Should Your Next Family Workhorse Be An Automatic?

While some people get by with a small to medium-sized vehicle, many parents with families in tow need large people carriers. They offer cavernous space inside and some cars can even seat up to seven people, including the driver. Family cars are useful for the short-haul school run journeys and long-distance motorway journeys alike. It’s no secret that most people in the United Kingdom drive a manual car. You don’t need me to talk to you about the advantages that a manual car offers. But, it seems that automotive technology is influencing car buyers to opt for automatics instead!

Just twenty years ago, you’d only find a few automatic cars on the road. And many of those would typically be high-end cars like Jaguars and BMWs. Today, it’s not unusual to see even small hatchbacks such as the Volkswagen Golf with an automatic gearbox of some description.


Image Obtained From Flickr

If you’re in the market for a new car, should you ditch the clutch and go for an auto box model? The answer is yes, in case you wondered! Confused? Let me explain why that makes perfect sense:

They use less fuel

An automatic that uses less fuel than a manual? Surely that’s got to be some kind of mistake, I hear you exclaim! The truth is, today’s modern automatic transmissions are electronic. Their computer brains make thousands of decisions a second and work with the main ECU in the car.

As a result, a new automatic car can shift up or down quicker than you can in a manual. Don’t believe me? There’s a tonne of evidence online to support that fact!

They are super easy to drive

When you get into an automatic car, you’ll notice that you’ve only got two pedals; the brake and the accelerator! You don’t have to change gears manually in an automatic, so there’s no need for a clutch pedal. Simply stick the gear lever into “Drive” and away you go!

Of course, going from a manual to an automatic can take a lot of getting used to. As strange as the suggestion is, you may wish to consider taking a couple of driving lessons to get used to driving an automatic.

You can still drive the car like a manual (sort of)

There are various types of automatic transmissions in use today. The most popular type is the dual-clutch and Tiptronic designs. They have the typical Park, Reverse, Neutral and Drive gears that you’d expect in an auto. However, you can shift up or down five or more gears as if you were in a manual. The only difference is, you don’t need to use a clutch to shift!

No clutch replacement costs

All manual car drivers know that a clutch needs to get replaced every so often in a vehicle’s lifetime. With an automatic, you never need to do that! In fact, most transmissions only need an oil change every 100,000 miles.

So, when will you take the plunge and buy an automatic family workhorse? There’s plenty to choose from nowadays, so you’ll be spoilt for choice!

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It All Started In Barcelona

We are by no means massive travellers, we've visited a few places and most of them hold special memories. From our first holiday as a couple, first family holiday or the first time the girls flew on a plane, they all have their place in our heart. One trip really stands out and that's Barcelona which was in February 2007. The plan was for us to enjoy a short break in the lovely Barcelona, just the two of us.

We had been trying for a baby for a little while, but not a long time. Mrs LADs had bought a pregnancy test while in the airport before we had left England but she decided not to tell me. After dropping our bags at the hotel before we head off to have a look around and grab some dinner she heads to the bathroom and a few minutes later comes out with a look on her face, straight away I can tell "We're having a baby!"

The words you'll never forget, the words that will change your whole World.

By this stage, we'd been a couple for 6 years and married for almost 3 years so we knew we were ready to start this next chapter.

Before we left for this little break we'd just had the news that the landlords wanted our flat back by the end of March. Laura at the time had said that these things happen for a reason and now we knew what that reason was.

Barcelona would always be in our memories.

Once the excitement had died down slightly we wanted to make the most of Barcelona and all that it had to offer. When we travel we get very organised and plan what we want to see and on which days.

The first place to visit in Barcelona is, of course, Gaudi's amazing La Sagrada cathedral which after over 100 years still isn't finished. It's a remarkable sight and you can visit many parts of the cathedral and around it, you'll find lots of gift shops and plenty of places to eat.

Being a massive football fan I couldn't visit Barcelona and not make a trip to Camp Nou. If you're a sports fan then you need to visit one of the iconic stadiums in the World. We didn't get to see a match but if you can then I would really recommend it.

We tried to fit in as much as possible so we visited the Sea Life centre, the Barcelona Zoo and enjoyed lot's of yummy food.

Barcelona is a city that will always hold a very special place in our hearts and in the next year or so we will try and visit again with the girls.

The team at Avis have produced its own Barcelona travel guide. It’s well worth looking at if you want some hints and tips for visiting the city.

If you plan on visiting then we'd suggest getting a car to hire so it makes it easier to get around, check out Car Hire in Barcelona and really enjoy Barcelona.

