Mums and Tyres – Infographic and Myth Busters

Michelin infographic -Mums and Tyres – Infographic and Myth buster

Michelin in connection with Mumsnet users conducted a survey about tyres; maybe not a sexy topic but an important one. They polled 1097 users who own a car and have at least one child at home.

The survey revealed, there was still a discrepancy between genders with more men taking responsibility for tyres, but women are acknowledging that this shouldn’t be the case; 97% of the people agreed all drivers should take responsibility for their vehicle and its safety.

Surprisingly for me 7% of Mumsnetters currently own winter tyres, which is above average when compared with the UK as a whole.

We don’t own any winter tyres, but if the weather keeps going in the direction it is at the moment, we will have to consider getting a set.

Mums and Tyres - Infographic and Myth buster

Winter tyres are recommended for use in temperature below 7C, which we actually have now. They are manufactured from different materials than summer or so called all year round tyres; they offer a different grip and their main job is to make our winter car trips much safer! They aren’t cheap, this is a downside, but can we really try to save money risking our wellbeing, health or even life?

A few years ago my cousin came to visit. He drove from Poland in January so yes, he had winter tyres on his car. Unfortunately he got a flat, and new, modern tyres are not repairable, or at least this is what we had been told. We actually tried to buy a new one but as it ended up it wasn’t possible. I live just 40 miles north of London and we couldn’t find any store within those 40 miles which would actually have stock in on the day, so we could just pop by and get a new tyre. He ended up driving to Europe on his spare. We ordered a tyre in Germany and it was waiting there for him the next day.

Mums and Tyres – Infographic and Myth buster

We don’t get snow so often so we don’t need winter tyres… wrong… Only two days ago when driving to the post office we hit a patch of ice… on a sharp corner, on a narrow village road… it was scary… the car started to dance… nothing happened but if there was a car coming from the opposite direction it could have been a totally different story all together. I think there are a lot of things we could save money on when taking care of our car, but tyres should never be one of these things. Buy good quality premium tyres as they could save your life one day and remember… not all tyres are the same!

Do you own a set of winter tyres?

*Post written in collaboration with Michelin and Mumsnet. I was not compensated for writing this post, but I will have a chance of winning a set of tyres.

Vonage – The Hassle Free Second Phone Line

Running a business these days isn’t easy. There are a lot of things to consider and there is a lot of competition in the market, but for someone like me, who doesn’t deal very well with authority this is the only way to work.

So, I run a small limited company, which deals with internet starts up, e-commerce, social media etc… I work from home and rent an office (a.k.a one of the upstairs bedrooms) from hubby and myself for business use, but our home is not a business property. Being not a business property means that I can’t claim back some of the costs as easy as I would like to. One of the problems for example is with a phone line. I have a business mobile contract, but getting a second landline purely for business use is just too costly, so until now I have been losing any chance to claim all this potential expenses. I say until now because now I know better, now I know about Vonage and their fantastic, quick and easy service that enables me to have that second line without any hassle or high setup costs.

Vonage The Hassle Free Second Phone Line

So, how does it work?

Vonage uses your existing broadband to create a second phone line. All you need is broadband with a Wi-Fi router and a phone handset, that’s all. No need for a technical visit or that costly laying of the second wire line. Once your Vonage arrives at your end you can be up and running within minutes.

Vonage – The Hassle Free Second Phone Line - what’s in the box

What’s inside the box?

You get all you need to make your new second line work:

1 x Vonage box

1 x Vonage box power supply unit

1 x Ethernet cable

1 x Telephone socket adapter

1 x Quick start guide

The quick start guide has very clear and easy to follow instructions on how to connect your Vonage box. It really couldn’t be any easier. I think it took us about 7 minutes to be all wired up and running; most of that 7 minutes being spent trying to sort out a spare power socket, forewarned is forearmed.

The first test phone call I made it was to my Mum in Poland
The first test phone call I made it was to my Mum in Poland

Vonage – The Hassle Free Second Phone Line – free call countries

Yes, it works for international phone calls too, and to mobile phones 🙂

How much does it cost?

