Give me a break – the length of men’s trousers

Michael Jackson was famous for wearing trousers that showed his socks. You might think the half masted look is a little odd, but for the moon-walking superstar, peculiar was normal.

But how should mens trousers be worn? Full break, half break or no break at all? Let’s find out.

What are breaks?

Primer trouser breaks
Because life is hard, and sometimes trousers need a break
Source: Primer Magazine
The break is where the bottom of your trouser meets your shoe, creating a fold in the cloth. A quarter break, or a half break is where there is less of a fold, but still a noticeable kink.

Longer trousers mean more than one fold or break. Go too long and your trousers will look like they don’t fit.

When there is no break, the bottom of the trouser sits perfectly at the top of the shoe around the ankle.

Suit trousers

medium Break
Suiting simplicity
Source: Effortless Gent
If it’s time for that business meeting, then you need to make sure your suit trousers touch the top of your shoes. A full break is fine, but a half or quarter break looks better.

To make sure they are the right length, look at the back of the shoe. This will take some flexibility, a mirror, or a friend. The leg of the trouser should stop just over half way down the back of the shoe.

One man famous for his socks, hasn’t quite got his break options correct. Channel 4 news reader, Jon Snow has taken the ‘no break’ thing to new levels.

on Snow socks for help the heroes
Breaking the rules for Help the Heroes
Source: Brand Rapport

Chino

Chinos with one break
Anyone afraid of red trousers?
Chinos are a versatile classic, perfect for a stroll at the weekend, and similarly suitable for the boardroom

For formal occasions, chinos should be worn with no break. As they have a loose fit, a full break will ruin the line of the trousers and deter from the smartening effect of formal shoes.

When keeping things casual with standard fit chinos, a full break will help exude relaxed vibes. To really show the shape of slim fitting chinos, wear with no break at all.

Jeans

Light Stonewash Thermal Jeans
I bet you can’t tell they are thermal jeans?
Most of us wear jeans for casual occasions, whether traditional denim, the alternative of moleskin, or lightweight cotton options. But though there are several different fabric to choose from, it’s important to get the break correct.

With no break your socks are always on show, so make sure they aren’t embarrassing ones. The safer option is to go for a half break – suitably casual, without looking too long.

When jeans are too long, with more than one break, you run the risk of soggy, frayed, disheveled hems.

Cords

Green cords with a break
Booting in the cords
Cords are hardwearing and come in an abundance of colours, but it’s important to know how to wear them.

Mens cord trousers are often worn as part of a casual country outfit. A full break is too casual for the heritage look. A simple half break will sit perfectly with a pair of comfy winter boots and similarly well with country brogues.

Cords and brogues
Kicking it in the brogues
Source: Ask Andy About Clothes

Michael Jackson was able to get away without a break, but for the rest of us, there are rules to follow. First, learn the breaks and then learn which one you need for your trousers. Get this wrong and you will look a bit peculiar, but get it right, and you’ll be the most stylish gent around.

Get better British Bake Off bread

A massive slice of the UK population seems to be obsessed with the Great British Bake Off television series.

The show, which sees passionate amateur bakers competing to be the best at baking stuff, has inspired every viewing Tom, Dick and Mary to try their luck with a bread mix and a rolling pin.

But how about adding something special to the mix and using a halogen oven to bake your bread? Anything you can cook in a conventional oven you can cook in a halogen oven — and below are seven reasons why halogen means better British Bake Off bread.

Space saving and flexible

Halogen oven
A true kitchen space saver
Source: Clifford James

Halogen ovens are about the size of a large food blender, so much smaller than traditional ovens, which is great news if space is at a premium in your kitchen. So move it around to suit your (ahem) kneads.

It’s also easy to transport the halogen oven to a place where it’s more convenient for you to bake. You could even take it on holiday or on a camping trip if you have a power supply. Surely Mary Berry would be impressed!

Save your back

Baking
Image source: Stockyimages
Put a stop to baking related back pains

Apparently it’s a bit of an in-joke that contestants spend most of their time crouched over staring at oven doors. This isn’t doing their backs any good and a stiff back isn’t conducive to a productive session of baking.

