Adulting

The Dos And Don’ts Of Buying Used Cars

We all know that buying used cars will work out far cheaper than buying brand-new vehicles. But not many people know exactly how to go about buying second-hand. More often than not, they will end up going to a private seller and paying slightly over the odds for the make and model that they go for.

There’s no reason to end up fleeced if you follow our guide though. These dos and don’ts of buying used cars should help you save some money and come away with a very reliable vehicle that you can use for a good few years.

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Do Buy From A Reputable Trader

For starters, it’s really important that you buy your car from a reputable dealer. If you don’t, then you risk being conned into buying something that really isn’t worth it. Ideally, go to your nearest second-hand car dealership as these will have to follow some industry standards. This is also a good idea if you want a used 4×4 or something a bit more specialist than just a basic family car. The staff will be able to give you plenty of advice on the vehicle that’s best for your needs.

Do get an HPI check

An HPI check will instantly tell you whether a car has been stolen, written off by an insurance company or has outstanding finance on it. If you’re buying from a dealer then they will already have done an HPI check, so ask to see it. If you’re buying privately there are several providers of HPI check out there, but Free Car Check is probably the most comprehensive. In addition to the above checks, a premium report from Free Car Check will check for mileage anomalies, private and trade valuations and whether the car has been cloned or scrapped in the past. This is in addition to a full keeper and MOT history for the car. All for less than £10, which is a great deal as it can save you all the heartache of buying a car with a hidden history.

Don’t Forget To Check How Eco-Friendly The Car Is

It’s really worth looking into how eco-friendly a car will be. Even though this won’t help you save any money on the initial cost of buying it, you should find that it will be cheaper for you to run. For instance, environmentally friendly cars often pay lower road taxes. Plus, you can be happy knowing that you are doing some good for the environment!

Don’t Ignore Your Head

It can be very easy to listen to our hearts when we go shopping for a used car. You might spot a car that looks absolutely fantastic, but are you sure it’s the best option for you? Instead of following your heart in this case, you really should follow your head. This will prevent you from overspending on a vehicle that will be too small and not meet any of your other needs and requirements.

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Do Take It For A Test Drive

Before you agree to purchasing any vehicle, you should always take it for a test drive. That way, you can get a proper feel for the car and can see how well it drives. If you notice any issues with it or it has very poor driveability, then it could be best for you to move on and look at another one.

Don’t Be Afraid Of Haggling

When you buy second hand prices aren’t always set in stone, so it could be well worth trying to haggle with the dealer. You might be amazed at the discount you can walk away with!

There are plenty of things to try to remember when you buy a used car, but these dos and don’ts are some of the main ones. Hopefully, if you follow these you will be able to find your ideal vehicle when you go car shopping!

Home

Dress up Your Outdoor Windows for Summer

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As we move into the warmer weather, you may want to give your home a fresh look to reflect the change of season. Not only can you make interior décor changes to fit the summer vibe, but the exterior of your home deserves some TLC too.

Do you ever walk past a lovely-looking house and admire decorative features in the driveway, beautiful windows, or a brightly painted door? First impressions are everything, and what your home looks like from the outside can instantly boost a home’s curb appeal.

With so many styles to choose from, it can feel overwhelming to do a complete overhaul of your home’s exterior, so take it one step at a time, and begin with your windows.

Here are four ideas to dress up your outdoor windows for summer, using the classic English House for style inspiration.

Select Your Window Type

Don’t underestimate the power of your window frames as they make all the difference when preparing your home to “pop” from the outside. Sash windows are the perfect choice to achieve the English House look as the “sashes” form a frame to hold the panels of glass. They’re an elegant and timeless way to finish off a period-inspired home.

You can choose between uPVC Sash Windows or Timber Windows, each of which offers you a range of styles and configurations. From dual swing to tilt and slide to casement and sliding sash, you’ll be sure to find the right option to suit your home. For a classic English House style, a timber window with the sliding sash style would be ideal.

You can also choose any colour for timber windows if you treat the frames with several coatings of specialised paint. White window frames offer a classic English House style and look great against bricks or stone. View sash window inspiration here.

