Thursday, 23 March 2017

Tips to Love Your Car Again

With National Car Care Month just around the corner, this week I thought I would share with you some basic tips on how to love your car again.  We have been quite lucky in that over the last few years we've had a number of new cars through James' work which we haven't had to worry about maintaining but for the school run I drive a little Peugeot run-around which has had its fair share of visits to the garage.

Cars are something we rely on a lot and yet sometimes it can be all too easy to let small issues fall to the side, which can then become bigger issues until you are faced with a car that doesn't run effectively or efficiently and maybe even one which is going to cost a lot to become roadworthy again (I've been there with smoke issuing from the bonnet as you drive down the motorway, it's not fun.  Trust me.)

So if you need some inspiration on how to give your car a little love over the next month then read on:-

Clean it up
It is amazing how a simple clean can make your car feel shiny and new again.  For a real winner, you are better going to a car handwash rather than through a mechanical wash and often the handwash companies will also clean the inside of your car for a little extra.  We have a great local company and they always do a good job.  I'm not just talking about the quick, surface level clean but a real deep clean with the upholstery getting a good scrub and all those hard to reach places too.  You will be surprised at the difference it can make.

Get new tyres
If you are anything like me, it only ever occurs to me to think about changing my tyres when the MOT is looming but to make sure your car is running efficiently, you should regularly be checking your tyres, and getting them changed promptly when you need to.

Change the sound system
This is something which I have been considering for a while now; my car isn't that old but the sound system is nowhere near on a par with new cars and this not only makes me feel like I'm driving an old banger but it also means I can't listen to the type of music  I want to with ease.  It's not a cheap thing to do but it's also not a ridiculously expensive endeavour and I'm sure it will make my car feel like it has a new lease of life.

Sort the exhaust
You should have your exhaust checked at least once a year; it's surprising how much effect an exhaust has on the smooth running of your car and you may find that it makes a huge difference to the way your car handles if you get exhaust repairs for your car; somewhere such as Dat Tyres is a good option.

Replace the rubber
One thing I have noticed which is a constant issue with used cars is the build up of grime in the rubber surrounding the doors and windows.  I think my last used car had a whole habitat going on in the green moss which somehow crept in.  It's a bit of a brain ache to try and change the rubber but it's fairly easy to learn how, and incredibly cheap to do so.  Not only that but replacing the rubber will ensure that your car is properly insulated and can minimise outside noise when you are driving too.  To get car rubber replacement done you can check Coh Baines.

So there you go, just some easy and fairly inexpensive tips on how to give your car a new lease of life.

Do let me know if you have any other tips to add!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Next Stop: Tuscany ǀ Travel

Now I know I may have casually mentioned this once or twice but this year we are celebrating two very special occasions: the first is my 30th birthday in May and the second is our 10th wedding anniversary in August.

In thinking about how I wanted to celebrate my birthday, I knew there were a couple of things I would like to do.  I'm not great with the pressures of a bucket list (so out went the '30 before I'm 30' idea) but I did have some things in mind for ways to celebrate and one of those was a combined birthday-anniversary trip, just me and James.

For my 18th birthday I went to Rome and I absolutely adored it, but I haven't been back to Italy since so it was the first place which came to mind.  Let's not also forget that Prosecco is also my drink of choice so heading to wine country seemed like the ideal option.

We ummed and ahhed and wondered about leaving the kids for any great length of time; it's the first time the two of us will have been out of the country together, leaving the kids with their grandparents so it's a little bit stressful but I have to say that since we got our accommodation sorted I am really looking forward to it.

We will have three full days to explore, plus half a day when we land which we might use to see some of the main sights of Pisa before we head to our apartment and there is so much that I want to see and do.  We have yet to put our final plans in place but some of the things we are considering include:-

Visiting Volterra
We are actually staying somewhere near to Volterra and although I'd like to pretend that my love of Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series (it's my secret shame shhhh) has nothing to do with it, I'm actually pretty excited to go and visit.  There is plenty of history to be found in this walled town including Roman ruins which is something both of us will enjoy exploring.

Drinking Wine in Chianti
This may actually be the main reason we are visiting; the idea of sipping authentic Italian wine as I watch the sun set over the Tuscan hills with a good book in my hand is just about a dream come true and we will be right on the border of the Chianti region, giving me every excuse to consume as much wine as I can possibly get my hands on (reasonably and sensibly of course...)  There are countless wine tours to be enjoyed too and I've spotted a couple which are also combined with food tours; good food and good wine, what is not to love about that combination?!

A Day Trip to Florence
I doubt that it would be possible to capture everything that makes Florence amazing in just one day trip but it would be fantastic to try.  This historical city has been recommended to us by so many people that it would be a real shame to miss out on a visit here.  Attractions such as the Uffizi Gallery, San Lorenzo's Market, the Duomo and so much more...I really hope we can make it there, even if it's just for the day.

Taking A Dip in the Thermal Baths
Did you know there were thermal baths in the Tuscan region of Italy?  Me neither until I started delving deeper into things we could enjoy whilst on our trip.  Two such natural springs are located in Saturnia and also feature waterfalls: Cascate del Mulino and Cascate del Gorello.  Both these springs are open to the public and are free to enter which certainly makes them even more appealing!

Relaxing by the Pool
We are going to Italy in June so are fully prepared for the weather to be a little changeable but it would be nice if we could spend one of our days just chilling out by the pool.  As any parent will tell you, time spent with no interruptions is a precious commodity and to be able to spend quality time together, relaxing, well...the hard part for me will be not packing 20 books in my suitcase and then squirrelling myself away for 5 days!

If you've been to Tuscany then please let us know what you would recommend we see and do!