how to wear linen – men’s guide

Linen is the ideal fabric to keep you looking and feeling cool in the warmer months. However, many still avoid it as it isn’t the easiest look to pull off, so I’m here to help with these linen guidelines designed just for you!

do I need to iron linen?

There’s no need to iron linen. It is time to embrace the creases, reflecting your tranquil summer attitude. Why not use the time you’ve saved not ironing to knock up your favourite G & T, throw on your linen t-shirt, and sit out in the sun? If you can’t possibly resist ironing your linen garm’s, make sure to iron them inside out.

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which colour should I go for?

Are you feeling experimental this summer? If so, linen is a great way to get new shades into your wardrobe. There are green and blue tones which you simply don’t get from winter wool or denim. If you’re playing it safe, classic summer colours such as beige, navy and white are always on trend.

White Regular Fit Crew Neck T-Shirt

how should it fit?

The optimal linen fit is relaxed. You might want to try ordering one size up to give that ultimate chill vibe, also make sure to leave linen t-shirts and shirts untucked. If you are precious about a close fit, you can always get the clothes tailored, this might be recommended for a linen suit where a close fit can be a challenge.

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what do I pair it with?

I’ll admit, head-to-toe linen is a tough look for anyone to pull off. If you’re feeling it, go for it! If not, complete the look with a denim jacketsuede shoes and shades to maintain that idyllic feel.

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7 summer tees for men

Come summer time, you’ll need at least one tee for every day of the week. T-shirts are an eternal summer staple that can be worn for so many different occasions. Dressing up or dressing down, read on for my picks of the most on trend t-shirts for summer 2018.

1. the striped tee

A striped t-shirt is a must for every summer. Tuck it in for that elegant, Riviera look, or leave it out for more of a casual, daytime barbecue feel. I love this breton tee by Weekday, its slightly longer back and raw edges at the hem are ideal for that relaxed look.

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2. the graphic tee

Graphic t-shirts are perfect for standing out this summer. For me, when introducing a graphic into my outfit, I like to keep it monochrome so there isn’t too much going on. But if you’re feeling a louder graphic, go for it! Rules are made to be broken in summer 😉

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3. the basic tee

The essential staple for this summer, the v-neck has made a comback in 2018.  Top tip for the v-neck – find your ideal fit, and then purchase that specific tee in 50 different shades. Wear brighter tones when the sun is out, and vice versa. I find La Redoute’s v’s work well for me, but there’s so many out there, so have a search and take your pick!

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4. the slogan tee

Let your tee speak for itself. Slogan tees are the trend of 2018. Be fun, be flirty, and be on-trend. You’re bound to find something to bring out your personality with the abundance of slogan tees on sale this season.

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5. the “going out” tee

Polo shirts are an ideal way to look smart-caj this summer without overheating. Shop this Zara striped polo to add some oomph to your outfit when you’re hitting the town.

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6. the plain white tee

Jack & Jones have designed some of our favourite simple, crew neck t-shirts for this summer. White is going to keep you looking and feeling cool in the warmer months, and this classic tee also comes in 3 more shades!

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7. the sleeveless tee

Whether you’re travelling abroad for a city break or to be by the sea, a sleeveless tee is just the ticket!

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my first audiobook

If you’re anything like me, you LOVE the idea of reading.

Like…

  1. One of your New Year’s resolutions was to read more often because of the obvious benefits to your mind, body & spirit
  2. You bought a lorry full of books from Amazon (with an Xmas gift card from ya fave Aunty)
  3. You proudly stacked them somewhere in the house (with that smug #winning feeling)

However…

The road to hell is paved with good intentions”

For some reason there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to begin this literary odyssey of the mind. To pick up that book and read from cover-to-cover seems a daunting challenge at best, a crippling one at worst. I mean, after commuting to and from work; hitting the gym; cooking; and doing whatever else may fill your day, little time is left to #read.

But wait! They said,

What about that period of time between jumping into bed and falling asleep..?

Fair point. I thought.

