Connect with:

Standard Blog Whole Post

It’s a close shave

The barber that shaved Charles Dickens with an open cut-throat razor is now shaving men all over the globe – not him personally, of course, but the brand. While the marketing of brands was not the phenomenon it is today when Dickens was being attended to, he and his contemporaries would have been very familiar indeed with the barber name that continues to shave the great and the good now – Truefitt & Hill.

grooming_twoAs the oldest barber shop in the world, starting life in 1805, it has been responsible for holding a razor to more illustrious throats than any other respectable institution. And one member of staff in particular served very many of them, Mr Holgate finally retiring from the shop in 2001 at the age of 96, after over 82 years with the company, having started with them at the age of 14.

There are now outposts of Truefitt & Hill providing wet shaves with a razor to gentlemen in Chicago, Toronto and Beijing. And a new partnership with top spa name Resense will see their range of men’s toiletries in Kapinski hotels all over the world.

This tie-up was celebrated at Truefitt’s St. James’s premises this autumn, where the esoterics of a close wet shave were demonstrated on a relaxed young man by a young lady barber. Dickens would surely have appreciated the attentions of a female barber, but the first lady to be hired here was an American manicurist in 1864, and not until 1964 was a lady allowed to wield the razor.

There has been something of a renaissance of wet shaves, men once again enjoying going to a barber in much the same way as women go to the hairdresser – to be pampered.

At this establishment, there is a strict procedure, from various unguents being applied, through the head being wrapped and massaged in a towel, to the foam being applied, always with a badger brush, and then the steady strokes of the blade. This is no longer sharpened upon a leather strop. Not surprisingly, Health & Safety have interfered here, so that the blades are disposable and must not be used more than once. Most men with any real growth will testify to the fact that this really is the best shave possible.

Shaving aside, various other services are available. And a raft of soaps and creams, deodorants and colognes are marketed under the Truefitt & Hill name, and it is these that will now have pride of place in the Resense spas internationally, within Kempinski hotels. This will be the only men’s range used by Resense and on sale to clients.

Exotic wax for your tash

Moustaches are quite out of fashion. Not so long ago, when every man wore a hat, they also favoured a tash, from narrow to full blown handlebar but facial hair has been pretty much out of favour since the 1940s.

Nevertheless, there are those men out there dedicated to cultivating a bushy growth above their upper lip, and inevitably there are those dedicated to helping them.
BeauFort London is one such. This company has created a moustache finishing wax designed to withstand extremes of temperature and humidity without losing its hold. Made from Somerset beeswax, Argan oil from Morocco, Brazilian orange peel wax and Ghanian shea butter, it will ensure that a gentleman’s moustache, whether pencil slim, of Dali’s sharp points, Fu Manchu style or Poirot neat, stays exactly in place.
Available in a smooth aluminium case below, it is just the present for a moustachioed man of your acquaintance, price £80.

Putting a smile on your lips

The Americans have always thought the British have terrible teeth – and indeed our gnashers have often been seen as less than pearly. But now the benefits of revealing an impressive dental array when smiling is increasingly appreciated by British men, as the pursuit of looking good continues apace.

The spend on cosmetics – not just deodorant and aftershave – has risen phenomenally in recent years, and is now little short of what women spend, and indeed recent reports claim that some spend more. There are salons across the country devoted to pampering and grooming the male, and the breadth of unguents available to support them in providing miraculous transformations is ever-growing.

grooming_threeRecourse to dental surgery has been slower but is catching on. When author Martin Amis had a mouthful of change some years ago in the U.S, at considerable expense, it drew snide comments from the media and was seen as somehow a bit precious. He, in fact, had to have the inplants for health reasons. Now, many men in the UK are at last following in the teeth of their American cousins and getting their crooked, misshapen, and stained teeth fixed.

It is costly of course, and can require time consuming and a not very pleasant treatment procedure. Not surprisingly a new treatment in Harley Street that promises a ‘One Day Smile Makeover’ is proving pretty popular.

