Men's Health | A Personal MOT with TENA Men

Men's Health | A Personal MOT with TENA Men The New Year for many signals the start of a new health and fitness plan. Most of us have high hopes of joining the gym and ditching the junk food. We use this time to think about improving our body and look after ourselves. How many of us actually stick to it?

I'm exactly the same, the running trainers have been cleaned...the healthy eating cookbook has been ordered and I have no doubt it'll soon be forgotten.

The team at TENA Men has found that 1 in 5 men had their last general check-up more than 2 years ago. With this in mind, they have sent me this pack which is designed to break these habits and give yourself a personal MOT...you always have an annual MOT on a car so why not your body.

So what did the kit include:

Lights: Just like with driving visibility is important so there was a Specsavers voucher and I'm really good with my eyes and make sure I get them checked every two years.

Steering & Suspension: When a car gets older you'll notice that it creaks and that is true of the body too. My body already does that so to keep the joints and muscles moving there is a set of resistant bands. The beauty of these is you can use them in the comfort of your own home and there's plenty of YouTube videos to get you some tips.

Fuel System: A taboo subject for many but it is a common experience that affects 1 in 4 men over the age of 40.  The TENA Men Absorbent Protector can help mop-up all those drips and dribbles.

• Bodywork: We take pride in making sure our car looks sparkling and this is the same with our appearance. A clean shave helps you look and feel your best.

• Emissions: Something I've recently tried is swapping a cup of tea for green tea. It helps maintain a healthy immune system and keep you at peak performance.

• Tyres: Your tyres are checked for a number of things at a MOT, tyre pressure being one of them. So I've been sent a Fitbit to help keep tabs on my blood pressure and fitness and what have I learnt...I don't do anywhere near as many steps as I thought I did.

All of these things combined will help keep you running smoothly.

We were sent this package for the purpose of this post, all thoughts and opinions are our own. 

Thanks Dad! 5 Tech-Related Gifts That Are Perfect for Children

There’s no better way to introduce our children to technology than giving them some hands-on experience with the latest tech. It could be teaching them how to use a computer, showing them the joys of console video games, or even showing them how to watch their favourite cartoon shows on your iPad. Getting children involved with technology can be a great time investment because technology is everywhere. It’s in our homes, at school, it helps with our jobs—simply everywhere!So whether you’re looking for a new gift to add to your child’s wish list or if you just want to give your children something special for working hard at school, here are five tech-related gifts that your children will absolutely adore!

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  1. Phone Accessories

Children everywhere are using smartphones to keep up with their friends, play games and even study. With the countless number of smartphone apps that are targeted towards children, there’s no reason not to get your child a basic smartphone. It doesn’t have to be an expensive Samsung model or an iPhone (you probably don’t want to put something so expensive in the hands of a child!) because there are plenty of cheaper alternatives. No matter what phone your child has, there’s no doubt that accessories such as iphone cases and headphones make cheap and exciting gifts for your children.

  1. Video Games

If you already own a video games console then you’re in luck! There are hundreds of video games to pick from no matter if you own a Playstation or Xbox console, and they make excellent gifts for any child that loves to game. You can check review websites to see the latest games that are popular and order them either digitally from online stores or buy a physical copy from a retailer.

  1. A Tablet

Perhaps your children already have a smartphone, but if they’ve had it for a while then they’re probably complaining that it’s slow, the screen is small or that they don’t have enough space for all of their music and games. It doesn’t make much sense to use a phone for entertainment if you have access to a tablet. They have larger screens, they’re more powerful and they’re more fun to play with. Surprisingly, they’re also cheaper than phones because you don’t need all of the internals to make calls or other phone-related functions.

  1. A Laptop

Laptops are now cheap, powerful, and the next logical upgrade from a tablet. Laptop computers that run Windows are the perfect companion for a child who’s learning to use computers or that wants a better experience when browsing the internet and being productive. They can practice their hobbies, study, and entertain themselves with a lightweight laptop.

