Saturday, 17 March 2018

Bargain Hunger–BassBuds In Ear Headphones with Hands Free Mic on Sale

BassBuds Noise Isolating In Ear Headphones
I’ve had a pair of these BassBuds in ear headphones for several years and found them to be the absolute best for isolating noise around me and clear sound.  They’re not sold as noise isolating, but having used them on a plane many times they beat my other inexpensive in ear headphones hands down. 

BassBuds Packaging

They’re sold as ‘fashion accessories’ because they come in lots of different colours embellished with crystals, you’ll even find them in solid gold with Swarovski crystals, and the packaging is seriously nice – they’re packaged in a box with a bag and spare earbuds but what sells them to me is the sound, the rest comes afterwards.

Normally priced at around at £40 the pair in the colour above is currently priced at £19.95.  If you’re in the market for a new pair of in ear headphones you might like to give these a try – they’re not making promises regarding noise isolating but I find them to be excellent.  You can find them in purple, gold, blue, green, gold, silver and colour mixtures, some of which are reduced a bit, but the best price is for the orange ones…….

Thursday, 15 March 2018

10 of the Best Tech Gadgets and Essentials for Glamorous Travellers

Because we all take our tech with us everywhere, and want to be charged up, listening to music, watching a movie on the train, find directions at any given moment here is my list of tech gadgets and essentials you’re never going to want to be without particularly when you’re on the move.

Lenovo Ideapad Laptop

Lightweight Laptop
The latest laptops are lighter than ever thanks to improved design and SSD - even if you don’t want to fork out for a Surface Pro or MacBook Air.  If you’re looking around choose something like Lenovo’s Ideapad which is very fast, light and slim and extremely easy to take around with you.

I like a laptop that’s ultra portable without having a ridiculously small screen.  I also like the way this one looks.

Belkin Portable Charger

Portable Phone or Charger
I know, I go on and on about these, but no one should travel without one, glamorous or otherwise.  My most useful and also lightweight battery charger is Belkin’s Pocket Power Portable Charger.  It comes in silver, rose gold and black and has enough oomph to keep you charged up all day.

Michael Kors Bracelet Smartwatch

Michael Michael Kors Bracelet Smartwatch
If you’re a smartwatch kind of girl but also like the look of your ‘watch as jewellery’ then a smartwatch by Michael Michael Kors is probably going to be your answer for the moment.  Powered by Michael Kors’ Access app, this is designed to work with both Android and iPhone and being battery powered it doesn’t need charging.  It has a built in activity tracker, can call your phone for you, take photos and more. 

This is a Hybrid watch which doesn’t look at all like a smart watch and doesn’t have all the functionality you might want – if you want another choice that still looks like a watch but has more of the tech functionality you might want then check out Michael Michael Kors Sophie Bracelet Smartwatch

Fitbit Alta HR Fitness Tracker

Fitness Tracker
If you don’t want to go down the whole smartwatch route but want to continue wearing your favourite watch (or watches) then Fitbit Alta HR Fitness Tracker is one you should consider, and the one I’ll be moving to when my Fitbit One gives up.

I quite like knowing what my hear rate is when in the gym or on a hill walk, but it’s not essential, and there is a version of this sleek fitness tracker without.  I also like knowing how many ‘floors’ I’ve climbed when walking up a hill, because far more useful than just steps, it’s a picture of how much cardio you’ve really done, rather than just walking around the stores at a leisurely pace and thinking you’re getting the activity benefit.  You are, but in a much smaller way.

Bose Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Bose Wireless Headphones
Having bought these Bose Noise Cancelling headphones a few years back (the wired version) I can only say that I wouldn’t go on any long trip without them.  They’re an investment, but when you think of the number of pairs of inferior headphones you’ve bought and got fed up with these are worth every penny.

They’re brilliant for cutting out noise everywhere, and they come with a really good hard slim case and two charging cables, one to charge them up, and the other to use them wired when you’re in flight.  Once you’ve tried these you won’t want anything else.

Mayhem Mighty Mini Bluetooth Speaker
Mini Bluetooth Speaker
There are lots of mini bluetooth speakers on the market but these by Mayhem not only look good but they’ll make a lot of sound, when you want to share what you’re listening for so pop one in your bag and everyone can listen.  Just keep them charged using the micro USB cable and you’ll get hours of sound.

