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.

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

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

Float Philosophy

Float Philosophy

This time of the year is all about recalibrating the body and mind and I am always on the lookout for new ways of doing this. I recently came across Float Philosophy, a fantastic place that provides floatation therapy. I had heard about floatation therapy from a few friends and had been wanting to try it out for a while. I must admit I was a tad nervous as I really didn’t know what to expect, however as I arrived at the stunning countryside setting those anxious feelings had begun to dissipate.

The owner Nick has beautifully converted a previous farm barn on the outskirts of Edinburgh into a tranquil space. The relaxation room is where visitors can relax and unwind before and after their treatment. It is a calming blend white walls, artwork displaying positive quotes and comfortable contemporary furniture which is set off by a beautiful large window that frames the surrounding countryside views.

For those of you that don’t already know, floatation therapy involves lying in a bath of water combined with large amounts of Epsom salts (which allows the body to float) in a specially constructed pod. The pod is then closed and you are completely shut off from the outside world allowing you to truly disconnect and enter a zone of peace and tranquillity. Many countries around the world already use this therapy and in some places its prescribed by their doctor for a number of ailments. Due to stressful lives, sensory overload and the inability to switch off, there have been many studies into the psychological benefits of this therapy including:

·         Deep relaxation and Stress Relief

·         Promotes Wellbeing

·         Disconnection

·         Improves Sleep

As well as benefits to mental health it can also help with a number of physical conditions including;

·         Chronic Pain Management (such as muscle tension, Fibromyalgia and Arthritis)

·         Sports Recovery

Each pod is located in its very own room with a shower, including toiletries and towels, so you really don’t need to worry about bringing anything but yourself. When I first thought of lying in a pod in complete darkness, the fear of feeling claustrophobic did cross my mind but as soon as I saw the pod, I was pleasantly surprised. The state of the art pods are very spacious as they were originally built for athletes, so much so that they are in fact the size of a small car.

Before entering the pod you are asked to take a shower, ensuring you are clean and free of any skin products. As you are showering the pod automatically fills with the water and Epsom salt solution, then the soothing lights and music starts to play. After inserting earplugs (which are also provided) it was time to lay back, close the pod and experience floatation therapy.

As soon as my body entered the water and started to float I honestly felt an immediate relief from all my body pain (due to recently starting the gym and sitting at a desk all day) so much so that I let out a huge sigh! The water itself is continuously heated to body temperature so you tend to forget that it’s there and it feels almost if you are laying on a cloud. For ten minutes the soft light and music played and then slowly phased out leaving complete darkness. It is here where the true test lies as every one of your senses is cut off (sensory deprivation) and you are left with your own thoughts. At first, I became a tad restless and started to think about normal everyday thoughts but after around ten minutes I began to drift off into a state that is quite difficult to describe. My body became so relaxed that it would drift around in circles (that’s how big the pod is) and my mind became very silent and still.

My worry prior to the therapy was that I would fall asleep and drown or have some sort of accident. However this is literally impossible because soon as your body begins to turn on its side, it automatically goes on its back again. The whole session lasts around an hour and I was completely surprised when the lights and music gently came back on, it honestly felt like I was in there for no more than twenty minutes. As soon as I got out and had a shower I felt so relaxed as if coming out of massage treatment or a really nice nap.

After getting changed there is also a separate vanity room where hairdryers and mirrors are provided, yet again taking the worry out of having to bring lots of things with you. You then have the opportunity to sit in the relaxation room and enjoy a warming cup of herbal tea and read one of the many books on offer. What I especially loved was that you don’t feel rushed and the whole experience is truly geared towards making you feel as comfortable and chilled out as possible. I had dabbled before in meditation and mindfulness but was never able to fully focus. This however allowed me to truly switch off and not reach for my phone (well except once for blog reasons 😉 After a hectic year and busy festive period, I was looking for something help me to completely disconnect and this was the perfect solution. I can only imagine that continued use of floatation therapy would definitely benefit individuals who suffer from the ailments above and each time falling into that zen state would get easier. Float Philosophy is definitely a place I would return to.  When I left I felt as if I was on cloud nine and that night I had the best sleep ever.

