5 Ways Dads Can Speed Up Their Grooming Routine

There are plenty of articles written about busy mums and how they can speed up their beauty and skincare routines, but for dads, there isn’t as much consideration; why is that?

Traditionally men have been seen as less interested in their looks. That “bed hair” look has always got you through before, right?


The Importance Of Being Well Groomed

Being well-groomed is today the key to success, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a sharp suit, short hair, and no beard. No, being well-groomed today means having your personal look and style and ensuring you’re looking good, and that can be a tough thing for busy dads to do when there isn’t a lot of time in the morning!

Here are five ways you can implement a good grooming routine that will leave you looking, smelling, and, most importantly, feeling good every morning whilst still being able to make sure the kids are fed, watered, and off to school on time.

The Dry Shampoo Secret

There will be some days where you just don’t have time for that lengthy shower in the morning.

This is where dry shampoo comes in. It’s been a secret of women for many decades, but there’s no reason why you can’t get involved too! Pick a dry shampoo that has either no smell or a faint masculine scent, and a dry shampoo with a hint of colour. Give your hair a quick spray and a tussle before brushing it through in the morning, and you’ll cover up that day-old look in no time.

Get the right products

Make sure to get the right products, too, to help speed up the process. It is always recommended to go with high-quality grooming products, like those sold by the London Grooming Company. Better products will go on better, whether in your hair or your skin, and leave long-lasting effects. For example, if you use great quality shampoo, you might need to wash your hair less often.

Make Time For Grooming

Ok, this tip seems impossible, right? Well, it’s not entirely as straightforward as it seems. You’re a busy dad, and time is precious, so it can seem like a bit of a waste of time to worry too much about grooming habits as long as you’re clean and fairly well kept.

Why not combine your habits? If you’re watching TV, sort out your clothes for the morning, check your nails, consider a skincare routine. If women can multitask, so can men!

Hand Cream Is King

You’re wondering why on earth you’d want hand cream? Well, because actually softer hands are nicer for everyone, you, your kids, and your partner. There are plenty of great hand cream products for men that will leave your hands feeling softer and also protect against dry and cracked skin.

As a bonus tip, hand cream can be used in a pinch to tame frizzy hair, which makes this option a fantastic go-to for busy men on the go!

The Wet Wipe Secret

This is one of the best secrets on the list: keeping wet wipes handy. By wet wipes, we don’t mean baby wipes (although unscented baby wipes would do); there are plenty of smaller travel-sized packs of moist tissue wipes that are perfect for keeping in your jacket pocket or the car and great for wiping away first, giving your face a quick freshen up and generally helping you to feel clean and fresh throughout the day.

Wet wipes are great for you and your skin, but please, don’t flush them down the toilet.


The 5 Benefits of More Natural Light at Home

Most people would agree that natural light makes all the difference to a space. Whether it’s your own home space, a home space you’re looking to sell, or even an office space, natural light can be the difference between good health or negative health.

Here are explored 5 key benefits of natural light at home that you should know about.

1. Improved Mental Health

Sunlight makes you happy, and a light and bright home is always going to improve your mood compared to a dark one. If you spend a lot of time at home, especially when you have a family, then the more natural light you can introduce, the happier a space you will create for everyone. This is particularly important for those long summer nights when you can make the most out of longer hours of sunlight at home to have you feeling positive.

2. Save Money on Electricity Bills

The more natural light you can introduce, the less need you’ll have for artificial light. If you can light up a room using only the windows throughout the day, then you’ll save money on your electricity bills as well as helping the environment by avoiding turning on too many lights.

3. Creates a More Productive Working Environment

If you have a home office or if you work on crafts or pastimes at home, then natural light is fundamental for a productive and healthy working environment. You shouldn’t be shut away in a dark room for hours on end if you’re looking to stay healthy and happy while working.

If you have need of a home office but only have a dark or cramped spare room to work in, you may want to consider setting up a working space elsewhere in the house near to sources of natural light, such as a conservatory or simply being close to a window.

You also have the option of adding new windows to your property for where you would like to work, which is always possible no matter whether you have a modern or period property; experts like Parsons Joinery know how to create windows that fit with your home’s aesthetic.

4. A Healthy Dose of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is the crucial vitamin you can get from sunlight, which is why it’s so important to expose yourself to the sun’s rays as much as possible. Vitamin D is an important nutrient that helps to promote better health in the body, so the more you can fill your home with natural light, the better your access to this vitamin will be.

