Some simple ways to pay less for your next car


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Road trip

Living outside of the city in a fairly small village, owning a car makes our family life much easier. Unless you live in a city with an excellent transport network getting the kids to and from sport or their various clubs without a car would be very difficult. Most of us are very conscious of doing what we can to reduce our carbon footprint and while we do use public transport when we can, having a family car is still essential for us and our current one is very old and could do with being replaced with a more efficient one.

Of course, there is a limit to how much we can afford to spend when it comes to purchasing a vehicle. As I'm currently going through the process of looking for car I thought I share what I'm doing to reduce costs.

My biggest tip is to look at the second-hand market, there are lots of dealers that specialise in second-hand vehicles that have undergone all the recommended checks and many also come with some sort of warranty. 


Securing the best finance

For most people, car finance payments are the biggest monthly expense. As a result, getting the best finance deal is by far the best way to save. The suggestions below will help you to do this:

· Give yourself plenty of time to search for the right deal

· Understand what all of your options are including a PCP, HP, bank loans and other forms of car finance

· Check your credit score and take steps to improve it before you go shopping for a car

· Consider buying the car in the name of the person in the household who has the best credit rating

· Set up a spreadsheet so that you can compare deals, when you do this look at the total amount you will pay including fees, not just the interest rate

· Don´t be afraid to negotiate, even finance companies give discounts, for example, reduce the arrangement fee

· Delay your purchase so you can save up a bigger deposit

· If you can afford the higher monthly payments opt to pay the loan back across a shorter period

· Read the terms and conditions in full and look for any hidden fees

· If there is anything about the deal you are offered that you are not sure about, always ask for clarification


Finding a relatively inexpensive vehicle

The lower the price of the car you choose to buy the less you will need to borrow and the less interest you pay. This sounds obvious I know, but when you go out to buy a car it is extremely easy to get swept up in the excitement. Dealers are incredibly good at tempting potential customers, so it is common for people to end up spending thousands more than is strictly necessary.

These tips will help you to choose a relatively cheap model that meets all of your needs. Then, find one for a good price:

· Sit down and calmly write down what you actually need, mentally going through how your family uses a car day to day will help to ensure you don´t miss anything important

· Identify makes and models that meet your criteria, and that you like the look of

· Go online and read a few reviews to check if it is really for you

· Check the price using a website like Parker

· Use a car finance calculator to work out if you can afford the make and model, you like the most

· Most new cars lose around 40% of their ticket value after just 3 years, so consider buying a car that is a few years old

· If you really want a new car, see if the dealer has a test drive vehicle available, often they are a bit cheaper

· If you are not going to be driving far, consider buying a car with a slightly higher-than-average mileage

· Keep an eye out for cars that are not black, white, or silver, other colours are not as popular so sometimes they are slightly cheaper

The above is not designed to completely cover the subject of keeping the cost of your motoring down. It is more of a checklist that you can use as inspiration and to guide your own research.


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Mollies Motel Oxfordshire Family Travel Review


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Mollies motel

Mollies Motels, a small chain of motels, currently in Bristol and Oxford with a soon-to-open Manchester location, combines the feel of a classic Americana roadside motel & drive-in diner with the style of Soho house, while being both budget and family-friendly making them a unique staycation destination. 

Mollies had been on my UK staycation bucket list so when we had the opportunity to stay at the Oxfordshire Mollies Motel, we jumped at the chance, especially with being only a 25-minute drive to the centre of Oxford and a great base for exploring the area. As they are based outside of the city centre, travelling by car is the ideal option although the Oxford location is easily accessible by public transport with a bus station right next to the hotel that will take you directly into the city. We spent a day taking in all the sights of Oxford and the following day exploring some of the quaint Cotswolds villages. 

Mollie Motels

Mollies motel

As soon as you arrive it's hard to not be taken in by the natural oak and slate finishes of the building and stepping into the reception space you are greeted by friendly staff and plenty of room to relax, catch up or do a spot of work as there are comfy sofas as well as work station. You can also help yourself to a variety of tea and coffee.  

The hotel is seamlessly stylish with a laid-backed atmosphere that has embraced technology, offering travellers EV charging free of charge and contactless room access by downloading the key card to your phone. When it comes to rooms, a few different choices are depending on your needs. As I was travelling with two children, we could have stayed in either the bunk room which comfortably sleeps four or the interconnecting rooms which consist of one double room and one twin room, connected to each other.

