We were loaned the Peugeot 5008 for a week for the purposes of this review. All opinions my own.

Peugeot 5008 review

A couple of weeks ago we were loaned a Peugeot 5008 SUV to drive around for a week. On the one hand I was excited – it’s always lovely to drive something that doesn’t need topping up with oil every few days – but on the other hand I was anxious. We’ve done a couple of different car reviews lately and I couldn’t help but wonder what I was going to find to say about it.

That’s kind of the trouble with new cars isn’t it? Unless you’re spending huge amounts of money, they’re all fairly similar in what they offer, all incredibly safe and comfortable and practical. I actually took part in a video last year that was comparing compact SUVs, and they were coming up with all kinds of unusual tests just to try to tell them apart.

With the Peugeot 5008 then, I was worried that I wouldn’t have anything to say other than ‘the back seats were really comfy’ and ‘I found it really smooth to drive.’

BORING.

Fortunately I was proved wrong. The Peugeot 5008 goes above and beyond a lot of the cars I’ve driven over the last few years, as though it wanted to make the point to me that yes, it might be spacious and intuitive to drive, but it can also give you stuff you’re not expecting. It didn’t come as a surprise to find out that it recently won the What Car? award for best large SUV. View Post

There’s no hiding from the fact that buying a car is REALLY  expensive. In fact, it’s probably one of the biggest financial outlays you’ll make this year. Or next. Unfortunately, not many of us have a big enough pile of cash just lying around to buy our car outright. This means that it’s not unusual to turn to finance to help fund our purchase.

Herein lies the problem: if you’ve got a bad credit rating or have no credit history at all, you may struggle to borrow what you need. So what can you do when not having a car simply isn’t an option?

Rebuild your credit score

It may take time, but with some patience and a little ‘know-how’, it is possible to improve your credit score.

When companies are deciding whether or not to lend you money, they are essentially using your past financial behaviour to predict how you are likely to behave in the future. This is why it can be hard to get finance with both a poor credit history AND if you have no credit history at all.

In order to prove that you’re going to be a responsible borrower, you need to build up a history of responsible financial behaviour. It may sound a bit ‘chicken and egg’ but it is possible.

Credit rebuild cards or short-term finance

You could take out a credit rebuild card (basically a credit card for those with bad credit), then spend a little on it every month. Only spend what you would have spent anyway. Then pay it off in full to avoid paying any interest.

Normally, all other things being equal, your credit rating should start to improve after around 6 months.

Alternatively, short-term loans can be used in a similar way. Just like credit rebuild cards, taking out short term finance may help you to rebuild your credit rating. However, bear in mind that when you take out a loan, you will have to pay interest and maybe extra charges on it, so always read the small print.

Lenders specialising in bad credit

If you need to buy a car urgently and do not have the time to improve your credit rating, there are lenders who specialise in providing loans to people who have a poor credit rating. Often, you will end up paying more interest on these loans, so they could end up costing you more.

Make sure you only borrow what you can afford to repay

If you are going to take out any kind of finance, whether it be a credit card or a loan, make sure you only borrow what you can comfortably afford to pay back.

Buying a car if you have a poor credit rating, or no credit history at all, is difficult but not impossible. There are loan providers who lend to people with bad credit. Rebuilding your credit rating should improve your likelihood of being accepted for finance when you need it and give you more options when it comes to choosing a loan that’s right for you.

I had a look at her website and tried to stick to the style but let me know if anything needs changing.

Advertisement feature – homemade mozzarella sticks with Pik-Nik

homemade mozzarella sticks like mcdonalds

When I was younger there were certain things in your lunch box that marked you out as the sort of person who’d NEVER be picked last for the rounders team. I’m thinking mini bags of animal biscuits, Monster Munch, that sort of thing. Then there were the lunch box ‘treats’ that didn’t do you any favours in the friend stakes, like egg sandwiches and carrot sticks. I’m not sure Bee will ever forgive me for sending her into school with sunflower seeds wrapped up in little bits of tin foil. (I hate making packed lunches though, so.)