But, to be honest, I tend to read four and a half pages before beginning to nod off (the way you do on a flight or long car journey, where you snap awake in panicked, embarrassed confusion). Either that, or I have every intention of reaching for my paperback, I instead opt for the adrenaline fuelled, passive satisfaction of scrolling through Instagram, Facebook or whichever social platform we’re all currently addicted to.

But then… I had a brainwave… Wait for it…

I spend at least an hour every weekday on my commute; so why not take advantage of this time?

Whether, like me, you walk and get the train to work, or if you drive, audiobooks are the perfect way to get those pages (figuratively) turning. I’d considered listening to audiobooks before, however, this wasn’t as practical when CDs were the order of the day. Now, it’s as simple as downloading an app to your smartphone, and you’re good to go.

I decided to try the Kobo Books app (there are tonnes to choose from) because of the ease of signing up for the free trial, where you get one free credit which you can exchange for one audiobook. Nice if you want to give it a go without commitment (something I’m def NOT afraid of…😳). It’s also a fair price thereafter, £6.99 per month for one credit. If you’re a data-saving-warrior like I am – it’s great – you can download the audiobooks so you don’t have to burn through data every time you fancy dipping into your latest listen.

The app, too, seems awesome across different genres of audiobook. My first download was Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, which I’d highly recommend if you’re interested in evolution and how we’ve got to where we are as a species… Obviously some pretty heavy content at points, but the book is clearly read, and funnily enough, I probably maintained more focus than when actually reading it. The second book I listened to, in contrast, was Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, a fantastic fiction detective novel, which was read aloud in an equally gripping manner.

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Overall I’d def recommend at least giving audiobooks a try as it’s a great way, with the busy modern lives we lead, to read without needing to find the time to actually read. Ideally, I’d like to get to a position where I am both reading and listening to amazing books that will enhance my mind and life outlook, but for now, I’m ‘appy with my little app 😉

As always, thanks for listening reading 🙂

Peace.

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Feature image taken by Charlotte L. Owen

holidaying at home

I’m not gonna lie, the term “staycation” makes me cringe a little bit. Reminds me of Sam Smith, or something… The staycation concept, on the other hand, I’m starting to love.

Over the years, my appreciation for what’s on my doorstep has def increased. Having grown up in West Yorkshire, England, the Yorkshire Dales are a perfect example of this. Like a lot of kids, I always took the Dales stunning countryside for granted, and to be honest, believed it to be bang average 😮 Now, though, when I’m out there breathing easy, smelling the fruitful fresh air, with an array of kaleidoscopic colours bouncing into my eyes from the luscious landscape, I have a slightly alternate view. I now have gratitude and appreciation. And so, as often as I can try to take trips to the different country villages, such as Malham, and their surrounding countrysides.

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Take a read of  Charlotte’s poem, inspired by one December afternoon in cold, wet, wonderful Malham

So, inspired by our outings to the Dales, last week my proverbial wifey and I headed even further up North, for a couple of nights in the beautiful county of Northumberland.

After looking over different accommodation options, we decided to use Airbnb to hire a place for ourselves, and ended up staying just outside Alnwick, at Sue’s cottage. If you haven’t tried Airbnb, I’d highly recommend it; you can always find a gem that suits your needs, and at such reasonable prices. Our place had views of rolling hills for miles, fresh coffee, and a log burning stove. Perfect.

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The view from Sue’s (excuse the rhyme) kitchen window

When you’re in Northumberland, you have to take the opportunity to experience its stunning walking routes. We did a supposedly simple walk along the coast from Warkworth to Alnmouth, and still managed to get lost! But the sights were 1000% worth it, and that’s not to mention the Red Lion pub waiting for us at the end of the route where we piled the calories back on with pints of Guinness, and steak & ale pie with chips. Yum.

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Some sights during our walk from Warkworth to Alnmouth

So, if you’re thinking about a summer holiday, or even just a long weekend away, I’d urge you to consider exploring somewhere in your own country! There’s bound to be lots of  extraordinary places to go, and you shouldn’t have to break the bank getting there.