Lipault Travel Tote with a Luggage Sleeve

Lightweight Travel Tote with Suitcase Handle Sleeve
Whether you’re travelling by train or plane this bag becomes indispensable as soon as you start to use it.  I use mine wherever I go, to put my tablet in, mini handbag in and anything else I want to be instantly accessible when I’m travelling and my carry-on is stuffed in an overhead bin or Eurostar luggage rack.

The best thing about these bags, is not just that they’re light and elegant, but that all important luggage sleeve slips over the handles of your wheelie when you’re moving around.  My favourite brand is without a doubt Lipault Paris, which you can now happily find at House of Fraser, online at least.  You can also find Lipault at Selfridges.

Horizon Studios Smart Carry On Suitcase

Smart Carry-on Suitcase
This smart carry on suitcase by Horizon Studios really is smart, as it has a removable 10,000 mAh charger accessible from the case itself or removed for portable travel.  Most suitcases now have a TSA lock, but it’s the charger and the built in USB ports which make it unique.  Watch out for more ‘smart’ luggage, but for now this sets the standard, and it’s less expensive than other premium hard sided carry on bags.

Dynotag Smart Luggage Recovery Tag

Smart Luggage Tag
This is another travel tech area that is going to be developed much further, but for the moment, from some smart suitcases having built in GPS to the much cheaper option of the smart GPS enabled luggage tag this is your best bet.

Dynotag do two versions, an aluminium smart bag recovery tag for your hand luggage such as carry-on bags and wheelies, and the steel smart recovery tag above, which is designed for your check-in bag. 

Digital Luggage Scale

Digital Luggage Scale
Having turned up at Albuquerque a few years back with a bag just slightly overweight and had to fork out about $100 I never travel anywhere without these digital luggage scales.  Not glamorous? maybe, Essential?  Definitely

Monday, 12 March 2018

What to Wear to the Gym - New Feel-Good Fitness Fashion by Superdry Sport

It doesn’t matter what you wear to the gym, but if you want some feel-good inspiration to get you moving then this would be a good time to check out Superdry’s new Sport collection, and if you haven’t yet heard of Superdry then it’s about time you did – this is one of the fastest growing modern casual brands around, offering high quality contemporary casual gear along the lines of Abercrombie but at a lower price point – and it’s more accessible. 

Superdry Sport Core Gym Zip HoodieSuperdry Sport Space Dye LeggingsSuperdry Powerfade JacketSuperdry Sport Tracker jacket

The brand’s USP is that it mixes Americana and Japanese graphics with what they call British Style, but I would call getting close to the style of American Eagle, Abercrombie and Hollister in the US.  You may think this makes it a ‘young’ brand, and essentially it is, but there are so many pieces that would suit/fit anyone who likes their casual and fitness fashion a little different for the norm such as jackets, puffers and running jackets, hoodies and fitness leggings.

Superdry Tokyo Training Tight LeggingsSuperdry Flex HoodieSuperdry Hooded WindsprinterSuperdry Gym Tech Luxe Zip Hoodie

Some of the pieces have quite obvious logos which you may not like, but which sets them apart from the rest.  Once you start buying into Superdry it’s hard to stop, as I know only too well.

Superdry Gym Tech Core HoodieSuperdry Sport fitted Mesh TopSuperdry Sport LeggingsHooded Windcheater Jacket
My favourite pieces are always the wind jackets and both the normal collection hoodies and tech hoodies (lighter weight and more fitted).  The main collection, which contains everything from jeans to tops to out-on the-town jackets and puffer coats crosses over with Sport, depending on what you want to do.  As far as athleisure is concerned this brand is perfect.

It’s also perfect, for the moment, if you travel with your sports kit, as it’s far rarer in places like the US and Europe than it is here.  If you want to be asked ‘where did you get that’ as you walk through the Tuileries Gardens in Paris, then this is the brand to wear.  But don’t expect that rarity to last………..

Monday, 5 March 2018

15 Pairs of New Silver, Gold and Glitter Sneakers Sneakers from Gucci to Puma

My footwear du jour unless it’s absolutely impossible is a pair of luxe sneakers.  These are not to be mistaken for trainers but for footwear I can wear out and about, to the store, shopping in the city and pretty much anywhere heels are not ‘obligatory’.  Although I’m not sure heels are totally obligatory anywhere today, thanks to the trend for athleisure, or the wearing of fitness clothes everywhere but the gym.

