31 August 2019

A SUMMERS DAY OUT WITH THE ALL-NEW MAZDA3

All-New Mazda3, Japanese design, Car review, Mazda3 review, Family Travel, Japanese Car Design

Since watching Extraordinary Homes on Netflix, The Optical Glass House in Japan seems to have captured Felix’s imagination and left him wanting to learn more about Japanese architecture and design. Mix this with his love of cars, seeing his face light up when the All-New Mazda3 was delivered to our front door was nothing short of explosive excitement.

As a family we love travel and good design, and always jump at the chance of adventure, whether it’s local or further afield. So when we were asked take the All-New Mazda3 for a test drive to a Japanese twinned town of our choice, we couldn’t resist a fun summers day out.

All-New Mazda3, Japanese design, Car review, Mazda3 review, Family Travel, Japanese Car Design

Twinned with Beppu, Japan’s most spectacular ONSEN natural hot spring city nestled between the mountains and the sea, Bath made the ideal location for us to experience the engineering that goes into the sleek and sporty design of the All-New Mazda3. Loading the kiddos into the car, made easy with the ISOFIX anchorage as standard, we took the scenic route using the cruise control, while Felix excitedly navigated from the back seat and asking whether he could sit in the ‘cockpit’.

We headed into the historic city of Bath, a UNESCO heritage site known for its Roman Baths and honey coloured Georgian architecture and although there are many links between the popular tourist destinations of Beppo and Bath, including thermal springs, a love of rugby and Saki festivals, it is always the open spaces and parks that Felix and Romi make a beeline for.

All-New Mazda3, Japanese design, Car review, Mazda3 review, Family Travel, Japanese Car Design

More than a car and a simple need to get from A to B, I love learning the stories behind great design and every Mazda is designed around one thing, you. Each car isn’t just engineered to move you literally, but to do so emotionally. This is called Jinba Ittai, meaning a sense of oneness between car and driver. Inspired by Japanese tradition, it symbolises the oneness between horse and rider, something entirely natural, like a true extension of your being that brings pure driving pleasure. Pretty cool ay and to be honest it does feel like the car is designed with joy in mind.

All-New Mazda3, Japanese design, Car review, Mazda3 review, Family Travel, Japanese Car Design

We drove past the Bath Holborne Museum in the hopes of cheering out the new Lauren Child: The Art of Illustration exhibition as it was a staple book when Felix was little, but unfortunately they were filming that day so we made mental note to head back next week and drove a little further on to Royal Victoria park.

All-New Mazda3, Japanese design, Car review, Mazda3 review, Family Travel, Japanese Car Design
Apart from the epic playground, this holds a warm and fuzzy place in my heart as we often go Ice Skating here at Christmas and it’s become a bit of a family tradition with hot chocolate, Christmas Markets and looking for a Christmas Eve book for the stockings. Romi got straight into the drivers seat on the wooden toddler playhouse, while her and Felix squabbled over who would ‘drive’ especially as he was keen to pretend he was in the new car using the heads up display, projecting the speed limit, actual speed and next navigation instruction onto the window when driving.

After the kiddos had covered themselves in sand we headed for a quick coffee and nose in our fave two haunts, Toppings bookshop and Mr B’s Emporium. After Paul and I met in a bookshop in London we can’t help but wander around stacked shelves and reminisce with family in tow.
All-New Mazda3, Japanese design, Car review, Mazda3 review, Family Travel, Japanese Car Design

All-New Mazda3, Japanese design, Car review, Mazda3 review, Family Travel, Japanese Car Design
As a surprise addition to our day out, we were gifted a picnic hamper stacked with Japanese goodies from sushi and seaweed to Lychee soft drinks to really immerse ourselves in the experience, before driving up through the narrow streets for a stroll along the infamous the Royal Crescent. Being conscious of driving through the heritage site and trying to be a more eco-conscious I was pleased to learn about the All-New Mazda3 innovative Skyactiv-X engine and its low CO2 emissions, it burns less fuel than a conventional petrol engine but provides better performance. Plus I can confirm that the Petrol needle didn’t seem to move even after a full day out so it’s economical too!

