Well, thank you for stopping by my blog again and if this is your first visit please feel free to check over some of my older posts.
I know I haven't been the most consistent male blogger around lately but this is a little promise from me to you that I am back at it now and hopefully will be posting weekly - and if that goes well then maybe twice a week.

So, what's been going on - well I've just turned 35... OMG...yes, in 5 years I will be 40.

How depressing is that?

I keep asking myself the same questions:

 Will I have a midlife crisis soon?

Will I have to start wearing a flat cap?

Will I have to soon hand over my snapback collection to my son?

And does my age mean that now my rugby career is over?
Well, I say "career", what I actually mean is "the odd game that I participate in as a hobby every now and again".

To be honest, the answer to all of the above is that I ain't going to be doing any of them.

I'm not depressed in the slightest about getting older, I mean my life is amazing at the moment and that is down to three special people, so there'sno chance of a "midlife crisis happening".

A flat cap?  Well, I wouldn't be seen dead in one so that kind of answers that one and then as for my snap backs, my collection is getting bigger and bigger by the day and I'll probably be wearing them in my 80's.

I've never been the best rugby player anyway but what I lack in skill and talent I try to make up for in heart and passion.
I actually stopped playing rugby league last summer and I have missed it if I'm honest but I know my body just isn't up to the speed of the game anymore so I decided to give it a miss this year.

This resulted in a bit of a downfall with my weight because as I had nothing to train for I lost the little bit of fitness I had, but I've now decided to join the open age side of the Rugby Union club my son plays for.
It's actually the third team who are called the Beaver's and they are players of all ages - some are even a lot older than me so I figured if they can do it there should be nothing stopping me...but I need to run this past the wife first...
She knows injury tally is quite high at the moment.

Now that I'm getting on a bit, one of the things I am a bit worried about is my fashion sense, especially on the rare occasion I do manage to take my son to school and spot not many parents dressed like me at all - I'm definitely one of the odd ones out dressed in my Snoop Dog top, my jean shorts and a backwards cap.

And this got me thinking, is there an age for what people should wear?
It's something that has played on my mind quite a lot actually, even without me knowing - one of my first ever blog posts was titled Do I Dress Too Young?

But I love how I dress, it's me!

I feel confident and always feel comfy which is a real key factor in every outfit I put on - there's no worst feeling than the anxiety caused when I feel restricted in clothes - I always feel so claustrophobic, it's awful.

I know we've had a good few hot days recently and I'm hoping for a lot more to come so I can go out and take some more amazing fashion post shots and show you guys the sort of things I love wearing at thirty-five years of age and show you that you can wear what you want no matter what age you are.

And here is what I've been wearing recently when we went away as a family on a little birthday trip



The outfit is quite basic but that's just how I like it - comfy, casual and unfussy.

So, let's start from the bottom up.

I think a fresh pair of white kicks should be a staple in everybody's wardrobe, male or female, they basically go with everything, from a sporty, everyday get up, to something a little more smart casual and then to very smart - trainers and suits are a thing you know - however with these being so bright a problem is created - how on earth do you keep the things clean?

The only answer for that is, "I don't wear them too often"!


These are the White Canvas Old Skool Vans and don't they look amazing - they are from the brilliant people over at Jakes Shoes too

I mean come on, Vans, who doesn't love a good pair of Vans right?

I've still got an old pair of the famous reds ones kicking around somewhere I'm sure



And here's a nice bit of Vans background information for you - it's something I didn't know and found it quite interesting anyway.

The classic Vans Old Skool in white is a staple part of any trendsetter's wardrobe. Before the Old Skool was originally released, Vans founder Paul Van Doren was known as a doodler, and always had a pencil and pad close; he drew up the simple wave-like side stripe and called it the “jazz stripe”. The Vans side stripe originally appeared on the now iconic; Style 36 aka Old Skool in 1977, which just so happened to be Vans very first leather skate shoe.

I know it'snot common to know the history behind an item of clothing, so I'd just thought I would chuck it in for reference



 Jakes Shoes - the amazing people who sent these kick my way - are actually an independently run family business who offer a wide choice of shoes, slightly different to those on offer from the high st.

I mean you name it, they have it - men's, ladies, kids and even a huge selection of different accessories.

If you're ever looking for something a little different, a little quirky then I would definitely suggest checking them out, you never know, you may find the shoe you have always been looking for...and at a good price too.