5. Helps to Regulate Sleep-Wake Patterns

A good night’s sleep is essential for good health and a happy household. If you can introduce more natural light into your home, it can help your mind and body process night and day in a better way. Exposing yourself to healthy natural light throughout the day and then retiring to a dark room at night will help you to feel more tired and drift off easily, as opposed to spending all your time in darkened rooms.

Why you should consider moving to vaping

The last 30 or so years have witnessed a considerable shift-change in people’s attitudes to cigarettes and smoking in general. As the world has slowly begun to wake up to the dangers of smoking (and inhaling second-hand cigarette smoke), there has been a considerable backlash to the habit. 

With governments the world over now taking an active stance against smoking by trying to discourage cigarette use and limiting the places where people can smoke, it seems there’s a slow but growing revolution taking place. Where once cigarette smoking was considered ‘cool’ (look back at old movies for evidence), there now seems to be a real counterattack underway. Smoking is now, in most circles, considered anti-social. You’ll barely see anyone in movies smoking anymore, and in many places, smokers are now pushed to outdoor areas in pubs, restaurants, hotels, and other public areas. 

Reasons to move to vaping

With such a widespread movement against smoking taking place, isn’t it perhaps time you considered moving to the more widely-accepted practice of vaping? Aside from the generally recognized health benefits of vaping over smoking, there are countless reasons why, if you smoke, vaping might prove the better option. Below are just a few.

Vaping is cheaper than smoking

The apparent cost of vaping puts off many smokers; however, just like starting anything else, there are some unavoidable costs when you first begin that you’ll soon recoup when compared to the cost of smoking. Sure, the outlay of buying a kit at the start can seem quite high, the average cost of vape kits runs between around £20 up to £50 or over, but that’s a one-off payment that you’ll not likely to have repeat until your battery eventually dies or you break something. With the cheapest cigarettes in the UK now costing around £9 a pack – and going up to almost £13 – it’s easy to see how you can quickly earn back this money. 

From there, you’ll need to buy liquids (sometimes extra nicotine if required) and other vape accessories like coils, but the figures involved in vaping are considerably lower than smoking. In terms of cost, it depends on how often you vape – and how strong you prefer to operate your battery. 

Making the shift to vaping from smoking

It is undoubtedly true that vaping is more involved than smoking. With a cigarette, you simply pull it out of the pack, put it to your lips, and light it. It’s a little more complex with vaping as you need to change coils, buy (and top-up) liquids, and choose the right strength and flavour that works for you best. 

The biggest thing you’ll probably notice is there’s a slightly different technique to inhaling – plus the fact an e-cigarette doesn’t have a soft filter tip which can feel a little odd to start with. Also, you’ll need to get used to pressing a button when you inhale, which, at first anyway, can feel a little strange. Nonetheless, most people make the switch quickly and easily. 

The dangers of vaping versus smoking

There has been an incredible amount of negative press about the apparent ‘dangers of vaping’; however, the vast majority of medical practitioners are in unanimous agreement – vaping is considerably safer than smoking. Sure, most also say that we simply don’t have the data available on vaping’s long-term effects; it is still widely agreed that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking cigarettes. 

It doesn’t take a genius to work these stats out. Cigarettes contain around 600 different ingredients, which, when burned, make around 7,000 chemicals – many of them toxic and known to cause cancer. By comparison, vape ‘smoke’ contains mostly water with a combination of flavourings, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and some other chemicals. 

Are there any side effects of vaping?

As noted above, we simply don’t have enough medical evidence to know for sure what dangers might be associated with vaping. In truth, if you wanted to be completely safe, you likely wouldn’t smoke or vape – but if you’re looking for an alternative to wean you off smoking cigarettes, vaping has been proven to be a very good, very effective alternative.

You might notice a couple of things when making the change include having a slightly dryer mouth, and it’s quite normal to find the vapour produced to be slightly thicker in consistency when compared to cigarette smoke. Other than these two small issues, most people make the transition to vaping very quickly and very easily. 

How to Bring Nature into the Family Home

With so much technology at our fingertips, finding the time to enjoy the natural world with our families can be difficult, especially if we are living in the middle of a city. However, spending time in nature is definitely something we should be trying to do more of for ourselves and for our children. From fresh air and sunlight to trees, plants, and flowers, nature can have a calming effect on us and even boost our mental health. If you want to make the natural world a bigger part of your day-to-day life, here are some ideas to help you bring nature into the family home. 

