19 October 2016

What You're A Male blogger

Yep that's correct, I am what it says in the title!
And do you know, I'm not alone, yep that's right the male blogger community is growing daily, which for me is very exciting.

The reason it's so exciting is that us guys are starting to make a bit of a name for ourselves and the blogging community is starting to wake up to us also. 

So I started blogging about 18 months ago and even though that isn't all that long ago, the male blogger community has grown massively even since then.

I started my blogging journey because I noticed how happy it made my wife, I didn't do it because I wanted to tell the world my story or anything, I just wanted to give it a try, and to be honest I didn't think I would be very good at it either.

I don't read books at all, I'm not very opinionated and I have difficulty with my spelling and grammar.
In fact they are quite shocking at times.

I actually didn't really even know how to work a laptop properly when I started (other than to play games on it I mean) but, I gave it a try and resigned myself to the fact that I would more than likely quit after a month or so.

But it's 18 months later and I'm still here and I'm still really enjoying it all too.

One of the main reasons I am enjoying it is that I am part of a really supportive male bloggers community.

That was me showing my support for the male blogger community and not in any way me bashing/slating/having a go at the female blogging community.

I mean most of my followers and most of the people I follow and interact with on twitter are female bloggers and you all know my wife blogs too.
She's a female.

So now that's cleared up, lets get back to the male blogger community and talk about a brand who are  super supportive of male bloggers...


The opportunities us guys get are a quite lower than the ones offered to female bloggers but I get why - there are more female bloggers around - but as the male blogger community expands I can see a lot more PR and brands reaching out to guys which is really quite amazing.
Back at the start of my blog I actually saw Mankind reaching out to a few bloggers and I was lucky enough to be asked to be involved in some of their work.

My DA was non existent and I didn't really have much of a social following, but they still reached out and I fully accepted with open arms.
I thought it was amazing that they would include the newer, smaller bloggers within their campaigns - they really showed a lot of faith in us.

In fact they seemed to have quite a lot of faith in me because around three months ago I was asked if I wanted to become a Mankind Band Ambassador, which, yes, I also accepted with my arms wide open.
I was really pleased to have been asked.

So just prepare yourself for a lot more male grooming hints, tips and products from my blog in the future.

I have to say, being asked to be an ambassador is crazy, I mean I still find it strange when I get called "an influencer", I mean, I'm just Carl from Bradford.
The guy who one day decided to write somethings on the Internet and now a popular brand want me to be an ambassador for them?!

It still makes me feel a little confused and shocked but maybe that's my lack of confidence coming through...maybe I should believe in myself a bit more, obviously others believe in me...

Anyway, less rambling about me, more on the brilliant Mankind.

You may have seen one of my recent posts featuring some brilliant Mankind products and if so then you will know all about what the company is and does, but if not, here it is to take a look at.
Or you can browse their web site, have a good look around - I'm positive you will find everything you could possibly need to know.

I've been sent a few premium grooming boxes in the past which were all packed full of grooming products, many which have featured on blog.

Every time I receive one of the boxes I'm like a kid at Christmas, opening them up to see what's inside as fast as possible.
They are truly amazing and not one of the boxes has been a disappointment, I've really loved using all of the new, different types of products from all of the new, exciting brands.

So let me introduce you to what I've been using last month and these landed on my doorstep in the August premium grooming box's...

This box was brilliant a let down either, not only was it packed with products, but it had a nice little bonus item too - and that wasn't even a grooming product.

The surprise was actually this lovely pair of socks from the well known brand Levis and I'd say they would go perfectly with my black skinny 501.....but I grew out of them a while ago waist wise.

The socks have some great detail within them and are made from superior combed cotton and they will definitely add a splash of colour to help bridge the gap from my trouser hem to my shoes.

Now let's talk about the grooming products.

First up there was a shower wash and just by reading the group name you know it's going to be awesome.

