What I think of Harry and his shaving products

The team over at Harry’s recently approached me and asked if I’d like to review some of their shaving gear. Free stuff? Well of course Harry, send it on over!

They kindly sent me a “Truman set” to try out. Being a new dad, shaving is fairly low on my list of priorities, so this review has taken the better part of a month to write, simply because I haven’t had the chance to use the razors all that much! This point is important to my review because this meant that I often had a good amount of stubble or growth on my face when I used the razor.

First of all, the presentation of their gear is top notch. Everything is done with class and you feel like you’ve bought some really premium products, even though you’re not paying outrageous prices. The Truman set is only $15 and they imply that it will last up to three months (depending on your preference on when you like to replace your blades), so you’re looking at about $5/mo. Incidentally, Dollar Shave Club’s mid-tier products run at $6/mo, so it’s even a little cheaper than the guys that pride themselves on cheap blades for all.

Free yourself from the Sodastream monopoly

We’ve owned a SodaStream for a few years because my wife loves soda water. We don’t actually drink any soda but she just likes to use it to carbonate water. It touts itself as a cheaper alternative to buying fizzy drinks at the store but after a few CO2 refills it quickly becomes apparent that it’s not saving you quite the amount of money that you had hoped for.

Let’s take a look at the numbers. A Sodastream refill contains 14.5oz of CO2 which is apparently enough to carbonate 60l of water and it costs $15.That’s 25¢/l of water. This compares with $1 for a 2l bottle of seltzer water (50¢/l) at the store. A 50% savings isn’t bad, but when you factor in the need to go to a special store to get the CO2 refill or to have it shipped to you, the hassle and the cost quickly gets eaten up and becomes moderate at best.

Is it any wonder America is overweight?

Convenience, cars, cholesterol and carbohydrates are so pervasive in American society that it really is no wonder that America is so overweight.

Urban sprawl is rampant and forces people to live such distances from their place of employment that jumping in the car is the only viable option.

However, to see just how little health is engineered or considered in all areas of American society, we need only to look at a recent safety tip we were given at work, where we were advised to “avoid using the stairs to prevent falling down them”. While we’re at it, we should probably avoid walking so that we don’t trip and we ought not to exercise in case it raises our pulse rate and elevates our risk of cardiac arrest.

Come on America, you’re better than that. Grow up and take responsibility for your own actions. Take your health into your own hands and own it. Live a little and maybe even live dangerously by taking the stairs.

No more face washing

For the past 3 months, following on from a trial that my wife did, I have stopped washing my face with soap and a washcloth.

Before you start freaking out, this does not mean that I have thrown personal hygeine to the wind: I am instead opting to wipe my face with a wetted konjac sponge and no cleanser.

Dew Puff is the brand of konjac sponge that I use and I’m very happy with them. They last about 3 months and they’re made from the root of the konjac plant: a material which, when wetted, becomes very smooth and sponge-like.

Don’t fret over a diagnosis of complete praevia

Last August, we found out that we were pregnant with our second child, Jack. To both get a better idea of when we could expect him and to ascertain his gender, we went for an ultrasound in November when we got a firmer due date and confirmation that we were expecting Jack and not “Maggie”.

What we didn’t find out during the exam, but which came later after the doctor had reviewed the ultrasound imagery in the days following the exam, is that Martina had complete praevia (previa – American English).

Praevia is a condition that means the placenta is covering the cervix. For those who need a basic biology lesson, the uterus (womb) contains both the foetus and the placenta which sustains the baby. The two are connected by the umbillical cord and the placenta is attached to the uterine wall, where it passes blood, oxygen and nutrients back and forth between the mother and the baby.

Thug Kitchen Cookbook

If you’re not familiar with Thug Kitchen, I first wrote about them about 18 months ago.

They’re a pro-vegan blog that doesn’t take any bullshit. They don’t mince their words and their vulgar and tough-guy approach to telling it how it is resonates with a huge swathe of people that think that eating vegan is for hippies.

We’ve been laughing along and cooking along with them ever since we heard about them and when they said they were writing a cookbook, we were quite excited.

Convenience vegan

I’m coining a new term to describe my attitude towards vegetarianism and veganism: convenience vegan.

I agree that eating a vegan diet, rich in whole foods is one of the best and most sensible things you can do for your health. I started my journey towards being a vegan when my wife became vegan 4 or 5 years ago. Since she was eating vegan, I was pretty much going to have to start eating vegan, at least for home-cooked meals.

Once we started cooking vegan, it became apparent that it wasn’t as boring or burdensome as one might expect, especially when there are such great transition products as Gardein.

Going completely vegan has always been hard for me though if for no other reason than that as a result of my job, I am often in some fairly remote places where it is not easy to come by a vegan meal, so in such situations I’ll “allow” myself to have a vegetarian meal because there’s no other sensible alternative. I’m not opposed to this because, whereas my wife and children are “ethical vegans”, I am more of a “dietary vegan” and so giving me the leeway to have a 99% vegan diet is still a huge win for me, for the animals and for the environment.

And this is what a “convenience vegan” means to me. Where it’s possible and not overly burdensome to do so, I will eat vegan. Where getting a vegan meal either means driving 20 miles to the nearest Taco Bell for a plain bean burrito or finding the nearest field and grazing, I will give myself a break and go for the much-more-available vegetarian option.

Reflecting back on the last 30 years (I’m 30)

30 years ago today, aside from the first ever episode of the most popular British soap Eastenders airing, I was born.

I absolutely couldn’t care less that I’m 30. I haven’t been dreading this day, nor do I attribute any sort of aging to it, any more so than any other day. However, a “n0” birthday is a milestone that only comes along once a decade so it seems like a perfect time for some reflection.

The last 10 years

Since February 2010 (the last 5 years), quite a number of things have changed in my life. I became a professional engineer, I became a father, I have another child on the way, I started my own business which is now thriving and I moved house 3 times.

In the last 10 years, even more has changed. In February 2005, I was in my second year at university, was single, living with my Mum in the UK and I was working for the NHS. Over the next 5 years, I would meet and fall in love with Marti, graduate from university, become a Christian, move to the States to be with her, get married 60 days later, battle 8 months of being unable to work before getting my green card, a job, my driver’s license, a car and our first apartment in the space of about 4 weeks.

Reflection on who I am

Me in December 2005 - the first time I ever visited Marti
Me in a decidedly emo pose in December 2005 – the first time I ever visited Marti

As I think about the man I am today, where I’ve come from and the boy I used to be, I’ve noticed quite a few specific observations about how I’ve changed in particular and more general observations about how we as humans mature (or don’t).

The first thing is that nothing is given. Not only is nothing guaranteed but you’ll change in ways and do things that you would have never believed, conceived or thought possible.

An American’s perspective on using Britain’s “Socialised medicine”

I saw this article come across my news feed the other day, and being a Brit living in America, it piqued my interest especially given my love of the NHS (that’s the National Health Service to you non-Brits).

It’s written by an American who lives in the UK and it explains his own experience of both healthcare systems.

I think you’d be hard-pushed to find an American who doesn’t believe the healthcare system is broken (though they may have quite different opinions on how it should be fixed).

On the contrary, the NHS is much-loved in the UK and is far from the third-world car-crash that many Americans perceive it to be.

Asking for a friend

Is it possible to get permanent nasal hair removal?…

I my friend would call Ideal Image but I he is too embarrassed to ask.