Create Memories not Social Fodder

I’ve just returned from holiday. A wonderful week spent in a beautiful location with fabulous food, glorious weather and the company of my favourite people.

My phone wasn’t invited.

For 7 whole days I didn’t once check in, check up, post, tweet or snap and it was bliss.  Not once did I thumb flick my way through my twitter or Facebook feed.  And my inbox was left to fill up harmlessly while I sipped on an ice cold beer blissfully unaware of its growing mass.

In the process I created some memories I will keep with me for a long time.  Of precious moments with my children and loved ones. Of laughs shared, games played, calories consumed and moments of closeness.

And all around me I couldn’t help but notice people missing their own moments in the name of social media. Staring at a smartphone and smirking at statuses, whilst their children played and they could have been joining in. Posing for the perfect selfie when they could have been deep in meaningful conversation. Photographing food rather than enjoying it.

I love social media, but this was a sad sight.  People more concerned with likes, shares, social approval, or the latest funny gif than enjoying the experience life affords them.  In years to come you will remember these moments but only if you stop to enjoy them wholeheartedly. I promise you wont remember that gif or the joke that was just shared.

Create memories, not social fodder.

Eyewear Choices 2016

A period of warm, sunny weather always brings with it some decisions about the Summer wardrobe as we begin to believe we might actually get a Summer in the UK this year.

This week it was the turn of sunglasses and some decisions to be made about eyewear for the coming months. I’ve decided to square up this year and go for a couple of more traditional styles. A plan black classic and one with a twist just to mix things up.

Partnered with tailored shorts and either a plan tshirt or short sleeve shirt to finish the look.


sunglasses 2



The Changing Face of Schools

My daughter starts school this September. How scary is that! My little girl is growing up and about to properly enter a world where she isn’t reliant on Mummy or Daddy to look after her all day long.

We spent a long time agonising over the right school to send her to. Its an important decision as we are entrusting a huge chunk of her formative years in a group of people we don’t really know. We did the open evenings, agonised over our choices, made our application, and thankfully got our first choice. Not that any of our choices are ‘bad’ schools, but of course we want to give her the best possible start in life.

Whilst I know I am in danger of sounding all ‘back in my day’ when I say this but one of the things that struck me when we visited the schools was the amount of technology they are using to teach children these days.
classroom technology
I remember blackboards (which became whiteboards) and text books. Calculators were as advanced as it got outside of dedicated computer rooms, which were hardly advanced themselves by today’s standards.

As I walked around I was introduced to tablet computers in each classroom. Speakers systems and large 60″ interactive touch screen white boards for leading lessons. Advanced computers where pupils could learn basic programming and music mixing amongst other things. I was a bit taken a back.

Of course its great for the kids. They get to learn and technology is a great enabler and also a way of keeping them engaged. Its just. Well. It wasn’t like this when I was a lad!

Accessorise your look this summer

Its approached that time of the year when we Brits start to believe we might actually get some nice weather in the coming months. Of course, the reality is this ‘summer’ we talk of will be a few select days of warmth surrounded by disappointing mild cloudy spells and showers.

But we can dream! And in those dreams we should be thinking about the accessories we are going to done alongside our short sleeves and shorts. Summer is a great time to accessorise as we have so much more skin on show and an excuse to wear sunglasses and hats without looking like a hipster. Here are five of my top accessories to enhance your summer look on those days we finally get some sunshine!

Leather Wrap Bracelet
A great way to add something different to your casual summer outfits. A lot of accessories can be a bit too formal for shorts and t shirt weather but a goo quality leather wrap bracelet can be both a cool and fitting addition to your outfit.
ted baker bracelet

Ray Ban Sunglasses
Its not often I will go for an expensive clothing item as I have previously explained, but sunglasses are one exception. A good quality pair of sunglasses that is adaptable for any outfit is one of my summer must haves. And with black framed Ray-Bans you simply cannot go wrong. Equally at home with shorts and a summer shirt for a more casual look or formal wear for the office they are one of the few timeless classics in fashion.

The trilby has had a resurgence on recent years and is no longer the reserve of the festival goer. It presents a relaxed casual head wear option for long summer days and nights in the beer garden.

Summer watch
Short sleeves expose your arms and wrists and so a nice watch will get noticed. Choose something with a fabric or resin strap with breathable holes to avoid getting a sweaty wrist!
emporio armani watch

Before you get carried away remember you are still in Britain and rain is only around the corner. A compact umbrella which slots easily into your bag will save you from getting wet when the clouds inevitably arrive unannounced.

