Let me ask you a question - if someone wears a band t-shirt and they don't know who the band is, does it bother you 

Being a blogger I am stuck in the middle of so many different opinions when it comes to fashion and I know that there are a few mixed opinions surrounding this subject. 

My opinion is no it doesn't bother me and this is simply because fashion for me is more about how you feel when you are wearing something rather than what it actually is that you are wearing.

I bet you're thinking "what a random start to a blog post" but I do have reasons behind it. 

A couple of weeks ago myself and my son were invited out for a spot of lunch and a visit to the pictures.
My son being the age that he is, he wanted to dress up for the occasion and asked if he could wear one of his new jumpers. 

The jumper in question was a Run DMC number, and as we were walking towards the event venue he looked down at it and asked, "Is Run DMC a good make?"


He's at a stage now where he will only wear branded clothing and I actually think he was just making sure that what he was wearing was branded so when I explained that Run DMC wasn't actually a clothing brand but was an old school Rap/Hip-Hop group he was a bit shocked.
We had a conversation about band tops being really fashionable and he was reassured that he looked good and was happy in what he was wearing.

We carried on the conversation a little and he asked me where he could get similar tops from, so we had a look when we got home and I told him about EMP who have a really great selection of band tops, a few which he became quite interested in.

Brilliant for us to know with it being quite close to Christmas and having no other ideas about what to get him.

It wasn't only the tops he was interested in either on the EMP website, he took quite a liking to a lot of the gaming novelty accessories, in fact, there was quite a few stuff that I wouldn't mind for myself.

What are your thoughts on band t-shirts and tops? 


CARL
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COLLABRATION POST 
Welcome back to another post and another fashion related post at that.

You'll probably know by now that I've got a fair few posts on here about suits and the kind of suits that I like to wear so with this post, well I wanted to make it a little different.
And whilst I know people's blog posts are normally all about them and what they like, this post delves into the likes and loves of other people.

Through writing this blog I have made quite a few online friends, a few of which I have met up with and a few of that have become really close "real life" friends too, so it's only fair I include them in a post or two - I recently asked them what type of suit they like to wear and why.

There are so many different styles of suits on the market at the moment and I know there is something there for every taste and preference.

You could be a skinny fit suit fan like me or could prefer a more traditional suit like a Masonic Suits from Suits Men or even prefer a rather crazy, wild, colourfully patterned suit and I'm sure there would be no trouble in all of those bases being able to be covered.



Up first is David - and don't forget to check out his blog - Davey Granger...


"Any type of suit looks 2000% better if it’s fitted; make sure your trousers aren’t all crumpled around the ankle and that your jacket buttons aren’t about to bust.

In terms of style, I love a classic two-piece suit in darker tones with a patterned tie or a patterned suit with a plain tie"

Next up we have Dan from  Life Of Dan who I luckily met through blogging and he is now one of my best mates...

"When it comes to suits I always choose fit over fabric, I find tailored suits look too box-like and skinny suits make me look too top heavy. I always opt for a slim fit suit and when possible, a three-piece.

After that it's fabric, I love muted toned suits in either autumnal colours or a rich navy. I try to keep to more natural fibres like cotton as they are more breathable and I usually pair my suit with a white shirt for a classic look.

In terms of accessories, I always go for a nice pair of shoes and a matching belt,
then a tie and a pocket square for a pop of colour.
And let's not forget a nice pair of socks, I hate seeing guys in suits with a pair of sports socks on!"

And next, we have Charlie who blogs over at Modish Male...


"It's all about finding the right fit for your body. From skinny to tailored, make sure you're wearing the correct fit which compliments your body!
Also, do NOT forget to wear a belt as it finishes the look"

Up next is Mark from The Honest Father and whilst he doesn't actually blog about fashion he is currently looking for his perfect wedding suit for next year and you should definitely swing by his blog...


"I like a tailored fit suit – one that gives some shape and doesn’t just make me look like a tube of Pringles. I’ve never been a fan of tweed – though I’m revisiting that for my wedding suit shortlist!
I’d also never go anywhere near a shiny suit – why would people do that? Nobody wants to walk the streets looking like a sea lion.

I’ve always had two standard colour suits for work – grey and navy blue. I plan to mix this up a bit soon, introduce some new colours, styles and materials and break the restrictive mould I’ve put myself in. I recently tried a Tuxedo on and loved it, though I’ll end up wearing it for going to the shops because it’s the only opportunity I’ll get!"

And last but not least is my main man Arran who has just become a father to the very cute Joshua, and he blogs over at Halo Of Thoughts...

"I’ve only ever worn a suit once, due to you needing them to be fitted to your body type no matter what style you have. Having previous body confidence issues I hadn’t wanted to wear them but this is something I now feel I could do."

