When I first started buying cars, people always used to tell me about how I should avoid car dealers like the plague.
Thoughts of wheeler-dealer types like Arthur Daley in the old TV programme “Minder” would often enter my mind whenever people spoke to me about such car sellers, but the truth is it’s actually better to buy from a car dealership rather than a private seller – and the majority of car dealers are not like how I described them just now!
Photo via Flickr
You might think I am being completely barmy suggesting that you only buy your car from a dealer, but there are many different benefits to that over buying from a private seller. Here’s what you need to know:
When things go wrong, you aren’t on your own
As a trader, car dealerships have to abide by certain laws and regulations when it comes to selling cars direct to consumers. They are responsible for ensuring that the car you buy is legitimate, accurately described, roadworthy and isn’t “clocked”.
If you drive away in your new or used car and something goes wrong, you will have the opportunity to take the issue up with the car dealer that you bought the car from. The only times they aren’t liable for when things go wrong is if the problem is down to wear and tear or if you have misused the car in some way.
Car dealers offer a wide range of services
When you walk into a car dealership such as one owned by pentagon-group.co.uk, you can’t help but notice that a number of services are on offer to motorists just like you. Examples of the services typically offered include:
Servicing and repairs – many dealers will have their own workshops that employ skilled motor vehicle technicians, available to work on most makes and model of car;
Financing – the vast majority of consumers finance their car purchases, so it makes sense for car dealers to be able to offer financing facilities for their customers;
Warranties – used cars typically don’t have much of a warranty other than the minimum amount of warranty required by law, or the warranty of the car’s manufacturer if it is new enough. Some dealers offer extended warranty options with the cars that they sell, for your added peace of mind;
Parts – main dealers aligned to specific makes will even have their own parts department, so if you need any parts for your car, you can always go and buy them from the same place that you bought your car from.
You can trade your old car in
For some people, it is often convenient to trade their old car when buying a new one and having the money off their new purchase. Although this doesn’t always give you the highest value for your car that you could achieve had you sold it privately, it’s a great option for those that own cars which aren’t particularly valuable, such as older cars or those with higher-than average mileage.
Houses are used for many things, mainly to keep a roof over our heads, but when we decide to renovate our homes we need to consider how we are going to use it in order to make it as practical as possible.
For example, if you have young children, providing them with a ‘play room’ might be a practical move with that spare bedroom or if you have pets, something as simple as putting a cat or dog flap in the back door could be worthwhile.
If your home is regularly filled with friends and families and you host a number of parties then you will want to ensure there are parts of your home that are practical for when people come to say hello. For instance, the heart of the home often refers to the kitchen, where you will find you and your friends spend a large chunk of your time chatting and drinking. This will mean the kitchen will need to be practical and durable.
To make it practical but still look great you will need to invest in a flooring that is easy on the eye, durable and easy to clean and there is no better option than kitchen floor tiles. Kitchen floor tiling is hard-wearing and it comes in a number of styles and designs so you can simply install it to suit your existing décor. There is no need to completely change your kitchen by removing units and painting walls, just by adding a flooring that stands out, you can completely transform a room.
If you’re predominantly known for hosting the family barbeques though, you will need to turn your attention outside. The garden can be what turns your great home into an unbelievable one, but is one of the hardest aspects of your home to keep looking beautiful all year round. For parties, it might be advisable to install a patio or decking area for people to sit and enjoy the sun, away from the fumes of the BBQ. Grass looks beautiful when it’s bright green and healthy, but again this is very difficult to keep on top off so the best alternative is artificial grass. With very little maintenance and a guarantee that it will stay green all year round, it is perfect for children, pets and even adults.
Back in the house, and if you and your friends enjoy a little tipple every now and then and are struggling for space for your bottles of wine, a simple and cost-effective way to store them is by using a wine rack. Wine racks come in a lot of shapes and sizes and can add a great feature to your home, even if all it does is hold your copious amounts of red wine. Still, it’s practical and perfect for entertaining.
