The Ultimate Guide to Cycling for Beginners

A guest post by Catherine Bedford, Dashel.

Have you been bitten by the cycling bug? After all, the increase in take-up of cycling over recent months has been phenomenal! 

No doubt you have seen this and, perhaps, are thinking of following suit. But, if you haven’t ridden a bike since childhood, where on earth would you start in your cycling journey? Here are some things to consider when getting back into the saddle after a long time:

Which bike is best for you?

Your old BMX is probably not what you’re thinking of using to restart your cycling journey, so which should you choose? The best way to decide which bike is best for you is to think about what you will be using it for and where you are likely to be cycling. 

If you are looking for speed, perhaps to commute to and from work in the quickest time possible or if you are looking to travel far and fast on your weekend ride, then a road bike, or racer, is probably the right bike for you. They are lightweight and designed for speed. A tourer is similar to a road bike but is slightly sturdier so if you are likely to use your bike for longer journeys where pannier bags might be useful, for example if you are fishing or camping, this is worth exploring.

Alternatively, if you’re considering something a bit more adventurous and fancy taking your bike off-road in your free time, perhaps on forest trails or over hilly paths, then a mountain bike is probably what you need. These have better suspension and thick tyres designed to grip in muddy or loose terrain.

If you can’t decide or fancy a bike that you can commute to work on but ride off-road at weekends, have a look at the hybrid bikes. They are lightweight but also sturdy and comfortable and a good all-rounder.

And there is a lot more choice than these three, too. If you have a long commute but still want to cycle either side of the train ride, a folding bike is lightweight and practical, or for people with back and knee problems, it’s worth considering a recumbent bike, where you sit in a reclining position.

Your bike will be an investment so take the time to research what will suit you best. You can look online but I’d also suggest talking to the staff at your local bike shop to find out what will best suit your needs.

When it comes to cost, like anything you mostly get what you pay for. If you’re on a tight budget, do look at second hand, reconditioned bikes. They save money and are obviously also better for the environment.

Safety measures

Once you have decided on your bike you need to ensure you will be safe. This also does not need to cost the earth but do make sure you have the essentials. Starting at the top, helmets are not actually legally required but I do feel it’s important because, in the unfortunate event of an accident, it will protect you! If you think helmets mean looking silly, think again. There are some really stylish helmets on the market these days which means you can make a fashion statement while keeping safe. You can also buy helmets made of recycled materials, that can themselves be recycled at end of life.

Visibility is also key. You must have lights on your bike and, if you are likely to be riding in traffic, consider one you can wear on your (stylish) helmet too. This will make you even more visible to 4x4s and buses. Even if you’re not planning on riding after dark, it’s wise to carry something reflective with you at all times. Who knows, you might enjoy your ride more than you thought and want to go for a bit longer. You don’t have to be clad head to foot in day-glow; a simple sash that can be easily carried with you is enough to be sure you are seen.

Gloves are also a good idea, not just to keep you warm in cooler months but they will protect your hands in event of coming off your bike – these are generally the first thing you put out to save yourself. Also cycling glasses are not only good for protecting your eyes from glare and UV rays, they also protect your peepers from wind and rain, bugs and dust.

Finally, I’d also recommend you learn a little bike maintenance so you can ensure your bike is fit for purpose on a regular basis. Make sure you know how to check the air pressure in your tyres, test your brakes and ensure you have sufficient lube on your chain. Again, a good bike shop should talk you through the basics when you buy.

Geared up

Firstly, don’t think you need to go and buy loads of Lycra before you can get on your bike. Indeed, you can ride in your everyday clothes, up to a point, although you should avoid heavy shoes or loose laces and baggy skirts or trousers which could get caught up the pedals or chain. Wear light and comfy clothes and avoid things like jeans for long cycle rides as thicker denim can chafe after a while. If you already own leggings for yoga or running they’ll be perfect.

Of course, if you get seriously involved in speed riding you may want to buy clothes and gear that aid with streamlining. On the other hand, if you are commuting, that is probably the last thing you want to do. Instead, look out for cycling gear specifically designed to transition between bike and office. Not only can you get helmets that don’t cause ‘helmet hair’, there are stylish jackets which look great in a meeting but glow at night when you’re riding home. Similarly, there are some amazing shoes out there, perfect for cycling in that really look the part when you are sitting at your desk. There are even pannier bags available that you can take off the bike and hide the clips so you look like you bought from a local designer boutique. Similarly, this gear is great if you are cycling to meet friends for a pub lunch, cream tea or picnic.

Do invest in some rain gear – after all, this is England. A lightweight jacket and over-trousers are good to have to hand and a poncho is great for showery weather too.  

Avoid the aches and pains

Taking up a new physical activity will almost always leave you with some aches and pains, where you are using muscles that haven’t been worked for a while. Unfortunately, cycling has some additional potential discomforts.

You may find that you are saddle sore to start with. Check your saddle is in the right position and, after a while, as your muscles and tendons get accustomed to it, this ‘pain in the bottom’ will abate. In the meantime, you should stand on the pedals at regular intervals to give you some relief. It may also help to invest in underwear with minimal seams or even some specialist shorts. If the discomfort does not improve you might need to think about a different saddle.

You can also find you have discomfort in other parts of your body; neck, lower back, hands, feet and legs. These are almost without fail due to your position on the bike and the handlebars and seat not being in the optimal position. Again, it is worth asking the shop that you buy your bike from to help you get this correct in the first place or ask advice from friends who have cycling experience.

