My Autumn Winter Essentials

With Autumn now very much upon us and the weather becoming gradually chillier and wetter (!) it's a good time to have a wardrobe clear out and package away any of your 'Summer essentials' to make room for much warmer, comforting attire.

Out go the short-sleeve polos, linen shirts and lightweight jackets and in come the roll necks, the cashmere knits and the overcoats.  

Every year I like to clear out some of last seasons pieces that may have become worn or tired and replace with a few key essentials to get me through the next 4 months of solid rain, wind and possible snow - gotta love a British Winter and its unpredictability!

Here are my key fashion essentials this season to get you through the next few months unscathed.

For The Drizzle - A Wax Jacket:

The wax jacket is a British classic and a timeless piece when it comes to outerwear.  In recent times it's had a rebirth of sorts and is now very much a fashion must have and an essential for any modern day gent.

Whether it's worn when out walking the dog, with wellies and a heavy knit or paired with leather Chelseas and a cashmere roll neck, it's an incredibly versatile jacket and one worth investing in.
This wax number from Joules is a good value option in a marketplace that has become rather inflated.  It's crafted from hardwearing 'cotton wax' sourced in Scotland, making it a tough cookie whilst also a great fashion piece.

In jet black it's a nice alternative to the traditional greens and in my opinion makes it an overall more multi-purpose jacket.  

As handy as this jacket is going to be when talking Dex and Dickie out for a stroll on Clapham Common, there's no doubt I'll be wearing this out and about in town too - most likely coupled with a roll neck or buttoned up cashmere polo for a smarter look.
I particularly like the attention to detail around the neck and cuffs and when fully 'zipped up' it looks seriously smart and 'biker-esque'.

This is a jacket that will keep you warm, dry and looking good for years to come.

Shop the post here:


For The Cold - A Chunky Knit:

British Winters' can be unpredictable at the best of times but one thing is for certain, a good chunky knit will always come in handy.  

Layering is integral to keeping warm and staying healthy (!) in the colder months and a solid knit will come in very handy when it comes to layering up on a cold Winter's morning.  
Knitwear is one of the many reasons I love Autumn, aside from being very comfy they are a fantastic way of adding another level to an outfit with different textures and colours.  

This Joules crew neck sweater is crafted from a soft-flecked wool blend and has a honeycomb texture which is particularly stand out.  The navy and white 'flecked' pattern makes this much more than just a standard knit and looks great when paired with the black wax or a lighter coloured overcoat.

Whether it's worn as a stand-alone piece or layered under a wax jacket, this knit is guaranteed to get lots of use in the months to come.

For The Chilly Breeze - A Cosy Scarf:

No Autumn Winter wardrobe is complete without a couple of these bad boys.  The scarf has forever been synonymous with Winter and for me is a wardrobe staple for this time of year.

Whether it's worn under a coat or simply alongside a chunky knit, it's a great addition to take your cosiness to that next level!
This knitted number from Joules is next level comfortable and the perfect sidekick to the chunky knit! Once again it's crafted from a super-soft wool blend and in a mottled dark brown and white it goes well with pretty much any dark colour.

A scarf will forever be the ultimate Autumn Winter accessory to reach for when the British weather takes a serious turn and it's sure to make the upcoming freeze that much more bearable.

For The Wet Leaves - Leather Lace Ups:

The final piece of any Autumn Winter outfit, a pair of rugged shoes for all conditions.  

If you've followed me for a while you'll know that I'm an avid suede shoe wearer and in all honesty 80-90% of my shoes are suede.  This is of course a mini-nightmare when it comes to the wetter months, not to mention the fact that suede is in fact not very well insulated and so results in some rather chilly toes.

Fear not, I've recently gone a bit 'leather crazy' and invested in a couple of pairs of lace-ups which I'm already living in! 

Joules have recently launched mens footwear and these boots are a solid investment, great for both muddy walks or smart casual affairs.
This light tan pair are particularly versatile and looks cracking with a pair of skinny jeans or straighter jeans with a small turn-up and when worn with a leather or wax jacket.

Invest in a pair of leather boots to ensure you don't put a foot wrong this Winter.
What are your key essentials this Autumn Winter?

C.

This post was written in collaboration with Joules, however all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Everything featured in this blog post can be found on Joules online here.

