Fathers Day Gift Guide 2020

Fathers Day Gift Guide 2020

I don’t know about you but when it comes to Father’s Day I find it very difficult to get my dad the perfect gift. I have come across some amazing products and I thought I would share them with you to make choosing your Father’s Day gift that little bit easier. Whether it be for your father or a special father figure, I am sure you will find the perfect item.

Mens Grooming

Horace

I first discovered this brand whilst in France and I couldn’t wait to share it on the blog. Horace is a men’s grooming range that uses ingredients that are a minimum of 95% natural ingredients. This simple yet effective range of products are very affordable and each one is formulated with ingredients that are proven to work. The range covers an array of grooming needs from haircare, fragrance and even oral care. Here are my favourites in the range;

Mesoa Skincare

What first caught my eye with this brand is their focus on male mental health. Not only does a percentage of their profits go towards male suicide and mental health charities, but they also have an online community on their website where men can share their own stories and chat to each other. Of course, the products are fantastic too and their simple packaging and informative website make it easy to understand what each of the products does by explaining their key benefits clearly. Here are my favourites;

Acqua di Parma Haircare

I am a huge fan of Acqua Di Parma fragrances and their Barbiere range is the perfect addition to this quintessential Italian range. Each of the products includes the stunning original cologne fragrance which is both uplifting and masculine.

Aurezzi

If you want to buy your father something unique then why not opt for this range of 24k gold pated oral health range from Aurezzi. Swedish designed with Swiss quality and backed by 168 years of dentistry this range exudes quality and style whilst being practical at the same time. The toothbrush has an exceptional density of bristles which not only helps clean the teeth thoroughly but also helps the brush retain its shape over time. It also comes with a stunning stand that you can proudly display the brush in. The toothpaste also includes gold particles and hydroxyapatite to clean and whiten the teeth.

Drinks

Flavair

I recently discovered this fine spirit membership club and I was very impressed. The club offers a number of benefits which will keep any spirit connoisseur happy. Each quarter, members receive a full-size bottle along with a themed tasting box that includes three 50ml samples, tasting notes and a Flaviar concrete coaster. It’s the perfect gift for someone who likes to experience spirits that are not always available in shops.

Feragaia

If he doesn’t drink alcohol but still wants to experience a tipple then why not treat him to Scotland’s first premium alcohol-free spirit. Feragaia contains 14 responsibly sourced botanicals from both land and sea that have been combined to create a delicious drink full of flavour, depth and body. With zero sugar and all-natural flavour, it makes a healthy alternative to alcohol.

Fragrances 

D.S. & Durga

Based in New York, this perfume house creates a fantastic range of fragrances that translates musical and literary pieces into scent. There are so many to choose from that I could recommend however I opted for Italian Citrus in the end. This spicy and citrusy scent reminds me of a traditional cologne however it has so much more depth and longevity. Its immediate fresh citrus blast provides an uplifting feeling of positivity and throughout the day the fragrance rises from the skin flirting between citrus, spicy, sweet and floral.

Stories Parfums

Created by Tonya Kidd-Beggs in the perfume capital of the world, Grasse, Stories is a perfume house that encapsulates the finest raw materials using traditional methods of perfumery. As soon as you spray them on you can tell that they were made with passion and they exude so much soul and life. Their complex notes interweave to create the most beautiful scents that float from the skin throughout the day. I couldn’t choose between the both of them as they both have such beautiful and individual personalities.

Rook Perfumes

After a complete re-brand and re-launch of Rook Perfumes in February 2020, I was immediately captivated by the new contemporary look and range of luxury fragrances. At the core of the brand is the simple yet impactful triangle not only representing the top, middle and base notes of a fragrance but also the balance of Nadeem’s career in performing, perfumery and medicine. All of the fragrances are fantastic but I recommend Forest, a fresh and uplifting scent that will transport the wearer to nature. Check my previous blog to find out more about this fragrance house.

For other fragrances check out my recommendations here.

Elemis Superfood Home Facial

Elemis Superfood Home Facial

I don’t know about you but I have been looking for an array of things to help me take my mind of everything that is going on at the moment and self-care has been one thing that I has kept me going. There is nothing I miss more than a relaxing facial treatment and I am missing my visits to Soprano Ice’s Facial Spa located in the south of Edinburgh. They recently came to the rescue and very kindly supplied me with a range of vegan and plant-based products from the Elemis superfood range.

The first thing you obviously need in order to carry out the facial is the products. Luckily Elemis Superfood products are an affordable range and are available on many online stores. They are vegan and plant-based and full of prebiotics that helps calm, hydrate and smoothes the skin. What’s even better is that it’s suitable for all ages so if you wish you can get the whole household to join in.

I thought I would use the range to do a nurturing facial at home that you guys could incorporate into your routine to help boost your skin’s health whilst helping you relax and unwind. So find a quiet place in the house, light up your favourite candle, put on some relaxing music and let me show you how to carry out your very own facial at home.

Step One – Double cleanse 

Double cleansing the skin helps remove makeup, SPF and any impurities that may have built upon the skin throughout the day. It also prepares the skin in order for it to fully absorb all the products that will be used in the facial.

First Cleanse

The first cleanser is the Superfood Facial Wash, this gel has a really thick and hydrating texture. It is filled with prebiotics to help balance the skin and includes an array of nutritious super greens such as kale, wheatgrass and broccoli.

Superfood Facial Wash

Directions – Apply the cleanser to dry skin, massage and take a moment to absorb the lovely fresh and uplifting scent (which reminds me of a really nutritious green smoothie). Using a warm damp face cloth, gently remove the cleanser from the face.

Breath in those lovely aromas

Second Cleanse 

Cleanse your face again but this time uses the Superfood Cica Calm Foam Cleanser. This cleanser provides antioxidant protection from fermented green tea seed oil. It also includes olive, mango and rice water which keeps the skin hydrated and provides the skin with nutrients.

Superfood Cica Calm Cleansing Foam

Directions – Apply a few pumps into the hand and massage onto a wet face and then with a dampened cloth, delicately remove the product from the skin.