Find the right route

Whether you are cycling to work or for pleasure, consider sensible routes when starting out. You do not want to begin your new pastime weaving in and out of inner-city traffic. Not only is it dangerous to do so without experience, you are highly likely to put yourself off before you start. Try some rural off-road routes to start with. When riding to work, ask about and find some quieter routes that go through parks, for example, or beside the river. It may take a little longer but it will be safer and far more pleasant. Also consider the difficulty of your route. Novice cyclists are unlikely to enjoy hilly rides initially and would be much more sensible to opt for easy terrains and low gradients. You can always build up as you gain confidence and fitness. Best of all, use your early days cycling to explore local routes and find some you really enjoy.

These are all things to consider when you take up or resume cycling after a long absence. Don’t rush into it or think you need to have the full kit before you start. Ease yourself in, get comfortable and, as your cycling journey continues, you will learn what your mode of cycling is; whether you are a speed freak or an off-road adventurer, someone who loves being closer to nature on rural rides or social cyclist; the list goes on. Wherever your cycling journey takes you, I’m sure you will have a wonderful time!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Catherine Bedford is Founder of Dashel. Dashel offers a range of slim, ventilated, lightweight cycle helmets manufactured in the UK. With a distinctive urban feel Dashel Helmets are made from recyclable materials – ensuring that they are low impact at the point of manufacture and produce very little waste at the end of life. The new Re-Cycle helmet will be ground down into new helmets at the UK factory when it is finished with. The helmets are portable, sold packaged in a handy rucksack that means there is no superfluous packaging. They come in an array of classic colours. Choose from black, blue, sage green and red. Dashel helmets are £79 and available from all good cycle shops and online at Dashel.co.uk.

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The beginners guide to hiking and walking

Exploring the outdoors is for everyone, and if you’re just starting to make walking or hiking a more regular thing then we have some handy facts and tips that can help you enjoy it as much as possible.

Hit the hills, don’t sweat the small stuff!

Why choose walking?

Walking is simple, free, and one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight and become healthier.

Sometimes overlooked as a form of exercise, walking briskly can help you build stamina, burn excess calories and make your heart healthier.

You don’t have to walk for hours…even a brisk 10-minute daily walk has lots of health benefits and counts towards your NHS recommended 150 minutes of weekly exercise.

Take yourself off to a local trail in the country and you’ll be presented with so much beautiful, open space, you won’t quite know what to do with it!

Get closer to nature

In the country, you are surrounded by the singing of the birds rather than by the noise from the traffic. The countryside is surrounded by nature which has a soothing effect on both the mind and the body. A good walk can do wonders for your mental wellbeing. But it’s not just about the occasional one-off feel good factor. Being active has a whole range of benefits when it comes to mental wellbeing.

It improves self-perception and self-esteem, mood and sleep quality, and it reduces stress, anxiety and fatigue.

But, what to wear?

The first question everyone will ask themselves before they head out on their first hike is, ‘what should I wear?

If you have little experience with walking or preparing for the outdoors in general, it can be daunting to kit yourself out properly on your own. Working from top to bottom, we have put together a guide to clothing and accessories for walking and hiking, so you know before you go.

Your Upper Half

Your first must-have is a waterproof jacket which will keep you protected, dry and comfortable when zigzagging through forests, hills and lakesides.

We all know how quickly the weather can change, and at higher altitudes, a sudden shift in weather can be dangerous if you aren’t appropriately prepared. Look for a good waterproofness level combined with significant breathable properties, as this will help you stay fresh when you’re on the move – ideal for brisk treks and mountain climbs.

Your mid-layer is just as important as the outer layer, as it insulates heat and can be used as a light cover-up when the weather is fine. A fleece zip-up is a good choice of mid-layer, as it is a multi-use garment and provides protection from icy winds and temperatures.

base layer will complete your gear for your upper half, wicking away moisture when you’re getting hot and sweaty from exerting yourself, yet still insulating your body heat when you’re cooler.

Your Lower Half

A pair of quality walking boots to your outfit to make sure that your feet are able to tolerate the strains and stresses of walking long distances across diverse terrain. Trainers or slip-on shoes just won’t cut it on the hills and mountains, plus varied trails below. You will need a pair of boots that has a rugged grip sole, good support around the ankle and preferably a waterproof outer layer.

From the daily commute to a day out reaching that elusive peak, our rucksacks will see you through. Each is designed with comfort, durability and performance in mind. Crammed with great details like breathable air mesh and convenient pockets they’re guaranteed to make life a little easier wherever you’re heading.

Make sure you have the best clothing and equipment possible for your walk or hike.

The beginners guide to hiking and walking high street gent

Things to consider as a beginner

First-time hikers can often forget essential things that might not be the end of the world but can maybe make life a little more difficult uphill. So, here is what to do to avoid trouble…

  • Take plenty of water with you
  • Make sure your phone is fully charged (and invest in a portable charger)
  • A traditional paper map will never let you down
  • A packed lunch and/or snacks will provide a much-needed energy boost
  • Pack some plasters, bandages and an emergency blanket (for those longer and steeper walks)
  • Do not wear trainers (more so for hiking than walking)
  • Bring a spare hoodie or fleece in case it gets cold
  • Let someone know where you are hiking before you go
  • Don’t rush it! You can go at your own pace!

Where to go?

Before you head out, ask yourself these questions to help you find the perfect trail and make sure that you’re 100% prepared:

  • How long do you want to be out for?
  • Are you going to take friends, go solo, or hike with the family?
  • Do you know the route?
  • Will you be back before dark?
  • Have you told someone where you’re going?