Man About Town's Guide To Beating Man Flu

It's that time of year again when the dreaded Man Flu descends on London like a dark storm cloud and the morning commute shifts to a scene from World War Z.  Covering your face with the Metro (pretty much the only use for it these days) to shield yourself might work in the short term, but eventually Man Flu will win the war.  

Here are a few of my top tips for fighting off Man Flu and staying fighting fit during the upcoming chillier months:

1. Juice It Away

Over the past couple of years juicing has become a BIG thing.  Everyone loves showing off their latest creation (myself included) on Insta stories and preaching about juice cleanses and the benefits.
  
It may seem fairly obvious but the benefits of the juice are wholly dependent on what goes in it.  Move over Joe and the Juice and their horrendously overpriced apple juices with a sprig of ginger and beetroot... the key to a healthy juice is lots of veg.

One major way to fight off illness is upping your vitamin intake and during the colder and darker months we can become vitamin sufficient in a number of areas.  Increasing the number of vitamin rich foods is a surefire way to keep the Man Flu at bay.

I call this 'Man About Town's Fiery Juice'.. but it's pretty standard. The key is lots of ginger and turmeric - ginger provides the kick and has natural bacterial qualities and turmeric is anti-inflammatory and one of the strongest antioxidants around.

Tip 1- grab yourself a Sage Juicer, I've had mine for 5 years (and counting) and despite a higher price tag, it's never let me down.  A great addition to the kitchen.  Click here for the best model.

Tip 2 - Always drink with a straw, much less damaging to your teeth and enamel and try and brush straight after either way to keep those pearly whites white!

2. Man Flu Fighting Soup

Continuing on the topic of nutrients, this bad ass soup is like bringing in the big guns when it comes to the war against Man Flu.  Anything warm can help with fighting against a sore throat and inflammation and when you aren't feeling your best, a soup is always the answer.

Ingredients wise you can really play around, the key is lots and lots of root vegetables, anything that grows in the ground is jam packed full of nutrients.  I am a firm believer that organic is the way forward, avoiding the horrible pesticides that can be used with the regular stuff.  

Here's the rough recipe and don't be too precise, just add more of what you like.


I typically prefer more garlic in food and just as it can be great at fighting vampires, it's also a good one for the battle against infection.  Garlic contains 'allicin' which gives it the strong smell, it's an ingredient that helps combat disease and fight infection, so a real warrior addition.  Spinach is rich in magnesium and zinc (and protein!) and carrots are full of all manner of vitamins.
We were lucky enough to be sent one of the bad boys from Thermomix, a fantastic tool and addition to the kitchen.  A Thermomix is essentially a blender on steroids and takes making soup to another level.  Find out more here if you are interested.

But fear not, you can make soup in pretty much any decent blender, then stick in a pan to heat up.
Serve with lots of black pepper and some crusty bread if you have the appetite.

3. Stay Hydrated

This may seem like a real obvious one but it is an area we can all improve on.  Just because you aren't thirsty doesn't mean your body isn't in need of water.  During the colder months it can be easy to neglect your water intake and let's not forget coffee and other caffeinated drinks can actually dehydrate the body further.

The first thing I do when I head downstairs in the morning is reach for a pint of the cold stuff.  The early hours are when your body is most dehydrated after sleep and so grabbing a glass early doors is really important.  Staying hydrated will help the body fight off any bacteria and flush out the bad guys, not to mention the added benefits to your skin.

I am fairly militant when it comes to drinking water these days and getting a decent jug/filter combo has definitely helped.  It keeps your water chilled and the filter helps purify out any impurities.  Click here to grab one and take it to the next level.

4. Get Moving

Exercise improves general immune function and fresh air is always a good idea, just be sure to wrap up warm.  If you are starting to feel the effects of a cold or the symptoms are showing themselves, sitting around in your boxers with the footy on may seem like the best idea but fresh air can be enormously helpful. 

Just keeping your body moving can help aid the fight against illness and it's also much better for you mentally to keep active rather than lounge around letting Man Flu take it's hold.

