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Dapper Daddy in London Blog

Thai Square Spa Covent Garden

Like most working dads the end of the year is the finish line you’ve been aiming for since the kids went back to school. It offers the chance to indulge in a well earned feeding, watering and sleep with plenty of help on hand to keep the rest of the family occupied.
For those who look to be faltering in the final straight though, I have the perfect remedy. The Thai Square Spa in Covent Garden. Within its four wall holds the key to rejuvenation this winter.

An Oasis In the West End

An Oasis In the West End

Housed on Sheldon Street off of Covent Garden’s famous 7 Dials, the Thai Square Spa is a revolution in elegance, opulence and tranquility carved out in mahogany and gold splendour. It’s hard to believe this used to be an Italian restaurant! A little hint, if your visiting in non-daylight winter hours enter via the Spa’s rear exit on Ealham Street. It’s like entering a mountain Sanctuary in Chang Mai!

Warm and Inviting

Warm and Inviting

These two hadn't realised that this was not their treatment room

These two hadn’t realised that this was not their treatment room

Upon entry I was warmly greeted by the receptionist shortly followed by Spa Manager, Sarai, who showed me several of the rooms including the group bookings suite and treatment room. Not before time Bea, my masseuse, arrived to take me downstairs.

The treatment room, complete with copper slipper bath is dark and warm and I immediately start to relax. Bea begins to bathe my feet before I hop up on to the couch. I opted for a traditional Thai Massage to the neck, back and shoulders. The massage works on heating the body temperature and muscles using hot oils massaged into pre-exfoliated skin. Once warmed up, multiple pressure points are applied and manipulated to relieve tension. Incredible

The Copper Room

The Copper Room

Even the waiting area is decadent

Even the waiting area is decadent

All in all the Spa is first class. The staff are proud of this fact and it shows in the attentiveness, hospitality and friendliness of everyone I met. Bea is an excellent masseuse but I think that goes without saying of all staff at the Spa as all have trained at the prestigious Watpo (Temple of Reclining Medicine) Thai Traditional Massage School in Bangkok.

In the run up to the holiday season the Spa have a number of award winning packages to suit all:
Super stress relieving Package £69 (was £110) – a package for men including a 30 minute Back, Neck & Shoulder Massage with a 30 minute head massage.

They also have a truly indulgent Siamese Traditional Stress Relieve treatment priced at just £99 which includes a 90 minute Thai Massage and a 30 minute oriental foot or head massage.

I cannot recommend this Spa highly enough. It exceeded my expectations and lifted my spirits, the only thing it didn’t do was tuck me into bed!

Great Ambience

Great Ambience

Find Them Here

Find Them Here

Small Leather Goods: Card Holders

I recently upgraded my tatty old leather bifold wallet with a Jack Spade offering, heavily marked down on the fabulous Gilt.com. As I mature however I am starting to realise the age old adage that “less is more”. The wallet is fine for everyday use but do I really need all those receipts for petrol (gas), food shopping and what not that I seem to accumulate? The Starbucks card that has never had any funds on it? Or the credit card that expired about 3 months ago?

Mr Reliable - Jack Spade Bi-fold Wallet in Navy

Mr Reliable – Jack Spade Bi-fold Wallet in Navy

The short answer is No.

All this soul searching has led me to my latest accessory want: the card holder! Never one to rush into anything I have surveyed the land of leather (small leather goods and NOT a UK chain of sofa/ couch warehouses) and discovered several offerings.

The standard money clip, used to hold… Umm well, money. notes to be precise. I do like this but considering the fact that most of my notes these days are £5 I don’t see the practicality. I’m also concerned that this may become compromised if used to hold any cards.

Money, Money, Money

Money, Money, Money

The next on the list is the standard card holder in landscape format. This seems to be the most popular and the most basic of designs. To make it stand out designer embossing or patterns are used, dyed leather seems to feature heavily also or a luxury leather such as alligator or python (real or imitation) is used.

