14 Feb 2014

Morning rituals - shaving in style

Somehow the comprehensive ritual of shaving using shaving soap, mug and badger in the morning gives me a great start of the day. The slowness due to the needed love and attention brings confidence and calmness. Much like attending to shoe polishing, only more since the "leather" in question is my own skin.
I use a safety razor and a best badger hair shaving brush from German Mühle - rather natty tools.
An important tool for building the perfect lather from the shaving soap is my pewter shaving mug. Beautifully crafted by English Pewter Company in Sheffield, England.

A beautiful display I think. 

Blades from Derby - smooth cutting edges serves me well as I am prone to irritated skin. 

Arlington Shaving Soap from D.R. Harris & Co., London
I do not intend to make a shaving guide (as they are widely available on the Internet) but still I thought it appropriate to display a few moments from my morning ritual of shaving.

The pewter shaving mug, the badger, and the razor are being warmed by running water while I moisten my face and neck.

Initial step of building the perfect lather is to rub the warm and moist shaving brush in circles on the shaving soap in the wooden bowl. 

When the bubbles become smaller it is time to continue building the lather in the warm shaving mug. 

On days where the skin of my neck is already slightly irritated prior to shaving I prefer the Sandalwood Shaving Cream from Truefitt & Hill over the shaving soap as the cream seems to contain a larger portion of fat protecting the skin even better. I also build the cream into a perfectly warm lather in the shaving mug.

Only recently I aquired the Arlington Pre-shave oil. Presumably wiping the face and neck with this oil might help prepare the beard stubs for shaving. The scent is quite good, but I didn't experience much difference. The pre-shave oil adds to the experience, though. The more gadgets the merrier. 

To anticipate your comments I do plan to get a proper razor like the one below from Cyril & Salter, but before taking the leap into stropping and open razors I would rather have some first hand experience with this from a professional like e.g. Erik Jacobsen in Aarhus, Denmark (www.barberen.com)

Open razor from Cyril  & Salter, seen at The Chap Shop
A few notes on the duties of a Valet from the 1861 Book of Household Management by Mrs. Beeton in regards to shaving: "...All the articles of the toilet should be in their places, the razors properly set and stropped, and hot water ready for use.Gentlemen generally prefer performing the operation of shaving themselves, but a valet should be prepared to do it if required; and he should be a good hairdresser."

In the 1990s ITV series production of P.G.Wodehouse´s Jeeves & Wooster, Jeeves attend to his duties preparing the grooming by filling the shaving mug with hot water from the bath tub.

Jeeves prepairing the bath and the shaving

Badger, mug and soap. I suspect Wooster's mug to be Hallmarked as opposed to my pewter mug.




5 Feb 2014

Cambridge Blue

A few comments on my vintage 1932 Cambridge Fitzwilliam House Athletic Club jacket might be required.
Sportsmen or women at Cambridge University may be awarded with a Full Blue (or just a Blue) - as the sports jacket is called - for competing and winning in University sports at a national level. The prestigious prize is the highest honour bestowed to the sports men and women.
I think it is very nice to think of the great achievements in athletics that lead to the awarding of my Cambridge Blue. Even though I never excelled in any sports myself.
Note: I attended Aarhus University here in Denmark and never Cambridge University :-)



A 1920s party dressed for sports

 Inspired by the 1920s picture of sports attire I posed in my Cambridge Blue, a white shirt, a linen scarf, my cricket pullover and cream moleskin trousers - Jort from SuitSupply.


Spectator shoes from Cheaney & Sons.

Full Blue is awarded for sports like Cricket, Boxing and Athletics at Cambridge University. But for sports like Polo and Table Tennis a half blue is awarded. The half blue is cream with a sky blue braiding.

An Oxford half blue at ebay
Half blue jacket and bow tie

While P.G. Wodehouse's Bertie Wooster attended Magdalen College at Oxford University he won a full Blue in Rackets.