work and parenting being non-negotiable I was left with a choice of beer or Skincare…so out went the skincare regime (and any extrenuous episodes of my favourite tv show – Law and Order SVU)!

It was only this past week that I realised how haggard and old I am beginning to look – with a slightly silver tinge to my dark hair and panda eyes a plenty, I needed to reach deep into the drawers of my grooming cabinet and see what life-savers there were hidden within it.

When considering a brand to explore, I initially thought of an "old faithful" Murdock of London, but I was running very low on these items, and with so many brands and products in storage, I thought it was time that I tried one of them instead of buying even more! My eyes were drawn to the simple packaging of a number of items from the male grooming subscription service Gruum.

Their no frills approach brings the brand's focus to the quality product inside the packaging, and their style has a contemporary Scandinavian feel which really lets the natural and organic ingredients shine through.

Their Oksa Razor handle and Oksu blades really impressed me when I reviewed them early in 2017. The massive convenience of a 'to your door service' was a lot to write home about. For my return to skincare I chose the five blade version and the silver handle (a classic combination) and got straight to tackling the thick hair growth engulfing my face.

The market leaders are not a patch on this super sleek razor and the five blades create a smooth and close shave with a minimum of effort.

Alongside this excellent razor (a single razor "head" is only £2.15 by the way!) I decided to give their shave gel Danne a whirl, and see what this product has to offer.
With an amazing combination of ingredients (Orange, Rosemary & Eucalyptus) this is a fragrant and effective shave gel that creates an excellent lather, even though it is Paraben, SLS & Sulphate free – which lets face it, is great news for our skin.

This is a natural product that feels excellent on the skin, and lubricates the blade across the surface meaning a smooth face and pain-free shave. 75ml is the bargain price of £4.00 and is available as a monthly, bimonthly or quarterly subscription (which also has an anytime cancellation policy). This is a top notch product from an amazing company. The next of their products on my hotlist is the Gosta facial tonic, which I hope to get my hands on very soon!

Whilst dealing with the hair growth I also needed to tackle my out of hand eyebrows! So I had to go back to my tried and tested brand Tweezerman.
With a plethora of grooming gadgetry, they really are the one stop shop for any man. I love my little comb and scissor set (from the GEAR collection) so much, that the latter is now battered and a little toothless! None the less these were two tools necessary to tame the above-eye slugs.

A little trim through the miniature comb and I honestly feel like I look ten years younger – tweezerman what is this voodoo?!

So now I look and feel a lot better, I have rediscovered some prime products and I feel invigorated. Invigorated skin, invigorated to write and generally just ready to tackle life head – on (with or without sleep!)

I hope you will join me for my next adventure in the blogosphere, and would really appreciate it, if you want to show me some love with some likes, comments and shares.

Get your Gruum on, Tweezerman!

TIB

Thatisbeyond…Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them.

For those that know me personally, it will be no surprise that I really enjoyed Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them. It will probably be more of a surprise that I have only got around to watching the film tonight!
The Harry Potter series has never let me down before, and I am pleased to say that the latest glimpse of the 1920’s wizarding world is no exception.

Harry Potter, re-awakened me to reading, it was an amazing escape from the outside world and it gave me my first experience on a film set (and as an actor that left a massive impression on the career path that I chose). The books are magical in their own way because they have real stories that engulf you and that you trust in to carry you through this magical and unfamiliar world. This is a massive feat for a writer, but something that JK Rowling achieves with ease. But is this also the case with her screen writing?
For me the answer is unquestionably “absolutely”, and whilst I will elaborate on this point in the following paragraphs, it is for one simple reason… the story behind the magic has genuine heart.
This is a film for adults. It is a mature, politically-charged world, that struck me as having an unmistakeable parallel to both the history we know the franchise will follow (the lead up to the 2nd world war) but also to the omnipresent cloud of politics that sits above our heads in 2017. The duality is striking and shot beautifully.
For me some of the CGI is overly glossy and the shooting is very monochrome, but I did feel that this added to the historical context and the bleak New York landscape. It also helped excentuate the texture and colour of the magical creatures – which kind of made them seem even more magical!
I think that this film could have easily fallen flat, but it didn’t. There were enough magical creatures to keep the kids entertained, but the substance of this script far outweighs its parts.
My favourite creature?… the naughty Niffler with a penchant for shiny things. A particularly amusing sequence with the little critter in a jewellery shop window, brought a smile to my face.
Newt Scamander’s tale works as a love story on several levels, but ultimately we fall in love with him because of his love of the magical creatures and his good heart. Will we see another side to him in the later films? The mention of Lita LeStrange makes me wonder if there is a little darkness for Eddie Redmayne to explore? Afterall, all the best characters have both light and shade.
This is a great film that would be enjoyed by the magical and muggles alike. And I for one, cannot wait for the next instalment.
ThatIsBeyond… 4.5 ❤️

Thatisbeyond… It’s ok to be different

I have some amazing parents in my life. Mine are the tops. But as well as the people that built me into the man I am today, I am inspired every single day by the fantastic parenting that my friends and family do – passionately ensuring that their offspring become the kind of people that this world needs for the future. Being joyous in their children’s individuality and raising them with courage and boundless love. Teaching them that It’s not only ok to be different – its fantastic to be different.

