Win WWE Payback DVD


   The pomp and pageantry. The spectacle. The often ludicrous story-lines. What is there not to love about the art of  professional wrestling?

   Whilst us British fans may look back fondly of the days of Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks, Robbie Brookside and Kendo Nagasaki the sport has evolved beyond measure. WWE (formerly WWF) has elevated the events that take place inside the squared circle into a new, magnificent showcase of characters who become icons, immortal.

   If you're not familiar with modern WWE (or, if like me, you are and you can't get enough of it), I'm delighted to be able to offer one of my lucky readers a DVD copy of a special event from earlier this year - Payback.

   The action packed card includes a number of stand-out bouts including the World Heavyweight Championship match-up between former indie darling AJ Styles and Samoan dreamboat Roman Reigns, a battle between Chris Jericho and Dean Ambrose and, perhaps best of all, Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn.


   To enter the competition to win a copy of Payback 2016 on DVD, simply log-in to the Rafflecopter form below with your name and email address - we promise not to share, or pass on, this data to any third parties but will use this information to contact you if your entry is successful.

   Once logged in, you can enter the competition in up to two ways:

   The first way to do this is to follow my Twitter account at @KCBFD. You can do this through straight through the Rafflecopter form.

   Alternatively, or as an addition, please leave the name of your favourite wrestler in the comment section. Whether it is "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels, The Rock or Mr Perfect, I'd love to hear.

   Once you've done this, you can confirm you've left a comment using the Rafflecopter form (by clicking the "Leave a Blog Post" option and then selecting the "I commented" box).


a Rafflecopter giveaway    The winners are selected at random through Rafflecopter and will be chosen on August 27th 2016 and contacted shortly thereafter.

   The prizes will be sent out upon confirmation of your win. There are no cash alternatives and entries can be disqualified at the judge's discretion. Entrants must be 15 or over and have a UK shipping address to enter. Maximum of two entries per person - one comment, one Twitter follow each.

    Good luck to one and all!

Infinities, Paul Smith, 2016

   2016.

   It’s kinda been the worst, right?

   There’s been Prince and David Bowie, Agent Carter, the Poussey Riot in Orange is the New Black, Harambe, a country divided by a toxic referendum vote and numerous acts of unspeakable violence across the globe. Let’s not forget England’s inert performances in the European Championship, the return of backwards baseball caps and, if you forgive me the portmanteau, the emergence of HiddleSwift.

   Some mornings getting out of bed is hard – I’m worried if I log onto Twitter at any point, something horrible will have happened. Will I have to read another report of alt-right creeps racially abusing women for the crime of appearing in highly enjoyable family films? Will Boris Johnson have been allowed to open his mouth in public again?

   Thankfully, then, doom and gloom isn’t to be found everywhere. There are, if we look hard enough, rays of dappled positivity shining upon us - Jenny Lewis’ surprise new album, the wonderful BBC documentary about Koko, the ongoing excellence of Marvels’ Agents of SHIELD, the new taste of the rebranded Coke Zero to name but a few.



   To this list of excellent things, I would further add the 2016 stock found in the Infinities Designer Menswear chain (I particularly recommend, dear reader, that if you’re ever in my neck of the words to have a browse around their very handsome Bradford store).

   For gents like myself, and many of the fine readers of this site, the simple joy that comes from the aesthetic appreciation of fine clothing is a valuable one. Thankfully, then, I’m rather lucky to live so close to a store which is absolutely full of some of my favourite brands – from Android Homme to New Balance, Pretty Green to Polo Ralph Lauren and, perhaps best of all, Paul Smith. Whilst I’ve always been a fan of the brand, the current range found in their PS By Paul Smith collection may perhaps be my favourite as of yet.



   To illustrate this post, I’ve included (as I’m sure you can see) photographs of myself sporting a Burn Logo t-shirt kindly provided to me by Inifinties from the aforementioned collection and one which I think acts as a rather nice metonym for the entire PS By Paul Smith range. It’s a sleek, smart and bold T-shirt which bursts with colour too and is highly representative of the bold style synonymous with Paul Smith. 

   It should be noted also, however, that whilst the sartorial selection I’m modelling here boasts a rather vivid and large graphic print embellishment, encompassing almost the entirety of the front of the piece, the range also features a number of more subtle designs for those with more restrained tastes. Regardless of one's personal preference on this issue, it is indisputable that the Paul Smith signature is, as always, a stamp of quality.


   Those then, like myself, who are fans of Paul Smith will also be enthused to know that, whilst there is a wide array of T-shirts and informal items like the one I’ve very professionally adorned for the post, Infinities also stock the more formal end of the PS collection – pleasingly, too, these each add something of a contemporary twist to what, in other hands, could be more staid or sober wardrobe items. Take, for example, this spray print shirt – currently reduced by 62% to just £50, it’s a must-have for anyone looking to add unorthodox sheen to their day-to-day wear.