I really love how we all have such different views on suits but that we all do kind of agree on the main points - that comfort and making sure you feel confident in what you are wearing is key.

I'd love to know what sort of suit you prefer to wear or love to see your man in.
Let me know in the comment section below.

CARL

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* collaboration post 
What's in my routine?

Well on a normal working day I will get up around 5am along with my wife and daughter, our son gets up about an hour later and gets himself ready for high school and I know some people reading this may think "God that's early" whilst others will feel my pain.

And for those people who rise at a similar time as us, many will go to bed early to try and counter their lack of sleep - but nope - not us.
We go to bed between eleven and twelve every evening - there is just so much to do once the kids are in bed, which means if we are lucky we get a good five hours kip!

It's definitely something which our bodies seem to have grown used to and don't get me wrong sometimes it's a real struggle but because we are parents it's something we just have to do.

Getting up early isn't new to me though - I've done it the last nineteen years, since the day I started in the industry I work in.
Long working shifts aren't a stranger to me either - I work in the service and repair industry and I only finish work each day once the jobs stop coming in.
I'm also on 24hour standby one in every four weeks so on an average week I can work between fifty and sixty hours, more on my callout week.

My wife, on the other hand, is now a stay at home mum who is run off of her feet from the moment Willow wakes up to the moment she goes to bed.
Willow has just turned two and wow is she one active kid and one who doesn't often have a daytime nap now either - she's not "a bad kid" at all but definitely, an attention needy one and wow does she demand that attention - all day.

I do feel really bad sometimes when I have to work late and don't manage to see Willow before she goes to bed and also at not being able to lend a hand with her at tea time or getting her ready for bed but being the only worker in the household now, I have to do the hours when I can so we can afford to live and pay those stupid bills.

I hope you don't think I'm crying the poor tale, I just wanted to share with you a small piece of what our life is like as it leads me on to showing you the one thing that helps us battle through.

And that is COFFEE



Coffee is the first thing I consume in the morning and probably the last thing at night too - I love it.
I love the taste of it, the smell of it and even the look of it.

I take mine with milk and one sugar - recently gone down from two sugars - I love it extra milky and I'm a massive fan of a latte.

But there is one thing I hate about drinking coffee and that is when someone makes me a brew and they use cheap coffee - I can smell it a mile away.

I'm not a snob at all, I just know what I like and that isn't cheap coffee. 

I have had fallouts with Simone in the past when we have been a bit skint and she's bought a cheaper brand, trying to tell me its one which I like...she knows not to bother penny-saving in the coffee area anymore - I sulk far too much.

I normally have instant coffee but it has to be a good instant coffee, and, like I mentioned above, my time is limited so the quicker the coffee the better.

Over the last few months I have grown partial to an espresso or two- something I've not always been a fan of in the past, but after working on an Italian run site a few months ago and them bringing me an espresso every hour I definitely grew fond of them and actually became a big fan.

Luckily I now have the perfect tool to aid me with my new Espresso Love and that's the Vremi Stovetop Espresso Maker  



It's a classic Italian coffee maker - perfect for espresso lovers like me - and it only takes around five minutes to make them so it's perfect for me to use in the morning before I rush off to work.



It will make six small espresso shots and has a capacity of 1.4L.

All  I do is fill the bottom compartment with the correct amount of water needed, then add my pre-ground coffee into the filtered compartment, pop it on the ceramic hob and let it work its magic.

Easy.

I always add a little drop of milk into mine just to take away the bitterness and I have to say this is definitely my most used item in the house now...well, maybe second but only to my Playstation.

Now, thats the coffee lovers sorted out, let's move on to something which I will use most likely once or twice a year around Christmas time.

If you follow me on one of my social media channels then you may know that I'm not the biggest drinker in the world and that it's not often I partake in alcohol drinking anymore - don't get me wrong, I've done my fair share in the past but since I have had kids it is something which just doesn't interest me anymore.

The only time I really drink is if it's a special occasion and I am out, or if it's Christmas and maybe a bottle of prosecco or buck fizz with our meal is being opened and even then it will only be a glass or two so you can imagine just how much gets wasted.
Thinking about it, I don't think there has been any other sort of alcohol in our house for the last two years.

But I have found a solution for the opened-prosecco-wastage-problem...well Vermi have.

Not only do they make a great espresso maker they also make this handy Wine Preserver and Vacuum Stopper Set



So, one of the main reasons that bottled alcohol spoils is because of oxygen entering the bottle once it is opened - this isn't a problem when the full bottle is going to be drunk in that sitting - but if you're only going to have a glass or two then the oxygen is going to spoil it.