So, if your home is the headquarters for parties, it could be time to up your game and improve your homes practicality so parties can be easier than ever.
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You have read the title of this piece and your answer will be “ because they can hand them back”. Well, yes, that is a big advantage of being a grandparent, and it can be a good thing. But there are many other reasons why being a grandparent can be more fun than being a parent.
If you are worried about getting old, you shouldn’t be. You may be closer to meeting your maker and your joints may be shot, but being older gives you a different outlook to that you had when you were in your prime.
Read on to find out why it is great to be a wrinkly.
You have been there and done it. Purely by living as long as you have, you have gained a certain amount of wisdom that cannot be learned any other way. Teenage years left their marks on your personality, and you met several loves of your life before finding the perfect one and settling down to raise a family of your own.
When your first child is born and returns home, you remember the sheer panic and weight of responsibility that kept you awake at nights (as well as the crying, of course). How can you provide for and give the best possible start to this little one/ It’s hard enough taking care of yourself most of the time.
As the child grows, without realising it, you find that skills involved in being a parent are gained one at a time, as they are needed. It’s not rocket science, after all. We are guided by systems in society for many things. The ages for inoculations are set down and we are reminded of them, schooling is just a great big machine, with rules set that we all follow. When the kids are ill we know where to turn. Though people think that parenting is hard, when you look back on it, much is taken care of for you.
When the children are nearing the end of their school life, however, we start to panic again over what they are going to do with the rest of their lives. Looking back, we realise that most of this takes care of itself too. By this age, they are competent young adults who can follow their own paths.
When your grandchildren arrive, you will recognise that look of terror on your child’s face. You are now armed with the wisdom to know, however, that everything is going to be fine for your child and grandchild. Now your skills can come into their own. While your child is feeling the pressure and running around in a panic, your wisdom allows you to leave all of the hard work to them while you take pleasure engaging with your grandchild as a friend. You have more time for them too, and look forwards to visits and long childish chats. You don’t feel so guilty as a parent when you take them to the pick and mix stand or let them have a sugary drink. Leave that worry to their mom and dad.
As you can see, being a grandparent is a magical time in anyone’s life. When you hear that comment about handing them back, it is just bravado. Often waving goodbye is a sad time, but it always leaves you with something to look forward to next week. You will need that time to build your strength back up, so make the most of it.
Do you remember the time when you learnt how to drive? When I was learning to drive, back in the late 1990s, I had a really horrible Metro to learn in. I’m sure there are some die-hard Metro enthusiasts out there, but the car I was learning in really was a piece of junk!
I actually failed my driving test in it because when I put my foot on the brake pedal to do an emergency stop, the accelerator pedal got stuck (due to a dodgy cable from what I remember). That was truly a facepalm moment!
Afterwards, I had decided to ditch my current driving “instructor” and went with a more professional firm that had a fleet of Ford Fiesta cars. Being a Vauxhall person at heart, I didn’t really think I’d have a better experience but having driven one I can see what the car was – and still is – the most-popular car to drive in nations such as the United Kingdom!
Car technology, design and style has clearly come a long way since the tail end of the 20th century and today in 2014, the Ford Fiesta is still proving to be the number one choice; not just with owners and drivers, but also with youngsters learning to drive.
Why is the Ford Fiesta such a perfect car for learners?
Obviously you won’t want to just take my word for it so I will talk you through some of the specific reasons why millions of people – not just me – think that the Ford Fiesta is the perfect learner driver car for youngsters.
First of all, the new Ford Fiesta is very stylish. I know that style won’t help you to pass your driving test, but it’s one of the factors that attracts young drivers to the car.
It is also going to be the most-likely influencing factor for their buying decision (or yours) when they pass their driving test, as they will more than likely want to drive the same make and model of car they passed in because of familiarity reasons.
Car dealerships such as the GK Group sell the Fiesta like hotcakes, and a lot of their customers happen to be either youngsters looking for an affordable, reliable car, or their parents; I wish my parents bought me a brand new car when I passed my test!