   As you may be able to tell from my gushing superlatives above, Infinites is kind of my bag. If it’s not yours too, then I ask you simply – why not? 2016 might be quite terrible but you should do yourself a favour and make it a bit brighter for yourself!

Why I Love Scotland

   For years my memory served me poorly.

   I remembered, inaccurately as it transpired, that as English roads blur into Scottish ones something remarkable happens to the colours of the world – greens and blues bleed into one another, a murky grey dominates the horizon.

   Yet, as I head to spend a week of my summer on a Caledonian coast, I realise I was wrong all along.

   I may have been fortunate that my trip coincided with a defiant sun radiating down upon the nation, or that the ominous grey clouds which I recalled inhabiting the Scottish sky with perpetuity had taken a rare break too. More than likely, though, in the years since I lived here I’ve finally learnt how to look at things rather than simply to observe them, to feel the magnificence all around us. It may have been a decade since I left but, in many ways, I’m much younger now than I was back then.



   To view Scotland anew was to be amazed – the serenity of the place and the tranquility of the sky which blanketed me felt fantastic in the literal sense of the word. The peace and calm of the coast, as far away as imaginable from the city life I lead, was astounding and staggering – whilst holidays are often used to re-energise our bones, to give us a rest from the humdrum repetition of working life, this was something even greater. My week-long stay at The Tack Room, a fairy-tale house near Cocksburnpath booked through Sykes Cottage, was truly revitalising and galvanising.



   Whilst nearby towns were easily accessible, Dunbar (where I spotted some seals!) and North Berwick being two of the most prominent, the highlight of the trip was the remote cottage itself. Staring out of the window was truly remarkable. In the foreground, tiny and delicate birds fluttered by with regularity - sometimes in synchronous swarms, other times with free abandon. Harvests reached for the heavens, swaying from side-to-side in the delicate sea-breeze.


   Further afield the sky and ocean seemed to stretch into infinity, each telling stories as the night turned to day – bright red hues echoing nightly outwards as the evenings surrendered and mornings greeting us with the stark, clean clarity of primary colours shining with youthful vigour. The cacophony of urban life disappears whilst staying here – the gentle songs of nature, a rush of wind or the daily melodies of a choir of early birds, are the only noises likely to touch us. They are as welcome as they are lovely.


   If, like me, you often find the hustle and bustle, the daily grind, sometimes getting you down, I can’t recommend highly enough a trip to the Tack Room. It’s a place to go, gather your thoughts, to appreciate the beauty in the world, and to completely de-stress. You can, of course, use your stay to experience some further Caledonian delights – the Scottish Sea Bird Centre and East Links Farm are both close by and comes hugely recommended from this writer – but it’s the retreat to equanimity I most heartily approve. Even the beach, a five minute saunter on quiet paths and secrets tunnels, is a quiet place of simple, understated wonder.

   I recall how I used to remember Scotland, all the colours I couldn't or wouldn't see, and I swear to myself I'll never grow so old again.


Bachelor Games Film Review


   I'm quite certain that each of the male readers of this post will have been there - caught in a moment on a Stag Do when you realise everything has gone just a little bit awry. What may have begun as an evening full of well natured hi-jinx and jocular japes ends up a million miles from anything which could be described as "fun". Laddish banter gets replaced by an air of foreboding menace and everybody hates one another with alcohol-powered intensity. The stag, dressed as a human hot dog, has just tried to headbutt a gargantuan bouncer, one who is as wide as he is tall. Tears and beer-stains have ruined our specially-printed #StagSquad T-shirts and no one can remember the way back to the Newcastle Premier Inn we're all staying at.


   Bachelor Games, the latest film by Edward McGown, takes the worst stag story you can think of and multiplies the terror exponentially. What's the worst thing that could happen? Well, since you asked, quite a lot actually....

   The movie, one which is coincidentally structured very similarly to this year's found footage biblical horror JeruZalem, focuses on the tale of some very laddish lads as they take a bachelor weekend in the mountains of Argentina. If, like me, South American mountain ranges immediately remind you of the cannibal-survival film Alive, then the setting alone is enough to get one's blood pumping full of dread. Yet, as we see, the horror here permeates from a lot more than just the location.


   Our five would-be heroes begin their weekend as one may suspect the majority of these get-aways do. Copious beer, strippers and testosterone-fuelled aggression power the quintet through their first night of debauchery. It is the next day, however, when everything truly begins to unwind. McGown reveals to us the true nature of the relationships within the group, the underlying lies, jealousy and secrets which hold them together and equally threatens to tear them apart. The group are put at further risk with the introduction of an unexpected evil which puts their very lives at risk. If you think dealing with a stag-inflicted hangover is terrible, try adding a supernatural element known as "The Hunter" to the mix too.


