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Hot Cross Cruffins | Image: House Made Hospitality

Man of Many’s Staff Favourites – 16 March 2024

The croissants are cooked, the coffee is percolated and our hands are well and truly off the wheel; the weekend has arrived. After a long and difficult seven days that saw us struggle through the most mundane of tasks, we’ve finally reached the brief two-day respite that keeps us sane – but we did have some help. From sunglasses to coffee mugs and everything in between, here are the things that kept the Man of Many train chugging along, all wrapped up in a nice little Staff Favourites package.

Hot Cross Buns | Image: House Made Hospitality
Hot Cross Buns | Image: House Made Hospitality

Hot Cross Cruffins & Hot Cross Buns – House Made Hospitality

Nick Hall – Editor-in-Chief

Anyone who knows me knows that I live my life in moderation – Every meal is tracked, portion weighed and macro counted, but hot cross buns are my Kryptonite. When I was younger and working in supermarkets, I actually had to strategically roster myself during the Easter months, because I couldn’t exercise even a modicum of self-control. Like a seasonal junkie, I would save up my calories between February and April, only to binge eat four to six hot cross buns every day.

I’ve since curbed the addiction, but for a brief fleeting moment, House Made Hospitality sent me right back into the danger zone. The team behind Bar Mammoni, This Way Canteen, Promenade Bondi Beach and Martinez dropped a delicious new selection of Easter treats with a zesty twist. The new Hot Cross Buns are made with house-roasted speculoos spices, goji berries and candied orange zest and glazed with an orange and saffron syrup. Deliciously soft and just a little bit sticky-sweet, I devoured these in a manner that can only be described as deeply ungracious.

From there, I moved on to the Hot Cross Cruffin, the crossover I never knew I needed. Only available from Bar Mammoni, the Hot Cross Bun and croissant fusion was wrapped into buttery dough filled with chocolate namelaka infused with cinnamon, star anise, cardamon, and nutmeg. You can score the new Hot Cross Buns at This Way Canteen, Bar Mammoni, Promenade Kiosk and Martinez Kiosk for $5 per bun or four for $16, with the Hot Cross Cruffins available exclusively at Bar Mammoni for $9.50 each.

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Ember 2 Mug | Image: Ember
Ember 2 Mug | Image: Ember

Ember Mug 2

Harry Parsons – Senior Branded Content Manager

I think everyone is getting sick of me in the office, I can’t stop raving about sipping on my consistently hot coffee/tea. I’m not ashamed to say that I am an early adopter of new tech, whether it’s a smart watch, smart home appliances, auto vacuums and now the newest addition to my tech collection, my smart mug!

Each morning, I prepare my coffee, setting the stage for a productive hour of caffeinated emailing. However, after various meetings and water cooler chats, I’ve often returned to a disappointingly cold cup, having forgotten I had made it. Thankfully, those days are behind me. The Ember Mug 2 has its wits about it, maintaining my drink temperature to my exact specifications for a whopping 80 minutes when placed off the charging saucer, or ALL DAY when placed on it.

The Ember app allows me to specify my ideal temperature within a range of 50°C to 62.5°C and consistently maintain this temperature, a feature that proves invaluable during meetings or while I’m at my desk. A feature I didn’t know I needed is the mug’s steeping and temperature alert: I can start brewing a cup of tea, walk away, and be notified when it’s perfectly steeped and ready to drink, how good! The Ember Mug 2 has earned its spot on my work desk, now to get more for home!

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Lexus RX500h F Sport

I’ve had enough of folks calling Lexus the ‘Luxury Toyota’ because while it was true for years, things are changing rapidly for this brand. They’re shifting their image, and after spending a week behind the wheel of the new Lexus RX500h F Sport ($126,000 plus on-road costs), I think they’ve nailed it. They’ve created an outstanding large SUV with plenty of power (273kW), technology, and an interior that’s lightyears ahead of any Lexus model before it. Gone is the frustrating touch/ trackpad controller on the centre console, replaced with a large 14-inch touchscreen infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Gone too is the bland exterior that attracted everyone at the bowling club. This is a sharp, youthful-looking vehicle inside and out.

Drive-wise, it’s a glimpse at the next generation of hybrid technology for the brand. It has a turbo petrol engine that develops 202kW and this is teamed with two electric motor generators – 64kW/292Nm unit on the front axle and a 76kW/169Nm unit at the rear. The result is a quick, easy-to-drive, vehicle with EV tendencies. You can get into gaps in traffic, pull-out of intersections in a breeze, and if you feather the accelerator around town it’s very fuel-efficient for its size and power.