In my mind, peelable cheese sticks definitely fall into the first category. When you’re a child you get points for any food that gives you the opportunity to say ‘yeah look at this, I always do this with my cheese’, while performing some elaborate ritual that you’ve made up on the spot.

(This isn’t just me is it? I have a vivid memory of going to a friend’s house for tea and having sausage, mash and beans, and spreading the mash all over my plate, sticking the sausages into it like flag poles, pouring my beans on top and saying ‘oh yeah, this is how I always eat them’.) View Post

how to choose the best mattress for a crib

A crib is one of the main items you buy for your baby even before she is born. You must have spent more than one hour choosing a design that fits into the room and selecting cute bedding made of natural materials.

Stop right here.

Did you choose the mattress?

It is a key element of the crib. And considering the fact that babies spend most of their time in their crib, it should be given special attention.

So, let me outline the main criteria that you should know before you go shopping for the perfect crib mattress.

What to Consider When Choosing a Baby Crib Mattress

Let me start by telling you this one thing:

You should only use mattresses designed specifically for baby cribs.

Cutting your Queen sized mattress topper or anything of this kind to fit into a crib is a bad idea. Although it may eventually fit, it isn’t designed for babies.

Thus, it’s unsafe for them.

Size and Form

According to the CPSC standards, all full-sized baby cribs must be equipped with a full-size mattress.

A full-size crib is the one that is 28 ± 5/8 inches in width and 52 3/8 ± 5/8 inches in length. Therefore, a mattress that fits perfectly and saves the baby’s head — as well as legs, arms, and fingers — from being stuck between the mattress and the bed measures at least 27 1/4 inches x 51 1/4 inches, and its thickness should not exceed 6 inches.

“Federal law regulation greatly simplifies the process of choosing a mattress. Thus, you can buy that pretty little crib from Amazon and then order a mattress from any well-known manufacturer and in most cases, they will work together well.”

There also are oval and round cribs. But this is the case when you need to choose between a fancy design and availability of options to choose from.

Firmness and Support

We all know that a firm mattress can help prevent SIDS. It provides even support to a baby’s body and doesn’t allow your little one to turn to their stomach.

Why is that important?

Because sleeping on the stomach increases the risk of suffocation.

At the same time, back sleeping is considered the safest position for newborns since it’s the easiest position for breathing.

“To find out how firm the mattress is, apply some pressure with your hand right at the center of the surface. If it quickly bounces back to its original state, that’s a good sign.”

Washable Covers

Accidents will happen, believe me. No one is immune to them. And they can easily ruin the whole mattress.

To save yourself from extra spendings, consider models with a removable, washable, and waterproof cover. They can significantly facilitate the care for a mattress. Or, consider buying a separate waterproof protector.

Weight

This point is directly bound to the previous one. Most likely, the first time of the tot’s life, you will often have to change their bed.

And when I say “often”, you can definitely triple the number you associate with this word.

Therefore, the weight of the mattress should be easy enough for you to lift it and change sheets or mattress cover even being bleary-eyed in the middle of the night. Models weighing from 10 to 20 pounds will work just fine.

Breathability

Since the first months of life, your little one will spend a lot of time in their crib. That’s why good breathability of a mattress is a necessity. This is especially important criteria for foam mattresses.

Good air circulation will not only protect the mattress from mold and bacteria growth but also make sure your baby won’t sleep hot.

Innerspring vs Foam: Pros and Cons of Two Most Popular Materials for a Crib Mattress

how to choose cot mattress

When you browse the Web in search of a crib mattress for your baby, you will most likely have to choose between innerspring and foam models.

What are the pros and cons of each of these materials?

And what to consider when making a choice?

Let’s start with the innerspring ones.

Inside, they have coils, either single-block or individually pocketed ones, as well as one or several cushioning layers of various materials.

