Review: The Big Shave Off

This is a straight comparison review between two 5 bladed razors which had been kindly donated by the competing companies.

The time had come. I needed to shave off the beard and moustache. I have kept it far longer than first anticipated. I had almost got used to it. First however the facial hair needed to be trimmed back to a manageable length using scissors. There was still far more hair than I would usually have before a shave.


As a keen boxing fan I will introduce the competitors in the great tradition of world championship boxing…

In the Blue corner. The challenger. Representing UK based The Bearded Colonel; the German engineered, 5 bladed Gothic Arch II razor.

In the Red corner. Representing the multi-national and arguably industry leader Gillette; widely recognised as the finest shaving tool in their extensive range; the Gillette Fusion® Proshield™ – with Flex ball™.

It’s Shave Time….

Half of the face was shaved with The Bearded Colonel razor then the other half shaved using the Gillette Fusion® Proshield™.

The scoring system is based on the following criteria: Comfort/Smoothness of shave, closeness of shave, pricing, ease of cleaning and design features. If one is razor beats the other on any criteria then it will be 1-0. If there is no difference then both score a 1. If both perform poorly then neither will get  point. (i.e. 0-0).


Not a scoring criteria but worth a mention.

IMG_9356 IMG_9355

As you can see the two razors are very different. The Bearded Colonel razor (on the left) is a conventional looking implement while the Gillette device looks very Hi-Tech and appears to be almost over-engineered. By Gillette’s own claims this is their “most advanced” shaving system. For more details and images please visit the respective websites.


Bearded Colonel





Both superb.



Both superb



This may have been due to the unusually longer than normal stubble.



See below.
Design Features



The edge trimmer on the back of the Gillette device is a nice touch.

Total Score



A draw!?



Bearded Colonel: The handle is free. 4 Blades cost £10.

Gillette Fusion® Proshield™: The handle (complete with first razor head) costs around £12. The 4 blade packs cost just over £15. However, it is worth bearing in mind that with the fierce competition between the big supermarkets there are sometimes excellent offers available. Gillette has also made these available by mail-order so some savings can be made using that method.  Also other, slightly less expensive options are available in the Fusion® range.

Results & Summary:

For the record I have never been a daily shaver. I have never needed to. Every other day was usually enough. This review is based on only one shave.

Both razors were far better than anything I had used before (the previous best being a mere 3 bladed tool). The shave was so good in fact that after several days I still felt like I did not need a shave. It’s as if the whiskers are afraid to come back out. Probably more due to the fact that I am now far more tolerant of a hairy face.

Both razors provided an extremely comfortable and smooth shave with zero pull & tug.

The Bearded Colonel make several claims about the design of their handle. I am not sure this makes such a difference. The handle was fine but so are the handles on all the leading brands. To their credit they give you the handle for free!

Equally, much is made of the Flex Ball™ technology but this shaver did not see any obvious advantage in that design feature. Although it is fascinating in a geeky kind of way.

Cleaning the blades between strokes was difficult but this was probably because I was shaving a trimmed beard rather than the usual stubble. Subsequent shaves may not suffer this minor problem and so I intend to use both razors for the next few weeks in order to establish a longer term view. I also want to get full use from the blades kindly donated by the two companies.  Any further findings will appear on future posts.


I highly recommend both of these razor blades if you want a close, smooth shave.

At some point I needed to shave against the grain – especially on that most sensitive of areas for me, the neck. Again, this was probably due to the longer than usual whiskers. But here’s the thing. Neither razor gave me any rash or irritation. A fantastic performance by both razors.

I liked both razors. The Bearded Colonel design was relatively simple and efficient. The Gillette system may appear over-engineered, but being an engineer myself it was hard not to like it.

If you want to save money, then the Bearded Colonel just nicks it. (Ouch! No, not like that). But only by a whisker.

Snow White and the 7 Unanswered Questions

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is now one of Dani’s favourite films. He watches it in English and Spanish.

It has been a very long time since I first saw this Disney Classic. More years than I care to remember. I think I saw it in the local Odean cinema with my parents and siblings. I only ever saw it once in the cinema and never again on video or DVD. Disney only released this money-spinner on video in 1994. That’s 57 year after it was first released in the cinema in 1937!

