Let’s face it - pun intended - nobody wants to wear a face mask, but, we now have to when we are in enclosed spaces. So, how can do something simple to make it a more pleasurable experience? How about rolling on some of your favourite essential oils every time you wear or wash it?
Small enough to pop into your pocket, simply roll on your chosen oil and inhale the aroma. You'll love it. Here are TheChicGeek's five to try:
Right - I’m seeing these everywhere: adidas' face masks are proving popular. Adidas - FACE COVERS M/L 3-PACK - £14.95
Grown on London’s southern green belt, nothing is as relaxing and intoxicating as classic lavender. Support local business while chilling you the fuck out.
The Give Me Strength
Anatomé specialises in essential oils, and their black pepper and may chang 'Energy + Strength' is said to energise and support the nerves and mind to motivate and boost low energy levels. We could all do with some of that while running around Tesco.
The Ready To Roll
The invigorating blend of rosemary, lavender, geranium and grapefruit will revitalise your spirits and energise your body and mind.
The Ginger Ninja
Aesop’s ‘Ginger Flight Therapy’ is tailored for turbulent flights, but works just as well for those of us not going anywhere anytime soon. Contains essential oils, including ginger root, lavender and geranium to reduce stress and also calms upset stomachs.
Lift your spirits with a bright fusion of zesty orange, floral rose. geranium and warming nutmeg essential oils. Made in England.
A French term for a place you'd grow elm trees, now sadly long gone due to Dutch elm disease, 'Ormaie' is a mother and son - Marie-Lise Jonak and Baptiste Bouygues - team producing completely natural and vegan fragrances. Seven in total, all featuring striking and sculptural wooden stoppers, they are produced and formulated alongside renowned raw natural ingredient specialists, Robertet. The glass bottle is by Saverglass, the only French glassmaker to recycle their own glass magma.
Fragrances include '28°', said to be Bouygues' perfect temperature, 'Yvonne' named after the grandmother and 'Le Passant' meaning the passing man, and deemed the most masculine fragrance.
TheChicGeek says, "Of the seven, I liked 'Les Brumes' (The Mists) the most. It is a citrus inspired by morning mist on the fruit trees. Ingredients include lemon, mandarin, bergamot, ginger and sandalwood."
Left - Ormaie - 100ml - £180 Exclusive to Harvey Nichols
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Manual launches with a focus on ED (erectile dysfunction) and hair loss, but will expand the platform to include solutions and knowledge on everything from sex to skin, and hair to general wellbeing.
I’m trying their grooming products which consists of Mr Moisturiser, Power Shampoo & Wrinkle Warrior.
The moisturiser contains hyaluronic acid and allantoin which soothes, protects and regenerates the skin. The shampoo is infused with natural goodness from ginger, sage, olive oil extracts, with caffeine which stimulates hair follicles, biotin which boosts keratin production and saw palmetto which is proven to increase hair density.
The Wrinkle Warrior hydrates, firms and rejuvenates skin. Vitamin C fights the signs of ageing and neutralises skin damage caused by UV and pollution, coenzyme Q10, aiding the skin in regeneration and repair, and triple hyaluronic acid, which makes skin feel hydrated, plump and healthy.
Left - Manual - ‘Skin Kit & Shampoo' - Power Shampoo - 250ml, Mr Moisturiser - 100ml, Wrinkle Warrior - 50ml - £39 every 2 months on a subscription
TheChicGeek says, “Manual is similar to the American Hims brand - Read more here - which also aims to be more of a wellness brand which includes grooming alongside other issues affecting men both physically and emotionally.
I tried all three products and they all have a reassuring thickness. FYI - The moisturiser actually smells like Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Male. I like the pump dispenser for the shampoo. It’s much better for guys who use a lot less and wastes less.
As for the Wrinkle Warrior, I don’t really see the point of neutralising skin damage caused by UV if you don’t put an SPF in the moisturiser, but, anyway.
I can’t report anything radical happening with any of these products, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like them. I like the shampoo the most.
They want you to sign up to a subscription, so the pricing isn’t clear for individual products, which unless you’ve tried them before hand I guess many guys would be reluctant to do?”
