Is it possible to shop for designer clothes and accessories without busting your bank account? Well, it all depends on where you look. During the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone has become more financially conscious; whether you lost your job, entered into a furlough scheme, kept your job from home or somewhere in between, it has been a tough year for everyone. During quarantine, everyone slouched around their houses in their pajamas, with no need for fancy clothes or expensive watches. But now the world is re-opening. Can you keep up?


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In the intersection between financial responsibility and buying luxury items lies a compromise. No, you can’t afford for every single item of clothing you buy to be Tommy Hilfiger or Ralph Lauren. But you don’t also have to live that Target clothing life either. There’s a middle ground between acting like Kanye West and living like a bargain hunter. So how can we achieve it?

Searching For Deals

Just like anything in life, there are gems to be found if you look hard enough. Designers will have you believe you should only be buying full-price items from the actual store, but this is simply untrue. For example, current Rolex prices from outlet stores and last season’s designs are much less hair-raising than an in-store price. That doesn’t mean the Rolex isn’t real, it just means you aren’t buying the latest edition of the watch. Simple.

The COVID-19 Effect

It isn’t only individuals who are having to tighten their purse strings this year. All around the world, companies are going into liquidation, suffering at the hands of this pandemic just like the rest of us. The companies who are clinging on for dear life are having to make sacrifices too - in the form of delicious deals for all of us. COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on all our lives, but the flip-side of this crisis is that prices are beginning to drop. You could bag that pair of trainers you’ve been eyeing up all year after all!

Returning To Work

We all became pretty accustomed to working at home this year, so now that some offices are reopening, it can come as a shock to the system. If you are returning to your old normality, you might be nervous about maintaining a good impression after not having seen your colleagues and bosses in some time. A statement piece such as a new pair of shoes, cufflinks, watch or bag could announce your re-entry into the workplace with a bang.


Similarly, job retention has never been more important than now. Everything you do should be memorable and impressive if you want to keep your hands on the role you currently have at work. Making a statement and taking work seriously means dressing like the man you want to be.

Conclusion

Although appearances aren’t everything, you can have your cake and eat it when it comes to looking sharp. All it takes is careful planning, some sneaky deal-finding and a dedication to looking sharp, even during a pandemic.





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Lockdown had many people trying out new things, the last thing I thought I would be doing is a wine tasting course in the comfort of our own home. The team at The Wine List reached out and asked if would like to try out their service. Spoiler alert – I am glad they reached out and so is my wife!

The Wine List is a subscription wine box whereby you get 2 bottles of wine, 2 interactive cards, and an introduction into wine booklet. Not only to The Wine List offer a subscription service, but it also acts as a wine course teaching you how to enjoy wine. I have to be honest here; I have never tried a wine that I enjoyed. However, there is a vast variety of grapes and wine types so I was probably always choosing the wrong one. 

The box arrived, I was worried about opening it and there just been a mass of glass along with a faint whiff of wine. The subscription box arrived extremely well packaged in 2 perfectly sized bottle packs. We received a Casa Castillo Monastrell 2017 (Red) and a Bico De Ran 2018 (White). We ordered copious amounts of local cheeses to go with wines, Luckily I chose the right cheese otherwise the pairing could have gone wrong!


The first thing I did was reading my way through the introduction to wine, as advised previously it isn’t something I have ever had any interest in so I thought I best start here. The introduction takes you through the four parts, Look, Taste, Smell, and Think. Each topic is covered on a page so it isn’t overwhelming and or complex for first-timers. It’s extremely descriptive and really helps you understand the wine you are about to devour.


The 2 interactive cards are such a good idea, especially for a wine amateur! On one side of the card, it gives you a full rundown on the wine. This includes food pairing, type of grapes, and region along with a good bit of trivia. This really helps us understand the wine before tasting, After all, you don’t want to pair it with the wrong dish! On the flip side of the card, you have what I can only describe as a review sheet. It provides you with the scales used to judger characteristics of the wine along with space to make any notes. There is also a space for a verdict. Although I am not a seasoned wine drinker this does help create a profile of the wine. The cards can also be kept as a reminder of what you have tried and enjoyed. 

I can honestly say I have never enjoyed wine, I can also honestly say I am still more of a craft beer fan. However, this was an extremely enjoyable experience. My wife enjoys a glass of wine and loved the Bico De Ran. 

I would highly recommend Wine List if you enjoy a glass, equally if you would like a home-based wine experience it really makes a great night in. Not only that if you are stuck for a present for a wine lover then it would honestly make an amazing gift. My wife and I will definitely be trying out another box, it was great trying a wine you wouldn’t buy.

Thank you for reading and if you would like a cheeky discount use code FRIENDS and get learning yourself! It doesn't always have to be spreadsheets and numbers.


If one thing this lockdown as taught me, it is that I need to look after myself a lot more than I normally do. I used to have a great grooming routine but over the last year or so I've been quite busy with work. Meaning any sort of routine went out of the window.

So being in lockdown has given me that extra time to bring this routine right back and god I definitely feel the benefits. I look better and also feel loads better in myself.
And this is all down to the Herbalife Unisex Skincare Products I have been using.




If you have visited my blog before you may have seen that I have worked with Herbalife before, if not then please check out my post here. Also, don't be too quick to judge we have found they have some great products when used correctly. 

Like I said my skincare routine was totally out of the window and, to be honest, my skin was starting to look quite old... well I am 37 now but I have always had quite good skin. Don't get me wrong I'm not Mr wrinkle yet but I do have a good few lines starting to appear. Not to mention the morning eye bags are coming along quite nicely.

