30 November 2016

This Autumn Comfort Is Key For Me


I've been blogging for almost two years now and I don't think I've ever actually introduced you to the real me!

And what I mean by that is away from my blog, who am I? 

When I'm not writing about male grooming, fashion and family stuff, what is it that I do with my time?

Well the answer to that is simple - I can be found sitting on my big arse chilling out watching TV or doing a bit of online gaming...obviously once the long days work have been done and the kids are sorted and in bed.

But what else?

Well when I'm not attending fashion events or taking outfit pictures, what kind of thing am I wearing?

The answer is lazy, comfy clothes, usually with a snapback on my head so I don't have to do anything at all with my stupid thick, dark, curly hair.

I wouldn't say I'm a lazy person but chill time and down time is very important.


I do really like dressing well and wearing suits don't get me wrong, but the reason I began featuring them on the blog quite a lot was that I felt a bit of a need to to fit in with all of the other mega dapper guys who I follow on social media.

All of the male bloggers I interact with are always all dressed so smart with amazing blog and instagram photos showing them looking slick and there was me, slobbed out at home unable to do OOTD posts because no one would have wanted to see the clothes sitting in my wardrobe.

No way could I fit in with everyone and possibly, I wouldn't be accepted.

So I took it upon myself to change my image - I wanted to look dapper in my photos too.

And this feeling was really strange to me because I've never aspired to be anybody else, I've never felt a need to copy another person's style and I've certainly never wanted to "fit in".

What was wrong with me?
Possibly I was scared no one would take me seriously - blogging was new to me but it was still really important and I didn't want to spoil the opportunity.

So I changed the way I dressed and I also wrote posts on how I wanted to become a smarter dresser and how I wanted to change my wardrobe.

All of which were true things but still, something wasn't quite right.

This wasn't me - don't get me wrong I do think I look great in a suit and I have had loads of positive comments on this new style and how they liked the change and that it really suited me.

So I carried on dressing like this and I now have quite a few suits and smarter casual wear.

And at this point the amount of posts I had around looking smart but something still wasn't right and I couldn't put my finger on it.

Until...

I don't know if you guys noticed but I've been on a little blog and social media break recently.

Well, the break has actually been on and off for the last 5 months now, I may throw out the odd tweet to interact with people, but nothing like I used to do.

It was during this break I realised what the image issue was - it was "super smart Carl".

This wasn't actually the Carl I was seeing every day - I hadn't dressed smart the whole time I was on the break because I didn't have any blogger events to dress up for.
I didn't have any meals out planned and all I had been wearing were my work clothes and then comfies when I got home and I felt great, I felt comfortable.

This was definitely my comfort zone and this was definitely me.

And the whole "needing to fit in" feeling - I'm not one to follow a trend or to be the type of person to change in any way to fit.

If expletives want to like me then it should be for me - comfy, casual Carl who can wear a suit at times.

SO WILL THE REAL CARL BAKER PLEASE STAND UP!

I REPEAT

WILL THE REAL CARL BAKER PLEASE STAND UP!



Hi I'm Carl Baker and I love wearing casual clothes.

Trainers, Snapback's and a tracksuit.

That is me and I'm really sorry I let it slip away from me.

And now, let me introduce to you my latest OOTD, and one in true A Bloke's Eye View style.

First up...


Foray Zero Suit – Mid Blue


This bonded technical tracksuit from Foray Clothing stands out a mile when it is worn.
It is water repellent and water resistant so is perfect for this time of year when the weather changes by the hour - it is made from quite a thick material too so is perfect now the temperature is freezing.

Both the jacket and the bottoms are made from the highest quality fabric - just like the other products they have for sale.
The Foray products all focus on vanguard performace fabrics, fits and features and each garment is specially designed to ensure it meets the customers demands of life and leisure.

This mid-blue colour is actually something I wouldn't normally choose but I think it goes well with other items I have in my wardrobe for the Autumn and Winter season.

If you are in to Urban style clothing like me or if you want to dress in pure comfort, then I suggest you definitely check out what Foray have to offer over on their web store.