Disclosure - The products were gifted by Manual to review
Part of Floris’ ‘Private Collection’, Vert Fougère, a lighter reimagination of a traditional woody fougère fragrance has green top notes of galbanum, grapefruit and bergamot, blended with a heart of lavender, neroli and ginger, on a base of smoke accord, amber and cashmere.
Master Perfumer, Nicola Pozzani, says, “Revolutionary in its composition, fougère to me is a marriage made of opposites: crisp, smart freshness versus sensuous, indulgent warmth. It’s sparkle and mystery, light and shade, it’s citrus herbal notes mingling with the woody oriental. Our new fougère had to be simple yet vigorous.
“I envisioned a garden at twilight, so I took lavender, but wanted it to be moody with the dew of the evening, so added patchouli and dark green with galbunum - green notes were my first love in perfumery. A slight citrus tone shines in the background reminiscent of our roots. Fougère stands for endurance so I boosted the scent with cedarwood, a nearly immortal red wood. Finally I created a sense of cosiness with cashmere woods and touch of vanilla and smoke.”
TheChicGeek says, “There’s almost something medicinal about this at first. The green element is coming from the galbanum, which is from an aromatic gum resin derived from the plant genus Ferula, chiefly Ferula gummosa and Ferula rubricaulis. It’s part of the carrot family and looks a bit like cow parsley or fennel.
This fragrance has a cooling, almost menthol quality, but it’s not cold and then goes slightly powdery. This isn’t a spring green type vert, but rather a damp, fernery undergrowth type green on that perennial favourite fougère but there’s also a sweetness that makes this very easy to wear and far from dark.”
Left - Floris - Vert Fougère - 100ml - £120
Disclosure - A sample to test was provided by Floris
Following on from the hit Aventus fragrance, Aventus Cologne is said to be a fruity yet aromatic burst of ginger, mandarin and pink peppercorn, complemented by a heart of patchouli, sandalwood and vetiver. A leathery balsamic base of styrax, birch, musk and tonka bean.
TheChicGeek says, “Creed has become something of a cult, and looking at the prices, £155 for 50ml, they are certainly premium, even though they’ve managed to ingratiate themselves into the mainstream - John Lewis window anybody?
Colognes are usually lighter and easier to wear, and benefit from frequent reapplications. This is safe. No note really sticks its head above its tasteful parapet. Even the top, which usually dominates a cologne, doesn’t have much distinction and quickly disappears into a that soft and dry twiggy dry-down of vetiver. There’s nothing wrong with this, but if you’re investing, like here, I’d advise to demand more.”
Disclosure - A sample was provided by Creed
TheChicGeek says, “Tommy Hilfiger has really carved out that niche of affordable designer. Once they realised that they weren’t a true ‘designer’ brand and just stuck to making distinctive and fun clothes, they seem to have flown.
This is the latest incarnation of the classic Tommy fragrance which was released in the 1990s. Now is a woody and spicy fragrance with bergamot and mandarin notes and geranium, ginger, cardamom and warm wood.
This is fresh and easy, and at, £35, it’s also cheap. It’s sort of fragrance as an everyday body product and that's how you should use it. What I would say is, if you don’t go to the upper price level for fragrance, I would ignore the mid range - anything £50-£70 - and come down to something like this. It’s basically the same thing, and, here, you’re not paying over the odds for the same thing.”
Left - Tommy Now - 100ml - £35
Have you ever wondered where you come from? Ancestry DNA offered me the chance of reviewing their DNA testing service and finding out my geographical genetic make up.
When people used to take the piss out of me at school for having ginger hair I used to think at least I know where I come from from how I look. Imagining my ancestors to be fiery Celts or Ancient Britons, my red hair is a visible throwback to my British ancestors. Or so I thought. Would this ruin my romantic vision of myself?
The testing is really simple. Everything comes in a simple, small box and you spit saliva into a tube, up to a certain level, screw the top on to release a blue liquid into the sample, I guess to stabilise it, and then you put it into the pre-paid box and post.
