Archive | September, 2010

Mu for Men – Organic Skincare

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Mu for Men – Organic Skincare

Posted on 29 September 2010 by Marc

If there’s one thing I’ve discovered over the years, it’s that not all skincare products are the same.  You’ve probably realised that too if you’ve ever used one product for a period of time and then tried something different, something that appears to be the same.  What makes a £2 moisturiser any different from a £30 moisturiser?  It’s the same thing that makes a £2 bottle of wine different from a £30 bottle; the quality of the ingredients and the manufacturing process.

Until recently neither Mr Black nor I had heard of organic skincare products but for the last few months I’ve been using a variety of products from the Mu for Men range by Essentially Yours (Mu is the far Eastern term for nothing). For a start all the items in the Mu for Men range are not only 100% organic they’re approved by both the Vegetarian Society and the Vegan Society.  In addition, as they contain no animal ingredients or alcohol they are suitable for those following Halal.

Why is organic better for you and your skin?  Well, if you look at the ingredients in Gillette shave gel you’ll discover they include Polytetrafluoroethylene, this is the stuff that reduces the friction between blade and skin.  It’s also known as Teflon, that’s right, the stuff that coats your frying pan.  What about innocent sounding BHT? It’s better known as Butylated Hydroxytoluene and is used in jet fuels and embalming fluid. Those are just 2 of the ingredients found in a wide variety of popular products but how many of us have ever bothered to research what we’re putting on our skin?

Suddenly organic skincare products make perfect sense.  Take Mu for Men’s shave oil for instance, it only contains Sweet Almond Oil, Tea Tree oil, Cedarwood, Limonene and Linalool. Not much good for frying an egg but excellent for shaving your face!

The Mu for Men range is quite extensive so whether you’re looking for shave oil, a moisturiser, face scrub, face mask, face wash or eye firming serum you’ll find they have a 100% organic replacement for your current chemical product. Doesn’t your skin deserve chemical free?

I should also mention the Eucalyptus & Juniper Bath/Shower Gel from the Love Your Body range.  A little bit more expensive that your typical shower gel but for once I really did feel invigorated after using, it’s highly effective if you have a cold or flu as it’s decongestant properties will clear your airways in a jiffy.

You can purchase the entire Mu for Men range directly from the Essentially Yours website where you’ll also discover products for both children and women.


If you would like to win 75ml bottles of Mu for Men’s Pre-Shave Toner, Shave Oil and Facial Scrub (worth almost £40) just leave your answer to the following question as a comment before midnight (GMT) Sunday 17 October 2010.

Question: What is Mu the far Eastern term for?

A winner will be chosen at random from all the correct entries on Monday 18 October 2010. (Sorry, only open to entrants from within the UK)


The first name from the super computer was Mike. Congratulations Mike, we’ve emailed you…

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Kirsty Gallacher Golf Putting Challenge

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Kirsty Gallacher Golf Putting Challenge

Posted on 28 September 2010 by Marc

Unless you are me or you’ve been living in a sand bunker, you’ll no doubt be familiar with Kirsty Gallacher, the Edinburgh born daughter of golfer Bernard Gallacher.  I gather she is something of a pin-up but as my walls still have fading photographs of Vera Lynn on them I’ve not had cause to seek young Miss Gallacher out but I may remedy that this Thursday.

Why Thursday? well, on that day Kirsty will be asking people to pitch a putt on a life size putting green made entirely from real and replica money. Kirsty has partnered with American Express to bring this unique golfing experience to London and for every person who manages to get a hole-in-one American Express will donate £100 to Cancer Research UK and at the end of the day one lucky putter will walk away for £1,000.

When asked about the event Kirsty commented “I’ve seen a lot of putting greens in my lifetime but can honestly say this is the most unique. I’m really looking forward to the tournament at Canary Wharf as it’s certainly going be a challenge for contestants. We want the experience to be as fun as possible and as well as raising money for a great cause, we hope to encourage a few more people to consider taking up the sport as it’s a great way to spend a cashback reward.