As always, thanks for reading 🙂

Peace.

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3 gym classes you should try

Disclaimer: I am by no means a fitness guru. I have worked out for a number of years, but have no qualifications in this field; I’d just like to show you some things I’ve personally found to be of benefit to my body & mind.

Year on year, I try to take my fitness to the next level. I’ve been working out at the gym for around 5 years now, yet recently my routine became a little mundane. Don’t get me wrong, I would still hit the gym up at least three times a week, and go relatively hard when there, however it felt as though my body was getting used to the workouts I was doing. You see, working out is a bit like your sex life with a long-term partner, it needs to be kept interesting by trying new things.

So, one of my 2018 resolutions was to try some new gym classes, and having never done a class before, I was a little apprehensive. But, I thought, “F*CK IT – what’s the worst that can happen?”…

1. BODYPUMP

With a little help from my colleagues friends, I hit my first class. Bodypump was an apt class to start with as the gym, Kent’s, is close to my office, and you can pay on a class-by-class basis. This is ideal as I already have a monthly subscription at a different gym. I’d recommend checking out options near where you work; you need to make it as convenient as possible, so it’s difficult to find excuses for missing the class. And, believe me, you’ll do your utmost to find the excuses 😉

Growth tip:- Every time you don’t give in to these excuses, you build your prefrontal cortex (PFC). I’d suggest reading up on the science behind it, but I like to think of it as my ‘willpower muscle’ which is strengthened by resisting, and pushing through, my excuses. For instance, it’s pissing it down outside, so you could easily decide against walking to the gym and getting wet. Making the DECISION to walk anyway builds your willpower, even if it’s by 0.0001%, so the next time you make a decision it’s easier to ignore your own excuses. 

Bodypump is a barbell workout, led by an (in my case, hilarious) instructor, which involves lots of squatting and lifting, to music. As it’s based on high repetitions, it’s more likely to get you toned and lean, rather than helping you to build huge muscle mass (if you are looking to get ‘bigger’ the general consensus is to lift heavier weights for fewer rep’s). Bodypump is a great way to get into gym classes in general because you can use as light or as heavy weight as you like, depending on your ability at that point. Also, there is an element of rhythm involved, which seems to be the case in many classes, and so it gets you used to this. Alternatively, if you are looking to focus more on your rhythm as well as get fit, Zumba could be a great shout.

2. METAFIT

After a few weeks my body began to adapt to the strains of Bodypump, and so I decided to join the class before it as a kind of ‘warm-up’. Little did I know what I had signed myself up for… Metafit is a form of high-intensity interval training, which basically means quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short recovery periods. You’ll find yourself doing exercises like burpees, sit-ups and squats… and sometimes all three at once! This is a shorter class than Bodypump, normally half an hour, but you really get put through your paces. The first time I did it I thought my heart was going to explode out of my chest. Although there is no barbell, your body-weight is enough to get you seriously panting. I see Metafit as more of an intermediate class, and before beginning it, I’d recommend getting a base level of fitness. If you don’t feel you have this, you could try jogging around the block, just to get your body used to recovery after exercise, because re-paying that oxygen debt is what Metafit’s all about.

3. SPIN

So, at this point, I was doing two classes a week at the gym near work and thought I’d mix it up a little by doing one at Energy Mill where I work out a few nights a week. I was slightly spoilt for choice by the number of classes available, but a friend recommended trying a Spinning class. In on respect, I’m grateful to this friend… In another, I’m questioning their friendship. SPIN IS DIFFICULT. It will really test you, both physically and mentally. Essentially, it’s a high intensity cycling workout (on a stationary bike, may I add) where you follow the instructor, pedaling against varying degrees of resistance. To alter the resistance you turn a knob on the bike, so you really do have to mentally tough in order to keep the resistance at a point where you are giving your all. There’s been many times, sat on that bike, where I’ve been SO tempted to turn the resistance down when climbing that figurative hill. But no pain, no gain. You must resist that temptation with all of your will. It is an amazing workout and I don’t think I’ve ever sweat so much. I really like the feeling of being part of a ‘team’ during Spin; fighting against that resistance together, compared to my other two classes which feel a little more individualistic. To me, Spin honestly can feel as much like a spiritual practice as it can fitness.