  1. Raspberry Pi

If your family is full of tech enthusiasts then what better way to get them involved with computers than a Raspberry Pi. These mini-computers are perfect starter examples for parents that want to teach their children how computers work, or even to give them some basic programming lessons if they show an interest in the inner workings of a computer. There are many projects with a Raspberry Pi, such as turning it into a media centre or a retro games console.

Guest Post

Talking Turkey: Looking East For A Holiday To Remember

What do you look for in a holiday? It's something different for each person you ask - some will want to spend time sunning themselves on a beach. Others will prefer to nourish their minds with historical sightseeing. And then there are more than a few who see it as a chance to shop. To hear their credit card scream in an entirely different language. What you're on the lookout for in a holiday can define where you end up going. Few places manage to offer all of the above at once, and those that do are to be cherished. But picking by the same priorities will mean you keep going back to the same places. So let's pick one country, and give you a few destinations worth visiting within it. For this article, that country will be Turkey.

Istanbul: Hard To Ignore, Harder To Forget

It's by far and away Turkey's most famous city, and equally famously not the capital. But for all intents and purposes for the tourist, this is the main hub of Turkey. Here you will find the bridge which marks the crossing from Europe into Asia (Turkey is on both continents).

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You will also find sights like the Aya Sofia mosque. A building of quite spectacular beauty, it's regularly rated the number one sight to see in the country. Equally opulent, Topkapi Palace is where the leaders of the Ottoman Empire got to work on constructing their country. If you only mark two sights down to see in Istanbul, let these be the two.

Cappadocia: Good Work, Mother Nature!

If Istanbul is remarkable for what architects have put there, then Cappadocia is entirely different. This is a staggering work of nature; valleys cut out of the earth by millennia of tectonic activity. To look at it, it can be hard to believe that it's real. The good news is, it is. Even better news is that the locals have realised how unique it is, and there's a thriving trade in hot air balloon rides.

Antalya: Spend Some Time On The Beach

Of course, sometimes you do want to get a bit of lazing while travelling, and where better than on a beach? To be more specific, on Konyaalti beach in Antalya. Unlike many beaches, this one is right next to the city. So when you've hopped off your Antalya airport taxi, you can laze a few hours before heading into town. You won't regret doing so.

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Whether it's Hadrian's Gate, a monument dating from the second Century, or the main shopping streets in this well-heeled town, it's a treat. Even better news is that it's mostly ignored by tourists from elsewhere. This is where Turkish people with the right idea head for a holiday - and it makes sense to follow their lead when booking your break.

(Images courtesy of here and here.)

Guest Post

Our New Reading Chair

Ever since my girls were young they have both enjoyed reading and as parents, we've always tried to encourage that as much as possible. Every night we try and read with the girls or as it has now become they read to us, this is normally on the sofa but we wanted to make somewhere cosy for them to read. We've always had a little reading area but they used to have to sit on their cushions, but now they have a new beanbag chair from the lovely people at Great Little Trading Company.

This is the Washable Bean Bag Chair which is available in a few different colours and designs but we picked the blue with white stars. The beauty of this is the cover is really durable and is also removable so you can take it off and wash it which parents will know is important when children are involved.

This chair has allowed the girls to sit in comfort while reading their books. It is also pretty lightweight so when it comes to Minecraft game time they bring their seat with them and can sit on their chair while playing their game.

I'm so glad we got this for the girls and if anything it has made the girls read more and they are cosy.

You can check out the range of Bean Bag chairs on the GLTC website and at the moment they're of special offer at £48.

We were sent this item for the purpose of this post, all thoughts and opinions are our own. 

#MySundayPhoto - Flashback

My wife has been putting together a scrapbook of the girls...starting from birth right up until present day. This has meant looking through lots of old photos and I wanted to share one today for #MySundayPhoto. This was Aly when she was about 2 and a half. Before little Mia even came into our World.

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Chicken Nuggets Don't Have to be Boring

I wouldn’t say my two girls are fussy eaters, certainly not when compared to lots of other children. There are a couple of things one doesn’t like and the other does such as pasta...Aly loves pasta, but Mia doesn't. And as for jacket potatoes - Mia loves them and Aly doesn't! There is one thing that they both love and that is chicken nuggets. It’s one of those meals where they both finish their whole plate full so we tend to have it quite often. With our nuggets we’re always trying to find ones that taste good and aren’t filled with anything bad.