Float Philosophy
6 Roddinglaw Business Park
Roddinglaw Road
Edinburgh
EH12 9DB

email: info@floatphilosophy.com
Telephone: 0131 285 8770

 

Nick Ede – Philanthropist and PR Guru

Nick Ede – Philanthropist and PR Guru

In 2020 I continue my search for inspirational people and share them with you through my “Blu Blazer Guy Chats with” blog posts. Over the past few years due to the ever-growing power of social media, I have been closely following the work of renowned philanthropist Nick Ede. With an unstoppable spirit and unlimited amount of energy, he pours his life and soul into working with charities and is now founder of his own; Style for Stroke. His work also includes organising numerous prestigious events which have become renowned the world over and help to raise funds for several charities. In addition, he is also CEO of East of Eden London which creates brand experience campaigns for clients not only in the charity sector but also consumer, lifestyle and fashion. If that wasn’t enough, his career has also allowed him to delve into the world of TV where he has judged and presented on numerous shows. I caught up with Nick to find out about his admirable work and illustrious career.

Nick Ede

First of all Nick, I’d like to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions. You are a widely recognised philanthropist and have dedicated your life to numerous charities, with a specific emphasis on stroke charities, Can you tell me where it all started and what drove you towards this?

Thank you so much for inviting me onto your platform. From a young age, I’ve always been interested in altruism and wanted to make a difference, but I really started to want to do more when my mother sadly passed away with a stroke when I was 23. She died on the same day that Princess Diana died and so the world was a very sad place. I had no idea what a stroke was and it really angered and frustrated me that I didn’t know, so I decided to contact the stroke association and see if I could do more to help by either fundraising or volunteering. I decided to put on a night called ‘A night with Nick’ and I invited all my friends to buy tickets. At the time I had not famous contacts, So I wrote to numerous agents and asked if the clients would like to come. It was 1998 and all before Instagram and Twitter, so most communicating was done via fax or very slow modem-based emails. I remember having to fax Mark Moody who was the social editor for OK! Magazine to ask if he would feature my event and to my surprise, I received a reply saying yes. This fax really did change my life and I still have this fax to this day. On my first event, Jamie Oliver attended along with the cast of Eastenders and numerous soap starts. The next day the event was in the papers and the following week it graced the pages of OK! Magazine. This spurred on my interest both in PR, events and ultimately fundraising. I have now hosted an annual ‘A night with Nick’ for over 18 years and it has grown so big we have now attracted stars such as Luke Evans, Kelly Osbourne, Kelly Rowland and Naomi Harris who all attend and support.

As CEO of PR company East of Eden, you get to work with some of the world’s largest brands, clients and celebrities as well as continue your work in charity. What has been the highlight of your career and are there any goals, dreams or aspirations that you still wish to achieve?

I have so many highlights that I find it difficult to pinpoint a particular one. We launched Spanx in the UK, Hosted the VIP area for The V Festival and launched the cast of Geordie Shore, we have always been able to be at the right place at the right time with what we do. Part of this is down to my past and present teams, many of them have gone on to set up their own wonderful agencies and it’s great to see them doing so well. I have many aspirations to achieve greater things with the agency and we are looking to not only expand but work smarter too. I love that we have a really diverse client list who all compliment each other really well, it makes every day different and exciting, which is always a good thing.

After its success in 2018, you joined forces with Alexandra Burke to organise The Fall Ball which took place at Café de Paris in London this year. For those who don’t already know, can you describe what The Fall Ball is and how it contributes so greatly to the awareness of the charities involved?

Alex and I have been good friends for a while now and I asked if she would star in a campaign we did for BBC Children in Need, where she appeared for one night only in Les Miserables. We hit it off and stayed in touch and when her mother sadly passed away 2 years ago from a stroke, we decided to do something together to celebrate our mothers. Alexandra has the Melissa Bell Foundation that gives grants to Sylvia Young Students who are unable to afford a scholar scholarship and my foundation supports Interact Stroke and The Stroke Association. The Fall Ball is a fabulous event full of love, hope, inspiration and wonderful live music. In 2020 we will have our third ball and we are also looking at hosting one in either LA or New York.

Alexandra Burke & Nick Ede

You seem a very grounded individual, especially in the way you approach your work and how you engage with people. How important is it for you to remain authentic in a somewhat unauthentic world?

I am not phased by anything or anyone and to be honest one of the main things I remember my mother saying to me was to be true to yourself. If this all stopped tomorrow then I can honestly say I have done everything I wanted to do, apart from writing a book that is!

Working on TV and being in the spotlight seems to come very natural to you. Where does this talent come from and have you always desired to be on TV?