Secondly, and arguably the most-important point, is that like it’s predecessors, the Ford Fiesta is actually a really easy car to drive. It’s small enough to navigate around busy city streets and park in tight spaces, yet its interior is extremely cavernous and will comfortably transport the driver and three passengers over long distances.
Thirdly, the Fiesta is a very safe car to drive. According to test results from Euro NCAP, the independent organisation set up by several European nations to determine how safe new cars are, the Ford Fiesta scored an impressive five out of five stars on crash tests, with a score of 91% for adult occupants and 86% for child occupants.
A great bag can literally make or break your outfit. Wearing a fun bag can be a great way to show off your personality, impress your friends, and even impress your boss (perhaps enough to give you that promotion!). If you choose the wrong bag, your look can suffer greatly – nobody wants that, do they? Perhaps you’re not sure of how exactly to buy the perfect bag that will compliment any look you choose. Well, we are – so sit back, relax, and learn everything you need to know about buying a great bag!
Image Source: Flickr
In the same way you’d choose a nice top or pair of jeans, a handbag should fit your body type. I don’t mean that the shape of the bag should match your figure, rather you should choose the opposite of your body type. If you’re a tall, thin woman, then a large oversized bag could look amazing. However, it’s all about what makes you feel comfortable, and if you don’t like something you should pass on it. A nice, classic design will last for years while maintaining a sense of style.
Fakes and Lookalikes
If you’re looking to get a designer bag, you need to watch out for fakes. A fake is something that has totally ripped off a designer bag, complete with their logo. A lookalike can also be called a ‘dupe’ where a bag is simply inspired by a designer piece (a lot of womens clothes stores do this). If your deal seems to be too good to be true and you’re thinking of buying from a market or eBay seller, then it could be a fake (although eBay is good for bargains at times). Make sure you only buy your bags from reputable sellers.
You must have had a bag at one point or another that was uncomfortable for you to carry. This is usually down to the handles. Some people like to carry their bag over their shoulders, others like to wear them cross body. Whatever your preference, don’t stray too far from it. You’ll carry your bag with you every day, so you need to be comfortable. To get an idea of the kind of bag you could be carrying with you day to day, check this out from Shinola.
It might be tempting to buy a big oversized bag for fashion purposes, but if you don’t have a lot of things to carry with you, it’s pointless. You’ll end up overfilling your bag, and rummaging around for what feels like an age looking for what you’re after. Buy a bag big enough to fit your essentials; purse, phone, I.D, glasses, lipstick, and anything else you need. This doesn’t have to be huge!
Colour and Pattern
You don’t need to be boring when choosing a new bag. Although it should be versatile, you can still choose a colourful or patterned bag that will go with most of your wardrobe. In fact, your bag could make a lovely focal point!
Go on ladies, go out there and buy the bag of your dreams!
Nobody gets married with the intention of splitting from their partner a few years later and getting involved with a messy child custody battle, but unfortunately, this happens quite a lot in the modern world, and so you need to be as prepared as possible for any eventuality. I recently went through something like this, and although it was stressful and upsetting, with the right advice from my lawyer, I managed to pull through. With that in mind, today I’m going to relay some handy tips that could make the process a little more bearable for all involved. Of course, your partner may act incredibly unreasonably in this situation, but that doesn’t mean you have to bring yourself down to their level.
Image link here
At the end of the day, you want to get through this is the quickest time possible to avoid it having adverse effects on your children. I can tell you from personal experience that family breakups can have a massively negative impact on your child’s mental health, and it’s not always obvious until they’re a little older. Indeed, my own parents split when I was four years old, and it took me until the age of around 22 to completely recover from it. That might sound extreme, but it’s the god’s honest truth.
So, take a read through some of my tips, and hopefully you’ll limit the chances of this happening to your kids…
Tip #1: Always Remain Calm
Situations will almost certainly become heated quickly during a child custody battle, but you need to remain calm and rational at all times. This is the best way to show the authorities that you are the best parent for the job.