All-New Mazda3, Japanese design, Car review, Mazda3 review, Family Travel, Japanese Car Design

All-New Mazda3, Japanese design, Car review, Mazda3 review, Family Travel, Japanese Car Design
We eventually headed to the perfect shaded picnic spot, as the weather was being temperamental, threatening rain and got stuck in! Sometimes relaxing together outside as a family is just what the doctor ordered and it was sweet to hear Felix’s giggles as Romi gave the sushi experience a suspicious stare!

I wondered whether the car would feel cramped with two children, a 6ft4 husband and pushchair all in a hatchback when we were used to our estate, but in all honesty it didn't feel like that, and even though the boot space is very different compared to an estate it was such a treat to drive the All-New Mazda3. As well as all the cool tech details such as Bose 12 speaker sound system, Apple play and best parking assist I’ve ever seen (I would so need this), it very much felt that this sleek car has been designed and engineered to the enjoyment of the drivers experience.

All-New Mazda3, Japanese design, Car review, Mazda3 review, Family Travel, Japanese Car Design

Note to Father Christmas, Felix is now wondering how he can wangle one of these on his Christmas list or at least visit Japan for the architecture AND the cars. What can I say the kids knows good design!


*This is a collaborative paid post with Mazda. 
We test drove the All-New Mazda3 for five days to get a true feel for the car as part of this review. 
All words and opinions are my own. 
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8 July 2019

A SPECIAL STAY AT THE BEDRUTHAN HOTEL & SPA CORNWALL


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Just over a week ago I waved goodbye to Bristol and the kiddos, for a much needed night away and headed to the beautiful Bedruthen Hotel & Spa Cornwall. It’s not often us mamas take time to recuperate, let alone use the bathroom alone (*toddler alert! if you know, you know) so when I was invited to enjoy the Sensory Spa Garden experience sans children, I jumped at the chance to treat my mam to the beautiful beach views and the outdoor hot tubs Bedruthen Hotel & Spa has to offer.

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26 February 2019

FONDUE NIGHTS AT TWO BELLY CHEESE & BEER SHOP


It's not often I rave about food on here but when it's oh so right it's hard not to share! Now we're firmly past Veganary and cheese is back on the menu, I can't wait to tell you about Two Belly Cheese & Beer shop in Bristol. A few weeks back I went along to a fondue night full of all the deliciousness that follows to sample the evening events hosted at Two Belly, a new on the scene shop/eateries/event space ran by wife and husband duo, Lara and Dominic, who are on a mission to empower people with exciting cheeses and beers from around the world. I mean who could say no to that right?

Upping sticks from London, this dynamic pair have followed their passion and turned their vision into reality, serving up carefully curated pairings of cheese and beer to the vibrant city of Bristol and it hasn't gone unnoticed.


The minimalist Two Belly shop has gone beyond the normal store set up with its fun taster evening events challenging you to explore your taste buds. The long shared table transformed to an evening dining experience introducing the Beer & Cheese Flight £10.50 pp followed by Fondue with accompanying UK cured meats, sourdough bread and fermented pickles amongst a few of treats for dipping. 

The opening Cheese & Beer flight took me by surprise, the delicate pairing was nothing short of genius and me, who is normally not a beer drinker, was very pleasantly surprised at the tasty combinations:

Mad Hatter Brewing, Tzatziki Sour - Kirkham's Lancashire cheese, a raw Cow's Milk Hard cheese
Braybrooke, Session Lager - Innes Log, a Raw Goat's Milk cheese. 
Moor, Dark alliance, Coffee Stout paired with Beenleigh Blue, a Sheep's Blue cheese. 

The whole evening was an absolute delight, and dining in the shop after trading hours allows you to feel like you are in the midst of a personal dining experience with the 'chefs' themselves. Lara and Dominic were on hand to answer any and all questions about the cheese and beer, as well as their passion and background before launching Two Belly.


I love any meal that brings people together over a table and the Two Belly Fondue Nights are a far cry from the nostalgic scenes of the '70s, intead they have created an almost fine dining experience where you can bond over a melting pot of delicious cheese. 


*Two Belly invited me to attend their Fondue Night without any obligation to review the event. However I'm very happy to share my thoughts from the evening as the food and whole experience was delightful and hope you enjoy it too. 
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11 February 2019

WALLACE & GROMIT'S MUSICAL MARVELS TOUR

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I’m always on the look out for a grand day out with the kiddos, something to excite their imagination, nurture their creativity and generally inject a bit of wow factor into their lives. So when I heard that Carrot Productions will tour Wallace & Gromit’s Musical Marvels across the UK, I was very excited for Felix and his love of the iconic Aardman duo.

