Blu Blazer Guy Chats With Adam Ellis – Jo Loves

Blu Blazer Guy Chats With Adam Ellis – Jo Loves

Currently we’re all going through a time where venturing outdoors and travelling has dramatically reduced. As a result, fragrances have become an important vessel in transporting us from lockdown to our favourite places. There is no better ‘fragrance maverick’ that manages to merge scents and memories together than Jo Malone CBE. Her fantastic business Jo Loves is an innovative new scent, bath, body and candle collection that is inspired by special memories and moments of travel.

Meeting Jo Malone CBE

As a lover of fragrance, candles and a huge fan of Jo Loves products I had the privilege catching up with this months ‘Chats With’ guest, Adam Ellis. Adam is the head of education and customer service experience at Jo Loves. I first bumped into Adam at ’An Evening with Jo Malone’ at Space NK Edinburgh and then again in the 42 Elizabeth Street Store in London, where his passion and dedication for the brand was so profoundly evident. His creative background in the arts allows him to tell each story of the fragrance range perfectly. Due to his close working relationship with Jo Malone and his continued dedication to the brand, I thought I would catch up with him to find out more about his career and this renowned brand.

Adam Ellis

Hi Adam, thank you so much for answering my questions today. Firstly, can I ask what your background is and how you ended up working for Jo Loves?

I’m from Swansea, South Wales and trained at Laine Theatre Arts on the 3-year Professional Musical Theatre course from 2000-2003. I was lucky enough to have a great, varied career within the entertainment industry for 13 years. Some of my highlights included Starlight Express, Chicago, Hair, Spamalot.

As I got a bit older I decided that I wanted to try something else that was a bit more stable and I actually took a job at Jo Loves as a Christmas Temp. I’ve always loved fragrances and perfumes. I love that each scent will evoke a totally different emotion or memory in everyone. I worked really hard to learn as much as I could and fast forward nearly 5 years and here I am! I’m so glad I took the leap and gave it a go.

As head of education and customer service experience you must be extremely proud to work for such an esteemed brand, what is it that you love about Jo Loves?

I am incredibly proud of the role I play within Jo Loves and don’t ever take for granted the faith that Jo has in me and my ability to tell her story and launch the brand around the world. I love that Jo Loves is pushing the boundaries with innovation. It’s not scared to be different. I also love that the brand is totally authentic and a true reflection of Jo.

At the 42 Elizabeth Street store in London Jo Loves has turned fragrance into an immersive experience through Fragrance Tapas and a Candle Shot Studio, can you describe what each experience involves and what was the inspiration behind these ideas?

Jo created Fragrance Tapas to be an immersive introduction to the brand. Jo has always loved Tapas restaurants and was inspired to create an experience that served bite-sized pieces of the brand to our consumer. It’s a complimentary experience, you get to come and sit at our bar and be taken through all of our fragrances and the story’s behind each iconic scent. It’s really fun and a real must for any fragrance lover!

The shot candle experience is so fantastic. You step inside our beautiful candle studio and create your very own bespoke candle that combines two fragrances of your choice. We are the only brand in the world who offers this experience and product. It also has a worldwide patent. Both these experiences can be booked in advance by calling the shop or dropping them an email.

42 Elizabeth Street, photo by Jo Loves

It may not be easy but if you had to choose what would be your favourite scent from Jo Loves and why? 

Such a tough one! I’d have to say Green Orange and Coriander. It’s a real soulful citrus fragrance but it also got a beautiful warmth to it. For Jo, it’s an autumn day in New York, having Sunday brunch next to a roaring log fire with a large, full-bodied red wine in hand. I cover myself in it all year round though and always have compliments when I wear it.

I met the wonderful Jo Malone CBE (and you) a few years back and heard Jo’s story behind the brand and was completely hypnotised by her creativity and tenacity, how is it working so closely with her in your job role?

Jo is incredibly hands-on with the brand which I love. We work very closely together and are often travelling to launch the brand in new territories. We have such a giggle on the road together. We work very hard when we are away but we will always reward ourselves with an in cold white wine to end the day. It’s so important to celebrate even small achievements.

I noticed that within your job role you get to travel quite a lot and Jo Loves fragrances are very much inspired by memories of travel. Where is your favourite place to visit in the world and why? 

