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Friday 28 August 2015

This Week The Mice Have Mostly Been...

Lately, the Mice have been hard at it so, Mr HK Mouse has stepped in at the end of what has been rather a long week, and is pleased to announce, it’s here. Hello, Bonjour, Kia Ora, Sit on my Face: it’s Friday!

On Monday, my wife to be (again) took one look at me upon returning from an arduous stag party touring round the rural islands of Thailand and announced that I had better start getting ‘wedding ready.’ Clearly, the weekend's adventures had taken their toll because she went on and made her point even clearer, illustrating my role at the wedding with a paraphrased quote from another chap who enjoyed a lively weekend, Oscar Wilde;

‘Looking good is a necessity, having a purpose is not’

Clearly something needed to be done, and fast. The only real cure for a weekend drinking Thai Red Bull and the local petrol they call rum is exercise, good food and a bit of self love (no - not that you rascals!), so off I went...

My first stop on the path to Gandy-glory was Dr Ursus, Hong Kong’s newest Strongman gym. If you haven’t tried Strongman, you should imagine a full body workout that refines all the skills you’d need for saving some puppies from a burning building (this, I’m told, is a vital trait if you expect any kind of right swipe on Tinder these days). Amongst a host of other things, you’ll flip tyres, drag weights, lift beers kegs filled with water (really not easy as it sloshes about the place), smash things up with sledge hammers and run. A lot. In short, it’s considerably more interesting than going to a regular gym and just pumping ze iron.  And, you’ll utilise far more functional movement which, I’m told, is key to delivering a body that you’ll want to show off at the beach (and at a wedding).

Strongman is obviously hard work but, if you haven’t flipped a 300kg tyre end on end in front of a gang of Chinese dog walkers, you really haven’t experienced Hong Kong in all it’s glory. I felt like Hercules….

For now, Dr Ursus conduct all their training on the waterfront at Cyberport, but inside the next month they'll be moving to a newly refurbished 4,500 sqft facility in Sai Ying Pun. Once opened, as well as Strongman training, they'll offer HIIT, Olympic & power lifting and a whole host of boxing disciplines.

Once my training was done, I got chatting to one of the other boys who repeated to me an adage I've heard many times before; 'abs are made in the kitchen.' However, as I have the willpower of Stizza in front of a bucket of paint Elvis in front of a burger, in order to fulfil my brief of 'look good at the wedding,' I was going to need some help. All too often, that means chewing down a floury protein shake or dry bar, most of which are loaded with unhealthy refined sugars, artificial flavourings and chemicals. They also taste awful. It was a joy then to be pointed in the direction of Ice n Lean, Hong Kong's first protein ice-cream manufacturer. 

I had to admit, to start with I was dubious - surely ice-cream is something you have on the sofa on a Sunday afternoon, sat in your pyjamas, with your mates paranoia and regret after crawling in sheepishly from Dusk till Dawn at 6am? 

However, the Choco-Muscle pots I've been eating are loaded with with a whopping 20g of protein, a considerable improvement in terms of health and shame.  Ladies don't despair, they also produce a more female-friendly Choco-Lite pot with 10g of protein. They taste so good that they have revolutionised my training to the point where I'm now happier to go and train knowing I have a treat at the end of my workout. Ice n Lean's makers are also rightfully proud of the provenance of all their ingredients with New Zealand grass fed whey protein, low GI raw coconut sugar and cancer-fighting raw cacao all combining to form a delicious ice cream that tastes as good as, if not better, than the real deal.

Ice n Lean's ice cream as well as their delicious snack size paeleo pieces are coming soon to gyms, shops and health food stores across Hong Kong.

After tending to the interior, it was time for a much needed polish and buff to the exterior. I've been told by a couple of chaps who've done it before that it's important to head to the barber and work out what your hair and beard is going to look like on the big day. Many a wedding has been ruined by a husband deciding the week before that highlights will definitely get a thumb up from the bridesmaids (I was also advised never to ask for a thumb up from the bridesmaids). 

As it's an important day, I wanted to go somewhere with an traditional feel, a proper barber's shop but without some mad old lunatic with a razor blade who might try and recreate THAT scene from Reservoir Dogs.... 

Thankfully, I've recently discovered Fox and the Barber which opened its doors a couple of months ago on Graham Street. Offering a full selection of grooming services for men, including straight-razor shaves and beard trimming as well haircuts, this is the place to come if you want to relax, have some quiet time and get yourself presentable prior to standing up in front of all your friends and family.

The vibe on arriving is a cross between a traditional barbershop and your favourite pub, a theme that's continued as soon as you sit down and you're offered a drink. Cold beer and and a trim? Sounds good. Sarah McGlynn and her staff have worked at some of London and Hong Kong's finest barbers so know their way round a pair of scissors and (much more importantly) the dreaded cut throat razor. 

The theatrics that come with having a shave with a straight razor are something that everyman should experience at least once in his life - hot towels wrapped around your head, a razor sharp blade pressed against your neck, and it's surprisingly, intensely relaxing. So much so that you won't realise an hour has passed and it's time to have your hair done.

Having your hair cut in Hong Kong can be hit and miss with, quite often, the language barrier working against you - edgy undercut's aren't cool if you're over 20. At Fox and the Barber, I felt confident enough to just say: "Let's try something new." And with all that experience, they aced it - my wife loved it and I've had more than a couple of mates asking me where I got it done. 

Fox and the Barber
41 - 44 Graham Street, Central, Hong Kong
+852 2405 6880

So, I'm now tamed changed man, so much so that my wife has convinced me to finish this post with a picture of a girl in martini glass as opposed to the photos I'd planned to post of some of the ladyboys we met in Thailand last weekend.

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