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Ahh, the humble G&T. There are few cocktails as simple and satisfying as the perfect pairing of Gin and Tonic. We all fell in love with it the moment we mixed one up for Nana and snuck a sip in the process – Kids will be kids, I guess. Turns out though, that the G&T is a little older than Nana, by about 300 years.

Gin was discovered by British soldiers fighting alongside the Dutch during the 30-year war of the 1600’s. Genever (as the drink was called) was said to give the soldiers ‘Dutch Courage’ and quickly found its way to Great Britain. At the same time, quinine, the main ingredient in tonic water, was discovered to be a treatment for Malaria. It probably didn’t stop the itching though, just the dying part. This medicinal tree bark was found to be “a bitter pill to swallow” by Britsh troops in colonial India so they took to mixing it with their daily gin and lime rations – back then lime wasn’t so much a garnish as it was a necessity to battle scurvy. The rest, as they say, is history.

Today’s G&T has seen a massive reinvention. This could possibly be attributed to the Spanish adopting it as their national drink about a decade ago – who wants to drink wine with fruit in it anyway. The introduction of different garnishes intent on enhancing the natural botanicals of the Gin opened up endless possibilities for the simple G&T. What we have is no longer ‘Nana’s summer drink’ of choice (always a double BTW), but rather a drink who’s flavoring can be adapted all year round.

With winter settling in we thought we would share with you some Gin and Tonic recipes we put together for our friend over at Craft Liquor Merchants and one of our favorite HomeGrown gins, Inverroche.

The Sage of Citrus
 

The combination of sage and orange is a fail-safe in the kitchen. These sweet and savory flavors pair up perfectly and if they’re good enough for Jamie Oliver’s famous roast potatoes you better believe they’ll kick ass in your G&T. Both sage and orange have anti-aging properties, so really it’s like taking a sip from the fountain of youth.

We’ve decided to keep this one a little simple so that the botanicals of the Inverroche Verdant can really shine through. The citrus notes from the orange will pair perfectly with the waxy lemon rind of the verdant while the sage and licorice can bond over their love for all things bittersweet.

Start off by adding a dash or two of bitters into your glass to add depth to your drink – bitters is to cocktails what salt and pepper is to food. Now simply pour your gin over ice and top up with tonic. Slap the sage between the palm of your hands to release the oils and drop in with your orange. Stir and serve. Bet you feel younger already.

The Bluemary 

Blueberries are the perfect all year round fruit, packed full of antioxidants they’re almost guaranteed to keep those winter sniffles away when paired with rosemary and honey. That’s right, with rosemary’s immune boosting properties and honey’s powerhouse antioxidants, this pink G&T is pretty much this seasons flu shot.

Start by dropping a few blueberries, rosemary leaves and a teaspoon of honey into your glass. Dash in a couple drops of bitters and muddle together to extract the flavor and color from those blueberry skins. Fill your glass with ice and pour in your gin – We recommend the Inverroche Classic as its green floral notes will pair perfectly with the grassiness of the rosemary and sweetness of the blueberries. Use a stirring spoon to combine all the flavors at the bottom of your glass before filling with tonic. Pop in some whole blueberries and a large sprig of rosemary to garnish, then sit back and feel your body fighting off all those pesky diseases.

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It’s been about 4 weeks since our first post on our body transformation / Fit at 40 journey with The Arrow Club and we thought it was time for an 8-week update. If you missed the first post and want to know where it all started, you can catch up here.

The last few weeks have been kinda chaotic, to be honest. Our workload was through the roof and we were putting in 12 hour days just to stay on top of things. To top it all off we were in London for about 10 days, away from The Arrow Club and our trusty meal plans. Why am I telling you this? Well, because that’s life right? Something always wants to get in the way of you and your goals and it’s never gonna be easy. So, how did little sleep and a travelers diet affect our transformation? Well, let’s take a look.