Travel is always something I’ve enjoyed. In my acting career, I was very lucky to get to travel the world and that hasn’t changed with Jo Loves luckily. I have seen some amazing places with work, including Shanghai, NYC and all over America and the Caribbean.

Last year my husband turned 40 and we travelled to Borneo on a real adventure holiday. It was a once in a lifetime trip and seeing the wildlife where its meant to be in its natural habitat was really breath-taking, especially the Orangutan. We don’t always have such adventurous holidays but we will always spend our money on travel whenever we can.

Jo loves weaves its beautiful fragrances through a number of other items such as candles, bath and body products. Why do you think the world of fragrance is so popular and what makes Jo Loves products stand out from the crowd? 

I think fragrance is part of self-expression. It’s part of how we want the world to see us. It’s so personal and many fragrances will smell totally unique on each person.

I think Jo Loves products stand out because they have been created from a very authentic place. Each one inspired by Jo’s memories or experiences. When people hear their stories it’s hard not to relate to them.

The red dot is synonymous with Jo Loves packaging, is there any significance to this?

Jo is severely dyslexic and throughout her career has always given her seal of approval to something by Red Dotting it instead of signing it off. When Jo Loves went through a period of rebranding, Jo wanted it to have its own identity for the consumer with a recognisable logo. Jo was travelling to Shanghai as a member of the great campaign and a friend sent her a bottle of shanghai Red nail polish. She dipped a pencil into the nail polish and let a droplet fall onto the white labels in front of her – EUREKA moment the Jo Loves logo was created. Jo wants our consumer to know that every product with the Red Dot has been created by her.

Jo Loves was the first to introduce the world to The Fragrance Paintbrush concept. Being such an innovative fragrance brand, can we expect any new creative and exciting products in the future?

Jo is always working hard to push the boundaries within the fragrance world so hopefully, there will be many more exciting innovations to come! Watch this space!

Fragrance Paintbrush, photo by Jo Malone

This is more for my benefit 🙂 but when will a Jo Loves Store be opening up in Edinburgh? 🙂

Well, you can currently purchase a selection of Jo Loves from SpaceNK of George Street. We are a growing brand so hopefully, it won’t be too long until more Jo Loves boutiques start popping up around the UK and beyond.

Exciting stuff! You can read more about Jo Loves and there products on their website joloves.com

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.

Christmas Gift Guide 2019 – Candles

Christmas Gift Guide 2019 – Candles

On a cold winter’s night, there is nothing more satisfying than coming home, lighting a candle and enjoying the warm glow and fragrance. Using certain scents within my home whether it be a candle, diffuser or a new room spray, they have all got to pass the Blu Blazer Guy test; Longevity, Intensity and Quality. So here are my favourite ones that will make the perfect gift for Christmas time or simply to warm up your own home.

Acqua Di Parma – Buongiorno
£51.00 – 200g

This is one of my favourite candles simply because it brings me joy when I light it. With its bright yellow packaging and glass vessel this sunny fragrances will certainly add colour to these dark winter nights.

Exuding fresh cut grass and sun-dried linen this fresh and uplifting scent immediately transports you to a sunny morning in Italy. The candle includes notes of Italian Lemon, Mint Leaves, Rosemary, Lavandin, Jasmine, Cedarwood and Musk

Urban Apothecary – Oudh Geranium
£30.00 – 300g

You all know how much I love Oudh in a fragrance, so when I discovered this candle I was immediately captivated by it luxurious scent. It is perfect for this time of year with its smoky and aromatic woody character.

The Oudh is freshened up with the rosy tones of geranium and a beautiful blend of amber, vetiver, patchouli and praline. This candle range have such a great price point for the quality and it’s one I highly recommend.

AHLT – Fygge
£28.00 – 220g

I’ve used this both the candle and diffuser from this company and absolutely loved it. Their range of scented soy candles with luxury fragrance oils are all hand poured in London and smell simply devine.

Fygee is my favourite, blending black fig, cedar wood and tonka bean. The notes blend together beautifully to give off a rich and luxurious smell that fills the air in no time.

Kelly Hoppen Home – Scent One
£25.00 (only £15.00 as at 16/12/19)

I have been obsessed with this scent ever since I discovered Kelly Hoppen Home five years ago. It was one of those candles I had to keep buying and buying due to its unique aromatic, woody and spicy scent.