Developed by Elleven, it promises to give patients a complete set of porcelain veneers within the day.

An initial consultation notes just how patients want their smile to be improved, and then a ‘trial smile’ is designed, shown on a model. On the day of transformation, the patient arrives in the morning and the dental restorations are created using computer aided design and manufacture. A porcelain block shaded to match the resident teeth is perfected. The resulting dental creations have a life-like porcelain appearance, it is claimed, and these are bonded to the existing teeth. Hey presto, within just a few hours, a dire set of Hampstead Heath have been turned into pearlies to ensure a flashing smile.

Elleven is a specialist orthodontic practice that has been established since 2005. This procedure, perfected by Elleven’s Dr.Julian Caplan, former president of the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, has been proving very popular since its launch early this year.

Its success stems from a computer system called CEREC, which uses the CadCam procedure to scan the mouth with a specialised camera, creating a virtual 3D image on the computer. It picks out teeth that would benefit from veneers or crowns, and design tools create a virtual restoration. This is then used to make the porcelain block shaded to match the patient’s teeth. Glazed in the oven, like pots, the resulting teeth are bonded into place.

So, if you have damaged, discoloured, worn, gappy or crowded teeth, this may be the thing to put a new smile on your face.

It’s a close shave The barber that shaved

Personal trainer Gary Renney sets out the foundation for making fitness an integral part of day-to-day life

Looking in the mirror, the average chap may suck in his cheeks, tuck in his chin, square his shoulders, straighten his back and pull in a paunch almost unconsciously, so that before him stands a fine figure of a fellow. But his tailor, with his tape measure, will be privy to the naked truth: that slouching over a hot desk, partaking of rich business lunches, and a lack of exercise have had their effects.

Harsh diets, even harsher gym regimes, and half an hour’s desultory exercise in the morning may help a bit to shift the flab and tauten the muscles. But it is only a coordinated programme of sensible diet, gym and targeted exercises that can bring and retain the changes a man may desire.

An individual’s body weight will have increased steadily over a period of time before he decides to do something about it. Then, there is no rapid remedy. If you take into account the time it took to gain that weight, it means that getting rid of it can only be achieved over time.

So, whether you are considering buying a new suit or trying to get back into an old favourite, achieving the shape you desire means following a set of three simple disciplines.

Food

Aim to increase your protein intake to 30-40 per cent of each meal, concentrating upon clean protein such as chicken, fish and eggs, which will keep you fuller for longer, decreasing the likelihood of the dreaded snacking. Contrary to popular opinion, we don’t wish to cut out fats and carbohydrates as they are essential; carefully choosing your sources and controlling portion size is the key.

Carbohydrates from organic sources such as vegetables and grains are a fantastic source of fuel; due to their structural complexity they have slower breakdown rates than refined sources such as white rice, bread and pasta. Fats help to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system and play an important role in meal satiety.

Good fat sources such as avocado and nuts (monounsaturated) as well as those from fatty fish and seeds (polyunsaturated) are perfectly healthy. Saturated fat sources like fatty meats and whole fat dairy products should provide less than 10% of a day’s calories.

Finally, avoid trans fats; these fats have been modified to increase product shelf life resulting in a fat the body doesn’t recognise, cannot metabolise. Sources include baked goods, snack foods and margarine. The FDA recommends trans fat consumption should be as low as possible, so look out for hydrogenated oils on food labels. The correct blend of carbohydrates, fats and proteins will provide a sustained energy release, stopping blood sugar levels getting too high and causing unnecessary energy (FAT) storage.

Exercise

loose_fat_twoA common misconception is that crunches will reduce abdominal fat. Site-specific fat loss is in fact a myth. Weight loss can be achieved by playing a simple game of energy balance; using more calories than you are consuming, creating an energy deficit.

Quite simply, each muscle can be considered as an engine, and the fuel for these engines comes primarily from fats and carbohydrates. The most time effective way to create an energy deficit is to select compound exercises that use the larger groups of muscles, in particular legs, core, back and chest.