These questions will help you pick the right trail or route and ensure you stay safe as you go. The last question there is vitally important; before you leave civilisation, make sure that you tell a friend where you’re off to, how long you plan on being away and remember to give them your contact number.

In need of some inspiration of where to walk? Take a look at the Top 15 walks in the UK that you can enjoy with the family.

The beginners guide to hiking and walking high street gent men walking through the hills
The COVID-19 Crisis Survey for Men Reveals 100% of Those Interviewed Are Now Experiencing Mental Health Problems

The COVID-19 Crisis Survey for Men Reveals 100% Are Experiencing Mental Health Problems

A survey into how men’s mental health has been affected by the pandemic reveals that an overwhelming 100% of all men interviewed felt that their mental health had been affected. All of those who took part reported problems including feelings of depression, anger, anxiety, lack of appetite, sleeping problems and lack of sexual interest over the last few months.

The Covid-19 Crisis Survey for Men went onto reveal that over half of all men who took part (60%), have not made time to socialise with their family and friends and this has had a detrimental effect on their mental health. The research also showed that:

  • 85% of men felt that their children had been affected by the pandemic
  • 65% are concerned about their family’s financial future
  • Only 10% felt that their partner hadn’t been affected by the crisis
  • 60% felt that they had made some positive changes since COVID-19

Psychotherapist Noel McDermott explains that “from boyhood men are told to be brave and ambitious, as they grow older, they strive to become good fathers, partners and providers. Throughout the pandemic, the traditional role of man has changed and with this has come new pressures. For many men their whole lives have been turned upside down, the vast haven’t been able to go to work, the gym, play sport with a team or to the pub with pals. Men in general have fewer social and emotional support systems and the places where men used to go and talk about their problems are closed and they’ve found themselves in new, unfamiliar circumstances. For those that are fathers, they have been at home all day with more exposure to the household demands and domestic responsibilities balancing both work and family. This has created even more demands and pressures”.

What Men Fear Most

The biggest fear for many men is that they will not be able to return to full economic productivity and earning capacity and this is still a large part of men’s identity and role in our culture. Men who act as the primary breadwinners in their household feel the financial burden and responsibility within their relationship. For those that are now returning to work, many are reporting anxiety with the loss of family time and others are feeling the pressure to make up for lost earnings and secure an economic future. Numerous studies show men feel financial stresses both as a status issue and as a provider, this can lead to relationship difficulties, drinking and substance misuse and mental health issues. These concerns increase significantly during times of economic downturn and this can be seen during the lifting of lockdown.

Warning signs of mental health problems in men

Stress is a big factor in health and mental health for both men and women and these times of transition are very stressful. Typically, we see men express stress in a number of ways:

  • Sexual performance issues and loss of libido
  • Emotional dysregulation (irritability and anger)
  • Sleep issues, appetite issues
  • Withdrawal and bottling things up
  • Increased drinking
  • Mood shifts and mood swings

Self-help for Men: Stress Management Techniques

As these are stress responses the single biggest thing men can do to help themselves is learn better stress management techniques which are:

Spot it, know your signs that you are experiencing problems and have your ‘fire escape’ plan in place to ensure you manage better such as increased self-care, asking for help from others, getting professional help, talking to your GP.

Ensure general wellbeing hygiene practice to increase resilience: exercise, sleep well, good food, talk to friends and family about your worries, hydrate well, get outside regularly, ensure you do fun things!
Discuss your worries and ask for support, ensure you normalise your experiences of stress and understand everyone is feeling this and it’s not a sign of failure to be feeling overwhelmed.

Signs that there may be need of professional help are if there are problems in functioning that are persistent over a two-week period. Periodic anxiety or depression lasting a short period of time is to be expected and will generally shift of their own accord if your general mental hygiene/lifestyle is resilient. If it continues for days and weeks, then there is likely to be a problem needing proper diagnosis and treatment and asking your GP for advice is a good idea.

Noel McDermott is a Psychotherapist with over 25 years’ experience in health, social care, and education. He is the founder and CEO of three organisations, Psychotherapy and Consultancy Ltd, Sober Help Ltd and Mental Health Works Ltd. Noel’s company offer at-home mental health care and will source, identify and co-ordinate personalised care teams for the individual.

They have recently launched a range of online therapy resources in order to help clients access help without leaving home.

The Men’s Guide to Creating a Perfect Morning Routine

Men's guide to creating a perfect morning routine

Whether you’ve been up all night partying, watching the Super Bowl or nurturing your crying child back to sleep, waking up the next morning might be harder than you think. Sometimes getting up takes more than twenty minutes, but the extra time you take doesn’t guarantee you won’t feel sleepy anymore. That’s why you should come up with a proper morning routine – a sequence of things that will make you feel energised and alert, both mentally and physically. If you’re not sure what some of these things might be, here are a couple of suggestions every man should try out.

Drink proper coffee

While certain experts claim you shouldn’t drink coffee immediately after getting out of bed, the truth is that this soothing drink is sometimes the best way to wake up and boost your energy level. Besides improving your focus, a cup of coffee in the morning comes with a number of other benefits, from helping you burn more fat and reducing your stress to protecting you against dangerous health conditions such as Alzheimer’s and depression. That’s why you should definitely think about starting your day with a hot cup of coffee and you’ll notice the amazing benefits in a matter of days!