The fragrance oozes sophistication and the perfect blend of masculine and feminine notes. The notes include Patchouli, Myrrh, Clove and Violet and are perfect at any time of the year.

Tom Dixon – Elements Fire Candle
From £100

If you are looking to splash out then why not treat someone to designer Tom Dixon’s fire candle. The beautiful and luxurious deep red vessel houses an unusual scent that is strangely addictive and intoxicating.

With notes of Cypriot oil, black suede accord, guiiac, wood oil, vertiver oil, amber and musk they all blend together to create a seductively sumptuous and smoky scent.

 Jo Loves – Christmas Layered Candle

£80 – 225g

If you are looking for something a little different then why not try Jo Loves Christmas Layered Candle. Instead of one scent you are getting three festive aromas, all intertwined to ignite memories of the perfect Christmas Day.

 

From Pine, Sweet plum pudding and smoky log fires, this candle takes you on a festive journey of the most beautiful aromas around.

Thank you so much for reading and I have truly enjoyed sharing all my favourite products with you and hope that I have some inspired you to pick the perfect Christmas gifts. Remember to check out my previous blog posts on unisex fragrances, hotel stays, men’s skincare and alcoholic beverages. I wish you all a Merry Christmas.

 

Blu Blazer Guy chats with Scottish Actor, Craig McGinlay.

Blu Blazer Guy chats with Scottish Actor, Craig McGinlay.

My “Blu Blazer Guy Chats with” posts are articles dedicated to influential individuals who inspire and empower through their passion of their profession. This time I was lucky enough to catch up with Scottish actor Craig McGinlay. Through a series of fortunate events it was clear that fate had already sealed an acting career for Craig, who has now starred in various adverts, TV series and feature films. With numerous roles from Outlander to King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, his career has continued to gain precedence and he is now set to play a lead villain in a new major Bollywood move. Since meeting Craig a few years ago, I have always admired his style, work ethic and down to earth nature. Therefore, I invited Craig for a Blublazer Guy Chat as I was keen to find out more about his career and how he maintains a healthy work-life balance.

Can you tell me a little bit about how you got into acting and was it always your intended career?

I wanted to be an actor but couldn’t see a path as no one in my friends group or family were actors. I am so grateful that I have now fallen into it. I was working as a sport Scientist for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games when I was spotted and asked to be featured as the weightlifter in the advert. The commercial was released and I was then spotted by a director to feature as the lead actor in his short film. It won best thriller in LA and Calgary at their film festivals and I then joined a small extras agency off the back of it.

After being cast in a global whisky commercial campaign which Guy Ritchie directed he then auditioned me for his fantasy epic King Arthur: Legend of the Sword to play the role of Sir Percival. I got the role and was sword fighting and horse riding on set with some top actors. It was an incredible experience for my first ever movie. 

So far you have played a multitude of characters, including; Sir Percival in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Lead Villain Aldred in Knightfall and MacNeil in Outlander, has there been any particular role that has stood out for you and why?

Definitely Sir Percival sticks out because it was my first role as a feature film actor. It was a major movie so to play one of the knights of the round table was an incredible experience. One I will never ever forget and will be forever grateful to Guy for having me. 

You’ve recently been working on a movie in India, how have you adjusted to life there? Have you managed to escape the studio and travel around? 

The hours have been so busy when filming that I haven’t had much free time as yet. Most of the free time is spent doing stunt work, fight training, horse riding, reading lines etc so it’s a busy time. I’m sure I will get a good look round soon. 

Can you tell us a little bit about the movie you will be starring in?

Yes, I am playing the lead villain in a major Bollywood movie along with heavyweights Sanjay Dutt and Ranbir Kapoor. I’m actually in India now. The people have been amazing. I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. The scale of the film sets are huge and the stunt teams are amazing as those guys work on the Fast & the Furious movies so you know you are in good hands. I love stunt work so it’s good to work with such a great team. I have been lucky to work with incredible cast and crews so far. Let’s hope it continues.

It’s evident from your social media and movie roles that you work out, how important is it for you to keep in shape and how do you find time to fit this into your busy schedule?

Sometimes we’d be doing night shoots so picked up at 5pm, arrive at set by 6pm, changed into costume and through hair and make-up by 7pm, and on set good to go soon after working through the night until around 6/7am, changed and back to the hotel for 8am, quick sleep til midday, up and train, read lines, then back out again so it’s pretty busy. You just have to be disciplined and make time to work out. I feel better for it and it’s largely been crucial for the roles I have played so far playing action focussed roles. 

