Ford and Me


And Finally // Engage

I couldn’t let you go without considering the whole trip I’ve just been on with my HR goggles on.

As I’ve mentioned before, this is the first time that my employer has offered employee places on a product launch event (other than the teams of employees who make them happen of course!).


This year three teams of six people from the UK, Germany and Spain were selected to have exactly the adventure I’ve just been on – or not exactly the same because I came away feeling that everyone had got something different out of the experience, in part dependent on what they brought to it.

You already know I’m no petrolhead. I’m about the experience, and the feelings. So for me this was about engaging with our product a little more and understanding more about what our Company does.

I’m already proud of what we do; and in comparison to my experiences working with other companies I’ve worked in, the tangibility of what we strive to produce is intoxicating – seeing something you’ve had a part in, however small, on every road in the country feels GOOD.


The simplified definition of engagement I prefer is an environment where you are fully involved and interested in your work, and inspired to do your best.

Every box there was ticked – for me I felt like part of a team, like my participation was valued, and I was inspired to think differently and more positively about what we do and how we do it. I was proud of my Company. It was also a lot of fun, and fun is something I’m always interested in!

For the employer I would expect to see behaviours empowering (trusting), setting expectations regarding principles and values, and focusing on satisfaction of both internal and external customers.

Talking to my colleagues we certainly all felt an expectation to work hard in recognition of the trust placed in us. This was a luxurious ‘office’, don’t get me wrong, but even though it was never articulated, we all naturally assumed a position of wanting to be worthy of the experience, to justify the Company’s trust and investment in us, and hopefully pave the way with great feedback for future events for other employees (and maybe us again!).

Although it would be hard to scale this, with 13,000 employees in the UK alone, I feel this experience worked really well as an illustration of employee engagement. Not one colleague I talked to came away without an improved view and enthusiasm for the Company. That’s got to be a good return!

There were a few elements we felt would improve the experience further – we spent a lot of the time in our own employee huddle and internal networking was great, and new friendships formed. However, while we would not want to get in the way of the ‘real work’ being undertaken by the journalists attending the event, when we did get to spend time with them over lunch on the second day it was incredibly interesting to hear about that side of things, so if I could tweak one thing I would find a way to integrate the employees with the journalists a little more. Certainly they mentioned to us that no other manufacturer had invited employees to attend in this way before…

Anyway I’ll leave the discussion for now, and reward you for all your attention with a few more of my favourite photographs…


All photos since we hit Spain (apart from the ones with me in them!) are by me, and copyright retained by me. The on-the-go posts were brought to you by the magic that is a Flashair SD card, which enabled me to use my DSLR as much as possible, and wirelessly transfer the files to my smartphone for blogging. Recommended, even if you’re not blogging about Fiestas!

Thank you to everyone who has followed my All New Fiesta Adventure, on here and on Social Media. Hopefully I’ve given a new perspective on these beautiful new cars, although I accept I also have friends and followers who will be glad when I’m just posting about my kids again…

I’ve been taking part in a really special @forduk event this week, sharing all the excitement with you on Social Media. Be Social with me using the icons below #newfiesta #FordFiesta

Leave a comment

In the Dark // 5 Senses

One of the surprise elements of this launch event was the sensory zone, where we were invited to experience All New Fiesta through (you guessed it) our senses…

You’ve heard a lot already about the B&O Play systems, so it was entirely appropriate that there were cocoons to explore music and sound to full effect:


Walking in the pitch dark, with your hands out ahead of you, was a disorienting experience but not entirely uncomfortable – one wall in particular felt like it was covered in soft faux fur, and I couldn’t help but snuggle into it a little as I passed…


And for vision, the demonstration of the anti-collision tech in the car was just stunning – walking around chassis ‘skeletons’ looming in the dark, setting off the sensors and understanding just how aware the car is of what’s around you was breathtaking…


All in all the sensory experience zone really got me thinking (and feeling) in new ways around the cars. Just a great idea!

PS: I didn’t wander over to experience taste and smell… allergies!

I’ve been taking part in a really special @forduk event this week, sharing all the excitement with you on Social Media. Be Social with me using the icons below #newfiesta #FordFiesta

1 Comment

Blue Wave // Titanium 1.5 Diesel

You never forget your first. Well this beautiful, shimmering, sometimes bright blue, sometimes a turquoise ocean greeny hue, was the very first car I’d ever driven abroad. The very first LHD car.

I stalled it, and I drove on the other side of the road, but I didn’t hit anything…

Here as promised are some arty detail shots of my favourite curves of the car.


My own car is a Titanium spec, and so I felt right at home. I’ve mentioned before how a 3dr isn’t suited for me as a shorty in terms of seatbelt shenanigans, but I was instantly at ease knowing that if I veered out of lane the lane keeping tech would alert me; if I went too fast or in the wrong gear, the car would gently give me a nudge, and that the blind spot sensors would get me out of any mirror flusters. The B&O Play system was the icing on the cake…


Driving the most lovely roads from Valladolid to our hotel in Valbuena de Duero was an absolute pleasure. In fact the only reason I preferred being a passenger in this little beauty was because that gave me more opportunity to scout out locations to make this gorgeous finish pop.