Apply healthy skincare

 

This isn’t something most men love doing, especially when they’re in their 20s, but taking care of your skin is the only way to make sure it stays fresh, healthy and young in the decades before you. Just because it’s impeccable at the moment doesn’t mean you’re not going to experience certain dermatological problems in the future, and you should do whatever you can to postpone them. And the way to do so is by applying proper skincare products in the morning and staying committed to realising this goal. From different moisturisers to aftershave balms, these are the things you should always keep in your medicine cabinet. Finally, don’t forget to get healthy serum for skin that’s going to make your skin appear significantly younger in a matter of days by feeding it helpful nutrients and hydrating ingredients.

Hit the gym

Now that you’re all full of energy and ready to start your day, what’s better than hitting the gym and working out before going to work? You don’t have to spend hours lifting weights, but a simple 30-minute session is going to be quite enough, especially if you manage to squeeze in three or four of these a week. Staying physically active is the best way to pump blood into your veins and stop being sleepy, so drag your body to the gym and start moving. Alternatively, you can go for a jog or ride a bike for 45 minutes, and you’ll be ready to conquer the world after that!

Listen to music

If you live alone or your family doesn’t mind you listening to loud music in the morning, you should try this idea as well. Play your favorite tunes, turn up the volume and start your day with a dose of positive energy blasting from the speakers. Anything from hard rock and hip-hop to techno and drum ’n’ bass will do the trick and slowly become an irreplaceable part of your morning routine. Music makes you feel better and helps you focus on what’s important in your life, and this is exactly what you need early in the morning.

Wake up on time

Speaking of early in the morning, waking up on time is the essential part of a great day. Managing to do a number of boring chores before having to go to work is essential if you want to feel productive, useful and active – the more you manage to do in the morning, the less you’ll have to deal with afterwards. That’s why getting up at the crack of dawn comes with a number of surprising benefits, giving you enough time for your morning routine and making your day longer, which means you’ll have more time for your family and friends.

Coming up with a perfect morning routine might seem hard at first, but it’s actually easier than you think – just focus on what makes you happy and start doing these things before heading to work, and you’ll be feeling better all day long.

5 Summer Grooming Tips for Men

Summer grooming tips for men, Men's shaving, Men's hair gel, Men's razor, Men's shaver, Men's shaving foam, Men's moisturiser, Clean Men

Fellas, are you looking for some summer grooming advice? You’ve come to the right place! We’re sharing a few tips on how to keep your skin looking and feeling its best all season long, with Maximum Style.

Proper skin care is not just for the ladies. It’s an important self-care habit that everyone should adopt—no matter your gender. Of course, caring for your skin should be practiced year-round, but a few steps and products should change with the seasons…summer included. As you enjoy the season of outdoor BBQs and beach days, there are a few necessary adjustments you should make as it relates to caring for your body’s largest organ. From Broad Spectrum sunscreen to lightweight moisturizers, we’re sharing the ultimate summer skin care guide for men, ahead!

TIP #1: CLEANSE YOUR SKIN

Keeping the skin clean is a no-brainer year-round, but especially during the hot summer months when dirt and sweat build-up can dull the look of our complexion. By cleansing your skin twice per day (morning and night) with a gentle cleanser, you can help remove unwanted oils, dirt, debris, and impurities that can accumulate throughout the day on the surface of skin, giving way to a cleaner, brighter-looking complexion.

If you plan on shaving, cleansing your face beforehand is an absolute must. Reach for an exfoliating cleanser that can help whisk away dead skin cells from skin’s surface and prep the skin for a smooth shave. For optimal results, use daily as a cleanser or three times per week as a mask.

Use a clean and sharp razor too. This is key to avoiding cuts, nicks and ripping out hairs. A stainless-steel razor will be cooling against your chin and cheek whilst it warm. We’d go for the kind of razor that imitates this, view here.

TIP #2: DON’T SHAVE DRY

Summer grooming tips for men, Men's shaving, Men's hair gel, Men's razor, Men's shaver, Men's shaving foam, Men's moisturiser, Clean Men

Need to clean up that 5 o’clock shadow? To avoid irritation and any potential nicks, be sure to lather up your scruff with a shaving gel, foam, or cream. These products provide a slick layer of protection and can help provide a smoother, closer shave. Try Uppercut Deluxe Shave Cream, which offers an easy glide when shaving. Plus, it contains cooling menthol and coconut oil to aid in blemish free control for a fresh finish! All you should do is apply the cream to clean, wet skin. Be sure to rinse your blade after each pass.

TIP #3: MOISTURIZE, MOISTURIZE, MOISTURIZE

Summer grooming tips for men, Men's shaving, Men's hair gel, Men's razor, Men's shaver, Men's shaving foam, Men's moisturiser, Clean Men

After cleansing, exfoliating and/or shaving, it’s important to hydrate your skin. Since shaving can sometimes lead to skin irritation—especially on sensitive skin—we recommend reaching for a moisturizer that considers any post-shaving sensitivity, alcohol-free balm can help hydrate and soothe freshly-shaven skin to provide additional comfort.

If you’re not shaving and prefer a lightweight hydrator and a product that resembles miracle grow,   try Tommy Riots’ Beard Moisturiser. This moisture-enhancing gel formula enriched with Vitamin B5 and hyaluronic acid hydrates the skin without weighing it down, the ultimate benefit for parched summer skin. Feel free to use this gel as you would your regular moisturizer, or as an extra layer of hydration before finishing off with a cream or lotion.