Step Two – Tone

After cleansing its time to tone the skin with the Superfood Keri Tea Mist Spray. It includes rooibos tea which is a rich antioxidant and also has aloe Vera and coconut water which again provides extra nourishment. This can be used at the toning stage but it also throughout the day to give an added boost to the skin.

Superfood Kefir-Tea Mist

Directions – Close your eyes, spray over the skin and allow to absorb.

Step Three – Exfoliate

The next step of the facial is exfoliation and this is done using the fantastic Superfood Blackcurrant Jelly Exfoliator. Not only does this product smell amazing it also contains small blackcurrant particles to exfoliate and remove any build-up of dead skin cells. The addition of glycerin leaves the skin feeling smooth and soft.

Superfood Blackcurrant Jelly Exfoliator

Directions – Apply a thin layer to the skin and leave on like a mask and whilst those nutritional ingredients absorb fully it’s time to do a facial steam. You can purchase facial steamers online but this can easily be done by using simple items in the home. Fill a large bowl with hot water and place a your head above the steam. In order to capture the steam further place a towel overhead. For an added spa-like experience, add some essential oils to the water and breath in those lovely aromas. Do this for around ten minutes.

Before removing you can really take the opportunity to sculpt the face and use massage techniques in order to encourage lymphatic drainage. This helps depuff the face and release toxins. Ria from Soprano Ice has some tips below:

Afterwards, massage the skin fully so that the blackcurrant particles exfoliate further and then remove with a damp cloth.

Step Four – Face Mask 

It is time to treat the skin using the Superfood Vital Veggie Mask. This particularly helps with dull skin as its full of brightening and nourishing ingredients. As well as being packed full of super greens it also has passion fruit acid in there which hydrates the skin. The mask doesn’t use clay which can often dry out the skin.

Superfood Vital Veggie Mask

Directions – Apply a thin layer to the skin and allow those nourishing ingredients to get to work. Now is a great time to sip on a lovely green tea, listen to some tranquil music, lay back and relax. After 10-15 minutes, rinse the mask off using a warm dampened cloth.

Step Five – Calm, Hydrate and Moisturise

The last step really depends on the condition of your skin. Lately, mines has been very dehydrated, so I am going to use a combination of products to help with this condition.

The Superfood Cica Calm Hydration Juice is a really light gel moisturiser designed to help cool and calm the skin. It includes aloe Vera and cucumber, so really good if you have any sensitivity issues. It has a light uplifting scent and leaves the skin refreshed.

Superfood Cica Calm Hydration Juice

Directions – Apply a small amount to the fingers and massage into the skin and allow the product to fully absorb.

Using an oil not only helps seal in those previous products but also adds a further boost of hydration to the skin. Superfood Facial Oil is filled with rich omegas from broccoli, flaxseed and rosehip oil and has a really fresh and uplifting fragrance.

Superfood Facial Oil

Directions – Apply a few drops to the hand, warm into the palms and press into the skin on the face. Although the oil has a thick consistency it is easily absorbed and leaves your skin looking dewy and refreshed.

To final step of the facial is to apply the Superfood Moisturiser which comes in both a day and night format. Although they are both filled with vitamin-enriched super greens the night cream has a richer consistency and has the inclusion of lavender and ylang-ylang oil.

Superfood Cream

Directions – Apply a few pumps of the product in the hand, warm it between the fingers and massage into the skin.

Glowing skin

I was very impressed with this range of products and even though I don’t normally gravitate towards vegan skincare, using this range really surprised me. My skin was left glowing, supple and healthy-looking which is what everyone wants from a facial right? I know its not the same as going out for a treatment but trust me, after using these products it will not only give a boost to the complexion it will give you a moment to help you escape the anxieties and stresses of what’s going on around us. I can’t wait to get out again and visit The Facial Spa, but until then this easy to follow facial will help rescue me from my lockdown skin issues.

Head to my IGTV video to see the facial in action.

Scrivner for Men by Jane Scrivner Skincare

Scrivner for Men by Jane Scrivner Skincare

I’ve always been a fan of Jane Scrivner skincare products due to their pure and natural ingredients. When I used them previously, they always left my skin looking healthy and glowing. So when they recently released there the Scrivner for Men complete #5STEPSKINSTRATEGY Kit I immediately gravitated towards it. I am partial to a skincare kit as it makes the whole process of deciding what products to buy more convenient. Also you can  trust the products will work perfectly together in order to give your skin the best results.

The kit comes in a handy canvas bag which makes it easy to store and transport if travelling. In each bag there are five products with easy to follow instructions, so no man has the excuse of not having an effective skincare routine. The products included in the kit are:

Step #1 Skin Clean – Nourish Enrich Cleansing Balm

I love a good cleansing balm and I have previously written a few posts regarding them, however for many cleansing balms are a relatively new concept.  Cleansing balms add a more mindful ritual to your skincare routine, allowing you to take the time to massage the product into the skin. Cleansing balms are a really nourishing way to remove the dirt and grime from the skin whilst maintaining the skins natural integrity.

This balm, like many others has a thick consistency which immediately melts into the skin when applied. After massaging it into the face you simply remove it with a warm soaked mitt (which is also included in the kit) and your face feels cleansed and nurtured. The great thing about this product is that it can be used as a shaving balm either on its own or under your normal shaving foam, hence providing you with an extra layer of protection.

Ingredient Highlights: Organic Jojoba Oil, Rice bran wax, Tocopherol (vitamin E) and nine essential oils including sandalwood, star anise and carrot.

Step #2 Skin Resurface – Daily Resurfacing AHA/BHA Acid Exfoliator

Gone are the days of harsh face scrubs that can lead to irritation and skin-barrier damage. Acid exfoliators are a great way to gently resurface the skin to reveal smoother and clearer skin. I have been using acid exfoliators for a while so it’s fantastic to see one included in this kit and one that is geared towards men.

I found this exfoliator to be gentle with a subtle fragrance and as per instructions, only used it a few times a week before building up to daily use. All that’s required is a drizzle of the product onto a cotton pad, gently wipe it over the face and you’re done, such a simple yet effective step. What makes it more appealing is that it’s 100% natural and organic.

