Beauty Treats For The Man In Your Life

April 23rd, 2017

A gift or treat need not be reserved just for birthdays or Christmas, you should be able to treat the man in your life any time you like, just to say ‘I love you’ or I’m thinking of you, or just because – do you really need a reason?

When it comes to buying a gift for my husband, I am always drawn to grooming products. Once upon a time these were the preserve of the metro-sexual male, those who tended to be fashion forward in all areas. For the rest of the male population, a bic razor, plastic comb and a bottle of Insignia was about as far as it went when it came to products for grooming, and if you happened to spot a tub of nivea ladies you’d really found yourself a new man. But in these days of super stylish and groomed male role models, your man is probably likely to have as many products on their bathroom shelf as you do, inspired by the likes of David Beckham, Olivier Giroud, and the two Ryan’s – Reynolds and Gosling.

Olivier Giroud

David Beckham

Here are a few ideas for gifts for that well groomed man in your life.

ER-GB80 Multi-Groomer

Panasonic are a brilliant name when it comes to choosing a men’s trimmer and their latest design is a seriously good one.  The Multi Groomer is a professional hair clipper that gives an exceptionally clean and precise cut. It features new and improved ultra-close blades for a 40% shorter trimming length than conventional models, as well as a smooth curving and easy to handle ergonomic design. It comes with a range of attachments for cutting and trimming hair and beards, and is a seriously attractive piece of kit – a perfect present in fact.

The Beard Bro
Want to get the perfect shape for that hipster beard? Then you need to invest in the Beard Bro, which has been described as the number one facial hair shaping tool for perfect lines and symmetry. It’s basically a set square for beards – a super cool little piece of plastic that enables your man to design a shape for his beard, and then keep it symmetrical when cutting.

Click to visit Amazon

Beard Oil

Once upon a time men thought they were doing well if they used a product in their hair, but these days it is all about the beard, and the most stylish beards are also soft and in fabulous condition due in no small part to the use of beard oil. There are lots of brands around including Mo Bro and Billy Jealousy, and Amazon is a great place to look and discover new brands.  Beard Forrest Oil promises to make it Kissable, so that has to be the one doesn’t it!

Click to visit Amazon

Is you man a well groomed man? What products or gadgets are on your shopping list?

Perfect Pizza at The Stable, Birmingham

April 23rd, 2017

There are some great places to find really good Pizza in Birmingham, but The Stable on John Bright Street must be one of the best. It has a menu that is full of delicious pizza combinations. and also has a range of over 80 ciders that you can team with them, making this perfect pitstop for a refuel on a shopping day. In addition, a great outside space is just glorious, especially when the mercury is hitting over 70 degrees, which it was on the Sunday we paid a family trip. With a relaxed atmosphere, and a child friendly menu and staff, you can easily enjoy fantastic food and a chill on a lazy Sunday.

The menu is interesting in that many of the combinations and dishes look Mediterranean, but are actually full of local produce and British ingredients. The menu also gives a nice nod to the local area, with pizzas named after Birmingham areas like Bournville (the Bournville Bantam is my pizza of choice), Smethwick and Perry Barr.

We started with a Cured Meats and cheese board (£12 for two). This is a dish that has the look of the Mediterranean, but is actually British through and through, specifically the West Country. The pickled cucumber in particular was excellent, and the cheeses were a great mixture of creamy (goats cheese) and sharp and flavoursome (the Wookey Hole aged cheddar.) The meat also showed that Prosciutto and Parma Ham are not the only choices when it comes to pairing cured meats with cheese.

Joe loves garlic bread, and The Stable has the traditional pizza style breads. These were again packed full of flavour with the butter literally oozing from the bread (not my favourite word but the only one to use in this case.) The bread didn’t last long and was totally proclaimed a hit by my boy.

Onto the Pizza. Joe chose a Margarita but added chicken to it. It was delicious, the flavours worked together very well, and it was great that he could add the extra ingredient to create his perfect pizza. I went for the Bournville Bantam, again with chicken, but I removed mushrooms (my idea of food hell) and was really pleased with the overall flavour. Pete went for the special – the Ali Baa Baa, almost a mezze on a pizza with Koftka style meatballs and feta Cheese, as well as tomato, oregano and mozzarella. Pete declared this was the best pizza he had ever had – high praise indeed. We also tried one of the salads, this was a salmon salad that could virtually count as a course by itself as it was full of leaves and pieces of salmon.

If you have any room left for a dessert, I would definitely try the ice cream. The clotted cream vanilla is just so lovely, and the presentation makes it look so special. You can choose three flavours, or opt for double of your favourite.

With friendly and knowledgeable staff able to recommend both dishes and cider, and fast and efficient service, The Stables is a real jewel in Birmingham’s foodie crown. This was my fourth visit, but the first with my family, and it was a big hit with all. We’ll definitely be coming back.

The Stable, Birmingham

Address: 115 John Bright St, Birmingham B1 1BE
Phone: 0121 643 8918



The Essential Oils to have in your home.

April 22nd, 2017

One of my fondest memories I have of my mother-in-law Rita is her love of essential oils. She had a home office that always smelled incredible, and this was due to the burning of oils in an oil burner, filling the air with wonderful fragrances. Ylang Ylang, Lavender and Camomile were favourites, and eucalyptus would be used if she was suffering with a cold or flu symptoms. Now I have oils burning in my own home, often using an electric oil burner that I picked up from Amazon. I love the fact that, as well as producing lovely scents, they can also affect your health and  well  being, and can be an aid to relaxation, and can even help if you have problems sleeping. In my view, every home should have a selection of essential oils to hand.

New Direction Aromatics has some really wonderful fragranced oils that are suitable for everything from diffusers, to creating your own soaps and cleansers. They offer a wide selection of pure, unadulterated Essential Oils obtained from a range of sources, including  blossoms, leaves, bark and roots of flowers, herbs, fruits and spices. In particular, they are experts in Lavender Oils, being the Number 1 supplier of Lavender Oil in the Essential Oil industry.

Some of the oils stocked by New Direction Aromatics, that I would recommend for use in the home are:-

  • Tea Tree. One of the few essential oils that can be used neat, tea tree works well as an astringent, particularly for skin suffering from blemishes. In my previous life as a teacher this was a sometime cure for head lice – apparently ‘nits’ didn’t like the smell and avoided hair that had been treated with tea tree.
  • Eucalyptus. This is an oil that is brilliant when you are suffering from colds and flu symptoms, or blocked noses. Eucalyptus can be added to a hot bath or a facial steamer in order to clear a blocked nose, and will also work well with a diffuser to add eucalyptus to the air.
  • Chamomile. Chamomile is a mild, sweet oil that can help with relaxation, so is perfect to burn in your bedroom in order to help you drift into a blissful, deep sleep. Chamomile also mixes well with lavender and rose, and can be used for massage and as a natural antiseptic to treat wounds.
  • Lavender. We know that it smells divine when added to an oil burner, and it also aids sleep, but did you know lavender works well as an anti-aging treatment? It is said it can reduce the appearance of age spots when mixed with Frankincense oil and used after a morning shower. Inhaling Lavender oil can also help those suffering from Migraine headaches.

Clearly essential oils are just that – they can help in so many ways and are often inexpensive to buy.