The Top Reasons a Vauxhall Grandland X should be your next car

Vauxhall Grandland X, 4x4, SUV, Car in field, Car in front of Logs, New car

We recently had the privilege of working with Vauxhall when they sent us their brand new SUV and Life HaX tool, to put them through their paces in the modern world. Whilst the SUV may not spring to mind as a must have car in your twenties or thirties – we may have the answers that will change your mind.

The Grandland X

A crossover of ultimate proportion, the Grandland X is Vauxhall’s latest SUV model. Crossover by name, crossover by nature…for someone in his twenties, this car has all the sass that I’m looking for with city living, but could easily ‘cross-over’ into delivering something quite grand in the country.

The Grandland X represents the balance between the functional and emotional benefits of owning a car; it’s both a highly spec’d SUV, ideal for all kinds of family needs, as well an attractive and boldly styled car, adding a sense of ‘grandness’ to the driver’s lifestyle.

Vauxhall see the Grandland X as a car that reflects their adventurous personality – it’s primarily a lifestyle choice, though it has clear functional advantages. Yes, it’s a practical family car for your growing brood, but it’s also quite the toy for any singleton.

The Life HaX tool

Vauxhall Life HaX tool, New tool, Life HaX

Whether you’re a single tech lover or a family man who needs something to help you focus with a car full of kids, the Life HaX tool marks the launch of the Grandland X, the new SUV that was designed with modern parents in mind and has seen Vauxhall Motors look into the ever-changing role of parents to understand what life hacks can help make their lives easier.

The resulting hand-held Life HaX tool helps multi-tasking parents so they can concentrate on enjoying adventures with their family;

  • Lego un-picker – to stop you breaking your fingernails trying to unpick your children’s Lego
  • Wide-angle lens attachment – for those all-important Instagram snaps
  • Macro lens attachment – for awesome close-up photography
  • Power bank – for when your phone runs out of battery on the move
  • iPhone pin – for removing the SIM from your phone
  • Torch – for when you can’t see under the sofa or the back of the boot to find your children’s lost toys
  • Stylus – to give that extra precision when drawing on your tablet
  • Knot un-picker – for when the kids get in a tangle
  • Screwdriver – because traditional household jobs haven’t gone away

With so many tools, ideally you need a bag to carry the Life HaX in. However, if you’re the head honcho of your brood, I imagine you’d have rucksacks or bags to be able to throw the tool in.

It’s greatest bonus for me was the phone charger!

The Reasons you should consider the GrandLand X and Life Hax Tool

A stylish steer

Man driving 4x4, SUV, Vauxhall Grandland X, Sat Nav in car, inside a car

The Grandland X looks as good as it feels to drive – it’s very easy admire its elegant lines, two-tone roof and big alloys. It’s a stand out vehicle when competing for attention in a multi-story car park.

You’ll notice that the new SUV for Vauxhall has taken a slightly different approach to the recognizable style of the brand, something I think brings it into the current era and boasts hope for the years to come.

Unbeatable tech

Boasting an on-board touchscreen, which in the 8-inch configuration tested (there’s also a 7in version) has crisp graphics and is both simple and responsive to operate.

As you’d expect these days it’s all fully connected, whether it’s via Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, a simple USB lead or WiFi. The latter forms part of Vauxhall’s OnStar service, a call centre staffed by advisors who can book hotels or parking spaces for you before sending details to the satnav. Equally as useful, it will alert the emergency services if the car’s airbags are deployed.

A comfortable and spacious ride

Man getting in a 4x4, Vauxhall Grandland X, White Jeep, New Car, Car in Field

The Grandland X is certainly roomy enough to be taken seriously, as well as taller than the two-tone floating roofline might suggest. Its boot capacity is matches its competitors if not easily beats the Nissan Qashqai and Renault Kadjar challengers. What’s more, the space itself is easy to use thanks to a square shape, flat loading lip and a dual-height boot floor on all but the base model. The rear seats can be folded flat too, albeit only in a 60:40 split rather than the 40:20:40 of some rivals.

If you’ve got a big family, it may not be possible to transport everyone in one vehicle unless you drive an SUV. If there’s a darn sight more of you than some families, you need to get from point A to point B at the same time and all you own is a small vehicle, you’re going to have to make multiple trips or take multiple vehicles. One trip in a big SUV, and you’ve saved fuel, taken up less space in traffic and in the car park, and made maximum use of your resources.

The Grandland X has 1,652 litres of boot space, so you can fit all those bulky items safely away, without compromising the seating area.