This is a great question and I think you will be pleased with the answer. The plans start from just £7 a month and goes up to £24 a month. Look at the screen shot below to see what you actually get for your money.

Vonage – The Hassle Free Second Phone Line – plans selection

The huge plus is that you actually only pay for your selected call plan (plus any phone calls made outside of it). There is no change for that nasty so called line rental. And there is no fixed contract time – the contract can be as long or short as you want. You even get a 30 days money guarantee, so if for some reason you aren’t happy just ship it back to them.

I really think that Vonage is the perfect solution for anyone who has a need for a second line. With Vonage I will now have no problem with claiming it as a business expense and I can actually enjoy a dedicated business line. And you know what? I can take it with me for my holidays next week and still be able to use it – yes, you are reading it right! It can even be moved from country to country as long as you have a broadband with Wi-Fi router and a phone handset you are ready to go!

Vonage – The Hassle Free Second Phone Line

* I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.

Aviva Stress Less Challenge: Week 3

So three weeks have passed and my challenge is coming to an end. During this time I listened, I read and I tried to implement the changes in order to follow the tips given to me by the Aviva experts.

Last week I told you that I will share with you my week 2 tips, so here they come:

Work-life balance from Dr Doug

“Undertake a mind experiment and place yourself as the boss telling your ‘stressed self’ what they need to do. What would you say to an employee who was in your position? How would you prioritise their work, give them support, help manage their time and workload better? By placing yourself in a different role helps to put a different perspective on how you should deal with your work-life balance”.

Wellbeing from Dr Doug

“When you’re feeling overloaded or unsure what you need to do for the best outcome, change your focus for a bit to help you get a different perspective on a situation – do something different to what you’ve been doing e.g. make and enjoy a cup of coffee or take the dogs for a short walk. It will also improve the way you’re feeling as well as helping you be better placed to make the right decisions”.

Fitness from Mike, Billy and Jonny

“If you need some extra motivation to exercise challenge yourself by having a finish goal for example a 10km walk/run for charity. Tell your followers about it and share your progress. By doing this you won’t want to let yourself, your family or friends down especially if they’re sponsoring you”.
“Finish off each exercise session with a series of callisthenics exercises, e.g. press-ups, sit-ups and lunges to get more variation of exercises for the body”.

Diet from Paddy

“There’s a number of foods you could try to help you sleep. Foods rich in tryptophan will help as these help serotonin and melatonin, which are our brains ‘sleep chemicals’. For example turkey, spinach and halibut could help”.

I like the tips from week 2; actually I like them all.

The diet tip from Paddy is especially useful as I had no idea what tryptophan even was before I read this tip. I researched it a bit and I found that a lack of tryptophan can cause depression 🙁 It looks like tryptophan is very important. Other foods which contain a high content of tryptophan are: eggs, cod, soybeans (raw), cheese especially Parmesan and cheddar, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and many more.

But my favourite tip by far is the second week’s wellbeing tip from Dr Doug – when you start feeling like you’re losing it, take a time out! It makes a lot of sense but so very often when I am stuck with something I tend to just keep going despite totally losing it at times. I tried to follow the “time out” rule last week and it does help. A little break will give you some perspective as to the task at hand and when you return to it everything seems so much simpler and far less complicated.

The aim of the challenge was to both reduce stress and to be better prepared to deal with stress. The Aviva experts think that a small change for a long time will help you to achieve it, so I am committing myself to a time out rule for a lifetime. When I feel like I am stuck in the muck I will take a short break and try to regroup. Hopefully this will allow me to clear my head a little and once I return to my original task it will not be so gloomy.

Will you commit to a small change which can benefit you over a lifetime?

What do you think about the tips I have received from the Aviva experts?

Do you have any special ways to deal with stress?

Aviva #StressLess Challenge

* I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.

Aviva Stress Less Challenge: Week 2

#StressLess

I think the fact that I am taking part in this challenge is stressing me a bit. On one hand I have fantastic tips to follow which are supposed to help me be less stressed but on the other hand… I am stressing about whether I am not so stressed…

Does it make any sense?