We’d heard good things from our friends that Iceland food one is yummy and after having a look in a bit more detail found that a blind taste test conducted by Cambridge Market Research Ltd, Iceland XL Crispy Chicken Nuggets are as good as McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets for taste, texture and quality.

As we needed a bit of fresh air over the festive period, we decided to pop over to our local Iceland to take a look...it also helped that there was a toy shop nearby for the girls to spend their Christmas money in.

Iceland have an easy way of laying their store out and the chicken nuggets were easy to find in either 32 or 75 packs. This time we decided to go for 32 chicken nuggets and also picked up some chips and dips to go with our meal. When we go shopping, packaging is key to grabbing my attention, helping me choose new products both in-store and online. These chicken nuggets came in a bright blue bag with three important things that caught my eye...Firstly they look yummy on the bag, secondly the words ‘our best ever’ and finally (and most importantly to me) they are 'made with 100% breast fillet’.  

As the girls have got older we have come to love using frozen food, anyone with children will know that you really don’t get any spare moments. Both of the girls have after school classes as well as swimming classes and Brownies, so we end up having rushed or later dinners. The #PowerOfFrozen is all about tasty food that is high quality and also convenient. It allows us as parents to be able to feed our girls quickly.

Whenever we have chicken nuggets we try to make it interesting, we try not to just serve them up on a plate. This is mainly because the girls eat more if there is colour on their plate that is presented a little bit differently. Some cut up carrot and cucumber sticks, a choice of dips, chips and some nuggets in cones goes a long way to making it look even more appealing.

I also personally think that if you served this up for your friends or partner they’d still be equally impressed.

The real test with children is what it tastes like and they really loved them and so did I. You could really tell that these were made from 100% chicken breast. They were very substantial and full of meat rather than thin ones we’ve had in the past. So the Iceland chicken nuggets were a big hit and remember chicken nuggets don’t need to be boring.

This post is in collaboration with Iceland Foods.

Do The Best By Your Family By Putting A Plan In Place For When Things Go Wrong

As the man of the house, a lot of responsibility falls on your shoulders. You want to protect your family, right? Despite your best efforts, you aren’t always going to be able to keep them safe. Life can be cruel, and things happen that are out of your control. The trick to dealing with things, even when they go wrong, is to put a plan in place. None of us want to think about the worst happening, but when you have a family you have to. Get to grips with what can go wrong, and plan how best to recover from it! HEALTH

Health is one thing you can guarantee will go wrong at some point. No one is immune to illness, and you and your family will all be under the weather every now and again. Make sure you have a well stocked medicine cabinet at home. That way, you’re prepared for all eventualities. Stock up on painkillers, cold and flu medicine, and bandages and plasters. Keep the cupboard locked to avoid wandering hands finding things they shouldn’t! Take steps, too, to ensure you can get help should you need it. Subscription services like Babylon Health will ensure you and your family can get diagnosis as soon as possible!

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CAR

There are many car mistakes waiting to happen, and you should prepare what to do if any of them happen to you. The most important thing, where your car is concerned, is to keep on top of insurance. That way, if you have an accident or your car stops working, you can get a replacement that same day. Not to mention that you won’t have to pay out lump sums of money you can’t afford! Take care, too, to keep on top of your mechanical kit. Many car problems are easily fixed if you have the right equipment. Keep on top of your spare tire, and stock up on a basic car tool kit.

HOME

There are many things that can go wrong in the home, too. Taking steps towards avoiding these is essential. Again, make sure to get insurance on your home, so things can get back to normal as soon as possible. Think, too, about installing a security alarm to ensure your home’s safety. Install fire alarms and carbon monoxide alarms, as well. Feeling safe at home is crucial for family happiness. Don’t cut corners and put your family at risk. Check your alarms often to make sure they’re still in working order!