Stay accessorised this summer and complete your look with these items, did I miss anything?

All of the above items are available from House of Fraser Accessories and they currently have some great deals on so if you like them, then look them up!

5 Signs You Work With a Festival Goer

If you work in a large enough office with a good mix of the younger generation there will always be one, if not more. Of course, I am talking about the festival goer.

Every year they make their pilgrimage to live in a tent without adequate sanitation alongside thousands of other human beings for 3-4 days of “fun”. For 11 moths of the year they go unnoticed, but they will be there. So how do you spot the festival goer amongst your work colleagues? Here are a few top tips.

1. They took a random Thursday off in October

You probably all thought they were going for a job interview. But you were wrong.  This was the day Glastonbury tickets went on sale and it required them to take a whole day off work just to try and secure them.  They probably failed.

2. They always know a better/newer/more alternative band

All it takes is a comment about music, or about how you like the band that is playing on the radio and they pounce. Telling you that if you like Band X you should really check out some random band named Headless Chickens on Crack or something equally as bizarre, just to prove their superior music knowledge.

3. They turn up for work a different colour

Suddenly, one Tuesday in the summer, they will appear in the office a different colour than when you last saw them. Either brunt to a crisp if its warm, or a darker shade of mud if its been raining. Dont be alarmed, their skin will return to normal within a week or so.

4. They wear dirty wristbands like a badge of honour

Where most people where watches or bracelets they will be sporting ragged, stained, frayed, cotton festival wristbands. I know, I know it looks weird, but they don’t see it that way.

And finally……..

5. They never stop going on about it!

The first four points are really pretty redundant in most cases. As if you have been within 20 yards of said festival goer in the last six months they will have brought it up. More than once. you will know when they go, who they are going to see, how many times they have been before, and what makes it the best thing ever.  And you won’t even have had to ask them a question.

Baldness through the ages

Baldness and going bald is a peculiar thing. Thankfully I have a full head of hair with no signs of that changing any time soon. But baldness and how people deal with it can be a sensitive topic.

I have friends who are bald or balding, and they all deal with it differently.  Some are in denial, clinging on to their remaining hair with great gusto and denying the inevitable is coming. These are my favourite, as winding them up about their hair loss can be a great source of amusement!

Others embrace it.  Usually by shaving off their remaining hair and go full ‘mitchell brother’.

Then there are those sat in the middle. Accepting that it is going to happen, but not yet willing to do away with their hair for good.

But this is very much a fashion of the current time.  Over the years baldness has been seen and dealt with in many different ways.


In the 1950s and 1060s there was less stigma around going bald. Generally people didnt shave off their hair by choice unless they were in the armed forces, so people embraced their baldness as the only other option was a toupee.

Although those that were a bit sensitive about it could often be seen sporting the wonderful comb over. A look which Sir Bobby Charlton had down to a tee.

bobby charlton

Baldness in the 1970s

The 1970s presented a challenge to people going bald in that the fashion was for long hair. So those who started to lose their hair on top but were part of the free love generation had to go for a rather fetching look….

bald hippy

Baldness in 1980s/1990s

Baldness started to become more of a fashion faux pa, shaven heads started to be come a more viable option, and products like this entered the market………

But like all things hair loss has been affected by technology.  Whether it is Caffeine shampoo promising to halt the follicle decline or more advanced hair transplants from the likes of Harley Street Hair Clinic if you are receding your options are now more varied.

Identifying my weaknesses Part 2

As a follow up to my post on identifying my weaknesses I thought I would let you know the changes I have made and how it is all working out.  By way of a recap the weaknesses I mentioned in the post were:

  • Not eating breakfast
  • Not preparing enough for lunches
  • Hunting snacks late afternoon
  • Sugar
  • Dairy
  • Alcohol

A few weeks on from my post and I’ve made some minor, but important changes to my daily routine.

I’ve started making a concious effort to eat breakfast every day. Generally this is either porridge or a fruit smoothie and I am finding this is helping in keeping my other cravings at bay. My hunting of snacks late afternoon often led to me feeding my sugar craving.  I put this down to a low blood sugar caused by not eating breakfast. Its all linked!

Whilst this has helped my mid afternoon cravings it hasn’t completely stopped them.  So I have started having a piece of sweet fruit, generally an orange, mid afternoon and have found that this means I don’t end up gorging on processed sugars.