5. Don't Underestimate The Power Of Sleep

Sleep plays an incredibly important part in our lives and during the Winter months it's more important than ever.  A tired body is ultimately more susceptible to infection and a good nights rest can really help in the battle against a full blown cold.
When it comes to night time routine there are a few products I use religiously to help aid in sleep and prepare for bed.  
If you are struggling to get to sleep and switch off, nothing beats a warm bath (or hot shower).  One of my favourite brands, Neom Organics, have a killer bath/shower oil range and a few drops of this stuff can really help get you in the mood and help you switch off.  You can learn more about the range here.
(I realise I've photographed the 'Energise' instead of the 'Sleep' oil - DOH!) 
Another product I live by is the Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Mask by Kiehls.  The combination of calendula and aloe help soothe and hydrate the skin and ultimately fight any signs of illness - so at least you won't look rough in the morning!

Finally nothing beats the power of a decent sleep spray.  Scent is the gateway to the senses and the subtle smells of lavender and camomile help relax the body and mind throughout the night.  I use a sleep spray almost every evening and I can promise it makes that extra bit of difference when it comes to helping you drift off.  A current fave is from This Works and combines both their super sleep and regular sleep formulas - both natural.
Make sure you get your much needed Z's in the fight against Man Flu!  

6. Grab Some Vitamin C To Go

Making things from scratch is always the best way forward but when life gets busy and you've got places to be, it's not always easy to find the time.  

I recently discovered Get More Vits and their range of vitamin enriched soft drinks and they are a fab option if you are in a rush and in need of a boost.  Josie and I visited Soho Farmhouse last week and the guys at Get More talked us through the range.  They taste great and I was impressed to find they use natural spring water and natural sweetner, making them as healthy as possible for a soft drink.

The vitamin C sparkling orange is less than 10 calories and contains 5 oranges worth of vitamin C per bottle, so it's a great option if you are in a rush or at work and needing a quick vitamin boost.  

They also come in a handy kids size, so for any parents out there they are a fantastic solution to getting your little ones to get their required vitamins and minerals.

Available in most supermarkets these days including Tesco, Sainsburys and Asda and you can find out more about the products here

7. Channel The Power of Green Tea & Manuka

Green tea is forever touted as a leader in the health market and it no doubt has numerous benefits.  I won't bore you with the finer details but it's accepted that green tea is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients - so a great alternative to coffee or tea during Winter.  

As soon as I start to feel a sore throat coming on (the first sign the walls have been breached!) I tend to stick on the kettle and pour myself a green tea with a few slices of fresh ginger, squeeze and a slice of lemon and a 'gloop' of Manuka honey.

The ginger offers anti-bacterial powers and the lemon provides vitamin C and can help balance the body's pH level.  Aside from adding some sweetness, the Manuka honey is the secret weapon here.  Primarily made in Australia and New Zealand, Manuka is harvested from bees that forage the local Manuka or Tea Trees.  

Its powers include anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, the perfect 'soldiers' to fight against a sore throat, kill bacteria and reduce inflammations.

Whether you want to strengthen your defences or kick start a fight against an incoming cold, this drink will not let you down.

Tip - Check Amazon for the best deals for Manuka and look for one with a 'UMF' (Unique Manuka Factor) of 15+ and above - ultimately the stronger, the better.
Here's hoping this years Flu season isn't too punishing and us chaps can get away relatively unscathed!

A completely random fact to leave you on - covering your eyes when people around are coughing and sneezing is actually the best way to stop airborne bacteria from spreading... so get practising... ! 

What are your tips and favourite ways to keep the dreaded Man Flu at bay?

C.

Five Stand Out Autumnal Scents

With the recent shift in seasons and Autumn now very much upon us it's time to switch it up things up when it comes to your daily fragrance.  

With the unpredictable weather and temperatures, the Autumn months can be challenging when it comes to choosing the right scent.  Should you opt for a scent that reflects crisp Winter frost, damp forests or the warmth of a cosy fireplace? 

Fortunately with a number of recent launches, there are plenty of options out there to ensure you hit the right 'base' note.  

Here are 5 of my current faves:

Jo Malone - English Oak & Hazelnut:

Jo Malone are nailing it these days when it comes their fragrances.  Primarily unisex, there are numerous head turning scents within the Jo Malone stable, including this newly launched English Oak & Hazelnut, a scent that is the definition of Autumn.

With green hazelnut top notes combined with cedar-wood and roasted oak, this is a scent to be worn with a cashmere roll neck and a wax jacket.  

Ermenegildo Zegna - Elements of Man - Talent:

I've only recently become familiar with the Ermenegildo Zegna fragrances and the Elements of Man range really resonated with me.  Sometimes you spray a scent and it just taps into memories of days gone by and Talent did exactly that for me.