Mr Natty Shipwreck Shower Wash.
Made in England

It is inspired by their signature Shipwreck soap which I definitely need to try because this smells and cleans your body so well and gives you the morning kick start you need to get up and get going on your daily duties, which may possibly have something to do with the added caffeine to the famous patchouli vetiver coco scent.

It will give your body the complete wash, it's great for hair and body and anything else you feel may need scrubbing and it was very beard friendly too, which is a must for me.

Next up something that has never featured on my blog before and a lot of guys - including myself - often overlook.

Lip balm.

Now especially with the colder weather approaching and 90% of my new job being spent outside braving the conditions, dry lips is something that I suffer a lot with but this Jack Black Fresh Mint Lip Balm will easily sort me out and it will no longer be a problem.

The balm is a non-waxy stick which offers soothing hydration for maximum lip comfort and whilst I've not used it loads yet it already has my lips feeling super soft.
(I would say ask my wife but that would mean she would have to kiss me to find out, and we all know once you are married that stops....)

Next up, a bit of skincare, and I actually can not tell you much about this because I haven't used it yet, because I have been trying out something else very simialr.
Once that comes to an end though, I will be jumping straight onto this Imedeen product because I have heard so many good things about them.

Look out for a future post featuring them.

Now on to a little hair care which includes products to help keep my hair clean and a product to style it with.

My hair is mega thick and doesn't handle moisture quite well, after washing, it dries really fuzzy which isn't a great look if I forget to style it in a morning,
But then, if I do style it when it is still damp then I loose any hold factor the product i am using gives me.

And what's been cleaning and taming the fuzz lately?

The shampoo and conditioner I have been using is from the male grooming giants Men-U.
I've used many of their products before and would easily put them up there in my top five grooming brands.

The shampoo is anionic (negatively charged) and the conditioner is cationic (positively charged).
In all honesty I have no clue what any of that means but it sounds quite funky,
Plliance know that if the products smell great and leave hair clean and feeling super soft more people will invest.
Ooh and I've also noticed that my hair looks a lot healthier now I've used this quite a few times, helping to make my hair easier to style in a morning with Hanz De Fuko Gravity Paste.

Normally my hair is too thick for a paste to give it the hold it needs to stay styled throughout the day but this did quite well.
This innovative new product works best on dry hair and it is perfect for me because that's how I normally use products, and it also has a new "Super-Grip" technology which activates once the product is applied.

With my hair type I'd give this product a 6/10 which is a good rating because I am a funny bugger when it comes to my hair.

I hope you have enjoyed this post and I'd love to know if you have used any of the products featured before and what you think of them. 

products sent for a honest review,all opinions and photos are my own

14 September 2016

Where Did Summer GO

I know what you're thinking...

Who nicked Summer? 

It only seems like two minutes ago that I was getting my garden all nice and ready for summer and getting really excited about spending a bit of family time relaxing in it. 

Did I do much of that?...Nope. 

I know we've had some really hot days but it hasn't been consistent enough for us to be able to do much at home especially considering that during the week of the UK's mini heatwave I was away at the East Coast having a really good time with my kiddies.
And I was all prepared to take total advantage of our pretty, rural location and had loads of outfit shots planned but it just wasn't to be - we had a bit of an issue with our accommodation you see and had to cut our holiday short so outfits plans were pushed to one side.

Then, I had another week booked off of work to have some more time with the family but the Friday before I had an accident at work which meant stays in hospital, seeing a plastic surgeon and an operation.
Then I spent the rest of my week off resting up at home.

So all in all you could say I've not had the best of summers really. 

But one good thing I did this summer was take part in the Bonprix summer style challenge - I had to pick an outfit I would wear in the summer and style it. 

To be honest I actually wear summer clothes all year round, I'm not one to dress for seasons really because comfort is key in my eyes. 

I wear shorts almost everyday, and in the summer, the shorter the shorts the better.

I think guys should get their legs out a lot more.
I don't know if it's because I play rugby and the shorts that are supplied with the kits are quite tiny but I find I feel more comfortable in the shorter style.

But one of my personal pet hates - 3/4 length pants - I mean who even invented them and WHY?

