Friday, 31 October 2014

Last-Minute Halloween Costumes

Left it to the last minute or just been invited to an impromptu party and you haven't sorted your costume yet?

Here's my suggestions of a couple of quick-fix costumes using items you probably already have or can pick up today while avoiding the usual costume-hunting crowd.

Clark Kent
The unassuming alter-ego of Superman is an easy one to pull off.

  1. First, dig out your suit, white shirt and suitably conservative tie. 
  2. Nip to Forbidden Planet and pick up a Superman tshirt - wear this under your shirt to be unbuttoned for a quick reveal.
  3. Finish the look by grabbing some reading glasses - you can get these in Poundland and even most petrol stations. 
  4. Clark is the epitome of geek, a Kryptonian pastiche of mankind, so ensure your hair is suitably parted. You can rework the trademark S curl when you unveil your superhero identity.
  • If you happen to have the physique of a god, all the better but this is optional...

Indiana Jones

Dr Jones is equal parts nerd and action hero
  1. Nearly everyone has a pair of khaki chinos - this is the base of your outfit
  2. Pair this with a soft cotton shirt. You should have something suitable but if you're stuck, this poplin one from H&M is ideal.
  3. Indiana Jones is nothing without his hat (What else would he almost leave behind after escaping deathtraps?) This felt one from Zara is perfect and you can continue to wear it after Halloween 
  4. Pull on a leather jacket - ideally brown but black will do for the effect and sling your man-bag across your body.
  5. The ubiquitous whip can be a tricky accessory. Unless it's part of your usual social life, you can pick a novelty one up from Ann Summers.
  • A peppering of stubble will complete the look

Whatever you get up to this evening - have a great time! Leave me a comment below describing your costume.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Below The Belt

Although I could be accused of doing this quite often, in this post I really will be talking a load of balls.

Male grooming encompasses many things but rarely do companies mention, or actually cater for, the biological accompaniments of manhood.

Below the Belt Grooming is a company that does just that.

I recently won 2 of their products in a twitter giveaway so thought it only appropriate to give them a good going over. Don't worry, my pictures have a U rating!

below the belt male grooming rogues and brogues blog

The skin on different parts of your body needs different care; moisturiser, cleanser and deodorant. When it comes to keeping yourself at your best, Fresh & Dry Balls is the obvious choice for the area in question. The deodorant is like a liquid talc, it absorbs moisture and has a clean scent, leaving you confident all day.

below the belt male grooming rogues and brogues blog

Men sweat. It's nature. The thing is that not everything in nature is always pleasant smelling. Now I don't think I need to advocate the need for a shower but when we don't have time or are not in the locality, the Waterless Shower is a handy alternative. A small palm-ful of the gel applied between me down there will get rid of any musky smell. The gel is quick drying and leaves the boys feeling cool and clean.

below the belt male grooming rogues and brogues blog

We tend to pay this area a lot of attention, but perhaps not the kind of attention it deserves. Treat the team to some TLC and feel a lot better for it.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Enter The Dragon

I am a bit of a late-comer to coffee. I remember as a kid, dunking ginger nut biscuits in my mum's scalding hot, jet black coffee. This was as close to it as I got for many years. I always liked the smell, but couldn't get over the bitter taste.

This has fortunately changed over the past few years. I've worked my way up the scale from light lattes to double espressos when the need arises. (BTW, it puts my grammatical teeth on edge to see - or hear- them called expressos)

I've visited many a coffee shop in Belfast over the years but have only really fallen for Ground in the past 6 months. I stumbled into the Waterstone's branch almost by accident, waiting for my barbers to open one Saturday morning. This serendipitous discovery has cemented their place as one of my favourite haunts.

After a rousing Twitter exchange with my friend Sera (in which we praised the virtues of their Nutella cake and cappuccinos) the team at Ground kindly surprised me with a basket of goodies to celebrate the launch of their bespoke coffee blend Purple Dragon.

Their unique blend is triple certified by the Fairtrade Foundation, Rainforest Alliance and Organic Coffee Federation and is the culmination of months of research and testing, combining beans from Honduras, Ethiopia and Sumatra.

