Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Suits for success - donate your old clothes

Only time for a quickie today - A Suit That Fits is repeating it's 'Suits for Success' campaign from last year, in which people donate unwanted (clean and wearable) suits to charities that distribute them to homeless young people. They then have something to wear for job interviews and stand half a chance of getting their lives back on track.

It (and many others like it) is an excellent cause. Info on drop-off points is here:


Do have a think about donating that suit you no longer wear. You get a £50 tailored suit token by way of return and you may help turn someone's life around.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Spirit gifts for Fathers' Day

I've never been big on Fathers' Day. My mother always insisted - quite correctly, I find - that it is a concoction by a greetings card company and not the deeply-held tradition that Mothers' Day is. Also I haven't had a father since 1984, so it didn't touch me much until my daughter was born.

Many people don't actually mind about the day's origins and would like to get their dads something nice for it. This is why I've been delighted to have the Alexander and James website drawn to my attention. The principle is simple: you verify your age, you order spirit drinks and accessories and it arrives. So far, so admirable e-commerce but mundane.

Premium spirits

I tried the service ordering a 14-year-old single malt (Oban, for what it's worth). This you can get in supermarkets, but you can also source premium, several-hundred-quid tipples. The Johnnie Walker on the left will set you back £475.99, for example.

There would be little point in my spending that much on a bottle of whisky even if I could afford it; I wouldn't know what I was looking for or what I was buying. My £40-odd Oban single malt will do me nicely but if you're feeling flush and your dad's a real connaisseur then this is a good site not just for whiskies but for premium vodkas, gins, rums and of course cocktail accessories.

What I certainly had was a surprise with the speed at which my bottle arrived (two days, never mind the fact that it's not going to be opened for a while, it's one of my favourites) and the packaging. I didn't specify anything fancy but it came well padded (of course) and in Alexander and James' own box, which would be quite good enough to wrap and present as a gift box.

Overall an excellent service with a system that recommends other drinks of similar character so it's a place to explore a little next time you're buying.

Of course LifeOver35 advocates responsible drinking, both for health reasons and social elements - you don't want to drive after touching a single unit, frankly. But then if you're buying one of their premium 'costs hundreds' bottles the chances you're just going to knock it back are pretty remote!

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Steptronic: comfort shoes that look good

OK, first the nasty bit - I have achieved an ingrown toenail. It's simple enough, you cut your nail too small and it goes unpleasant.

So, all my decent work shoes - Church's and soforth - suddenly don't fit. It would be wrong to say that the pair of Steptronic boots I was sent were designed specifically for that, but I do find them wearable and that's something.

This probably won't apply to most readers (I mean, why would it?) - so let's see what the PR blurb says about the construction and why these are comfortable:

"All Steptronic Footwear has a patented 100% flexible rubber sole, it's made up of ridges at a particular 45 degree angle that ensures that the shoes bends with your foot at all times, and goes back to shape easily. They also have a sheepskin lining, not the furry side as your feet would be too hot, the sheepskin is within the inner of the shoe, ensuring bounce, comfort and breathability. The company boast that they are the most comfortable shoes you will ever wear."

They are indeed very comfortable. But, as the PR person comments, the above description will leave you expecting something hideous and grandfather-ish. Here's a picture:

This is the Aldershot Black style. I went for the Bassett Brown boot. The leather is very soft, they look good with a blue or grey suit but also work with jeans.

Oh, and given the complexity of the construction I think £99 or so per pair is a pretty good price. Given that it's going to be a month or so before I'm back in ordinary boots (no, the nail isn't complicated but my diary won't let me get it seen to before mid-May) I've ordered a pair of black formal boots too.

No, they're not as formal as my usual 'meetings' footwear. But for the price they're going to get me through, and quite honestly the ones I have are a pleasure to wear.