Now of course I have seen it at least 50 times in the last few weeks.

It is still considered one of the greatest animated films of all time but having studied it in detail I now have some burning questions.

  1. Why is it dwarfs and not dwarves? Which should it be? One elf, two elves right?
  2. Who do the 7 dwarfs work for and who owns that diamond mine? If it is their own business where do they go to sell the fruits of their labour? And who the hell is in charge of security? I cannot believe my eyes when they throw billions of dollars worth of diamonds into the vault locked by a single key which they keep on a hook beside the door. Unbelievable!
  3.  Why are seven creepy looking, pick-axe wielding dwarfs so afraid of one young woman?
  4. Why does only one of the 7 wear glasses? What’s more where did he get them from? I have seen no opticians in this film. Assuming this is set in some medieval time, was there even anyone making glasses in those days? I did some research and right now  there are as many as 60% of the population who need glasses or contact lenses. I could not find data specific to dwarf vision but one in seven represents  just over 14%. That is significantly lower than statistics suggest even accounting for better vision back in 1937.
  5. How come their musical instruments are in such good working order? Even the fantastic pipe organ works like it was new. Everything else in the house was a complete mess when Snow White first arrived.
  6. What happened to the Huntsman who was supposed to kill Snow White? Surely he would have come to some gruesome medieval end once the Queen discovered that he had not done as ordered? If ‘Game of Thrones’ is anything to go by he would have been made to suffer for some considerable time before finally being put out of his misery.
  7. Is that some kind of hijab the queen is wearing? It certainly looks like. If she really thinks that she is the fairest of them all then why not show off her hair? We only get to see her hair when she turns into an old hag – and that doesn’t count.

Can anyone help with these unanswered questions? These things could start to spoil the film for me…

Actually it is great fun watching it with Dani.


Bath-time: A Battle of Wits.

Bath-time used to be so much fun.

When Dani could fit in one of those moulded plastic tubs he would sit there laughing and splashing. When he got too big for his baby bath he had to sit in the real bath. Things were OK for a short while but soon after he suddenly decided that he hated water on his head. Washing his hair became a nightmare. Bath-time was now a battle of wits.

I can remember hating having my hair washed when I was young. My mum used to have to lie me down on my back, head leaning into the sink so that the water would not run over my face. A bit like being pampered in the hairdressers. According to Dani’s Spanish grandmother, his mother had the same bath-time phobia.

I tried various things. Rather than holding him with his face pointing upwards and pouring water over his head I used the sponge to gently wet his hair. I persuaded him that if he leaned back the water would not fall down his face. A simple instruction – “Head back!” – worked for some time. However that one has run its course.

“Head back no!” he will now say. Followed by some serious screaming and fighting.

“Head back? Noooo.” I tell him. “There is a much better way”.

“Chin up!” I tell him as I ease his head into the right position.

At the moment this seems to be working. How long before he says “Chin up. No!”? What then? I think this is going to be an ongoing battle.

Does anyone have any tips on how to make washing his hair easier?

Mind Your Language Update

Now for an update on the swearing episode. Not so much an excuse but more a humble explanation.

I refer back to a previous post – Mind Your Language. I now remember where I had used that classic Anglo Saxon phrase in front of my son.

About a couple of weeks ago I was walking with Dani in the street. A man crossed the road to our side carrying a brown paper bag. He made a beeline for us. I noticed this and was immediately cautious. When he reached us he offered the bag to Dani. He mumbled something in Spanish about it being a toy. I think he was saying that he had bought it and wanted to give it away to a child. I didn’t really make the effort to understand fully what he was trying to say I just told him “no”. But he was a little persistent. It was very odd and while it may be a little unfair to make snap judgments I just thought he was weird. There was definitely something wrong with the situation.

Remembering the old adage that you can’t be too careful in such circumstances I told him again but a little more sternly, “No gracias”, and ushered Dani down the street. Unfortunately he did not notice the increased agitated tone in my voice and again persisted, gesturing towards Dani with this bag.

That was enough for me. I looked him in the eye and told him angrily to “Fuck off!”.

Minding my language came a distant second. For me this was an instinctive reaction.

When you use that phrase a lot depends on the situation, the other persons involved and where you are. Depending on how you pitch it, that phrase can either have the desired effect or it can get you into a fight.