Ingredient highlights: English raw organic apple cider vinegar and numerous acids taken from pineapple, burdock, bilberry, orange, lemon, sugar maple, witch-hazel and white willow.

Step #3 Skin Hydrate – Smoothing Hyaluronic Gel

I don’t know about you but since working indoors my skin has been so dry. I often use hyaluronic serums as an extra step in my skincare routine, so I was very happy to see this gel which includes Hyaluronic acid as one of its main ingredients. Hyaluronic acid holds a thousand times its weight in water and acts like a sponge by attracting moisture to boost hydration on the surface of the skin.

Upon application, this clear gel gave my skin an immediate refreshing sensation and sunk immediately into the skin without that tacky or sticky feeling that most gels can leave. After using this product my skin felt plump and dewy.

Ingredient highlights: Plant extracted bio-fermented Hyaluronic Acid, Spilanthes Acmella (a natural muscle relaxant), organic aloe vera, white willow and frankincense oil.

Step #4 Skin Defence – Calm Nourish Enrich Face Oil

Jane Scrivner is known for sourcing the best raw and natural oils from around the globe, so I am very happy to see a face oil in this collection. Only a single application onto the fingers is needed. As you massage it into the face you can smell all the wonderful natural ingredients, star anise and sandalwood being the most prominent for me.

The oil sinks into the skin and you are left with this healthy and nourished glow almost as if you have had a restful nights sleep. What is great about this product is that you can use it as a beard or moustache oil too, so you are getting two products in one.

Ingredient Highlights: Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Oat Oil, Tigernut Oil and a blend of nine essential oils.

Step #5 Skin Protect – Oat Argan Moisturising Cream

For the last step of the skincare routine, there is this beautiful moisturising cream that seals in all of your previous steps whilst providing a protective barrier to environmental irritants. This cream includes Argan Kernel and Oat Kernel oils along with an array of other protective and nourishing ingredients.

What I love about the product is that natural uplifting fragrance but also the fact that even though there is an abundance of oily ingredients,  it doesn’t leave your skin shiny or greasy looking.

Ingredient highlights: Organic Oat Kernel Oil, Organic Argan Kernel Oil, Colloidal Oatmeal, Betulenic Acid, Aloe Vera and nine essential oils.

I have really enjoyed using these products and wouldn’t hesitate in recommending them. Although you can buy the products individually, I feel the kit provides everything you need for a perfect and easy to use skincare routine. At a time when we all need that extra dose of self-care these products and the good quality ingredients really do feel like having your very own nurturing facial every day.

Head to my IGTV where I show you how I use the products.

Head to Janescrivner.com for up to date prices and more information.

Nourished

Nourished

There has never been a more important time to look after yourself, keeping your body and mind healthy. I don’t know about you but the first few weeks of isolation, being home alone, consisted of a copious amount of unhealthy snacks and a few extra units of alcohol. Of course this was stress-induced and I quickly realised that this was not sustainable in the long run. Pre-Corona, I had been successfully working out at the gym however wasn’t looking after my overall nutrition and I felt like my present nutritional supplements weren’t helping. I usually avoid multi-vitamins because they simply provide more than my body requires, so I would buy individual vitamins according to what I felt my body lacked. This, of course, was expensive and I would often forget to take them. 

Luckily I came across Nourished; an ingenious UK based company who launched late last year. Nourished uses revolutionary new 3D printing methods and patented vegan encapsulation formulae to combine seven ingredients into a personalised chewable vitamin stack tailored specifically to your individual nutritional needs. The idea was created and designed by serial entrepreneur Melissa Snover, who piloted the concept on the renowned TV show Dragons Den. It was then Nourished was born and the worlds first truly customisable and personalised 3D printed nutritional product was launched.

Founder Mellisa Snover

After completing a simple consultation questionnaire online, Nourished did all the hard work and created a perfect combination of vitamin and supplements tailored to my needs. This combination was then 3D printed into my very own vegan and sugar-free vitamin stack. A month’s supply was shipped directly to my door in plastic-free, home compostable packaging. These can be bought as a one-off purchase or in a subscription format. 

Additionally, if you wish to choose your own vitamins and supplements then you can request these online. You can also choose specific Nourished life stacks carefully formulated to promote key benefits, these stacks include:

  • Inner Defence (to support the immune system)
  • Inner Vitality (+ 55) (to support those over the age of 55) 
  • Inner Peace (to reduce stress, lower blood pressure and improve sleep)
  • Plant-based Power (plant-based nutrition stack)
  • High Flyer (to support those who have a hectic lifestyle)
  • Prenatal (a blend for expectant and pregnant woman)
  • Inner Beauty (for nails, hair and ageing)
  • Party Proofed (for those who like to burn the candles at both ends)
  • Packed & Stacked (to enhance performance, boost energy and aid muscle recovery)
  • Menopure (to help support those going through menopause)

Blu Blazer Guy thoughts:

For the past few months I have been trying my own personalised blend and have been really impressed with the overall experience. The online consultation was relatively quick and easy, and within only a few days I had my own personalised box of vitamins. Because of my previous experience with other chewable vitamins, I thought these vitamin stacks were going to taste terrible, but in fact they are delicious and sweet which genuinely makes taking them so much more satisfying. 

I have also been trying the Nourished Inner / Outer Defence Life Stack which is particularly apt due to the current pandemic that we are going through. This immune-boosting stack includes 7 cleverly combined ingredients to support normal immune function, support gut health and digestion, reduce inflammation and protect against free radicals and foreign toxins. Included in the pack is the ‘outer defence’ hand sanitiser which we currently is in such demand just now. These two go hand in hand to protect from the inside and out. 

These stacks, along with regular exercise are giving me extra confidence knowing that I am supporting my body to best of my ability, both physically and nutritionally. Nourished are not only innovative but also contain well researched ingredients that are of high quality and optimum absorption, which gives me the assurance that I am supplying my body with the best supplements that it needs.

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I can’t say that my recent boost in energy and mood are directly connected to these vitamin stacks but I do believe that they are definitely contributing to my overall health and wellbeing and that can only be good right?