TIP #4: PROTECT AGAINST UV RAYS

During the summer months when we’re spending more time in the sun, it’s important to keep sunscreen on hand at all times. Start your day by applying a facial sunscreen as the last step in your skin care routine and as directed before heading out the door. SPF and provides the skin with a layer of defence from harmful UV rays. To use, apply to face and neck fifteen minutes before sun exposure. Be sure to reapply at least once every two hours, every forty minutes if swimming or sweating, or immediately after towelling off.

TIP #5: STRONG HOLD HAIR POMADE TO WITHSTAND THE HEAT

Summer grooming tips for men, Men's shaving, Men's hair gel, Men's razor, Men's shaver, Men's shaving foam, Men's moisturiser, Clean Men

A good hair care routine is one that’s simple and effective. Arming yourself with the right tools and information about the chemistry of hair is the best first step. No matter what hair type and texture you have, you’ll be able to perform your routine quickly and have great-looking hair.

Summers are a time when your hair tends to grow much faster than usual. This works in your favour and all you need to ensure is that you prevent breakage. Make sure you wash your hair regularly and condition it well. This will keep it in good shape. Choose a product, like Mason’s Pomade, which keeps the moisture locked in, allows your hair to breath, but also lets it move freely whilst securing style. It’ll work whether you’re in town, in the pool or at the beach.

The same applies to your beard and moustache; keep facial hair trimmed or sport a clean-shaven look this summer. Don’t over-shave though! Your skin will be putting up with a lot when temperatures soar and you don’t want to damage it further by shaving every day. Stick to shaving twice a week and trimming when need be.

LASTLY, NOTHING BEATS A SHOWER.

When it comes to dealing with body odour! If you happen to perspire a lot, a daily shower is a must. You might need to shower more than once a day if you perform vigorous exercise. Showering right after your workout will help wash away sweat and prevent your skin from breaking out.

You don’t have to scrub your whole body every time you take a shower; just wash your chest, armpits, genitals, and feet thoroughly as these areas produce more sweat and are responsible for body odour.

Remember to choose mild soaps and cleansers; you don’t need to be harsh on your skin to get rid of the dirt.

Should You Shave Your Beard for an Interview?

Should You Shave Your Beard for an Interview, smartly dressed man with beard reading a newspaper, bearded man, bearded in in sunglasses, man reading the newspaper, beards for business

This is a tricky one.

On the one hand, you love your beard.

Then on the other, you probably could really do with that new job.

So the question is…

Do you take the hit on your man pride by shaving off your beard, effectively playing it safe – or do you go all guns all out – bearded, confident and dressed on point?

Ultimately, we think there are three major factors at play that you have to think about:

i) What does your interviewer think of your beard (and beards in general)?

Beards have become far more socially acceptable in recent times, that’s a given since the recent beard booms and what seems to be the undying trend.

Unfortunately, there is still a slight, albeit unfair stigma still attached to them. The typical one of course being – that a guy who sports a beard is lazy, unprofessional given that he can’t even be

bothered to shave. Harsh and largely untrue given that a good beard takes a lot more upkeep than just shaving every few days.

Of course, you won’t really know if your interviewer likes beards or not, but if you happen to know who you are going to be interviewed by, this could give you a little heads up.

It might be worth hopping on to your laptop or smartphone and do some classic ‘social media stalking’, checking out LinkedIn, Facebook – you know the drill and try and figure out if he is sporting one. If he is, it’s a good sign, he’s on your side. No beard? It could go either way.

The less risky route of course is to go shaven, if this is something that concerns you we will explain a little later why you should probably reach for the razor.

ii) Does it fit in with the ‘business culture’?

In some industries facial hair is just far more widely accepted.

Finance and law, it is almost an unspoken rule that wearing facial fur is pretty much forbidden. As with most things, there are exceptions to the rule but you best bet that those guys who sport their beards in such industries are incredibly well-kempt (again, this is something we will get into a little later).

Then there are industries that pretty much require shaven faces for health and safety reasons due to large industrial machinery or where they are a little frowned upon such as in food preparation areas (where they require you to wear beard nets and trust us on this – it just ain’t a good look).

Then there are much more beard friendly industries such as gaming design and development, photography and so on. We tend to find that with most creative jobs, they almost go hand in hand.

Ultimately, what we are trying to do is to encourage you to get your research on. Head to LinkedIn and check out the company you are applying to and other competing companies, and ask yourself does it look like many of their employees are bearded?

If so, take it is a thumbs up.

If not – it’s probably something you ought to think about.

iii) What do you think of your beard?

Of course, we know you love your beard.

What we really mean here, is do you think ultimately your beard will be working against you or not?

Whether it ‘actually’ does or not in reality, what you don’t want to happen is your subconscious screwing up your interview because you are stressing that the beard is not working in your favour.

If you are cool with it and don’t think there are any issues to be had, then that’s awesome. Keep that glorious man mane of yours!

However, if you think there potentially ‘might be’ an issue whether in fact there is or isn’t,, it could end up negatively impacting on your interview performance. In which case, we recommend you play it safe and get it shaved off. At least that way, your focus is 100% on the interview on hand.

That said, if that is the case though, we would raise the following question to ask yourself:

Can you go without your beard for the sake of your job?

I’m afraid, only you can decide that one.

iv) If you’re keeping the beard for the interview

First off, that’s awesome! We know it takes a bit of guts and we tip our hats off to you for that.

Now if you do decide to keep your beard and go ahead with the interview, you need it looking its best.

Even if your interviewer likes beards and is a beard friendly job – you still can’t turn up with it being scraggly with stray hairs sticking out all over the place. Tidy it up, apply some good beard goodies and have it looking its absolute best.

