The cardigan: I’ve come full circle

When I was a little boy of indeterminate age but quite short by my current standards, I used to have an array of cardigans. It was the early 1980’s and such things were more or less acceptable back then.

Honest.

Things have now gone full circle though and the cardigan is back in. It’s not just cardigans that are acceptable to wear now though, the gamut has expanded to tank tops. I personally love a good tank top because it allows you to keep your body warm whilst maintaining free and easy arm movement, which if you’re wearing a long sleeved shirt, is a definite bonus.

They might call it a waistcoat but to me it's a cross between a cardie and a tank top!

They might call it a waistcoat but to me it’s a cross between a cardie and a tank top! I’m in heaven!

I always tend to be ahead of trend, which is a polite way of saying I wear stuff before it becomes fashionable again, whilst it’s still in the realm of deeply unfashionable but given that stockists like Woolvers stock a range of tank tops and cardigans, and they look pretty cool, I think my time might have finally come. Goodness knows it’s about time.

So, what is it exactly about the cardigan that used to fill people with shame and hot outrage? Personally I blame a certain long running sitcom called Last of the Summer Wine. It was full of elderly gents wearing worn out cardigans and it wasn’t a good fashion look. Fortunately the show was cancelled and the humble cardigan hasn’t looked back since. Now if you have a proto hipster beard and ironic thick rimmed glasses, you absolutely have to have a cardigan.

Thank goodness.

Buying a used car? Five tips to cut costs not corners

The world of secondhand cars can be a murky one, full of pitfalls and unscrupulous sellers, so follow our five top tips to avoid getting ripped off.

Buying from a dealer, such as TW White and Sons, may cost you more initially, but could save you a fortune in the long run. Buying privately is a bit of a lottery, even if you know what you’re doing. And never hand over cash to someone who refuses to meet you at their home address. First off a dealer is bound by the Sale of Goods Act, which states that products must be as described, of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose. If it’s not, you have the right to a full or partial refund. Plus, most dealers will offer the added reassurance of a warranty.
Always negotiate, even if doesn’t come naturally. Remember that the advertised price is what the vendor wants, not necessarily what the car is worth. So there is almost always a bit of wriggle room on that figure, or if you’re going to finance the payment through a dealership they may be able to reduce the interest rate. Agree on a budget and stick to it. For most people, buying a car is a big deal, so don’t get overexcited and allow yourself to be talked into paying more than you can afford. And do a bit of research before you go. Check out prices of the same model of the same age, condition and mileage, so you know what you should paying.

This is fairly obvious, but don’t buy a lemon. Buyer beware is the key phrase here. Whatever guarantees you get, the level of after sales service can vary widely. And even the Sale of Goods Act doesn’t cover you if you’ve missed something obvious, such as rust or a dent, when you bought the car or if it is something that was described to you at the time. So check the car over with a fine-tooth comb and don’t even view a motor when it’s wet or in poor light.

Another important consideration is running costs, so again do a bit of research into what tax band the car falls into. If you’re going to end up paying £300 a year for road tax and the 3-litre V8 that you’ve been tempted into gulps fuel at an astonishing rate, it’s going to start hurting sooner or later. Insurance isn’t such an issue if you’re of a certain age and have a decent amount of no-claims, but you still don’t want it to come as a nasty surprise.

Always check on consumables and condition. Tyres can be surprisingly expensive, as can brake discs and pads, especially when you factor in labour costs. Check such components over carefully and, if anything needs repairing or replacing imminently, use it to negotiate the price down.

Win a SONY NWZ-A15 and MDR-1A headphones!

a15A while back I reviewed the Sony NWZ-A15 portable music player and I found it was great. Sony have kindly offered to provide another player and a set of headphones to one lucky reader, worth over £300, so without further ado, I give you the COMPETITION:

Follow me and tag me on instagram ( my username is daddacoo1 with a “1” not an “l”, don’t ask) with a picture of your favourite album cover and the hashtag  #HighResVIP.

The winner will be picked at random by our resident 3 year old.

GOOD LUCK

 

Terms and conditions

  • Competition is open to residents of the UK mainland only.
  • One entry per person
  • Prize is provided by Sony UK
  • Closes at midnight on Friday 29th May

Father’s Day Crafts Your Kids (And Dads!) Will Love

Father’s Day is fast approaching, as is that difficult decision of what to buy Dad. He is probably a bit fed up of receiving novelty socks and ties every year, but we all know how hard men are to buy for! However, your dad is special and this is an opportunity to show him how much you care. Why not surprise him this year with a unique and thoughtful handmade present, which he can treasure for years to come? A present the kids will enjoy making as much as dad will enjoy receiving.

So, what are you waiting for? There’s no excuse for not having the materials – around the UK there are plenty of craft stores with everything you need to get started.

Handmade Card

More often than not cards are expensive and generic, so opt for both the cheaper and more thoughtful option and make your own! Not only will this mean so much more to dad it can be designed however you wish. Choose the image – whether this is a drawing or photos – and then why not add on embellishments to turn it into a 3D card? Include your own message, taking this opportunity to let dad know how much you love him. A short and simple message or a personal poem works well.

Cake

The kids will love getting messy in the kitchen, whilst they learn to create a beautiful tasty cake that all the family can enjoy! Pick dad’s favourite sweet treat, whether that is a simple cupcake or something a bit more adventurous. Perhaps theme it around his favourite hobby or simply tell him in icing that he is “The Best Dad”! Finish it off by decorating with a tasty topping to create the cake of his dreams – perfect for a dad with a sweet tooth.

Thoughtful Present

However easy or complex the present is that the kids create and however much or little input you decide to have, it is the thought that counts. Your present can also be thoughtful! This could be a handmade frame to place a photo of dad and the kids or a painting of the family. A medal or crown to make daddy king for the day so he feels extra special, or a gift emblazoned with a personal message just for dad.

 

Useful Present

Kids will love cutting, gluing and sticking to create the perfect present, but why not use this time to create something that dad can also use on a daily basis? This might be a key ring so that he never loses his keys around the house again or a desk organiser that he can use at work. It will also be a great talking point in the office and opportunity to show off his wonderful kids.

Wrapping paper

You have created an original present for dad, so why not present it in your own unique packaging as well? Sit the kids down with a large piece of paper and let them draw, paint or colour as they wish. Not only will it keep them busy and quiet for a few hours so you can get on with your chores, the wrapping will be as thoughtful and personal as the present.