7 Day Amalfi Coast Itinerary

7 Day Amalfi Coast Itinerary

The Amalfi Coast has been on my radar for years and it was a dream come true when I eventually got to visit in 2019. The stunning stretch of coastline in southern Italy impresses with its lemon groves, sparkling azur waters, rocky cliffs and scattering of spectacular towns and villages that cling precariously to its edge.

In order to explore this area to the fullest, I recommend staying in the nearby town of Sorrento. Not only is this charming town in close proximity to Naples airport, it is also less expensive for accommodation than most of the towns along the coast.  Sorrento has fantastic transport links to all areas along the coast and also has its own treasures to discover.

I have created my very own Blu Blazer Guy 7 day Amalfi Coast itinerary to ensure you get the best out of your trip to the region. (The itinerary is based from Sorrento)

Day 1 – Explore Sorrento

Piazza Tasso is the main square of Sorrento and is a bustling hub with an array restaurants, cafe’s and shops. The beautiful Church of Carmine with its Baroque clock tower and a statue of Sorrento’s patron saint Antonino Abbate are notable points of interest.

Although the square is a fantastic place to sit and watch the world go by, wander into the surrounding narrow streets and you will find a wonderful selection of shops, especially on Via San Cesareo.

Marina Grande is a rustic and laid-back fishing village set around a small bay on the coast of Sorrento. Numerous restaurants, bars and cafe’s are dispersed around the shore and are a perfect places to soak in the views of both the water and the cliff sides.

I especially loved wandering along the wooden decking and seeing the colourful changing rooms that line the beach. 

The Amalfi Coast is known for its lush green gardens, fragrant flora and extensive lemon groves.

Sorrento has the some of the most stunning groves that you can wander through and witness the production of the famous local drink, Lemoncello. I recommend I Giardini di Cataldo, a beautiful and relaxing lemon grove located on Via Correale 27.

 

Sorrento boasts fantastic views over the bay of Naples. One of the best places to experience this is from the Chiesa di San Francesco which is only a short walk from the main square. On a clear day you can watch the sun sparkling across the water and of course the stunning Mount Vesuvius emerging from the horizon.

Bellevue Syrene hotel provided a relaxing yet luxurious escape from the hustle and bustle of the town.

Wander under its tunnel of hanging wisterias where you can sit back and enjoy a light lunch and cocktails with the breathtaking views.

Il Buco

This Michelin starred restaurant housed in a former monks wine cellar is a must when visiting Sorrento.

The intimate and cosy restaurant sells a range of delicious simple food that will ignite your tastebuds and give you a taste of delicious local cuisine.

Day 2 – Visit the world renowned archaeological site Pompeii and then experience the best pizza in Sorrento

Pompeii

Pompeii is the renowned Roman City that was buried under meters of pumice and ash after nearby Mount Vesuvius erupted in 70 A.D.

This well preserved and excavated site is very impressive and certainly deserves a full days attention. Stepping out of Pompeii-Scavi train station there are an abundance of tour guides trying to sell you tickets, but doing it on your own is a much more affordable option (see tip below).

 

Directions to Pompeii: Take the train from Sorrento towards Naples and stop at Pompei Scavi – Villa dei Misteri. Train time from Sorrento: 20-25 minutes

Blu Blazer Guy Tip: Pompeii is a very large archaeological site and can take hours to walk around. Wear comfortable shoes, carry lots of snacks and water and apply plenty of sunscreen. Download the Discover Pompeii app which allows you to wander around whilst experiencing your very own guided tour on your phone.

Duration: 2 – 5 hours
Entry Price: 15 Euros 

Pizzeria Franco – Sorrento

After a long day sightseeing you may to want to replenish your energy with Italy’s most famous meal, Pizza! Travel back to Sorrento and head to Pizzeria Franco, located within walking distance from the station. This little establishment is a hive of activity from the chatter of customers, most of which are Italians (which is always a good sign). You can witness the chefs in the kitchen churning out pizza after pizza to satisfy the hunger of its guests. Its hectic vibe may not be to everyone’s taste but I guarantee once you taste their delicious selection of pizzas you will be in heaven!

Day 3 – Climb Mount Vesuvius, visit another spectacular archaeological site and eat some authentic Italian Food

Mount Vesuvius

If you are up for an energetic morning then why not take a trip up to the summit of the famous Mount Vesuvius. Mount Vesuvius is a towering volcano that casts its shadow over Naples and the surrounding towns below.

Buses depart from outside Ercolano Scavi train station every 40 minutes between 9.30 and 3pm. These buses transport you up a very narrow and winding road which are not unusual for this part of Italy. Once you arrive at the carpark,  you can take the 20 minute walk up to the summit. Make sure you try and pick a day where the weather is clear so that you can take advantage of the views, but even on a cloudy day it makes for an eerie experience.

Directions to Mount Vesuvius: Take the train from Sorrento to Ercolano Scavi station. When you arrive at the train station there is a small office to the left where you can purchase your Vesuvius ticket. Train journey time from Sorrento: 45 mins

Blu Blazer Guy Tip: Bring warm clothes as it can be much cooler and windier on the summit.

Duration: 2 Hours
Vesuvio Express Bus Price: 20 Euros (includes entry to Vesuvius)

After your tour of Mount Vesuvius, head back in the direction of the station for a great selection of places to grab a snack or something to eat nearby before you head on your next adventure. 

Herculaneum

Herculaneum is another archaeological site which is much smaller than Pompeii and more preserved due to being buried in mud instead of volcanic ash.

I must say I preferred this small site as it was quieter and easier to walk around. 

Directions to Herculaneum: From the same station as Mount Vesuvius, walk straight down Via IV Novembre and you will arrive at its entrance.

Train time from Sorrento: 45 mins

Duration: 2-3 Hours
Herculaneum Entry: 11 Euros

Ristorante O’Murzill’

Head back to Sorrento to experience a really delicious yet affordable meal. This great little restaurant is located down a narrow alleyway and is the perfect place to escape the crowds with friendly service and enjoy some simple Italian cooking. friendly You may have to queue but I can assure you that it’s worth it.