Here’s a quick step by step breakdown to have your beard looking awesome:

  1. Comb out your beard.

It’s a given, but the quickest way of dealing with tricky beard knots and generally making your beard looking neater and fuller is using a proper beard comb to help bring some order and get it all into place.

  1. Splash on some beard oil or a beard balm.

Make use of a high quality beard oil by thoroughly massaging it into your beard and skin to help moisturise and conditioning as well as to give you a great smelling odor. If you are still struggling with flyaway beard hairs, reach out for a styling balm that will help to give you some hold and control over your beard.

  1. Brush the beard and shape it up.

The final touch is just to help distribute the oils that you have applied and then helped to get your man scruff in order.

If your beard is looking particularly out of place we recommend heading to your local (and trusted) beard barber, they will help shape it up – take care of any neckbeard for you and ultimately give you a style that suits both your beard and your face. All you have to do now, is carry out the few steps we’ve just mentioned.

Like we say, it’s your call.

Play it safe and get a shave or stick it to the man and face that interview with a great luscious face forest.

Either way let us know how you got on.

A Cut Above: Dress to Impress in Any Interview

 

Man in suit, what to wear for a job interview, job interview clothes man, man in navy suit, gentleman in navy suit, going for an interview

The pressure is on. You’ve found your dream job and landed yourself an interview. Your new task? Impress the interviewer and prove you are worthy of the role. Easy? Not so much.

Interviews are intimidating. You’re sat in front of people whose sole purpose is to judge you and your abilities. Unplanned questions, spontaneous testing, unfamiliar faces, indistinguishable rooms — the whole process is unpredictable. Preparation may be the key to excelling in an interview, but with so many uncertainties, it can feel like you’re entering a minefield.

Thankfully, there is one thing you have complete control over: your look. ‘Dress to impress’ or ‘dress for success’ may seem like tired cliches, but like all good cliches, they are grounded in fact.

Dress for success: the facts behind the cliche

First impressions are important. An average interview may last around 30-45 minutes, but your interviewer will have already made their initial judgements about you within the first seven seconds. It may sound unlikely or unfair, but it’s the way the human brain functions. We’re a visual species. Have you ever come across a dark alley and immediately made a detour? Or decided against buying that Gucci watch from a market stall? We all use visual appearance to make snap judgements.

Your interviewer is no different. They will base their first judgements on your immediate appearance. A dirty, ill-fitting suit suggests that you’re lazy and disorganised, whilst a sharp, tailored suit suggests that you’re smart, well put-together, successful — regardless of if this is true or not.

Remember: you only have one chance to make a first impression. The rest of your interview will be an opportunity for an interviewer to test their judgements. It’s far easier to reaffirm positive assumptions than to try and disprove negative ones. Don’t believe it? In a survey by Adecco, they found that 75% of hiring managers identified bad fashion choices as the top mistake made in interviews.

Fake it ‘til you make it: the lab coat effect

Would you feel more comforted by a doctor wearing a lab coat than a hoodie? Or feel more safe with a policeman in full gear instead of jeans and a t-shirt? You’re not alone. Studies conducted in the 20th century found that certain clothes inspire trust and faith in a person’s ability. Clearly, fashion informs our perceptions of intelligence, capability and reliability. But, did you know that your fashion choices can have the same positive effect on you?

A study at Northwestern University found that when people wore a lab coat, they performed better in science tests, and when donning an artist’s smock, became more creative. The conclusion? Our clothes change our perceptions of ourselves. If you dress like a boss, you’ll trick yourself into feeling like a boss. Asserting confidence and assurance is essential in an interview. So, try faking it ‘til you make it!

Interview clothes basics: 6 fail-safe fashion tips

Every interview is different. We no longer live in a time when a black suit is the only appropriate outfit to wear for an interview. Tech companies and start-ups have changed business fashion. So, it’s important to take the time to do the research and find out what the company’s dress code is.

Still, there are a few fail-safe tips that you can apply to any interview. Follow these six steps to give yourself the best chance of nailing your interview and getting your dream job:

 

  • A tailored suit is the only way: A poor-fitting suit is never a good look. If you’re buying your suit from a one-size-fits-all high street shop, chances are it doesn’t fit properly. You don’t have to go to a tailor or spend a fortune; there are cost-effective online tailors to check out. Invest in a suit that really fits and you’ll always look your best.
  • Breathable fabric: No-one blames you for getting flustered in an interview, but no-one wants to see sweat stains. Invest in a good shirt made from a breathable material like wool or cotton to keep those sweat patches at bay.
  • Colour code: Bright, garish colours belong on the beach, not at an interview. Keep it simple with neutral colours: white shirts, tanned shoes, understated trousers and jacket. Remember, you’re the main show, not that statement shirt.
  • Get grooming: No matter how dapper your suit or how polished your shoes, dirty nails and scruffy facial hair will leave a bad taste in the interviewers mouth. Before an interview, go for a haircut at a trusted barber, clean shave or tidy up your facial hair, cut and buffer your nails. It’s the small things that count.
  • Make it your own: Accessorise your outfits. You need to stand out from the crowd in an interview. Simple accessorising is the easiest way to do this. A smart tie, customised cufflinks or a leather watch will add a unique flourish to your look.

Stay calm and collected. Follow these steps and remember the rule: ‘dress for success’.

Anthony Horner is the director of Empire Outlet: a luxury menswear company that provides high-quality suits and accessories for affordable prices that will not break the bank. Empire Outlet operates online and serves customers around the world.