And like I said before, I do love a good Snapback.

Myself and my son actually share a big collection of them, well, most of them were mine but they have now mostly ended up in his bedroom...

But one of my favourites really compliments this Foray tracksuit perfectly and it is from well know Snapback makers SnazzBacks.




The Navy Denim Cap features a classic white Snazz woven label across the front and it has a tan leather peak which works quite well the mid blue colour of the tracksuit, giving the whole outfit a nice autumn feel.

The SnazzBack website is packed full of amazing head gear, from Snapbacks to beanies to bucket hats and 5 panel caps.

If you are looking for a hat then these are the people to visit.
They have really developed into a authentic head wear brand and supply everyone, from your local neighbour to some of the most leading names in the entertainment industry - just take a look at their instagram page and you may see some familiar faces.

If you want to get your Snazz on then I suggest you visit here.

Then, to finish the outfit perfectly I teamed everything with these amazing New Balance Vezee trainers.

They are really comfy, light and stylish and the colour matches the outfit perfectly.

I don't really need to go into detail about New Balance  because I'm sure everyone will know who they are and how good their products are.





I hope you have enjoyed this post and please let me know what you think of the outfit, or if you have been in a similar "need to change myself" situation.

CARL
BLOGLOVIN | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM
Items sent for review, all opinions and photos are my own

18 November 2016

How Was Your 2016?

Well as we are slowly creeping towards the end of 2016 it's got me thinking a little bit.

What has been a highlight of the year?

What has been a learning experience? 

If something could be changed, what would it be?

Well for me, 2016 has been a strange year really, I wouldn't say it's been a rubbish year or the best year ever but it has been a year of change.

One of the best things to happen this year has to be watching my beautiful little girl grow up into an amazing little Diva.
She has only just turned one but she definitely runs the house already, and the bond, not only myself and my wife have with her but also watching how she and her older brother grow and adapt to each other is such a wonderful thing.
She adores his every move and he is smitten with her - they are destined to be best friends for sure.

As for Things I Have Learnt in 2016, well if I had to write them all down this blog post would be never ending. 

Fashion wise I have learnt that making more of an effort and moving away from my casual comfy clothes (which is something I hardly ever do) is a look which totally 'suits' me...pardon the pun!

I've fallen in love with wearing suits and there are so many amazing men's suits on the market - the ones I own are amazing and I'm just waiting for some posh party invites or weddings to crop up so I can put them on again. 

But this love of wearing suits wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for my blog and having a lot of great oppotunities to work with some fantastic brands landing at my feet. 

I have definitely been one lucky guy...or maybe people think I am good at what I do...
I'd like to think it's the second one, but who knows.

If you didn't see any of my posts featuring the amazing suits I have then don't you worry - I have links to the posts right here...

First up was the post I did after working with Next and it was for an event with a "Blue Hue" theme.

My suit was amazing - it was slim fitted and sleek and it got loads of attention at the fashion concious event I was at. 

And I felt amazing wearing it.



Next up, I have an amazing black suit from MossBros which was part of their London collection and once again this was worn for a fashion event which had a Gothic Romance theme.

The jacket was the definite focal point of the whole outfit - the detail on the inner lining and the outer material is simply outstanding.




And then last but by no means least is the outfit I worn when I was asked to take part in an amazing campaign for Burton Menswear called "Smart Occasions".

This suit featured in what became on of my most viewed blog posts of the year and it was one which I was most proud of. 



As well as wearing fantasticclothes, 2016 was also the year I made the leap and decided to change jobs.

I moved from a company I worked with for a massive nine years but I just felt stuck and didn't really see any progression in my futureand I started to become really unhappy.

This not only affected my performance at work - which I hated because I really do take pride in my work and want to do a good job - but I was becoming a grumpat home too.

It wasn't an easy call to make as I did really like my job and everybody there was brilliant, but sometimes you just have to take that leap.

And I did - two months ago I made the decision to go to join a company doing a fairly similar job but fingers crossed it all works out for me.

So, would I change anything from 2016?