My mother had been a musical theatre actress and I was always in the school plays and although quite shy at times, I loved performing. I studied drama at Bretton Hall University in Leeds and I loved it so much as it really helped me with confidence and communication skills which I now use every day. When I was 30 I was deeply unhappy in my work and also unhappy that I was making more of a difference with the stroke work that I had been doing. A friend of mine worked for a TV production company and I convinced her to give me a contract to be a researcher, I left my well-paid job and started at Shine. I loved every moment of it and I learned so much from being there but in the end, I was told there was no work for me. I felt so despondent and I didn’t know what to do. The next day as I was packing up all my things, I was called to the office and asked if I would like to have a hosting role on a new day time talk show. The show was called The Russell Grant Show and I would be his sidekick ‘, Starstruck Nick’. I literally went from fetching diet cokes for people to be being on daily TV, interviewing celebrities and have my own clothing allowance. It was scary and exciting but ultimately led me to future jobs working on shows such as Taste on Sky One, Lorraine and Market Kitchen to name but a few.

You seem to have quite a busy lifestyle with numerous positions, events and activities. What is a typical day in the life of Nick Ede and how does he relax?

A typical day for me is getting up around 6:30 am and taking Beverly (our new Cavapoochon) out for a walk which I find really relaxes me. I then go to the gym before arriving at the office for 9 AM, Luckily I only live 5 minutes away. My day at the office involves planning with the team, numerous meetings and in the evening I will go to an event. If I have some filming to do then I will work around the team and make sure they know where I am or where to reach me. As well as walking the dog, cooking and going to the cinema and theatre really relaxes me. Now and again I also love visiting The Body Camp in Ibiza which is the perfect way to detox the mind, body and soul.

In 2015 you were awarded the Fashion Philanthropist Award for your ‘Famous Last Words’ fashion collaboration in aid of The Stroke Association and you also were a judge on TV reality show Project Runway. Where does your interest in fashion come from?

I have always loved fashion, design and Print. I went to Glasgow School of Art and did a foundation course there and this sparked an interest that has never left me. I really enjoy looking at the use of fabric and how garments are created and realised. We make judgements on what people are wearing and their personalities before they even speak and I find this so interesting. I am working on two fashion projects at the moment which is really making my creative juices glow. One is a new brand that I am collaborating on with a US manufacturer and the other is an experience, I cannot wait to share them in 2020.

On a more personal note, a few years back you married your lovely partner Andrew with a double ceremony in both London and L.A. As a member of the LGBT+ community, for me, marriage is something that is very important and was one thing I thought I would never be able to do. How important was it for you to get married and also can you tell us about that momentous occasion?

Getting married was such an important thing for us both to do. It cements our commitment together and being a traditionalist at heart, it meant a lot that we were and are able to be married. It should be legalised everywhere! The weddings were both amazing and both so memorable. London was in Dalston at our favourite restaurant called Jones and Sons and Los Angeles was The House of Elyx in Hollywood. I couldn’t have wanted more and I think that they both demonstrated our personalities and our love of friendship and glamour perfectly.

Nick Ede and husband Andrew Naylor.

You are a fellow Scot and were born and bred in the beautiful city of Edinburgh. Since leaving for London, is there anything that you miss about Scotland (except the weather of course)?

I love Edinburgh and any excuse to back and I am there. My brother still lives there, so I visit as much as I can. I miss the friendliness of Scottish people and their sense of humour and I miss a good fish supper the most.

You have accomplished so much in your lifetime, something tells me there is much more to see. So please do tell us, what is next for Nick Ede?

I have a lot of things I want to accomplish and fulfil and I am looking forward to some exciting things happening in 2020. I am mostly looking forward to Style for Stroke making more an impact internationally, East of Eden creating some exciting campaigns and the projects I have been silently working on coming to fruition for people to enjoy. I will sleep when I am dead, so until then there is no chance of me slowing down.

Thanks again for taking the time to answer my questions Nick. You can keep up with all things Nick Ede on his instagram page.

*photography provided by Nick Ede.

Cringletie – Sunday Lunch

Cringletie – Sunday Lunch

Amidst the rolling hills, fields and woodlands of the Scottish Borders is the impressive Cringletie. Conveniently located just 15 miles south of Edinburgh and two miles north of the Royal Burgh of Peebles, it is perfectly placed for a relaxing stay or a visit to their renowned restaurant for a delicious heartwarming meal.

I recently visited to try out their tantalising Sunday Lunch menu devised by their head chef Iain Gourlay, which was launched early in 2019 and has received some fantastic reviews. It was a cold and windy day just before Christmas when I arrived but as soon as I walked into the hotel’s beautiful entrance I was immediately greeted with a welcoming roaring fire. Walking up the beautiful staircase I couldn’t help but notice all the stunning architectural details but it is the dining room that truly surprised me.