Add Window Flower Boxes

When properly arranged and placed, window boxes are a wonderful addition to your home’s exterior to add some colour and to make heads turn.

The best window boxes compliment the style of a house, so make sure that the size is correct (not too wide) and that the depth gives your flowers enough room to grow, without blocking the window’s view.

Pick your favourite summer flowers and you can look at them with pride every time you return home. View window flower box inspiration here.

Install Decorative Exterior Shutters

Typically, window shutters are used on the inside of the window frame to control the amount of light that comes through. However, you’ve likely seen them on the outside of people’s homes and wondered do people actually open and close them? Although window shutters were originally designed for privacy and security, they are now more commonly used for decoration and style.

Exterior window shutters add character and charm to your home’s appearance and require little in the way of maintenance. View exterior shutter inspiration here.

Consider Window Awnings

Window awnings are another great addition for aesthetic purposes as the overhang above the window adds an extra dimension to your home’s exterior. With so many, colours, patterns and designs available, it’s easy to choose an awning that will match the style and décor you are trying to create. View window awning inspiration here.

Awnings also prevent the sun from shining in through the windows and protect the window from above.

Not only are these window additions great for curb appeal and your own enjoyment, but they can also translate into a higher resale value of your home — in case you ever decide to move.

Now take a step back and admire your Pinterest worthy outdoor windows you’ll be amazed at how much they doll up the exterior of your home!

Family · Travel

Planning A Unique Family Vacation to Scottsdale

If you are looking for an ideal family vacation, then you should not look further than Scottsdale. Located in Arizona, Scottsdale stands out when it comes to relaxation. Surprisingly, this mid-sized city has the most spas per capita in the US.

Even if you’re not heading there for a spa treatment, this little factoid can tell you all you need to know about Scottsdale: it’s the perfect place to relax, kick back, and enjoy yourself. Whatever your ideal destination looks like, Scottsdale is it or not far from it. There is plenty to do, and it’s one of the most gorgeous natural spaces in which to do it.

What to Expect

On your visit to Scottsdale, you can expect a wide range of things. Scottsdale has an upscale reputation amongst US cities for its exceptional spas, luxurious golf courses, lavish lifestyle, beautiful scenery, pronounced culture, and excellent transportation system. These set the city apart from other possible destinations you might have in mind.

Scottsdale golf courses are among the most creative in the country. While in Arizona, you can enjoy the popular old sport in a luxurious golf course. The green design of courses and the perfect layout make these courses magnificent.

The culture and scenery of Scottsdale also make the place an ideal place to unwind after long and tedious months of schooling or working by your family. The numerous cultural attractions coupled with the beautiful scenery should make Scottsdale your preferred destination. There is something for everyone to enjoy.

Getting a place to stay and also getting around the city is easier. The numerous hotels and resorts offer a wide range of services that are sure to satisfy the diverse needs your family may have. There are several means of transportation available from private transportation services to free ones like buses and metro light rail. These make traveling easy and convenient.

The Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch is one of the most popular hotel choices. It has a world-class golf course in the Gainey Ranch Golf Club. The luxurious Spa Avania offers an immersive and restorative experience. There are also activities like tennis and rock climbing. They also have plenty of activities to keep your kids busy while they learn about arts and crafts, Native Americans, or the various animals of the region. It’s also near boutique shopping spots that are great for spending an afternoon… or a whole weekend at. This Scottsdale Resort & Spa is an all-in-one example of everything Scottsdale has to offer. Click here to take a look at their website to see what else they can provide to make your trip even more relaxing.

Things to do in Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale offers plenty of activities that are likely to leave the entire family relaxed and enjoying the vacation. Here some other things you should do while in Scottsdale.

1. Art Walk

For years now, this has been a Thursday routine for locals and visitors alike in Scottsdale. This allows them to get the chance of viewing the art from the Southwest’s leading artists. The showcase is open every Thursday from 7 pm to 9 pm along Main Street and Marshall Way.

2. Grand Canyon

The eye-catching colors and the enormous Grand Canyon is really a bucket list attraction. Aside from its natural splendor, the unique fauna and flora make this attractive to visitors in the region of 5 million people annually. It can be an unforgettable experience for you and the whole family.

