Thomas Clipper – thank you for introducing me to the joy of traditional shaving

A few years ago I made a conscious effort to slow down in life, to ‘enjoy the moment’, and part of that journey has been a rediscovery of classic items which by their definition encourages a more relaxed, and perhaps sedate, refined or even dignified, approach to life. My Filofax, my fountain pen, handwriting notes, not owning a car, enjoying lunch (again), are just a few examples. It was inevitable that I would eventually turn to the art of shaving. However, this recently happened quite by chance and in an unplanned manner.

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About me

Welcome to my blog, a growing and evolving collection of my thoughts, ideas, experiences and suggestions on the work and lifestyle of a CEO working in the not-for-profit sector.

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From top left: With Molly (my dog); The Georgian Ambassador to the UK; Visiting the Chelsea Pensioners; With Dr Frank Thies, Aberdeen University; Dr Mark Downs CEO Royal Society of Biology; At JJ Fox Cigars in St James (Churchill’s Birthday celebration); Escaping at Escape-London having cracked the Di Vinci Code; Bury St Edmunds Christmas Market; With my Fabulous wife 

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The timeless appeal of Filofax

Filofax is a unique element of ‘Englishness’, notwithstanding how incorrect that term may now be in our liberal post-Brexit world. I am not afraid to say I am proud to retain a open respect to my country’s origins and its history and traditions. Culture remains a very important element of our identity and I genuinely fear the implications of that loss of identity to the wider tolerance in our society.

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Managing busyness – look back for inspiration

I have been recently extensively reading on the subject of time management and have come across two quotations, both in excess of 150 years old, which seem as timeless and relevant today as when they were first produced. I believe it was Winston Churchill who once said “to be able to look forward we must first look back”.
The first quote is from Robert E. Lee, a famous general in the Confederate army during the American Civil War. He was quoted as saying “I cannot trust a man to control others, who cannot control himself.”

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Inspect, not expect – a vital leadership lesson

I have been reading William Manchester and Paul Reid’s book ‘Defender of the Realm’ – the final book in the ‘Last Lion’ trilogy biography of Winston Churchill. It is an exhaustively researched and detailed account of Churchill’s life in World War Two. When Churchill became Prime Minister in 1940 he was 65 years old and during the next 5 years of leading the country in war suffered at least 3 heart attacks or minor strokes. He also developed pneumonia twice. Yet he emerged from his exertions in 1945 70 years old, victorious, lived another 20 years and became known as arguably the greatest ever Englishman!

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Building a creative culture

With the increase in popularity, and effectiveness, of ‘working from home’ as a standard operating procedure in many not-for-profit organisations clear instructions from you as the leader are always needed to establish a creative environment. Moreover, my organisation, which has members/impact in 87 countries across the world, often sees my staff travelling and operating in different time zones and often the other side of the world where they need to have the flexibility to make decisions and not waste time.

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Return of the Cravat – a contemporary look

Of all the decisions I recall making in my recent journey to explore the boundaries of style and what it means to a middle aged man, I think the most challenging has been whether or not to embrace the wearing of a cravat. The cravat, once an easy to wear item of leisure clothing, now has several connotations:
  • Will wearing a cravat make one look ridiculously old fashioned?
  • Is the cravat (as suggested by Bernard Roetzel in his book ‘Gentleman’) something only a film director, a playboy in a film script, or a military officer at weekends wears?
  • In our ‘relaxed’ society where everyone seems now to be dressed ‘casually’ is there a need to define we are in relaxed/casual mode by donning a cravat?
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The great Terry Thomas

I am, as regular readers will know, inspired by the vintage styles of the 1920s and 1930s, and constantly on the look out for ways to take these vintage images and adopt them to today’s more contemporary style. The cravat, notwithstanding my above hesitations, is so prevalent in that era it naturally became an item I wished to adopt. But why wear one today at all?

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