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15 January 2019

HAPPY NEW YEAR, HAPPY NEW ME?

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Happy New Year, Happy New Me?

I’m two weeks late to the party, shouting those  celebratory welcomes to 2019 and presenting my goals, but sometimes it’s OK to rock up fashionably late, hell I can even go far as to say it’s my party so why not?

Anyway Happy New Year Everyone! Even though we’re a few weeks in I do wish everyone the best year they could possibly dream of, because whats a life without dreams right and you know, kindness is kinda my jam. But as the clock struck midnight and we emerged on the other side, I sat and wondered what the year would have in store for me, what resolutions would I put in place, what spring clean and good habits would I install. Like Lori v2.0, except I’m getting on a bit so actually it’s more like Lori v38.0

So it’s a Happy New Year but will it be a Happy New Me? I found 2018 was the year of being present, you might have noticed as this little corner of the Internet was mainly quiet and I dipped in and out of instagram, instead swapping the online time for cuddle time, soaking up the first year with Romi, all consumed and drunk on love. I didn’t focus on myself, and if I tried it didn’t last long. But on reflection this last year of standing still has done me wonders, it has taught me patience that I couldn't quite grasp the first time round, to be humble and just enjoy our time learning about each other. I let my body rest and didn’t worry about what I ate as long as it nourished me. As they say time flies when you’re having fun/getting on with stuff and it’s hard to believe in a few weeks my baby will turn the big one!

This blog has acted like a raft for me, something to cling to during stormy waters, a place to while away the time, taking me on wonderful crazy adventures and always teaching me new skills, like a castaway getting to grips with the ropes. Normally I set a word for the year, something to reflect upon, but this year I’m switching things up, if this space has been my raft then this year I am setting up the sail. I shall drive myself forward, compass in hand with the shore in sight. Not just on here but in all areas of life.

happy new yearm new year planning, goals, working mom, mumbossGenerally I struggle with consistency and maintaining my vision, but this time is different. I feel a change is near and I am using different methods to set a clear path, so I thought I would share my strategy here with you:

MANIFESTING
I am such a strong believer of the law of attraction and manifesting good stuff. Sounds a bit woo woo but throughout my life if I needed something, then within a few days or weeks I would be presented with it or an opportunity to get it. At first I just considered this to be extremely Lucky but now I understand it’s more than that.

In a nutshell you need to have a clear vision of what you want, believe that you not only want this but you whole heatedly deserve to have this, be open to opportunity and then live the best those desires and vision. If you’re interested in learning more then there is great easy breakdown here.

PLUS I have been loving Sarah Akwisombe and the Money Medium 3 Day Money Mindset Accelerator, it’s a must if you want to manifest money.


SMART GOALS
It oh so easy to say this year I’m going to be super healthy, loose the excess Christmas pounds, grow the business, go out more etc etc. But there is a reason why most New Years resolutions fail. Because a goal without a path to achieving it, is just a dream said out loud. Instead I’ve been focusing on creating SMART goals

S - Specific. What is it that I want to achieve? what is the desired end result?
M - Measurable. How can you measure the progress of achieving your goal?
A - Achievable. What steps can you take to achieve it? Break it down into smaller tasks.
R - Relevant. Is you goal relevant to you? Do you need to learn new skills to achieve it?
T - Time. Have you set a realistic deadline? Create a realistic flexible deadlines that work for you.

I’ve invested in a MiPlanner which I picked up at Papersmiths to help me get my goals organised and you can learn more about SMART goals here.


SELF CARE
This year I am going to nourish myself and feel strong again, regain ownership of my body and mind. I’m starting slowly with exercise and good foods, sticking to a more vegetarian based diet, using short online courses to develop my parenting skills, healing any old emotional wounds and focusing my energy on good nourishing people.The grass always grow where you water it! So it’s time to let go of any drama and toxic relationships. And finally travel, because this is what makes me happy.

So these are my main techniques I’m using, plus creating as much work time around two kiddos as possible. The hustle continues!

I would love to hear if you have any intentions for the year?

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© WILD & GRIZZLY

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