So, there you are, 3 gym classes you should try. At the moment, I’m really enjoying these 3, and I think they complement each other nicely. I’ll be sure to update you with any new classes I undertake 😉 Comment below with any classes I should try 🙂

As always, thanks so much for reading.

Peace.

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my dad, the artist

and lover of beanie hats…

To my knowledge, my Dad expressed himself through the medium of art from an early age. Upon finishing school, he went on to study a Fine Art degree at the University of Reading, and afterwards became a college art teacher. He then, as many artists do, got a “proper job“.

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This was when he entered the world of housing, full time, and project managed numerous housing developments over the North of England. At some point during this 30 year period, he stopped producing art. The reasons for this will have been absolutely valid; having to raise 3 boys, whilst holding down a full time job, with a bugger of a commute doesn’t leave much time to “sketch”.

However over the last couple of years, and especially in recent months, the creative fire within him has definitely been relit… He can now spend hours sketching, and this seems to be purely for the love of doing it.

This, for me, is extremely inspiring because my Dad does not sit down for hours-on-end for ego gratification, nor to be lauded by his peers, nor to be super “successful” in the monetary sense, but for passion of the doing itself. The process rather than the result.

Process oriented instead of Result oriented

This is so important and transfers, in my opinion, to loads of areas of life. For instance, at work, you may have to complete a report or a presentation. You will enjoy doing the work, and the result/outcome will be better, if you focus on the process of it. IF you enjoy every little word that you write or speak, ironically the result will be much better, than if you focus on “OMG, how will this look when I’ve finished?!” Instead it is one-word-after-the-other, which allows you to get out of your own way.

Another example that’s very relevant to my current life situation is process orientation at the gym. I’ve been working out for years now, however, it’s only recently that I’ve started going to gym classes. One of those classes is spin. I’d highly recommend it for physical and mental fitness – every time I do it I feel as though I enter another realm –  almost like an outer body experience because of the amount of energetic exertion it requires. Therefore, the ONLY reason I keep on returning to the class is because of process orientation. During the class, if I keep on thinking “F*ck, when the f*ck is this going to end?!” (other spinners WILL relate to this thought) it actually increases my fatigue. So, instead, I have to focus on the process. One-pedal-after-the-other.

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The reigniting of my Dad’s creative fire could have happened for a plethora of reasons; maybe it is he simply now has more free time; maybe it has come with age or wisdom; but overall I feel as though now there is no concern about having to make a living through his art by selling it (i.e. result oriented), he seems to be enjoying it more than ever.

I’m not entirely sure whether he ever wanted to become a professional artist. But then, that doesn’t matter. Art is his passion, whether he is making money from it or not, does not define its success. The success, enjoyment & fulfillment come in the process and act of doing the thing itself.

More of a personal post this time, so thanks for sticking with me through it 🙂

Peace.

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All images taken on an iPhone by Alex Pegg

 

street style: @georgelancaster

I’ve known my good friend, George, since we were 3 or 4 years old, and we’ve been through many fads and fashions together. Some of the more memorable ones include rocking a shaved head at the same time; wearing huge, baggy jeans for no apparent reason in the early noughties; and even wearing full footy kits (when we weren’t playing football).

Anyway, I’d like to think we’ve evolved somewhat (not sure) and now share a taste for classic sartorial elegance. I’m half joking.

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Image taken by Callie Lancaster

What I admired first about this outfit is its layering. As you know, I love a layered look, but it’s not always easy to pull off; oftentimes people aren’t sure how to mix colour and texture. Not George. The blue & grey tones which dominate the outfit allow for the autumnal pop of colour from the mohair jumper, which adds texture and really completes the look.