With the exception of our one week away, our workouts have continued as normal. Continuing on The Arrow Clubs principles of mobilizing, activating, overloading and conditioning we’ve been doing 3..

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Is there anything more iconically British than the Union Jack? Sure the flag represents the union of England, Scotland and Ireland to historians and politicians, but to you and I, it means just one thing… London baby!! Yeahhhh!

During our recent trip to London (full post coming soon) we decided to take an entire day of exploring everything that makes this city so iconic. Along for the journey was the new Dunhill Icon collection – A collection of fragrance set to capture the essence of the modern British gentleman and this iconic Britsh brand.

3 piece suit in tow, we packed our bags with the Dunhill Icon and the Icon Absolute and headed out into this cold and rainy… summers day! How very British!

With so many cultural icons spread throughout the city, it’s kinda hard to know where to begin so we chose to start where most Londoners end their day, with a pint at the pub. With over 7000 public houses (or ‘pubs’) in London alone, we didn’t have to walk very far. This great British tradition has been around since the Medieval period with London’s oldest pub, “Ye Olde Mitre” still standing strong over 500 years later! Not surprisingly, we found ourselves joining the lunchtime rush at The Red Lion, the odds were pretty strong though, it’s the most common pub name in Britain.

The British fascination with red is pretty evident across its cultural icons, the postbox, the phone box and of course the double-decker bus were all painted red as a way of making them stand out. Once just a horse-drawn carriage, it was the  London General omnibus company who iconified the double-decker bus with its signature red.

This attention to detail is no more evident than in the world’s most famous tailoring street, London’s Saville Row. A bastion of great British tailoring and the home of the bespoke suit. Here master tailors have been crafting made-to-measure suits since the 1800s, turning out one of a kind pieces for anyone from the king of pop to, well, the king himself – No, not..

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When it comes to men’s fashion there are certain rules one should adhere to, after all, if the devil is in the details we want to be the most handsome devils out there don’t we?

I started this “Dressiquete” section of the blog right at the beginning – almost 6 years ago -as a way to lay out the basic rules of men’s fashion and give us all (yep, me included) some basic fundamentals with which to dapper ourselves up! After all, you cant start breaking those rules before you know them right? Most of them were really badly written and the imagery was disgraceful ( remember it was 6 years ago) so I’ve decided to jazz em up a bit with a little more details and some better pictures. So here’s the first.

Before I go on let me make it super clear that these are not MY rules, I never made them up and most of them have no recorded history. Much like a good brownie recipe, I suspect they have been passed down from generation to generation. Whether you adhere to them or not is your decision, but let’s try ensure our generation isn’t the first to forget them shall we.

I believe it was Oscar Wilde who declared “A well-tied tie is the first serious step in life”. Now, to be fair, the man was a poet, so he did have a way with words but he was also the original playboy so I see no reason why we shouldn’t believe him. This begs the question “why is it so many men struggle with their ties”? I ‘m not even talking about tie knots and shirt combinations, I’m talking about something far more basic. Length.

The ruling on this is pretty simple: Ties run button to button – that is your tie should cover the top button on your collar and the button of your pants. Now unless your pants have no button, this should be fairly simple. That said, if you’re wearing a tie with track pants (or any buttonless trousers that is) then length is not your problem so more power to you. For those of you striving for ultimate precision, the widest part of the tie should hang at the same height as the upper edge of your belt leaving the tip dangling somewhere down the middle. There is, of course, some leeway here, not much, but some. When in doubt, go longer rather than shorter, I generally like the tip of my tie to juuuuust cover my belt buckle – This is mostly because I hate belt buckles, but still. If you prefer a little shorter, just ensure the tip of the tie is at least touching your belt buckle, please (I have a pet hate for short ties).

The above also applies to straight edged ties, like knitted ties (where the widest part is also the edge) and should at the very least touch your belt buckle.