Back to the outfit - the shorts I wore are recycled from an older post I worked on last year for Father's Day and they are from Next.

These have been my go-to shorts ever since I got them - I have big thighs you see so I had to size up a waist size when I ordered them just so they would fit my legs, but actually, I feel the baggier waist fits in with the outfit better



And then last but not least is this very cool Lock Up Baseball Tshirt from a cool up and coming independent clothing label called Original & Unrestored

If you've read my blog for a while now then you will know that I'm a massive fan of independent clothing retailers and I love featuring them on my blog.

They have so may cool items on their site, I have a couple more pieces to show you too which will feature on my blog quite soon - make sure you don't miss them...

"Original & Unrestored are the t-shirt people and wear their lives on their sleeves".




What do you think of the outfit? 

CARL
BLOGLOVIN | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM
Items were sent for an honest review, all pictures and words are my own

So it's that time of year again, the time where I start to get the odd invite here and there to attend a fabulous wedding or two...and whilst I'm not saying I'm Mr Popular or anything, I already have two invites lined up as it is.

I'm really hoping that the weather on these special days will be something like what we have had over the past few weeks - it's been roasting hot hasn't it and yes, whilst I will hold my hands up and admit that there were a few times where I was one of the people having a "it's too warm to work" moan, on a wedding day the weather has simply got to be perfect hasn't it.

Myself and Simone fell quite lucky really with the weather on our big day whilst we were up there in sunny Gretna.
The sun was shining, the skies were blue but it wasn't too hot either - it was perfect and our photographer managed to get some brilliant pictures - amazing for when we want to reminisce and look back on our day.



I've been quite fortunate really in that over the past few years, probably since I started blogging actually, I've had the opportunity to wear a lot of amazing suits - many with quite a hefty price tag too but this wasn't always the case.

In fact at the time - almost six years ago now - our wedding day was the first time I had worn a suit in years - I actually didn't own one and couldn't afford a fancy thing like some of the ones I have in my wardrobe now - so what did I do?

I went for a mega budget buy from Matalan that's what.

Don't get me wrong though, I did like the suit but I didn't really have any fashion know how back then - I just grabbed the cheapest suit which looked OK and that fit.

It's quite strange when I look back now - I make so much more effort for other people's weddings than I did for my own.
(not if we ever did it again though...not at all...)


But anyway, I have some suit related questions...

What do I wear for the weddings that I have been invited to?

Do I re-use one of the suits I have at the moment?


Do I swap and change a few things about and mix it all up with a few new accessories?

Do I go out and find a brand new suit?

I think accessories would be the cheapest option really - I could add a few striking details such as a really stand out pocket square and matching bow tie to freshen the suits up.

But then again, there is nothing quite like putting on a fresh, brand new suit and knowing it looks great.




I'm the sort of person who's confidence soars when I feel good - especially if I'm in a good outfit.
Wearing an old suit might make me uncomfortable; maybe people have noticed me in it before from a previous party - and I can't be having that...

I'm very definitely it two minds as what to do and I would really appreciate a little help on the matter - feel free to leave comments below on what you would do or what you think I should do.

CARL

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Have you ever felt that you're not good enough at something and the pressure to be better brings on so much stress that it almost brings you to quitting?

Well this was me at the back end of 2016.

When I started blogging it was a whole new world to me, writing for enjoyment was something I had never done before - ever, but for some reason I naturally took to it and by my own admission I did get quite popular and well known quite fast.

But that seems so long ago now, yet it was only two and a half years ago.

I know that people do still say that male bloggers are rare but back when I started we were kind of none existent, well not totally, maybe just there, hiding in the shadows a little bit.
Nowadays though everywhere you look there is a new male blogger popping up and I think it is such a great thing, but I do still feel we are quite a way off from catching up to the scale of the female blogger community.

Back when I began I don't seem to recall there being many smaller male bloggers around - the ones already on the scene were all already quite well established and therefore I felt I had some really good male blogger role models to look up to and gather some insight from of places where I hoped to be someday.

But like I said, writing for fun was never a hobby of mine, nor did I ever expect it to become one - I've always struggled with my spelling and grammar you see but it's something I've always been honest about - with the amount of 'odd mistakes' I make it really isn't something I could hide anyway but I always hoped that my content would grip people, making them want to read the post and then perhaps said flaw could be overlooked...