Baking shouldn’t be a physical strain, so use a halogen oven instead. Being small and easily manoeuvrable, halogen ovens can be located in back-friendly locations like worktops and kitchen tables. Meaning your back should feel just as light and relaxed as the dough.

Rise

Dough Rising In A Bowl
Image source: Johan Larson
Get a rise out of your dough

Rise is such a good word in so many contexts and it is the holy grail of utterances when it comes to baking bread. The not-so secret method for helping your bread to rise is making sure the dough rises first.

You’ll need a warm and draught-free place to let your dough expand (as you don’t want your dough to dry out) and an excellent candidate is of course the halogen oven. Adjust the setting halfway between off and thaw (which is just enough to warm the bowl) and the dough mix should roughly double in size in around 30 minutes.

Viewable progress

halogen oven bread
Who could resist having a peek?
Source: Crafting Heaven

This is the fun bit, so grab a pew and turn on the HOT channel (Halogen Oven TV). As halogen ovens are made from glass, when it comes to baking your bread, you can actually watch as your lump of squidgy dough is magically transformed into a golden brown loaf of fluffy goodness.

There will be no more bending over to peer into darkened oven doors, or opening those same doors to receive a scorching blast of hot air in your face. All rise for the fabulously helpful halogen oven.

Quicker

Kitchen clock
Image source: Cura Photography
Speed up your baking time

Halogen ovens rely on halogen bulb heating elements to convert electrical energy into intense heat, which is then circulated by a high performance fan. This efficient and highly effective system results in halogen ovens generally being much quicker than traditional ovens — as much as three times faster in fact for particular dishes.

When it comes to baking a loaf of bread, you’ll only see a small increase in actual cooking times, but it will still be quicker as halogen ovens take hardly any time to preheat.

Save money

Piggy Bank
Image source: Gelpi
A wallet friendly way to bake bread

There’s lots of money to be saved by opting for a halogen oven. Not only are they up to eight times cheaper than their conventional rivals, halogen ovens are also far more efficient.

Due to their high performance, they will cook the food faster and so require less electricity. It all adds up, so eventually the trusty halogen will pay for itself in reduced fuel bills.

It’s cool

Space shuttle
Image source: K J Warden
A halogen oven wouldn’t look out of place in this

So it’s smaller, cheaper and quicker — it also looks like it belongs on a space exploration vessel, so using a halogen oven to create your loaves is a pretty cool way to do get busy with your bake off.

And if all that wasn’t enough to convince you, then here’s the best part of all: many halogen ovens have a wash setting, so when it’s time to clean the flour and crumbs from within, your trusty bake off friend will do it all for you.

Celebs love them – so is it OK to wear slippers outside?

"Late Night With Jimmy Fallon">> at Rockefeller Center on July 20, 2011 in New York City.
Chatting about slippers?
Source: Nick Verreos
The majority of us might associate a pair of comfy slippers with a night on the sofa, feet up, watching the telly, but not so for the star studded showbiz elite.

These days, you’ll see Taylor Swift wear slippers on the red carpet. The irrepressible Ryan Gosling appeared on the US chat show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, wearing – yes – carpet slippers.

So what’s going on? Are outdoor slippers cool? Or are the stars out of step? Here we find out.

The Albert slipper

velvet slippers
Slippers that hiss style
Source: The Funshion Mistress
Prince Albert’s eponymous slippers were a 19th century invention that had their origin in the majestic stately homes of the aristocracy. Lords of the manor sought footwear that didn’t damage their expensive floors but could cope with the outdoors. Enter the leather soled slipper.

Prince Albert refined the design with the addition of velvet and satin, and many added personalised embroidery.

These men’s slippers were the epitome of luxury and were worn at elaborate black tie dinners. In America, they became known as tuxedo slippers.

The Churchill slipper

Winston Churchill was not a man to be messed with, even in his pyjamas. A serial napper and a habitual wearer of slippers, he proved that casual slip-on footwear can be worn for nearly every occasion.