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EMOTIONALLY

It’s important to take steps to prepare your family for emotional distress, too. That’s another thing that none of us are immune from. Of course, you don’t want your children to experience the more unpleasant things in the world. It is, however, important that you take steps to prepare them for when bad things happen. The best way to do this is by reading books and showing them films. That way, they can develop empathy and understanding of emotional distress, without suffering themselves!

Daddy-Daughter Time is Crucial - Here's How to Enjoy Yours

It’s really imperative that you spend as much time as possible with your daughter. You have to bind as parent and child, and figure out how to have the best possible relationship. This can sometimes be hard based on factors such as your relationship with mum, and the demands of your career. But, you always have to try to make the time for your daughter as much as possible. Check out a few of these brilliant ways you can spend more quality time with your little girl. Days Out

It’s really important to make sure you spend enough quality time together. And the way to do this is to make sure you have days out together. There are a lot of options for days out, and they are a great way of improving family bonding. You may well find that there are many opportunities to have days out as dad and daughter. You have to come up with a number of different options. You might only see your daughter on weekends or occasionally. But, you have to make sure you make the most of it. Days out are a wonderful way of making sure you bond and enjoy each other's company. Try to make the most of your time together by going for days out as often as time allows.

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Be There for Important Moments

You have to make sure you are always there for the important moments with your children. There are seminal moments in their lives that you have to make sure you attend. Things like their first performance or recital, graduation, or even showing up to see the birthday girl. That's why you have to understand what is going on in your daughter’s life and make sure you are always there for her. These important moments will help to shape your daughter’s life, and if you miss them this will impact her very negatively. Always make sure you are there for the important moments.

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The Perfect Gift

When you want to enjoy time with your kids it’s important to make sure you choose the ideal gift for them. This means you have to do as much as you can to buy the right sort of present. Something you can both enjoy together would be a wonderful option. That's what a gift like a Thames Dinner Cruise would be perfect. You can spend time catching up over dinner, and you’ll get to take in some of the wonderful sights and sounds of London at the same time. This sort of gift is ideal for helping you spend more time with your daughter just the two of you together.

Spending time together as father and daughter is so important for developing the perfect relationship. There are so many things you can do to help you with quality time. Remember that she will be grown up in no time, so it’s important to make the most of the time while you can. And always try to make sure you keep in touch at all times. Enjoy the company of your daughter by making use of some of the ideas on this post.

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Dogs Aren't Just For Christmas - Here's Why

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Did you family get a new pooch for Christmas? Or maybe you promised your kids that you would get a family dog once the festive season is over? Either way, I am sure that you are all extremely excited about the new addition to your family! However, it is important that you don’t all get too carried away with all this excitement. After all, a dog isn’t just for Christmas - it’s for life. And that means that it will bring a few different responsibilities that you will have to take care of.

Are you really sure that your family is ready for a new dog? Here are some reasons why you need to be prepared for all the responsibilities and jobs that come with getting a new dog.

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They Live A Long Time

A dog isn’t a hamster or gerbil. These smaller pets only live between two and five years. If your children get bored with them, you don’t have to be worried about getting stuck with a small rodent for another ten years! However, dogs have a much longer lifespan. Some breeds, such as Irish Wolfhounds and Bernese Mountain Dogs only have a life expectancy of around seven years. Many breeds can live for much longer than this, though! For instance, Yorkshire Terriers and Chihuahuas can live for up to twenty years! So be careful about the breed of dog you get. In some cases, you will be in it for the long haul!

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You Need A Lot Of Space

Are you and your family already feeling a bit cramped in your current house or apartment? Well, once your new pup arrives, you will feel a lot more squashed in! Dogs need a lot of space, even the really small breeds. Generally speaking, the larger the dog, the more room you will need in your home for it. Young dogs will also need a lot of room as they will be very energetic and may run around quite a lot. You need to make sure that you have plenty of space for your dog’s bed so that they have somewhere comfy to sleep.

