Dazzling Goodwood, a heatwave and dream cars

steph_goodwoodHow wonderful to take a day out of the office when the sun shines. Such was our day at Goodwood’s Festival of Speed and Moving Motor Show courtesy of Peugeot UK.

If you haven’t been to Goodwood, this video will give you a feel for the whole experience.

Rumour has it that some Top Gear refugees are looking at organising a motor show, like CarFest perhaps? If this ever happens, I can’t see this ever rivalling Goodwood for class, memorable location or facilities.

It is quite simply one of the slickest-run motoring events there is and no surprise that one in four visitors was, allegedly, female.

It is a female friendly venue and I can’t say that about most of the other venues of old…

Clearly I was there to celebrate some dream Peugeots, best illustrated in this excellent whistlestop Vine tour.

This included my first look at the new Peugeot 308 Gti which we hope to review, on behalf of women drivers, sooner rather than later.

This was also my introduction to Peugeot’s wacky and impressive Vision GT car.

perfectpeugeotAnd having been asked to nominate our #PerfectPeugeot we chose the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 E2 in the photo.

This was driven in the Lombard RAC Rally in 1985 & 1986 by Mikko Sundström and his co-driver Voitto Silander (a fourth place in 86 and a prang in 85…).

I’m told it’s very rare, valuable and oozes heritage as well as terrific turbo torque.

If you haven’t been to Goodwood’s Festival of Speed yet look out for next year’s dates and get them in the diary. The weekend days have more racing but I loved the Thursday because the traffic and crowds were less, the facilities were fresh, the staff enthusiastic (surely they’d be weary by Sunday…) and you had time to look at the new car models.

With new car sales seemingly ever on the up, this is one of the best places for #carshopping all makes. Or all the really important ones like Peugeot.

FOXY Steph

UK garages charge women more for car repairs

car-repairs-at-rip-off-garagesBritish women are charged an average of £45 more than men for car repairs, an investigation by ClickMechanic has found. ClickMechanic, the online marketplace for car repairs, examined independent car garages across the UK and found that a standard repair costing a man £571 will typically cost a woman £616, an increase of 8%.

Male and female mystery shoppers requested quotes to replace the clutch of a 2011 Ford Focus from 182 garages across ten UK cities. The investigation found that eight out of the ten cities charged women a ‘female premium’ and only 6% of the surveyed garages gave a consistent quote to both male and female customers.

“For every female car-owner in the UK this report will come as an unwelcome surprise,” says Andrew Jervis, Co-founder and CEO of ClickMechanic. “While the vast majority of mechanics strive to provide honest and reliable quotes, these results show that there is a worrying minority of garages failing to do so. There is a desperate need across the industry for transparency and consistency in price in order to establish trust with consumers of both sexes.”

Birmingham repair garages charged the highest female premium at 31%, closely followed by Manchester (28%) and Glasgow (20%). Only two out of the ten surveyed cities bucked the trend and charged men more for a repair, with Sheffield and Edinburgh garages quoting males 5% and 19% more than females respectively.

The investigation uncovered some price-hiking across the country, regardless of the customer’s gender. On average, garages quoted both men and women £594 to carry out the work, £80 more (16%) than the £514 recommended by industry standard guidelines provided by car manufacturers, parts providers and trade bodies.

“Customers, both male and female, rely on mechanics to be accurate with their pricing. We recently carried out a study that found roughly half of people (45%) have no idea how much common repairs on an average household car should cost. While there is a small number of cowboys taking advantage of the fact that most consumers just don’t know how much their car repairs should cost, most mechanics are reliable and trustworthy. These results should therefore encourage the car repair industry to focus its efforts on making sure mechanics have the best possible tools in place to provide reliable quotes.”


This survey confirms what we have suspected for ages but couldn’t prove. And few believed us. Clearly there is no excuse for price-hiking of any kind with the technology available to tell garages how long a job should take. All they have to do is add the cost of the parts they choose (that’s another area for discussion) and their labour rate which includes their profit presumably.

Why can’t the motor industry be more professional here? Yet again it’s the few cowboys letting the majority good guys down and doing untold damage to the industry’s reputation in women’s minds.And in so doing the women steer clear of garages when they should be using them more, not less, from a safety point of view.

Nothing short of regulation will do the trick we say, especially if one of the unintended consequences of this report is to encourage women to choose cheap repair quotes in future, regardless of whether he/she is licensed or not…

guestreviewThis is a Guest Blog from ClickMechanic, an online marketplace making it quick and easy for drivers to get online quotes and book a vetted mechanic using an online quoting engine so users know how much they should really be paying.

The survey was carried out during April-May 2015 across 182 locations in Birmingham, Manchester, London, Glasgow, Cardiff, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield, and Edinburgh. Male and female mystery shoppers separately requested quotes for replacing the clutch plate, cover and concentric slave cylinder (release bearing) of a Ford Focus TDCi 2.0L 2011.

Concentrate on speed limits

keep-calm-and-stick-to-the-speed-limitInappropriate speed is a contributory factor in too many accidents, usually as a result of driver error, often caused by a loss of concentration and, too often, by not knowing the law re speed limits.