Tip #2: Never Lie In Court
You might be tempted to tell a couple of small lies in court, but this should be avoided like the plague. Any lawyer with the same level of experience as Attorney Mark Goldstein will tell you that getting busted for one lie means your entire case falls apart.
Tip #3: Think About The Child
Child custody battles happen because two parents each believes they’re better for the child concerned. Even so, don’t try to get residency for your kids if you know in the back of your mind that your ex partner would do a better job.
Tip #4: Be Patient
Divorces can take a long time to come through, and child custody cases aren’t that different. Your son or daughter will have to speak with social services representatives to help determine their happiness levels, and you’ll have to jump through a lot of hoops. This is just something you have to accept.
Tip #5: Don’t Be Vindictive
In situations where a couple co-owned a property, it’s usually the partner who keeps it that gets custody of the child. However, as I’m sure all the rational people reading this article understand, that is not a good enough reason to fight for a child you’re unable to look after properly.
Well, hopefully know you’ll be a little better prepared should anything go wrong in the future. None of us like to imagine things like this happening, but they do, and so we shouldn’t avoid the issue.
Follow my advice, and everything should go smoothly.
When time is so precious you do not want to spend the whole week cleaning. You are a Mom, your children need you, want you, you want them, need them, and cleaning will always play second fiddle to this.
However, cleaning will always need to be done. Do not worry, there are a few things you can do that will help save you a little time, allowing you to concentrate on the more important things in life.
(Thanks to The Italian Voice, via Flickr for the image)
Time and money saving cleaning tips:
Use a timer
You only have so much time in the day to clean, so decide how long you want to clean for and use a timer to divide up your time into task chunks. You must remember to stick to your time allocation for each cleaning activity, as you will also find that you work that little bit harder and quicker as you have a deadline to reach.
Avoid concentrated products
Concentrated cleaners clean just as effectively as standard cleaners. You are only wasting your money if you buy into the brands claims. Providing you follow the recommended cleaning guidelines, a cleaning product will either do its job, or it won’t. For example, adding more bleach will not kill more germs, or if you add more cleaning product to a bucket of water it will not make your floor more clean.
Get some help
As a Mom you would probably appreciate that four eyes are better than two, and eight hands are, well, better than two. The same goes for cleaning. If you can get some extra help, especially with the cleaning that you do not like, then try to get a cleaning company in. You can also get more specialist cleaners in, for example you could search for ‘Oven Cleaning in Sheffield’ and you would find companies that are quite happy to come and clean the oven for you. If you do not live in Sheffield, then just input the name of your own town or city.
Clean your windows for less
You can even make your own glass cleaner by adding 100ml of white vinegar and a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid to 4 litres of warm water, and keep it in an old plastic spray bottle. Simple.
Give your sink a bath
Your sink is probably in constant use, and with this use comes extra tough stains and marks. You may have used abrasive products to remove these stains, however it never looks great on your sink. You can give your sink a bath by pouring in some herbal solution and let it soak overnight, freeing up some of your time.
Buy extra basics
Another time saving tip is to keep cleaning products on each floor, saving you time and energy having to carry a heap of cleaning products around the house with you.
Buy a squeegee
Great if you have a lot of glass and mirrors. The squeegee has been around for years, and it is easy to see why. They are so quick to use and leave your glass smear free.
I hope these tips help you save a little time! Let’s face it, life is for living, not cleaning. Good luck!
Working long hours, cooking, cleaning, running children to and from school and after school activities, occasionally catching up on some sleep, a mum’s life is all go go go! When it comes to cleaning, take a few of these tips from other busy mums and make cleaning your house daunting!
- Be efficient: Mum’s are really good at multi-tasking, use this to your advantage! Incorporate moving around the house with tidying, never leave a room without taking something with you to put away. Keep cleaning equipment throughout the house, so whenever you have a spare second (an advert during your favourite TV programme) you can grab the nearest duster and attack your dining room cabinets! Your dishwasher doesn’t just have to be for dishes, efficiency is everything! Load your dishwasher up with ice dispenser grates, stove knobs and grates and kitchen sponges – this cuts down on the time you spend cleaning. Combine your tasks, take your sponges into the shower with you and wipe it down when you’ve finished!