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You Also Need Time

As well as space, you need plenty of time in your schedule to look after your new pooch. Feeling slightly stretched for time? If both you and your partner work full-time jobs, then you might be better off rethinking getting a dog. Especially if all your kids are still young and at school all day. Some breeds will be OK left on their own at home for long periods, but many will not enjoy it. If they get too lonely, they could become unruly and develop bad behaviour. Small puppies may even become destructive when you aren’t at home. You may get home and find that the puppy has chewed your sofa to bits! As well as all this time for affection, you also need to be able to factor in time for daily walks. Ideally, you need to take your dog out twice a day so that it can do its business in the morning and evening. No problem; you can always enlist the help of some local dog walking services.

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Can You Afford It?

Getting any pet is going to be some extra expense that your family will need to deal with. Dogs, unfortunately, are one of the most household pets that you could get. Not only do you need to buy them food, toys, and accessories, but you will also have to think about whether you will be able to afford all of the potential medical bills. If you get a puppy, you will need to pay to get all its vaccinations and to have it neutered. It is important that you don’t try and scrimp by not getting this done. The vaccinations will prevent life-threatening canine diseases, and your puppy will be a lot better behaved after being neutered. It is also worth buying some pet insurance for your new dog. Many families don’t bother buying this because they think it will save them some money. However, not insuring a pet can work out a lot more expensive than the insurance can. That’s because you will have to pay all of the vet’s bills out of your own pocket!

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Getting a new dog will be really great for your whole family. Just make sure you know exactly what you are getting yourself into before you take the plunge! Otherwise, you might find out that you have bitten off a lot more than you can chew!

Frugal Tips You Can Use During the Christmas Season

Christmas is a joyous holiday season with plenty of reason to celebrate and party. Sadly, despite working hard every day of the year leading up to the New Year, we can sometimes be a little short on money thanks to surprise expenses, emergencies and other financial issues. This usually turns into lacklustre celebration parties, budget presents and (worst of all) disappointed children. While it might be too late to make some money savings now, you can always practice these frugal tips to make some extra cash before the next holiday season so that your children will be happier with bigger presents, and your family joyful with more festive celebrations.

Side Jobs

With a seasonal occasion like Christmas, there are usually dozens of extra money-earning opportunities in the retail and commercial industries. Store owners often pay more for their staff to work over the Christmas holidays, so if your employer offers this opportunity then it would be wise to take it for extra pay. But if your workplace is closed over Christmas, then it might be worth scouting your local area for Christmas job opportunities, such as at a local store.

In addition, you could also look for a side job on the internet. There are thousands of freelance opportunities, and many websites that will pay you for reviews, writing and surveys, A quick Google search will reveal hundreds of different sites that specialise in teaching you how to make an income online, and if you’re proficient and hardworking enough it could become a full-time job.

Selling Unwanted Items

If you have children then you’ll understand the pain in buying them their most desired toy, only to see it dumped in a corner and never used again because it’s out of style. While you should always ask your children before you sell off their toys and games, it’s a good idea to stop hoarding electronics, toys and other devices before it’s too late.

You can sell laptops, phones, old equipment, furniture and even appliances if you look online or post a listing on various auction or local sales sites. It’s an easy way to get a quick boost of money if you’re in a pinch, and it’s always nice to clear up your home of junk and unused items.

Be Smart with Sales

It can be very easy to start buying in bulk because of ridiculous sales around Christmas time. However, keep in mind that unless you can use all of those items before they expire, then it’s going to be a waste of money. For example, if there are sales on food items that your family regularly eats then it’s a good idea to buy items in bulk to save costs in the long run.

Also, it’s a good idea to be smart with seasonal sale times. Christmas usually comes with many great sale prices at every store, and leading up to Christmas is Black Friday. These times of the year are perfect for shoppers to get amazing deals on everything from food to electronics, so hold onto your money and wait for a good sale price before buying expensive items.

Top Tips For Staying On Top Of Your Family Finances

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Financial worries can cause real stress for families - after all, as parents, we are supposed to support our children through thick and thin, but sometimes money worries can get in the way. The best way to prevent this from happening is by getting your finances in good working order now, and then finding a way to maintain them regularly, so that problems can’t just emerge from thin air. If you’re no stranger to money worries, read this handy guide to getting your family finances in order, and keeping them that way.