With the inclusion of bergamot and cedarwood, it's a fresh and woody scent with a hint of patchouli adding some musky earthiness.  A great everyday fragrance but given the higher price tag I mostly wear this on those special occasions and evening events. 

To be worn with a tux or a velvet smoking jacket.

By Kilian - Gold Knight:

By Kilian is another brand on this list that can't put a foot wrong in recent times.  One of my all time favourite scents, Incense Oud, was a real game changer and I still get compliments almost every time I've had a spritz.  

Gold Knight is another triumph and a real head turner and stand out smell.  Combining bergamot, anise and vanilla, it's an oriental scent with a hint of citrus and lime.  Given a high price tag I would recommend this as the ultimate evening fragrance for the next few months, a scent to make a real statement.

Accompany this scent with a crisp white shirt and classic blazer.

David Beckham - Respect:

A new launch from the footballing legend, Respect is fast becoming one of my favourites this season.  

I must admit the previous Beckham launch wasn't one for me and so was very pleasantly surprised to find a much more modern and masculine fragrance.  With strong vetiver notes and the inclusion of fruity grapefruit, it's a fresh musky scent thats just perfect for this time of year. 

I was actually lucky enough to meet the man himself a few weeks ago and was instantly taken back by how down to earth and genuine he was.  His passion and knowledge of this fragrance was equally impressive and it's clear Dave (!) has a big input into the design and overall make-up of the finished product.  

This will be a fantastic stocking filler this Christmas given the very affordable price tag.

To be paired with a suede bomber jacket and wool knit for the ultimate smart casual look.

Paco Rabanne - Pure XS:

Pure XS launched towards the end of Summer and it's a scent I can't get enough of at the moment.  With top notes of ginger and thyme it really grabs the attention and hints of cedar give it that Autumnal vibe.

For me this a is a great all-rounder but I particularly like the freshness post-workout, so it's a regular in my gym bag.

A fragrance to match with an unbuttoned shirt or v-neck knit to truly reveal the base notes.


Autumnal scents are some of my favourite, with the likes of vetiver, oak and bergamot all making a return and they are the perfect compliment to those Autumn threads.

What are your favourites this season?

C.

Man About Town's Guide For The Man Working On The Move

Since becoming self-employed almost a year ago I've had to rapidly learn the ways of the man on the move and get used to working outside of the typical office environment.  With no fixed office aside from my dining table at home, I'm forever working on the go and it's been a real learning curve. 

More and more people are shifting to the self-employed lifestyle and on the surface it seems like the way to go, but there are definite drawbacks that can have a real impact on productivity and efficiency.  It's important to forward plan your day to maximise your time and be successful.

Here are my top ten tips for the modern day gent to make the most of your time and be more effective when on the move!

1. Plan Your Day

Admittedly I'm not always the best when it comes to forward planning, but since changing things up and implementing more of a structure to my day, I've become a hell of a lot more productive.  

The first step is to pick up a weekly planner or journal and plan your day out to ensure you spend your time wisely and in the right areas.  It's key to prioritise and I tend to write a 'to do list' and then review things immediately, often halving the tasks based on the priority and importance.  

Breaking tasks up can make things feel less daunting and try to avoid building things up into a bigger challenge than they really are and just 'crack on'! Also try to avoid early morning emails, tackle the bigger tasks head on before getting distracted by that never ending rabbit hole that is your Gmail inbox.

2. Escape The House

I'm someone who is very (!) easily distracted and when your home becomes your work space the lines can become very blurred and distractions are rife.  Whether it's the postman knocking every few hours to deliver another ASOS delivery, the Jehova's witnesses (it's happened twice already!) or a basket full of washing, there are countless distractions in the home to take you away from the task in hand. 
I find I'm most productive when working away from the house, in an busier environment surrounded by other people and less homely distractions (namely the pups!).

A great place to escape to and call home for the day is the newly opened Cafe Nespresso on Broadwick Street in the heart of Soho.  Perfectly placed for central meetings, I love the buzzing atmosphere and it's a great place to grab one of the best coffees in town!

3. Tackle your challenging tasks before lunch

Earlier I mentioned that avoiding emails early on in the day and focusing on the bigger tasks can be much more effective.  Research has shown that when the mind is fresh in the morning it's capable of processing bigger, more challenging tasks and I find it's always best to get these well out the way before lunch and the dreaded afternoon slumber.  

