Read my UK family lifestyle, making money online & healthy living blog here:

 RSS Feed

Category: Travel, Holidays & Days Out

  1. Why checking and buying the right car tyres is important for your safety

    Posted on

    I recently wrote a blog post about how you can save money and stay safe with a regular car service and today I want to expand on the importance of checking your car tyres to benefit the health of your car and your own safety.

    With long road trips coming up for many of us in the summer holidays, it’s more important than ever for us to check our cars and ensure they are in tip-top working order.  It’s frustrating enough and an inconvenience at the best of times to break down, but never more so than if you are trying to reach a holiday destination or are even in the middle of your holiday.  In this blog post I will share with you some of the ways you can check your car tyres are in a good working condition.

    Here are some of the ways you can check the health of your tyres by yourself:

    Why checking and buying the right car tyres is important for your safety

    Image

    • Tread: Check the depth of the tread to see if it’s legal.  1.6mm is the minimum legal depth, but this can still be too low in wet conditions, so consider changing your tyres once they get below 3mm.  If your tyres need replacing or you want a professional opinion then it’s always worth visiting a local tyre centre to seek an expert opinion.  If you are close to Birmingham then one place to consider is Point S for selecting & buying tyres for your vehicle.
    • Pressure:  Search online for car tyre pressure and enter your car’s registration to find out the exact pressure to fill each tyre to.  The figures are usually different for the front and back tyres.  Use the air at a fuel station which is sometimes free or available for a small cost or buy a portable tyre pump which runs off the cigarette lighter in your car.
    • Wear and Tear: Have a look at the tyres to see if they look old and worn.  If they look it, then they probably are and may need replacing.  The tyres should look in good condition.  Pop into your local tyre centre to ask for their advice and get a new tyre if need be. 
    • Punctures: Look around each tyre to see if there is anything stuck in them such as nails.  If there is an object stuck in then you are going to have a puncture.  The air might be slowly coming out of the tyre.  This happened to us once and luckily we spotted the object stuck in the tyre whilst stationary and didn’t have the tyre go down on us whilst driving on the motorway.

    It’s really easy to check your car tyres yourself, but if you have any concerns or you’re not sure then it’s always best to seek professional advice.  If a tyre needs replacing then I’d recommend a professional fit it for you as they will do it properly, it will come with a guarantee and they will be able to check the wheel alignment too.

    If you ignore your tyre health then there could be disastrous consequences.   For example, as car drivers we have a legal responsibility to ensure the tread of our tyres is the correct depth.  We could be faced with a £2500 fine per tyre if it’s below the legal requirements.  If the tyres don’t have enough tread then the chance of an accident is higher so your safety, your passenger’s safety and the public’s safety is at risk.  Any insurance claim will be invalidated if the tyre tread is not legal, so it’s a must to regularly check these things.

    Car tyre pressure will have an impact on your braking, turning corners, accelerating and fuel consumption.  It's so important to check them and seek professional advice when needed to ensure your car is safe to drive as well as save you money in the future by preventing accidents, break downs and using too much fuel unnecessarily.

     

    What to read next

    4 features every family car needs
    Mustard Car Insurance Comparison Promises to Beat Your Cheapest Online Quote 
    Travel Safely with these Car Safety Checks
    5 important car checks before your next family road trip

     Why checking and buying the right car tyres is important for your safety

    Collaboration

  2. Things to prepare in advance for your family summer holiday abroad

    Posted on

    The summer holidays will soon be here and most of us will have some sort of weekend break, camping trip or even package holiday abroad booked.  If you have a family holiday booked abroad then there are quite a few important things you need to do in advance to ensure everything runs smoothly and doesn’t resemble the famous Home Alone scene with kids, adults and general panic flying everywhere!

    Here are some of the most important things to prepare in advance for your summer holiday abroad:

    Things to prepare in advance for your family summer holiday abroad

    Image

    Passports

    Top of the list has to be passports or else you’ll not be able to go abroad at all!  Even if you think your passport is in date it’s worth checking just to be absolutely sure.  If a child needs their first passport, you’ve lost a passport or one has expired, then you’ll want to order one at least a couple of months before the holiday to ensure it arrive in time.  Last time I ordered a passport they had scrapped the express service, so you really need to plan this well in advance.   I’d suggest doing this as advance as possible in case there are any issues with your application that cause a delay.

    Insurance

    You should always make sure you have suitable travel insurance to cover the type of trip you are going on.  It will need to cover you for the duration of the holiday, for the correct countries and for any special activities or extreme sports you may do whilst away.  It’s easy to get an online quote for travel insurance and it may even be worth purchasing an annual cover if you are planning more than one trip away per year.  Click here for a travel insurance quote from Bupa Global.