   The film winningly takes a recognisable handful of characters, ones who speak to each other with Inbetweeners-esque language, and puts them in a rather alien situation. Whilst the fivesome have previously used their wiles and wits to primarily find creative ways in insulting one another, the crew are soon drawing on survival instincts they didn't know they had. The desperation of the situation challenges each of them to grow up and confront the literal and figurative demons which exist among them. Its a quite clever metaphor which is, pleasingly, not hammered home.


   Whilst there are a few far-fetched plot devices, such as the reason for the crew making their way to the isolated wilderness for the "celebrations", Bachelor Games is a generally well-constructed and shot slow burning, if not overly substantial, thriller. Although this writer preferred the early, character-driven scenes in the movie - in which we get to meet our protagonists - horror aficionados will equally find enjoyment here in the manner in which numerous genres and genre references cross-pollinate in front of an aesthetically pleasing backdrop.

Bachelor Games is available on iTunes from 8th July

The Bluebeards Revenge - Making Bad Guys Look Good

   They say it is possible to judge someone by the company they keep. So, being introduced to The Bluebeards Revenge as an official marketing partner of the much anticipated Suicide Squad is potentially great testament for the FHM Award Winning brand.

   The Bluebeards Revenge, who proclaim they've been "Making bad guys look good since 2010", indeed seem to be the perfect collaborator to team with for the forthcoming Warner Bros release. The movie, which features an array of DC's most iconic and aesthetically bold figures, matches TBR in terms of tone and rebellious branding also. This is great synergy.

   To celebrate the partnership, too, the grooming gurus are going all out and running a competition in which they are offering the opportunity to attend a private screening to one lucky squad - a rather wonderful prize I'm sure you'll agree. For full details and to enter: click here. If you win, be sure to remember who told you about this fantastic competition in the first place!

   So, after my discovery of the brand through their partnership with the forthcoming summer blockbuster, I was intrigued to learn whether the products themselves were as impressive as the swaggering and masculine designs which feature throughout their ranges: Were they set to be all style and no substance (like Batman v Superman)? Or are TBRs products as cool, suave and winning as my instincts assumed (like Iron Man 3)?

bottle of Bluebeards Revenge Pre-Shave Oil

   I'm pleased as punch and happy as Larry to report that The Bluebeards Revenge delivers in spades. For this writer there are three different types of shaving experience - the disastrous (usually experienced between 15-18, lots of cuts, bum fluff left on face); the perfunctory (most shaves); and the fantastic. My shaving experience with TBR fell easily at the higher end of the latter category - my skin was left smooth as can, revitalised and re-energised also.

   The brand's deluxe kit - currently available at just £34.99 - come with two highly enthusiastic thumbs up. Featuring pre-shave oil, shaving cream, a post-shave balm and a "Doubloon" bristle brush (plus a nice bonus of an antiperspirant deodorant), there's all you could possibly need for a decent shave and is a cost (and time) effective way to spruce one's appearance up.

bluebeards revenge shaving cream packaging

   Whilst there are no inventions here aimed at revolutionising the wheel (these are straight forward shaving products), what must be noted here is the high quality of each item. The paraben-free cream is easy to apply and takes only a small amount to lather on sufficiently - its only when pulling a razor across one's skin, though, is it possible to tell just how densely concentrated the cream is. It would take some effort to damage yourself with this applied yet, once finished, I was also incredibly impressed by how smooth to the touch my face felt.

   The absolute best product here - found in a box in which each item rates much higher than simply proficient - is the post-shave balm. As mentioned above, whilst I found the quality of the shave to be almost immaculate (removing all my facial hair without even a hint of a burn), applying the cooling agent upon completion was a sensation I'll simply cherish for some time. Featuring both Witch Hazel and Aloe Vera, the balm has a restorative quality which nourishes the skin and its appearance and, more than that, provides the instant gratification of an alluring aroma. The soothing sensation, as the balm seeps into one's skin is certainly not without its charm too.

Bluebeards Revenge Post-shave balm

   It should be noted that The Bluebeards Revenge also stock a multitude of gift sets which include cut-throat razors and other up-scale barbershop items. Whilst I've previously enjoyed a number of cut-throat experiences on my travels (I particularly recommend The Art of Shaving if you ever find yourself in Las Vegas - its the best I've had yet), I'd previously been too scared to try such a feat at home. TBR, however, may just have given me the confidence to expand my horizons in the future - they're a brand I trust. I can definitely see why they're the bad guy's choice.

bluebeards revenge deodaorant

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