Being in your line of work you are often invited to an array of exclusive events and always have to look your best, do you follow any particular grooming regime and is there any specific brands that you are drawn to?

Not necessarily. Shower and change after a day of filming. Make sure my shirt is ironed and shoes polished to go with my suit. General Male grooming is important for these events. If I have the beard then it can take longer. You’ve got to wash it, condition it, comb it, oil it… it’s like a pet!

How do you look after yourself mentally in such a demanding and eventful career? 

Working out is a great way to stay fresh. Also going back to Scotland whenever I can to see friends and family and get out in the outdoors. 

You looked very dapper at this year’s GQ Men of the Year Awards, do you gravitate towards any particular style?

That’s very kind, thank you. I do like a classic look. I’m not too flamboyant in my styles. I like blue, grey, black mostly when wearing a suit. Some people might think it’s boring but I think classic is normally best. When dressing more casual I will normally wear a black leather jacket, white or black t shirt, black jeans, brown boots. That’s my go to. 

I always ask everyone this as I am a huge fragrance fan, what is your favourite fragrance and why?

I like Oud Wood by Tom Ford but I will also have a love for Boss Original as I always wore that when I was younger. I have tried various fragrances but I’d say that’s always a good one. A classic you’ll never get bored of. Oud Wood and Boss Original for me I’d say. 

Last but not least, You have now moved to the City of London, is there anything you miss about bonnie Scotland?

I visit a lot now and since moving to London I realise I took for granted how beautiful it is. St Andrews, Kilconquhar, Elie, Loch Lomond, Gleneagles, Glencoe, so many beautiful places to see. I love home. 

You can keep up to date with Craig and his career over on his Instagram at @craigmcginlay and keep an eye on his new Bollywood debut.

Miller Harris – Perfumer London

Miller Harris – Perfumer London

“Miller Harris tells contemporary urban stories through complex fragrances. We start with nature – with distinct greens and woods, with carefully sourced floral notes, iris from Florence, French violet leaf, jasmine from Egypt, Tunisian orange flower – but we frame these precious botanicals in complex and unconventional ways.”

From their description above its evident that London perfumer Miller Harris sources only the best ingredients to create each and every one of their luxury fragrances and products.  Founded by Lyn Harris in 2000, after years of training in prestigious French perfume schools, the brand has grown from strength to strength creating over fifty fragrances so far, putting British perfumery firmly on the map.

I first discovered Miller Harris in a London airport while waiting on a connecting flight and was immediately drawn to their unique selection of fragrances. While I perused the extensive range, the Miller Harris ambassador recounted the story behind each of scents making them even more captivating, and it is from that moment that I was completely hooked.

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I love how the packaging exudes a perfect balance between contemporary and classical – some bottles delicately dispersed with floral designs and others with a more modern twist. Having explained my adoration for unique fragrances in my previous post , Miller Harris is another brand that has certainly caught my eye. Their high quality, finely sourced ingredients are combined to create a beautiful range of scents most of which can be worn by all genders  – another important aspect that I love in a fragrance.

The first fragrance I immediately fell in love with was Étui Noir. This scent is described “like a well-worn leather jacket” so you can imagine the depth of notes used in order to portray this description. Starting off with citrus and pepper notes, it soon melts into a luxuriously sweet and smoky combination with lasting impressions of leather.

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This warming scent emanates opulence and is perfect for for those days when you want a rich and enveloping scent. One of the best things though is its longevity, allowing you to spray it on the body and truly experience it’s fascinating notes as it slowly radiates off the skin throughout the day.

If you are looking for the perfect unisex summer fragrance, look no further than ‘DANCE amongst the lace’ which has just launched in 2019. Part of the Forage Collection of perfumes, it centres itself around the uniquely fresh scent of cow parsley, otherwise known as Queen Anne’s lace. It combines a crisp and invigorating duo of minty notes blended with mouthwatering lime and zesty verbena, together with a lush base of vetiver and moss. Other notes include red berry, cardamom, spearmint, peppermint, bergamot, fennel, angelica root, geranium, blackcurrant, sandalwood, musk and myrrh.