Location: Via Accademia, Sorrento
Price Range: £/££

Day 4 – Capri

You cannot visit the Amalfi Coast without taking a trip to the stunning island of Capri. I advise that instead of doing an organised tour, which can cost a fortune and where you are hustled from landmark to landmark, just arrange it yourself. There are many boats which leave on a regular basis from Marina Piccola in Sorrento that take you to the island in around thirty minutes. On arrival it can seem quite hectic and confusing. I advise using the small local buses which are very cheap (you can purchase tickets on the bus) and will take you to all parts of the Island. 

At the port there are a number of companies who offer boat tours which is a great way to see a different side of Capri. The boat tours take around an hour and visit numerous points of interests such as the infamous Blue Grotto, a sea cave where the water illuminate in different hues of blue. Please be aware though that sometimes this is inaccessible due to weather or tides, so you can check this prior to arrival.

If you are into your luxury retail shopping then Via Camerelle in Capri is the place for you. Filled with the likes of Armani, Versace, Bulgari, Dolce Gabbana and Valentino you can shop until your hearts content. 

If you fancy a more authentic experience then you should head to Anacapri which is located higher up on the island and can be reached by local bus. Its far less crowded than Capri and you can wander the streets or sip on a drink in one of the many quant restaurants, bars or cafes. 

Giardini di Augusto is a beautiful series of panoramic flower-decked terraces which overlook the bay. Take in the views of the sparkling water or the famous Via Krupp, a pathway of hairpin bends cut into the rocks which lead down to the shore. 

Carthusia is a renowned perfumer in Capri and their store and small perfumery is located near the Giardini di Augusto. Head to my previous blog post for more information. 

For a delicious lunch or a refreshing cocktail with the most amazing views, I recommend Capri Rooftop. This contemporary establishment has panoramic views across the bay and has fantastic customer service. 

Directions to Capri: Head to Marina Piccola (Sorrento) , ticket office slightly below street level (boats are very regular and around 17 Euros).

Blu Blazer Guy tip: Ignore the blue tour buses on the right side of the port on arrival, these are specifically for tourists and are expensive. 

Day 5  – Positano

Positano is a chic and stunning cliffside village on the Amalfi Coast and is a renowned tourist destination. Again you can arrange a specialised tour to this town however it is very expensive and time restricted so I advise going on your own by bus or boat.  

Spiaggia Grande is the famous beach that hugs the shore of this village and provides the perfect photo opportunity where many an instagrammer (including myself) stand on its pebbles and pose in front of the rising hillsides and cascading buildings. 

Its most notable architectural point of interest is the spectacular Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta which dominates its skyline. Its gorgeous tiled dome can be seen from many points in the village.

If you are looking for a unique view of Positano whilst experiencing some elegant surroundings with delicious food and drinks then I recommend Le Sirenuse. This luxurious hotel perched above the sea, provides a birds eye view of the Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta.

It is a great place to grab a bite to eat or enjoy a refreshing cocktail and to take some photographs but be prepared to pay the price.

 

Directions to Positano: Go to tobacconist at the bottom of Sorrento Train station and purchase an all-day bus ticket. Buses are located against the wall opposite the station. When on the bus advise the driver that you are going to Positano and validate your ticket. The bus journey will take around 1 hour. 

Blu Blazer Guy Tip: Sit on the right hand side of the bus when travelling to Positano for the best views. Please be advised that the road to Positano is winding, narrow and clings to the side of the cliffside, if you suffer from travel sickness or frightened of heights I advise taking a boat instead. 

Day 6 – Amalfi and Ravello

Amalfi 

Amalfi is a small town located a half hour away from Positano. On arrival to this seaside gem you will immediately notice the stunning Duomo di Sant’Andrea.

Its towering steps lead up to this architectural marvel and once inside you can experience its moorish style arches and decoration.

The crypt is even said to contain some of the remains of Saint Andrews, whom is the patron saint of Scotland!

For a delicious sweet treat head to a little patisserie on the main square called Pasticceria Andrea Pansa. Open since 1830, it is renowned for its delicious selection of pastries, sweets and chocolates. Try and grab a seat outside and enjoy your treat whilst enjoying the hustle and bustle of the square.

There are also numerous small seafood stands where you can sample the freshest fish, delicately battered and served straight away at a very affordable price. 

Ravello

Located an additional half hour from Amalfi via a narrow, winding and almost vertical road is the stunning village of Ravello. Sitting 365 meters above the Tyrrhenian Sea this breathtaking town has a number of stunning villas and gardens to explore. 

The main square Piazz del Vescovado is small and quant and has a few restaurants and bars to enjoy. It’s main attraction is the Duomo erected in 1086 which also has an accompanying museum which houses a marble bust of Sigligaida Rufolo from the 13th Century. 

Villa Rufolo and Cimbrone

To the south of Ravello’s cathedral, a 14th-century tower marks the entrance to Villa Rufolo. Created by Scotsman, Sir Francis Neville Reid in 1853 the Villa is famed for its beautiful cascading gardens.

The second of the two Villas, Villa Cimbrone was my favourite due to its numerous gardens and views.

I especially love the view from the ‘Terrace of Infinity”, a terrace lined by marble busts with the uninterrupted vista of the sea below.

Directions to Amalfi/Ravello: Go to tobacconist at the bottom of Sorrento Train station and purchase an all-day bus ticket. Buses are located against the wall opposite the station. When on the bus advise the driver that your going to ‘Amalfi’ and validate your ticket. If heading to Positano, Amalfi and Ravello on the same day you can get a hop on/off day pass. Hop on/off bus pass: 10 Euros

Blu Blazer Guy Tip: The road to Amalfi and Ravello is winding, narrow and climbs to quite high heights, perhaps avoid a window seat on the bus if you don’t wish to look outside, although the views are exceptional.

Day 7 – Farm by day / Cocktails by night

Fattoria Terranova Shop 

After a relaxed morning in Sorrento I recommend a visit to the wonderful Fattoria Terranova on Piazza Tasso. This is a fantastic shop in the corner of the main square, who sell the best lemoncello, liqueurs and produce made with ingredients from their local farm.

They also have a stunning area at the back of their store for tastings which is decorated with the most beautiful fresco. 