Hell no! 

I mean it's not often I regret a decision or an action I've made...what's thepoint?

I say roll on 2017 and lets see what it has in store for me.

So how was your 2016?

What were your highlights?  Regrets?  What did you learn?

And which of the three suits featured above is your favourite?

I'd love for you to let me know in the comments section below.


CARL
* sponsored post

6 November 2016

Grooming Gift Essentials For Men


It's no secret that I do love to take care of my self and to do so, I use a lot of different products.
A lot of time and effort goes into a proper daily grooming routine, especially with the colder weather just starting to hit.

It's really important - especially in the outdoors type job that I do - to make sure all the areas exposed to the elements are looked after properly.

The majority of my face is actually covered by my huge beard so the cold doesn't affect me too much really, but you may of noticed from a recent post I published that I do occasionally trim my facial fuzz.
And when I say trim that means just that - trim - none of this shaving the lot of business for me.

I am actually trying to grow my beard out at the moment, I want to create a nice shape so I only trim my lower neck, cheekbones and normally take a little off of the side burns.

If you are the same as me (or if your partner is) then I think these Mens Hair Clippers would be perfect for the job - and they would make a great Christmas gift too...


Panasonic have always been know to create good, quality products and these are no exception.

With a new ultra, close cutting blade it means that you are cutting the length 40% shorter than if you were to use a conventional model.
The design is also very smooth and curvy and has a non-slip grip which makes it really easy to handle meaning the cut you give will be even more precise.

The clippers come complete with a sleek charging dock which, from an eight hour charge, gives a fourty minute usage time and there are also various handy comb attachments too.

It is perfect for all possible grooming needs - definitely a great gift to find in your stocking this Christmas.

Right, so that's the beard trimmed, we obviously now need a beard care gift set to take care of the fuzz which is left on the face.

The Beard Shed have this covered with their amazing Brighton Beard Company - Hawkhurst Conditioning Gift sets.


The set includes a Creampot Tom's Mandarin and Cedarwood Beard balm and a Old Joll's Beard Oil in a scent of choice - Black Pepper and Grapefruit, Ylang Ylang and Sandlewood or Mandarin and Cedarwood.

My favourite would have to be the Black Pepper and Grapefruit - I know from experience that the combination works really well for me.

If you (or your partner) are newish to the whole beard grooming world then this set would make a perfect starter pack.

But I am not new tothis world and so after this kit I would then move on and keep going with the products - well I am 34, my skin really needs all the treating it can get. 

And because I blog, one of the best things for me is that I have been introduced to so many amazing products and brands - and not just the fabulous ones I have worked with either - the whole social media scene has introduced me to many brilliant products too - and my skin loves them all. 

One of the brands I have used but have not actually blogged about is Menage Skincare.

Their products are one of the best skincare ranges I have found.

All the products you could possibly need for your skincare and grooming routine are there and have been put together in one Menage Survival Kit 


The kit contains a100ml Deep Pore Cleansing Face Scrub which is amazing, I recently started a new job and my face comes into contact with a lot of muck and grease daily and this product totally strips it from my skin.

The kit also contains an Anti-Ageing Moisturiser which is really fast absorbing and leaves a non-shiny matte look. 

And then next, also included, is a product I haven't used yet but is should be a must in every grooming routine - especially people getting quite old like me - and it is the Anti-Fatigue Eye Roll-On.

I currently use a similar product from a different brand twice a day, once in the morning and once just before bed and they are greatat reducing the appearance of fine lines and dark under eye patches.

I really need this as I do a lot of twelve hour days and mostly look like death a lot of the time but these eye roll-on products definitely helps prevent that. 

They come in a really nice wash bag too - perfect for taking on your travels or even to the gym.

I hope this little gift guide has come in handy for you and has given you a few Christmas gift ideas for the guys in your life.

CARL
BLOGLOVIN | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM
This is a collaborative post

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.

NOTE:
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...

Mankind

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. 

CARL
BLOGLOVIN | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM
products sent for a honest review,all opinions and photos are my own