January in London: Claridges

A few highlights from my recent London trip; firstly, an old English friend (a hotel I dearly love) that I have not visited for some time. For any English man this is like steeping into our heritage in every way and I believe is uniquely offered by Claridges.

claridges london

Whilst I don’t stay here on a regular basis I always visit. It is a wonderful place for lunch, afternoon tea or just to simply sit at the bar with a cocktail. The staff are a delight and always pay special attention to a familiar face. You can take any nationality here and they will be impressed with the history in so many different ways.

Some of the highlights:

Fumior Bar

claridges london

A delightful spot to take drinks with even Mom, friends or a date:

Cocktails are spectacular, service is done with such perfection and the crowd is never disappointing.

If timing allows for afternoon tea or lunch, check out:

Reading Room and the Foyer

claridges london

My Grandmother used to visit Claridges when studying over sixty years ago and I always feel a connection to my own history as well as that of London when visiting this place. £35 pre fixe lunch provides the perfect setting for a truly English part of your day.

Same Sex Couples in Marketing

same sex marketing

Recently while strolling along the streets of the city, I was delighted to see two recent examples of same sex marketing. Whilst I realize that New York is, perhaps, one of the most accepting places to live (from a gay perspective) in the world I was still delighted to see two large U.S. organizations using gay couples in their advertising.

Aside from the fact that there are a plethora of stunning gay couples to choose from, I feel it addresses the acceptance of gay couples in a delightful way. Banana Republic ran the advert below and I felt it displayed gay lifestyle and unions in a very everyday way. Each day I walked past the store I was reminded of how accepted the issue is.

With gay marriage/unions on the agenda around the world, either we see counties threatening imprisonment and death or more countries accepting this what should be a non-issue.

During a comedian’s set, I once heard the statement ‘I have no idea why some people have such an issue with gay marriage, it is not like it is compulsory’. This is such a powerful statement and we must applaud companies like Tiffany and Banana Republic for posting the adverts below and above (one relaxing in the park and the other announcing the engagement of a same sex couple).

When considered, marketing in this way is very smart for corporations! You have a huge market in this sector with people willing to spend on many of the items these companies have to offer.

I sincerely hope to see more companies follow this approach in the coming years.

same sex marketing

British Men Versus American: Saying I Love You

the words I love you

As an English man in New York, I am often asked if I prefer New York or London, and I always find this such a complex question. I am lucky that I get to call New York my home and still spend a reasonable amount of time in London. Both cities have a great deal to offer and spending time between the two is a great luxury.

My personal situation aside, there are so many Anglo American differences, many have written books on the subject. One I particularly like is Anglo File.

One of the key differences, which I see in action on a daily basis, can be summarized as follows: 8-3-1. For those who are not familiar with this rather strange abbreviation, it means 8 letters 3 words one meaning, ‘I Love you’.

I am not sure of the history behind this, however it is almost impossible for an English man to say this very simple set of words.

Whilst I believe Americans always overuse these words I am always surprised at how the English manage in any relationship without using the phrase more often.

Family

Few English families (to my knowledge) share these words on a regular basis. During my childhood I have no recollection of my mother or father saying they love me. Americans would find this tremendously strange, however I know my parents did and do love me deeply and don’t feel it needs to be confirmed every five minutes. On the other side of the Atlantic, American families seem to say it several times every day at times that to an English man seem completely unnecessary.

Friends

English friends rarely, if ever, confirm their love for each other. I don’t believe I have ever uttered the words to a friend (guy or girl). American friends say it so frequently when together. ‘I love you, but you should not be dating them’. ‘I love you, but you are too emotional’ etc.

In summary, the American approach is at one end of the scale and the English are at the other.

I am often reminded of the fact that words can be our most useful and most harmful asset. Words have the ability to be hugely offensive/damaging and also hugely reassuring/forgiving.

Over the history of the world, words (particularly considering the words used for a particular situation) have created relationships, started and ended wars and controlled our daily life and evolution.

Choose your words careful. Whilst we are focusing on the words ‘I Love you’ consideration of the 26 letters that gives us this power and choice for the way we communicate should be used and considered correctly.