- Use your helpers: The majority of your cleaning will be cleaning after your children, and they do say that 3 pairs of hands are better than one! Combine fun and playtime into your cleaning, and get your children interested in helping you. Children-sized vacuum cleaners are a great way to get them enjoying cleaning – with any luck they’ll be asking to vacuum everyday! Set a time limit, say 15 minutes, and have a mad cleaning sweep all around the house including tiled areas. Pull together all the items that need to be put away and start the timer, 15 minutes a day means your house should stay clutter free (the majority of the time!)
- Tricky places: There are a few tricky places of the house that need a bit of extra time and care to clean, but with a few tips this can easily be sped along. Boiling water in your microwave for 5 to 10 minutes mean it will easily be wiped clean. Putting slices of orange, lemon and lime in the water it will keep your microwave smelling clean and fresh! Use a one-inch painter’s brush to get in all the nooks and crannies of you cabinets, the bristles will loosen up dust so the surfaces can be easily wiped away.
Talk to other mothers about further tricks of the trade, all mums have plenty of their plate and will be happy to share their secrets to make cleaning more effective and more efficient!
Renovating your kitchen is the opportunity to create a space for your family that is personal, practical, and stunning. Here we look at some aspects that should be considered when planning your ideal space.
Clever Planning is Key:
If you are going to invest bucket loads of time, energy and money renovating a kitchen, it is crucial that clever consideration is given to planning the whole project before you start. Regardless of whether you are totally restructuring, or just tweaking a few bits, adding new appliances and replacing tired units, you will still need to give a great deal of thought to the process. The most important factor has to be functionality, as your kitchen needs to be practical. A great principle to work with, is keeping the three most-used areas, the hob, fridge and sink, situated in a triangle shape, with no more than six feet in between them. This immediately maximises usability and convenience, regardless of what shape or size your kitchen is. When planning your kitchen, don’t scrimp on the cupboard and storage space; think creatively, making use of any small, tight spaces, and try to fit cupboards right up to the ceiling, rather than leaving a pointless gap that serves no purpose. Deep drawers are another useful way to maximise storage space. One last major consideration is lighting; this is often overlooked, but is a crucial component of an efficient kitchen. Overhead lighting in a kitchen is often impractical because it can create shadows on the surfaces you are working on. It is a much better idea to include under cabinet spot lights, as these will shine right on to the counter-top; they can also be switched on only where you need them, rather than lighting the whole kitchen, which is energy-efficient. Light bulbs direct do all kinds of spot lights, at a reasonable price. You can buy them from here.
Make it All About You:
The kitchen is often the most integral part of the house; the place where the whole family gathers. Therefore, put your own unique stamp on it. Why not go with a theme, and incorporate it all over the kitchen? This doesn’t need to be anything too elaborate; choosing a colour scheme with coordinated accessories is enough to add your own personal touch. Although kitchens are traditionally quite bare of paintings or photos, it doesn’t have to be that way; filling up your walls with bright canvases and favourite family pictures will allow for a feeling of warmth. Similarly, you may not wish to clutter valuable surface space with decorative items, there is no reason why you can’t find a spot in your newly renovated kitchen for a display; use a simple shelf to show off items you cherish, or your favourite plate collection.
Install Smart Appliances:
Although it might be tempting to cut corners and use your old appliances, this is rarely a good idea; they will simply look out of place in a new kitchen. Go for modern, updated versions, as these smart appliances do what they say on the box by offering innovative ideas that are often far more economical and user-friendly than their predecessors. A great example is a double drawer dishwasher like this one: these fit into the space of a standard dishwasher, yet provide a flexible (each drawer can be run on a separate cycle, at the same time), energy-saving, and practical option.
Another smart appliance rapidly increasing in popularity is a convection oven. Although they have been commonplace in commercial kitchens for some time, they are now taking off for home use. These ovens can reduce cooking time by 25%, with means that meals are conveniently ready much quicker, using less energy.
