When my old car was on its last legs, so to speak, I had to begin the unenviable task of looking for a new car.
I know some people love the challenge of looking for a new car, but for me it can sometimes be a bit stressful as you have to think about loads of different things such as how much you want to spend, what sort of car you want to buy, and where or whom you want to buy it from.
My requirements were pretty straightforward at the time, which was actually unusual for me as people that know me will often state that I keep changing my mind about things, especially when it comes to cars!
I decided that I wanted to buy a 5-door hatchback car that was comfortable enough to transport me and up to three passengers in, and had an ample amount of boot space for cargo. As for budget, I was flexible on it but had a specific ‘ceiling’ limit in mind for the car I wanted.
In the end, I decided to buy myself a sixth-generation Volkswagen Golf. As a rule, I don’t buy brand new cars because of depreciation, and because the seventh generation of the Golf came out in 2013, I was able to bag myself a bargain on a nearly-new sixth generation model from motorlinedirect.co.uk.
I had looked at plenty of different models on the market such as the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and the Renault Megane, but I was 100% won over by the Volkswagen Golf. Here’s why:
It’s a pretty well-known fact that the build quality of Volkswagen cars is of a really high standard, despite it being a mass-produced car which, as you may know, can be prone to problems relating to how certain components were assembled in the factory.
I remember seeing an amusing television advert from Volkswagen a couple of years ago about how some cars ‘sound’ like a Golf, but on a serious note when you get inside of a Golf and close the door you will instantly discover why many hatchbacks from competitor carmakers try to mimic that German build quality and fail miserably!
I must admit; I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for the Volkswagen Golf, as my first car was a mk1 model. At the time, my first car was around 15 years old and was surprisingly reliable considering its former keepers didn’t exactly maintain it that well!
Fast forward several years to the mk6 Golf that I bought recently, I am pleased to say that this trend of reliable motoring has continued. I know it’s probably early days to speculate whether my Golf is going to be just as reliable when it’s older, but I’ve had cars from other makes of a similar age and have had to spend hundreds of pounds repairing them!
One of the things that Volkswagen is known for is how safe its cars are. To give you an example, Euro NCAP awarded the mk6 Golf five out of five stars for the safety tests it carried out on that generation!
For any sensible parent and dog owner, researching the ‘best’ breed of dog to join your family is something that you obviously take great pride in. It is not easy to say which breed of dog is ‘best’ around children, but some dogs tend to have more naturally affectionate personalities than other breeds of dog. Some dogs are more playful and tolerant, while other dogs can be more assertive and act as guard dogs. Whatever breed of dog that you choose to become a member of your family do remember that they are big commitment, so only buy a dog if you are ready to take on a lot of responsibility.
As a rule of thumb, dogs tend to be tolerant around children that they have ‘grown up’ around. While the idea of a puppy and toddler at the same time is a daunting one, raising the two together will ensure a life long bond. The dog will be as happy as your child.
Remember the following when choosing a breed of dog that is best to have around small children:
There are of course many dogs for sale, but choosing the right one for your family takes a lot of research.
Family Friendly Dog Breeds
Beagles make loyal companions due to their sturdy stature. As a rule, they tend to be very energetic and so they rarely tire of playing. This is, of course, ideal for small children who will often want to play long games with the family dog. Beagles have a friendly temperament and are extremely clever too.
While these dogs are giant, they are very gentle and absolutely adorable. This particular breed of dog is patient, loyal and caring. While they are prone to drooling and shedding their enormous fluffy coats, they make wonderful pets, especially around children, hence their nickname as ‘Natures Babysitter’. However, this breed of dog likes to be inside, as well as having large open spaces. As the Newfoundland is a very large dog, only consider this breed should you have the room to do so.
The red Irish Setter is put simply, a stunning dog. While this breed of dog is particularly energetic it enjoys being around people and children, especially a family that can devote a lot of time to it. Irish Setter’s are very intelligent and can be trained easily. Perfect should you want to avoid ‘doggy presents’ on the carpet!
The ‘Andrex’ puppy certainly has the cute factor and is a firm favourite among those that are seeking a family-friendly dog. These lively, intelligent dogs are super playful and have a high tolerance for children. These dogs are known for their loyalty and really do make an excellent addition to the family.
Buying a dog isn’t just simply ‘buying a dog’, it is extending your home and your heart and effectively is adding a member of your family. Except one that has four legs and hair. Every dog has the potential to be ‘family-friendly’ with the correct handling, training and upbringing.