3. Sedona

The topography of this tourist attraction site makes it perfect for photography or just exploring. Journey around Native American ruins and hike the mesa. All these are likely to leave unforgettable memories for you and your family.

Scottsdale has been one of the principal tourist attraction cities in recent years. Its numerous sites and options for things to do while on vacation can not only make your family have fun but also make unforgettable memories.

Family · Parenting · Travel

Surviving an airport layover with kids

My number one rule has always been: when travelling with children always book direct flights. I know how much I dislike layovers as an adult, so I’ve always been dreading having a layover with my little Alfie who has much less patience than I have (and I set the bar quite low). However, there are some times when you can’t avoid layovers, even more, if you are flying long distances and on a budget.

I often travel for business with Aviation Spares and Repairs, a ground support equipment supplier, and from time to time I take Alfie with me, but they are always short haul flights which are perfect for both of us. It does help that he loves all things aviation related, so my extra knowledge about airports, aviation and ground support equipment helps keep him entertained.

I’ve always wanted to take him to Australia to visit my sister who moved there a few years ago. But when I was looking at flights, I couldn’t find any direct flights – I started to panic. How will we both survive an airport layover? Should I pick the cheapest ticket from Jettly and wait for more than 10 hours at the airport? All these questions started to make me overthink. I took a deep breath and thought how on earth we were going to do this without any of us ending up screaming or crying. I might be a bit over dramatic – bear with me.

You might be in the same situation as I was, overthinking, over worrying, over everything. Don’t worry anymore, I’m writing this article because I was actually able to survive it with Alfie and it all worked well(ish). If I can do it, so can you! Keep on reading for some tips on how to survive an airport layover with children.P

Consider long layovers.

Layovers might not be the worst thing to consider. An article on the Mirror mentions that “having a stopover might break up the boredom and give the kids the chance to burn off some energy.”

After my own experience, I believe that having a layover is not the end of the world and sometimes the longer the better – it will give you plenty of time to rest, refresh and explore the airport, instead of having to run around trying to find the gate in a short period of time.

Research, research and a bit more research.

Before travelling, make sure you research about your layover airport: where are the changing rooms, play areas, charging stations, lounges and your gate location. Researching about these areas will not only save you time but will also prevent you from wandering around the airport clueless.

Stretch your legs.

After a short or long flight, I always feel like I need to walk around for a bit. Nobody likes being sat down for too long and a good stretch around the airport once you’ve landed will do wonders for everyone.

If you need a bit of a rest at the airport or time for yourselves, try to find an empty gate. This will give the little ones space to run around and play without disturbing anyone. An article on Skyscannerrecommends finding the airport chapel to get some quiet time or visiting the lounge to have some extra perks, such as food, snacks and sometimes shower facilities.

Make time for fun time.

Giving your children time to play will make this whole experience a lot more pleasant for all members of the family. Some airports have various play areas to keep the little ones entertained. For example, the Calgary International Airport has a pre-security and post-security play areas suitable for children up to 12 years old. While other airports have golf courses and IMAX theatres, such as the Hong Kong International airport.

Remember that technology is your friend. I always try to keep screen time to a minimum, however, when all else fails it’s okay to break the rules – don’t forget to download their favourite shows on your tablet, so they can watch it offline, as some airports only let you use free wi-fi for a short amount of time.

Keep your tummies happy.

Children and adults can get hangry and cranky whentheir tummies start rumbling. Prevent all the growl noises by being prepared with lots and lots of snacks. Try to have a good selection of food for everyone as it will be cheaper than airport food or in-flight food. However, if you feel like you want to sit down for a good meal, maybe check if there are any restaurants near the airport that you can walk to or take public transports to.

Pack all the essentials.

Besides snacks and games, some other essentials that you should pack in your carry-on should be wipes, change of clothing, toiletries, changing mat, their favourite cuddly toy and a first aid kit (with tablets for upset stomachs, plasters, antiseptic, etc).

A change of clothing is my favourite thing after flying. It’s perfect to freshen up and to recharge your batteries. Just clean your face, maybe splash some water and change into some fresh clothes – you’ll feel brand-new.

Explore the city.