They aren't fashionable at all and I just don't understand what they are about...Do you? 

I'm not even a fan of shorts which touch the knees, I mean guys, if we are going to get our legs out then we should at least show them off to their full potential...and the shorter the shorts the more tan we get.

I teamed my shorts with all white - I think bright white clothing and accessories look really fresh which is a great look in the summer.

I like crisp white pumps and white polo's - they are some of my summer essentials and I think thy work really well with my hot pant...ish denim shorts.

And if you know me then you'll know I'm a bit of a Mr Snap Back - I have always loved hats and have a huge collection...all of which now reside in my son's bedroom.

I definitely think this plain white one goes perfectly with the whole outfit.

What are your summer essentials?  

What do you think of the outfit? 

Are the shorts too short?

Do you agree that guys should embrace getting their legs out? 

Let me know what you think in the comment section below. 


13 September 2016

My Grooming Routine

I feel like I have let the bearded brotherhood down lately, not to mention myself.

Right at the beginning of my blog, I told myself and my readers that I would be posting something beard related at least once a month, and now, here I am, coming up to my eighth month of no beard related content.

I feel like such a let down.

The thing is though, I never really set out initially to blog about beards, beard grooming and related products, but one of my first posts was about beard oil which went down so well I felt obliged to my readers to carry the theme on.
And it wasn't just the guys that were really positive about this topic area either, I received a really good response from females too - not because they were looking for products for their beards ;) - but they said those types of posts really helped them with gift ideas for partners or gave advice to male family members about how to beard groom properly.

And I'm always happy to help.

So how is my beard I hear you ask?

Well, it's fine thank you and is growing by the day.
It's actually growing all the more ginger by the day too (which is where my little girl gets her flame hair from!) but I have my trusty beard dye to help solve this problem.

About four months ago I had a hair cut and a bread trim and it was my first since I took part in a campaign called Decembeard to raise money for bowel cancer.
The rules during the campaign month of December stated that I wasn't allowed to trim my beard at all and I was cool with that as I prefer the more fuller looking beard anyway.
But when I did have "the trim" the barber took a little too much off of the sides, leaving my beard looking a little too pointy on the chin area and I didn't like it at all.

So to try and compensate and get the shape back that I like I have had a go at not touching it at all again, but when my beard grows it grows with a vengeance and I reached the stage where I simply had to get it under control.

To tame the the fuzz I used all of these...

The Wahl Beard Trim (which has a integrated comb) helped to trim and neaten everything up.

I don't even think this kit is out to buy yet but when it is it will be found in the gift section for men over at Debenhams - I was lucky enough to be asked to give it a good test before it's launch date so it was perfect timing really. 

The kit contains a rechargeable trimmer which runs off of advanced lithium powers and can be used for up to 150 minutes from a full 3 hour charge.
What I like about lithium is that it will work for a good 3 minutes from a 1 minute charge - perfect for that quick 'tash shape. 

Included there is also an adjustable guide comb which gives seven cutting length options ranging from 2mm to 24mm.

It has precision ground blades to give an awesome cutting performance due to it's finer spaced teeth meaning a finer quality of cut.

You also get a cleaning brush, some blade oil and scissors which, I think,  should all be included as standard when you buy a trimmer because they are all needed and are all useful.

The people over at Wahl also chucked in a 10ml bottle of beard oil for me to try too.

Us bearded guys can't get enough of that oil. 

What did I think?
Well, I found the trimmer to be absolutely perfect for me if I'm honest.
It is a really great compact trimmer which has a lot of power behind it and I've used it quite a few times now, both for a major grooming session and then for just a little neaten up and it works equally well for both tasks.

There was no pulling or snagging of hairs - something I've found happens a lot with other trimmers - it cut with ease and precision and made everything effortless. 

It is also really easy to clean and has handy rinse-able blades. 

The sterling beard oil is a nice blend too and has a nice citrusy, fresh scent and isn't too thick either.

It left my beard looking and smelling great.