As soon as you enter into the lavish room you are greeted with the most beautiful views of the gardens from the large sash windows that are voluptuously draped in heavy luxurious curtains. The opulence continues as you look up towards the ceiling where a beautifully painted mural sits. Although the room was large and airy it retained a homely warmth partly due to the deep-coloured thick carpet and the crackling fire.

I was seated next to the window at one of the many tables draped in white linen with comfortable chairs which fitted perfectly into the rooms décor.

The three-course Sunday lunch menu features an array of locally-sourced produce which includes roast beef from the Tweed Valley and also contains a number of vegetarian and vegan options. As it was a typical cold and crisp Scottish day,  I immediately gravitated towards the warming Chicken Broth with Chicken Dumplings for my first course and it immediately hit the spot, deliciously rich and full of flavour. In addition to this, the menu also delights with a Trio of Scottish Salmon or a Ham Hock & Gremolata Terrine.

Being a Sunday lunch I could not bypass the delicious selection of roasted meats. These were brought to the table and carved in front of me by the chef, and even before the food was placed upon my plate my mouth was salivating. I opted for a slice of all of them; roast beef, pork and turkey.

These were served alongside a selection of honey roasted vegetables, goose fat potatoes and greens. The meats were exquisitely succulent and full of flavour and paired with the side dishes, it was a perfect traditional roast. If these don’t take your fancy, there was also a fish dish of pan-seared fillet of Atlantic cod or another meat dish of slow-cooked pork belly, again with a selection of perfectly paired side dishes.

Dessert is always my favourite part of the meal and I always go for the sweet options rather than the cheese which was available on this menu. I went for the Chocolate & Hazelnut brownie with chocolate shards and yoghurt sorbet. Although deliciously decadent and moreish I did wish I had opted for something a tad lighter (due to the previous course) but who can resist chocolate and hazelnut together!

I really enjoyed my time at Cringletie House and it was a great little escape from the city buzz of Edinburgh. Its accessible location and scenic drive makes it the perfect place to combine some country walks along with an exquisite lunch or dinner. I myself am not a big fan of roast dinners but the delicious selection of food along with the ambience of the building made this meal truly enjoyable.  My only wish was if I could have stayed longer and enjoyed more of that crackling fire, however that only gives me an excuse to visit again.

Priced at £35 per person with a £7.50 supplement for cheese.

Blu Blazer Guy Rating:

Location 4/5
Service 4/5
Food 4/5

Aesthetica Edinburgh – Black Tie Facial

Aesthetica Edinburgh – Black Tie Facial

Men, let’s admit it, previously we have often overlooked the importance of good skincare. Thankfully nowadays we are beginning to see an increase in men who genuinely take an interest in this area and more and more clinics around the country are creating treatments geared towards the male client. I recently visited Aesthetica in Edinburgh to see what treatments they have to offer for men’s skincare.

Aesthetica, is an aesthetic medicine, cosmetic surgery and beauty therapy clinic lead by founders Dr Liliana Laird and Jacque Fenner. It is located in the west end of Edinburgh and situated in a quant basement setting underneath the streets of New Town. On entering, the clinic opens up into numerous different rooms and provides a relaxed and tranquil space.

The clinic has recently launched their new Man Plan, a dedicated webpage detailing information and the treatments to suit all men’s aesthetic needs. From skin peels, anti-wrinkle injections and mole removals, there are lots of treatments available which you can view here. If you are a tad dubious about what treatment to choose from or you require further information, the clinic offers complimentary consultations for all procedures.

My skin at this time of the year, always feels a little lack-lustre, so I opted for their Black Tie Facial. This 60 minute bespoke facial uses a combination of Medik8 and ZO Skin Health products and aims to nourish, hydrate and invigorate the skin. This is perfect for an instant skin pick me up, especially during these cold winter months.

I was treated by the lovely Emma Smillie who is one of the Clinic’s Aesthetic Practitioner. Emma who has worked within the industry since 2005 has travelled the world working in various areas gathering knowledge along the way.  You could tell how passionate she was the minute I walked through the door. She described the Black Tie Facial as “suitable for all skin types and excellent for a range of concerns as it can be completely tailored to suit each individual”.

After a quick questionnaire and consultation with my therapist I was ready to experience the Black Tie Facial.

The procedure:

Cleanse – My face was cleansed using Medik8’s Surface Radiance Cleanser. I use this product at home and absolutely love it. Not only does it contain numerous acids to help with tone and textural issues, it also contains Mangosteen and Raspberry which are renowned for their anti-oxidant protection properties.