If you have a long layover, why not enjoy a short tour around the city? Of course, you’ll have to do your research to figure out how far away the airport is from the city and how long it would take you to go there and come back.

Some airports offer free tours to passengers who have long layovers. For instance, Changi Airport Singapore offers free Singapore tours to passengers who have at least 5.5 hours to 24 hours to spare until connecting to their flight.

Relax.

In case you have a long layover and just want to take some time to rest and for the little one to nap, I’d recommend booking a hotel room in the airport or at a nearby hotel. This will give you the opportunity to take a shower and close your eyes worry-free.

Try to not let this experience stress you out as it won’t make any of it easier. Just relax and make the most of it. Being prepared and planning things ahead is my best advice. What are your own tips to get through an airport layover? Do you have any special games you play with your children at the airport?

This article was written by Hannah Tolson, a part-time freelance blogger, who enjoys writing about all things aviation and travel related. You’ll find her and Alfie strolling around airports naming different types ofground support equipment or at the beach enjoying a sunny day.

Business

How To Protect Your Business Online

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43% of all cyber attacks are targeted at small businesses; 60% of small companies go out of business within six months of an attack and only 14% of small companies to rate their ability to mitigate cyber risks and attacks as “highly effective.”

When was the last time you reviewed your security policies and looked at your protection against online threats? What sort of systems does your company have in place and are they carefully enforced? Did you know that weak passwords cause more than half of all data breaches, but only 24% of SMEs have strict password policies in place, and of those that do, 65% of companies say they don’t actively enforce it. Your security policies need to be reviewed every few months to make sure they’re comprehensive and enforceable. You should also be on the lookout for new strategies and technologies that you can put in place to shore up vulnerable areas of the business. Several highly advanced techniques can now help to keep your business secure and help to make sure that no one is abusing your systems, meaning that your customers are protected too. According to 2018 Identity Fraud, ‘Fraud Enters a New Era of Complexity’ from Javelin Strategy & Research’, in 2017, there were 16.7 million victims of identity fraud, a record high that followed a previous record the year before and criminals are engaging in complex identity fraud schemes that are leaving record numbers of victims in their wake. The amount stolen hit $16.8 billion in 2017 as 30% of U.S. consumers were notified of a data breach, an increase of 12% from 2016.

Just as people regularly practise fire drills, you should do the same in case of a cybersecurity attack. During a cybersecurity drill, you should look at response timing on multiple levels, see how quickly individuals and teams respond and either thwart or mitigate a cyber attack and also how fast are you able to inform customers of the most current and accurate information.

Cyber liability insurance helps to mitigate the costs of an attack and is usually available both as a standalone policy, as well as an add-on to a business owner’s system. You can have first-party and third-party insurance, first-party coverage helps you to cover expenses when your network is hacked, or your data is stolen, and third-party coverage offers protection when a customer or partner sues you for allowing a data breach to happen.

If you are victim to an attack, you need to take everything offline as soon as possible as if someone has managed to access your data; you need to limit the amount of information they can get.

It is essential that you can quickly assess and block the entry point as you might be able to act quick enough to stop any data from being taken. But, you still need to check everything to ensure that nothing is lost.

Whether you have a large company or a small business, stealing or attempting to take someone’s data is a severe offence, so the authorities need to be informed immediately to commence an investigation. You will have to make all your systems and data available to the authorities, so they can see where any entry has occurred and hopefully trace it back to the perpetrator.

Informing your customers is essential, and you will need to prepare a statement that outlines what has happened and any potential data that has been lost. If you are not sure what data has been lost, or what details they may contain, your customers need to be aware so that they can monitor their bank accounts to see if anything suspicious has taken place. Your customers and clients will likely have a lot of questions that they want to ask. So you should also have a dedicated email or telephone line established to field such queries.

Your company will need to establish how and when your security was breached. It is also essential to ascertain whether the breach was external or internal to your company.

Some companies offer computer evidence recovery services that can help you and the authorities discover any potential evidence. They can then provide that to you so that you can see if there are any apparent suspects.

Before you put your services back online, it is essential to conduct a thorough audit of all your procedures and safeguards and even get an expert to come in and check your systems and advise on how they can be improved.