Now that's the desired shape achieved, next onto sharpening my cheekbone line and removing the excess hairs from around the back of my neck but I don't use any regular shaver for all of this - I use a professional shavette.

This was my first time using anything other than a standard razor.

And the one I used was the MBA Shavette which has been designed similar to a cutthroat razor.

The shavette is a very distinctive stylish razor designed to help save time on the morning grooming routine and is available to buy from Mobile Barbering Academy for only £20.

The shavette is all metal and is weighted too which helps to take weight out of shaving itself.
There is also an additional thumb placement area for when backhand shaving.

It uses disposable razors which are so easy to fit and change when needed and they lock in very secure for the perfect shave.

I'm am really impressed with this shavette and have had to ask myself why I have never used one before - it really was effortless using this and it left me with such a smooth finish and a very nice clean edge to my cheekbone.

Next up Just For Men Mustache And Beard Dye

I've dyed my beard quite a few times now and it's not something I do because I'm vain - it's something I do because I need to do.
It looks so much better without all of the grey and ginger showing through and without the dye I would say it is about 30% ginger or grey!

I always find this product so easy to use and it literally takes about ten minutes to compete the process from start to finish and the results are always amazing.

I have quite a dark beard around the ginger so I personally use the dark brown product but you can get other shades to suit your colouring perfectly.

And if you do ever use this product yourself then please read the instructions - including the bit regarding the allergy test.

Safety first!

So, beard is trimmed, edged to a good shape and now the grey and ginger hairs have gone.

Now its time to add the finishing touches my the amazing wooden comb and oil from Lewis Hill.

The comb is a made from hard wood and is awesome to use, it runs smoothly through my beard and doesn't snag one bit like some plastic combs do.

I use this comb every morning and it is by for one of my favorite beard grooming products.

The oil is organic and comes in a 30ml bottle, is not tested on animals either and it is suitable for Vegans and Vegetarians.

The oil is made from grape seed, crambe seed and almond oil which give it a nice sweet scent and it feels so good on my beard and gives it a lovely shine.

Both are great products and are reallywell made and definitely make me feel like "The Distinguished Gentleman".

I actually put together a little video of myself using all of these products - please go have a watch to see just how easy they are to use.

And don't forget to subscribe!

Let me know in the comments below if you think the products have made a difference to me from start to finish won't you.

And let me know if you (or your other half) have a similar routine?


I was sent the items for review purposes, all opinions and photos are my own.

4 September 2016

All The Gear, No Idea

If you are a return visitor to my blog, then you may have read my post about the battle I have with my addiction to food and then trying to eat healthier - don't worry if you missed it because you can click here to have a read.

Well, in that post I mentioned that I would be writing a post about me and my newly found motivation which has really helped with my fitness and will hopefully help me start to live a much healthier lifestyle and make me feel a lot better about myself.

I've always been an active guy, I've been playing rugby for the last 8 years on and off due to various injuries including a full knee reconstruction.

But about 8 months ago my gym membership ran out and since then I have done nothing and I totally lost all of my motivation.

I picked rugby up again this summer which highlighted just how unfit I really am.

So what was the plan?
No gym membership, no motivation and to be honest not much time.

Well I decided the only option was to get myself out in a morning and get myself out for a run before work.
Bearing in mind though, I start work most mornings at 6:30am, so I began with a little 10 minute jog around the block which I built up to a nice steady run after a week or so and then I found I could even add in a few little sprints.

I was going out around 4 times a week and was starting to feel really quite good, I didn't notice any weight loss though but I felt better which was the main thing.

Normally, with my previous lack of motivation I would have quit after about a week but this time I not only feeling quite good, I was also out and looking quite good whilst I was doing it.

Have you ever heard the saying,

"All the gear, no idea"

Well that was me.

I was looking great and was fully kitted out by New Balance from head to toe.

And to help even more I was able to blast out the tunes in style, without my earphones falling out every two minutes thanks to Motorola and their new bluetooth VerveRider+ .