    Luggage

    There are often restrictions on the size and weight of cabin and hold luggage.  Check your travel documents and itinerary to see what your flight or tour operator allows.  If your cabin suitcase is too large then you’ll either have to check it into the hold or you may not be able to take it on at all.  Check the measurements in advance and make sure your suitcase is suitable.  As for the weight, make sure you weight it before leaving the house if possible.  You can be charged quite an extortionate amount for luggage that is too heavy for the hold and some airlines have an absolute weight restriction and will refuse any one piece of luggage over this.

    Boarding passes

    Some airlines enable you to check in online and print your boarding passes at home.  Make sure you keep an eye on your emails and the date so you can check in as soon as it’s ready.  Make sure you print off all your boarding passes or save them to the wallet on your phone so you can pass through security and drop off your luggage without any hold ups at the airport.

    Transport

    Don’t forget to arrange how you’ll get to and from the airport.  If you are booking public transport then book well in advance to ensure you can get a seat.  If you are taking your own car then you’ll want to book airport parking or a nearby carpark with an airport shuttle service.  Again, if you are booking a taxi service then it’s best to do this in advance instead of on the day, especially if it’s a long journey.

    So long as you ensure you have arranged the above well in advance then you are almost ready for your holiday.  All that is left is to exchange your money, pack your holiday wardrobe and sun cream and be on your way!

    More great family travel articles:
    Where to get affordable family travel insurance for a pre-existing medical condition
    The ONLY two things you’ll need when flying with children
    Save money on UK family days out with Kids Pass and sign up for just £1

    Things to prepare in advance for your family summer holiday abroad

    Collaboration

  3. Diggerland Devon review – Fun things to do in the south west with kids and toddlers

    Posted on

    Today we were lucky to have a complimentary visit to Diggerland in Devon.  It’s a place I’d somehow never heard of before until I saw a tweet about it just a few weeks ago.  Most people I have told about our visit haven’t heard of it either.  I find that surprising as they have four locations throughout the UK.  As we’re in the south west of England the closest location to us was just over a one and a half hour drive from Gloucestershire to Devon.  To be fair we haven’t yet holidayed in Devon as a family so that could be why we were none the wiser about its existence.  In this blog post I will share my honest review of Diggerland in Devon.

    Diggerland Devon review – Fun things to do in the south west with kids and

    I think we picked a really good day to go.  When we arrived it was pretty quiet and at first I wondered if it was an exclusive blogger event.  We felt like VIPs with no queues to go on any ride!  I then realised it was probably just really good timing as it was a boiling hot day and there was a World Cup football match on between England and Sweden.  I expect the majority of the country were having BBQs and watching the footie if they weren’t in the pub!  It was great for us as we hate having to queue at theme parks for rides, plus the drive home was lovely and clear on the motorway!

    Diggerland Devon review – Fun things to do in the south west with kids and

    The kids were super excited to go to Diggerland.  Bella, being six, thought it would be boyish, but the closer we got to the day and the journey itself the more excited she got and was telling everyone she was going.  I bet any digger loving boy would be ecstatic about a trip to Diggerland, but it’s brilliant for all girls, boys and even parents too!  Who wouldn’t love the chance to drive a real digger and do some actual digging?!

    Diggerland Devon review – Fun things to do in the south west with kids and

    My first impression was it seemed quite a small place, but there was actually a lot packed in.  There were around 18 rides that were included in the ticket price and two rides that were at an extra cost.  Amazingly Reuben, three years old, could go on almost all the rides.  He had to sit on our laps on some of them, but this wasn’t a problem at all.  It was part of the family day out experience and was so much fun sitting with him helping him to drive or use a digger!

    Diggerland Devon review – Fun things to do in the south west with kids and

    As you can guess, all the rides are digger themed.  It was the most unique theme park I’ve ever been to.  It’s totally digger themed and every ride is an actual digger or made from parts of diggers!  Think yellow everywhere with that JCB song and Bob the Builder playing in the background!  It’s an absolute blast for young children.  My two are ages three and six years and they both had a brilliant time.  They got to whizz round on go karts, dig for treasure with an actual digger, be lifted high into the sky for a birds eye view of the park on the Skyshuttle which is like a huge crane attached to a digger and even go on an off-road safari adventure in a 4x4!