In the 1960s, velvet Albert slippers became popular with America’s elite, and RFK was no exception. Here he is with his children, on the steps of his family home – look at his feet – he’s wearing Albert slippers.

robert-kennedy-wearing-prince-albert-slippers-during-halloween
A man not scared by slippers
Source: Bull and Tassel
The most famous outdoor slipper wearer is rarely seen without his jim-jams. Rich, yes. Saintly, no. His behaviour may be questionable, but his sense of style is undoubtedly unique. Say hello to none other than Hugh Hefner.

Hugh_Hefner_in_bed
Not all slipper wearers are saintly
Source: Flickr

Taking the bins out

Outdoor mule
Warming up for outdoors
It seems it’s acceptable for the elite to sport outdoor slippers inside and outside their homes, but what about us mere mortals?

Taking the bins out is a job few people enjoy. But some mens leather slippers are sturdy enough for the rigours of a pebbled path and won’t be worn down too quickly.

Slip-on mules made from nappa leather and with tough man-made soles, are much sturdier than traditional fabric slippers. With their smart looks, mules are perfect footwear for a quick natter over the fence with the neighbours, or a potter around the garden. And they’re equally at home – in the home.

The case against

tesco bans pyjamas
You should have bought some shoes
Source: My Moans
While there are some occasions where it’s fine to slip on your slippers, sometimes PJs and slippers are a definate no-no.

A Cardiff Tesco banned shoppers from wearing pyjamas and slippers to “avoid causing offence or embarrassment to others”. School headteachers in Middlesbrough evidently share the same view, writing to parents to ask them to not wear pyjamas when dropping off their kids.

Seen as lazy and a poor example to children, authorities from Louisiana to Shanghai have adopted anti PJ and slipper policies. Perhaps we’re seeing a return to more formal morning attire.

So are the celebs right? Is it OK to wear your slippers in public. We think the answer is yes – as long as you choose the right ones. For red carpet affairs, pick a pair of luxury Albert slippers, for taking out the bins, Churchill slippers or outdoor mules. For a trip to Tesco stick to loafers.

Unconventional cooking

Chef
Image source: Kzenon
Are you an adventurous cook?

Now you can approach this from the Ray Mears survivalist angle, or it could be that you’re simply curious or adventurous — but how about trying some unconventional cooking?

Yes — cause a scene, raise an eyebrow or simply try something new for dinner. Let’s face it, one day you might be forced to get unconventional with your cooking anyway. Best get ahead of the game then …

Car bonnet omelette

fry eggs car
Meals on wheels
Source: UAE & Me

For this dish you’ll need one car bonnet — preferably very hot from a long drive, a pan and the usual eggs, oil and mushrooms. Simply place the ingredients in the pan and place on the bonnet.

Be careful not to take the paint off your bonnet and watch out for seagulls if you’re near the coast. Give it a while and hey presto — omelette de la voiture!

Wood burner spuds

Rooms with wood burners are usually so comfortable that they breed laziness. Laziness that results in walks to the kitchen seeming like a trek through the Himalayas — so good job you had a sack of spuds to hand.

Simply throw some big spuds into the wood burner and carry on with your lazy afternoon — give it an hour and you’ll have some wood smoked crispy-skinned jacket potatoes. Beat that Heston!

Halogen oven Sunday roast

Clifford James halogen oven
It’s roasting Jim, but not as we know it
Source: Clifford James

If Star Trek endorsed ovens … they would be something like halogen ovens. Converting electrical energy into intense heat, halogen ovens are not only small enough to sit on your table top, but about ten times cheaper when compared to conventional ovens.

Made of glass and resembling food mixers, they don’t mess about when it’s time for lunch. You’ll be able to cook a tasty roast dinner in about 30 minutes. And watch it too.

Laser grilled popcorn

Lasers are long, narrow concentrated beams of light that get so hot they could cut through steel — impressive. But can you cook with a laser? Of course you can!

The trick is to choose food items that are small, as the laser beam cannot cover a large area. Popcorn is the perfect candidate for laser cuisine and has already proved a success in past experiments. Although this isn’t one you should try at home just yet. Keep an eye on the future though as lasers could well be in the kitchen soon.