If you live in a hard water area, then installing a water softening system like this one is a must-have during any kitchen makeover. Hard water causes untold damage to pipes and electrical appliances, and leaves unsightly marks in toilet bowls, and in sinks and baths. Installing a water softener is simple, as most models will fit easily under your kitchen sink. The benefits will be remarkable: energy costs will dramatically reduce, and the efficiency of appliances will be greatly improved. Not only that, but less elbow grease and fewer cleaning products will be needed, as unsightly marks will be a thing of the past.
Keep Your Surfaces Practical:
Give careful consideration to your work surfaces and floors; what might look visually stunning could prove a nightmare to maintain. For example, stainless steel looks amazing, but is easily scratched. Go for a surface that is easy to clean, and takes wear and tear well. Butcher block counter-tops are affordable and relatively low maintenance, and they offer an attractive, yet functional option. Alternatively, you could opt for granite, caesarstone or soapstone which would all add a touch of luxury to your kitchen. When considering your floor surface, again practicality should take priority; try not to be swayed by beautiful floors that will be difficult to clean or maintain, especially with a young family. Whichever you choose, the material should be non-slip, porous and easy to look after.
Put Safety First:
For families with small children, safety in the kitchen is often one of the biggest concerns. Renovating offers the opportunity to re-design the kitchen in a way that is practical and safe. Place your oven at adult height, rather than floor level, to prevent accidents. Use counter-tops that have rounded, rather than sharp, edges, and choose drawers that are soft closing to reduce the likelihood of trapped fingers. It is also a good idea to invest in some cupboards that are lockable, as this will ensure that hazardous products (such as bleach) are secured away from inquisitive hands.
Flickr author here
If you’re a single parent, or your partner works away a lot, it can be difficult to find suitable employment. That is why starting your own home based business could be the ideal solution to all your financial problems. On top of this, staying at home with a child can become very tedious if you don’t have some kind of outlet, which is precisely the reason you pay close attention to all the business ideas listed in this post. Most of them are pretty simple to set up, and you’ll be able to work around your schedule, which has many obvious advantages.
I’ve personally worked from home for around three years now, and I can honestly say it’s the best move I’ve ever made. While it can be a little nerve racking to begin with, once you establish yourself and build a regular client base, things soon become more relaxed. So, give me your full attention and let’s take a quick look at some of the ideas you may wish to consider…
Washing And Ironing Services
You probably spend a lot of time doing your own washing and ironing when at home with the kids, so why not start a business where you get paid for it? There are many people who live alone and work long hours, and some of them simply don’t have the time to deal with these jobs. So, there’s definitely a lot of potential for earning if your skills are sufficient enough to make a good impression. You can either spend a couple of mornings each week collecting the clothing from your clients homes, or you could even allow them to drop it off to you. Obviously, you’ll need a commercial washer to cope with the increased loads, but these are cheap to buy from specialists like Alexanders Direct.
Freelance Writing / Design
There are lots of freelance websites around at the moment where companies and individuals post large and small jobs they need to complete. Presuming you have sufficient English skills or you’re a dab hand at design work, you could earn a good wage through these sites. Once you’ve established yourself in the industry, you should find it simple to attract clients outside of the freelancing sites, and so your earnings should increase even further. Just make sure you only ever bid for work you know for certain you’ll have the time to complete, as any late submissions could work against you.
Childminding / Babysitting
If you’re spending all day with a child anyway, you might as well look after other people’s for pay. Most families don’t earn enough for a parent to stay at home with the kids, and this means they have a lot of trouble sourcing care when the school holidays come around. Most childminders charge around £10 per child for every hour they’re with them, so it’s possible to take hundreds every day if you make the right adaptations to your home and obtain all the proper licenses and insurance.
Well ladies, there you have it. After taking time to read through those suggestions, you should be more hopeful about starting your own home based business in the near future. It’s important to work if you’re able, as this gives you a sense of purpose.
Good luck with the new business, whatever you end up doing!