Unstoppable safety features

Now, whether you’re a family man or one of life’s Casanova’s something you can agree on is road safety. From the first day of the seven-day trial we had with the Grandland X, we noticed it’s unrivaled amount of safety features. Vauxhall have emphasised the attention to safety that’s built into the new Grandland X. Driver Drowsiness Alert has been added to an already impressive array of safety features including collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and pedestrian detection.

The dashboard includes a speed restriction notification system, and easy to use control panel near the gear stick for quick access – the number of alerts really enhance the comfort of driving.

Not forgetting the adaptable Life HaX tool, which also plays a big part in controlling the vehicle and making the driver’s life easier.

The Grandland X has an excellent diesel to mileage ration! More cruising for your money!

Back in the old days (five or more years ago), many SUVs were inefficient diesel hogs. But now, there are most SUVs that are rated to achieve over 30 miles per gallon on the highway, still retaining the capacity and benefits of an SUV.

We worked out that the Grandland X 1.6-litre diesel is the best performer, which promises 70.6mpg in manual guise and 65.7mpg with an automatic gearbox.

That figure drops a bit if you pick the 2.0-litre version – that car is auto only and weighs in with a still reasonable 57.6mpg.

Road tax for 12 months is a very reasonable £140.00.

Your dog will love the Grandland X!

Man and dog in car, man in 4x4, 4x4 spacious,Vauxhall Grandland X, Vauxhall, dog

This one is true — dogs do love SUVs. Ask any dog, and they’ll tell you. In fact, a few manufacturers have even put out dog-friendly editions of their SUVS, strictly to appeal to dogs (and dog owners). Ultimately, using a few accessories, like a pet barrier or pet carriers, you can turn your SUV’s cargo bay into a safe haven for your dogs during travel. It’s not safe to allow your dogs to roam freely through the cabin of your car — they may interfere with your operation of the vehicle, or worse, become dangerous projectiles in the event of a collision.

The stats

RRPFrom £21,595

Dimensions4,477 mm L x 1,811 mm W x 1,630 mm H

Fuel economy51-71 mpg combined (44-60 city, 58-81 highway)

Towing capacity1,100 to 2,000 kg

Engine1.2 L 3-cylinder, 1.6 L 4-cylinder diesel, 2.0 L 4-cylinder diesel.

View the Vauxhall Grandland X and Life HaX tool, by hovering over the links.

10 Things You Must Do While Visiting Sydney

Whatever your reason might be for visiting this glorious city, and the available time you might have – it’s not enough. As soon as you hit the clubs on your first night, or get a glimpse at their majestic beaches, you’ll instantly want to spend at least one whole lifetime (if not more) in this insane, but versatile place.

The hotspot for thrill-seekers, foodies, culture vultures and laid-back locals, no matter who you are, you’ll fit right in the colourful crowd of Aussies, and you can expect a whole range of activities to spice up your trip. Now buckle up and enjoy the ride!

Climb the Harbour Bridge

Travel to the Sydney harbour bridge, Australia

Sydney harbour bridge, Australia

This one is a no-brainer. This architectural masterpiece is the stamp of the city and an adventure with a gorgeous view, so it’s not only worth the rate, which is $200 plus, but also a bucket-list type of an experience.

Even if you opt for the quickest version named the express climb, you’ll find yourself in awe of the bridge’s raw power as you go deeper into its steel arches. You’ll be able to see the entire Harbour, a huge portion of the city itself, and the iconic Sydney Opera House.

Take the plunge

No visit to Sydney can be complete without a dive into the ocean. If you surf, even better, the city offers a whole range of surfing-friendly spots such as in Manly or Bondi, which also leads you to another perfect, unavoidable experience – coastal walks.

Bring your board or just your shades (and a bottle of water, otherwise you’ll go nuts), and test the waters of all the cool beaches from Bondi to Coogee, where you can also find excellent whale-watching viewpoints, or from Spit to Manly, and head to some of the locals’ favourite brunch spots to kick-start your early morning adventures.

Put on your foodie hat

There’s no better way to have an authentic taste of the city than to indulge in its exquisite cuisine. Few places can be on a par with Sydney’s rapidly growing food scene, so fuel your stay with some of their delicious fresh meals, proudly made by the ingenious local chefs.

Della Hyde in one of their most beloved restaurants in Darlinghurst and a perfect start that will give you plenty of energy for your busy itinerary. There’s no point in roaming the city on an empty stomach – it just ruins the whole experience. Have a taste of their steamed dumplings with a tasty dipping sauce, round it off with a delish cocktail and you’re good to go.

Have a drink at the Opera Bar


Whilst you’re at the harbour, you may as well grab a drink at the Opera Bar. Time it right and you’ll watch the sun set behind the Sydney Opera House and grab a prime opportunity for a picture. It’s all open plan and airy, so you can enjoy the sun all year round.