    Diggerland Devon review – Fun things to do in the south west with kids and

    Indoors they had a bouncy castle and ginormous ball pit.  This was a great relief from the blistering sun as we found there was no shade around any of the rides.  There is also an outdoor adventure playground with a bumpy sack race slide, huge twisting tube slide, death slide and zip wires.  There’s a café too, but I can’t comment on this as we only purchased a couple of bottles of water.  We took our own picnic and sat to eat on the grass next to the playground.

    Diggerland Devon review – Fun things to do in the south west with kids and

    We stayed for around four hours and went on around three quarters of the rides or more.  We were lucky it wasn’t too busy so we never had to queue.  I think if it was a slightly cooler day we would have stayed longer, but the kids were hot and bothered by this point so we knew it was time to leave.  We’d have played more in the adventure playground and gone on all the rides if it wasn’t such a hot day.  Obviously that’s no reflection on the park itself, just hubby and the kids don’t do so well in the hot sun.  Even I was dripping!

    Diggerland Devon review – Fun things to do in the south west with kids and

    It is expensive on the door at almost £20 per person.  I don’t think we’d travel all that way (3 hour round trip) for a day out with an on the door fee of £80. It would be too expensive, but if we were on holiday in Devon then we’d definitely return.  If you live within half hour then it’s a great family day out.  I’d definitely recommend checking online for cheaper tickets or keep an eye out for promotional flyers. 

    My recommendations to improve the park would be some shaded areas dotted around the rides, a larger soft play area that’s not just a ball pit and of course cheaper entry prices. I think at around £50 for a family of four we’d definitely make the journey for a day trip.

    Diggerland Devon review – Fun things to do in the south west with kids and

    Overall it’s a great day out with plenty of rides for young children.  It’s definitely a place for young children and families and not really teenagers and adults only.  There were plenty of rides, almost all of them, that my six year old and my three year old could go on.  We all got to have a go at trying out real diggers which was the highlight of the day.  They are so much fun!  My favourite ride was the Skyshuttle and Bella’s was the Go Karts.  Ben and Reuben loved digging!

    The staff were excellent!  They were so friendly and helpful.  They had the best customer service of any theme park I've been to.  The whole place was really clean and tidy too which makes a big difference.  The toilets also.

    Diggerland Devon review – Fun things to do in the south west with kids and

    (I saw signs around for kid’s birthday parties and I think it would be an absolutely amazing and unique venue for a kids birthday party!)

    I received complimentary entrance in exchange for my honest review.

     

    What to read next
    Save money on UK family days out with Kids Pass and sign up for just £1
    Peppa Pig World Review 2017 (and where to stay for under £100 for 2 nights)
    My Very Honest CBeebies Land Hotel Review
    We The Curious | Bristol Science Museum Review
    My Very Honest LEGOLAND Windsor Review
    All Things Wild Nature Centre Review

    Diggerland Devon review – Fun things to do in the south west with kids and

  4. Save money and stay safe with a regular car service

    Posted on

    With the summer holidays coming up and long car journeys planned to festivals, camping trips and holidays, it’s really the most important time to make sure your car is in tip-top shape so you are safe on the road.  In this blog post I will explore some of the top reasons a regular car service is so important. 

    My car service is due and I’ve been scouting around the internet for the best full service deals nearby.  I’ll be booking mine in for its service as soon as I’ve finished typing!  When was your last car service?  Is it time to check and book yours in too?

    Below are some of the main reasons a regular car service is so important:

    Save money and stay safe with a regular car service

    Image

    Professional maintenance

    There are several checks we can do ourselves on our own cars which I outline in my blog post 5 important car checks before your next family road trip, but sometimes there are things on a car we cannot attempt ourselves or do not have the professional knowledge to examine.  Because of this it is always advisable to have a regular car service at a reputable centre. 

    Here are some of the checks they will carry out that I know I can’t do myself:

    Oil change

    Over time the oil can form a sludge which can damage the car and not allow it run as efficiently.  A full vehicle service will check the levels of engine oil and will replace it if needed.  They’ll also check the oil filter and replace this too.

    Brakes

    I definitely know I can’t check my brakes myself so a full service will allow a thorough inspection of the brakes and shock absorbers by a specialist.  If you are in Northampton visit Calmac Tyres Autocentre to professionally check your shock absorbers.

    Electrics

    I’ve got no clue when it comes to the electrics in my car, so a service will ensure the vital electrics are checked properly.  They’ll check the battery, alternator, starter motor and wiring to make sure there are no leaks or damage.