That phrase – while nominally English – is now universal of course. Maybe it was the way I said it but it had the desired effect in that particular case. He understood. Off he went in the opposite direction with his paper bag in hand. All a bit too bizarre for my liking.

As the comedian Billy Connelly famously once explained in one of his stand-up routines; there really is no other way of saying it sometimes. As he rightly said; it is certainly not ‘go away’ is it?

The down-side was that Dani had heard what I had said and that was irreversible. It was now in his rapidly expanding memory bank.

I am not suggesting that what I did was right, even given the odd nature of the event. On the other hand, I can’t promise that in a similar situation it won’t happen again. Being a dad is not all playtime and fun. There is a serious side to it and I believe that includes protecting your child especially in suspicious circumstances.

Meanwhile I really am trying to mind my language.

Travelling with a Toddler

Imagine waking up at 4am and travelling to an airport to catch an early morning plane. Imagine queueing patiently with all the other sleepy passengers to pass through security. Imagine juggling a couple of bags, removing the laptop then being asked to remove your shoes. Imagine being told that the transparent bag that you have your liquids & toiletries in was too big. Imagine being told to go to the far side of the security area and purchase a “regulation size” transparent bag. Imagine passing through the security scanner only to be pulled to one side for another “random” body search. Imagine then having a bag singled out for a full search and waiting while they analyse some things then waiting even longer while the bag goes back through the machine.

Now imagine doing that with a 2-year old still in his pyjamas and not fully awake.

Welcome to Liverpool airport.


Yes. The security person could clearly see I was travelling alone with Dani yet he insisted that I go over to a machine to purchase a smaller transparent bag! The one I had was apparently too big. I didn’t even know there was a regulation size for those things. Did you?


What an appropriate word. This was Liverpool John Lennon airport. Their motto is “Above us only skies”; taken from the Lennon song of course. They should have added “…below us only pain.”

I gestured towards Dani, who was well behaved bless him, and said “Are you joking?”

“No” he said. “This bag you have is too big. You can buy one the right size from the machine over there.”

My anger started to show. “You must be joking” I said again pointing to Dani.

At that point the security guard’s lower than average IQ kicked in. He shouted across to the man who was herding the cattle to the various numbered security points. The cattle herder had a regulation sized bag in his pocket and to his credit said I could have it. Good bloke. A flicker of light in an intellectual dark zone.

Off we went through the scanner. The “random” beeper went off and I was frisked. Then one of our bags was picked out for a search. This time it was Dani’s cup which was full of water. My fault. Totally. I had filled it in case he wanted a drink in the car while travelling to the airport. I intended to empty it when we arrived knowing what would happen. An easy thing to forget about when wrestling with bags and a barely awake active toddler.

Other Airports…

We have two equally viable options when travelling to & from the UK. Liverpool or Manchester airport.

Take it from me; Manchester airport security is a lot worse than Liverpool. Their inefficiency greatly increases the waiting time. My advice to those travelling with toddlers is simply to reduce the liquids count to zero. Play it safe or face an inquisition from the security staff. Let’s just say they are not so much born to this role but probably incapable of doing any other job.

The joys of travelling? You must be joking. Sometimes it is just hard work. A necessary evil so that Dani can visit his family.

Interestingly airlines are now full of helpful advice for lone adults travelling with young children. They seem to be making an effort to make things easier where they can. The problem is that airport security is really a standalone thing. A law unto itself so to speak. The airlines can do nothing about that.

Unfortunately, it is what it is. The situation is not going to get any better any time soon. It will probably get worse. I am sure you all have similar experiences at other UK airports. And it really is a UK problem. It is so much easier at Madrid airport. They even have a play-pen area to leave the kids if they think your bags need a further search. I could name several airports around the world where it is so much more efficient.

For the Record…

Overall I think Liverpool airport is a much better experience than Manchester on a number of levels. But as is usually the case there is room for improvement.

Also, there really is an official size for those plastic bags. Well, sort of. This from the official government website

…containers must be in a single, transparent, resealable plastic bag, which holds no more than a litre and measures approximately 20cm x 20cm

(That’s 8 inches by 8 inches in old money.)

The word “approximately” is a little worrying. They haven’t started measuring them yet but I am sure they will get around to it.