Situated right by the waters edge, Opera Bar is often described as the best beer garden in the world. Be swept away by the panoramic views of the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge, CBD and beautiful Harbour. Whether it’s breakfast, a lazy lunch, a pre show dinner date or simply a cocktail; Opera Bar is truly perfect for any occasion.

Kayak

Sydney’s rich bushland, versatile creeks and hidden oases are perfectly accessible if you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and get those paddles moving. You’re in the city of water sports, for crying out loud, the effort is half the fun!

You can go it alone or join a group, but don’t miss out on the Narrabeen Lagoon, the Lane Cover River or the Royal National Park – they are all beautiful, mysterious and worth the paddle.

Sydney Zoo

No true Australian experience can go without a wildlife encounter! Head out to the Sydney Wildlife Zoo to meet the friendly wallabies, cuddly koalas, wombats and the ferocious saltwater crocodiles. You can even book a behind-the-scenes tour and have an up-close greeting with some of the friendliest lizards and mammals you’ve seen.

The keepers can take you through the Kangaroo Walk-About, the Koala Encounter and the Butterfly Tropics, and follow up the visit with enticing stories and facts on the local wildlife.

Royal Botanic Garden

Even if it’s just for the afternoon picnic snack, this incredible work of art is teeming with the friendly locals, and there’s always a spot in the shade for you to rest and absorb the Zen energy of the green surroundings.

You’ll get to see some of the most exotic plant species from Australia and the Pacific region bundled up in the Royal Botanic Garden, and you can join a free guided tour which starts every morning at 10:30 from the heart of the park.

The Blue Mountains


Get your hike on! If you fancy amazing views, and a break from city life, you should definitely hire a car and head 2 hours in-land to meet the mountains and three-sisters.

The Blue Mountains is a rugged region west of Sydney in Australia’s New South Wales. Known for dramatic scenery, it encompasses steep cliffs, eucalyptus forests, waterfalls and villages dotted with guesthouses, galleries and gardens. Katoomba, a major town in the area, borders Blue Mountains National Park and its bushwalking trails. Echo Point affords views of the storied Three Sisters sandstone rock formation.
If you’re on a budget, it’s your best mate. It’s definitely underrated and worth the visit. Remember to ask what the blue haze is…not all is what it seems!

Head out to Cockatoo

A well-kept secret of the local Aussies, the Cockatoo Island is more than just a fun destination for a spooky history lesson on the convicts, but also a cherished BBQ spot for a Sunday of relaxing. Beautiful beaches, yet another kayaking chance, tennis courts, and a perfect campsite, the island is chock-full of fun if you plan your stay well.

Bondi to Coogee Walk


Combining beaches, rockpools, parks and spectacular coastal views, the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk winds its way along 6 km of picturesque coastal paths at the edge of Sydney’s eastern suburbs. Starting by the iconic Bondi Icebergs, just above the Bondi Baths, the walk takes between 1-2 hours at a leisurely pace, offering plenty to see and do along the way.

Make your way up a set of steep stairs near the start of the walk and marvel at Aboriginal rock carvings in Marks Park, one of the walk’s highest points and a prime whale watching spot during the migration season between May and November. Heading towards Tamarama you’ll pass by Mackenzie’s Point Beach, one of the smallest beaches in the State which is only accessible at low tide. The beach is not suitable for swimming, but is a popular surfing spot and a great place to relax by the water.

Vintage style leather luggage that gives back!

Gentleman's Leather travel bag leather brogues

For several months now we’ve been seeing MAHI Leather pop up around our social media platforms and if you’re one of those guys who’s darting across the country on weekends and living out of a bag, you’re going to want to hear about MAHI.

They jumped out to us because of their classic look; the products reflect an air of the sartorial gent. Think David Gandy.

It’s important that you, as a travelling man, recognise the significance of a strong, durable bag – it is to be seen as an investment and will take away a lot of the stresses found with travelling due to them achieving the three qualities we all look for when considering a travel bag: quality, capacity and portability.

As welcoming to success as they are, MAHI have a great passion for helping others and giving back – they work alongside FRANK Water Charity by donating $1.50 from every bag sale and have so far raised an incredible $7.5K.

To learn more about how MAHI’s donations help to aid FRANK in their work, click here.

Interview Time! MAHI Q&A

We’ve thrown MAHI straight in our hot seat and asked them some questions to find out a little more about the brand…

Clothes fodled with leather bag for weekend awayGents leather wash bags

How would you describe MAHI leather? What is it in a nutshell?