It said it would take 6-8 weeks and I received regular e-mails updating me on the process and when I could expect it. I was fast-tracked because I was press and it wasn’t long before my results came through.
I was told I have quite a high percentage of Great British DNA in comparison to the average Brit. (See the chart left).
My results were 61% Great Britain - Northern England & the Midlands - this is correct as my paternal grandmother was born in Bury, Manchester. I was expecting more from the East of England as that’s where my surname is from.
Then finally, 1% Asia South. It circles India, so it could be a connection with the British Empire, but definitely not something I know directly about.
So, ultimately, I’m 99% from the United Kingdom. I’m a fucking pedigree! I jokingly told my friends I’ll be downloading the forms for Crufts for next year. Expect sponsored posts from Pedigree Chum coming soon!
But, seriously, none of this really matters, but it’s something interesting to think about and also opens up conversations within your family.
I sent Ancestry DNA a few further questions after my results had come through.
Can consumers ask further questions or is this another cost?
There should be enough information online, but there is a support team that can help with consumer questions free of charge.
How far does it go back?
What’s the margin for error?
AncestryDNA uses advanced scientific techniques to produce your results. We measure and analyse a person's entire genome at over 700,000 locations. During the testing process, each DNA sample is held to a quality standard of at least a 98% call rate. Any results that don't meet that standard may require a new DNA sample to be collected.
Then we compare your DNA to one of the most comprehensive and unique collections of DNA samples from people around the world, to identify overlap. As our database of DNA samples continues to grow, you could receive updates with new information.
Is my DNA stored somewhere now?
The results of your DNA test are stored in a secured database — your AncestryDNA results are stored in a secured database, which employs a number of security measures. As well as protecting the information from unauthorised access from those outside of AncestryDNA, we strictly limit access to this database from within the company as well.
The lab processing your DNA doesn't have access to your name, address and other contact information — DNA samples are tested in a secure third-party testing lab in the United States. We separate your name from your DNA sample throughout the testing process. Instead, we use a unique Activation Code provided in your kit to track your DNA through the testing process and in storage.
Your DNA sample is securely stored — After testing is complete, any remaining DNA from your test is archived and stored in a temperature-controlled, secure facility with 24-hour monitoring and limited access.
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) — United States law (the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act or “GINA”) generally makes it illegal for health insurance companies, group health plans, and most employers to discriminate against you based on your genetic information. Learn more about GINA here.
You have the choice to delete your DNA test results — Once a DNA test result is deleted, that choice is permanent. You will no longer see the results in your account. Also, your DNA matches will no longer see your username among their list of matches. So be sure you want to delete a DNA test result before you do it, as there is no way to recover the data after it’s deleted.
If you have given your consent to participate in ongoing research efforts and you delete your DNA results, your consent will be withdrawn and your information will not be used in future research. Please note, however, that information cannot be withdrawn from studies in progress, completed studies, or published results.
Your raw DNA data is secured by a number of security measures while in our possession. For example, your DNA sample is identified only by a bar code—even our testing laboratories don't have your identity. We also store all DNA data in encrypted databases to ensure restricted access, even within the company. These protections will remain for the copy of your raw DNA data that we possess but you will need to secure the raw DNA data if you choose to download it.
Will the ethnicity results tell what information is specific to my maternal or paternal line?
The type of DNA that is being tested looks at ethnicity across both maternal and paternal lines. It does not currently isolate ethnicity results to only your maternal or paternal line.
My results were pretty boring, but they are also believable and fit what I already know about my family. We’re still close to a time when people didn’t move around as much and these geographical areas match.
It costs £79, and I think it would make an interesting gift for somebody who is impossible to buy for. The 6-8 week wait is quite long.
Ancestry DNA obviously want you to sign up for the additional, paid-for features on their website and for you to link into other family trees and information. While the Americans are very much into their ancestry, the British are more confident about where they come from and are less interested in proving their origins.
AncestryDNA says it can estimate your origins to more than 350 ancestral regions around the world—5x more regions than the next leading test.
I enjoyed telling my family and, being from a working class background, it’s interesting how private previous generations were with regards to their origins and also where they came from. This is the time when people's birth certificates didn’t match the name they used on a daily basis.