How much will your lads’ holiday cost?

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Knowing how much spending money to take on a lads’ holiday is always tough. You don’t want to take too much, but you definitely don’t want to be out of pocket when your mates are all having a good time. So, how can you work out how much spending money you should be taking on 2018’s top lads’ holiday destinations?

Taking into account food, drink and travel, QUIZMAN — leading retailer of quality men’s t-shirts — has worked out an average spending money total for how much you should have in your wallet for each lads’ holiday destination.

Ibiza

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Average daily cost: £361
Hotel per person, per night: £279
Food for a day: £51
Bottled water: £9.74
Taxi from airport to Ibiza Town: £13-£15
Taxi from airport to San Antonio: £23-£27.50
Beer: £2.20-£3.50
Currency: Euro

Ibiza has been Europe’s party capital for years — and it’s still going strong. Pretty much everywhere you stay on the Balearic Island of Ibiza, you get a 24-hour party scene, incredible weather, excellent pool parties, world-renowned DJs, heaps of hilarious daytime activities, party boat cruises, and more. The clubs here are visited by people from across the world and you have a great mix of bar vibes — from sports and Irish bars, to rock/indie and chilled pool bars. Head to the San Antonio area for the best nightlife. But bear in mind, drinks and entry fees in certain bars and many clubs get extremely expensive in Ibiza.

Krakow

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Average daily cost: £54
Hotel per person, per night: £41
Food for a day: £6.50
Bottled water: £0.65
Taxi from airport to city centre: £18
Beer: £1.40-£2.40
Currency: Polish zloty

The second-largest city in Poland is now a firm favourite for stag dos and lads’ holidays. If you’re after a long weekend of bars, beers and chilled times; this city is ideal. Made up of 18 districts, your best bet is booking accommodation near public transport to save on taxi fares or bang in the centre to be near the best nightlife spots. Krakow is full of cool basement bars with great atmospheres. You’ll find hundreds of bars and clubs stretching out from the city centre, while the best clubs lie on Szewska and Florianska high streets.

Amsterdam

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Average daily cost: £111
Hotel per person, per night: £65
Food for a day: £27
Bottled water: £4
Taxi from airport to city centre: £35-£45
Beer: £3.30-£4.40
Currency: Euro

Although it’s the most expensive holiday destination on our list, Amsterdam is well worth a visit. Ideal for an easy time away, the capital of the Netherlands has a world-renowned reputation for partying and is packed with clubs that attract the best DJs on the planet. During the day, you can make the most of this incredible location by taking a boat cruise along a canal, booking a group bike ride along the winding streets or going on a brewery experience.

Tenerife

tenerife boat party

Average daily cost: £91
Hotel per person, per night: £37
Food for a day: £27
Taxi from northern airport to south resorts: £53
Taxi from southern airport to south resorts: £13.50
Beer: £0.88-£2.65
Currency: Euro

Tenerife is a seasoned pro when it comes to offering a fun and chilled holiday. The biggest of the Canary Islands and found off the coast of Africa, you have an incredible beach and nightlife scene on your doorstep. After a day round the pool or doing water sports in the sea, you’ll want to see what Playa da las Americas has to offer if you’re into bars and DJ music — this is also where the brother of football hero, Gary Lineker, has his sports bar. Clubs here last until the early hours of the morning and we recommend flying into Tenerife Sur airport in the south, if you can, for a shorter transfer.

Split

Average daily cost: £81
Hotel per person, per night: £54
Food for a day: £17
Bottled water: £0.62
Taxi from airport to city centre: £32.50
Beer: £1.70-£2.40
Currency: Croatian kuna

Croatia is a titan on the lads’ holiday stage right now and one of your best options in this east-Europe country is Split. With beaches soaked in sun, a laid-back vibe and heaps of water activities to get involved with — like jet-skiing and boat parties — Split is a top choice if you’re looking to relax, enjoy the weather and have a laugh with your mates. At night, Split comes alive with chilled terrace bars, lively entertainment and booming clubs open until the early hours.

Cancun

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Average daily cost: £80
Hotel per person, per night: £66
Food for a day: £5.30
Bottled water: £0.70
Taxi from airport to city centre: £27-£35
Beer: £1-£1.90
Currency: Mexican peso

A party-goers paradise, Cancun is one of those destinations you can have a different holiday experience every time you visit. From Vegas-like pool parties and party cruises to nearby islands, to some of the best clubbing experiences in the world and great places for local food; Cancun is a must-do at least once in your life. Although the clubs here can have expensive entry fees, some of these are world-class and the entertainment is out of this world.

Best lads’ holiday prices

Looking at the average daily cost per person of a mid-range style holiday, Krakow beats Amsterdam hands down as a city break scene, with its cheap accommodation and cheap beer prices. As expected, Ibiza appears to be your most expensive location, partly due to its popularity, while opposing beach destination, Tenerife, offered lower hotel, food and beer prices. Although, Cancun has a slightly higher average daily cost, the average prices of its food and drink per person work out far cheaper than competing beach getaway destination, Split. However, once you factor in flights, you may see the holiday cost start evening out.

Prices are per person for a mid-range holiday. These figures were taken from Price of Travel and Budget Your Trip, correct as of July 2017.

Sustainable Underwear, Tops and Socks for the Adventurous Man

Sustainable Underwear, Tops and Socks for the Adventurous Man

Bluebuck is a bold new brand of sustainable men’s underwear, tops and socks. Made from premium organic cotton, each product is robust yet refined, just like its wearer.