MAHI Leather is a brand that offers high quality, luxury luggage and bags at an affordable price. We cut out the middle man when delivering so everyone gets a product, made to order, delivered directly from our family run workshop in India. Not only do we want to sell beautiful products, we also want to do some good along the way – every bag sold see’s $1.50 get donated to FRANK Water Charity who provide water & sanitation to the people of India. It’s our way of giving back to a country where we have found inspiration, employees and even our brand name.

• How did MAHI start and why?

MAHI is a product of our main company; we’d tried to start other companies but this one really stuck. The charity work and emphasis on our own passion and values within the brand was something that we wanted to resonate with our customers. It started off small and has really taken off over the past few years. It’s more than just selling a bag. It’s crafting something for a customer, personalising it and then getting it delivered to them directly. All the while doing some good in the process.

• What goes into deciding what you stock, to ensure it matches the MAHI values?

A lot of the time, deciding on new products and designs is a gradual process and develops alongside our brand. If one of our designers has a basic idea or is inspired by something, may be a certain style of bag, we look at ways that we can make it our own and think about the value it will add to our range. As much as we want to evolve and change, we want it to be organic and in keeping with our brand image and vibe. Basically, we wouldn’t make something or do something that wouldn’t make sense for us. In a year’s time, our look and values may have changed but that will be a very progressive thing.

• How long does it take from idea to design to sale for one of MAHI’s products?

Generally, it depends on what we’re going for, what the design is and how easy it is to get it right. We often make several attempts of perfecting a design and creating samples so that we have a product that we feel is good enough for our customers and our brand.

• What are your personal favourites that MAHI stock?

It’s definitely a tough decision. The MAHI Classic Duffle, I think, is wonderful simply because it’s so simple, stylish AND it’s actually very practical. The only thing to worry about is which colour to have it in.

• MAHI has grown really quickly and successfully with hard work, what would you say is key to making your brand successful?

I think the best things you can do as a brand is not only to know yourself, what you stand for and what you want to do, but also get to know your target audience. Also, ask people outside of the company for their thoughts – how they perceive the brand, for example. Look for a fresh pair of eyes to give you a new perspective. You’ll be surprised at how it can change the way you see the company and the direction you’re going.

• Do MAHI have any new products in the pipeline?

We’re currently brainstorming ideas for new products and running through technicalities with designs. Our main goal this year is to get a MAHI on wheels!

• What does 2017 have in store for MAHI?

Hopefully plenty of success! We really want to grow as a brand, introduce more products and raise awareness for FRANK Water Charity.

mahi-leather-header-3Leather bag for travel

We’re huge fans of MAHI at highstreetgent.com and hope to see more and more from them over the coming months and years. To shop the full MAHI Leather collection, please visit their website here.

6 Signs You Really Need a Break From Work

Businessman Working Summer Beach Relaxation with Laptop

It feels like a life time since the last time you had a holiday, it was yonks back! The weather is still pretty glum, with a bit of blue-sky breaking now and again, but you’re fed up, right?

Are you sitting at your desk dreaming about a weekend in Barcelona or at least 4 weeks’ minimum in the Maldives? However, just wanting a tan and cocktails aren’t the only reasons to pack up and have a break.

A study from University College in London found that overworking can lead to a 33% higher risk of having a stroke, and a 13% increased risk of a heart attack. Taking a holiday doesn’t make you a bad worker though and will actually make you a better worker as you can return re-energized and therefore better able to tackle challenges and stress. Here are six signs that you really need a break from work.

1. You keep messing everything up

You send emails to the wrong people, your spreadsheets are complete chaos and you’ve spilt your coffee over several others desks. If you’re finding yourself making constant mistakes, it’s because your brain is in overtime and you’re too stressed to focus on small tasks. It’s time for a rest before you break a leg or even worse, your company laptop.

2. What does enthusiastic mean anymore?

You never used to mind getting up for work and enjoyed a challenge every day, but now you just don’t care and you couldn’t be less enthusiastic even if you tried. It’s because you haven’t had some me time in god knows how long right? Chances are, by taking some time off, you’ll find that enthusiasm about your career again and start putting the effort in again.

3. What even is sleep?!

You can’t remember the last time that you had a full night’s sleep and you’re up all hours of the night worrying about work. It’s time to book a few minutes off before you turn into a zombie! Not enough sleep is bad for your health and will have a knock on effect on the rest of your life, don’t risk turning those around you against you because of your grouchy sleepy moments and ditch the desk.