Subcutaneous adipose stores (which is the fat stored under the skin) serves as an energy reservoir. When an energy deficit is created, fat is mobilised from the store as a whole, to provide energy for the body. Therefore, abdominal crunches and bicep curls will not significantly reduce body fat, as the muscle groups involved are too small.

Rowing, on the other hand, is aerobically one of the most demanding activities as it engages all of the lower body musculature in conjunction with the upper body pulling muscles (back and biceps). After approximately 12-15 minutes of such activity, the body begins to metabolise fat to fuel the effort.

Consistency

‘Consistency is key’ is a phrase all too familiar to my clients. It is what I stress must be the basis for any weight loss and fitness regime. Going on a crash diet and training a few times will not provide long term improvements. Remembering how long it took to gain weight, subtle lifestyle changes are required that can be sustained, encompassing food and exercise.

If you are struggling to exercise consistently try to exercise on the same days each week, consider getting a training partner, and vary the exercises in your routine. The World Health Organisation suggests 30 minutes a day of MODERATE intensity exercise, and paired with a sensible dietary intervention, that should give a weight loss of 2lbs per week.

These are the three essential considerations when embarking upon a programme aimed at achieving weight loss and developing physical fitness. Forget the fashionable diets, the sporadic crash sessions at the gym. A sustained regime is what will give long-term results, so take responsibility for your fitness goals and slowly embrace some lifest

Personal trainer Gary Renney sets out the

By Robin Dutt

There’s no doubt about it. Cocktails have become the capital’s dernier cri. Of course, they were always enjoyed in specialist bars and such immaculately magnetic environs as Claridges, The Ritz or The Connaught – these and other bastions of almost impossible elegance, synonymous with the strident precision and tradition of ‘cocktail hour.’

The cocktail concept has been readily embraced by many other establishments appealing to a jolly crowd seeking liquid inspiration, soon after the work stable door has shut. But you don’t bolt a cocktail, so it’s hard not to drink responsibly.

Cocktails are all about experimentation, personal choices, adaptability and oh yes…the salient advice of your ever attendant cocktail shaker/dream maker.

Apart from its sheer 18th century elegance, a confection of master architect Robert Adam, the Home House Members’ Club’s comprehensive cocktail list is reason to join alone. With three bars offering a staggering variety of classics and home grown favourites, the cocktail creators are adept at providing taste adventures from a classic Mojito to the signature Black Bison – dark and fruity sprinkled with vanilla sugar.

cocktails_twoAny analysis of cocktail choices could, would, should not be complete without the appearance of a Bloody Mary. For many, a restorative pick me up. For others, a soup in a glass, the classic Bloody Mary does not exist – unless of course you are in a pub and being asked – “How spicy?” as the limp demi lemon slice slides in apologetically and the Tabasco sauce bottle is proffered.

That is certainly not a classic – as such. The secret of a Bloody Mary is… well, should be exactly that. The basic ingredients are obvious but it’s that extra unusual ingredient that gives character and uniqueness, as personal as your DNA. I often add a splash of soy sauce and sometimes wasabi. Actually, Marmite too. Oh yes… and a large chilli. Hot. And definitely no ice.

The Grenadier’s version has for years been praised as the best in London and it is not difficult to understand why. Smooth, spiced and satisfying, the secret recipe remains secret but much enjoyed in this historic and elegant London venue. Who knows exactly why it tastes so good? Perhaps the bartenders slice the lemon with a regimental sword or whisper a Mason-esque spell as the drink is being created. The appearance of a celery stick however is apparently down to one New York socialite who wanted something to stir her favourite cocktail with and, if needing a bite of lunch, had it to hand.
The Grenadier, 18 Wilton Row, SW1
020 7235 3074

An atmospheric cellar experience, Purl is a real find. Ancient booths are set into brick caverns and the cocktail waiters are so experienced that you feel instantly that you’d like to ask their advice before plumping for something you normally imbibe. Sharing plates of nibbles are the perfect partners to the alcohol and you can choose from all the classics. But do consider the Ballpont Fizz – Ketel One vodka, lemon, egg white and sugar that comes with a stash of flavoured ‘ink’ pipettes, which offer several taste experiences.