Bring in lots of plants

The simplest way to bring nature inside is to buy and care for plants that do well indoors. Plants not only bring a splash of colour to the room, but they also emit oxygen which reduces stress and absorbs toxins. This improves the quality of the air in your home. Plants can be displayed in pots or hung from the ceiling just about anywhere in the home.

Grow your own herbs, vegetables, and fruit

If you are bringing plants into the home, why not double up on the benefits and choose edible plants? Herbs and even some fruits and vegetables can be grown indoors, e.g., on a kitchen windowsill. These plants can also emit a lovely scent and give a splash of colour. Visit House Beautiful for herbs, vegetables, and fruit that can be grown indoors. 

Create a feature wall celebrating nature

A great way to pay tribute to nature in your home without getting green or muddy fingers is to create a feature wall or mural. There are lots of stunning wallpaper designs, photographs, and vinyl stickers that depict incredible scenes from nature. 

Maximise natural light

Bringing natural light into the home is important for several reasons, and the most compelling is that it can improve our mental health and physical health. Our bodies operate to a circadian rhythm that regulates when we sleep, when we wake, and when we are at our most alert. You can maximise the amount of light that comes into your home by keeping the windows clean or strategically placing mirrors. An increasing number of people are also investing in orangeries Birmingham companies like Mainstream have to offer. These are extensions with almost entirely glazed roofs, which ensures the light can flood the room through the roof but in a stylish way.  

Install a living wall

A living wall is one of the boldest statements you can make, which also brings the beauty and health benefits of nature into your home. The wall includes lots of mounted planters that are close together so that the plants like succulents and moss appear to grow together as one, with an irrigation system with drainage.

Display fresh fragrant flowers

Fresh flowers are an inexpensive way to bring colour and beautiful aromas into your home. You will be able to find different flowers in every season that will look great in all rooms of your home. You do not even need to invest in vases, as flowers displayed in jam jars, empty milk bottles, or wine bottles have become very trendy.

Creating a Kid-Friendly Garden

If you’re lucky enough to have a good-sized garden, it’s important to make sure it’s safe and spacious for your children to enjoy during the summer months. If you are thinking about doing some work in your garden, here are some suggestions on how you can make it great for your kids as well as yourself:

Clear Some Space

It’s no secret that kids like to run around, whether they’re chasing each other or playing football. This is why it’s important to clear some space in your garden where they can do this safely without the risk of knocking over your plant pots or damaging the flowerbeds. Preferably, a lawn area would work best for this kind of play, and it would reduce the chances of scrapes and cuts in case of falls. If you don’t have a lawn area, consider putting down some artificial grass as a substitute. 

Get a Playhouse/Cabin

Another great addition to your garden for your kids would be a playhouse or cabin they could spend time in with their friends. It’s great for them to use all year round, and can provide them with a shelter on rainy days. Another great perk of these cabins is that if you get one large enough, it can later be transformed into a more mature space for them to use in their teen years or even for a place for you to use if they no longer want to. You can purchase long lasting garden cabins from any good home and garden store.

Climbing Frame/Swing Set

Climbing frames and swing sets are brilliant for kids to play on and can help to keep them fit and healthy as they use up some extra energy during outside play. You can get different sets in various sizes, so finding one that fits your garden shouldn’t be too much of a challenge. You can always sell them to a second-hand store once your kids are too old for them, or keep it in the garden for future grandchildren. 

Secure Ponds and Other Hazardous Areas

Having a pond or water feature in your garden is always a nice touch, but with small children, this can also be dangerous. If you do have these features and want to keep them, make sure they are secured by erecting a fence or border around them that will keep your kids away and reduce the chance of them falling in. In addition to ponds, make sure your shed with your gardening tools or other areas of the garden that could be hazardous are secured or sealed off in the same way. 

Give Them a Flowerbed

Teaching your kids how to grow flowers and vegetables is a great life skill to pass on. To help keep them enthusiastic about gardening and develop these skills, allocate a flowerbed that they can tend to themselves, and let them choose which flowers or vegetables they want to grow there. 

Having a great garden is always a nice addition to the home, but if you have kids you need to make sure it’s suitable for them, too. Consider the suggestions above and see how they can make your garden kid-friendly as well as a nice outdoor space for you to enjoy, too.

How to childproof your garden

Gardens can be magical places for children, providing a space in nature that they can play and stretch their imaginations, all while getting some fresh air and exercise. Your lawn, hedges and garden shed might look basic to you, but to a child your garden can easily become a vast jungle, spaceship or assault course. However, your garden could hold some hazards for children that will soon spoil their fun should they get hurt. To ensure that your child’s playtime remains magical and free of tears, here is how you can child-proof your garden.