There are other bloggers who can tell you more about the technical specs of the car, I can only say how it made me feel… windy as it was, this selfie says it all…


I’ve been taking part in a really special @forduk event this week, sharing all the excitement with you on Social Media. Be Social with me using the icons below #newfiesta #FordFiesta

Leave a comment

Turn the Airways Blue // Wake Me Up

So I’m back in the UK after my first product launch event (please not my last!).

As I’m heading into work today, to a place that is certainly NOT Northern Spain, I’m mindful of this research from Spotify and Ford earlier in the week, that despite my Love of Loud, a melancholy song may actually be the best way to ease into your morning, showing us “that the morning commute is an important transitional time”.

According to Amy Belfi, a cognitive neuroscientist from New York University who is an expert on the effects of music on the brain, “What was particularly intriguing was that far from having to be ‘happy’ songs those most likely to have an uplifting effect could equally be brooding and melancholic. Of course, ‘sad’ songs can actually make us feel good about ourselves. They may remind us, for example, of difficult experiences that we have overcome and learned from.”

I’ll be posting my final posts soon, so for now I’m listening to Green Day, Wake Me Up When September Ends, and taking time to reflect…


I’ve been taking part in a really special @forduk event this week, sharing all the excitement with you on Social Media. Be Social with me using the icons below #newfiesta #FordFiesta


Vignale // whoa-oh

Another post just to share a couple of my favourite ‘posed’ shots from day 2. To remind you we drove a Milano Grigio Fiesta Vignale 1.0 Ecoboost.

It had been raining, so no lying in the fields today, but we found a castle to act as an appropriate background for a car with this kind of class…

I’ll be doing a full details post on each of the two cars I had during the event, but hopefully these whet your appetite for now!

I’ve been taking part in a really special @forduk event this week, sharing all the excitement with you on Social Media. Be Social with me using the icons below #newfiesta #FordFiesta

Leave a comment

Friends // PLAY

Music connects, uplifts, affects… and FordSocial reports research from Spotify that reveals “that it is during solo drives, in our own private space, that we cue up secret playlists, turn the music up and sing our hearts out. For many of us, there are playlists that we only dare turn to in the car, an especially intense place to listen to music where the sound is designed to perfectly fill the space we are occupying.”

You know already that when I heard I was to join the launch event team I turned the volume right up with some Faith No More. My tastes are pretty varied – I know I’m feeling down when I haven’t got the heart to sing along to the radio, and I flip between stations to find something that fits – be it smooth Motown, ’80s pop, ’90s rock… but if I can play steering wheel drums while I drive it’s probably a winner – Guns’n’Roses tends to hit the spot pretty reliably!

The new B&O PLAY Sound System for editions of the all-new Fiesta is said to be the most powerful for a car in its class. “Engineers spent a year listening to more than 5,000 tracks to ensure the premium 675-watt technology sounded great whether enjoying Adele, Foo Fighters or Jay-Z – or chilling out to classical music – no matter how quietly or loudly you play it.”

So I polled my friends to find out what their go-to, turn-it-UP tracks are for the car, and while we cover a huge range of musical tastes, here are the tracks that came up time and time again:

  • Bon Jovi – It’s My Life
  • ELO – Mr Blue Sky
  • Guns’n’Roses – Sweet Child of Mine
  • Killers – Mr Brightside
  • Meatloaf – Bat Out of Hell
  • Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody (another 41-year old in the mix!)

All of which I would cheerfully turn all the way up. As you can see, I have excellent taste in friends!

My colleagues at this launch event chose these:

  • Hazel: Power / Little Mix
  • Pete: Leeds United / Amanda Palmer
  • Nathan: Living on a Prayer / Bon Jovi (we like Nathan!)
  • James: Cocoons by Bungle (James used to be a DJ)
  • Adam: Storm Queen / Look Right Through 
  • Rick (@Ford):  Victoria / The Kinks

Even our Chairman, Andy Barratt, has recently shared his musical tastes (from Coldplay to Górecki if you’re asking).

So what was my verdict on the B&O system in the All-New Fiesta?

Spanish radio is not good. And whoever had preprogrammed a playlist into the system had missed our tastes entirely!

But when you find something you love you can turn up the sound and despite being as loud as you want it sounds wonderfully balanced – surrounding you from all angles, with depth, rather than attacking you with a front wall of noise. 

As someone who tends to like to tick the options box the extra couple of hundred pounds is worth considering, and of course the B&O PLAY system is included as standard with the Vignale, which was our Day 2 drive.


To find out more about Ford’s research with Spotify, click here.

I’m taking part in a really special @forduk event this week, sharing all the excitement with you on Social Media. Be Social with me using the icons below #newfiesta #FordFiesta

Leave a comment

Ford’s Next Top Model // Blue Steel

A short post just to share a few of my favourite ‘posed’ shots from yesterday. To remind you we drove a Blue Wave Fiesta Titanium 1.5 Diesel. The colour changed with the light – blue, then turquoise-green. Lovely!