Credit for photo
Finding traditional means of employment when you’re a stay-at-home mom can be a real pain, especially since the international job market as a whole has been on the decline for the last few years. This is precisely why it’s important you learn to think outside of the box and source your income through alternative means. Whilst some governments do have a decent benefits system, this will only keep you just above the breadline. Presuming you love your kids and you want the best for them, this simply isn’t good enough. With all that in mind, this article will present 5 simple home business ideas you may wish to research over the next few months. Why knows; they could make all the difference to your quality of life.
Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still need to put a lot of effort in to get things off the ground, but so long as you have sufficient motivation, this shouldn’t be a major problem. For the most part, you’ll have to do everything yourself, which means taking some time out to work on your telephone voice and your social communications skills could be a wise move. So, without any further delay on my part, here are the business ideas that could change your life for the better.
1 – Telephone Answering Service
Many businesses simply don’t have the time or resources to allow someone to sit answering telephone calls all day long. This means they employ the services of specialist companies to do the job for them. So, if this sounds appealing, follow the model put in place by http://www.ffb.co.uk and you should achieve a moderate level of success.
2 – Catering
Okay, so, you’re not going to become a millionaire from a basic cake-making company, but if you’ve got baking skills and a keen eye for design, there’s no reason why you can’t significantly boost your income using this method. Luckily, you should only have to advertise your services on social network sites to start receiving orders.
3 – Blogging
If you’re pretty computer savvy, then starting your own blog or opting to write for a creative content marketing company on other blogs could solve all your financial issues. You’d be surprised by how much money can be made. I know someone who does this job for less than 6 hours each day and earns a wage that works out to be almost double that which the government places as a bottom line (minimum wage).
4 – Search Engine Optimisation
Presuming you follow the online world and always read up on new updates released by major search engines like Google, you could set yourself up as a freelance SEO specialist and help businesses with new websites to rank in favourable positions for their chosen keywords. Again, there’s a lot of money to be made if you’re good.
5 – Personal Assistant
Back in the day, anyone who wanted to employ a personal assistant would have had no choice but to meet with them face to face on a daily or weekly basis. Thankfully, due to the release of reliable video chat software like Skype, this is no longer the case. So, whatever subject you have a talent for, finding people online willing to pay for your assistance or expertises should be simple.
Well ladies, there you have it. You should now have some great ideas about what you can do to make some extra cash and help your kids to have the life they deserve. Keep working towards any goals you set yourself, and you should reach them in no time.
Believe if yourself!
If you’re looking for a nanny, it can be difficult to find one that lives up to the expectations supernanny Jo Frost set for everybody. Her techniques seem to work no matter how badly behaved the child! However, that doesn’t mean you can’t strive to find somebody as equally as good as her. Here’s what you should look for when hiring:
Someone Well Put Together
No, we don’t believe you should judge a book by it’s cover, but if the nanny seems to take care of herself this can only be a good sign, as well as an indication of how she’ll care for your child/children. She doesn’t need to have a fashion sense to rival Alexa Chung, but providing she’s clean and tidy like t&c staff, it’s a good sign.
Interacts Well With Your Child
As part of your interview, you should allow the nanny time to meet your child. Does she seem patient and caring? IS she comfortable holding and playing with your child? Don’t worry if your child doesn’t seem to take to her right away, they may get used to her in time. What’s important is how she handles the situation.
Asks Appropriate Questions
There are some tell tale signs that somebody will be a good nanny, and asking appropriate questions is one of them. If she asks you how often your baby cries for example, this might mean she can’t handle normal child behaviour. If she doesn’t ask any questions at all this can still be a problem, as she should be interested enough in the position to think of things she’d like to know the answers to.
Does she seem intelligent? The nanny should be able to follow instruction and think on her feet effectively.
You don’t need to become best friends with this lady, but you should be able to talk to her about things concerning your child. She should feel comfortable with you, as the pair of you will need to be in constant contact.
If she’s on time for her interview, that shows that she could be reliable. Lateness, even with an excuse, could spell trouble.
Does she seem as if she can handle taking care of your little one? If she doesn’t look up to the job physically, or seem it mentally, you should steer clear.
Getting references is a very important part of choosing a great nanny. Experience and great ratings from past employers are brilliant! You want to be able to contact at least 2 of her past employers. You’ll need to ask questions regarding how long she was with the family, whether she was reliable, why did she leave, if there was anything they didn’t like about her, and any examples of when she handles a difficult situation. Background checks are important too!