Not only is driving too fast and ignoring speed limits potentially dangerous (and expensive when you get caught) you could be invalidating your insurance cover and, when you have children in the car, you are influencing their future driving attitudes and behaviour.

So here is some advice including useful tips from the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists).

+ In a built up ie residential area with street lighting, the speed limit is 30 mph – unless stated otherwise. A 30 mph speed limit may not always have a traffic sign to confirm this, so street lighting is key. Never assume it’s more than 30 mph unless signs tell you otherwise.

+ A 20mph speed limit will always be shown by a traffic sign and often backed up by road markings. They are usually found in residential areas, busy town centres, and near schools. Keep an eye out for the signs.

+ Circular red-rimmed signs with a speed limit inside are the law, including temporary signs. Ignore this and you can be prosecuted and get points on your licence.

+ If your SatNav tells you a different speed to that signed, your SatNav is wrong. Stay alert at all times and always drive within the signed speed.

+ Where you might be struggling to keep to 30 mph try using third gear…

+ On the motorways, electronic speed limit signs may be displayed as advisory ie if you see a rectangular speed number with flashing amber lights you are being advised to travel within the recommended speed ie this is not a compulsory limit.

Driver Concentration Tips

Driver concentration is key. How many of us recall thinking ‘I can’t remember how I got here’ on a regular route we drive to and from work? That’s always worrying…

So here are some of my driver concentration tips that I hope can help you. If you have others by all means email me or tweet me to add these – see blog footer here.

+ If travelling alone and needing help to concentrate I talk out loud, describing my journey. Sounds mad but it works because you can’t be thinking about other things as well.

+ If with children you might involve them too to help you spot the speed limit signs. This helps them prepare for safer driving too.

+ You might also play a driving game to slow down in enough time to be doing the precise lower speed limit when entering that zone. I think of this as a curtain – when you pass through into the lower speed zone you should be doing the new speed precisely…

And you shouldn’t speed up until you pass through that curtain again, into a faster speed zone…

These are all things I do to stay alert and drive within speed limits – I also take regular stops and drink good strong coffee on long journeys.

I hope these tips might help you.

FOXY Steph


World Cup women show how the beautiful game SHOULD be played

2015_FIFA_Women's_World_Cup_logoGetting into the semi-finals of any tournament is a great achievement but when it’s the Women’s World Cup, you’re playing against the Host nation and you’ve never made it that far before – last night’s performance is surely nothing short of sensational.

So well done England’s Lionesses for showing the men how football SHOULD be played.

In addition to considerable and usually unrecognised talent I saw dedication, commitment and a level of team effort you rarely see in the male equivalent team.

Although I’m told this effort was evident in spades for Bobby Moore’s team in 1966?

Maybe today’s male footballers are too well paid, or fearful of being injured on behalf of their Premiership team?

Being charitable, maybe they are worn out playing for that team or not used to playing together as England?

It can’t be the fact that schools have sold their playing fields or the bonkers philosophy that it’s playing the game that matters more than winning it – otherwise the girls would have been affected by this complacency too.

So what’s the gender difference?

The women’s game is not taken seriously yet.

They are poorly paid as is.

They don’t have the same sponsorship.

They don’t get the same airtime – can you imagine Sky scheduling a game at midnight if the the men’s team were playing in the Quarter Finals of their World Cup?

So the women have more than one point to make…

Could it be that they simply want success more? To prove they can play the beautiful game as well as, if not better than, the men?

I hope they win this tournament and start to make these points. Either way, they’ve surely done enough already to surprise us by showing how well the beautiful game can be played, differently.

Remarkable role models all.

FOXY Steph


Women ‘more likely to drive on short breaks abroad’

The perfect car to drive in Italy we say
The perfect car to drive in Italy we say
It’s probably fair to say that one thing both women and men have in common is a love of going on holiday.

But there might well be some destination differences in opinion between the sexes on where to spend their next holiday – and how to get around while there.

Data from the Target Group Index shows 60% of people who take short breaks in Italy are women.

And, it seems, despite the bountiful supply of wine, the research also revealed 54% of ladies (compared to 52% of men) said they would drive on their next short trip abroad. Or were expected to drive perhaps?

The findings also showed women are more likely to take their own car, with 27% saying they’d do this, compared to 24% of men. The theory this might be to take advantage of the extra boot space needed when shopping for designer Italian shoes, however, remains unproven.

Of course, if you’re going to be driving in Europe any time soon it’s essential to plan ahead, even if that is just where you’re going to put all that shopping. Whether you’re taking your own car or hiring one, let us provide you with some hints and tips that will ensure you’re ready before getting behind the wheel abroad.

We’ve found four downloadable practical guides for driving in France, Germany, Spain and Italy created by Swinton Insurance. All guides include sections on:

+ Preparing to go
+ The cost of driving
+ Car hire
+ Top tips
+ What to do if something goes wrong

Click here to view the practical guides from Swinton Insurance

Do you have any top tips to share for driving in Europe? Let us know!

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A blog for women about motoring