Somebody has already contacted me from New Zealand saying we have a genetic match on my paternal grandmother, but I’m also slightly cautious receiving e-mails from people I don’t know.
Overall, this was efficient, fun and a correct insight. It reflects the #me culture we currently live in.
Ancestry DNA Kit - £79
Below - My results
New British fragrance brand klaxon. Founded by Michael Donovan and named after the ancient, Central London parish of St Giles - it’s that bit just near Tottenham Court Road station, where the coloured Renzo Piano buildings are - where he was born, this new collection of five fragrances is based on different characters.
Michael has worked in the fragrance business for many years with some of the biggest names and noses. Here, he has teamed up with perfumer, Bertrand Duchaufour, and spent the last three years creating the five scents: The Tycoon, The Writer, The Stylist, The Actress and The Mechanic.
TheChicGeek says, “It’s always great to see new British fragrance brands. Especially from somebody with over 20 year’s experience in the business. Michael sent me the three most masculine fragrances to try - The Tycoon, The Writer and The Mechanic.
There’s a lot going on, but it works. I actually found it difficult to choose one standout. I liked all three and underlining it all is quality.
The Tycoon is a classic chypre with notes of patchouli, labdanum and oakmoss augmented with a castoreum.
The Writer opens with fresh ginger, rosemary absolute and the focusing sparkle of aldehydes with castoreum absolute plus sandalwood, cedarwood and driftwood.
The Mechanic has a base of hot rubber, musk, oakmoss and a balsamic, cracked styrax with an earthy geranium and patchouli opening.
The Mechanic is the most interesting as it doesn’t fit in as easily with the other character names. The market for niche fragrances continues to grow and this is definitely a collection worth seeking out. I just wish the branding and labelling had more personality and fully represented the fragrances’ depth of character.”
St Giles Collection - 100ml - £130
Exclusive to Selfridges
Nobody does ginger like TheChicGeek, so, with 2017 officially the year of the #Gingervidual, it would be rude for him not to show you how it’s done!
Stone’s Ginger Wine is encouraging the nation to declare their love for everything ginger - thought we already knew that?! Embracing the ‘spirit of ginger’, a Gingervidual is someone who stands up for what they believe in and isn’t afraid to be different. Gingerviduals don't conform to the norm, and they don't follow trends, they create them.
Picture the scene: on a beach, somewhere in the Caribbean, things getting tropical with a jug of cocktail on the go. And relax! (Even if you are just sitting in your back garden in Croydon. FML!).
So, enjoy the last rays of Summer and try one of Stone's Ginger Wine's cocktails created by one of London’s leading expert mixologists.
Here’s the recipe for The #Gingervidual
- 50ml Stones G.W
- 10ml Elderflower cordial
Pour the ingredients into a highball, add some ice cubed, stir and top with soda
water. Garnish with cucumber strips and raspberries.
Can be served in a carafe or jug for sharing. Same method: 250ml Stones GW, 50ml of elderflower cordial, top with soda water.
TheChicGeek says ‘YAY!’ to Jaeger’s new home on Marylebone High Street. Situated on one of the smartest shopping streets in London, the new two-storey Jaeger store stocks the full menswear collection.
Jaeger asked TheChicGeek to pick his favourite pieces from the new store and their latest AW16 collection.
Right - A palette of navy, with highlights of orange, show Jaeger's expertise in knitwear and ease of dressing with a comfortable buttoned cardigan and large pocketed cargo trousers
TheChicGeek took to the streets of Marylebone to showcase his new look featuring a pair of Lou Dalton X Jaeger wool cargo trousers, a ginger coloured T-shirt (Obvs!) and soft wool cardigan.
It seems ginger and navy are the colours of the season as he bumped into his doppelgänger over at the Chiltern Firehouse! Twinning is most definitely winning.
Find out more here
Open now - 12 Marylebone High Street
Get involved #JaegerStyle
Left - Twinning is winning when TheChicGeek met the doorman at Marylebone local, Chiltern Firehouse
Below - TheChicGeek doing his best Gene Kelly impression - minus the rain - in new season Jaeger menswear