Why not challenge yourself to cracking the hardest of work challenges before the 11am coffee and then you can sip on that double espresso victoriously!

4. Coffee and lots of it

Over the past few months I've become rather coffee obsessed and in order to get any work done, I first need that caffeine fix.  A black coffee or double espresso in the morning with breakfast is the perfect boost to kick off a productive day and I find coffee is the ideal 'snack' to re-energise when things are becoming a little 'much' later on.

This is of course another reason I love working from the Cafe Nespresso, there is a fantastic coffee on tap and nothing beats a barista made flat white or carefully crafted double espresso.

Take a moment, collect your thoughts and grab a coffee - things become remarkably clearer and easier - it works for me that is.

5. Designate days for meetings

Meetings are a great opportunity to get away from the desk and emails and of course build relationships and generate new business.

Personally I like to designate a day or two a week specifically to meetings, ensuring I'm in the right frame of mind and to maximise my time.

I always prefer to have my meetings at the same place, avoiding wasting valuable time travelling and rushing all over London in between.  It's therefore good to find somewhere centrally located, that serves great coffee and has a friendly ambience without being too loud.  Cafe Nespresso ticks all these boxes for me and the Soho location is perfect for those all important client meetings.

6. Make time for lunch

It's become a real habit for many of us to sit and eat our lunch at our desks or on the way to meetings.  This isn't great from a digestion stand point nor is it an effective use of time.  Lunch is the ideal opportunity to take some time out of the day, collect your thoughts and give the mind a break from emails and staring at a computer screen.

Get out of the office, grab something to eat and sit outside of the work environment while you recharge.

I live a pretty healthy lifestyle (Monday-Friday!) and I love the offering at Cafe Nespresso - from healthy salads to flat breads there is plenty to satisfy your hunger and help you refuel for a hectic afternoon.  Everything is available to eat-in or takeaway, so whether you are keen for a bite to eat in the London sunshine (!) or in the shop itself, Cafe Nespresso have you covered.

 My personal favourite is the beetroot and goats cheese salad, guaranteed to hit the spot. 

7. Take an hour out for that all important workout 

Exercise and working out is one of the best ways to keep those energy levels up throughout a working day.  Strangely enough I feel at my most energetic straight after a tough HIIT or weight session and general belief is this is due to moving the blood around the body and getting everything moving.

I prefer to workout late morning, so get a few tasks completed first then hit the gym before heading into town for meetings, but of course an hour at lunch or in the afternoon can have just the same effect - basically keep active!

8. Take breaks

When you work for yourself it can be extremely difficult to take breaks from work but it's important for the mind and the body to take time out from tasks, even if it's a short 15 minute breather.  I find reading a newspaper or magazine for 15 minutes every few hours can let the mind relax and refocus, making tough tasks easier to go back to and complete.  

Put it this way, if a daily task is becoming overly challenging, take a breather, go for a walk or grab a paper for 15 minutes and the head back to the task and attack it head on!

9. Stay Hydrated

This one's basic and may seem obvious but only 1 in 5 of us drinks the required amount of water on daily basis.  When things get hectic it's easy to forget to take a swig but it's essential to your health and wellbeing.  

Upping the amount of water to you drink on a daily basis at work may mean more trips to the Gents, but will leave you feeling more energised and refreshed throughout the day.  

Top tip is grab a refillable water bottle, ideally metal/aluminium and keep topping it up as you drink ;-)

10. Keep away from your phone

We may get separation anxiety without that beloved smartphone within touching distance but it's becoming more of a hindrance than a help when it comes to getting things done.  I am a social media addict and even though it's a key part of my job and daily routine, it's important to put the phone to one side and focus on the task in hand.

Social media, YouTube, Sky Sports - ultimately are a distraction and it can be easy to get 'lost' for hours without having realised.  Put the phone on loud but stick it in a bag pocket or out of touching distance and you'll notice you are a hell of a lot more productive when it comes to completing tasks!

I'm definitely still learning the ways of the man on the move and how to be as productive as I can be, but hopefully the above tips may help some of you when it comes to being more efficient and effective in the work place.

The key thing for me is to change things up and constantly set new challenges and tasks to keep life interesting :-)
C.

*This post has been written in collaboration with Nespresso, although all views and opinions shared are my own.

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