Remove poisonous plants and fungi

Children are notorious for putting things in their mouth, and the garden is full of plants, berries and fungi that could look appetising for child. Berries and mushrooms, in particular, look tasty and children might recognise them from their own fridge and think that they are universally edible; however, poisonous plant life, such as deadly nightshade and foxgloves, can cause a stomach upset at the very least, and in some cases even prove fatal. Remove all poisonous plants and fungi as soon as they appear in your garden, and instruct children that some berries are for the birds rather than humans, and as such should not be eaten.

Remove a tree

Trees can provide a garden with many benefits; for instance, providing a home for birds and wildlife, creating a natural barrier for more privacy, and adding some design interest. However, they can also prove to be a huge hazard for young children. Large, overhanging branches can be too much of a temptation for adventurous children who want to climb the tree and might get stuck up there through fear or fall from unstable branches. Additionally, a tree might be rotten and disintegrate easily, causing abrasions and falls. Hire a tree surgeon Halesowen who will be able to either trim back a tree or remove it completely depending on what is most suitable for your family.

Watch out for uneven surfaces 

Many gardens include some form of uneven surfacing, whether those are the steps leading from your patio to your lawn or a gravel path. However, these can soon become hazards to excited running children who trip up on uneven patio flagging, causing grazed knees and tears. Make sure that any loose or uneven surfaces are secured as soon as you notice them, and regularly check your garden for any developing hazards.

Secure gates and fences

Unlocked gates and fences with holes in them could encourage your child to leave the safety of your garden and go on an ‘adventure’ – and be an invitation to disreputable visitors. Additionally, broken fences and rusty gates could cause splinters and cuts requiring a tetanus shot. Make sure that all fences and gates are well maintained, ensuring that there are no exposed nails, and make any repairs as soon as they are required. Check your gates are securely locked when your children are playing outside, and always keep a watchful eye on them. 

Scoob! An okay movie that lets down the Scooby-Doo fan in us all

I’ve been thinking on Scoob! and why it was ultimately a pretty but disappointing Scooby-Doo movie.

In case you haven’t realised, there are a massive number of direct to streaming/DVD Scooby-Doo movies out there, 33 at the last count, with another one due out this year (the full list is here) and the thing is, much like the brilliant Mystery Inc TV series, most of them are pretty darn good. Yes, there are a few celeb endorsed outings that only work if you know the celebs (the WWE movies & recent Gourmet Ghost, with it’s America focussed celebrity chefs, spring to mind), and some are definitely better than others BUT they all fit into a continuing Scooby-Doo continuum and cleverly deal with the older series when it wasn’t old man Withers in a mask but an actual ghost pretty well. There was recently a sequel to the 80s 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo series, which included a grown up Flim Flam, thankfully ignored Scrappy-Doo, and dealt with the whole “ghosts are real” thing from the older series really well. 

Scoob! doesn’t really make any attempt to fit into the Scooby-Doo universe, and more problematic is the fact that the movie is, like a lot of recent Warner Bros releases, a blatant attempt to launch an expanded universe, in this instance a Hanna-Barbera universe with Dick Dastardly & Mutley, Captain Caveman and other luminaries making an appearance, at the expense of the movie itself.

In making a play for the bigger picture, WB have lost what makes Scooby-Doo as great as it is, year in and year out. My 11 year old will watch anything from the original 1969 series onward, and loves the references to old shows and episodes that pop up in the newer DTV movies.

Early on Scoob! promises so much with a montage of classic moments from the older TV series near the start as we move from the gang as little kids to the teenagers they’re better known as. If only they’d stuck to the tropes that make Scooby-Doo what it is, even as the newer movies do so while still sending themselves up and playing with those tropes in a respectful but often clever manner. Ultimately though Scoob! suffers, overreaching with franchise/expanded universe ambition and losing the essence that attracts generation after generation of fans.

It’s not that Scoob! is a bad film in isolation; it’s entertaining, some of the set pieces work well and the gang’s dynamic is pretty good but there are other things it does badly. By focussing on the titular Scooby, in a way that the TV show never does, the film loses focus and can’t help but compare badly to the DTV movies.

Review: Huawei Band 3 Pro GPS fitness tracker

If you follow me on Twitter you might know this has been the year of getting fitter. Since the turn of the year I’ve lost over four stone and have dropped my BMI from 35 to 27 (so there is still someway to go but I am getting there). With the lockdown that we’ve lived under for almost two months at the time of writing, team participation activities and swimming have been out of the question so it’s been down to walking and cycling for my exercise.