I do realise there are so many things to consider when it comes to blogging - good content, great pictures, SEO, being a whiz on social media, but with my blog I wanted to focus on the things I felt I was good at rather than muddling through, trying to get each and every factors spot on all of the time.

For me my content and being really social on different social media platforms were my strongest points, I still don't really know much about SEO but I feel I must be doing OK because quite a lot of my posts get really good views daily from Google searches and people looking for things similar to what I'm talking about in the posts.

My content is and always will be totally honest and original and for this I have been complemented loads of times - which is better than great.  

And I know that my blogging routine my be a bit different to others because I never know what I'm going to write until the laptop is open in front of me and I start typing and I do think this is why my content is a little all over the place sometimes, but I think that's OK - it's me and it's real life.

I do find social media really easy and I don't often schedule posts so 99.9% of my tweets are live and I have found that the more sarcastic you are the more interaction you get - which again is perfect for me because I am very much like this all of the time.
I do wish I had more time to tweet and interact through the day though but sometimes with work I don't even get chance to make a brew let alone load up social media but I do always try to get back to people who have interacted with me once I am home though.

My biggest blogger struggle has to be taking them damn PHOTOS - it really isn't easy and it' this part that almost forced me to quit my blog.

I find taking photos of products OK, mainly because I usually try to annoy my wife about it until she offers to do them for me but it's the outfit shots for my fashion posts which I really struggle with and it is such a shame because I love writing these posts; I love fashion and I've found that they are by far the most popular topic of post on my blog.

Finding time to dress up and find photo taking locations during the working week is impossible - I work really long hours every day and then weekends are taken up with Dad duties and taking my son to play both rugby league and rugby union.

There's certainly no time for fancy photo editing either once I have the photos taken - I could never get my shots as perfect as all of those male bloggers I looked up to managed to get theirs looking.

I don't have nice looking, bright white houses on my door step or beautiful, picturesque parks with amazing boating lakes surrounded by perfect flower beds or use as stunning backdrops...I wish I did but nope.

Outside of my house I have half a broken council fence, a tiny patch of seen better days grass, my park pond has about 4 upside down trolleys shoved in which have been nicked from the local Tesco that are swimming next to a lovely mixture of Special Brew cans and White Lightning bottles which the four poor ducks that live there are using as an assault course.

Don't get me wrong, my hometown Bradford does have some very beautiful places but finding the time to get to them can really be a struggle.

I felt so much pressure to get my photos right that I didn't do any outfit posts for ages and I'll admit I felt so jealous when I saw the bloggers I looked up to producing their amazing pictures and then watching their following shoot up partly because of it.

And jealousy was a strange feeling for me because I've never wanted to be like anybody else before and I've never really looked at other bloggers following and compared it to mine...but it was something I found myself feeling more and more and I didn't like it.

So I wanted out.

I still felt this way until a couple of weeks ago actually.

You may of seen quite a bit of drama on Twitter around the subject of cheating on different social media platforms to gain a higher following and for some reason seeing all of this negativity in the blogging community actually fired me up and gave me a massive kick up the arse to get going again and for a few reasons really.

The main one being that actually, as it turned out a few of the bigger bloggers I looked up to - who I still admit do produce killer photos and content - were found to be cheating their way into getting some of their amazing opportunities and their huge followings...it wasn't always a natural progression, so why on earth should I be jealous of that.

So last weekend I pulled out a selection of clothes that I admittedly should have blogged about a while ago, and I put together an outfit.
I pulled my son away from playing with his friends and told him he had to come with me and take some photos (luckily he said yes)

We had a little drive around and I remembered a little spot that I'd seen near to our local post office collection point the last time I picked up a parcel.
  
The location was a really old youth centre within an estate that had a little graffiti wall area.

It was perfect and, well, here are the results of a quick, spur of the moment, thrown together outfit and my amazing son's camera skills using a really random backdrop in a council estate...

And I'll take you through the outfit too.



The Snapback is from Salaam Apparel and is the 'Gold on Black Tree of Life' with leather brim snapback.

The gold jacket is from Boohooman



The Snoop Dogg tee is also from Boohooman

The black bomber jacket and black skinny jeans are both from Jacamo




And I'll be totally honest I haven't a clue where the watch is from.









But the white leather High Top Pumps are from Boohooman too



I would love to know what you think of this post, the outfit choice and the location, so don't be shy and leave me a comment or two.