Skyscraper frazzled bacon and eggs

London’s skyline has a new 37-storey addition known infamously as the death ray or fryscraper. These names are due to its mirrored walls creating astonishingly hot solar flares that have been reported hot enough to burn the paint off parked cars and also the hair off some heads!

So it’s a good place to go if your cooker has retired. Simply place your breakfast in a pan making sure it’s under the heat of a reflected solar beam and you’ll be enjoying sun-kissed delights in no time. Just find somewhere safe to eat it!

What potato peeler is the best?

The colder months are upon us which means a change in the menu. It’s out with the salads and in with stews, roasts and shepherd’s pie. But while the thought of winter stodge might get your stomach rumbling, peeling all those potatoes can prove time consuming.

So let’s see if we can make light work of scraping the spuds. Here’s our guide to peelers – which potato peeler is the best?

Knife

peeling potato with a knife
Watch those fingers
Source: My Home Cooking
The manly man’s choice for peeling spuds, and also the simplest. But with simplicity comes a lack of sophistication.

Unless the user is incredibly skilled, expect a lot of potato loss, and wasted time. If the user isn’t skilled, then get the first aid kit ready as a dull knife or a slip could result in injury.

Fixed handle blade

peelingpotatoes
Spuds ready for the pot
Source: Canning Basics
Also known as the Lancashire peeler, this type of peeler, resembles a knife but is much safer because the sharp edge is hidden behind a guard. The French version, the ‘économe’, has two sharp edges, one that peels the skin, and one that’s angled to regulate depth.

Swiss designed swivel peelers have a fixed handle with a moveable blade. This enables the peeler blade to follow the surface of the vegetable or fruit.

Swivel and fixed blade peelers are great for carrots and parsnips, but for potatoes they can be time consuming as they don’t cover a huge area.

Y-shaped peeler

Y peeler portrait
Make haste with those spuds
Source: Journey Kitchen
Also known as a speed peeler and resembling a razor, the Y-shaped peeler variants make quick work of potato skin, and are very good for carrots and parsnips.

Most Y-shaped peelers have an ergonomic handle which is good news for stiff fingers. They also have a handy blade or loop on the edge for getting rid of unwanted potato eyes.

Speed peelers are safe and make quick work of potatoes and other veg. But if you have lots of spuds to peel, you may want to think bigger.

Electric potato peeler

Electric potato peeler
Super clean spuds
Why bother peeling by hand when a machine can do it for you? Throw the potatoes in the barrel, add a little water, and the rotating scourers will do the rest.

An electric potato peeler is great for those cooking large meals, and can often be found in professional kitchens.

The labour saving design of the automatic potato peeler, makes it the perfect choice for those with limited movement, a hungry horde to feed, or those who simply don’t have the time to peel by hand.

Mechanical peeler

mechanical peeler
Inspector Gadget’s potato peeler?
Source: Rain Coast Culture
Funky kitchen gadgets are becoming more and more popular, and the crank operated peeler is no exception.

The user turns the crank, and the fruit or vegetable, which is held in a vice, is pushed along a blade and the skin is peeled.

As they are designed primarily for apples, this type of peeler may not work so well on potatoes. But there is no doubting the funkiness of the device. Unfortunately it can only peel one spud at a time, and let’s face it, who wants to wait longer than necessary to tuck into that bowl of warming stew?

How dehumidifiers work

Fresh and airy atmospheres are a summer luxury. In winter, increased moisture and colder temperatures mean greater risk of health problems.

Dehumidifiers help fend off the mold, moisture and nasty molecules from damp air. How do they work their magic and what ones work best?

Crystal based dehumidifiers

Cordless and Reusable Compact Dehumidifier
It may be small but it packs a punch
Crystals in the device absorb moisture from the air, and then change colour from blue to red. The weight of the device also increases by around 120g; proving that moisture has been absorbed. When this happens, the device is plugged in and a small heater drys out the crystals, turning them blue and allowing you to use the dehumidifier again.

This type of humidifier is silent, easy to use and inexpensive. It is also non toxic and 100% renewable.

Because crystal based dehumidifiers are compact,cordless and don’t require batteries, they can be used almost anywhere; whether hung from garage roofs or on a caravan windowsill.