Pros:

  • Supportive. A higher coil count creates reliable support for the baby. If you choose a mattress with a solid spring block, pay attention to the gauge of steel wire. The bigger it is, the thicker the steel is, and accordingly, the better the support.
  • Prevents injuries. Some innerspring mattresses feature enhanced edge support, which reduces the risks of your baby’s little fingers being stuck between the edge of a mattress and the side of the crib.
  • More durable. Innersprings are able to withstand more intensive use and are less prone to sagging.
  • A coil system allows better airflow inside the mattress, thus ensuring your baby a more comfortable (in terms of temperature) sleep.

Cons:

  • Heavier. The innerspring construction may result in the weight of the mattress reaching up to 20 pounds.
  • Prone to rusting. If moisture accidentally gets inside the mattress (and with babies, we all know how it may happen), the coils might rust, which will affect their overall performance.
  • Pricier. Especially if you are looking for a higher coil count.

Now, foam mattresses are popular primarily because of their affordable price. They can be made from polyurethane foam or from memory foam.

Pros:

  • Lightweight. Foam is a combination of lightweight and convenient support for the baby. Look for the one that has a density of 1.5 pounds per cubic foot and more.
  • Hypoallergenic. Foam mattresses do not emit any toxic chemicals into the air, which is another means of protection from SIDS.
  • Supportive. A good foam mattress is made of high-density foam, which is firm and supportive to ensure your baby’s healthy spine development.
  • Available in a great variety of options. There are lots of models of different thickness, weight, and extra features.
  • Affordable. As mentioned above, these mattresses usually come at a lower price. However, some organic options might be more expensive.

Cons:

  • Hot. Some types of foam have a closed-cell structure, which means they cannot withdraw heat properly.
  • Prone to sagging. Even the most durable foam tends to sag, which results in the inability to support your baby’s body properly with time.
  • Might have an odor. Some models come with that fresh-from-the-factory smell, which usually disappears within a day or so but can be pretty annoying.

Foam models are often double-sided. One side is firmer hence more suitable for an infant, while the other usually has a softer feel that is more suitable for toddlers.

Organic Mattresses: Are They Really Worth It, or Is It Just Another Marketing Trick?

The organic boom has not let go of America yet.

And when it comes to choosing products for your tot, organic options can be found in all types of items. Including mattresses.

So yes, it’s not just a marketing trick. Organic options do exist, but it’s important to check the materials used in an allegedly natural product to see if it actually lives up to the label.

So, what makes an “organic” mattress organic?

No PVC’s and Phthalates

The first thing to look at is the absence of substances such as phthalates and polyvinyl chloride among the materials inside the mattress. It is proven that these toxic substances can be released into the air and come into contact with the skin. For newborns, the consequences can be even more pronounced.

PVC is responsible for the waterproof properties of the mattress cover. So, if you want to protect your baby, choose polyurethane instead.

Proper Certification

Some organizations, mainly CertiPUR and GREENGUARD, analyze materials from most well-known manufacturers on the market to ensure that their mattresses are made without the use of heavy metals, formaldehyde, chlorine, and substances that reduce the ozone depleters. Therefore, if you see their logos on your chosen model, you can be calm.

The most incredible gift that you can give is the gift of life. If you are interested in becoming a surrogate mother and helping a couple realize their dream of having a family, you will first need to know if you are a qualified candidate.

The process of surrogacy is protected by an extremely advanced screening process. You may have the desire, and be willing to take on the responsibility of carrying someone else’s child to term, but it is possible that you may not be able to complete the full process. The screening is in place to not only protect the potential child and their family but to protect you as well.

To become a surrogate mother you must submit to a gauntlet of medical and psychological testing along with being able to meet several other standards. If surrogacy is something that you are interested in, the best place to start is by knowing whether you are a potential candidate.

Previous Healthy Birth

To qualify for surrogacy, you must have already given birth to a healthy child with little or no complications during your pregnancy. This acts as proof of your fertility and ability to carry a child to full term. It is preferred that you be currently raising that child yourself as opposed to putting it up for adoption or acting as a private surrogate in the past.

