Tag Archive | "Travel"

Pioneer FreeMe Bluetooth Speaker

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Pioneer FreeMe Bluetooth Speaker

Posted on 05 September 2014 by Chris Ford


Bluetooth speakers are nothing new, in fact the market is flooded with them right now, and quite rightly they are amazing bits of kit you can take anywhere with you and listen to your music.. gone are those boombox days when you (if you dared) had to carry this massive box around with you.

The Pioneer FreeMe stands out in that it looks classy, it doesn’t look like a toy, in fact it looks like something that would fit quite comfortable on a CEO’s desk with its black leather finish on top it really is rather classy.


The Speaker itself isnt massive, footprint wise its a bit bigger than my Iphone so its not taking up much desk space either but that doesnt mean there is a compromise on sound, in fact I love the way the FreeMe seems to turn my enitre desk into a bass speaker, as Im typing this I can feel the drums vibrations through the wood of the desk, to me yes this is a good thing.

Vocals and instrumentation is all very clear, none of that muddy sound you tend to find on some of these small speakers and for such a small speaker it can go VERY loud, in fact Im sure it would put to shame some of the mini hifis Ive had in my past.



The FreeMe has bluetooh and NFC connectivity as well as a AUX in which I found very handy as my work computer doesn’t have a decent speaker, using the supplied cable I was able to upgrade my office tunes with ease so now have Spotify running through the FreeMe.

The Speaker can be powered either by USB (power brick included) or the built in rechargeable battery gives you 7 hrs of playback.

Flaws? to be honest Im very impressed with the FreeMe, the only one I can think of is price, there are lots of cheaper options out there, although I doubt they sound or are designed anywhere near as good as the FreeMe

as the say you get what you pay for.

The leather edition of the Pioneer XW-LF3-K FreeMe is out now with a RRP of £169.99

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A Staycation at the Montague on the Gardens, London

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A Staycation at the Montague on the Gardens, London

Posted on 28 August 2014 by Chris Ford

Despite the name of this blog, it’s not often that we get the chance to partake of activities that a gentleman might traditionally enjoy.


So when I was offered the opportunity to spend a staycation in London at the fancy-sounding Montague on the Gardens hotel, I was rather excited.

I had heard of The Montague before in cigar circles (yes, there is such a thing). Complete with its own cigar terrace, it’s known as a cigar-friendly venue, so I swiftly packed my travel humidor with some fine Habanos and was on my way.

We were off to a great start when the friendly receptionist explained that I’d been upgraded to a Deluxe King room. As someone more used to being on a Travel Lodge budget, needless to say I was impressed. The room (well two rooms really) was decorated in a fun yet high-end way something in between traditional and modern. The first room featured a shower room, desk along with sofa and TV area going through to the next room was the bed and a second bathroom.


Another classy touch was a box of posh biscuits and a handwritten card from the manager, hoping we had a great stay. We intended to do just that.

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First up was afternoon tea, which was held in the hotel’s conservatory. I’d never been before, though my companion had been to The Ritz for afternoon tea and was keen to see how Montague would compare.

We started by choosing which tea, but not from a menu, Instead our server brought us a chest of teas to smell as she talked us through the different varieties. Once we’d sniffed out our selection, the food arrived…

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Finger sandwiches, scones and colourful cakes stacked high on a cake stand, it looked great. We stopped to admire it, but just for a moment. This food wasn’t going to eat itself. We found everything to be delicious, with special mention going to the smoked salmon sandwiches (we had seconds… then thirds!), the warm scones and the mini fruit tarts.

Afternoon tea at Montague is a relaxed affair. You can linger for as long as you want to (unlike The Ritz) and it’s good value for money too at £25.00 per head but still top quality. I think it’s safe to say that my first afternoon tea won’t be my last.

After tea, we didn’t know if we’d ever have room to eat again. But after luxuriating in our swanky room for a while, we finally felt ready to venture out for dinner. Montague on the Gardens is in Bloomsbury so there’s tons of choices, but we ended up at Steak and Lobster, Bloomsbury Street.


We didn’t need to ponder the menu for long. As you’d expect from the name, you can either choose steak, or lobster. We went for one of each and both came with unlimited fries! I have eaten steak in many places both premium and budget, to be honest I wasn’t expecting to be blown away. But honestly, it was the best steak I’ve had in a long time, perfectly cooked and packed with flavour. My companion said the lobster was equally as impressive.


Back at the hotel, I was ready for my cigar. But in the summer months, the terrace is used as a restaurant, so was out of bounds for smoking until 10pm. Still, it was hard to be disappointed for long. The top-notch staff at the Montague couldn’t do enough for us, and opened up a beautiful terrace where we could sit and enjoy a drink and a smoke before bedtime (in the unbelievably comfy kingsize). Zzz.


Before check out in the morning, we had breakfast in the hotel (more food!). It was steep at almost £20 per person, but was as top quality as you’d expect of a hotel of this calibre, and there was lots of choice.