Man frustrated at work ready for a holiday

4. Everyone is so annoying

You’re usually the funniest one in the office, but you’re just finding everyone really annoying recently and you’ve lost your sense of humour at work. Not only will this make you lose friends at work, you’re not being yourself and chances are, your boss will notice this, especially if it’s making you a bad worker and incorporative with other team members.

5. You’ve lost your social life

You’ve actually become so obsessed with work that you’ve forgotten how to live life outside of it. You forgot all about your gran’s birthday and the drinks at the pub with your mates on Friday evening because you were still in the office at 10pm. If you can’t think about anything other than work, you’re going to drive yourself and those around you crazy because you’re so self-absorbed.

6. You look a complete mess

Even if you’re not always looking your best, you look even worse than what you normally do because the lack of sleep and life in general is having such an effect on you that you look super miserable all the time, your hair isn’t brushed and your eye bags suggest you’ve been in punched a few times the previous night. You need some fresh air and time to rejuvenate as well as catching up on your sleep and go somewhere where you can fully relax and switch off from work mode.

So, before you dive into a pool of despair, we suggest you plan a weekend break or a get-away so you have something to look forward too! So if you think about it, taking a holiday is actually GOOD for your career. Just keep in mind that you should always give plenty of notice before taking time off and prepare any work or necessary cover ahead of time, so that your boss is not left in the lurch when you’re gone.

What do you pack for a weekend away?

Travel

Heading away this weekend fellas? Whether it be travelling by plane, train or car, what is guaranteed is that you’ll be stuffed for space and what it is you can take. We learnt all to well this weekend when we jetted off to Dublin.

We’re going to share a few simple things to consider when packing for a weekend away that will make it easier for you, but ultimately, keeping you looking fly.

First things first, prepare yourself by getting hold of a decent sized bag that’s also lightweight to take as carry-on. Sounds super obvious, right? But let’s face it with only 5kg–10kg (depending on which airline) you need to make sure that your bag doesn’t weigh too much before you get any of your luggage in to it.

Pick items of clothing that you can mix and match throughout the trip, there’s nothing simpler than being able to look at a few items and know that each and everyone of them can pieced together with one another. We took a versatile pair of Chelsea boots (to travel in, wear in the day and night), a Harrington jacket (day wear), a collarless jacket (smarter wear), black jeans, our Skull & Bones NY long black tee, our JCKSCRWN white printed tee and our Humbug 901 blue shirt. All of our clothes were key wardrobe essentials that are suitable for any activity..and we did quite a few of those in the varying Irish weather!

With the weather in mind, we packed a snapback and a woolly hat to keep the hair at bay in the rainy conditions…but luckily the weather was on our side! As for socks, we stuck with our trusty London Sock Co. socks and our Manly Stuff (Dublin based) watch.

Another clothes related tip is that any pants or socks should be rolled up in to your shoes, because goddammit, that is valuable space that needs to be used. Am I right? In fact roll everything up to make sure you optimise all that space…Plus it minimises the chances of your clothes getting wrinkled.

Another way to save space and weather permitting, think about wearing the heaviest or bulkiest items to layer up whilst travelling on your flight. I know for some places or certain times of the year this might be a no-no but it’s always worth doing if you can!

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When it comes to grooming products you are only allowed 100ml bottles of liquids, so a top tip from us is…head over to Toppbox, they do a one off small box of travel sized grooming products aka, a hair gel, a shower gel, an aftershave and a soap, all 100ml and under and it only costs £10! Its a personalised box too, so you’ll get he right products for your skin, hair and beard type. Top notch!

Luckily our Gruhme aftershave was a 100ml bottle, so we could get away with squeezing that it!

When packing straighteners, chargers,shavers or any other items that aren’t clothes, try spread them round the bag in gaps that aren’t being filled rather than stacking them on top of one another because it will just make it harder to pack when you return home. If you are using a rucksack, try use one with a large pocket on the front where you can pop your passport and tickets in so you can easily access them too.

The main point is stick to it! It might sound like tough love but by doing this it eliminates the desire to just keep packing bits here & there that you really don’t need. Something we’re terrible at doing, so going with just carry-on luggage encourages us to be a little bit stricter.

With a little bit of planning you can achieve a lot, choose versatile outfits for drinking, museums, tours and a lot of walking!! But most of all enjoy chaps…and DO NOT FORGET YOUR PASSPORT!

If you’re heading to Dublin soon, here’s a list of the top 5 things you’ve got to try out!

  1. The International Bar’s Comedy Club
  2. The Guinness Storehouse (Museum)
  3. Several pints, lots of drinking and a sing-a-long in the Auld Dubliner
  4. The Leprechaun Experience – The Dark Side
  5. Kilmainham Gaol – Dublin’s former prison