I feel a lot more confident, I started posting a few more selfies and my wife as mentioned a few times that my skin is looking a lot better, which is always nice to hear.

We've reviewed quite a lot of skincare products on the blog and we have found some really good and some mediocre. I can honestly say I think I have found my favourite products within the Herbalife range. I'm really happy that I can let you guys know what I think. 

I was sent quite a few different products and I have used them all but there was a certain few which blew me away and they were that good that my wife and 14-year old son started using them too. This was a bit of a pain because they soon disappeared.


The first product I would like to tell you about is the Instant Reval Berry scrub. This is by far the best face scrub I have ever used, from the texture when rubbing it into your skin to the feel afterwards and the fragrance, it has it all. The antioxidant-rich scrub is fantastic, the berry seeds which are used for exfoliation smell amazing. To be honest, it's a pleasure to wash my face and I actually can not wait to use it, you definitely have the instant refreshing feeling afterwards. 
  • Fresh and fruity fragrance enlivens the senses.
  • Suitable for all skin types.
  • No added parabens. Sulphate-free.
  • Dermatologist tested.
Next up is a product I use every 3 days just after the berry scrub and it's the Soothing Aloe Cleanser. Once again another refreshing product which leaves my face feeling super clean and really soft. My skin is normally quite tough and dry so I think the aloe vera really leaves it feeling soft and moisturised. When I first started using this product I think I overdid it with the amount I used! I ended spending a lot of time rinsing it off because it lathers really well. It's another product which is a pleasure to use and look forward to using.  

  • Aloe vera-based cleanser with a fresh and gentle scent. Perfect for normal to dry skin.
  • Silky, soft lather gently removes excess oil, dirt and light makeup from the skin without irritation.
  • Aloe vera softens and moisturises the skin.
  • No added parabens. Sulphate-free.
  • Dermatologist tested.

Like I said above my skin is normally quite dry and I've noticed more since I shaved the beard off. More face was visible and it was clear I needed to moisturise more. This is where the daily glow moisturiser came in, It's an all-purpose hydrating lotion with illuminating properties which will give your face a nice glow. I noticed results using this product within about 5 days, I used it after my morning wash... which was normally around lunchtime when I finally got up and then I added a little bit later in the evening. I think I really helped to smooth out the smaller lines in my skin which in turn made my skin look a little bit younger. 
  • Helps diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in just 7 days.*
  • Clinically tested to show that skin looks more glowing and feels softer and smoother in just seven days.**
  • Clinically shown to double skin’s moisture for eight hours.***
  • No added parabens. Dermatologist tested.

I think the mix of the berry scrub, cleanser and then the moisturiser have worked wonders for me, they have brought life to my skin again and I still haven't used the night replenishing cream! Not that I can either! Because as soon as it arrived my wife took it and said she's having that! Having said that, she only has nice things to say I about it and uses it as her go-to night time moisturiser. 

This is the first unisex skincare product I've used and will carry on using. It also seems like a family favourite. I've had no issues like outbreaks since using it! I honestly have nothing negative to say and I hope all the stigma around Herbalife doesn't put people off trying out their products because they will not disappoint.


The products were gifted in return for our honest review
The market is absolutely flooded with men’s grooming products, from body wash to beard growth serum there is literally a product for everything. However, this is when the problem starts, the market gets saturated with poor products and it puts men who aren’t used to a skincare routine, off buying another one to try. Fortunately Carl and I have already done a lot of trialling for you, and there is one brand that always comes out on top. That brand is Men-U.


For those who are new to Men-U they were founded in the UK in 2001 that hold a vast range of products. Not only do they have a great range of products but they also come in various sizes. Meaning you don’t have to fill up your toiletries bag with huge bottles, their ‘buddy’ tubes are a great example. Compact 15ml tubes that pack 30 applications, and yes they really do have that many applications in them! A little definitely does a long way with these products.

So what can we recommend? Keep reading!

 

First off it has to be the black pepper and bergamot ultra-concentrate shower gel. This stuff smells unreal and the fragrance sticks around, lightly might I add. But this is what I love about this shower gel; it isn’t overpowering but leaves you smelling fresh and obviously… clean



Secondly, we have SLIC. This is a smooth leave-in conditioner; I have been using this as a pre-treatment before I jump in the shower. I put it on around 30 mins before and then rinse off. It is amazing how dry and damaged your hair and scalp can get. Use a product like this, even just once a week and your head will thank you.

 

Last but not least we have the ultra-concentrate shave cream. You are probably all thinking, it’s just another shaving cream to add to the long list. However, due to not shaving often and only lining up my beard I am quite prone to shaving rashes. I have tried many, only a few including this one help give a close enough shave but are gentle enough to help prevent razor burn.

 

I could honestly go on about Men-U’s line up forever. I was pretty much hooked when I first tried out their Ultra Matte moisturiser and it has been a product I have bought over and over again. A huge thanks to the team over at Men-U making for making this post possible and sending us some awesome products to try out. For me the buddy tubes are amazing, I am still amazed how little goes so far?



To say thank you to our readers the team over and Men-U have provided us with our very own discounts code. So head over to here and use discount code ABEV20 for a 20% discount– Don’t worry this isn’t an affiliate link either it is just some awesome discounts.


Also, don't forget to drop them a follow on Instagram and check out more of their products  

 

Thanks for reading and if you do end up checking out the Men-U range let us know what your favourites are in the comments below!


 
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