Now, this rule may be simple, but it’s not always easy to get right and will definitely require a little practice. Prepare for a little frustration, different tie lengths, fabrics, and knots will all play a part in ensuring that perfect button to button length. Remember, if at first, you don’t succeed, TIE, TIE again!!

Okay. Stay Fancy.

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About a year ago…okay…maybe a little more than a year, I decided that when I turned forty, I was going to be rocking the best body of my life! I started with a simple challenge of 100 push-ups a day for 30 days with every intention to move on to bigger and better workouts and of course bigger and better biceps, pecs, quads and all the rest. The challenge was a success, I completed 100 push-ups every day without fail. With great determination, I pushed through the shoulder pain in week two and ignored the advice that repetitive movements would just result in injury. What I should have done, was not do a 100 push-up’s a day. It totally messed up my shoulder and I was pretty much out of action for a year! Yep, in the end, I entered my 40’s the same way I left my 30’s. Squishy!

Now, with 41 on the horizon, the itch to get into shape started looming its squishy head and I decided the challenge was still on. Maybe it’s a mid-life crisis, but I didn’t like the fact that someone told me I had a “dad bod” (you know who you are) when I hadn’t even had the privilege of becoming a dad yet. So, I decided to show all the young guns out there that us 40-year-olds still have some juice in the tank. Man, I sound old! Who even says “juice in the tank” anymore!?

As fate would have it the folks from The Arrow Club reached out to me with the offer of a 3-month body transformation. Better still, they decided to take both Elzaan (not that she needs it) and I on their journey of training, nutrition, education, and mentality together! We’re both relatively fit and lead a reasonably healthy lifestyle (or so we thought) so we were definitely up for the challenge. To up the ante, however, we decided to put it all out there for you to see – nothing like a bit of an online audience to keep you accountable right?

SPOILER ALERT!!! At the end of this post, you’ll have some before and after pics to judge us on : )

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First…a quick disclaimer. There’s a lot of pictures in this post, like A LOT! Not only because our hotel and Thailand were beautiful, but we were trialing the new Sony Alpha 7R III for the week and got a little trigger happy with this incredible machine. I’ll be doing a full review on the camera and G Master lense in an upcoming “stuff I’ve tried” post soon. okay, sit back, relax and enjoy Phuket.

I think it’s fair to assume that we all looked back on 2018 and thought “Holy Sh*t what was that!?” I don’t know about you guys but it left us burnt out and exhausted. We were in desperate need of a break, like a real break. No trecking round cities and running for trams/buses/trains or taxis! We needed cocktails, sunshine, beach sand and cocktails – yep, we needed cocktails so badly we put it on our list twice.

In the end, we decided to head east, to the land of smiles. We had been to Phuket before (about 3 years ago) and like the seasoned travelers we are, we were smart enough to visit in Monsoon season. 2 weeks of constant (and I mean CONSTANT) rain coupled with a healthy bout of food poisoning meant we didn’t quite experience the island life we had dreamed of. It was, however, enough time to fall in love with the place, the people and the food. So, back to Phuket it was then.

Choosing where to go in Thailand is difficult. There are loads of Islands scattered all around the Andaman Sea and Gulf of Thailand, each as beautiful as the next (or so I’m told) but none of them easy to get to. Seeing as ‘easy’ was the point of the trip, we decided that Phuket would be it! We could fly in direct to the Island – well direct via Qatar – without missioning to catch a ferry or water taxi after the 18 hour journey. With Phuket being the original Thai holiday destination it is crammed with hotels and you really are spoilt for choice. We had very specific criteria in mind to make sure we stuck to the chilled experience we were hoping for. We wanted a resort feel but without the resort size. It had to have a massive pool with a swim-up bar (because nothing says holidays like drinking cocktails in the pool). It had to be walking distance to the beach as well as walking distance to bars and restaurants. It also had to be luxurious, so that you could lounge around your room and still be comfortable. I mean…you know…simple things really.

We did extensive research, but in the end, the Avista Grande Phuket Karon really did tick all the boxes.