Agriturismo Fattoria Terranova

For a great lunch or dinner with a difference Agriturismo Fattoria Terranova can take you to their local rustic farm outside Sorrento and can be booked in-store. Private transportation will pick you up at your chosen location and whisk you into the nearby countryside. On arrival, you step through the wooden doors and are met with the most stunning rustic restaurant decorated with flowers, hanging fruits and quant furniture.

The smell of the local flora scents the air and you immediately feel relaxed. After a refreshing glass of Prosecco, you can then choose from a delicious range of local foods and fresh fish.

 

After lunch you can enjoy a walk around the grounds of the farm and enjoy the beautiful elevated views that look over to the Amalfi Coast. 

Price: ££-£££
Location: Via Pontone, 10. 80061 Massa Lubrense

Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria

For your last evening I recommend a lovely cocktail on an amazing Terrace with fantastic views.

There is no better place than Terrazza Vittoria at the Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria  which is located off the main square in Sorrento.

If you are lucky you may stumble upon the many music inspired evenings that they have but if not you can still sit back and watch the sun sink beneath the horizon as you sip on one of the many delicious drinks served here.

Keep your eyes peeled on the next issue of Guild Magazine for an exclusive feature on this hotel. 

Price: £££-££££
Location: Piazza Torquato Tasso, 34, 80067 Sorrento

Visiting the Amalfi Coast was a dream come true and I loved every minute of my time there, so much so that I returned with my friends a few months later. With its mystical charm, great food and its rustic architecture, the Amalfi Coast will always hold a special place in my heart. Once we are able to travel again I hope you can use this itinerary to enjoy the Amalfi Coast to its fullest and experience the magic that continues to entice me back to its shores.

I love you Italy! Andrà tutto bene.

Almond & Lemon cake

Almond & Lemon cake

It appears that for many people this lockdown has unleashed their inner Mary Berry and that includes me. This week let me transport you directly to Italy with my version of a Torta Caprese Al Limone (an almond and lemon cake).

I first experienced this cake whilst visiting the Amalfi Coast and its delicate citrusy flavour and light texture had me hooked immediately. Usual recipes include the addition of cream and butter but this version is light, airy and might I dare even say “healthier”.

Ingredients:

5 medium eggs

2 tbsp of fresh lemon zest

100g of granulated Sugar

150g Ground Almonds

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

1 tsp white vinegar

Pinch of Salt

Icing sugar for dusting

Method:

1. Pre-heat oven to 175 degrees Celsius and pre-grease a 9-10” cake tin.

2. Add ground almonds, baking powder and ground cardamom to one bowl and whisk together.

3. Add egg yolks, 50g of the granulated sugar and lemon zest to another bowl and beat until smooth.

4. Add the egg yolk mixture into the dry mixture and beat with a wooden spoon into a thick paste.

5. Add some lemon juice for extra flavour.

6. In another bowl whisk the egg whites until bubbles appear. Add the salt and vinegar and continue to whisk.

7. Once the mixture continues to rise, add the rest of the sugar a small amount at a time.

8. Once the mixture is silky smooth and forms stiff peeks the eggs whites are ready.

9. Add a third of the egg white mixture to the egg yolk mixture and slowly fold in with a wooden spoon.

10. Continue adding the egg white mixture one spoonful at a time.

11. Don’t forget to enjoy some Prosecco whilst preparing the cake 🙂

12. Pour the mixture into the pre-greased tin and place in the oven for thirty minutes until golden brown.

13. Dust with icing sugar or get creative and add your very own toppings.

This is such a simple and easy recipe that even I can do it! Sit back with a strong espresso, a slice of this citrusy cake and feel like your under the wonderful Italian sunshine. Head to my IGTV to check out my full baking video and keep your eyes peeled for more Italian inspired posts throughout the week.

#BluBlazerGuyBakes

Rook Perfumes

Rook Perfumes

It comes as no surprise that fragrance plays a huge part in my life. I discovered Rook Perfumes in 2018 and I immediately gravitated towards their fragrances due to their unusual scents and intriguing notes. For me, fragrances mark moments in life thus with only one spray, they have the power to transport you back to that very moment. When Perfumer for Rook Perfumes Nadeem Crowe (pictured below) said “People go on holiday and fall in love with a place, they buy a fridge magnet to remember the trip, I buy a fragrance” I immediately resonated with him. On each vacation I drive my partner crazy, perusing the perfumeries and trying to find the exact scent that will remind me of our time in that destination.

Image by Rankin Photography Ltd

Nadeem Crowe, the man behind these impressive and unique scents also has a career in emergency medicine and acting. These two careers have contributed to the production of these fragrances due to their scientific and theatrical backgrounds. After a complete re-brand and re-launch of Rook Perfumes in February 2020, I was once again captivated by the new contemporary look and range of luxury fragrances. At the core of the brand is the simple yet impactful triangle not only representing the top, middle and base notes of a fragrance but also the balance of Nadeem’s career in performing, perfumery and medicine.

 

Forest

The first of the fragrances I am going to talk about is my absolute favourite called Forest. I am a nature guy at heart so this is what initially attracted me to this scent. However as soon as I spritzed it upon my skin, it immediately transported me to a moment in my childhood. Each year I would visit the Scottish highlands with my family, going for long walks and playing in the forests. With just one spray it felt as if I was standing there looking up at the towering trees and inhaling the fresh pine-scented air. It’s a beautiful green, woody notes are both uplifting and comforting, transporting me directly into nature. This is much needed due to our current situation.

 

Forest – Image by Rankin Photography Ltd.

Notes:

Top – Cypress & Pine,

Middle – Black Pepper, incense and green notes

Base – Patchouli, Cedar and white musk

Blu Blazer Guy Rating: 4.5/5

 

Undergrowth

Undergrowth again exudes a stunning range of natural and uplifting notes that at first glance I didn’t think I would like, but it completely took me by surprise. On the initial spray, you get a hit of refreshing garden mint and grass. It somehow reminds me of a lush green garden after the rain, where the sun slowly warming the soil and the aroma scents the air.  As the mint dies down the rich woodiness of the vetiver and earthiness of orris really comes through, which settles beautifully on the skin. Again, if you need a hit of nature, I would definitely recommend this as I can imagine it being a refreshing scent in the summer months.