But this is where the Vremi Preserver comes in handy because it effectively sucks all of the air back out of the bottle leaving a topin place, creating a vacuum, meaning the drink remains perfect for another few days.



All you need to do is place one of the stoppers into the bottle hole and then place the pump over it and pump away.
The stopper also has a date mark on them so you can keep track of how much life the bottle has left.

I think out of both of the Vremi products the espresso maker will get used more by the Baker Bunch.

However I do think both of these products are a great value buy - and the stopper set will be perfect at Christmas parties - and because I like them both so much I am going to give you the chance to win your own.

All you have to do is enter the giveaway below and it will end on the 13th of November.

Good Luck Guys




CARL

This post is probably going to be a little different to any other post I have published before but seeing as I class myself as a "lifestyle blogger" and the post topic is something within my life, then why on earth not mix it up a bit.

I post fairly often about my family, fashion, male grooming, tech and a whole host of other subject areas but I have never actually mentioned the fifth member of our family before. 

I wish I could still say the fifth and sixth members, but sadly we lost one of our beautiful little cats, Peaches around a year ago now to a rare form of that ever horrible "C" word.

It was a very sad time in our household and it took us a long time to get over it - she is still sadly missed by us all and especially by her brother, Mario - our lovely fifth family member.



The cats were inseparable - we adopted them together and together they stayed until the end.
Mario was, and still is, so laid back and loves being picked up and cuddled, whereas Peaches was the hyperactive cat who loved her cuddles for so long and then she had enough and hated being near anybody. 

They certainly were the cutest two-some around.

We always had other cats come to visit them too, it was so funny, they would just sat at the back door, waiting, kind of looking like they were knocking for our two to pop out and play.
But Mario and Peaches, the ever funny duo, just didn't want to know, they were happy being in each other's company so I suppose you can imagine just how much of a culture shock the loss was for Mario.



Like I said this was all around a year ago and since then the changes we have seen in Mario are amazing.  I don't know if it is down to all of the extra love he receives from us - especially from his biggest fan - Willow - who is mesmerised by him.
She follows him around the house...even though most of the time he is just running away from her and all of her loudness, but you can tell that he does love all of the attention really.

He now entertains (to an extent) the little cat crew he has acquired who will come to chill out in the garden with him and they still all come and sit on the doorstep waiting for him to come out to play.

Actually, I really wish I could show him more attention but because I work long hours and then come home and spend time with the kids until bedtime, time with the fluffball is limited but I know the small things I do for him he likes.
He knows when the kitchen door opens between five and six o'clock in the morning he's there, waiting for me all happy and excited because he knows it's breakfast time.



And yes, that is usually my morning job and whilst cleaning out cat bowls and making sure all the old cat food is thrown out might not be the best of early morning duties seeing the little furry little thing running rings around my legs because he's so excited for his grub food makes it all worthwhile.

We definitely do have a very demanding cat and to be honest, he gets away with it - he will only eat a certain make and type of cat food and will only start to tuck in to anything when we have placed down a handful of cat treats too.

He's always been the same and so was Peaches, -fussy - even when we first got them as babies they would only ever eat one certain type of Kitten Food.

But we don't mind the fussiness (the fussy, expensive price tag we mind a little more) and we love spending time with him, pampering him as much as possible.

He certainly doesn't miss out on any of the love or attention cats deserve just because I work, my wife is now a stay-at-home-mum who not only gets to spend all day with our beautiful daughter but also gets to spend a lot of time with Mario too.

It's so important to have a bit of time with your cats and whilst I know they love doing their own thing and we won't see him for hours at a time, they know where they are loved and I suppose half of the time they pop back because they've missed you (the other half because they want their food) and I really noticed this last week when we spent a lot of time with Willow being admitted to hospital.

Simone stayed with Willow in the hospital and I was at home a bit more doing my Dad Duties with Charlie, making sure he had everything ready for school and that he got to his bus on time before rushing backwards and forwards to the hospital.
When I was at home I spent quite a lot of time making sure it was nice and tidy for Simone and Willow's return and it was during this time at home when I noticed how much Mario wanted attention and to play during the day.
I don't know if it was simply because he wasn't used to me being at home throughout the day but he wouldn't leave me alone and do you know what, I really enjoyed it. 



And I know this sounds quite selfish of me but it was nice to have a little Dad and Cat time during the day - obviously I wish it had been under nicer circumstances - but this has all changed again now Simone and Willow are back home - he's all over them two again.

But it was definitely fun whilst it lasted.



What's your relationship like with your cats?

How do you spend time together?

CARL
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“This post is a collaboration with WHISKAS®, but all thoughts are my own. Check out their website for more information on their cat food and their YouTube channel for fantastic Kitten Kollege videos.”
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