I got stuck in to the pack yesterday and this is the kind of coffee Sunday mornings were made for; smooth and flavourful. (The fact that I happen to have a purple Bodum cafetiere is just kismet)

The blend is now available in all 13 of Ground's locations & I am determined to make a pilgrimage to them all. They have just announced plans to open their first store in Dublin with further locations across the province  in 2015 so there's no excuse not to chase the dragon now!

Saturday, 4 October 2014

If I Were A Boy | The Agoraphobic Fashionista

The second instalment in my If I Were A Boy... series welcomes Sera from The Agoraphobic Fashionista. I was introduced to her blog through my work and we've gone from contacts to friends. Despite the fact we've never actually met, she's one of my best blogging buds. I'm delighted she has taken part in the series, her fun and honest writing, her sense of style and her overall loveliness makes her blog a must read! Over to you Sera!

If I were a boy... would I have any style at all?
As a girl, (well, I should probably say woman...) I think I'm pretty close to nailing my own style. I enjoy clothes, so very much. Dresses mainly. Oh! And shoes, I do love my shoes. I tend to avoid trousers and jeans and other things like that as I have, what some might refer to as, a curvy figure, meaning not everything can or will work for me. And so I pretty much live in dresses as you'll see if you ever pop over to The Agoraphobic Fashionista dresses are the order of the day, always!
Then the lovely Ian asked a very interesting question...
If I were a boy, what would my style be? What type of clothing would I favour. 
Now, admittedly I take very little interest in male fashion / style, though this isn't intentional as I do love men's style, however I'm married to a man who has a standard uniform of a band T shirt and a pair of jeans. Oh! And Vans, mustn't forget the obligatory skate shoe. 
I know for a fact that the above would not be my style, if I were a boy. 
If I were a boy or indeed, a man (oooerr), I reckon I'd opt for casual luxe or heritage stylings. These are the styles I favour as a woman so it makes sense that those are what I'd go for if I were the opposite sex. One's personality is one's personality dahhhling!
The only issue I'm having is getting my head around the trousers scenario but quashing my own body fears and really embracing the notion if I were a boy, I reckon my style would go a little something like this....
 Always a fan of quirky prints, tweed and rich colours, I believe not much would actually change! Men's fashion has come on leaps and bounds these last few years and whilst researching for this post, I have to admit to falling in love with a few pieces... I wonder if I'd be able to talk The Mr around a little to my way of thinking...
 I adore Ian's own personal style and I think if I were a boy, I'd be rocking the bearded look too! Cheers for giving me fashion food for thought Ian! 
Sera McDaid

Thanks again to Sera for kindly taking part. I urge, nay command, you to check out her fun, frank and fashionable blog! 

If you are interested in participating in the series in the future, drop me an email:

Wednesday, 1 October 2014


I had a little brainwave this morning as I got ready. As I got dressed I looked into my wardrobe and thought, I have some really good clobber in there and I don't wear it often enough. What prevents me from trying that little bit harder in the mornings? 

This inspired my little month-long project: Octobest

I'm challenging myself and my readers to Look Your Octobest this month. 

That item of clothing you save for special occasions? Why wait? Put it on! 

Everyday should be embraced as an opportunity to show the world who you are and let your personality shine through your style.

Tweet me your pictures or post them to my Facebook page - I'd love to see your best outfits and maybe get some ideas to steal! Don't forget to tag them #Octobest!

The Doctor Is In

Last Friday I attended the VIP launch of the new Dr Marten's store in Belfast.

I remember getting my first pair of docs at 11. My sister and I asked for a pair each for Christmas; she wanted plain old black but I had to have oxblood. Unfortunately, announcing my request a few days before Christmas left Santa with few options and I got an amazing pair of 18(!) hole oxblood boots. I've been smitten ever since.

I met up with my blogging better-half Ruth of Willow Lane and a few more of the lovely FABB ladies Rosanna and Carolyn and we made our way to the brand new shop. The entire store was crammed with local bloggers, stylists and personalities, enjoying food laid on by Love & Death Inc, artisan beer by Farmageddon and some rock from local band The Groundlings.

me and the missus
Docs have had long connections with underground style and what better way to celebrate this link than a DJ set by the legendary Terri Hooley, founder of Good Vibrations record shop and pioneer of Belfast's punk scene. While the classic boots are as popular as ever, Dr Marten's offer so much more in styles like penny loafers, brogues and chukkas - all with the famous AirWair soles and unrivalled quality and craftsmanship.