Pete undertook sterling work in field navigation and traffics management so I could achieve these… thanks Pete!

I’m taking part in a really special @forduk event this week, sharing all the excitement with you on Social Media. Be Social with me using the icons below #newfiesta #FordFiesta

Leave a comment

Floofy Kittens // Buzzfeed Told Me

Just for fun… I thought I’d see if there was a Buzzfeed quiz involving cars, and lo and behold, I answered the questions and got…

Fiesta Buzzfeed

Which do you get?

What I’d really like is a quiz that could help me choose between the options and editions available in the All-New Fiesta

I’m taking part in a really special @forduk event this week, sharing all the excitement with you on Social Media. Be Social with me using the icons below #newfiesta #FordFiesta

Leave a comment

Robot Buttocks // Sunscreen

You may have guessed, but the titles I choose for these blog posts aren’t always *quite* what the press pack says…

Anyway, we were handed a handy list of 5 things we absolutely did not know about the All-New Ford Fiesta (to be fair, I only knew one of them) before we came out.

Apparently the leather seats have been tested to ensure they are resistant to damage or staining from sunscreen, or more relevantly in my case from a new pair of jeans. I mean, skin can fade and you won’t be a smurf forever, but when that stuff transfers to something you can’t wash… ugh.


And robot buttocks are employed to sit 25,000 times in the seats, to test their durability. I feel like after a few years with any car my seat has been sat in way more than that though, given the amount of times I get in and out of my car to

a) go back in the house and check I didn’t leave my straighteners on

b) go back in the house and check I closed all the windows (I’m quite forgetful)

c) get in the back of the car to pick up whatever toy my littlest (3) has dropped and is now screeching about

d) repeating c) again, and again, and again…

e) move the cat from the driveway to avoid hefty vets bills when I return home…

I could go on.

Anyway, I’m at the end of day 1 of the launch event, and I actually drove! For the first time in a left-hand drive car, in a foreign country – it was amazing and slightly terrifying in equal measure.

Comfortwise, here is my initial verdict. 

We paired up to take the cars out, and Pete and I drove a 3dr Fiesta Titanium, and the handling and suspension was great – I enjoyed the ride as passenger and even as a nervous driver. The seats were comfortable and felt ‘held in’.
A friend asked if a 6ft2 person could fit in and a journalist was only too pleased to answer that he could! 

At 5ft 0 I have the opposite problem. I found that the (cloth) seats adjusted beautifully, both in height and in forward movement, so I felt comfortable behind the wheel. However (as per most 3dr cars) when you move the seat quite a way forward you end up dislocating your shoulder to reach back for the seat belt – so that’s my niggle.

I certainly had no problem leaping in and out for photo opportunities and the boot, while small in comparison to my SMax (of course) held everything we needed for the trip. A thumbs up for the robots then!

I’m taking part in a really special @forduk event this week, sharing all the excitement with you on Social Media. Be Social with me using the icons below #newfiesta #FordFiesta

Leave a comment

Ground Control // A Fibreglass Cow

It’s has been a looooong time since I’ve flown anywhere on my own.

I recommend it.

After our welcome from hosts Chris Muers, Product Marketing Manager, Chris Rushton, Fiesta Marketing Manager and Oliver Rowe, Public Affairs Manager, and a getting-to-know-you bacon roll for the Fellowship in the lounge, we boarded our private charter plane and were off…

As I listened to the shop-talk from the journalists around me (including the story of the fibreglass cow which I wish I’d heard more than the end of…), I settled back.

This is the first time, to my knowledge, that the Company has sent ‘tame’ employees on a product launch and having represented the Marketing & Sales team in my HR role for a number of years I can see why the opportunity was something people often wistfully mentioned.

Lunch was served, chicken with quails egg and peppers, gorgeous goats cheese and French bread, a light brownie.

None of it shared, bargained or swapped, no need to cast around to check that everyone has something they want and won’t cry because it’s on their plate.

No need to upend everything for an urgent toilet visit with a child who swore blind they didn’t need a wee five minutes ago.

A seat for my bag.

Above the clouds.


Before I came out, I watched a couple of YouTube videos describing what going on a trip like this is like. I’m struck by one of the journalists very honestly saying that while the trips can (sometimes!) be pretty luxurious, it’s not about the company trying to curry favour or ‘buy’ a good review, more putting the journalists in a healthy state of mind and body to do a review justice. I think that sounds fair, don’t you?

While on the plane, plenty of journalists beavered away at their press packs and laptops on the plane, working through the specifications, preparing a structure.

I wonder how many pre-prepared paragraphs will be blown away when we get to the cars..?

I sincerely hope we do a good enough job while we are here to ensure the Company offers this again (and I already hope I can be part of the team again one day too!).

Now our descent… the adventure begins in earnest…

I’m taking part in a really special @forduk event this week, sharing all the excitement with you on Social Media. Be Social with me using the icons below #newfiesta #FordFiesta