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Famed cocktail historian David Wondrich states that “Cocktail history is full of holes because it is told by drunk people”. I f*#kin love that…and mostly because this statement has never rung truer as it does with the Margarita. Like every classic of its time, the origins of the drink are shrouded in controversy and mystery. In this case there are no less than 4 different Margaritas laying claim to the drink’s namesake with at least as many bars its creation! What we do know for sure is that Margaritas are about as Mexican as burritos and nachos (yeah, sorry, not Mexican) neither of which are consumed by locals.

It does seem as though the true controversy lies only in the name. Drinks containing tequila, triple sec and lime juice are documented as early as 1930 – My personal favorite is called “Young Mans Delight” from G.F Steel’s “My New Cocktail Book” (the man sure had a talent for naming). Truth is, the Margarita is really just a Tequila sour or Tequila Sidecar…but the question remains…who named it first!? It turns out there are two origin stories fighting for first prize. I’ll give you both briefly and let you decide who the winner is.

The first story, is of 1940s Dallas socialite Margaret “Margarita” Sames. Known for her lavish parties, she claims to have created the drink at her 1948 Acapulco Christmas palooza. To welcome her guests, she mixed her two favorite spirits, (tequila and Cointreau) and garnished with lime – She even lays claim to covering the rim of her sombrero-shaped glass with salt. Like any social worth her salt (no pun intended), she simply named the drink after herself. Truth be told…and really…there probably is no truth in any of this, but there are printed records of Jose Quervo advertising the Margarita before 1948…as well as the fact that the margarita glass was created after the margarita so…really, it just seems like someone had one too many margaritas.

The second story goes to Carlos “Danny” Herrera, owner of Rancho La Gloria in Tijuana. His obituary credits him with inventing the cocktail for famed showgirl Marjorie King who drank no spirit other than tequila…but refused to take it as a shot (boy does she sound like fun). In the ultimate act of chivalry, Danny, therefore, worked all the ingredients of a tequila shot into his drink, added some triple sec and named it The Margarita (Spanish for Marjorie). A far more likely story…but really, he just gave her a giant tequila shot ad set her on her way!

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It’s been a little over 3 months since Elzaan and I hopped on a Turkish Airlines plane headed for a week in Istanbul. At the time, we had no idea how much this trip would change not only how we see the world, but how we see travel. Now, after sifting through hours of footage together with thousands of photos we’re even more excited to share our experience with you. There has never been a truer case of ‘better late than never’, so go grab a snack, because you might be here a while and also…youre gonna get hungry.

If you want a quick taste of what a week in Istanbul is like, then we suggest watching our video below. If it seems a little crazy and chaotic, that’s good, it means we totally captured the feeling!

WMBWTravels | Istanbul, Turkey - YouTube

Istanbul is like no other city we’ve ever visited. The clash of East meets West is more than an overused cliche, its something that can only be experienced in a 3000-year-old city set over 2 continents. It is a land where burkas meet bikinis, where McDonald’s stands side by side with Mosques and where sheesha is as commonplace as Starbucks. Falling in love with this city is easy,  it’s a historic and cultural experience second to none.

I had a brief love affair with Istanbul about 5 years ago on a small trip with friends but Elzaan and I fell totally head over heels in love with it on this trip. There’s something really magical going on here, something almost impossible to put into words (trust me I’m trying). We’re not sure if it’s the friendliness of the people, the food or the culture, but we’re pretty sure it’s a combination of all three, so I’m gonna do my best to give you a little taste of each.

With over 15 million citizens, Istanbul is the largest city in Europe, yep, that’s roughly London and New York combined. You think New York has a buzz? Double it for Istanbul. This feels like the city that truly never sleeps. Whether you’re exploring the ancient mosques in Sultanahmet or hitting the nightlife in Galata, the energy is on maximum any time of day. We never got to bed before 1am, it’s impossible, you feel like you’re ‘turning in early for the night”. At 2am Istiklal Caddesi (the main shopping street in Galata) is a sea of people just going for a walk, eating street food and watching the myriad of street musician setting up for the night! Take a look up any side street and EVERY bar and restaurant is heaving with patrons, deep in passionate conversations (or arguments, we could never tell) as they stir, stir, stir their tea. This is at 10am, this is at 4am, it’s non-stop and incredible to witness.