Once you think you’ve found a great nanny, you could schedule a test run in order to find out whether she’s suitable for the job. If you still feel comfortable, hire her!
Image Credit: Flickr
If you have children, you may be worried about what havoc they may cause if you thinking about buying a new sofa.
You need a sofa that fits into your lifestyle, as well as your family home. So it’s important that you consider all the sofa options when making your decision.
When thinking about the style of sofa to choose, here are some handy tips:
A leather sofa not only looks great, they are also child proof, to a degree. Leather can be easily wiped down if there is a spill or a stain, meaning you only need to get a damp cloth to it if the unavoidable happens. Leather is also very durable, as well as looking sophisticated however, it is not immune to damage and mishaps – it still beats fabric hands-down. One sofa that really looks the part is the Leather Chesterfield sofa.
Another handy tip is to buy a dark coloured sofa, because even though a pen mark may wipe off most leather sofas, a dark coloured sofa will hide a stain a lot better in case the worst should happen. A black sofa may look a bit harsh in some homes, but you can get some striking green and blue sofas that should compliment your family home nicely.
If a solid dark colour isn’t for you, maybe you should look at patterned sofas. I’d recommend you try and stay away from white or very light colour schemes for the reasons outlined earlier.
You should also consider the style of sofa you want for you and your family. Is it the big corner sofa you desire or is it a traditional three piece suite that would be better for your family? Do you want your own space or something that the whole family can descend on?
It’s not just the size and shape that you should consider. Sofas have a variety of styles, such as high and low backs, differing shaped arms, is it a flat back, soft or firm filling.
Another element that you should consider is space. Space, not just for the sofa, but for the kids to play in. It’s this space that could avoid little mishaps occurring in the future. They say prevention is better than cure.
The frame is the backbone of the sofa, so you will need to ensure that the sofa offers the best quality of frame to withstand the constant use of both adults and children.
Often overlooked, but very important, especially if you have young children in the house. The feet on sofas come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, as well as material. Some classic leather sofas have tall, strong wooden legs that can jut out causing a risk to young children within the household. Other sofas may have concealed feet that may be more appropriate to your household.
There is plenty to think about, but once you’ve considered everything you’ll have a sofa that is great for you, and the children in your house too.
It’s no secret that travelling abroad for family holidays is a somewhat costly affair these days.
The cost of flights to overseas destinations has increased in recent years, and there has been much news coverage in the media in recent months about how travel agents and airline firms are seemingly charging up to double the price of flights and accommodation during school holiday times.
For many parents feeling the economic pinch, travelling abroad with the kids is fast becoming an impossible dream. So if you are facing this dilemma, here are some alternative holiday ideas that you could consider for the summer holidays this year which will be just as fun and interesting for both you and your children!
Go on a rail adventure
You might think this is somewhat unusual, but I can guarantee you that both you and your kids will have such an awesome time going on a rail adventure! There are plenty of heritage railways that you can check out such as the Severn Valley Railway in the West Midlands, and it’s a great way to go and explore some picturesque towns along the route whilst taking in some breathtaking scenery!
Some heritage railway operators even have workshops where the kids can get involved with refurbishing trains and equipment, while others even allow children to do some driving too!
One of the most-popular places to spend time with your children during the school holidays is in a ‘holiday village’ such as CenterParcs. These locations feature self-contained accommodation and have all sorts of facilities on offer, such as swimming pools, indoor and outdoor activities, water sports and more, all within a scenic woodland area.
And for the parents, there are a number of facilities for them too such as spa treatments, saunas, as well as a selection of restaurants and leisure facilities aimed at adults.
One of the cheapest ways of spending some quality family time together is by going camping in the great outdoors! Believe it or not, Britain has a vast number of scenic campsites dotted around, so all you have to do is decide where you’d like to go camping and pitch up your tent!
Every parent should take their children camping at least once in their lives, as it means that the kids will be able to enjoy and appreciate nature and the great outdoors, and you can even teach them some essential skills which they will hopefully pass on to their children when they are older.
Of course, camping isn’t for everyone, so the next best thing to pitching up a tent is staying in a caravan! You can usually stay in a caravan in the same places where you would go camping, and you can either hire a caravan, or buy your own and drive it to the campsite with you.
Caravans sometimes get bad press, but to be honest they are actually pretty luxurious. According to Butler Technik, they have all of the modern conveniences that you would expect to find in a hotel room, except that you are paying a fraction of the cost!