Exfoliate – I love a good exfoliation and this part of the process provided exactly that. ZO Skin Health Exfoliating Polish was gently massaged into my face, stimulating the skin and removing dead skin cells. The texture was quite granular and left my face feeling invigorated and cleansed.

PeelZO Skin Health Peel Prep was applied to my skin to remove excess surface oil so that the subsequent peel could be applied evenly. ZO Skin Health Stimulator was then applied to my face for a few minutes. This peel contains a trio of AHA: Citric, Lactic and Glycolic to aid cell turn over and reveal a radiant complexion. On application, there was a slight tingle but this soon subsided and the whole process was comfortable and relaxing.

Neutralise – In order for the deactivate the peel, ZO Skin Health Neutraliser was applied to my face.

Mask & Massage – A cooling ZO Skin Health Brightening Sheet Masque was then laid on my face. Its ingredients of Aloe Vera and Green Tea help to soothe and hydrate the skin and brighten up the complexion.

While the masque got to work, I was also treated to a fantastic shoulder massage.

LED Light Therapy – I have had this a few times and absolutely love it and it is said to have many benefits! The Red Light is said to stimulate collagen and elastin, DNA Synthesis, boost fibroblasts growth and strengthen the skin.

The Blue light has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits, helping reduce any redness after the treatment. I was given 10 minutes of the red light and 5 minutes of the blue along with a relaxing head massage.

Hydrate – As the last step, Medik8’s Post Treatment Moisturiser and a broad spectrum SPF was applied to my face.

I found my visit to Aesthetica both relaxing and informative. Emma was able to guide me through each of the steps and explain the different ingredients and how they worked to benefit the skin. The inclusion of the shoulder and scalp massages were an added bonus and truly made the whole process relaxing. Not only was my skin left glowing and supple but I also felt extremely de-stressed and invigorated. What surprised me was that there was no redness or skin irritation after the peel, so with no downtime, this is a perfect treatment before an important event or occasion.

Black tie facial – £80

Aesthetica Edinburgh

3A-4B Randolph Place

Edinburgh

EH3 7TQ

0131 281 1251

Enquiries@aestheticaedinburgh.com

 

Blu Blazer Guy Chats With Will Sturgeon – Personal Trainer

Blu Blazer Guy Chats With Will Sturgeon – Personal Trainer

After a long absence from the gym or any fitness-related activities in that matter, I sought out a personal trainer to help me get back into a sustainable fitness routine. I discovered Will Sturgeon owner of Will Power Personal Training located in Edinburgh’s prestigious hotel, The Balmoral. You will have seen in my previous blogs what the gym and spa facilities in The Balmoral are like. I thought I would catch up with Will to ask him about his company and what it offers.

Hi Will, can you tell us a little bit about yourself; What your journey has been and how did you get into Personal Training?

I have my primary school to thank for a life of sport. It was incredibly small but focused heavily around sport. It led me to play football, golf and table tennis to a high national level. I always wanted a hands-on job in the fitness world. Becoming a personal trainer was an obvious step.

When did you start Will Power Personal Training, and can you tell us more about it?

Will Power Personal Training was created at the turn of the millennium at David Lloyd health club, where I was offered a freelance trainer opportunity. It was shortly after that we moved to our current residency at The Balmoral hotel after being headhunted by the manager at the time. We currently have 3 in our team, Akwa, Hajni and myself. All with our own unique skill set, but all experienced, friendly trainers.

Despite the obvious, what other ways do you think Personal Training helps with an individuals fitness goals?

Personal training is largely about showing people what intensity they should be training at, and how to maximise the time you invest in exercise. We all know how to be fit, and exercise where possible. We show you a more efficient way to train, and show you how to push your limits sensibly.

Will putting me through my paces

You use the Balmoral gym as a base for Will Power Personal Training, as well as being in a fantastic location and such a stunning historic building are there any other reason you chose this particular hotel?

Actually yes. It is a stunning location, but more than that, it fits our training ethos perfectly. We chose not to constantly chase clients in a busy gym where you have to wait for equipment and have a high turnover. We have a quiet modern equipped gym where we can focus exclusively on our clients and really connect with them without always competing for space. As a result, we have a very loyal long-standing client base. On average we have clients with us for 7 years, with a few clients up to 14 years.

For those people out there who are perhaps a bit dubious about reaching out to a personal trainer to help them with their fitness goals, what can someone expect on their first meeting with you or a member of your team?