“Isn’t that amazing” was perhaps the most overused phrase between Elzaan and I on this trip and perhaps the best way to give you an understanding of the people and the culture. So rather than tell you the Top 10 Things to do in Istanbul, or 7 mistakes not to make in Istanbul, I’m going to give you 3 examples of what made the city so incredible for us.

  1. The Adhan rings out from the minaret 5 times a day. It is the most beautiful sound flowing over the Bosphorus, down alleyways and into markets. It engulfs you from all sides. Some people stop what they’re doing and head off to prayer, some, take another sip from their beer and roll the dice into a fresh game of backgammon. Neither worries about the other! Isn’t that amazing?
  2. At first glance, Istanbul has got a serious street cat problem. They’re everywhere. But then you notice the little food bowls lying around, and the tiny multi-level cat houses constructed from odds and ends on the street corner. Then you notice people randomly stopping to feed or pet the cats, or cats jumping on to a strangers lap at a bar for cuddles…and then getting cuddles. You see, it turns out that rather than see the cats (and a couple of dogs too) as pests, they see them as pets. Everyone pulls together to look after the animals in this incredible shared pet system. There are even city-sponsored vets that you call to come and look after animals that are hurt or sick. Isn’t that amazing?
  3. The third example was turning up an alleyway to the sounds of local music. We stumbled on a Sheesha cafe that was in full swing. Sat down, ordered a beer a watermelon sheesha (as you do) and soaked it all in. The first thing that stood out, was the band playing their traditional instruments on tiny stools up against the wall. I was expecting old men in cardigans, I got twenty-something ‘dudes’ in jeans, jamming HARD! To make it better, everyone was singing along – well except us, of course, we didn’t know (or understand) the words – from granny to her 12-year-old grandson, everyone was just so festive. So, what’s so amazing about that? People love music…obvious…right? Music yes, culture no. Today’s kids don’t want to learn the songs of their parents, or their parent’s parents let alone the antiquated instruments. The mass embrace of culture from young to old was amazing to me because when we lose our culture, we lose our identity. – Yoh! That got deep!

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Hands up if you’ve ever lost a pair of sunglasses? Or maybe sat on them, dropped them, scratched them? I’m guessing you’ve run out of hands!!

I’m willing to bet you probably saved up for those sunnies too right? Saw them in a store, went back a couple of times, tried them on, took a selfie…sent that selfie to a friend for a second opinion…and then remortgaged your house to buy them. Sound familiar? It does to me, I did this my whole life…sometimes I still do. Sunglasses really are the ultimate accessory to bring a little edge to your outfit, but are they really worth the price tag?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about investing in classic pieces. I mean if you find the perfect pair of aviators that make your face look like Ryan Renolds, then you gotta snatch them up, whatever the price tag. However, sunglasses have definitely joined the world of fast fashion, so investing in a couple pairs of ‘on trend’ shades isn’t always the best idea. Odds are they’re gonna end up in a shoe box under your cupboard by the time the sun comes out next year anyway.

So whatcha gonna do? You don’t want to wear the same glasses every day, but you don’t want to risk bankruptcy every time a new style comes out either. It sure is a pickle! Or at least it was, I guess. When WearMe Pro asked me to review their Shade Box subscription model I was a little sceptical at first – I’ve never been a fan of subscription boxes. But then I thought about the above, the sunglasses I had lost, or broken, or even worse, the new styles I hadn’t bought because of the price and the WearMe Pro mission started making sense “We are not here to make sunglasses with an overpriced logo, we are here to provide quality sunglasses at the most reasonable price.”