Mollie motel

Mollie motel


We had an interconnecting room which provided plenty of space for all of us and the hand-crafted hypnos mattresses were possibly the most comfortable hotel beds we have ever slept on. As with anything connected to Soho House, you can expect elements of luxury and this was certainly the case with well-designed rooms, powerful rain showers, climate control, cowshed natural products and super-fast wifi as well as 24-hour reception should you need anything. 

What really makes Mollies unique is their American-inspired Diners, which attracts both hotel residents and locals and the diner was busy with a buzzing atmosphere both evening and morning during our stay. I highly recommend dining here and if we lived closer this would definitely be a regular spot for us with its open kitchens, Cadillac booths and classic dishes such as hot wings with blue cheese, waffles and shakes which were a massive hit with kids. 

Mollies Motels

Mollies Motels

The breakfast was also a real treat, with sweet and savoury dishes, I went for the classic Eggs Florentine while the kids opted for rather decadent French toast topped with fresh cream and blueberries, along with freshly brewed coffee it's the perfect way to start the day. 

What I loved about our stay was how relaxed and laid back is all felt and after a busy day exploring Oxford that is exactly what we wanted, this was reflected right until we checked out at 11am, giving us more than enough time to enjoy breakfast without rushing. 

Mollies Motel

I would definitely stay at Mollies Motel again, it's great seeing places that are forward-thinking with a unique interior-led design while being welcoming to families, thumbs up all round. 

*We were invited to stay at Mollies Motel, this review is 100% my own views

Mollies Motel

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Inspired a love for Science at home with Tinkerer




Tinkerer box

Like all parents, I want to encourage a love of learning in my children and to bring learning into the home. Tinkerer is on a quest to inspire children's creative confidence and give them the right tools to explore Science and Art safely in the home through their monthly STEM boxes. 

Founded by two engineers, Stephen and Elaine who are parents themselves, who wanted to help nature the desire for children to learn and grow independently and together Tinkerer was born. 

The monthly boxes provide everything your children need to dive into hands-on projects that are educational, fun and challenging. There are three different boxes depending on your children's age, which ensures they are offered projects that are within their capabilities but still stretch their creative thinking.  

Wonder boxes for 3-5yr olds, Odyssey for 6-8yr olds and Explore for 9-12yr olds. Each box comes includes a fun theme, quality materials, an educational magazine and step-by-step instructions for children to be able to follow independently. 

STEM box

My boys were sent the Explore box which contained a kit to build a child-friendly repeating crossbow along with a fantastic magazine that not only delved into the science behind the crossbow but also the evolution and history of the crossbow, along with a story of William Tell and how Crossbow Kinestics work. The boys worked completely independently on their project and thoroughly enjoyed the whole process, especially as the instructions are visually lead which also made it easier for my one son who has dyslexia. 

As a parent I am thoroughly impressed with the quality of the materials and that while it was within the boys capabilities, it did offer a challenge and took time for them to put to together. The magazine is also fun but very educational and printed on thick paper, as are the instructions and it was all packed in a strong and robust box. 

You can purchase one-off boxes but the best value is to go for a monthly subscription as low as £17.80 per month with free UK shipping. If your children love science or you want to encourage their curiosity then the Tinkerer boxes are fantastic. 

craft box

We were kindly sent a box to review, words and thoughts my own. 

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Balancing Act: Parents’ Guide to a Healthy Lifestyle Amid Family Chaos


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woman outdoors

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can feel like juggling several balls at once for parents caught in the whirlwind of family life. Between managing work, school runs, and household chores, finding time to focus on health often falls by the wayside. However, the benefits of a balanced lifestyle are manifold, impacting not just physical well-being but also mental health, stress levels, and overall happiness. 

For parents, setting a balanced foundation of health and wellness within the home can be a positive for everyone including their children. This guide aims to provide practical, realistic and balanced advice for integrating fitness and nutrition into the busy lives of parents, ensuring that health becomes an accessible priority for the whole family.