Axel Arigato Glittered Leather SneakersJimmy Choo Suede and Leather Glitter Trainers or SneakersCarvela Bronze Sneakers or TrainersGucci Glittered Leather SneakersGeox Tymar glitter Sneakers or Trainers

If you want to be seriously comfortable wherever you walk then an investment into a new pair of luxe sneakers is definitely called for, and if you, like me, like all things (most things) that glitter and sparkle then you’ll be in your element, as that’s what this season’s most comfortable footwear is about.

Geox Silver Leather Jaysen SneakersConverse Glittered Canvas SneakersMichael Michael Kors Glitter and Leather Sneakers TrainersPuma Glittered Leather Platform Sneakers or TrainersGolden Goose Distressed Suede and Leather Sneakers

I’ve always wanted to find a pair of sneakers that will do double duty as trainers for the gym as well but it just doesn’t seem to work.  You need different footwear for different things.  Your sneakers should be fine for walking a few miles, even uphill, but for the gym you almost certainly need more support and more cushioning and in any case if you’re a regular fitness addict you’re unlikely to want to wear your new glittery silver sneakers to the gym.

Ash Magic Star Silver Leather SneakersSuperga Rose Gold Sequin SneakersAlexander McQueen Glittered Leather Exaggerated Sole SneakersCarvela Lax Trainers or SneakersTed Baker Silver Low Top Sneakers Trainers

Which brings me to the difference between sneakers and trainers.  Trainers were originally derived from ‘training shoes’ – I have to begin by stating the obvious. 

Here’s what Wikipedia says about the word ‘sneakers.

The word was already in use at least as early as 1887, as the Boston Journal made reference to "sneakers" as "the name boys give to tennis shoes." The name "sneakers" originally referred to how quiet the rubber soles were on the ground, in contrast to noisy standard hard leather sole dress shoes. Someone wearing sneakers could "sneak up" on someone while someone wearing standards could not’

So now you know.  The real problem is that in the US both gym shoes and casual trainers are called ‘sneakers’.  In the UK normally casual trainers are called sneakers, and trainers are for training.  Which would all very well if retailers stuck to it.  Some call sneakers trainers and others vice versa. 
Look for something with a bit of sparkle and just don’t wear them to the gym.  Confused yet?  I know I am………….

Sunday, 4 March 2018

12 of the Best All Weather Rainproof Jackets with Zip-Out Linings - For Running, Hiking and Walking the Dog

If there's one piece of clothing everyone who likes to run, walk or hike outside needs it's a rainproof jacket.  Couple that with the versatility of a zip out fleece or fine quilted lining and you've got a versatile, all year round jacket.

Peter Storm 3 in 1 jacket with Fleece Removable LiningWomens Hi Gear 3 in 1 jacketThe North Face Trimaclimate 3 in 1 JacketColumbia Womens Interchange Jacket

These jackets will work right now, through spring summer and on into next autumn and winter, for walking the dog, braving the cold, going to the stores or going for a run, particularly when you’ve packed your puffer jacket away for the spring and summer months.  The 3-in-1 jacket is excellent for travel as well as you can never get the weather wrong whatever it throws at you.

Jack Wolfskin 3 in 1 Jacket with Quilted removable LiningBerghaus Hydroshell Waterproof 3 in 1 JacketCraghopper 5 in 1 Longer Length Water Resistant JacketBerghaus Island Peak 3 in 1 Jacket
Kathmandu Womens 3 in 1 JacketPeter Storm 3 in 1 JacketSprayway Womens Goretex 3 in 1 jacketBerghaus Hillwalker GoreTex 3 in 1 Jacket

Having bought one of these for walking the moors in Scotland several years ago mine is still doing great duty.  Zip-in the fleece lining and it’s as warm as you could possibly need it.  Take out the lining and you have a shell jacket that is waterproof, windproof and works over everything casual.  Some of the 3 in 1 jackets have padded linings, others fleece, it doesn’t matter, the point is that they will work all year round, and they’re great investments as well.  Some of these are on sale and some are not.  Some will do for town as well as country.

Expect those that are truly waterproof to include Goretex or another brand waterproof membrane such as Berghaus Hydroshell.  And expect those to be a bit more pricy, although this is a great time to pick up last season’s version in the sale.  They're well worth the money.

If you buy a jacket, 3 in 1 or otherwise that states it’s water-resistant but doesn't promise to be 'waterproof' it may not hold off a true downpour.   Something you don't want to find out at the last minute.

Just don’t forget where you put the zip out lining when you take your jacket away for a spring/summer trip.  Been there, done that…most frustrating.