Or you may be brave enough to try the Cerez Joker – a cunning mixture of Jack Daniels, sloe gin, ginger bitters and a detonated lemon twist. The drink comes with a respectful note to inform the waiter if you have a weak heart. When my friend Dan Thompson was the manager of a cocktail bar in Soho, one cocktail he expertly prepared was accompanied by a waiver you had to sign before tasting. Are cocktail bars sensory laboratories? Fantastic! Purl. Blandford Street. W1 020 7935 0835

For many, a cocktail is not a cocktail unless it involves champagne. And it must be champagne – not something fizzy from anywhere in the world which is a sham and usually a pain. There are so many to choose from – the classic champagne cocktail comprising a sugar cube, angostura bitters and brandy, the delicate peach Bellini, Stolichnaya and Bollinger (Stoli-Boli) and a particular favourite, champagne mixed with tasty and nutty Amaretto.

cocktails_threeIf you like the idea of experimentation, the Experimental Cocktail Club, sprawled over three floors of a townhouse in the heart of old Chinatown, is more than fit for purpose as a purveyor of unusual cocktails – perfect for a pre-theatre tipple or post-opera drench. But such is the demand for evening libations here that booking is more than strongly recommended. (13a, Gerrard St., W1 020 7434 3559).

Classics, naturally, but let your bartender suggest something. Just tell him a few signatures tastes and styles you like or indeed the very texture from crisp and clean to gooey and gloopy.

You can make a cocktail out of any drink – well to be precise, a cocktail cannot be called such unless it has at least two alcoholic ingredients. Several other examples feature many more, such as the Long Island Tea – what’s not in it? And of course, you can have a non-alcoholic cocktail. Home House has a palatable virgin Bloody Mary but they hint at what they feel in its title. It’s called a Bloody Shame!

One of the capital’s latest on the cocktail scene is The Whip (50 Davies Street, W1 020 7493 1275) situated above Mayfair’s oldest pub – The Running Horse – and so, reasonably named. With a backdrop of jockey-silk upholstery, racing themed images and antique furniture, which used to grace The Ritz in Paris, the adventurous cocktail list is worth sampling. All of it. Perhaps make a pledge with a friend to sample a different cocktail every night and perhaps keep a spirits diary.

Drinking cocktails makes for times well spent and happily remembered. Most of them look so well dressed, have been prepared with such love, and designed to please, that you have to look the part yourself. Happy drinking!

 

By Robin Dutt There’s no doubt about it.

Antiques are self-selecting, only the fittest survive – and their survival is testimony to the quality of their manufacture and how much they were cherished. We ask seven members of LAPADA, the largest Association of Art & Antiques Dealers in the UK, to offer their expertise on the joys of collecting in disciplines favoured by the modern man today.

Arms & Armour

Arms and Armour were considered in their day to be the most expensive single item a gentleman could purchase other than land. The handmade rapier, the suit of armour, the flintlock pistol, the hand forged shield – all would have been purchased to order and made to measure. These bespoke items demanded exceptional craftsmanship from the creators beyond the skill or knowledge of any contemporary manufacturer. Indeed, a fine tailored suit from Savile Row is the closest thing a man could purchase today that would be comparable.

arms_armourArms and Armour have a huge tactile quality. To enjoy them hung or displayed on a wall, or worse behind glass, is to miss so much of the pleasure in them. Handling the item, its feel and weight and balance, is as much an experience as any visual pleasure. Like a good suit, armour is enjoyed as much for its aesthetic appeal as for anything else.
Today, with their original use rendered obsolete, what remains of their masculine intent is what the gentleman attaches himself. The working knowledge of mechanisms and the evolution of arms is also much of their appeal.