Available in an array of colours and textures- Landscape Card Holders

Available in an array of colours and textures- Landscape Card Holders

Lastly there are the portrait style holders. There does not seem to be too many of these around but I think that makes them more desirable. I imagine there will be an impact on the practicality of accessing the contents. The holder are designed to be a snug fit, reassuringly so considering the value. Surely anyone who has lost their wallet will appreciate the absolute production that comes with remembering what exactly was lost, to ordering replacement cards etc.

Bi-fold Portrait Card Holders

Bi-fold Portrait Card Holders

I have narrowed my choice down to three designs. first up is this offering from what appears to be the hardest working man in fashion, Mr. Marc Jacobs. I love it’s simplicity, it’s portrait design and the embossed leather. It’s functional and discreet.

Love, Love, Love me some Marc Jacobs!

Love, Love, Love me some Marc Jacobs!

Next is this one from Byron and Dexter of Want Les Essentiels De La Vie. It doubles up as a card holder and money clip, very subtlety embossed with the accessory house’s familiar logo. Available in tan, black, multi brown and green & brown (yum). It is very much the discerning mans accessory. I’m just wary if the clip will compromise the invisibleness card holders are supposed to provide.

Want Les Essent... WLEDLV!

Want Les Essent… WLEDLV!

I also love the colours on these beautiful crocodile Santiago Gonzales card holders. It’s certainly bold and striking but beautifully crafted. As ever my penchant for the expensive has been proven as these retail for £225!!! I’ll have nothing left to put in it!

Bold & Luxurious - Santi Gonzales

Bold & Luxurious – Santi Gonzales

What do you all think? Do you have a preference ? All items are available on MrPorter.com

Shoe Crush: Valentim by Armando Cabral

I have a strong sense of what works for me and what I am happy with. I can’t quite explain it but I know when I have a product in the flesh that looks and feels right. Every so often though a product comes along that blows me away. Something that I was not necessarily looking for, but, that becomes an obsession. The latest is the Valentim, by model and designer Armando Cabral

Armando hated it when Kalaf outsmarted him.

Armando hated it when Kalaf outsmarted him.


But when Armano turned it up a notch... Ahh yeeeah!

But when Armano turned it up a notch… Ahh yeeeah!

You may recognise Armando from his many advertising campaigns, particularly J. Crew and GQ. The man himself hails from Lisbon, Portugal and has a real passion for quality, crafted products stemming from his mother’s influence as a tailor. And it shows in his collection. You also get the sense of travel with several shoes reflecting several influences from around the globe, all executed with Cabral’s own style.

Papel Buffalo Woven Shoe in Leather and Canvas

Papel Buffalo Woven Shoe in Leather and Canvas

Hula Calf Skin Leather Espadrille & Verela Calf Skin Leather Sandal

Hula Calf Skin Leather Espadrille & Verela Calf Skin Leather Sandal

Tombali Deer Leather Brogue and Caio Buffalo Leather Derby Shoe

Tombali Deer Leather Brogue and Caio Buffalo Leather Derby Shoe

Fernando Burnished Suede and Coated Twill Sneakers

Fernando Burnished Suede and Coated Twill Sneakers

High Shine Chelsea Boot

High Shine Chelsea Boot

High Shine Derby Shoe in Burgundy Leather

High Shine Derby Shoe in Burgundy Leather

The shoe that caught my eye was the Valentim. Available in a highly polished, burgundy leather and a slightly distressed brown suede this tasseled loafer oozes craftsmanship and style. The detail that particularly caught my eye was the contours of the toe cap. He has captured this just right in my opinion. Not too squared and rectangular and not to a clown-esque point either. This elevates the shoe immensely in the most subtle of ways. If that makes sense! Basically the discerning eye will recognise the quality, it won’t mash up your toes and it will suit both formal and casual attire with relative ease.

High Shine Burgundy Leather Valentim Shoe

High Shine Burgundy Leather Valentim Shoe

Distressed Suede Valentim Shoe

Distressed Suede Valentim Shoe

ArmCab AW13

Gorgeous Detailing And Craftsmanship

Gorgeous Detailing And Craftsmanship

ArmCab AW13

Already on his 5th collection and having expanded into a Womenswear line there seems to be no stopping Armando’s rise as a reputable shoe maker with an excellent eye for detail. Understandably nervous at his initial launch, the shoe line was snapped up by the likes of Dover Street Market and is now available at Mr Porter. Please don’t buy up all the size 7‘s. I’m saving hard for these!

