Archive for the ‘fashion’ Category

I’ve written numerous articles on this subject in the past many of which I’ve posted on various forums and blogs across the internet and they have always created a lot of interest and reaction, not all of it positive I might add!

There is a lot of moral high ground concerning the subject of looks and ageing but all I can say to the people who congregate up there is that people spends billions of pounds every year on anti-ageing products and procedures so lets stop being so hypocritical about it.

The fact of the matter is that the majority of people want to look better, this may or may not include wanting to look younger. Personally, up until the age of about 23 I hated looking young, I felt that it held me back, it’s only in the last 10 to 15 years that I have actually started to apreciate the fact that I look younger than I actually am.

‘To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early or be respectable.’ (Oscar Wilde)

Regardless of wether you want to look, feel or act younger than you actually are there are certain simple things you can do in order to look and feel healthier.


# Facial hair: Always keep your eyebrows neatly trimmed, bushy/long eyebrows add years to a person and the ‘uni-brow’ is not a desirable look. Definitely no nose or ear hair this is the height of unsightliness.

Some men can look attractive with beards or stubble but they do add between 5-10 years to a man’s perceived age.

# Moisturising: Come on, we are living in the 21st century there’s nothing unmanly about a man who moisturises. Good hair and facial care is bound to pay dividends.

# Sun: Use good sun creams and no sun beds.


The body is most definitely our temple and if we put crap into it we can’t complain if it malfunctions.

# Quit Smoking: The biggest single thing you can do for your body is to free it from the torture of cigarette smoke, trust me it will thank you incessantly.

# Food and water: Eat fruit as soon as you get up, it creates a good chemical reaction in the body, conversely, never eat fruit on a full stomach, ie as a dessert because it creates the opposite effect. Buy fresh fruit and veg and stick it in the fridge so that you see it every time you go for something to nibble on. Drink lots of water.

# Exercise: Do a little every day, some is most definitely better than none, plus try and get more fresh air, again 5 minutes is better than nothing.

# Posture: Stand straight(er) and walk faster. If you saw a person hunched over and shuffling along would you think they were important or even worthy of respect? Good posture makes you look taller and feel better.

# Clothes: Wear smart clothes, they do not have to be expensive, if you are used to or like ‘comfy’ clothes start wearing ‘smarter’ clothes indoors and they will soon start to feel more comfortable.

‘Youth has no age.’ (Pablo Picasso)


# Psychology: People tend to be as old as they want to be, you can be old at 20 and young at 90. I am not suggesting that a person should suddenly start acting as young as their kids, they’d just look stupid but I am a big believer that people of all ages should strive to get along with one another.

We are all living our lives on this planet at the same time. The universe has been around for billions of years so why should age gaps prevent us from communicating effectively and sincerely with one another.

# Meditation: Meditation is as important for the mind and soul as food and water is for the body.

# Laughter: Smile and laugh as much as possible, there is no better medicine or anti-aging product available to mankind than the positive effects on the body of smiling and laughing.

‘Those who love deeply never grow old; they may die of old age, but they die young.’ (Sir Arthur Pinero)


Most of us like to keep our homes looking clean and fresh and irrespective of differing taste there are simple rules we can follow in order to acheive a quality look.

My wife and I are quite fortunate, she has a very good eye for design and I spent the first five years of my career in retail furniture, so together we usually come up with some pretty good ideas.

These are the steps we take when planning the decor for a room:

# Decide on your budget: If you can afford it bring in the professionals, yes it’s more expensive but you will acheive a much better finish, more quickly and it will last much longer. Even if you want to DIY getting quotes doesn’t cost anything and you will pick up some really good ideas.

# Decide on the look you want to acheive: Utilise what is already there but do not plan round things that can be easily removed or replaced. For example, if the room already has solid-wood flooring you would probably want to keep it but don’t plan round existing wallpaper, furniture etc. I personally like the minimalist, clean-line look.

# Colour scheme: Pick a feature colour(s) but use it sparingly, the bulk of the room-colour should be relatively neutral.

# Walls: Dado’s may be a bit dated but they are great if you have pets, top half wallpaper, bottom half painted lining paper. Hence bottom half is easily and cheaply replaced and also you can keep painting it different colours. You can use feature walls in a similar way, but subtle is best, all four walls painted red? – No.

# Furniture: Again, I prefer modern to traditional, I wouldn’t go for something too trendy though because it will date just as quickly, There is a lot of classical furniture out there both modern and traditional that will look just as good in ten years time.