I’ve talked before of my long-term struggle with trainers, but I think George has nailed the ability to pull them off. Firstly, if you’re going to wear white trainers, KEEP IT CLEAN. This is part of the reason I tend to avoid them, because there is a certain amount of upkeep required to maintain their shine. As you can see, George’s Stan Smith’s are spotless, which means they retain their cool.  Secondly (unlike our younger selves) he’s made sure his jean is just touching the top of his trainers, rather than covering them. Another great sartorial tweak George has employed is folding up his jeans bottom hem just once, as to create a distinct line between the trainers and jeans.

Finally, George has inspired me to try out a fur-lined hooded parka. His is really well-fitted, and that’s crucial in my opinion, so I’ll start my search now. It may even feature in the second edition of my top winter coats, who knows

Thanks for reading.

Peace.

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what to wear wednesdays

This Wednesday I’m wearing a suit. A skinny suit. A skinny, navy suit. I’ve had this suit for like four years now, and it’s made an appearance at many occasions including my graduation, a few weddings and even job interviews. This is a good reason to save for, and then invest in a decent quality suit, as you will get the value back. This particular suit is from Marks and Spencer. I would recommend M&S for the quality of their fabrics, but less so the fit, although to my knowledge they have been working on this and are offering slimmer fits for the younger market. I decided to get this suit altered at Stitches in Leeds, who are awesome at understanding and providing exactly the fit you want, in super quick time, for a v reasonable price.

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I’ve teamed the suit with a soft pink polo shirt from Topman, which complement each other nicely. Obviously this gives a more casual feel to the outfit, so I’d recommend wearing it to a not-too-formal event, such as your mate’s birthday party. I’ve opted for no socks, which works okay due to the informal feel of the suit, plus the pink tones of my ankles match the polo shirt well 😉

Cheers for checking this WTWW post out! See you next week.

Peace.

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Other pieces worn in shoot: Dr Marten’s shoes

All images taken on an iPhone by Angela Pegg

street style: @zestyosy

I met Emmanuel in Sheffield, the night before New Year’s Eve. Firstly his smart, even formal style, drew my attention. The pinstriped shirt is a classic piece, but is a little less popular at the moment; with louder, embroidered shirts more on trend.

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Emmanuel has subtly, but crucially, matched the pinstripe colour to that of his tie which means the outfit flows well, and isn’t too clashy on the eye. As you guys know, I love simplicity in an outfit, and the understated feel of his shirt means the cuff links work so well when suavely bringing together the formal, double cuffs.

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Finally, Emmanuel’s tie bar completes the outfit nicely. The functional use of a tie bar is to pin the tie to your shirt, uniting the two and keeping it all in place, but it also adds another touch of bling, perfect around the festive period.

Thanks for checking this street style post out; I have more lined up for the coming weeks so keep your eyes peeled 😉

Peace.

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All images taken on an iPhone by Alex Pegg

street style: @dalecoop94

Incoming: a v. serious fashion outfit review 😉

I met Dale on a night out in Sheffield. I immediately noticed the statement jacket, and had to get a shot of him. Shearling jackets are on trend at the moment, so walking down the high street, you’ll spot at least one every couple of minutes. However, normally the shearling is just on the collar of the coat, and the rest of the coat is leather. This is why I was drawn to Dale’s coat, which has black, glistening faux fur all over the coat.

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This brings me nicely on to Dale’s mesmerising monochrome tones, which are a perfect complement to the big, statement coat.

Style Tip:- If you are going to wear a statement garment, such as a big coat or loud print jumper, I’d recommend trying to offset it by using neutral colours in the rest of the outfit.

His grey skinny jeans run down into a black suede pair of chelsea boots. I think he’s nailed the bottom half of the outfit because, in my opinion, chelsea boots only work when worn with tight-around-the-ankle trousers.

As always, thanks for reading guys!

Peace.

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Images taken on an iPhone by Alex Pegg