I’ve been using a mixture of Runkeeper, and Google Fit with/without the GPS tracking enabled but to be honest as I’m what they might call a power user when it comes to smartphone use, it’s not been great as the GPS really hammers the battery on my phone. If I turn the GPS off and just use my phone as a step counter, it’s really inaccurate too- up to 20% off when it comes to total distance, which isn’t acceptable.

I’d spent a while looking online at GPS sports watches, ranging from the bottom end Garmins at around £150, right up to £400+ top end models but you know, I’m 45, overweight and in reality that’s overkill for most people, let alone me! After a lot of searching around, I saw that the previous generation Huawei Band, the Huawei Band 3 Pro to be precise, seemed to have pretty much all the features I wanted for £39.99. That’s about a tenner more than budget step counting bands, and half the price of a Samsung equivalent that doesn’t have GPS. I’ve had a couple of Huawei phones in the past and have been impressed with the build quality, so I decided to give the Band 3 Pro a punt.

Given the current American war on Huawei, it’s necessary to download the Android app directly from the Huawei website as it’s not on the Play Store but that’s not difficult and set up is pretty easy.  You get the choice of three watch faces, and the app allows you to fine tune the display, turn phone notifications on/off and when the screen turns on/off. Since my main goal was to stop the drain on my phone battery, I turned notifications off and set the screen to touch to wake to maximise the battery. Despite the price, the Huawei Band 3 Pro looks pretty nice:

If you’re wondering how I did 11km in 1100 steps, its mostly a bike ride, not a 10m stride!

Using it to track steps is automatic but if you swipe down on the screen, you can choose a specific workout that includes running, walking and cycling. Choosing one of these activates the GPS, which I’ve found takes comfortably under a minute to lock on the satellite signal and you’re good to go. You get vibration notifications when you hit certain distance markers, mine is set to KM, so I get notified every kilometre I hit. I’ve done the same walk about a dozen times now and the tracked distance is within a handful of metres, which is probably accounted for by me scurrying across the road to social distance from people.

Some people have had issues getting the data to sync with Google Fit (and then in my case on to MyFitnessPal), if you have an issue, this sorts it out for you. It wasn’t a problem for me.

Battery life is currently somewhere in the region of 3 days with 2-3 hours of GPS tracking a day when I’m out on my bike or walking, so I can’t complain about that. Obviously it’ll be less if you use the GPS more, or better if you don’t.

The Huawei Band 3 Pro is waterproof to 5ATM, which sort of means 50 metres but in reality means you’re okay to go swimming with it (when you move underwater, you increase the pressure which lowers the depth that something rated to 5ATM can safely operate at). Not that any of us are in the pool just yet of course.

Personally I think the Band 3 Pro at £39.99 is a bit of a no brainer if it fits your usage needs- GPS tracking, reasonable battery life, and a great price. It won’t handle music, so if you like to listen to music while you’re exercising you’ll need to either use your phone or a portable player for that but then something that does offer music playback, like the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music, costs around £300, so it’s not much of a comparison really.

You can buy the Huawei Band 3 Pro from Amazon for £39.99.

How to Save Money on Your Next DIY Project

Whether you’re committed to redecorating your house, upgrading your kitchen or even renovating the entire home, without a bit of careful planning, things can very quickly spiral out of control budget-wise. 

On average in the UK, we spend over £7 billion every year on our DIY and decorating supplies, that’s a lot of money and it shows just how much us Brits love to take control of our own destinies when it comes to making changes around the home. 

With this can-do attitude in mind, this article will explore a few ways in which you can save some money on your next DIY project.

Make a DIY project budget

Budget doesn’t mean cheap, it means organised. If you plan ahead with a sensible project budget, then you’ll find yourself less likely to overspend while also being able to make sensible decisions on what can or cannot be achieved. Have a think about what you can afford or would like to spend on the entire project.

In the first instance, put together a spreadsheet of everything you think you’ll need to complete the project, including a bit extra for material wastage (on flooring, tiles, wallpaper etc). Don’t forget to add space to include quotes for any third party help you might engage or new tools you might need to buy and add in an extra 10% to account for any unexpected expenses or surprises.

Look out for special offers and online vouchers or coupons 

Patience is key when it comes to purchasing some of the bigger ticket items like kitchen appliances if you’re refitting your kitchen or spending on flooring or tiling materials and expensive tools. It can even pay to time your project to coincide with seasonal sales like Black Friday or the January sales. Shop around and take your time, and you might find some amazing deals that can save you heaps of cash against your budget. 