Compressor dehumidifiers

Advanced Slimline Dehumidifier
Practical decor
A powerful motor inside the dehumidifier sucks in moisture from the air. This moisture then sits in a reservoir, and a light lets you know when its full. To aid the drying process, heat is blown out by a fan.

Compressor dehumidifiers are attractive and blend in with most house’s decor, they’re also compact and unobtrusive.

The majority of these devices can regulate the humidity of a room to an exact level. Meaning you regulate the atmosphere to your liking. Simple programmes allow you to manage the speed and duration of the dehumidifier too.

Peltier dehumidifiers

peltier-dehumidifier-AquaDri.
The silent assassin of mould
Otherwise known as thermoelectric dehumidifiers and probably the smartest of the lot. Electrical currents create a cool surface which draws air through the dehumidifier.This allows water vapor to be condensed, and collected in a reservoir.

The risk of malfunction is minimised as moisture is absorbed with no moving parts. The clever thermoelectric technology also means that the device is silent. There are no chemicals used, no expensive refills and they are very easy to use. Simply plug in and go.

These compact dehumidifiers can be easily stored and can be moved from room to room. Like the compressor dehumidifiers, they also feature an in built fan which blows out warm air, speeding up the process.

Dehumidifiers make your environment cleaner and drier. Without the harmful mould and damp of winter, you and your home will be happier. So the question shouldn’t be “should I get a dehumidifier?” but “which one should I get?”

What size log splitter do I need?

For cosiness, nothing beats the warmth of a winter fire. But before you relax, you need to prepare your firewood.

There are several ways to do this, and one of the most popular is with a log splitter. There are hydraulic log splitters, foot operated log splitters and of course, the simple axe/maul. Remember, size matters, but which size is for you?

Maul/Axe

Maul on wood
A lumberjack’s best friend
Source: The Department of Style
Mauls look like a sledgehammer with the face of an axe which widens quickly. As you drive through the wood, the wider face forces the wood to split.

Axes and mauls are without doubt the simplest way to split logs into manageable pieces. So if you have a small wood pile then a maul may be for you. They are extremely portable, relatively inexpensive and make you feel like a lumberjack.

Those with bad backs might struggle to use a maul, and if you find a knot in a log, then it will be almost impossible to split. Axes and mauls are dangerous tools and injuries can happen. People with children, pets or unsteady hands should exercise caution.

Foot powered log splitter

D3953 Foot Operated Logsplitter Cj
The wood is at your feet
Foot powered log splitters are essentially a jack with a piston that pushes the log onto a splitting wedge. Each pump on the foot lever results in around 1.2 tonnes of force, effortlessly splitting logs.

By using a log splitter, wood can be turned into burnable chunks far quicker than with a maul or axe. Like a maul, a log splitter is easy to transport and store, so it won’t be in the way when not in use. Unlike a maul, a foot operated log splitter is extremely safe.

Because no upper body strength is required, those with bad backs can still enjoy a warming fire. And frugality is assured as it’s foot power rather than electricity that moves the piston.

Splitting green wood? Unseasoned wood is denser and harder to split, so for this task you may need something more powerful than a foot powered log splitter.

Hydraulic log splitter

D3803 Dual Logmaster Logsplitter 2 Cj
Serious log splitting
Up to your neck in logs? Then this is probably the choice for you. Hydraulic log splitters plug into household sockets and pack around 6 tonnes of force.

Without a swinging blade, they are incredibly safe, and labour is minimised because all you need do is load the wood.

Older wood has less moisture content and is easier to split. But with the force of a hydraulic log splitter, even greenwood won’t be a problem. And knots are no match for this sort of power.

How to describe a hydraulic log splitter? Big, powerful and easy to use.

Why buy a halogen oven?

Grills, ovens and hobs are the core appliances in most cook’s kitchens. But have you ever considered the advantages of cooking with a halogen oven?

A halogen oven is smaller, healthier, faster, easier, cheaper and more versatile than traditional cookers. Don’t believe me? Then let me explain.

Space friendly

Halogen Oven
Wine not included
The incredibly compact 12 litre halogen oven is all you need to cook a whole roast dinner. No pots, pans and baking trays required. With a worktop friendly 30cm diameter footprint, it’s the perfect cooker for small flats, caravans and kitchenettes.