Style Edit: Fringe Tongue Shoe

I appreciate a good shoe. For a good shoe can add a whole new dynamic to an outfit. a good shoe can define an outfit, becoming the focal piece or crowning glory.

A mans shoe definitely says a lot about a him. His style of shoe, the level of detail, the shape can all indicate their likes or dislikes, their attitude to fashion, their identity, all without saying a word.

In this post I put forward my shoe obsession of late: the fringe tongue shoe. Seen more on loafers and driving shoes in the past this is now a detail I have seen more frequently to add a new aesthetic to more traditional shoes and features on my current lust list in the form of Church’s Shanghai shoe.

Wooyoungmi x Alfred Sargent Fringe Detail Boot

Wooyoungmi x Alfred Sargent Fringe Detail Boot

Grenson Lawrence Fringe Shoes

Grenson Lawrence Fringe Shoes

Car Shoe Fringe Tongue Driving Shoe

Car Shoe Fringe Tongue Driving Shoe

Prada Multi Colour Saddle Shoe

Prada Multi Colour Saddle Shoe

My Beloved Church's Shanghai Shoe

My Beloved Church’s Shanghai Shoe

Barbanera Fringe Detail Shoe

Barbanera Fringe Detail Shoe

ASOS Monk Strap with Fringe Detail Shoe

ASOS Monk Strap with Fringe Detail Shoe

Roland Sturlini Suede Fringe Loafer

Roland Sturlini Suede Fringe Loafer

What do you think? Which is your favourite?

Barbour: Steve McQueen Collection

I know it’s only September the 4th but in my mind autumn has arrived. The warm summer evenings, the burnt orange sun, the lack of public holidays!!! It has also got me thinking about autumnal layering as the cooler weather descends.

Blinding... but so beautiful

Blinding… but so beautiful

It is about this time that I usually turn to the great British institution that is Barbour. In my opinion they are autumn. The waxed cottons, the greens, the knits and the occasional pop of colour always seem to capture this beautiful season so well.

Barbour x Tokihito Yoshida

Barbour x Tokihito Yoshida

A/W13 sees Barbour inspired by legendary style icon Mr Steve McQueen as they launch a new line synonymous with his effortless cool and linked to the 1964 ISDT motorcycling race, in which Steve McQueen led his American team in original Barbour waxed jackets.

Steve was a master of the "Who tapped my shoulder" game.

Steve was a master of the “Who tapped my shoulder” game.

My pick of the range has to be the waxed cotton ‘Hurricane’ jacket. A simply styled retro inspired jacket that is a key piece for the autumn season. Perfect for layering I would wear it with a plain white Tee like this one from James Perse, slim fitting Jeans from The Jean Shop and finished off with black leather Jack Purcell Converse.

The Hurraicaine - Headlining Barbour's Steve McQueen Collection

The Hurraicaine – Headlining Barbour’s Steve McQueen Collection

The Minimalist - Keep it Simple

The Minimalist – Keep it Simple

Barbour has it locked down up when it comes to stylish and practical pieces for the unpredictable British weather. Easy to layer, seasonal hues, practical textiles of the highest quality, all well-tailored ensuring that your money is well spent. I’m very much an advocate of few well-made key pieces over cheap throw away fashion and Barbour certainly fits that bill. John Lewis currently has the exclusive varsity jacket below as well as the cross body waxed bag at a reduced price both of which are not available on the Barbour website currently.

The Barbour Steve McQueen Varsity - Available at John Lewis

The Barbour Steve McQueen Varsity – Available at John Lewis

Waxed Cotton Cross Body Bag - Available at John Lewis

Waxed Cotton Cross Body Bag – Available at John Lewis

What do you think of the range?

*sponsored post*

Swim Wear Edit: Top Ten

With the summer holiday season almost over now is ironically the preferred time for most to get away. Whether it be for a 5 star city break or a cheeky long-weekend in the sun in a desperate bid to prolong our smatterings of a genuine British tan, there is always likely to be some pool time factored in.