Considering you can grab a top-of-the-range Lexus RX500h F Sport as I tested here for less than the base price of a comparable European SUV, I highly recommend you take one for a test drive.

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Nova | Image: Man of Many
Withings ScanWatch Nova | Image: Man of Many

Withings ScanWatch Nova

Smartwatches are all well and good, but in terms of aesthetics they just can’t hold a candle to a traditional analogue timepiece. You can be as immaculately dressed as you like, but if there’s an Apple Watch peeking out from underneath your cuff, well, it just doesn’t work. That’s not to throw shade at anyone who would rather wear a miniature smartphone on their wrist in place of an actual watch. It’s just not for me.

Unfortunately this bias means that I’ve always missed out on the numerous health benefits that come with wearing a smartwatch. From tracking your heart rate and monitoring sleep to keeping an eye on your body temperature and blood oxygen saturation, there’s plenty of reason a smartwatch is the healthy choice. Fortunately, Withings new ScanWatch Nova delivers all of the above and more in a handsome design that’s reminiscent of a classic dive watch that’s far more my style. Choose between a green, blue, or black dial and switch between the included straps— one Oyster metal bracelet and a fluoroelastomer sport band that matches the dial—depending on your look.

Reap the rewards as the ScanWatch Nova tracks your data, the companion smartphone app provides invaluable insights and advice, and no one notices you’re wearing a smartwatch.

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HER Honeycomb Starward Whisky | Image: Starward Whisky
HER Honeycomb Starward Whisky | Image: Starward Whisky

HER Honeycomb Starward Whisky

Scott Purcell – Co-Founder

Truth be told, I’ve never been a massive fan of flavour-infused whiskies. They usually taste like lolly water or way too sickly sweet and are only suitable for shots. That was until I got my hands on the HER Honeycomb by Starward which is produced in collaboration with Melbourne’s iconic HER bar. The liquid fuses Starward Two-Fold whisky with a Local Honey Floral Blend from 4,500 beehives at Pure Peninsula Honey in Victoria.

I’ve tried this on its own, and it’s absolutely delicious, but they recommend trying it in a cocktail or over your dessert. On the nose, you’ll find fruit-forward notes with the sweetness of honey and on the palate, the whisky combines with the honey to deliver a lightly toasted oak with an incredibly rich honey and caramel finish.

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Stillwater TV Series

Frank Arthur – Co-Founder

As the father of a toddler, my television has been overtaken by a sh*tstorm of content that could generously be described as exasperating. Like every other kid, my son is drawn to the vibrant colours, incessant music, and grating vocal performances, i.e. shows that seem as though they were designed to torture every adult within earshot. Despite our efforts to guide him towards content more pleasing to my tastes, my resolve often crumbles under his demands for shows like Peppa Pig and Blippi (however I refuse to capitulate to Pinkfong).

In my search for shows that wouldn’t destroy my sanity while offering some education and developmental benefits, I stumbled upon Stillwater. Similar to the parent-friendly show Bluey, it’s a rare gem that I find genuinely enjoyable. The series centres around a sage giant panda named Stillwater, who shares his worldly wisdom with the children in his neighbourhood. He aids them in understanding their emotions and encourages them to support each other through their emotional journeys and discoveries.

The animation is breathtaking, the stories are enlightening, and the moral lessons woven into each episode are thoughtfully designed to educate on an emotional level. Additionally, the show evokes a tranquil energy, a welcome departure from the typical kiddie-crack content that seems to proliferate wherever kids’ content is found. So for the parents looking for something new, Stillwater is available on Apple TV+, with an archive of 30 episodes across three seasons.

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Instant Infusion Brew Plus 12 Cup Drip Coffee Maker | Image: Instant Brands
Instant Infusion Brew Plus 12 Cup Drip Coffee Maker | Image: Instant Brands

Instant Infusion Brew Plus 12 Cup Drip Coffee Maker

Growing up I always associated drip coffee with American diners and the $1 coffee you got at McDonald’s before McCafe was ever a thing. Nowadays, I wholeheartedly appreciate the science behind a good filter brew and will often go out of my way to find a good pour-over or batch brew. Small appliances manufacturer, Instant Brands, (who you may know from their famous multi-cookers), has just launched a new collection of coffee makers and accessories. When the opportunity came up to try out their new came across Instant Infusion Brew Plus 12 Cup Drip Coffee Maker, I jumped at the chance.