Another space saving option is a microwave, which uses radiation to heat up water molecules. But this creates steam, which in turn can make food soggy. Halogen ovens use heat, not waves, and the fan makes sure all parts of the food get cooked. This process makes your food crispier and tastier.

Healthy

Brocoli Crowns
The healthiest food of all?
Source: Nature’s reward
Halogen ovens are designed to drain away fat when cooking. So you get the same Sunday roast taste, but without the unhealthy fat.

Steaming is a great way to cook healthy, and it’s a method well within the capabilities of a halogen oven. Steaming unlike boiling, retains the food’s nutrients rather than washing them away with the boiling water. Now super healthy greens are just a steamer tray away.

Quick

Usain Bolt at Olympics
“No one is near, I can now slow down”
Source: Flickr
Conventional ovens don’t have a hi-tech radiant halogen bulb, but halogen ovens do. Having this bulb, along with an air circulating fan, helps halogen ovens cook up to 40% faster than their conventional counterparts.

Waiting for the conventional oven to preheat is a thing of the past. Halogen ovens heat up in 3 minutes, helping to cut roast dinner cooking times to less than an hour. Conventional ovens cook at a comparative snail’s pace, and need at least 2 hours to cook a good roast.

Versatile

swiss army knife
Maybe not that versatile
Source: Swiss knife shop
Grill, steam, bake, thaw, roast or toast your food. And don’t be limited by the size of the glass bowl, as a lid extender can give you even more cooking capacity.

At a mere 7kg, a halogen oven can be moved around the kitchen freely, allowing you to clean worktops, or put it away for storage. BBQs can even be enhanced with an on hand halogen oven, to roast potatoes or just keep food warm.

Visible cooking

Conventional ovens don’t make it easy for the chef in question to see how their food is doing. With a halogen oven, flapping doors, steamed up glasses and wasted heat are a thing of the past. The space age light given off by the heating element, combined with the glass bowl, make your food easily visible, and keep glasses steam free.

The sight of your food transforming can also be fun for small children, and big kids alike.

Save money

Pink Piggy Bank On Top Of A Pile Of One Dollar Bills
A halogen oven cooks pork perfectly
Source: Senior Living
Save pennies and pounds from the start as a halogen oven is less expensive than a conventional one, but does exactly the same thing, and more.

Frugal folk will also be pleased to hear of further savings. The reduced heating and cooking times, mean that less energy is used than conventional ovens, grills or hobs.

Bonkers men’s slippers

When most of us think of slippers, we think of keeping warm around the fireplace, kindly old grandfathers, and a nice cup of tea.

However, some people like their slippers to make a statement. Here are our favourite slippers for men, women and children who like to keep their feet warm in unusual ways.

We've heard of 'loaf-ers', but these bread slippers are just what you knead
The original ‘loaf-ers’? We think these bread slippers are just what you knead
Source: Transition Edinburgh Uni
Panzer tank slippers
Image source: Paint Crochet
Slippers for the aspiring Panzer tank driver
Slippers you can drive?
Slippers you can drive?
Source: Tesla motors blog
Cute animal slippers are common. Not many people choose earthworms...
Cute animal slippers are common. Not many people choose earthworms…
Source: Etsy
Clean the floor with these mop slippers
Clean the floor with these mop slippers
Source: Allee Willis
Rasta man slippers
Rasta man slippers
Source: Ebay
LED light slippers
LED light slippers
Source: Toxel
These are supposed to look like sushi, what do you think?
These are supposed to look like sushi, what do you think?
Source: Sushi Booties
Split windscreen VW campervan slippers
Split windscreen VW campervan slippers
Source: Wikipedia
Fold your own: origami slippers
Fold your own: origami slippers
Source: Project X
Homer Simpson slippers
Homer Simpson slippers
Source: Flickr
Take your lawn to the beach
Take your lawn to the beach
Source: TechJi

OK, we know these are technically flip-flops, but in Hawaii flip-flops are called ‘slippers’. That’s good enough for us. Aloha.