CARL


As the colder days seem to be past us now it's quite likely that our skin is in need of some TLC.

I know for certain that my skin has taken a battering from the awful winter chill so it has never been as important as it is now for me to have a set of good male grooming products in my life.

Over the winter most of my days have been spent outside working, and my face is the only part of my body which hasn't been wrapped up from the often terrible weather.

Two pairs of socks, thick work pants with long-johns underneath (on the very cold days),
a tee shirt, jumper, fleece, wooly hat and gloves have formed my uniform most days.

Definitely not the most fashionable attire but it helps to keep me nice and cosy.

I'm not a fan of the cold at all and I don't think I will ever get used to being outside for hours in horrible weather conditions - by now, after doing a similar style job for sixteen years, you would think I would be more than comfortable with it, but I'm really not.

If you have read my blog before or if follow me on on any of my social media channels (if not, why not?) then I bet you are thinking that there's no way I should be moaning about my face getting cold when there's only about 30% of it not covered in hair.

No, I'm not Teen Wolf before you ask, I just have a really good, thick beard and an even better mop on top of my head.

And so, when it comes to choosing my skincare I really need to remember this hair and find something which is beard friendly.

But back to the cold - I don't know about you but my skin becomes really dry in the colder weather - my beard goes really brittle too and as well as not being ideal for me it also gets me in the bad books at home because the hair just falls out everywhere which the wife isn't impressed with.

So to try and eliminate these factors let me tell you what I have been using recently.

I'm not a big fan of mixing products and I like using things which are from the same brand at the same time and the range I was sent recently from grüum has been perfect for this.

grüum state that they are "every man's alternative to the overpriced, underwhelming high street grooming brands" and they have a very minimalist Scandinavian design which definitely stands out, as does their philosophy to supply the modern day man with all of his grooming product needs for a fraction of what would normally be paid.


Sounds good, but what about the products themselves?

I have been looking particularly at a beard maintenance gift set that I was kindly sent which contains a beard wash, an oil, a wax, as well as a face wash, a moisturiser and facial tonic.


For many years now I have been given quite a few different gift sets on occasions such as my birthday or for Christmas but to be honest, I never really use them, mainly because they are more often than not some sort of Lynx set which don't really agree with me...but they do make great presents for other people ;)



But this set by grüum, I'm a massive fan of because the products have kept my skin well hydrated, looking fresh and feeling really soft.

The face wash and moistuirser really complement each other and for myself, there is no better feeling after a hard days work in awful, cold conditions, covered in all sorts of filth and grease, than getting a nice warm bath and pampering myself with some really refreshing products.

The eucalyptus in the face wash is extremely refreshing and never fails to wake me up when I've used it early in the morning and because I'm normally up for work between 5am and 6am I love this as I need all the help I can get - it's an essential for me.

It also exfoliates really well, removing horrible dead skin cells and dirt, which is never a bad thing and I feel like a new man once I've leathered it on.

The wash is really nice and light and the moisturiser absorbs fast into the skin, both smell really great too.

But as with a lot of mosturisers, I've found my face can often look quite shiny after I use them and this is where the facial tonic works it's wonders for me.

It can also be used after shaving to help the skin heal but I will never get to try this side of it out because the beard is here to stay.



Just like the face wash, the beard wash is really refreshing which is down to the mixture of eucalyptus and orange within it which also helps give it a lovely, very sweet smelling aroma when it is being used.

After using all of these products I've noticed, almost immediatly, that my beard has really softened up and is looking really well and I have to say that I think it even looks a lot thicker too - that beard wash is one of my favorite products from the bunch for this very reason.



Both the beard oil and wax have really helped me bring a little shape to my beard once it is clean - I don't use these daily for work or anything but if I'm going out for the day I will use them both together as the make a great little combination.

They are subtly scented with blends of spearmint, thyme and rosemary and none of them are really overpowering either which I like - in the past I have found that a really over powering scent on the beard can get really annoying and, put simply, will really get up my nose all day.
I've hated this so much in the past that I've actually had to wash the products off half-way through the day just because the scent was too much.



This gift set has everything I could want for all of my grooming needs and I know I will definitely run out of it all really quickly because I use it that often.

So go check out grüum and don't worry if you don't have a beard and you don't need a grooming kit for it, they have a few different gift sets tailored to many individual needs and tastes.

No one is left out by grüum.

CARL
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