Knock, knock. Who’s there? It’s time to move. This is often one of the most stressful times in a person’s life, because moving involves gathering up all of your personal belongings and physically moving them. There’s a good chance you’ll end up losing something, breaking something else, and there’s even the possibility that all of your stuff could be destroyed. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way if you take the time to prepare for your move.
Pack Up Everything Yourself
One of the best ways to ensure that all of your stuff makes it to where it’s going is to pack it yourself. Yes, this takes a lot more effort. It’s also a lot more time-consuming. But, at the end of it, you’ll know that the job is done right.
Most moving companies that have packing services aren’t as careful with your stuff as you’d be, and that makes sense if you think about it. It’s not their stuff. They’re not going to care about it as much as you do.
Label Everything and Take an Inventory
When you pack up your belongings, label everything. Take an extensive inventory and use a spreadsheet so that you have good documentation. Take photos, and even take the time to document the tiny details like how many pairs of socks you have.
This will make it a lot easier to keep track of your belongings when you’re ready to load them up, as well as when you move in. You can be sure everything made it to where it’s supposed to be. It’s also good for those times when you have to make an insurance claim for lost or damaged items.
Compare Written In-Home Estimates
Get the moving company to come out to your home. Don’t trust over-the-phone estimates. They’re never correct anyway. Most moving companies will charge either by weight or by volume. Ask for a quote based on both and go with the cheapest one. But, get your estimate in writing and ask about what could negatively affect the price between now and the time you’re ready to move.
Buy The Insurance
Get moving insurance. Some companies will offer it to you, but will advise you that it’s really not necessary. it is. Even if it costs you an additional $500, the standard insurance that comes with all moving jobs will only compensate you mere cents on the dollar for anything that’s lost or stolen. You want replacement value. If you’re unsure where to look for insurance, comb through top selling real estate agents, talk to your current insurance broker, or ask family or friends for referrals.
Don’t Forget About Your Pets
Your pets need to move too. So, don’t forget Fido’s crate, all his creature comforts, and don’t forget that animals often don’t like change. This is going to be a very confusing time for your pet. Make the transition as smooth as possible. You’re not going to want to pack up any of its belongings before you’re ready to move, and it’s always a good idea to take your dog with you to the new place and spend some time sniffing around.
Prep The New Home
Prepare your new home for your arrival. That means paint and clean the home before anything is moved in. It’s easier to do it now than wait for the furniture and all your belongings to arrive.
Arthur Young is a housing guru. From his long career in buying and selling, he enjoys blogging about everything from navigating the real estate market to getting settled in a new place.
Racecourses throughout the UK are adding more Ladies Days to their calendars as the events are proving very popular on the fixtures lists in horse racing.
The events tend to offer a reduced admission fee for ladies looking to attend a day at the races.
Along with the regular card, a range of different activities take place at the track which encourage interaction with the public. A best dressed prize is given to one lucky spectator, while a number of fashion shows take place between the contests on the course.
The most popular Ladies Days are at the big meetings in the sport but there are more than 60 each year in the UK alone. In March, the second day at the Cheltenham Festival attracts huge crowds as it is also very popular with people from Ireland. There is also a Ladies Day a month later during the Grand National Meeting. It takes place a day before the world famous steeplechase and also attracts a bumper attendance.
During the flat season, Royal Ascot is well known for its Ladies Day. The dress code at this meeting is strict as everybody on course has to wear a hat and follow specific guidelines to what they can wear. Those in attendance get a glimpse of the Queen as she makes her way down the racecourse in a horse and carriage before racing gets underway.
In the summer, there are a number of meetings which host evening events. They look to book an artist or band to perform after the racing finishes to extend the fun late into the early hours. Families are also able to take children with them as there are designated areas of the course which are alcohol free.
Originally, there were only a few networks on broadcast TV. Viewers had very limited choices, but at least television service was free. As time went on, however, the public began craving more variety in the types of shows they could watch. More channels were created, and cable and satellite TV came along as a means of delivering these channels to consumers. Of course, not all cable channels are created equal. Some, like HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, and Starz, offer premium programming at a premium price. When these networks first came to be, they struggled for a while to define the type of programming that they should deliver. Though they were originally used to televise hit movies to their subscribers, these channels have gradually been creating more and more original programming. These days, the content produced by some of the premium networks is among the best on TV, as is proven time and again by such indicators as ratings and awards shows.