I was kindly gifted with the Jules double monk shoes - I chose them as they were that little bit different but still me. I'm breaking many, MANY cardinal rules here wearing them with black jeans but feck it, I was punk for one night (as punk as I will ever be). My entire outfit (shoes aside) is from Primark. I think this tartan shirt is my new favourite.

I had my eye on the oxblood zip wallet but logic prevailed when I realised I couldn't fit all my cards in it 
all the tartan scarves a boy could ever want...
leather braces - pair with a short sleeve shirt, rolled skinny jeans and a classic pair of docs for instant punk

I've fallen for this shirt and bomber combo - classic Brit style
more oxblood - seeing a pattern here?
the groundlings

ruth & i go toe-to-toe (Ruth in her Jessyca brogue heels)
To celebrate the launch of the new store and that I've just passed 2000 followers on Twitter, I thought I'd do a wee giveaway.

To win a Dr Marten's triangular change wallet, complete the rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Septembeard 2014

A year ago I wrote a wee post detailing some pointers I had picked up along the way as one of the bearded brethren. Writing what I knew then, I gave some basic rules and ideas on maintenance and grooming of your facial fur.  I, along with my chin, have matured since then and my beard grooming practices have evolved so I thought I would write an updated version.

male grooming fashion blog rogues brogues beard septembeard
beauty is in the eye of the beardholder
I haven't really trimmed my beard since around April except for the odd wayward strand so it's never been longer or fuller. 

beard male grooming fashion blog rogues brogues

To paraphrase Spider-Man's Uncle Ben with great beard, comes great responsibility... So in addition to the basics (which I am sure you have undoubtedly refreshed yourself with by re-reading the post I linked to above) here are a few more tips for keeping your beard at its best.

What Lies Beneath. I touched on this last time but as I have discovered, you need to make even more of an effort when your hair beard gets longer to prevent the dreaded beard-druff flakes. I use Lush Ocean Salt scrub once a week to slough away dead skin under the hair. I apply it dry before I get into the shower and then give it all a thorough scrubbing. 
You'll need to replace the moisture lost by stripping away all that grime, so when you're applying your usual moisturiser, add a bit more for good measure and work it into your chin skin. 

Feed Me Seymour. Men are learning (slowly) the importance of skin care and grooming so while you apply moisturiser to your face and body and condition your hair, don't neglect your beard. If anything, it needs it more. 
While washing my hair, I apply OBSCENE amounts of conditioner to my beard. As I can spend up to 30 minutes having a shower and the conditioner is applied at the start and it's the last thing to be rinsed off; this is plenty of time to allow it to do its stuff. 
My opinion/budget on conditioner remain the same - if it costs more than a quid, it stays on the shelf. 

R-E-S-P-E-C-T.  Just because it feels tougher, doesn't mean you can be too rough with facial hair. Pat it dry it dry when you're out of the shower.
Invest in a comb. (When I say invest, go buy one from the chemist.) It will keep tangles at bay, preventing it from feeling tight and also help train any unruly growth . I get bed-beard as much as I get bed-head and find I need to comb my beard more than my hair. 
I occasionally apply a little pomade if it's being particularly difficult. While VO5 extreme style grooming pomade isn't really strong enough for my thick head hair it can help tame some straggly beard whiskers. 

male grooming beard blog rogues brogues

Oil Be Back. If you are feeling even more indulgent, treat your facial foliage to some beard oil. I picked up Jack Earl Co rugged beard oil from Welcome Stranger while I was in San Francisco. Apply it directly after a shower  while your beard is still damp and warm (sounds gross) and your beard will literally drink it up. Initially, I had been applying it like hair product to dry beard hair but I discovered the oil can just lie on the hair and feel heavy and a bit greasy. 
It has an intense woody scent so you don't need to apply cologne. Yes, this sounds a little contradictory; although I don't shave, I still use aftershave. 

beard oil men grooming blog rogues and brogues

Happy Septembeard my facially hirsute rogues! If you have any additional tips or recommendations, please leave me a comment below. Are you pursuing the way of the beard this autumn?