The putting green itself is one of five bespoke models crafted from cash and belongs to a unique collection known as the ‘Cashback 5’. The ‘Cashback 5’ collection came about as a result of a survey carried out by American Express in July into everyday consumer spending habits. 3,000 men were asked how they would spend a cash windfall equivalent to the amount an average American Express Platinum Cashback Credit Cardmember would receive in a year i.e. £250. The five most popular responses were: a round of golf; a pair of hand-made brogues; designer sunglasses; a stylish watch and vintage Champagne. All five have been brought to life using real and replica money.

The video below shows the making of all five items in the ‘Cashback 5’ collection and you can find out more by visiting

So, if you fancy trying your luck on the green head along to Canary Wharf underground station on Thursday 29 September between 7.30am and 7pm where you’ll find Kirsty keeping score as passing office workers, shoppers and local residents take up the challenge to pitch a putt on a green with a difference.

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Paper My Wall


Paper My Wall

Posted on 28 September 2010 by Marc

When it comes to decorating it’s fair to say you have 2 options; you either paint your walls or you paper them.  I’m not sure about you but the typical visit to a diy store leads me to believe that wallpaper designers are a pretty dull bunch.  Yes they stock roll upon roll of paper at prices to suit all pockets but let’s be honest here, most of them are pretty lacklustre to say the least.

I recall once having a photograph of a Keith Haring drawing and laboriously copying and painting it onto my bedroom wall.  I was 14 at the time and had been told I could decorate my room however I wished.  I wanted something different, something that was mine and only opted for painting as a last resort because I couldn’t find a wallpaper that I really liked.  Given that I am not at all artistic the end result was pretty good but oh how different life would have been if  Paper My Wall had been around!

Quite simply Paper My Wall will take your favourite photograph, enlarge it to any size and yes, they’ll produce wallpaper so you can paper your wall with it! Genius or what?  So now you can have your own, individual wallpaper that will be the envy of all who see it and what’s more, the price will surprise you too, in a good way!

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Otis Batterbee – Truly British Travel Solutions


Otis Batterbee – Truly British Travel Solutions

Posted on 24 September 2010 by Marc

When I watch old movies I’m always slightly envious of those dapper gents who board a ship in Southampton and disembark in New York a few weeks later, relaxed and refreshed. It now requires a 2nd mortgage to even consider such luxury, instead the majority of us have to endure the hustle and bustle of air travel and neither relaxed nor refreshed spring to mind if you happen to be traveling budget and let’s face it, who hasn’t opted for a low cost airline at least once in their life?

There is, however, a way for today’s modern man to evoke the spirit of David Niven when traveling whether it be 1st class or cattle, simply ensure you purchase a few items from Otis Batterbee. Otis has been designing luxury designer accessories for men since 2008. What we’re talking about here are practical yet stylishly inspirational items such as lavender filled eye masks, washbags, hankies and cuff links.

Attention to detail is paramount to Batterbee’s philosophy as is his support of British industries. This means that his fabrics are sourced from UK mills and all his products really are Made in England, whether it’s lavender farmed in Norfolk, the finest Savile Row quality suiting materials woven in Lancashire or candles poured by hand in Suffolk, Otis Batterbee London is a truly British love affair.

I recently had the pleasure of receiving one of Otis’s travel eye masks. Now, if you’ve ever flown long haul you’ve probably found an airline freebie eye mask on your seat. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is the same thing. The Batterbee eye mask comes with luxurious 100% cotton velvet backing to caress your eyes, even the ties are velvet and the dried lavender sewn inside will leave you thinking you’ve been upgraded to 1st class. What’s more there are no less that 14 designs but personally I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want the Prince of Wales check, although I say that as someone who sports a Prince of Wales check suit far more often than is decent!

In use the eye mask is exquisite, it feels almost decedant when worn and the light lavender scent really does lull you to sleep. My only grumble is I usually awake slightly disappointed not to find a manservant called Jeeves waiting at the foot of the bed with a cup of Earl Grey and the newspapers!

So, whether you travel once in a blue moon or appear to live in a departure lounge, visit Otis Batterbee and ensure you travel and arrive in style.

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