Sartorials, scenics & sustenance

Grooming with Grüum

Subscription boxes are rife at the moment, however being predominately female focused, there isn't necessarily a wide selection of subscriptions available to men. Guys in particular know the drill when it comes to grooming. Our code of conduct comprises of picking old faithfuls again and again because it's saves so much time. With this in mind, in comes Grüum, a Manchester-based skincare subscription service geared towards the everyday gentleman.

Grüum is a minimalistic brand through and through. This simplicity protects you from a bombardment of unpronounceable ingredients commonly found in high-end rivals - instead there lies an honest truth behind the natural ethos it advocates. Governed by Scandinavian ideals, the Grüum brand is overtly plain but has an inherent aim throughout. By requiring every product, ingredient and feature to contribute to the stigma surrounding fuss free skincare, Grüum is rewriting the grooming script men have read for years.

What appeals to me most about the Grüum service, is its horizontal audience. It is targeted at all men in general, not just the select few. Before ordering, you are taken through a survey which deduces the best products for you, a niche standout feature which tailors the subscription to the individual. As a clean-shaven man, I took the survey and here's what Grüum opted to send me:

1. Four Osku razor blades (three spare):

Unified with the Oska razor with one click, the Osku razor blades work in harmony with the razor to create a unifying, easy shave.

2. 'Kóri' - Daily exfoliating wash:

Packed with biodegradable beads, exfoliation has never been friendlier to your face. Aloe Vera and Witch Hazel provide a soothing sensation on your skin, whilst the Orange and Eucalyptus provide a  refreshing wake up call.

3. 'Danne' - Shave gel:

The average gent will spend around 60 hours a year shaving. The natural formation of this shave gel prevents any aggravation on your skin, the perfect sidekick for every shave.

4. 'Kåre' - Daily moisturiser:

The finishing touch to your skincare routine, packed with natural goodness from Chamomile, Rosemary Oil, and Green Tea extract this daily moisturiser will be kind to your skin, revitalising it by locking the goodness in.

5. 'Gösta' - Facial tonic:

Light and zesty, the Grüum facial tonic keeps bacteria at bay whilst giving your complexion some TLC.  An overlooked hero, this product can make a refreshing change to your appearance.

6. Oska - Razor:

Perfectly balanced, the Oska razor provides an icy glide over any face. Reassuringly weighty, it sits comfortably in your hand for a completely controlled shave.

Grüum adheres to three principles: functionality, beauty and affordability. I ordered my kit at the beginning of July and I have used every product daily. The change in my complexion has been astonishing, my skin feels different as a result of using each product in harmony with one another. Grüum factors your facial needs and delivers excellence right to your door. From the ordering process through to product usage, I wasn't blind sighted by any unknown ingredients or confused as to the purpose of each item. Grüum's simplicity has trumped all current skincare products I use.

Have you tried Grüum before?

Exploring the Moroccan Souks

This is the second instalment of my recent trip to Morocco. Last Christmas, I was surprised by Joe with a short stay in the Red City (aka Marrakesh), which is famously renown for its maze-like medinas, meticulous mosaic artistry and its more than manic markets. Despite being there for only two days, I was really excited to discover a small sliver of a continent I'd never visited before. One of our days was spent relaxing in the beautiful spa in La Mamounia, which can be read here.

We flew from Gatwick mid-morning, (regrettably on only three hours sleep due to a serious Eurovision commitment from the previous night) and landed slightly after midday. There are quite literally thousands of places to stay when you visit Marrakesh, however, the general consensus pointed us towards to the 'riad route'.

Riads embody the architectural essence of Morocco, with a single deceiving door concealing a hidden sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of the outside world. They typically open inwards to reveal a central courtyard, which is surrounded by bedrooms and communal areas for guests to use at their leisure. Not only are riads the go-to when it comes to accommodation in Marrakesh, they are also extremely affordable with some coming in at just £20 per night with breakfast included. Our riad of choice was the 'Riad El Kenz' - a stone's throw away from all the touristy places both Joe and I were eager to explore.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by a warm welcome from the weather, and an even warmer welcome from the riad owners. We sat and drank traditional Moroccan tea, whilst they told us some of the best sights to see in Marrakesh. One area in particular Joe and I were certain we wanted to visit was the Moroccan souks, where haggling is an extreme sport for merchants who have all kinds of goods to sell.

"Take an immediate right out of the riad, take the second right and then take the fourth left. Follow the road down and keep to the left as you enter into a square. Once you're past the school, slowly veer off to the right and there will be a small alley where you can enter into the souks."

Marrakesh is split into two, the old town and the new. Simple enough - or so it seemed at the time. When we were given directions to get to the Souks, we didn't anticipate how difficult it would be to actually follow them. Our riad was situated in the old town, where each road joins into one another, forming an enormous labyrinth towered by red buildings, overlooked by orange arches and tailored with turns at almost every step. Similarly to the back streets of Marrakesh, the souks are marbled over miles across the city and are completely unmappable.

When entering these man-made markets, it's clear that the primary purpose is for you to get lost in them. Nevertheless, any fears of not making out in one piece are immediately extinguished by the sheer vibrancy and energy which emanate from within the Souk. The spectrum of colours from each stall and it's neighbouring brothers and sisters are truly astonishing. We started out in an area where the markets were predominantly clothing, but we soon found ourselves navigating through thousands of stalls displaying everything from beautiful wooden craftsmanship to blacked out dens illuminated by only brass lights.

At first, the markets can be slightly intimidating, but the best advice I can give is to have fun with it. Whilst researching Marrakesh, I read that tourists will more than likely be harassed and pressured to buy something but I found that this wasn't the case at all. There is no animosity behind pushy sales strategies and it can be brushed off simply with a laugh alongside a firm no thank you. The locals are extremely friendly and helpful. If we were ever off the beaten track, we would ask a stall-owner to point to the Jemaa el-Fnaa and we would be on our way.

Coupled with La Mamounia, our stay in Marrakesh was nothing short of incredible - We ended up spending almost seven hours in the Souks, mesmerised by all of the wonderful art, trinkets, spices and food.

Have you been to the Souks before?
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