 

Undergrowth – Image by Rankin Photography Ltd.

Notes:

Top – Soil, Garden Mint, Grass

Middle – Green notes, mandarin, orris

Base – Vetiver, patchouli and white musk

Blu Blazer Guy Rating: 4/5

 

Rook

This scent wasn’t my favourite fragrance in the group, however I understand completely why others would like it. For me, It’s quite a daring combination and I am usually quite safe with my fragrance choices so it’s all down to personal choice. Rook is impactful from the first spray and is described as “strong and phenolic with a big puff of smokey firewood and birch tar”. Even though these notes are not my personal choice, this fragrance makes a good evening scent with great longevity due to its unique ingredients. I find it too overwhelming for my liking and prefer a fresher scent but if you’re an adventurous individual who’s looking to turn heads then this is definitely for you.

 

Rook – Image by Rankin Photography Ltd.

Notes:

Top – Birch tar, tobacco

Middle – Castoreum, cardamom, ginger, civet, agarwood

Base– Incense, ambrette, ambergris, guaiac wood and musk

Blu Blazer Guy Rating: 3/5

What I truly love about this fragrance house is all the scents are unique and interesting. I am so thankful that due to the power of social media I was able to connect with this forward thinking brand. Like all small businesses and perfume houses it is a very difficult time at the moment, therefore it is very important to support them in any way we can. So why not play your part and treat yourself to a luxury fragrance from Rook Perfumes. In addition, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr Nadeem Crowe and all his NHS colleagues for everything that they are doing at this time.

 

Surviving social distancing and working from home.

Surviving social distancing and working from home.

I don’t know about you but working from home and social distancing has been a huge adjustment for me. Although I am thankful I am safe, spending so many hours in the house can take its toll on your mental and physical wellbeing. I thought I would share some hints, tips and products that I have been using to help keep my body and mind in tip-top condition.

Stick to your usual routine

If you are working from home, try and stick to your normal daily routine. Get up at a normal time, have a relaxing shower and change into some nice clothes. It’s very tempting to just stay in your pj’s but this is not very motivating! Trick your mind into thinking that it’s leaving the house.

Washing your hands

Washing your hands is paramount but using alcohol gel and washing all the time can dry out your skin. I’ve been using This lovely Black Tulip scented hand-wash from Shay & Blue which is both delicate and conditioning. Along with the nourishing hand lotion, it helps keep my hands silky smooth and hydrated. All their products are handcrafted in England with real flowers, fruits and spices.

Skincare

Your usual skincare regime can sometimes slip when you’re in the house all the time but it’s important to take care of your skin and also treat yourself at the same time. I highly recommend MODM Vitamin Repair face oil from The Method in Edinburgh. It’s full of high-quality cold-pressed oils that really nurture the skin. I use their MODM Gua Sha Facial Tool to massage the oil in and this depuffs, sculpts and releases tension in the face.

Self Tan

Isn’t it funny how a little bit of colour on the skin makes you feel and look healthier. For a while, I’ve been on the lookout for tanning products that look natural and are easy to apply. I recently released a blog post on my favourite James Read Self tanning products, head to blublazerguy.com to find out more here.

Skin Protection

If you are working from home and your desk is situated near a window it’s still very important to protect your skin against any UV rays which penetrate the glass. I recommend House of London Face Repair Cream which not only protects you from UV but also Infrared. Their products are organic and aim to feed, correct and protect the skin naturally.

Fragrance

Just because you aren’t going anywhere special doesn’t mean you should skimp on a fragrance. Pick a scent that ignites memories of positive times or one that lifts your spirits. My favourite just now is Italian Citrus by D.S. & DURGA as it’s uplifting, energetic and full of sunshine inspired ingredients.

Home Fragrance

Candles can add an immediate relaxing ambience to any room and coupled with a lovely scent can help calm and soothe the mind. I’ve just started burning this Buongiorno candle from Italian brand Acqua Di Parma. It’s refreshing aromas of freshly cut grass and sun-dried linen transport me to a summers day.

Another great candle is the Oceana candle from Essence of Harris. Oceana washes away worries with the cleansing aromas of samphire & sea minerals. These candles are hand-poured in the Isle of Harris in Scotland. The team are so lovely and have been helping their local community throughout this tough time.

Aromatherapy

Incense is also a great way to lace the air with relaxing aromas. I recently purchased these Azoth – Lavender and Marjoram stick from Lifestory lifestyle store in Edinburgh. The comforting essential oils immediately make me feel at ease. If you are looking for a contemporary incense stick holder, check out Concrete Goods who sell a fantastic range of styles and colours.

A Shakti Mat

This may not be for everyone but I absolutely love it and have been using it daily ever since I got it. The Shakti Mat is based on the Indian bed of nails concept. The mat has thousands of sharp spikes which apply pressure to the skin. The first contact with the mat can be overwhelming but once you get used to it you soon slip into this indescribable state of relaxation, so much so that I sometimes fall asleep on it. The Shakti mats are handmade in the holy city of Varanasi by 72 woman which not only helps the individuals but their family and their community.

Exercise

Working at home can be a challenge both mentally and physically. One of the things that have been helping me is moving my body more. Setting my Alexa alarm hourly reminds me to get up and stretch, lift weights or carry out some cardio. I also make sure I adhere to the government guidelines and get out once a day for a long run and fresh air whilst keeping my distance from other people.

Sleep

I’ve been finding it very difficult to sleep as of late but I found this amazing pillow spray from Drowsy Sleep Co. This spray contains 7 natural oils which help stimulate sensors in the brain to help aid sleep naturally. The fragrance is beautiful and it’s a fantastic additional tool to calm the mind so you can drift off into a deep sleep.

Hydration

Indoor heating and poor hydration can dehydrate your body and your skin so it’s very important to remember to hydrate both inside and out. Fill a water bottle and make sure you take sips frequently and avoid too much coffee, tea and alcohol. For your skin, I’ve found that hyaluronic acids applied before your moisturiser provides a fantastic additional boost of hydration. I recommend Hylamide SubQ skin, Niod Multi-molecular hyaluronic complex and Image total pure hyaluronic filler.