The first real pioneer of original programming on subscriber networks was HBO. In the 1990s, it began broadcasting original series that became very popular, including The Larry Sanders Show, Oz, and Sex and the City. These programs were able to be unique because the cable network was much less strict about issues like profanity, violence, and nudity—all of which would have kept these shows off regular network TV. The success of some of these original programs spawned more series from HBO including The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Entourage, and more. In addition to regular series, HBO also pioneered the concept of the long-form miniseries with its multi-part TV movies like From the Earth to the Moon, Band of Brothers, and John Adams. The network was able to work with big names in Hollywood (like Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg) to create stories that couldn’t be told in the form of usual movies due to time and budget constraints. Today, some of the most popular TV programming that still draws in viewers to HBO include series like Girls, True Blood, Game of Thrones, and Boardwalk Empire.
After HBO began to be successful with its original programming, several of the other subscriber networks took notice and began to produce new programming of their own. Showtime gained new viewers with its early series, which included The Outer Limits and Queer as Folk. Over the years, it has continued to produce successful long-running programs like Weeds, The Big C, and The L Word. Current hits on Showtime include Dexter, Californication, and the winner of the 2012 Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series, Homeland.
While Starz and Cinemax lag behind the other premium networks when it comes to original programming, they have both taken successful stabs at creating their own shows. Spartacus ran for several years on Starz, and the network has a long list of shows currently in development to be launched in the next few years. Cinemax has focused most of its original programming on the adult genre, and its programs like Co-Ed Confidential, Lingerie, and Life on Top have all had long runs. If the programming from any of these networks interests you, but you currently don’t receive the channels, you might want to learn more about getting them through DirecTV from a dish network site.
There is no “lightning in a bottle” secret about what makes some of the original programming on premium channels work so well. The networks have simply found a formula that works. By convincing subscribers to pay for their content, these networks have been able to put more money into creating quality programming. The resulting quality programming cyclically attracts new subscribers. If you are fed up with some of the programs currently being aired on network TV and basic cable, turning to the content produced by these subscriber networks might be a perfect new way for you to get the most out of your TV viewing experience.
Courtney Whitehead loves to watch television wherever she happens to be. She also likes to write about it to share on various blogs.
Women, often considered defenseless and an easy target, might find learning self-defense can help them if ever put in a dangerous situation.
Most crimes against women are sexual, and statistics confirm that 1 out of 5 American women have been raped, the victim of attempted rape, or sexually assaulted. Statistics also confirm that about 4.8 million women are the victim of domestic violence each year.
When it comes to these situations, having a background in self-defense can help prevent the attack, help save someone else from an attack, or help escape an attacker.
Here is a list of the most effective self-defense tools:
For women living alone, in a city, or in a crime-related area, owning a gun is a smart idea. Most people who own guns have never had to use one on an intruder, but they feel more comfortable knowing they have a means to protect themselves. Purchasing and owning a gun legally can be done through websites such as Calibersnm.co
Although a humorous take on it, Sandra Bullock, in Miss Congeniality, teaches women how to defend themselves with the acronym SING:
If attacked from behind, a woman should elbow her attacker in the solar plexus (stomach), stomp on their instep (foot), hit them in the nose, and finally, aim for the groin.
Other vulnerable areas to aim for are the eyes, ears, neck, and knees.
If the attacker is in front, aim to gouge the eyes and yank on the ears. For the neck, because of the carotid artery and jugular vein, the attacker can be temporarily stunned if hit hard in the side of the neck.
The elbow, knee, and head are the biggest built-in defense mechanisms because they inflict the most pain.
Be vocal and aggressive if possible. Because many attackers prey on women they hope to be defenseless, yelling and immediately fighting back can scare them off.
Having a rape whistle, pepper spray, or mace can be effective tools to stopping an attack. Rape whistles draw attention, thus many attackers will flee for fear of being caught. Mace and pepper spray, when sprayed in the face, cause temporary blindness, giving a woman a chance to run away.
There are many gyms, colleges, and martial arts centers that offer self-defense classes. Classes demonstrate how to get out of typical positions such as a chokehold, bear hug, or wrist hold. These classes provide informative tips, practice, and confidence should anyone ever be put into a dangerous situation.
Keys, pens, briefcases, tweezers, etc. can all be used as weapons if applied with enough force. These items can temporarily stun and injure an attacker, or, in the best case scenario, scare them off.
Report any attack to the authorities. Do not be afraid to report to the authorities because any evidence or information can be used to catch the assailant and provide awareness.
Hopefully a dangerous situation will never arise, but knowing self-defense could save a life.
Image Source: http://www.mma-a.com