And if you run a lot then you will know that wearing the correct footwear is essential, not just to look good either, but to aid you and to enhance your performance...but for me...it's mainly to look good!

This lovely looking pair are the New Balance Vazee Pace

The description states that they are red and black but the red fades in to a striking fiery orange which really helps to make these trainers stand out so much.

They are really light weight and are engineered for the relentless need for a faster pace and they also have the RevLite technology which is a cushioned foam in the mid-sole area which wraps around your foot like a second skin helping the trainers feel super comfy when running on all surfaces and helps maintain a good speed.

I've had tonnes of comments on the trainers when I have been out and about too.

Another essential when out running for me is music but finding a good pair of earphones is quite hard.

I've tried them all, from the ones you get free with your phone to my huge Dre Beats and then to a standered pair of Bluetooth ones, but I've had issues with them all. 

They are either really poor quality, are too big and clumpy for running or too small with the wire getting on my nerves with every step.

And then the ear bud fall out mid run, usually when I've reached a good pace, they swing around and then whack me in the face - totally off putting and definitely performance limiting.

But these Motorola VerveRider+ have truly won me over.

They are light weight, they produce perfect HD sound and are so comfy that I've forgotten I've had them in quite a few times now.

Plus, when you've worked up quite a sweat there's no need to worry because these bad boys are waterproof too. 

Even when you are running at a good pace and the bud falls out, u can simply put them to the end of the holder and they magnetise to it, so non of the swinging around whacking you in the face.

  • IP57 Water and Sweat Proof
  • aptX Technology for Rich HD Sound
  • Integrated Microphone
  • Up To 12 Hours Playtime
  • Up To 150 ft Bluetooth Range

It took all of about 10 seconds to sync these up to my phone and they auto connect every time I turn them on - which is brilliant.

I love these so much that I like to keep them on so I can blast out some tunes or just sit and watch YouTube whenever I feel the need

They were a great help on my recent visits to hospital too when I drilled through my wrist and had to have an operation. 

They are brilliant.

And so is this New Balance Max Speed Short Sleeve Top in heaver grey

But before I tell you about it I would just like to say that you will never find a comfier top, it feels really amazing on.
I hate it when a top is really clingy, and fits in some places but not in others but this just seems to flow perfectly over my body.

Which is due to it's 91% polyester and 9% spandex materiel mix (not quite the 100% spandex that Eddie Murphy wore in the Nutty Professor movie when he turned in to Buddy Love but that's how good I felt when I put in on - Buddy Love levels!)

It has a vented hem and the underarm gusset provides a better range of movement which is great if you are an arm swinger when running like me.

Then to go with the top I have the New Balance 7" Shift Shorts In Black

Once again these are a great fitting and really comfy product.

They just hang above the knee which is a little longer than I normally like but I think this is because I am quite a short ass!

They also have a zipped pocket on one side which is perfect for my phone so I can keep it synced up to my earphones.

You my have noticed the bandage on my left arm, well this was me three days after my op you see...

Are you are all feeling sorry for me yet..?

I always feel more confident and comfortable when I think I look good, and am dressed well, and that goes for when I am out and about training too.

Is that the same for you? 

Anyway, so that's my sportswear and accessories covered for the fitness and motivation but I figured,seeing as how my earphones and trainers have a bright orange theme to them I thought it only right that I talked about a healthy snack...with an orange twist to it too...

Well I say snack, this was more like a treat packed full of protein...and full of chocolate too...a win win situation if you ask me.

These are the Premium Lux Protein Flapjack From Body Building Warehouse which are made with toasted oats and real chunks - huge chucks - of white chocolate which really melt in the mouth.

They are reallya great source of protein, containing 20g in each portion.

When you take the first bite they do seem quite dry but then the chocolate melts and they taste fantastic.
I found eating these in a morning took away the mid-morning hunger pangs which would normally see me wanting to eat something really unhealthy. 

I hope you have enjoyed this post - I would love some feedback on the post and comments section below and if you don't already please follow me on my social media networks below.


I was sent the products for a review but all photos and opinions are my own.