Then I received my first batch and was sold.

It works like this. Choose your gender, chose the styles and colour you generally like then choose your subscription length. Boom. You get 3 pairs in your mailbox for $30. It’s a pretty sweet deal.

In terms of quality, they’re not the best sunglasses I’ve ever owned, but they’re certainly not the worst – in fact, I’ve paid far more for far less, to be honest. But I kinda think thats the point right? It’s fast fashion, if you sit on them or lose them to a surprise wave, you just wait till your next shipment arrives or just replace them directly from the online store for under $15.

I really love this idea and dig that it’s a family run business just wanting to make everyone look great for a little less. If you’re a sunglass addict without the funds to support your habit, I really suggest checking them out.

Okay. Stay fancy.

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The subtle art of pattern mixing is a lot like the finer art of cocktail mixing, if you get the proportions right the result can be amazing!

Personally, I pride myself on being proficient in both – a bit of a ‘mixologist’ if you will. Whether it’s Gingham or Gin, I’ll find what works best. Needless to say, being humble is also one of my finer qualities. : ) My ability to mix patterns doesn’t come from spending hours putting together different looks, but rather from my 17 years as a graphic designer. Though a basic understanding of design may have helped me pair colours and patterns, only firm unwavering dedication has helped me perfect my cocktails! Practice makes perfect I guess, or in this case, practice makes you perfectly drunk.

If I’ve suddenly wet your appetite for cocktails, you’re in the wrong place, you wanna be here instead. If however, you’re ready to get down to some serious pattern mixing tips, read on. Now the gentle art of pattern mixing can be quite complex so we can do this the easy way or the hard way. The hard way will be filled with extensive theory and mind-numbing details that will probably make you never want to wear a pattern ever again but rather just drink cocktails. So let’s do it the easy way.

The easy way is pretty simple. Better yet, it’s pretty short so you won’t be here for hours trying to read this blog post – better yet I won’t be here for hours trying to write it.

There is only one thing to remember when mixing patterns. I eluded to it earlier with proportions, but really what it comes down to is scale and contrast. Big against small, small against big and so on. Yep, that’s the trick. Simply put, you never want the size of your patterns to be so close that they look similar. Visually this will make your brain try to continually work out if they’re the same pattern and create that weird uncomfortable feeling of “somethings just not right”.

So let’s use this look as an example. The suit itself has a very broad windowpane pattern, the nice thing about windowpane is that it’s generally a larger scale and quite a slight pattern, so visually it’s not very busy – of course, the more the colours of the pattern contrasts the busier it will become, but we’ll get to that. The suit also occupies the most amount of visual space (it’s what your eye will see the most of) so if the pattern is very busy, make sure the rest of your patterns aren’t. This helps create that visual contrast. In this case, the windowpane on this suit was not very busy so I could create contrast with the other elements.

I decided to go with a much broader striped shirt in pink to compliment the blue of the suit (pink and blue just love each other) but to contrast with the fine check stripe of the windowpane suit. As a basic rule, you never want to pair the same pattern together, so checks with checks or dots with dots makes pattern mixing much more difficult – HOWEVER, breaking this rule and getting it right can help create some amazing fashion forward looks! The tie contains a micropattern in the fabric weave, the herringbone pattern creates a broad diagonal stripe in the tie. In this case, the broad diagonal contrasted nicely with the finer stripes of the shirt and the houndstooth was small enough to create double contrast against the shirt stripe!

Lastly, we needed to make the pocket square work. Visually the pocket square would sit against the suit, so it needed to contrast with the fabric of the suit. As we’ve already established the pattern of the suit is large but slight, so I decided on a pocket square with a very small paisley pattern. Your pocket square should always compliment your shirt and tie, so in this case, I was matching the pinks. The pocket square also had touches of purple in it, so in order to not let it feel “out of the blue” as it were, I brought in a purple tie clip to balance it all out.

See. Simple right?

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