Healthy Lifestyle

Carrying a surrogate child is a huge responsibility, and making sure that you are keeping your body and mind in the best possible condition is very important. You should not be a smoker, a regular drinker or take any kind of recreational drugs, and you should lead a healthy and active lifestyle. Your diet will be considered, as well as any allergies or health concerns that could complicate a pregnancy.

Age

The healthiest and most fertile years for the average woman are between the ages of 21-38. This is not to say that some exceptions can’t be made in private surrogacy arrangements, but if you are considering applying to a surrogacy clinic, you will have to be within that age range to be considered as a candidate.

Psychological Testing

You will have to agree to undergo some fairly intensive and lengthy psychological screenings. This is standard procedure whether you pursue surrogacy privately or through a clinic. You will likely have to speak to a therapist and agree to allow them to administer a variety of testing to ensure that you are of sound mind. Becoming a surrogate mother and managing the stress of that process requires a solid footing emotionally and mentally.

BMI (Body Mass Index)

Surrogacy agencies have very strict guidelines when it comes to your BMI. If your BMI is over 32, you are at a much higher risk of developing diabetes during the pregnancy. This can not only cause health issues for you but also for the child. There are rarely exceptions to this rule as the risks are considered much too high for all parties involved.

I’ve definitely been guilty in the past of leaving my garden at risk.

There’s often a false sense of security in your own garden – a feeling like it’s safe somehow, just because it’s got a wooden fence around it. Add to that the fact that I’m very much a ‘well that was fun for twenty minutes now let’s do something else’ sort of a person, and you can imagine that my gardens have often been left littered with tools and garden accessories.

Did you know though that more than 2.5 million UK homes have fallen foul of garden thefts, with the average cost of a claim now standing at £208? That’s a total of £517 million worth of garden items that have been stolen!* When you think about it, there’s a lot to steal in a garden, from tools and furniture through to trees and shrubs in containers.

If you are a keen gardener and don’t want anymore getting their hands on your plants, it’s worth considering these top tips from PevGrow on how to keep your garden secure during the summer.

Lock on shed-HR-2

Shed security

Whether you’re packing up for the day or just nipping inside for a ten-minute refuel, it’s important to put all garden tools and expensive items away and out of sight. It only takes a few minutes for a burglar to break in, so lock any outbuildings with a robust, weatherproof padlock and secure individual, more expensive items with anchor locks and cables.

For added peace of mind, a standalone, battery-powered alarm can be placed freestanding or fixed to a wall within your shed for easy installation and convenience. These also act as an excellent visual deterrent, to deter even the most determined intruders!

Don’t give thieves an easy ride

Approximately 1,044 bicycles are stolen daily in the UK – that’s around one every minute!** Following a winter of hibernation for the majority of cyclists, bike thefts tend to see a marked increase in summer, as the warmer weather means more people take to the two-wheeled transport. Bicycles are attractive prospects for thieves as they are widely available, universally used, easy to sell, and often left poorly secured.

Always use a heavy-duty, robust chain lock to secure your bike, and keep it out of sight overnight in a secured garage or shed. You can also register your bike with a police-approved scheme to increase the chances of your bicycle being returned.

Protect your perimeters

A property that looks difficult to get into is less likely to be targeted by opportunistic thieves. As a result, always keep gates closed and repair any damaged fences. Additionally, make sure all hedges and bushes are trimmed, making it more difficult for thieves to remain undetected.

Invest in outdoor security lighting and put the spotlight on thieves. In addition to this, Yale’s Smart Home Alarm not only acts as an excellent visual deterrent, but will also notify you once it’s triggered, sending a live image to your smartphone.

Lastly, remember to lock up ladders and secure wheelie bins, as these are perfect for giving burglars a leg up into the rest of your home!

Garden shed in summer

Garden shed in summer

*Cooperative Insurance

**Cycling UK