Even when down to your skinny’s it is still important to look stylish as you lounge by the pool bar or simultaneously sunbathe, read and listen to chill out dub step on the beach. Here’s my top ten beach shorts to help you do that with relative aplomb.

Orlebar Brown - £235

Orlebar Brown – £235


Robinson Les Bains - €165

Robinson Les Bains – €165


Saturdays Surf NYC - £75

Saturdays Surf NYC – £75


J. Crew - £70

J. Crew – £70


Robinson Les Bains - £115

Robinson Les Bains – £115


Paul Smith - £95

Paul Smith – £95


Moncler - £158

Moncler – £158


Myo - £135

Myo – £135


Acne - £130

Acne – £130


Faconnable - £110

Faconnable – £110

All are available to buy currently at Mr Porter or Matches Fashion.

Grooming Edit: Kiehl’s Super Multi-Corrective Cream

I was very privileged to be invited to Kiehl’s London Covent Garden branch for a sneak preview of their latest Super Multi-Corrective Cream back in June. The branch is based on Monmouth Street, one of the seven dials, so I was double excited as it offered a chance to pop into the Monmouth Coffee Company shop beforehand. Heaven in a cup!

Kiehl's Covent Garden

Kiehl’s Covent Garden

Having decided to branch out this year Kiehl’s was a brand I was keen to try as they specialise in beauty and grooming products only, in essence, they stick to what they know and with over a staggering 160 years in the business they know it well.

The Extensive Kiehl's Range

The Extensive Kiehl’s Range

The mystery around the Super Multi-Corrective Cream was quickly dispelled when it was revealed to be an anti-ageing product. Ah. Anti-ageing? With my youthful skin? Why the blue blazes would I need that? Actually we all need it. The ageing is in reference to the skin and not the person. So your friend who looks 45 but is actually 23… Yep, that is aged skin. Buy him this cream. And your friend that is 30 but looks 12… Buy him this cream. He’ll appreciate it when he is 50. The key to this cream however is the pay back period. With a headline grabbing 2 weeks being touted around Kiehl’s were keen to put their money where their mouth is.

Rita's party trick to Cher's "Turn Back Time" failed to raise the roof this time round.

Rita’s party trick to Cher’s “Turn Back Time” failed to raise the roof this time round.

The creams secret is the blend of Beech Tree extract, Jasmonic and Hyaluronic Acids that help to boost the skins plumpness levels, hydrate, lift and moisturise helping to ‘reverse’ the effects of ageing. Of course that is the easy part. Simply harnessing Beech Tree extract, Jasmonic and Hyaluronic Acids into a bottle does not produce Benjamin Button type effects. The difficulty was combining the ingredients, without losing their essential properties, in a base that was easy to apply, easily absorbed and that felt good too. Kiehl’s spent over a year developing this at a cost of millions in trials until they got a product they were completely happy with. So how does it fare?

At 50ml the pot is a lot smaller than what I had envisioned. At just under £50 a pop you might be put off by this. The cream however is dense and I would see this lasting sound 8-10 months. Kiehl’s advise that you use this in the morning and night as a sole cream or on top of your existing moisturisers hence a little really does go a long way.

Super isn't it!

Super isn’t it!

The cream itself is very dense in the pot but is light to the touch and appears reassuringly firm when scooped out for application. It is quite cooling and applies very well, being easily absorbed into the skin without leaving a greasy or sticky feel. My skin felt well moisturised throughout the day. I decided to use on top of my daily moisturisers which obviously helped. When used as a sole cream I did have to be more generous with my application, applying the cream twice over the space of 5 minutes.

None greasy and easily absorbed

None greasy and easily absorbed

I have to say I noticed results around the 10 day mark. I generally have good skin. I’ve moisturised as a cultural habit since I was born so its a habitual routine. I have developed frown lines however from too much… Umm, frowning! Ha! But these have started to visibly reduce over the 10+ day period. I have used it for several months now and with the last 3 weeks being spent out on the road I did receive several out of the blue comments from office based colleagues on my return as to how well my skin looked. Unsolicited, off the cuff comments. In the words of Jane Fonda “Not bad, nah?”