We are a team of friendly trainers well experienced at putting you at ease. We want you to enjoy yourself. We’re not here to bark orders and be intimidating. We always invite people for a complimentary session to start. Either to go through some measurements or just to show you the facilities and to chat over a plan.

Many people will be starting the new year with a fitness-related resolution, what advice can you give that will help keep them on track?

Without a doubt, the most important thing is to make that exercise time available. After a few weeks of fitting in a workout, it will become routine. Once it’s routine, it will last. Adding something new into your day can be awkward at first, but perseverance will pay off.

Nutrition and exercise go hand in hand when trying to sustain a healthy and balanced lifestyle. With so many unhealthy temptations around what is your advice on maintaining a healthy diet and having a positive relationship with food?

They sure do. I don’t rule with an iron fist with a clients nutrition. We take a very pragmatic approach. We all love a nibble of something sweet, or the odd overindulgence. That’s ok. Generally, I work with the old rule of “Breakfast like a king; lunch like a prince; dinner like a pauper”. Carbs morning, protein evening.

Is protein a must when working out and if so what are the benefits?

Protein is the building block to muscle. It’s vital in its function. Most workouts should involve some muscle work. Protein is key to  toning, building and maintaining that muscle

For me and I suppose many other people, working out is not an easy task and requires dedication and persistence. What advice can you give to maintain that will power in order to reach their goals?

Don’t get too caught up in detail. Whilst it can motivate some, being too specific and detailed takes away the spontaneity and enjoyment. Your energy levels fluctuate with hydration etc. See how you feel on the day. You don’t have to hit your personal best on the chest press every day.  Chat to the trainers on what variations you can do. Keep it fresh, not driven by numbers.

Finally, there is an abundance of personal trainers and gyms out there, what makes Will Power stand out from the crowd?

Anyone can become a personal trainer now. At least on paper. But a great trainer has the attitude, knowledge and personable nature to go with it. There is a reason we have clients stay with us for years. Did I mention we’re also the best price? Haha

Thanks a lot Will for taking the time out to do this. If you want to find out more information or even what to come in for a consultation you can contact Will here, he doesn’t bite, I promise!

Will Power Personal Training – The Balmoral

Will Power Personal Training – The Balmoral

After a very indulgent festive season I feel like I need to recalibrate my fitness and get back in the gym. For this, I have listed the help of Will Power Personal Training who are based within the 5-star spa at the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh.

Will Sturgeon

Will Sturgeon, the owner (and my personal trainer) has a wealth of information and expertise and it comes as no surprised that he has many VIP clients under his belt. After playing a number of sports, attending college and university and working in previous health clubs, Will decided to start his own business in 2000, thus leading to the birth of Will Power Personal Training. It is at the Balmoral Spa where Will Power has emerged as an acclaimed industry success. After gaining VIP clients such as international rugby players, politicians, bankers, CEOs and several celebrities, Will Power was awarded ‘Fourth most recommended personal trainers in Scotland’ in a National newspaper poll. 

After a long absence from the gym or any fitness-related activities in that matter, I was a tad nervous about my first day but Will has that magic ability to instantly make you feel at ease. The Balmoral gym itself is located next to the swimming pool and is split into four different zones: two cardio areas, one free weight area and one machine weight area.

We first started off with an initial consultation which explored my concerns, my goals and also my dreaded measurements (which are only taken in order to measure progress). 

I decided to ease myself into the process and carry out two sessions per week. I am not usually good at being told what to do but Will’s positive enthusiasm is like a breath of fresh air. He also has extreme patience, which is good when you are training someone like me. I have only been attending for a few months now but have found each session to be invaluable. After a slow start due to my lack of fitness and a few “I’m going to vomit” moments, Will has continued to push me in the right direction and after each session, I am feeling fitter and stronger. I still have a long way to go but Will has instilled the importance of carrying out the right techniques at a pace that is right for me to reach my desired goals. Will has got the three P’s; Positivity, Patience and Perseverance which in my eyes is all you need in a great personal trainer.

Here are some of the typical exercises you will experience at Will Power Training (of course this will differ due to each individual and goals discussed with your personal trainer).

Chest

 Shoulders

Arms

 

Back 

 I caught up with Will Power to find out more about him and his personal training company so keep your eyes peeled for my next “Blu Blazer Guy Chats with Will Sturgeon” blog post. 

 Also check out my previous blog post on the fantastic spa facilities at The Balmoral which really help you recover after a good workout.