# Protect it: The biggest harmers of furniture and fabrics are pets and sunlight, fit door handles that prevent your pets from gaining entry to a room when you are out. Likewise, fit blinds to protect your suite and other furniture from fading.

# Storage: We all accumulate clutter so it is vital we have plenty of storage space so we can keep it out of view, don’t have a thousand books on display, either get units to house them in or buy a Kindle.

# Flooring: Personally, I like solid wood flooring, with the exception of the lounge we have it fitted downstairs throughout, we paid a lot of money for it but it will last a lifetime. Dark carpets only so they don’t show the dirt and tiles in the bathroom.

# Tradesmen: If you do decide to use skilled tradesmen for kithen/bathroom fitting then select the tradesman first and then the furniture not the other way around. Use store fitters at your PERIL.

# Fixtures and fittings: Finishing touches and light-fittings make a room so I wouldn’t be tempted to skimp on them. However, not everything that looks expensive is expensive, as long as you have some good peices the rest will simply blend in.

# Pictures and mirrors: Big mirrors obviously make a room look bigger, and a couple of big pitures are preferable to lots of smaller ones. Limit the number of family photos, you know what each other looks like.

# Bringing the outside in: Get as much light into the room as possible and paint and decorate with lighter shades. The room will look better and bigger.

# The overall look: If the overall look of the room is relatively neutral it enables you to go a bit crazy in one area ie a brightly coloured suite or lots of colurful accessories and this will give the room impact. A patterned suite on a patterned carpet with patterned wallpaper – NO!

Even if it’s all the same pattern? – STILL NO!

Happy decorating.


They say that patience is a virtue. I couldn’t agree more, it’s just one that I dont posess, I try, I really do and I’m not making excuses BUT there are just certain things that people do that would make even a saint swear.

However, this year I decided to turn over a new leaf and not let those little niggles get to me.

I get up at 5am and make my way to the bathroom. It does not irritate me that the toilet roll holder is empty, In fact I smile to my self feeling quite confident there will be some in the bathroom cupboard but nope the cupboard is  also empty, no problem, I go down to the garage and get a fresh pack.

On my way down the stairs I think back to the film I watched last night what a great film it was, just a pity the last five minutes hadn’t recorded but I dont mind, I’d only sat riveted for almost 2 hours, I didn’t really want to know the end.

I must’ve set the DVD incorrectly because I’d been interupted for the third time that evening by one of those wonderful telesales people who insist on saving you money, they always become annoyed though when I suggest ringing them back an hour after they have finshed work for the day to discuss the matter further, funny that.

I pass the kitchen sink and spot a dirty cup and plate on the side which one of the kids must’ve left out for me to stow in the dishwasher, I’m still smiling even when I discover jam in the butter.

As I leave for work, I glance at one of our neighbours houses and think for the hundredth time ‘why have they not taken down their Christmas lights yet, it’s May for God’s sake.’

As I head for the petrol station, someone pulls out right in front of me, then proceeds to go at twenty miles an hour, I’m a little late but I dont mind. I try to fuel up but the attendant wont switch my pump on, I’m sure he will eventually, when he’s finished his first cup of coffee of the day, after the second maybe? I then go 1p over the amount I intended putting in, no problems, £20.01 is just fine and dandy, well ok I top it up to £25, that feels better.

As I am leaving the forecourt a young lad pulls in, stereo blaring, no one else bar him has the foggiest idea what the tune is, get me out of here, sorry I mean, we all like a good tune first thing in the morning especially when it’s played by someone else at 500 decibels.

At work we hold an early meeting about the effectiveness of yesterday’s  meeting and what we plan to discuss in tomorrow’s meeting. This afternoon we are having another meeting to discuss wether to divert time away from customer support and use it to hold more meetings.

I must dash I’m late for another meeting. Colin the finance director is chairing it and I promise to smile every time he uses the words ‘cool’, ‘dude’ or ‘sweet’. I also promise to laugh politely whenever he mimicks speech marks with his fingers  or says “Let’s not go there”. I’m still smiling…

Thank God, It’s the weekend at last, the alarm clock goes off as usual at 5am because I forgot to switch it off last night but that’s cool, sorry, I mean that’s okay.