My passport photo were ridiculed at IPS headquarters

My passport photo were ridiculed at IPS headquarters

In conclusion I would say it is a pretty amazing product. I have found that a good routine in terms of cleansing and moisturising works but this cream goes that step farther. The price and size may rule a lot of people out however as it sits in the high-mid range in terms of price. It is a great cream though and one I will restock on for definite. I’m looking forward to trying the Kiehl’s mens products off the back of this so look out for those reviews shortly.
Will you be trying the Super Multi-Corrective Cream? Have you tried it? What do you think?

Top Five – Essential Summer Holiday Staples

Like most parents I have small window of opportunity for holidaying throughout the year. That small opportunity happens to come at a premium price but, in a bid to provide a change of scenery, minimise the refereeing, cooking, play dates and reminders about ‘indoor voices’ it is a price I budget for and pay wherever possible. So when the opportunity presented itself to hightail it to Kyrenia in Northern Cyprus at a semi-sensible price I grabbed it with both hands.

Blue sky thinking

Blue sky thinking

The next hurdle to overcome is what to take. I’m a minimalist (in training) when it comes to packing but this got me thinking about summer getaway staples, those must have items to pack in your suitcase for guaranteed summer sun. In line with my minimalist approach, here are my top five key items:-

1). Shorts – an obvious choice but with so much on offer what do you go or? My preference are chino shorts. They are light, versatile and travel well. H&M always have a good stock. Linen short are a secondary choice. Try a bold print for something a little different but this may reduce the versatility of the garment. slim fitting are the most flattering cut too.

The blue pair was not ironed - a common theme in my post pics it seems!

The blue pair was not ironed – a common theme is developing!

2). Vests/ T shirts – now this depends on your frame and the levels of heat you expect to have to deal with. I tend to mix it up, but on this particular holiday the vest was king in temperatures of up to 42C! Now I’m not talking wife-beaters or string vests here, but rather loose, low fit vests. I’m an average build and find that these hang well off the shoulder and cover a multitude of midriff sins very well. The patterns and colour options are limitless with ASOS tending to have a ridiculous range at very good prices.

Loose and low

Loose and low

3). Swimwear – perhaps the most obvious one but your swimwear is very important as this could become your only item of clothing for most of the day! 3 is our magic number to keep the variety. Again most high street stores offer a good selection but we love these striped ones from H&M, a bargain at £5 in their end of year sale. We also love these bold red ones from Mango, and these floral prints from Vilebrequin

Love a strip or 2!

Love a strip or 2!

Mango £15 in their current sale

Mango £15 in their current sale

I'm like a magpie - Attracted to expensive shiny things

I’m like a magpie – Attracted to expensive shiny things

4). Footwear – I like to plan for 3 scenarios. Pool/ beach, excursions and dinner.
Pool are flip flops all the way with the brand of choice being Havaianas. The most comfortable flip flops I’ve ever worn. If you know anyone going to Brazil get them to grab you a pair or 6! Out there they are around £3 as opposed to £20 on our shores.

In every colour imaginable

In every colour imaginable

Including... Blue

Including… Blue

For excursions I tend to take a pair of Vibram trainers. Admittedly they look a little mutated but they are very easy to get used to. Any of you that rocked a pair of Nike Air Rift’s back in the day will know, in fact these are like a Rift and Nike Aqua Sock hybrid. They provide excellent support and are built of virtually indestructible material so much so that they came with a years no fuss guarantee when I bought them in January 2012. Any rip, tear, whatever and your money back. I tried. I failed. You can wear them in the water as well, on the beach, rocky terrain… Hot coals. Ok not the last one but you get my drift.

Meet Vibram

Meet Vibram

For something a little more formal its has to be a driving shoe. Suede is more relaxed and the material more malleable than leather but you have to be careful not to get it wet. I always go for a tassel or a fringed detail just to elevate the shoe. I purchased these pair recently from Mango’s budding menswear range H.E. they were half off at £40 and I think I got the last size 41 in the county! They are the best affordable alternative to Italy’s Car Shoe. They offer real craftsmanship but at a premium price. They are definitely high end but with a bit of savvy you can get a pair in the winter sale for at least 50% off.