    Save money

    By properly maintaining your car with a professional regular service it will ensure its longevity.  The car will run smoother and use fuel more efficiently reducing the risk of a breakdown.  Maximising the use of fuel and ensuring the car runs at its optimum performance will obviously cut costs in the long run.  The car will be more reliable and you’ll save money on costly repairs down the line.

    Stay safe

    The main reason for getting a regular service is obviously for your safety and the safety of others.  The checks the mechanics perform will flag up any potential dangers on your car.  By highlighting anything they see you are able to take action and have the issue fixed rather than letting it wear away and possibly having a breakdown or even causing an accident.

    Better resale value

    When purchasing a car most people will ask for the service log book.  A full service history will show the car has been well cared for and maintained.  This makes it much more appealing to a prospective buyer.  It can even fetch a higher price or better trade-in value with proof of a full service history. 

    Hopefully you can now see why a regular service is so important.  Not only will it ensure your card is more roadworthy, but it will save money in the long run too.  Check your service log book and make sure you are up to date with your car maintenance checks.

     

    What to read next

    4 features every family car needs
    Mustard Car Insurance Comparison Promises to Beat Your Cheapest Online Quote 
    Travel Safely with these Car Safety Checks

    Save money and stay safe with a regular car service

    Collaboration

  5. My top 5 luxury travel destinations if money were no object

    Posted on

    Travel is perhaps one of my only regrets of my twenties.  Pre-kids and responsibilities I definitely should have explored the world.  I stupidly got into a lot of debt and spent the first half of my twenties paying it back.  If I could go back in time I’d not be a shopaholic and instead would live more frugally and save as much as possible to travel.  I also never had the travel bug, but now I’m in my thirties it’s definitely appeared.  It’s an itch that I really want to scratch!  I always tell my husband Ben that once the kids have moved out we will then begin to travel the world.

    Even though funds are currently limited and we are restricted with extortionate school holiday only prices and two young children, we plan on exploring as much as possible until then.  We’ve even just bought a Mazda Bongo campervan so we can explore more of the UK in a much more affordable and with-nature manner.  But once more funds are saved or we’re loaded pensioners (we hope) we plan on visiting some exotic and exquisite far flung destinations.

    Let’s imagine for a moment that money were no object and we can hire a private jet to escape to any part of the world we so desire.  Where would you go?  What would be on your bucket list?

    Here are my top 5 luxury travel destinations if money were no object:

    My top 5 luxury travel destinations if money were no object

    Image

    Bora Bora

    Bora Bora has been on my list of places to visit ever since an old friend visited there for around six weeks.  There seems to be no other place like it and her photos were enviously impressive.  It has a stunning turquoise blue lagoon with overwater bungalow accommodation that looks dreamy.  It’s the perfect honeymoon destination and seeing as Ben and I never had a honeymoon I think we’ll have a postponed one here one day.  It looks like a blissful oasis and I really can’t find words amazing enough to describe its beauty.

    Greek Island Hopping

    I would absolutely love to go Greek Island hopping and stay in some luxury boutique hotels along the way if backpacking, or alternatively stay aboard an indulgent cruise ship.  In my travels so far the Greek islands have had the most beautiful beaches and unbelievably turquoise waters, particularly at well-known Shipwreck Bay which is simply stunning.

    Great Barrier Island

    This looks like my dream destination to actually relocate to.  It only has around 900 inhabitants and is totally off grid, but still has a school, shop and even a pub!  Aside from daydreaming of living there I would like to visit one day.  It’s off New Zealand so could be visited for a few days from here.  A stay in Oruawharo Cottage which is located just 50 metres from a secluded beach is my idea of luxury to escape the rat race for a week or so.

    Thailand

    This is another destination that has always appealed to me after seeing a friend’s photos.  I love the rocky and rugged islands with the crystal clear waters and golden sandy beaches. I’ve seen beachfront accommodation with private pools surrounded by palm trees which look like paradise!

    Maldives

    Probably not dissimilar to Bora Bora and often compared.  Another place that looks like paradise with crystal clear warm waters and white sands.  Most of the worlds overwater villas can be found in the Maldives and many have glass bottomed floors to experience the rich underwater life that thrives in the pristine waters.  I can totally visualise my stay in a luxurious overwater hut with a jet ski parked up outside…

    If money were no object these would be the first five destinations I would like to visit; aboard my private jet of course.

     

    What to read next

    A Luxury Family Villa in Sicily
    Why I’ve added Ireland to my bucket list
    6 reasons I want to visit Oz
    My 2018 family travel plans and bucket list

    My top 5 luxury travel destinations if money were no object