Then, our staycation was over and it was time to go home. Getting the tube home, I was back to being a pleb. But I’ll have to look into this gentleman lark more often. I found out how the other half live and now I think I’ve got a taste for it.


This trip was sponsored by Cars are the Stars, our trips theme was Herbie the Love bug ( hence the romantic hotel and dinner) for more info or if you just fancy one of those Meerkats! head over here


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VitaMan Skin Pod

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VitaMan Skin Pod

Posted on 17 May 2013 by Chris Ford

I like to travel as much as possible but when I do I’m often on one of those budget airlines where luggage space is a little on the tight side, I stopped taking a full size was bag with me a while back as it just took up too much room, and the products within were all full size as that’s all you can really buy in supermarkets and is really OTT for a few days away.

So a few weeks ago I was packing to go to Philadelphia for a short break and I decided I needed a more compact solution for my toiletries and upon looking came across the VitaMan Skin Pod

Instead of the usual oblong shape of most toiletry bags this is kind of a flat square which is surprisingly usefully for squeezing into the tiniest places in your luggage.

The Skin Pod comes with the following included :

Vita Man Face Scrub 50Ml

Vita Man Face Mud Masque 50ML

Vita Man Face Moistener 50ML


So pretty much all the products you will need for a well balanced skin routine, there’s also a nice bit of space in there where I managed to get in a folding toothbrush and toothpaste which left me pretty much set for my trip, I thoroughly recommend checking out the Skin Pod if you like to keep up a good skin routine like I do.

For more info on the Vita Man Skin Pod and the other great products they have on offer head over to








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Moodys Travel Wallet

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Moodys Travel Wallet

Posted on 16 July 2012 by Guest Post

Northern Gent is back again for another review, this time he takes a look at  a stylish leather piece from Moodys Worldwide

Luckily for me, my real job means I travel quite a bit throughout Europe. This item has proved a travel companion that I wouldn’t be without now, let me explain:
When travelling, there are three things that don’t leave my side from the minute I leave the house until the minute I get back:
• Passport
• Credit Card
• Emergency Worldwide Medical Assistance card
The above can get me out of any unfortunate situation I find myself in, so they don’t leave my side. Walking around a factory, going out for dinner, driving across a foreign land, they’re always in a pocket. Previously, this meant that my wallet was bursting at the seams as not only were my travel essentials tucked away in there, so was the normal everyday stuff. Debit cards, credit cards, various supermarket loyalty cards, receipts for something long broken or assigned to the ignominy of the loft, all of which meant wallets didn’t last long as they struggled under the weight of the task.

That was before I picked up this very stylish and highly useful Passport Holder from Moodys. I was always puzzled by people that had passport holders, why do they need holding? Also, a passport lasts for 10 years, so they are pretty well made and I reckon even Sir Ranulph Fiennes passport is going strong, and I bet he doesn’t have a holder! But this is different; there are enough card holders and pockets to make this a purposeful wallet as well as somewhere to put your passport.
This has now solved the bulging wallet problem as I have two, one for the UK and one for travel with the three essentials having a home of their own. So, the reason for having one has been explained, but what about the item itself? Firstly, I don’t know how they have managed to create such a stylish well packaged and well-made item for £15. I would happily pay double for this. The wallet arrived wrapped in Moodys monogramed tissue paper and a little fabric holder. Distressed real leather has been used, which gives it a “well-travelled” look straight out the box. The leather is of good quality, nice and supple, with very neat stitching. Inside, the lining is again Moodys monogrammed and “Moodys” has been punched into one of the leather holders. There’s provision for 5 cards, a passport and slots for tickets etc. A high attention to detail is demonstrated; the monogram runs through the liner at a perfect 45 degrees, the stitching is all straight and millimetre perfect around the edge and the tricky corner overlaps are stitched, glued and pressed perfectly.
All in all, a stylish, well made and useful accessory that I use frequently, for a bargain price….that keeps Northern Gent happy! All gents, Northern and Southern, should click on the link above and browse their site to accessorise their look.

About Moodys
Founded on the principles of quality, tradition and heritage, Moodys is a classic British style destination that prides itself on creating timeless designs for the most discerning of customers. Focusing primarily on fashion accessories, everything on offer has been created using the finest materials with an unrivalled focus on luxury, craftsmanship and attention to detail.


for more on the travel wallet and to see the other wonderfull products Moodys has for sale head over to


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Sponsored Video -Volvo XC60 R-Design: Command the Extreme UK

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Sponsored Video -Volvo XC60 R-Design: Command the Extreme UK

Posted on 20 March 2012 by Chris Ford

I love traveling and i love an adventure not dissimilar to most men
I’m sure but there are those that take things that little bit further
in search of that adrenalin rush, and I’m very envious of the guys
competing in The Volvo Ocean Race.