Out of the box, setup is super simple, and brewing your first big batch of coffee is even easier. Packed with premium features and customisations, the Instant™ Infusion Brew Plus is designed to help you program coffee your way, any time of day, at the touch of a button. So you can enjoy your coffee when you like it and exactly how you like it each time. This means you have every opportunity to set your timer tonight and wake up to the aroma of fresh, hot, perfect brew.

The Infusion Brew Plus has the capability of producing 12 cups of coffee, which for one person, is undoubtedly a lot and more than enough to keep you going all day. Of course, you can make a batch, and cool to have a home stash of cold brew. Overall, if you’re new to filter and drip coffee, or just want a reliable cup brewed just how you like it, this one is one to take a look at. Stay caffeinated, friends!

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Mont Saint Michel | Image: Vieux Eyewear
Mont Saint Michel | Image: Vieux Eyewear

Vieux Eyewear

Richie Hall – Video Producer

I’ve been playing it safe for too long. All my sunnies are black framed with black lenses. Recently I’ve been on the search for a pair that isn’t all black. This search led me to Aussie brand Vieux Eyewear and a new release called Mont Saint Michel in Champagne. Yes, that’s right, champagne-coloured frame and lenses. Soft curves and sleek lines get the style points and 100% UVA/UVB protection, anti-reflective coating and a hard-density Cellulose Acetate frame gets it done at the business end. Every pair of Vieux is handcrafted on the Gold Coast and limited to a micro-production. Each pair is individually numbered and never repeated so you best get in quick!

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Sensory street
Image: Sensory Street

Sensory Street

Marcus Hurley – Sales and Partnerships Manager

This week I dove into the enchanting world of Sensory Street, the purveyor of all things calm and focus. My personal favourite, the Smoosho’s Colour Change Ball! I like it so much, I’ve bought three.

To me, the Smoosho transcends mere mindless fidgeting. It now doesn’t leave my hand (handover as I say this, my colleague has currently stolen it…) offering serenity and mindfulness. With its mesmerizing and fun colour-changing feature, the Smoosho’s Colour Change Ball soothes the mind.

It’s soft. It’s squishy. It effortlessly melts away stress and tension. Whilst I have not yet explored the full Sensory Street offering, I am aware you can also put together your own Sensory Solutions box and build your own personal oasis of calm from across their range. So, experience the magic of the Smoosho’s Colour Change Ball and unlock a world of inner peace on Sensory Street, where serenity awaits around every corner (or squeeze).

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Star Wars Unlimited Trading Cards | Image: Star Wars Unlimited
Star Wars Unlimited Trading Cards | Image: Star Wars Unlimited

Star Wars Unlimited Trading Cards

Dayna Aspite – Branded Content Associate

Buckle up fellow Jedi and Sith enthusiasts because the galaxy just got a whole lot more exciting with Star Wars trading cards! As a card collector myself, I was super stoked to get my hands on these. Not only are these cards stunning, the game itself was a lot of fun and brought a whole new level of appreciation I have for Star Wars. The first thing I noticed when starting to play was the sheer versatility of the cards. With each one featuring a different character, ship, or location from the Star Wars universe, the possibilities on your playstyle were endless. This game was quick and easy to pick up after a practice round or two which I really appreciated as you’re able to spend more time strategising your ultimate game plan to victory over learning the rules.

Whether you’re a diehard Star Wars fan or a dabbler, dive into a galaxy far far away with Star Wars Unlimited for some brain-churning strategy and some good ol’ fashion good vs evil action.

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Jurlique Rosewater Mist | Image: Jurlique
Jurlique Rosewater Mist | Image: Jurlique

Jurlique Rosewater Mist

Naman Singh – Content & SEO Specialist

My summer skincare routine consists of a few things to keep me and my skin cool – a facial ice roller, plenty of sunscreen and a wonder product originally used by my grandmother – rosewater.

Jurlique’s Rosewater Balancing face mist is the perfect pick me up, more so in the harsh summers. Cooling and hydrating with a subtle, floral fragrance, it contains rose gallica which has tremendous benefits for the skin. This refreshing mist has reduced redness, puffiness and any irritation from exposure to the elements.

Ideal for dry and sensitive skin, incorporating this product into my everyday, newly-discovered, beauty regimen, my skin looks and feels infinitely better.

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