Fringe benefits my feet

Fringe benefits my feet


Python Leather for £810!

Python Leather for £810!


Antiquated Goat Leather for £290

Antiquated Goat Leather for £290

5). Formal top – You simply cannot go wrong with linen. Cotton is nice but doesn’t offer as much air flow as linen. I’ve started to embrace floral patterns of late along with vibrant colours. The general key I feel is to go bold either on top or below. For example, If you are going to try a floral print shirt with a pair of bold shorts pick out the minutest detail to colour match, the green of a leaf for example. It will have the biggest impact yet maintain the cohesiveness of your outfit.

Balenciaga

Balenciaga

Reiss Ochre Yellow

Reiss Ochre Yellow

The Hill-Side

The Hill-Side

Do you have a top five list? What would you add?

Denim on Denim Edit: Part One – Business

I have been travelling the length and breadth of the UK for work over the past few weeks as part of a special project that I have been managing. Whilst I started out respectfully dressed, the novelty of crawling through dirty plant rooms in my best work gear whilst pretending the place was crawling with infrared alarm beams had worn thin. I decided to take it down a notch or three.

The closest I got to the beach

The closest I got to the beach

Unbeknownst to you guys I have been searching for a wardrobe staple denim jacket for around a year now. I toyed with an older style jacket but the fit, typically loose, was not right for me. I thought about getting it tailored but had to be sure about the wash. I wanted something light in colour and authentically faded. I scoured eBay for ages but nothing came up. It was only on a recent trip to Levis store in Canary Wharf that I stumbled on a dark, indigo rinse, slim fit jacket from their Commuter range. It was marked down to £80 from £120. The small offered the best fit but i decided I could hold off from an impulse buy. It paid off as I tried eBay when I got home and found the very same jacket for £40 BNWOT and BIN! Needless to say I snapped it up.

image

I paired it up with some tapered Iggy slim fit jeans from AllSaints, a white linen shirt and paisley pocket square from Reiss and a green knitted I and boutonnière from US outfit, The Knottery.

image

I love the contrast of the green with the blue of the denim. The silk really softens the denim too with shirt bringing the colours together nicely. The pocket square complimented the outfit well and the boutonnière added a hint of depth to it all. What do you think?

Excuse my expression! Lol

Excuse my expression! Lol

New Fragrance: Gucci Made to Measure

Sitting astride the majority of the high fashion industry players Gucci, having dressed the best for over 9 decades now, know a thing or two about making a man look his best. Beyond his best even! The fashion house are certainly not afraid to embrace luxuriant materials expertly tailoring and manipulating them to achieve unmatched finishes. But now it seems, Not content with having you look your best, Gucci ‘seam’ingly wish to have you smell your best with heir new signature fragrance – Made To Measure.

Straight out the box - Which I ripped slightly!

Straight out the box – Which I ripped slightly!

The bottle is every bit as striking as their bespoke couture, weighty denoting quality and expense. It continues in the same vein as Gucci Première, and Gucci sport with the Gucci signature Horsebit icon a feature on the bottle cap in an opulent brushed gold signifying a regal status.

Majestic brushed gold metal

Majestic brushed gold metal

The fragrance itself is gorgeous with exotic overtones such as Sri Lankan nutmeg and Indonesian patchouli which apparently has become a staple element in all Gucci scents. It has been put together well much like the bespoke suiting the brand are legendary for. It works with the warmth of the skin to enhance the fragrance further. It complements a whole range of looks too. From smart to smart casual to effortlessly cool. It can be both formal and sartorial as well as street style-esque

Elevates your sartorial style

Elevates your sartorial style

Now I am by no means. A cologne expert but I know what I like and this is right up there with Gucci Guilty for me. It’s become the fragrance of my 2013 summer and is already attached to several memorable occasions. It gets a 33 Boroughs 2 thumbs up!

Fragrance of the summer?

Fragrance of the summer?

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