You might even find online vouchers or coupons for big DIY outlets. A B&Q discount code, for example, could have a dramatic impact on your overall spend and help to keep that project budget on track, perhaps allowing you to afford more than you originally planned for.

Renew, reuse, recycle

Not everything has to be new, and you can do some pretty amazing things with a very small budget if you’re prepared to mix frugality with a little creativity. For example, if your kitchen needs a facelift, then why not take a look at giving your existing doors a splash of paint and some new handles instead of investing in a budget-busting new kitchen? Perhaps your kitchen carcass in still in great shape and you just need to source some new doors to update the style? 

It’s very satisfying to hunt for bargains, or even freebies (check out Facebook groups and Freecycle for some great deals) and up-cycle them yourself into something far more exciting. Not only are you saving money, but you’re helping to save the environment too.

Tips for buying a new second hand car

With three small children, we had a very long period where money was tight and the idea of a nice shiny new car was just that; an idea. We went through a slew of used cars, ranging from SEATs to a Ford Focus and then a Vauxhall Zafira. You can’t be too precious with small kids and have to assume that your car will take a bit of a battering, so this makes it all the more important to know what you’re after, do your research properly and make sure you check any specific models for potential issues.

Take our Zafira for example. We knew we wanted a 7 seater with a large boot and research had shown that the 1.6 petrol was cheap as punters thought it was under powered. I’d read people on car forums genuinely suggesting that pulling onto a motorway in a 1.6 Zafira would see you taking your life into your hands if there was even a slight incline as the car was so under-powered. People are stupid though; a car weighing 1,403kg outputting 113bhp isn’t massively different than my old SEAT Ibiza Sport, which weighed a little over a ton and had 100bhp and that was a hot hatch back in it’s day! The power to weight ratio was definitely better than plenty of cars of the same age but we live in a world where Jeremy Clarkson shouts “MORE power!” at the top of his voice and derides sports cars that only have 500bhp as being anaemic, so I suppose we’re to blame for listening to him and his ilk.

The first Zafira we looked at from a dealer in Luton depressed us. It was expensive and the dealer had been using it to transport his 5 a side football team around it. A dog had also taken a bite out of the dashboard! But we persevered and found a well rated independent dealer about an hours drive away who specialised in selling ex mobility vehicles that tended to be low mileage and well looked after. This taught us the lesson that the dealership is almost as important as the car itself!

Now the kids are a bit older we’ve replaced the Zafira and when it came to looking for things to replace it with, it was definitely time to update my knowledge a bit. Interestingly the MPV is pretty much dead now, a lot of manufacturers have either dropped them or morphed them into SUVs- take the Peugeot 5008- 1st model was an MPV, the current model is a BIG SUV. Leg and headroom still aren’t the biggest issue for us, we’re looking at width (stop that sniggering in the back!) because with 3 kids, one of whom is still in a booster, the amount of elbowing that goes on is an issue. One of the models we’ve been looking at is Nissan’s Qashqai, we did look at the Juke but that’s really too small. It turns out the Qashqai was a very popular car among company car users, so there are plenty of well looked after second hand models around, you can even book a Nissan Qashqai Acenta with just a few clicks from KAP Motors if you want a test drive today.

When it comes to looking at a second hand car after you’ve decided on the model you want, there are a few specifics I also do:

  1. read up on sites like Parkers or Honest John. They both have extensive used car review sections that might highlight issues with your particular choice and give you things to look out for on potential purchases when you test drive them.
  2. if you organise a test drive, ask the dealership in advance for a cold start- that way if there is an issue starting it you’ll see it. Most garages will warm the engine up before hand if you’re not careful
  3. if you’re buying from an independent or privately, make sure you do a finance check to ensure that there are no outstanding debts on the car. The same goes for accident checks– the AA and RAC both provide a checking service
  4. Be open to finance deals, although the biggest savings are on new cars, you can get mad savings on used approved cars. My dad recently saved £1,750 on a Volvo by taking out 3 years 0% finance- that doesn’t make sense!
  5. a number of small dents in an older car are inevitable wear and tear but make sure the dents i) don’t break the paint exposing metal and ii) aren’t an indication of more serious damage- checking the door alignment is fairly easy, and uneven gaps in trim are a good indicator of something more serious.

Most of all though, stick with it- if a guide tells you a decent guide price for a particular car, don’t be afraid to walk away from something that’s overpriced!