I have generally brought my lunch with me every day which helps as I can be more thought out in what I am consuming.  Left overs from last nights dinners, soups and salads are my staples. Going good on this one.

Dairy is now limited to my porridge and coffee so I am happy with my consumption levels.

Alcohol…..still working on. I’ve undoubtedly had more dry days than in the month prior to my post but I am still a sucker for a cold beer. Don’t get me wrong, I am no alcoholic.  I’m talking about a beer or two in the evening as I wind down. A much more healthy approach than abstaining all week then gorging at the weekend, but I still think I could cut a few of them out.

I will check back in in a few weeks and let you know how I am getting on.

Going pre-owned

Its always nice to have something new.  To have something fresh out of the package.  Whether its clothes, jewellery, cars, furniture or anything else that ‘new feeling’ is always nice.

But this feeling comes at a premium and new is never the best way to get value.  Some notable exceptions aside, the act of opening the packaging or walking out of the shop makes the item immediately drop in value.

The worse example of this is cars. Drive a new car off the forecourt and you are immediately thousands of pounds worse off.

After the harsh realities of the financial markets over the past 8 or so years people are starting to realise that it is prudent to look beyond new. Whether that’s through established site like Ebay, or local market places created on Facebook owning something that is pre-owned not longer holds the stigma it once did.  And in many ways it has become a badge of honour to be seen as thrifty and a bargain hunter.

And as I get older (and wiser?) I’m starting to think its time I thought about going pre-owned a little more often. I’ve always been the prudent sort but when it came to clothes and fashion I could never see beyond new.  The thought of wearing an item which once belonged to somebody else just seemed a bit dirty.

That changed recently when I started looking at high end watches as a little gift to myself. With purchases of this expense, you start to take more notice of the cost.  It’s an item that I want to hold its value so a pre-owned watch is a serious consideration so long as it has been well looked after. I can avoid any immediate depreciation and still end up with a quality product.

I’m still a little way from going into my local charity shop to do my clothes shopping, but this purchase could be my first step to going pre-owned so who knows, maybe one day soon.

Life on the borderline

We all know an introvert.  The quite one who doesn’t engage until you know them well. Often quiet, understated, and thoughtful. We all also know an extrovert. Confident, loud, overstated and the centre of attention (or looking to be).

But what about the people who live on the borderline? Chameleon like in their switching of roles dependant on the company and the situation. That’s where I find myself.  Firmly on the borderline between I and E.

I’d never really thought about it until until I took the Myers Brigg’s personality profile as part of my job.  The system gives you a four letter code for your personality and working style based on four spectrum. The first is the I-E spectrum signifying Introvert and Extrovert personality types.

I came out as an ISTJ or ESTJ, bang on the I and E borderline.  That was a few years ago and I often think about it and my behaviour in situations and I think it is an accurate assessment of that area of my personality.

There are times when I like to be centre of attention and the life and sole of the party, and times when I come across as introverted and quiet in the presence of others. I am more than happy to stand on stage and perform in certain situations, and in others I will take a back seat and blend into the background.

I think a lot about what affects it.  The only thing so far I can come up with is the company I am in.  In the presence of assertive extroverts I take a back seat. Surrounded by more introverted types and the extrovert in me comes out.

Its a curious one as I don’t really feel like either. I am happy, although not always comfortable, being centre of attention, but equally enjoy my quiet time and alone time just as much. I guess that’s just life on the borderline.


Are shorts acceptable for an office?

I addition to the make summer footwear dilemmas, as the warmer weather hopefully approaches there is another dilemma I have never come to a conclusion on.  Are shorts acceptable office wear?

For those of us not lucky enough to work in an air conditioned space, the thought of sitting there in our jeans as the temperature starts to increase is not a particularly appealing one. Overheating in those regions is not pleasant!

But surely turning up to an office in shorts just makes you look like a little boy on ‘bring your kids to work day?’ Or alternatively like you think you work at some Silicon Valley start up and long to sit on a bean bag?

Case in point below. Left; young boy. Middle; please no. Right; maybe.

men in shorts at work
Image courtesy of NY Times

AN call me old fashioned.  But it becomes difficult to asset any authority over a situation when sat there with you legs exposed and flip flops on.  Maybe that is just me getting used to it though.

So, what do you think? Acceptable office wear, or something to be avoided?