Finding Time for Fitness: Realistic Exercise Tips for Busy Parents

For many parents, the idea of fitting exercise into an already packed schedule seems daunting. However, incorporating physical activity into your daily routine doesn't mean spending hours at the gym as with anything being active should be a positive and fun experience and not a punishing one. 

Focus on integrating short, manageable sessions of movement that align with your existing responsibilities as well as your interest, for example, consider a brisk walk during your child’s sports practice or a family bike ride or hike at the weekend. 

Movement can also be woven into everyday activities, for instance, dancing together while doing household chores or kicking the ball in the garden with your kids. These moments of activity contribute to your physical health and offer valuable opportunities for family bonding. Remember, consistency is key. Regular, small doses of exercise can cumulate to significant health benefits over time.


Quick and Healthy Meal Ideas for the Whole Family

Balancing nutrition with the demands of a busy family schedule requires a strategy that accommodates both health, taste and convenience. Begin with planning your meals for the week ahead, incorporating as many whole, unprocessed foods as possible. Simple and quick recipes, like stir-fries loaded with vegetables, soups or smoothies.

When preparing meals, consider making extra portions to freeze for later, this helps keep the budget down as well as saving valuable time and energy on hectic days. Snacks also play a crucial role in maintaining energy levels between meals. Opt for healthy, portable options such as fruits, nuts, yoghurt, or whole-grain crackers, as well as the odd treat, which can be easily packed for school or work. By prioritising nutrition even in the midst of a tight schedule, parents can ensure their family's health and well-being are supported, even on the go.

It can often also be more cost and time-saving to setup a weekly food delivery, that way you don't overspend on food you don't actually need and it's one less thing to do each week as it's delivered to your door, there are also lots of deals to be had such as Free Next Day Delivery on orders over £40 at Iceland UK.

fresh salad

Understanding the Role of Vitamins in Family Health

Vitamins play a crucial role in supporting the health and well-being of every family member, acting silently yet powerfully in the background of our daily lives. Among these, vitamin D stands out due to its wide-ranging benefits, including support for bone health, immune function, and even emotional well-being. 

Recent studies have also shed light on how vitamin D can lead to hair loss, highlighting the importance of this nutrient in maintaining healthy hair and bones. Does vitamin D help hair growth? The answer is affirmative, as vitamin D receptors in hair follicles suggest a direct role in the creation and growth of new hair. Consequently, ensuring that family diets include sufficient vitamin D is vital for skeletal health and maintaining luscious locks. Foods rich in vitamin D, such as fatty fish, mushrooms, eggs, and fortified foods, alongside sensible sun exposure, can help meet the family’s vitamin D needs, supporting overall health from head to toe.

Recognising and addressing vitamin deficiencies is key to preventing negative health outcomes that can affect the entire family. Vitamin D deficiency, in particular, has been linked to various health issues, including a weakened immune system, bone disorders, and mood fluctuations and hair loss. 

Spotting signs of vitamin D deficiency early can help prevent such consequences. Symptoms may include fatigue, bone pain, muscle weakness, or hair thinning. If you suspect a vitamin D deficiency is causing health issues, consulting a healthcare professional is a critical first step. 

Ensuring Adequate Rest for Both Parents and Children

Sleep is foundational to health, yet it is often compromised in the hustle of family life. For parents and children alike, adequate rest is essential for physical health, emotional well-being, and cognitive function. Establishing a consistent bedtime routine can significantly improve sleep quality. This may include winding down with quiet activities, reducing screen time before bed, and creating a comfortable sleep environment. 

baby sleeping

For parents, managing sleep can be challenging, especially with young children. However, sharing nighttime responsibilities, practising relaxation techniques before bed, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle that supports sleep (such as limiting caffeine intake) can make a substantial difference. Remember, prioritising sleep is not indulgent; it's necessary for maintaining the energy and patience required for parenting.

The Ongoing Journey of Maintaining a Healthy Family Lifestyle

Navigating the complexities of family life while striving to maintain a healthy lifestyle is an ongoing journey, filled with challenges and rewards. Remember, the goal is not perfection but progress towards a healthier, happier family life. Flexibility, patience, and a willingness to adapt strategies as your family grows and changes are crucial. Celebrate small victories and learn from the setbacks. By prioritising health and wellness, you're improving your family's quality of life today and setting the stage for a lifetime of well-being.

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