The Volvo Ocean Race is not a race as such, but recording the fastest time between ports. This event pays tribute to the commercial sailors that many years ago battled to get their cargo to its destination on time battling the same fierce difficult conditions those sailors faced those competing have to trust their vessel and the skill of their crew to command it. This contest is now seen as the pinnacle of achievement in the sport. During the nine months of the Volvo Ocean Race, which started in Alicante, Spain in October 2011 and concludes in Galway, Ireland, during early July 2012, the teams will sail over 39,000 nautical miles of the world’s most treacherous seas via Cape Town, Abu Dhabi, Sanya, Auckland, around Cape Horn to Itajaí, Miami, Lisbon, and Lorient. The race is the ultimate mix of world class sporting competition and on the edge adventure, a unique blend of onshore glamour with offshore drama and endurance. It is undeniably the world’s premier global race and one of the most demanding team sporting events in the world.

Sponsored by Volvo

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Sponsored Video –  Don’t Follow the Pack

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Sponsored Video – Don’t Follow the Pack

Posted on 22 February 2012 by Chris Ford

Shangri-La is a fictional place described in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by English author James Hilton.  Hilton describes Shangri-La as a mystical, harmonious valley, gently guided from a Monastery, enclosed in the western end of the Kunlun Mountains. Shangri-La has become synonymous with any earthly paradise, I often wonder what or where is my Shangri-La?

The new video from Shangri-La Hotels shows a wolf running , heading off on its own and I think the message is clear,  don’t follow the pack choose a different kind of holiday, away from the package holidays, crowded streets, tacky souvenirs, 2for1 drinks  and pounding music. Choose somewhere you want to go and do it

Don’t follow the crowd , I certainly won’t be this year and I hope you follow your heart too and head to that destination you have always dreamed of, let’s  make 2012 the year dreams become reality.


Sponsored by Shangri-La

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Essential Travel Kit

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Essential Travel Kit

Posted on 09 May 2011 by Chris Ford

With that early glimmer of British sun we had fading away its time to start thinking about jetting away, here’s some essential kit for looking sharp while away

luxury travel pillow by Otis Batterbee – from £40

The Otis Batterbee luxury travel pillow arrives in three deluxe fabrics that are backed with burgundy velvet making them super stylish and effortlessly practical. The pillow features a concealed zip that allows the inflatable inner to be inflated and deflated effortlessly. This  inflatable travel pillow is a must for the modern traveler.

Buy online at www.otisbatterbee.com



Oiler & Boiler Swim Shorts – from £30

Heavily inspired by the preppy, classic look of the Hamptons, Oiler & Boiler captures the essence of Long Island style, providing stylish swimwear with a affordable price tag. Buy online at www.rockundies.com






The Travel Essentials Gift Set  by The Gentry Grooming Company

This lightweight wash bag complete with Face Wash, Shave Cream and Face Balm is ideal for an on- the-go business man or a frequent flyer. Also the products meet airline carry-on regulations so this set can even fit in any hand luggage so perfect for a weekend break.   £39.00







Short Sleeve Shirt by Polo Ralph Lauren

Keep cool but stay looking stylish in this Short sleeve shirt from Ralph Lauren, perfect for relaxing outside with a few drinks  £75.00







649 sunglasses by Persol

This tried-and-true glasses brand has taken the classic 649 and given it a twist for the spring/summer lineup.

From £148




The Tan Safe – a Stealth safe for your valuables

As you can see this clever receptacle looks just like a regular bottle of suntan lotion. Simply pop off its watertight lid, bung in your bits and relax, safe in the knowledge thieves will be unlikely to want to slather on the SPF25 after a hard day’s pilferage. Clever, eh!

£6.99 from FireBox


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Hair Straighteners for Men

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Hair Straighteners for Men

Posted on 25 July 2010 by Chris Ford



Now I’m mostly more traditional when it comes to styling products for men and tend to subscribe to the less is more school of thought but occasionally I am tempted to change my mind and this very well could be one of those occasions.

We were very kindly sent the new Cloud Nine Micro Iron hair straighteners and asked to give them a go. While these straighteners can of course be used by both men and women it would seem they have been designed with us men in mind.  Now to give this product a proper review I have enlisted the help of my housemate Don, as I didn’t feel I had adequate hair length to put them to good use, and well he’s a scruffy so and so and could do with a tidy up….

Firstly I asked Don if he had used hair straighteners before which he had so I asked him for his initial thoughts on the look and size of the product.

“the most noticeable thing is the size, I love the fact they are small enough to stick in my wash bag which is great news when I’m travelling as size is a premium”


The irons are actually only 6inches long and according to the instructions use universal high voltage which means they will work flawlessly abroad without losing essential power. Also while reading the instructions I noticed they automatically power off after ten minutes which is a nice safety feature

Well all agree in the house it’s a big improvement but would Don buy them?  “ I do currently have a pair of straighteners but they are massive, I love the fact these are so small and do the job just as well as my full size set so I would definitely consider picking a pair of the New Clouds up purely from the portability point of view”

With the fashion for mens hair becoming more and more styled it would seem there is a real market for these straighteners so a big thumbs up from the Gentlemens Goods office The Cloud Nine Hair Straighteners

are currently available from direct from Cloud Nine at www.cloudninehair.com for £45.00


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