This fragrance is like nothing I have smelt before, the initial citrusy explosion soon settles to reveal an unusual green earthy scent. For me the refreshing mint notes really shine through, radiating from the skin throughout the whole day. It has fantastic longevity and even on the recent warm days I could still smell the scent hours later. I am a huge fan of Miller Harris and always look forward to seeing what they come up with next. This is another winner from this fantastic British fragrance house.

Another firm favorite of mine is Tea Tonique which is inspired by a trip to a tea plantation. As soon as you spray this one onto the skin it has an immediate uplifting effect, perfect on days when you need that little boost of energy. Miller Harris describes this as “early morning mist rolling over rows of neatly planted shrubs, bringing with it a sparkling and refreshing zest from the crisp leaves. Tea Tonique captivates the senses, an infusion of Italian bergamot and floral earl grey, the earthy intensity of maté, and the smoky facets of birch. The cooling spice of nutmeg provides contrast to this delicate and uplifting perfume.” It comes in a whole range of additional products such as hand wash and lotion, a range that truly adds a spring to your step.

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For more information and to check out their fantastic range visit millerharris.com

  • Étui Noir – from £75.00
  • DANCE amongst the lace – from £95.00
  • Tea Tonique – from £75.00
  • Tea Tonique Hand Lotion – £18.00
  • Tea Tonique Hand Wash – £18.00

Multrees Walk – Edinburgh’s Luxury Shopping Area

Multrees Walk – Edinburgh’s Luxury Shopping Area

When it comes to high-end shopping in Edinburgh, Multrees Walk is always the first place that comes to mind. This unique part of the city is located just off the prestigious St Andrews square and provides a little slice of luxury retail therapy. In true Edinburgh fashion it manages to balance an up market retail experience whilst retaining that unique friendly Scottish approach, allowing you to browse in a more relaxed pace.

Not only is Multrees Walk home to Scotlands only Harvey Nichols it also houses some exclusive brands such as French fashion house Louis Vuitton, British fashion house Burberry and most recently the flagship store of Scottish cashmere giants Johnston’s of Elgin.

Multrees Walk is a fantastic shopping area, not only for browsing the exclusive range of stores but also to take in the relaxed and stylish ambience. As a local to Edinburgh and a frequent visitor to Multrees Walk I thought I would share with you my favourite stores to visit and their fantastic range of products.

Harvey Nichols

Harvey Nichols is one of my favourites stores to visit! It provides a place where I can eat, drink and shop all under one roof as is perfect escape from Edinburgh’s renowned rainy days. As a huge fragrance lover, I of course gravitate towards their ground floor where they have a fantastic range of well known luxury scents such Creed and Maison Francis Kurkdjian as as well as some niche brands that I have included in previous blogs such as Kingdom Scotland and Ideo Parfumeurs.

Heading upstairs is their extensive range of men’s designer clothes where you can find items to suit your individual fashion style. I adore male fashion accessories so I enjoy browsing their range of bags, belts and shoes. I particularly love their range of Valentino backpacks and Christian Louboutin shoes.

The fourth floor is now home to Pad Lifestyle; a lifestyle store which sells a range of designer items for the home. Being a huge fan of Jonathan Adler I was very happy to see that they stock his range. Their range of candles are also exceptional and include the renowned Tom Dixon and L’Objet.

If you are looking for a great place to have a drink or two then head to their Forth Floor Bar which is the perfect place to unwind. They have a great selection of wines, spirits and creative cocktails and in my opinion one of the best Vesper Martinis in town.

The muted lighting, contemporary design and low key music provides a space to relax and their stunning picture windows provides a delightful view out towards the north of the city.

Louis Vuitton

French fashion house Louis Vuitton is renowned around the world, so we are very lucky to have one of their boutiques located at the entrance to Multrees Walk. I am always captivated by their unique and colourful window displays which tantalisingly draws me in every time. You can peruse their selection of bags, shoes and other leather goods or in true Blu Blazer Guy fashion head straight to their new fragrance collection (My favourite being ‘Sun Song’). What I really adore about this store is the friendly and knowledgeable staff. They seem to give off a certain pride for working for this luxury brand and can inform you about every single detail of each product.

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Their Luxembourg trainer definitely caught my eye and of course it has to have a flash of blue. This comfortable trainer can be worn in both formal and casual settings and i recommend accenting it with a nice blue blazer.