We are doing the weekly food shop but can’t move for OAP’s, they have all week to shop but hey, the more the merrier on a Saturday that’s what I say. It did not irritate me or annoy me for that matter that the woman vacating the parking space that I was waiting for spent five minutes on her mobile before leaving even though she knew I was waiting for her spot, no it didn’t, really.

Inside the store, we choose the checkout with the smallest queue but then discover it’s the smallest queue because it’s being operated by a trainee who has to keep calling for assistance.

Whilst waiting patiently I notice the couple in front of us are wearing matching sweaters and make a mental note to get a pair for my wife and I, sweet.

On the way out we bump into someone I haven’t seen in years, I can’t remember his name so I don’t introduce him to my wife, this appears incredibly rude  but what was the alternative?

As we load our groceries into the car I notice someone else has left a shopping trolley in my way but I don’t mind struggling to the trolley park with two trolleys, honestly.

We unload the shopping at home without breaking our necks on one of the cats that insist on brushing round our legs or tripping over the kids’ discarded sports bags.

Finally we walk into the village and reach the sanctuary of the pub, this should be great a few drinks and a nice meal, no cats, no kids just my wife and I, pure bliss.

Wrong, there are more kids here than at the local creche. Their parents don’t appear to be anywhere in sight. When eventually they do materialise they refuse to take their screaming brats out of the pub no matter how loud they cry or complain.

I go to get another round of drinks and to order some food, the guy in front of me proceeds to order food and drink for his party of about twenty people, he keeps getting it wrong, changing his mind, going back to ask other members of the party what they’d ordered. Like I said, bliss.

Eventually 10 minutes later, the order is complete, double and tripple checked by the waitress, I breathe a sigh of relief, the waitress breathes a sigh of relief before aunt Ethel suddenly appears and asks if it would be a great incovenience if she changed her meal.

YES IT WOULD YOU OLD…of course not maddam.

We finally make it home, kick off our shoes and switch on the TV. Up pops Simon Cowell, smiling that all-knowing smile of his – Perfect.

Life doesn’t get any better.


Clothes shopping is definitely a passtime that divides the sexes. Most women love it and most men hate it. Personally, I can just about tolerate it, I like OWNING new clothes but going shopping for them is a different matter.

I always try-on new clothes before buying them because they can look totally different on than they do hung up in the shop. I always tend to be with my wife when I shop for clothes. The reason for this is probably a combination of her motivating me to buy them and me trusting her taste, if she doesn’t like it I wont buy it.

Her judgement I can handle but most of the male changing rooms in the Uk have a waiting area where all the repective wives and girlfriends congregate. The upshot is that you end up modelling the clothes not just for your own partner but for a host of other women you have never met before as well.

By the end of a clothes buying session I feel that I know these women personally, afterall, most of them will have commented, to my wife more than me, on how I look in numerous different shirts and pairs of trousers. ‘Shucks, the mere thought of it is making me feel all embarassed.’

How come there’s no waiting area for the men in the female changing rooms? They probably use the space to stow all the ‘unsuitable’ shoes and handbags.

What is it with women and handbags? (closely followed by shoes)

Why do women have to posess upwards of thirty handbags? I just dont get it. Yeah, okay they need somewhere to put all their girlie-stuff and I understand the need to match the handbag to the outfit but 30, 40 or even 50 of the damn things, it’s just absurd.

I think a more realistic luggage allowance would be 20kg for men and 100kg for women, ‘That’s including shoes girls put those back in the wardrobe NOW.’ On our last trip abroad I was only allowed 2 pairs of shoes, whilst my wife somehow scraped by with 7.

Why have women never got anything to wear?

This is another fashion mystery, how can it be physically possible to have nothing to wear when you spend half your waking life shopping for clothes?
Most items women buy go straight in the wardrobe and next see the light of day when they decide to have the ‘old season clearout’. Why buy something if you are never going to wear it, guys will wear things until they are worn out and THEN utilise them for wearing whilst doing the gardening or DIY.

I once left my wife alone for 10 minutes in our local village center and when I met up with her again she’d bought a new dress! I vaguely remember her saying something about how it was an absolute bargain and it would’ve been foolish of her NOT to buy it…hmm. Foolish of me more like.

There is no doubt about it women love clothes and a word to the wise for the boys, women ALSO like men who wear nice clothes, I’ve even heard women describe men by what they were wearing and not by what they looked like.

‘Scary, consign that old wardrobe to the gardening shed guys and go out and buy yourselves a new one. That’s if you can you can get past all the women blocking the entrance to the male changing rooms of course.’