Cut back unnecessary purchases

Categorise your spending into necessary and unnecessary, and cut back on buying the things you don’t need. Remember, you may have some items that are necessary for you, and completely non-negotiable, but the cost of those items needs to be made up from somewhere. Expensive toys, posh new shoes, and fancy gadgets all need to be accounted for and cut back on, at least until you know how much you have to spend.

Create a budget

Set up a weekly spending limit, and stick to it. Calculate your necessary outgoings against your income, and divide whatever is left into savings and luxuries. Be realistic - trying to deposit all of your disposable income into a savings account, with nothing left over for treats, is likely to force you to give up your new-found self-control out of frustration pretty quickly. Spend within your budget, but don’t deprive yourself.

Stay on top of it

Keep your finances at the back of your mind always, and make sure that you’re consolidating your outgoings and income at least once a month, so that you know you’re sticking to your budget.

Ensure your bank account is right for you

Some bank accounts offer a high rate of interest, with little to no customer support, whereas some accounts may have an associated savings ISA that you’ve not been made aware of. Make sure you shop around for current and savings accounts - click here to contact Barclays customer service to find out if you’re getting the best deal for you and your family.

Pay off debts

Debts hanging over your head can have a serious impact on your credit score, especially if you’re allowing them to amass. Prioritise the debts that need paying off first, and write it into your budget. You have to be strict with yourself - if you have debts to repay, you might have to compromise on that new toy you fancied - you’ll thank yourself in the long run.

Save

Every penny you can, save it. Save for holidays, university tuition, rainy days, family emergencies, or a new house or car, just make sure you’re saving. Living hand to mouth might be fine when you’re a student, but when you have a family to support and protect, it’s a good idea to have a financial buffer to protect you all if something goes wrong.

Most importantly, keep track of it. Always have a good idea what’s in your account, and when your next big outgoings will be. Spend some time getting on top of it, and then never let it get on top of you.

Getting Your Kids On The Road ASAP!

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Getting on the road can be a nightmare. Lessons can take months, and you can spend what feels like an eternity waiting for the test. Of course, this only hampers the chances that your child will pass. But, you do have some options to ease the process along. This post will go through some of those options, to help you get your kids on the road as soon as possible.

If you’ve done any research into driving lessons, you’ve probably seen the intensive courses around. These courses are designed to give you the knowledge you need to drive, within a couple of weeks. It’s been proven that this sort of learning is better for most people than doing it over a long period. You can get much further when you have lessons close together. It keeps the motions and movements fresh in the mind.

Most kids have a lot of time on their hands. While they’re still in education, you have a great window to get them on the road. Some parents opt to teach their kids themselves. But, this isn’t recommended. It’s hard to teach someone to drive without the knowledge or experience to do so. And, you may pass down bad habits that shouldn’t be used. With their free time, you can fill it with driving tuition. Extensive courses can look expensive from the outside, but they often result in a lower price overall.

When it comes to taking their test, you need to have their theory test completed first. This can easily be passed on the first try if your child studies well enough. Once passed, you can book their actual test. Usually, your driving instructor can do this for you. But, they will use traditional means, which could still take a long time. So, it’s a good idea to look into driving test cancellations, and see if you can find one near you. A lot of tests are cancelled because a driver isn’t ready yet. So, you can often fish them out and take them for your kid.

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Hopefully, your child will pass on their first time. This will give you a choice to make. They aren’t likely to be able to afford their own car, so you’d have to help them. They may have to take on work for the running costs, but you may have to cover the larger fees. If they don’t drive, it won’t make to big of a difference. Their skills might slip, so it could be worth having them drive the family car, even if they don’t have their own. Finding cheap insurance can be very expensive when your child is young. So, you may have to have a black box fitted in their car to bring down costs. Taxation will remain the same, though. So, giving them a smaller car is a good idea. This will reduce their emissions and fuel usage.

Hopefully, this gives you the tools you need to get you kids on the road. Once they have this new freedom, they will be much less reliant on you. Even if you have to pay for it, it’s a great way to get your child out into the world.