It is such an important lesson – to be yourself and accept everyone else’s selves as well. It’s something us adults need to be reminded of from time to time.
So this post looks at some of what my wife and I hope to inspire in our son Toby – making sure that he can fully celebrate everyone’s unique qualities, including his own.


Patience

We live in a world where everything happens so fast, pictures transcend their cameras and are shared with the world in a click of the button. Son, don’t expect things to come easily to you. Value the hard work necessary to fulfil your achievements. (If a career in acting taught me anything, it’s that you have to work hard!) Be patient – it will happen 

Friendship/Caring
We want you to live in a world where it is ok for you to be YOU. Choose your friends based on who it makes you happy to be around – don’t be scared of other’s differences.We want you to care. Care about others, care about the world that you live in and care enough in a passionate way, to make a difference, making your stamp on this crazy world.

Independence
Know independence – lead your own path in the world – don’t be led at a cost to your own growth. Know your own mind – make decisions and stand by them. But we will always be here for you to fall back on, with no judgement – just love.

Happiness
Be led by what makes you happy – as long as it doesn’t hurt people in the process, why shouldn’t you chase happiness? We know that you will make every effort to instil happiness in others – to positively impact the lives of your family and friends. You bring a smile to our faces everyday – this is a great thing to achieve.

Respect 
We see so much disrespect, it’s sometimes hard to see past it – to the small differences that a single person can make. Treat possessions with respect, cherish them and care for them – you are lucky to have them. Treat people with respect – listen to them, value their time and energy. Respect yourself – treat yourself like the treasure that you are – you will always be the best thing that we ever did, our greatest achievement.

It’s ok to be different
Son, you are an individual. A single entity that is unlike anyone else. Celebrate what makes you, you and what makes others, them. Surround yourself with different people, they make you better. This richer life experience will give you a wider field of vision from which to see the world. 

Enjoy life, it is a precious, precious thing.
If we as parents can lead by example and help him find his way, then our job is done.
Tomorrow our family are all wearing odd socks in a celebration of #itsoktobedifferent.

This week is Down Syndrome Awareness week and Toby will be promoting the fact that it’s ok to be different.


Our friend Eddie is our inspiration. Toby has not met him yet, but instinctively Eddie is his friend – someone who inspires Toby (and Toby’s mum and Dad) to really be themselves. Especially when it celebrates the things that make them truly unique. 
So please join us, and celebrate your differences.
Tomorrow – if anyone asks why our socks are odd – we will tell them 
“Because, it’s ok to be different”.

TIB

ThatIsBeyond…David Gandy’s loungewear – a gift to Dads EVERYWHERE!


This week has been a haze of manic energy. Work has been busy, my one year old son has been poorly, I have driven through most of the south of England… oh and I got a new job!
What a modern Dad wants at the end of all that, is some hardcore sofa time, a beer and some bloody comfortable clothes! 

As a huge fan of The Gandy’s designer menswear, I was pleased to see the release of his newest collection,hit the shelves this week.
What you can expect is a contemporary play on his existing range in a wider selection of colours in the same palate. The quality is as ever, extremely high – David’s previous collections have walked the line of comfort and style so fluidly, that some of my favourite pieces are still in the “only to be worn by me pile” (as much as my wife tries to get her hands on them.)

Check out the masculine detailing on this fantastic dressing gown – an elongated curved lapel that creates that gentlemanly silhouette with a reference to a 20’s smoking jacket, large pockets and a tonal fabric that will keep this piece looking good for longer. Whilst running around after the little one, you may as well look stylish doing it, and this could be just the ticket.


As a man, I fully appreciate the effort that Gandy has put into creating his underwear range (which is a staple of my Pants Drawer!) Not only do they look fantastic on, but whichever your chosen style, they do their job – supporting the boys whilst remaining comfortable to wear. I am so excited to see the range of shorts has expanded in this collection, because after his underwear, his shorts really are the best in my humble opinion .

They ooze quality, with a stretch in the fabric that means comfort is never a compromise. And they are literally the most stylish comfort wear a new Dad could ask for (guys you need to take care of you as well a the kids and your partner).

These Supima Sateen Shorts are my favourite piece of the new collection – classic and yet contemporary these are going to look great, whether you have a beach bod to show off in just the shorts or whether like me one of the David Gandy collection Tees will be a better fit for the larger-framed fella.

There really is something for everyone – so why don’t you take a moment to relax in your Gandy’s? 

David Gandy says, “It’s so important to me to make the most of the rare moments when I get to relax. I travel a lot with work, and want to be as comfortable as possible, whether on the go or relaxing at the end of a long day. I don’t want to be changing constantly, so I have designed the range to be versatile; easy to layer, comfortable and good for hotter and cooler temperatures.

Which is great news for Fathers everywhere… welcome to your new “at home survival style kit.” And mine will be starting with this Hoodie (as soon as I get a moment to get to the shops!) 

The David Gandy for Autograph collection is available in store and online now!

http://www.marksandspencer.com/l/men/david-gandy-for-autograph


Thatisbeyond