Burberry

Burberry has always been a favourite of brand of mine and when in need of a new jacket I visited the store to get some ideas. I was very surprised by their contemporary ranges of menswear. I have always been a big fan of their renowned range of trench coats but it wasn’t until one of their knowledgeable staff shared the story behind them that it really captivated me.

Their grey Chelsea Heritage Trench coat was my favourite due to its clean-cut silhouette and slim fit finish. Although it is a more traditional design it has been re-imagined to provide a more contemporary look.

Nespresso

Who doesn’t love coffee right? I am one of the many who can’t go a day without sipping on one. Working right around from Multrees Walk I am not too far from the fantastic selection of coffee’s available to buy from Nespresso. Every time I visit the store the customer service is extremely friendly and they always manage to entice me to try a new blend of coffee.

The best thing about it is that you can try any of the coffee’s before you buy, making sure you get that perfect blend to take home. You may leave with a huge caffeine high at the end but that just gives you an abundance of energy for more shopping on Multrees Walk!

Johnstons of Elgin

Luxury cashmere manufacturer Johnstons of Elgin recently launched their flagship store in Multrees Walk with their summer collection of cutting edge lightweight textiles and knit innovations. The spacious 2,000 square-foot store spans two floors which has been exceptionally designed, housing a beautiful collection of Woman’s and Men’s Clothing, scarves, accessories and home interiors. I recently attended their exclusive press launch and it was fantastic to see the faces behind the brand and to watch the passion for this new store shine through.

I especially love their Spring Summer 19’s Ischia Collection, the soft colours echo the buildings of the Italian Island and the fit and quality of each garment is second to none.

Multrees Walk
Edinburgh
EH1 3DQ

Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Father’s Day Gift Ideas
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. Over the past year I have come across some amazing products and experiences 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.
SKINCARE
House 99 by David Beckham

David Beckham was determined to create a new grooming brand that supports men in their quest to feel and look their best. The House 99 range provides a selection of products covering skincare, hair-care and shaving. With its slick black and white masculine packaging and logo it’s the perfect understated choice for those fathers who want to experiment with grooming products.

I recently attended their event to try a few of their products and I was very impressed with the range. Here are my Blublazerguy top three choices:

Face Moisturiser Greater Look – This multi-effect formula helps hydrate the skin and reduce shine whilst protecting it from pollution. I especially love how even though it has lightweight texture it still manages to keep the skin moisturised throughout the day.
75ml – £22.00 at house99.co.uk

Toning Lotion Spruce Up – This is a fantastic product for re-energising the skin and adding a boost of hydration to replenish lost moisture, especially after shaving.
200ml – £18 at house99.co.uk

Bronzer All Bright – Most men are a tad dubious when it comes to using a bronzer or fake tan,  but this product manages to solve the problem.  Once applied to skin, this refreshing gel gives a natural and healthy looking glow. It also provides the skin with an intense dose of moisture and evens out the skin complexion; a great all in one product that is quick and easy to use.
75ml – £18.00 at house99.co.uk

FRAGRANCE

Like our fashion sense and style choices, we are always on the lookout for unique ways to show off our personality.  In my personal opinion, a fragrance is just the way to do this, therefore it makes a fantastic Father’s Day present.

Here are my Blublazerguy top three choices:

 

Carthusia

For a unique fragrance choice why not choose a scent by the house of Carthusia which comes from the beautiful Italian island of Capri. Most of the ingredients contained in the fragrance are indigenous to the area of which they are made. I recently had the opportunity to visit their perfume factory in Capri and I was amazed by the passion and dedication that goes into each bottle. With high quality ingredients, its distinctive history and its beautiful geographical location make a fragrance from this house a special and unique gift.

Numero Uno is one of my favourites from this house and is perfect for both young and mature men. This Citrus/Woody fragrance contains the beautiful top notes of Orange and Bergamot with a heart of Ylang-Ylang and base of Vetiver and Musk. This truly gives an opulent scent and leaves you with an uplifting feel.

RRP £80 for 100ml at libertylondon.com. See my video here for more information.

The Perfume Studio London 

Design Your Own Fragrance for Men – If your father is a true fragrance lover then why not treat him to a gift where he can create his very own bespoke fragrance. The Perfume Studio London have created a specific collection of kits allowing you to do just that.