The article has been sponsored by AVIS

Preparing for a Newborn in the Family

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to having a child. There will be an ever-growing list of tasks to accomplish, and it can feel like you don’t have much time to finish them all. From telling your parents to notifying your boss, then making home improvements and learning how to feed your child and how to deal with the mental stress of balancing work and family—it’s a tough time. However, it doesn’t need to be stressful and it certainly doesn’t need to take its toll on your health. Preparing for a newborn isn’t as difficult as some people make it out to be and they usually grossly exaggerate the situation. This article will go through the truths about having a newborn in the family and some of the steps you have to take to prepare yourself both mentally and physically. It will be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to sap away all of your strength and livelihood. So without further ado, here are a couple of tips, tricks and things to look out for when preparing yourself for a newborn in the family.


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Learning About Pregnancy

Unless you like surprises and dealing with unexpected issues, it’s a good idea to check up on the pregnancy process. It can help put your mind at ease when the mother experiences issues, gets worried about certain things or starts to have problems with their body. You can also consider taking birth classes if you want to learn more about the stages of labour and what to expect. You can also take lessons in pain management if you are worried about complications that might arise or pains and aches that are the result of pregnancy. The actual delivery process also depends on the mother. For example, you can have natural births, water births, and delivery by c-section. There are many surprises that can happen during the pregnancy period, so make sure you’re prepared for everything that can happen and that you learn about all the stages of pregnancy so you can better understand how to deal with issues or how to react to certain things.

Learn From Other Mothers

There are plenty of online communities for mothers to discuss how to take care of their child and to get advice for various things. For example, you might be struggling to cope with something specific about pregnancy and without anyone to talk to, you can resort to online communities. Keep in mind that there are a huge variety of mothers on the internet so you’ll be able to get advice and share experiences with people all over the world. They can teach you how to deal with your newborn, the types of problems you might experience and how to deal with them, and how to stay positive throughout the entire process.


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Getting Time Off

In most parts of the world, mothers are expected to take at least two weeks off of work following the birth of their child. In some cases, this can extend up to four weeks or more depending on the situation. However, many people don’t realise that fathers are also entitled to taking time off for paternity leave. There are many terms and conditions for the parents, and couples are also entitled to take parental leave off work to look after their child. This parental leave can be shared between both the mother and father, so you can essentially take turns with your partner deciding who should look after the child. Make sure that as soon as you know the expected date for your child to be born that you start making arrangements in regards to paternity and maternity. Make sure that you aren’t leaving it till the last minute because the entire process does take some time to finish, and you never want to be forced into work with no one to look after your child.

Get To Know Childcare Services

If you and your partner are busy couples that want to continue working, then you’re going to need to get in touch with childcare services around the city. Depending on what type of care you’re looking for, there are a variety of different services to choose from and you might be spoilt for choice depending on your preferences. For instance, there are some childcare services that are very professional but don’t offer a tailor-made service that accommodates your needs. Other services are much more personal and the carer that is assigned to you can live with your family or become close friends with you in order to provide the best care possible for your family. It’s an expensive investment, but it will be worth the money in the long run.


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Babyproof Your Home

Your baby is going to need a lot of looking after at home. There are many hazards that could harm your children, such as stairs, sharp objects and loose shelves. You need to ensure that your child has the utmost protection at home and that your house is crawl-friendly. If possible, replace as much carpeting as possible with laminate or wooden flooring because it is easier to clean and there’s less chance of dust and small objects harming your child. Make sure you build a secure baby bed and try to dedicate a single room to your child as a nursery. When they grow older, you can turn it into a toddler’s bedroom. Decorate the nursery with bright and colourful wallpapers and toys, and remember to have a gate installed at important parts of your home such as for the kitchen and at the top of stairs.

Tell Others

Make sure you let other family members know that you’re expecting a child. Tell your other children, tell your parents, and notify your neighbours as well in case they are willing to help you look after your child or help you babysit. Some pets can also be trained with special pre-baby preparations. Your family members might offer to take care of your child as well, or they might donate some old furniture and products that are still usable to help you save money on baby expenses.


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Get a Bag of Essentials Ready

You can ease your mind on your pregnancy by ensuring that you have an emergency bag prepared for any situation. When you stay at the hospital, you might want to consider bringing some comforts such as your phone, a tablet device, or even a book. Make sure you pack essentials such as medication, toiletries or even your own pillow. It’s important that you try to get as comfortable as you can when you’re in the hospital so that the birth goes smoothly. Make sure to pack an extra set of clothes too for when you leave the hospital and don’t be afraid of packing some additional baby clothes if you have them planned.

Stock Up On Baby Essentials

Think about all the different types of foods and feeding equipment you’ll need. Make sure you have bottles prepared for your baby and read up on breastfeeding if you plan to do that. Don’t feel pressured by other mothers or your friends and family to buy every single baby product under the sun. The basics you need are baby food, toiletries and clothing. You can also buy things such as baby car seats if you plan to drive around with your baby on a regular basis, and you might want to consider a breast pump to extract milk if you want to continue breastfeeding but don’t have the time to do so.

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