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How to Find Good Sportswear

Moving to New York City presents you with a challenge of where to keep fit. Given the harsh seasons it can often be too hot or too cold to run outside, thus you are left with the Gym. Like everything in New York the price is high and the completion is intense!

good sportswear

The key question is how to look the part! Good sportswear is difficult to find in any sense of style no matter what the season. One advantage the harsh New York winter brings is a few high street fashion brands creating sportswear with style at a reasonable cost.

I recently discovered Club Monaco’s limited but excellent outerwear section. The fusion of fabrics is very unusual and creates a unique style. The Scuba Sweatshirt below retails at $149 and with their 20% discount will have you looking perfect in any Gym for $129!!

New York: Excellent Winter Restaurant Choices

I wanted to write a little about some key restaurants that I took refuge in over the holidays. New York has so many options, however there are some that continue to blow my mind when it comes to food atmosphere and quality.

nyc restaurants

Commerce

This is simply a west village Gem. Situated on the delightful Commerce Street you step back into the Art Deco period. Caution: it gets very crowded and the service is not perfect, however you simply can’t go wrong with the food. Any occasion, with you mother, boyfriend or girlfriend, or just hanging out, Commerce is the perfect spot! Try the Devil Eggs, Avocado Toast and the Truffle Chicken!

nyc restaurants

Piora

Formal, inviting and one step away from a Michelin star, this is a high-end restaurant and must be tried. Piora is a tiny spot in a town house on Hudson Street.

The food, presentation and staff are excellent. The menu is limited, however the dishes are always in top form. Try the monkey bread whilst you are looking at the menu and finish with a banana rum at the end of the night. I will leave the rest to you and you will not be disappointed.

nyc restaurants

 Beechers

Alert for all cheese lovers loving in New York: this is a hidden spot with great drinks and as much cheese as you can consume, hidden in the basement of the cheese shop on the corner of 20th street and Broadway.

A dark and vibrant atmosphere with the occasional hum of a passing subway, this is the perfect date spot. Beware there menu is limited and not a good option for non cheese lovers.

The Twenty Lunch Experience

With the New Year upon us, I felt compelled to give something back to the community following the holiday season.

homeless in new york

A small group decided that a good place to start would be with the homeless and Hungry on New York City’s streets. We all (myself included) rush around New York taking care of our own lives we fail to see the number of people sitting in doorways and parks going Hungry on a day to basis, so we packed twenty lunches and went around NYC passing them out to the hungry.

Packing twenty lunches and hitting the streets was a true eye opener.

A few interesting points:

  • Firstly, I had no idea how many people were hungry and needing support
  • The individuals were both men and women aged from twenties to their sixties
  • Everybody inquired to the contents of the lunch and wanted to understand what superficially was available
  • People, although they were sitting in a doorway offered what little money they had to make a donation!
  • One guy actually informed me he could not eat my turkey sandwich as although homeless tries to live a vegetarian life. Shocked, he concluded by taking the lunch and informing me he would eat everything else and pass the sandwich to somebody else who was hungry that would eat it.

At the end of the twenty lunch experience we felt like we had done a small piece to help the twenty individuals. Small acts like this were well-received and by taking a minute to stop and look who is present in the streets we race through it really opened my eyes as to how fortunate we are.

We will be continuing to do this on a monthly basis and I will report on our experiences.

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Are Male Hair Buns Acceptable in Corporate America?

male hair buns
I truly believe that during your personal time you should display your absolute true colors, however extreme.  Therefore, don’t get me wrong, you should fully explore your personal style and I am fully supportive of the arrival of the male bun!

That said, what you do, wear or portray in the office is an entirely different point.  There are times when you are building your career were it is important know your audience and tame your appearance.

Corporate America is still a conservative boys club and you must choose your attire carefully, thus I don’t personally feel a bun will portray the correct image.  If you are working in the music industry or some modern advertising agency you may get a pass but law firms, public accounting, hedge funds and banks will not see this in a positive light.

male hair buns

David Beckham fails to disappoint in any sense and is a true trend setter.  If you are an international footballer (with the benefit of being tremendously handsome) then you can of course carry off such a look.  In conclusion, sporting this looking in a casual setting is perfectly acceptable and David gives you the perfect example.

Moving to the more formal look then I think it should be avoided.  During your career you need to be taken seriously and there are some that will look badly on such a sense of style.

Bottom line, choose your time to sport this look and be careful.