Nutritional Supplements

If you are eating healthy then you should be getting all the nutrition you need from your diet. However, If you require additional supplementation, I’ve recently been trying a new product from getting Nourished which I have been very impressed by. All you have to do is complete a simple questionnaire on their website and they will determine what supplements you need. The vitamins are then 3D printed into one convenient gummy stack which is vegan, sugar-free and tastes absolutely delicious. It’s a really unique and convenient way of taking your daily vitamins and nutrients.

Talk

Last but not least is to make sure you talk and communicate with friends and family on a regular basis. In a world that had become so disconnected, it’s amazing how technology is now helping us to stay as connected as possible with the likes of face time and social media. So when you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious, reach out as we are all in this together.

I hope you enjoyed this little guide of things that are truly helping me get through each day at home. Let’s keep adhering to government guidelines and protecting each other by staying home. For information always look at official government websites for the most up to date and accurate advice. We will get through this testing time together and I send all my followers and readers lots of positive vibes. #stayhome #savelives #protectthenhs

Nadia Banaisa – Founder of Les Soeurs de Noe

Nadia Banaisa – Founder of Les Soeurs de Noe

In celebration of National Fragrance Week (16th – 22nd March), I caught up with founder of Les Soeurs de Noe. This luxury niche fragrance house was born and created in Brussels, Paris and New York and inspired by Nadia’s childhood memories of travel, people and cultures. Le Soeurs de Noe launched in 2019 at London’s exclusive Liberty Department Store and as soon as I saw the gorgeous packaging and ingredients, I couldn’t wait to try them. I immediately fell in love with the unique and stunning fragrance notes and I had to reach out to Nadia to find out more about the inspiration and creation of this wonderful fragrance house.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and did you have any experience with the creation of fragrances before?

I was born and raised in Belgium with two cultures, Belgian and Moroccan. I travelled to Morocco many times from birth to visit my grandfather, and I have many memories of smells associated with those trips. His beautiful garden in Tangier was surrounded by Olive and Fig trees and I remember the scent of jasmine growing in his garden and the beautiful scent of orange blossom inside the house.

The intense colours of Morocco, as well as all the sweet smells have developed an indelible bond between my memories, emotions and fragrances. These memories were my introduction and my fascination with fragrances. I had no experience in the creation of fragrances but I‘m still training my nose every day and I have learned this new language of communication with my perfumers. I really love the way we work together.

What inspired you to create this luxurious range of fragrances? 

All the memories of my childhood inspired me but also the relationship to cultures, nature, people and many places around the world are a huge source of inspiration.

Where did the name Les Soeurs de Noe come from?

I have two daughters ‘Yara and Nahla’ and one Son ‘Noe’. My nostalgia for the past has been revived by the birth of my children. Thanks to them I found the strength to realise my dream by creating les Soeurs de Noe. This is why I dedicated the name to them. ‘The Sisters of Noe’.

Nadia at Liberty London

To bring your fragrances to life you chose master perfumers Jerome Epinette (known for the likes of Floral Street) and Pierre Wulff (who has worked with Byredo). What made you choose these individuals to create your vision? 

I was introduced to Jerome Epinette and Pierre Wulff by my designer Pierre Dinand who’s a close friend of Pierre Wulff during a trip in New York. We had a dinner and we got to know each other, started talking and we decided to work together. I really love their work. They are very talented and immensely creative perfumers.

I really developed a strong friendship with both of them. There is a dialogue and an understanding with Jerome and Pierre. We sit together and I am trying to get them to feel my emotions. The brief could be very visual or based on words, raw materials, music, a place, poetry, images,…

What captured my eye at first was the stunning packaging and bottle and the striking blue cap, how did the design come about? 

I worked with the designer Pierre Dinand and immediately fell in love with his work. He created the perfect association with luxury and craftsmanship. I wanted a round bottle to reflect the cultural diversity, the softness and the generosity of Les Soeurs de Noe. Its geometric motifs evoke all of the stories at the origin of Les Soeurs de Noe but also each person’s story. I wanted to use a new colour code in the luxury world for the cap and the packaging. Pierre and his wife Danielle came to visit me in Brussels for Christmas a few years ago. Danielle was wearing a magnificent necklace with a blue pearl. I loved it and this was my inspiration for the Colours of Les Soeurs de Noe. I was informed by Pierre Dinand that this necklace was part of a selection of jewellery that was proposed to Yves Saint Laurent by Pierre Dinand for their Opium project in 1977. In spite of its originality and beauty it was not selected by YSL. Now, more than forty years later, Les Soeurs de Noe is bringing it into the limelight.

A few of the fragrances are connected to the orient, where did this inspiration come from? 

I travelled a lot with my parents during my childhood and I was fascinated by different cultures and people I met. Being multicultural, I am sensitive to cultural diversity and I try to consider that very much in the creation of my fragrances. Les Soeurs de Noe explores this indefectible bond between the Orient and the West, establishing links between both regions’ heritage and cultural richness.

One of my favourites is Oud Rose as it has that perfect balance between Oud and Rose that I have been searching for, so thank you! Did the perfumers manage to encapsulate your memories perfectly first time or were there a few changes along the way?

Thank you very much Scott! The creation of each fragrance is unique and an emotional process. I focused on the feeling that the scent should evoke and worked with Jerome and Pierre to create it, we did several changes to get the final one.

Photo by Ahmed Bahhodh

Apart from your own range, do you have your own particular favourite fragrance and what do you look for in a scent when purchasing one? 

I always tried to find the fragrance that I am comfortable with physically. It is really important to know who you are. It’s subjective. One of my favourite fragrance is Chergui by‘Serge Lutens’. It takes me back to my earliest scent memory in Morocco with my grandfather. I remember the chergui wind blowing in his garden and all the smells associated with it.

Can we expect any further beautiful creations from the Les Soeurs de Noe range? 

We really want to grow slowly and create a truly unique fragrance experience. Now, we are working on new scents that will launch in the future.

Finally, can you sum up your perfumes in three words? 

Authenticity (quality, creativeness), respect (people and environment) and sharing.

Head to my latest video to find out more about each of the fragrances.