Simply handling such treasure is enough to transport somebody back in time and so by association make connections that gentlemen enjoy.

Dominic Stickland from Michael German Antiques
www.antiquecanes.com

Vintage Posters

Posters provide an emotional link to a person’s interests or an important period of their life. As a design element, they are bright, bold, imaginative, arresting and timeless; they can be elegant yet masculine. Original vintage posters are also recognised as collectible items and alternative investment, ideal for the growing trends of man caves and cinema rooms, as well as personal garages and ski chalets.

The most popular subjects for men of all ages are sports – in particular skiing and cycling – and cars, especially those associated with classic movie icons like James Bond.

vintage_postersSki posters, like many advertising posters, were originally produced to entice holidaymakers and winter thrill-seekers to resorts and alpine areas. The early to mid-century skiing posters were often designed by notable artists of the time and are colourful, dynamic, glamorous, nostalgic and stylish, sometimes also fun and quirky.
Since its invention in the 1800s, the humble bicycle has been the subject of many cycling posters, from the promotion of safer cycling to advertising events such as the Tour de France. These are proving increasingly popular as more people take up cycling as a lifestyle choice.

Harriet Kalinin from Antikbar
www.antikbar.co.uk

Maps

Maps are usually associated with travel, exploration and adventure, generally appealing more to men than women. Often decorative, in design or colouring, they appeal to collectors and novices alike. Today, there is a trend in interiors for large wall and 20th century maps, as they make great statement pieces.

globesMaps appeal for their historical importance. It is interesting to observe how the layout of the continents and countries has changed over time. In general, collectors look for the earliest printed maps of a particular area, and then concentrate their collection on these early examples, or they collect maps of a certain place through the ages – enjoying the stages of development. For some, finding an unrecorded state of a map turns into a lifelong quest. Others concentrate on a cartographer, trying to accumulate a complete collection of maps in all different stages.

Also sought after by collectors are maps with fundamental mistakes, like the depiction of California as an island; caricature maps that depict countries as people; and fantasy maps of ‘the Land of Love’.

Angelika Friebe from Map Woman
www.mapwoman.com

Sporting Antiques

Sport is part of our lifestyle, everybody can identify with one sport or another. Men especially like to share their interests with friends and acquaintances. One of the best ways to fire the imagination and rekindle memories is in owning and handling beautiful historic pieces.

sportingOf particular appeal are the vintage sports paraphernalia that bear the name of great sportsmen of the past who endorsed the equipment they used and helped to develop it. Buyers like the fact that you can actually still use a great deal of sports equipment like croquet sets, billiard tables, football tables and amazing vintage and classic cars, and motor bikes. Some equipment is still used by traditionalist and enthusiasts professionally, such as the split cane fishing rods or the 1920s hickory gold clubs at the English, Welsh and Scottish Hickory Golf Championships.

Manfred and Gabi Schotten from Manfred Schotten Antiques
www.sportantiques.co.uk

Campaign Furniture

Campaign furniture was made for travel, principally for the military and empire builders who were used to the finer things in life. The cabinetwork is very good, and protective brass strap details are common. Designed with clean lines, their style is timeless, appeals to many, and works in a variety of settings.

campaign_furnitureHowever, they are not standard pieces of furniture, and have the added ‘surprise’ function of folding or dissembling for ease of travel, and out of this practical necessity often ingenious design was born. It might be a portable shower that packs into a box, or an oak briefcase that turns into a table.

Sean Clarke from Christopher Clarke Antiques
www.campaignfurniture.com

Aviation Pieces

aviationOver the last decade, aviation pieces have become increasingly popular, especially with men. People are drawn to the aesthetics: their sculptural forms and good design. There is an adage in the flying world that says: if it looks good it will fly well. The pieces are made to the highest standards, in order to pass rigorous security tests, with high-grade materials such as titanium, rare alloys and hard laminated wood.

Alan Hatchwell of Hatchwell Antiques
www.hatchwellantiques.co.uk

Antiques are self-selecting, only the fittest survive