Each kit comes with easy to follow instructions, equipment and a 30ml glass bottle which can be personally inscribed. In addition, it also contains six perfume blends that have been meticulously selected by their in- house master perfumer; Francois Robert.

The process is very easy to follow and it’s a fun way of getting involved in creating a fragrance that is unique for your Dad.

£49 (£54 including personally inscribed bottle) at theperfumestudio.com 

See my previous blog post here and video here for more information. Also look out for my giveaway on Instagram. 

Jusbox Perfumes

Jusbox is a luxury fragrance brand inspired by the world of music so if your Dad is little more daring or is a fan of the music industry then this brand is a great choice.

No Rules – This aromatic and woody scent is perhaps for the more daring fathers out there and is inspired by the leather clad era of punk. With top notes of Aldehydic, Ethereal and Saffron, middle notes of Lavender, Vinyl and cinnamon and base notes of Leathery accord, Birch Bark and Musk its a fragrance that plays between the cold notes of metal and the warmness of leather.
75ml – £140 Exclusive to selfridges.com

 

SHAVING

Acqua di Parma – Barbiere Collection

Acqua Di Parma are known for their iconic range of quintessential Italian colognes but did you know they also have shaving products? Their Barbiere range is a modern interpretation of a long tradition of shaving, Italian style.

Each one of their products comes in their striking yellow packaging and contains the fresh light notes of their renowned cologne. Here are my Blublazerguy top three choices:

Soft Shaving Cream – This is the perfect choice if your father prefers the traditional method of shaving using a brush. This rich cream is formulated with pomegranate seed oil, lemon oil, extract of basil and hyaluronic acid which helps prevent irritation and reddening.
125ml – £47.00 at acquadiparma.com

Shaving Gel – This shaving gel is for those men who favour a quicker shave without the irritation. This luxurious gel immediately transforms into a refreshing and creamy lather for an ultra- comfortable shave.
150ml – £31.00 at acquadiparma.com

Refreshing After shave Emulsion – To finish off the shaving routine, this Refreshing After Shave Emulsion is the perfect solution. The smooth and rapidly absorbing emulsion hydrates the skin and soothes any irritation.
100ml – £52.00 at acquadiparma.com. For more information on the fragrances, head to my blog post here

DRINK/FOOD EXPERIENCES

I always get asked what to get a Man that has everything? You cannot go wrong with treating them to an experience. For Father’s day I have selected my top three Blublazerguy choices:

Darnleys Gin. – Gin School Distil Your Own Experience

If your father is a gin lover then why not treat him to the Darnley’s Gin ‘distil your own” experience. Housed in a small cottage at their distillery in Fife is the Darnley’s school of Gin.

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Here you can learn about the history of Gin and how different botanicals can be used to enhance its flavour. You can then pick your own botanicals from their vast collection and craft your very own blend of Gin in their mini stills.

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After naming and labelling you Gin, you get to take your unique bottle home. I recently visited the distillery and found this experience unique, fun and highly informative.£100pp weekly on Friday at 3pm and Saturday and Sunday at 11am at darnleysgin.com

The Balmoral – Father’s Day Whisky & Beer Experience

 

Located in the prestigious Balmoral Hotel is the fantastic SCOTCH, a bar that sells over 500 malts, blends and vintages from all over Scotland. I experienced one of their whisky journey’s a few months ago and really enjoyed it.

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Whisky Journey Experience

Now they are offering a special Father’s Day Whisky & Beer Experience. They have partnered with The Edinburgh Beer Factory to pair beers with their Whisky Ambassadors’ chosen drams.
Sunday 16th June from £25.00, advance booking my emailing scotch.balmoral@roccofortehotels.com

Prestonfield House – Rhubarb Restaurant

Situated only five minutes from Edinburgh City centre is the impressive and renowned Prestonfield House hotel, owned by hotelier-restaurateur James Thomson OBE. Why not treat your father to a wonderful meal at their renowned restaurant, Rhubarb.

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The restaurant spans over two large adjoining rooms. Each room is adorned with high ceilings, sash windows and walls of beautifully restored historical paintings. Again, the decor echoes the rest of the estate with antiques, historic architectural features and lavish materials.
Three Course Set Menu Dinner – £38.00 at Prestonfield.com Head to my previous blog post for more details.