I hope it does.

Anyway, I am on week 2 of my challenge and I have all the tips which are coming my way.

On my first week I received 3 tips:

Work-life balance from Dr Doug

“You say that the best thing about your job is not having a boss but actually you sound like you have a very demanding boss who wants you to do lots of things – you! You put pressure on yourself to do everything. Try to remember everything does not have equal importance rather than thinking everything has to be done.  Make sure that what you have on your to-do lists are things which you have to do – this helps reduce the list and pressure. Overall, it sounds that whilst you report high levels of stress, in many ways this is your normal state – consider whether you really want to make significant changes if this has always been the case”.

Wellbeing from Dr Doug

“Sleep is essential to help you be better prepared to tackle stress. Prepare yourself for  a good night’s sleep by having some relaxing time before bed. Avoid anything which makes your mind active such as online gaming and turn off your laptop or mobile devices so they don’t distract you from slumber”.

Diet from Paddy

“To get extra portions of your 5 a day in your diet, try different vegetarian dishes. Roasted vegetables are a great accompaniment to any meal you make, just chop up your favourite vegetables, add some seasoning and herbs of your choice and put in the oven until cooked. Try changing the seasoning for added variety”.

So what do I think about my week one tips?

Diet tip is a bit to sketchy for me. I think on most days I do get 5 a day and I do not agree that roasted vegetables go with any meal… Yes, I know I am hard to please…

… However I must agree with Dr Doug, especially regarding my sleep routine. Normally I would go to bed and then play a puzzle game or a round of scrabble, which is not helping me to calm down and more importantly keeping my brain activities quiet… therefore I wanted to follow this tip religiously so I decided it was time for a change: no mobiles allowed in or near the bed; to my surprise it really helps. Now instead of staring at my mobile I will have a “quiet” conversation with Mark (he always asks me why am I shouting when he is right next to me) and just drift off. It is much easier now to fall asleep.

I received 4 more tips for week two, which are actually quite interesting… The diet tip from Paddy is definitely my favourite one, but let me try them out for a week and I will tell you all about them in seven days’ time.

For now… stay calm and #stressless!

* I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.

Aviva Stress Less Challenge: Week 1

Can you cure stress?Aviva stresses of life getting to you

Most likely not, but you can for sure reduce its occurrence and intensity.

I am a “stress monkey”. I stress too often, too much and most likely about things which I can do nothing about it… but I do not think that I am a lost cause because I am aware of my high stress state and I would love to change it. I think admitting that you have a problem is the first step to getting better 🙂

The Aviva team have joined up with Mumsnet to run a Stress Less Challenge with 10 UK bloggers. I was one of the lucky 10 chosen to be a part of it.

Aviva Stress Less Challenge Questionnaire

It all started with a long questionnaire about me, my lifestyle, my eating habits, work, home, hobbies etc… Based on the content of my answers, I received a bunch of tips to follow which should in theory allow me to stress less.

Aviva say “Armed with our experts ranging from a doctor, nutritionist and rugby coach we want to help you achieve a healthier and less stressed you. We want to give you some truly personalised health tips to try for 2 weeks aiming to commit to at least one for a lifetime. A small change for a big health benefit”.

My week 1 tips were about work-life balance, wellbeing and diet. They were very accurate and for sure were tailored specifically for me. “You say that the best thing about your job is not having a boss but actually you sound like you have a very demanding boss who wants you to do lots of things – you!” Lol this is so true! This is part of my problem. I want to do it all by myself. Everything has to be perfect and done now…

For as long as I can remember I have been in this high level of stress state and Dr Doug picked up on it. It was suggested to me that maybe I do not really want to change… I do! I really do! I want nothing more but to stress less and be able to relax easier and I am determine to change, so I will follow my tips and let’s hope I can stress less.

Wish me luck and I will keep you posted on the progress.

Aviva Put the spring back in your step

* I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.