Founded by Pierre David, a Frenchman living and working in London, the label combines the best of French style, British cool and a global sense of adventure. Bluebuck’s mission is to craft superior ecofriendly collections with a rugged, masculine sensibility.

Bluebuck, who?

BLUE speaks of the sky, the sea and the natural world as well as being a colour closely connected to purity, while the image of the antlered BUCK is one of raw masculinity. Bluebuck is a brand for the man who combines the rugged and the natural; who has a keen sense of environmental responsibility aligned with a strong sense of self.

Eco-friendly underwear with a lower carbon footprint

Bluebuck organic mens underwear 44

A Bluebuck man takes climate change seriously. He believes he can take action to minimize his impact on the planet. Bluebuck believe this too. So at every step of design and manufacturing process they ask themselves: ‘How can we minimize our
carbon footprint?’ Bluebuck is committed to producing a truly green product.

Clean renewable energy

Bluebuck pride themselves in selecting factories that use clean energy. By harnessing wind, sun and hydro-power, Bluebuck create products with minimum impact on the environment. In fact, 75% of the electricity used in their Austrain factory and 50% in their Portuguese factory come from renewable energy sources.

To add to the mix, they are also proud that 100% of the electricity used in their London office comes from renewable sources, supplied by Ecotricity.

Made in Europe

Bluebuck organic mens underwear 33

Unlike many brands that are ‘Made in Europe’, which usually simply refers to where the product is assembled, all components are produced in Europe. The fabric is knitted, then cut and assembled in Portugal using organic cotton sourced from Turkey. Even the finer details are produced in Europe: waistbands are made in Austria and the labels are created in Italy.

Once assembled, all products are moved by road, which produces around 75% less CO2 than fuel-guzzling planes.

Last longer. Waste less.

Bluebuck organic mens underwear 26

By design Bluebuck products are made to last longer, meaning less waste. They are extremely hard-wearing, durable and reliable.

Bluebuck select the very best materials available in order to ensure quality and durability. Fabrics longevity is also woven into the very design of Bluebuck products. Don’t subscribe to collections that fall in and out of fashion over the seasons. Bluebuck design all pour products in classic styles that remain stylish and timeless

The Nautical range of briefs and trunks is available in navy, white, pink, grey or ice blue with contrasting stripes. With 95% super soft organic cotton and 5% elastane, they’re kind to the skin and flexible enough to take on the most challenging of outdoor activities.

Like the Bluebuck? Shop here.

5 Bonding Activities for Men apart from Drinking

bonding activities

I don’t think it’s necessary to stress how important bonding is in life – making any relationship stronger is a very positive thing. And just like girls need their time out to gossip, go shopping or share their sex life with their girlfriends, men have to do the same, but in a slightly different way. Theirs will not involve any gossiping or shopping, but it can include so many great activities. So, if you have no idea what to do next with your guy crew, or you just want to organize something in your company where all the men will bond and have fun, take a look at five of the best activities for this:

Watch a sports game

Men in general love sports. Yes, it can happen that we don’t all love the same sport, but we don’t have any problem watching a match of the sport that we don’t follow. Even though it will involve a couple of drinks here and there, watching a sports game is a great experience where alcohol doesn’t play the biggest part. Hanging out together, watching and commenting on the game while actually talking in between the breaks is a great bonding activity. Depending on the result, it might also involve some table hitting, screaming and being barbaric – but that is the whole point of this great bonding activity. If you have the chance, you should definitely buy tickets and actually go see a sports game live.

Play a video game

Boys will be boys, they say. And there’s probably no truer saying, as men will always love video games, just like boys. This is also one in the limited range of activities that men can do with young sons or cousins – everyone will have fun. That’s why this is a great activity that you can do with your friends or colleagues. It doesn’t really matter what game you’re playing, as long as you have a competitive spirit and you’re playing against each other, it’s going to be interesting. On the other hand, you can always choose a game that will require teamwork and thus build your relationship as all of you try to come out victorious.

Go for teambuilding activities

Teambuilding activities have gained so much popularity in recent years, especially those interesting ones such as room escape, where you have to solve a mystery using teamwork. That is what makes the whole activity teambuilding, as you definitely have to be a part of the team. Another great option are corporate game events that are extremely interesting, and also involve a lot of teamwork. If you’re up for something that doesn’t require any physical activity, this one’s definitely for you, and you can find more about it here. However, if you’re up for something more active, you always try paintball, as it’s probably one of the most popular teambuilding activities at the moment.

Go fishing

Yes, it might sound dull, but fishing is more than meets the eye. You have to deal with a lot of things such as boats, pay attention to the weather, know everything about the equipment, bait and everything else. However, if you’re into this, and you go with your friend or friends, you can figure everything out by yourselves. This is an excellent activity if you haven’t seen your friend in a long time – chatting in a serene environment while taking a break from work obligations at the same time sounds like an excellent idea.

Go bike riding or on an exploration trip

Lastly, you can always take your bike with you and head to the countryside. Not only will you be doing something active that’s also healthy and has many other benefits, but it’s a great bonding activity as well. Also, you can discover so many hidden corners of your town or village, and that’s always an amazing experience. If you’re bolder, though, you can go on an exploration trip such as rafting or diving. Both of them are very sporty activities, so it’s guaranteed that everyone will love them.

There is a plethora of options to choose from, but believe us when we say that, apart from drinking, these are the best ones. And it doesn’t matter which one you choose, you’ll have so much fun and you’ll awaken that competitive and teambuilding spirit that you might not have known you needed that much.