How to avoid failing your MOT

If you are anything like me then taking your car in for its MOT can cause you feeling anxious and panicky. What if it’s things I could have fixed beforehand, what if it fails, how much is it going to cost?!

Often the reasons for failing are minor faults that can be fixed beforehand.

A few things to consider and look out for before going for an MOT

1. Keep a regular check on your tyre pressure. When you fill up on fuel at a petrol station check your tyres and fill them up if necessary. To test the tread you can do the 20p test. Insert a 20p into the tread grooves on the tyre. If you can't see the outer band on the coin they are above the legal limit. However, if you can see the band and that section of the coin is still visible, your tyres could be unsafe.

2. Check that the horn works. Is it as loud as it should be? Does it work first time? The sound emitted must be continuous or uniform. It can’t be harsh or grating, or have more than one tone.

3. Check your vision through the front windscreen. Get any cracks repaired, or the windscreen replaced, and make sure your wipers are in good condition, replace if necessary.

4. Test handbrake, brakes and steering. Brakes should not feel spongy or slack. Test your car on a quiet road by trying some emergency stops, and at the same time test your steering. Does it feel comfortable? Is your car driving in a straight line when the steering is in a neutral position?

5. Check lights are working. Including hazard lights, ask someone else to help whilst you test for reverse lights, brake light, fog lights, and headlights. Change the bulbs if needed, this can be quite fiddly and tough to do depending on your car, so may be a job for the garage.

6. When was your car last serviced? Regular servicing can save motorists money. New oil and air filters make cars more fuel efficient and are better for the environment. Looking at issues such as under inflated tyres will reduce rolling resistance and improve fuel consumption. Book your car service in London only with Iverson Tyres.


[ad] #foodsavvy Our journey with food waste in February so far

So I guess I've learnt in this challenge that if I'm set a challenge I tend to skip the "do as your normally do" and try to get as far into it as possible.
Which ends up not getting the results you expected, in some ways.

Our first part of the challenge was to look at our food waste in a normal week. I kind of broke the rule a little by completely getting rid of all food in our fridge and our freezer that I knew would never get eaten, or that had been in there for a while and seemed pointless to keep hold of.
It obviously created a lot of food waste for that week. I ended up with a deep drawer in the freezer that was empty and half of another drawer. It helped to organise the freezer, to organise a drawer for vegetables, desserts, and fish fingers/chicken nuggets/chips/waffles.
We then had a drawer empty to fill with any leftovers we had throughout the following weeks.



Beachy Head

A few weekends ago I spent a night down in Eastbourne. Travelling down after work and staying in an apartment on the Saturday night, the Sunday was then a day to have a look around and explore the area.
After a morning walking along the Eastbourne beach we then went to Beachy Head.

I knew I'd heard of Beachy Head before, and I knew it wasn't for good reasons. So I didn't really want to Google it beforehand.
The image I had in my head of it wasn't a great one but as I had been told it was beautiful I thought I would give it the benefit of the doubt and go along.

Well. I couldn't have been more wrong.



Lowestoft to London with Greater Anglia Trains

I've never understood why anyone who lives in the same town as me, or in this area, would drive to London. In fact I struggle to understand a lot of journeys we make around here when we can go by train instead.
Any trip I've gone on to London has always been via train, either when going to an event or a day out in London itself or if it is on the way to Paris or Disneyland.
I guess we are quite spoilt in my town as we have 3 train stations which are easily accessible and can take us either to Norwich or to Ipswich, and then onto a variety of other towns and cities.

Greater Anglia invited us to take a trip on their trains to any destination of our choice. This was a massive task for me with so many places to choose, and the boys weren't much help either.
In the end we chose London. I haven't been there with the boys for quite a few years now and this seemed like a good excuse to go.



[ad] Getting #foodsavvy in February

When it comes to food waste I have to admit, and I'm not proud of it, I am bad at it.
I waste a lot of food that has gone past its use by or best before date, leftovers, open packs of meat I forgot to wrap up and so on.
It seemed like great timing for the start of the new year when I was approached to work with Norfolk and Suffolk County Councils on a Food Savvy challenge.

In Norfolk and Suffolk alone, 113,000 tonnes of food per year is wasted. That's £810 worth of food in the bin for each household. (approx £70 a month)
Across both counties this costs the taxpayer £12.6m annually.



Paradise Wildlife Park in Broxbourne

When the boys were younger we used to visit the local zoo pretty much every week. I had a season ticket for us all and it was so handy to go along even if just for an hour or so.
Although it was great for a day out, I found that after a while the novelty had worn off for the boys, and with starting school we couldn't spend as much time there as we used to, and then I got a job and had split with their dad so every other weekend we weren't together.
As a result, I can't now tell you when we last went to the zoo.

We had the opportunity to visit Paradise Wildlife Park in Broxbourne, and jumped at it. Despite it being a couple of hours drive there I enjoy an adventure and couldn't turn down a day out with the boys somewhere we haven't been before.

The drive was pretty straight forward thankfully and the wildlife park was really easy to find, with a lot of parking space and a toilet block available at the car park which is really handy after a long drive!

We'd had a look at the Paradise Park on their website before visiting. I was particularly looking forward to seeing the Big Cats and the boys were excited to see the animals as well as the World of Dinosaurs.

The zoo seemed to have a one way system type of route which makes it easy to be able to see all of the animals and to not miss anything out.
It was clear that there was some building work going on and new enclosures being built but this didn't cause much disruption.

The variety of animals at the park was great and was a highlight for us. From the big cats, camels, penguins, to reptiles, farmyard animals and an aquarium.
Another highlight was going for a coffee next to the Tiger enclosure. A tiger was on the platform and with just glass and a short distance between you it was lovely to be able to see it so close. The coffee shop was a little expensive but it was nice to sit down and be able to have a good view of the enclosure.

After having another walk around we went to the car for our picnic then went back in and looked at the enclosures with birds and tortoises. This was a lovely space and the boys spent a while here letting off some steam and taking selfies.

We have a Dinosaur Park near us locally so I was intrigued to see how this differed.
Honestly, I think this was our main highlight. The displays were great, with sound effects and the dinosaurs were animated.....even as far as them moving as if they were breathing!
After walking through the dinosaur section the boys had the chance to dig for a dinosaur. Their was a big fossil set under sand and it was great that children could dig and brush away to discover the dinosaur.

We then walked round and saw there was a big soft play centre, and we also visited the Speedway Museum which was really interesting.
We had about an hour until we needed to leave to get home so we went for a walk to the playground area and were pleasantly surprised to see that there were additional woodland walks, one to see the Wolves and one to see the deer. We were really impressed that there were so many areas and different places to explore.

The playground was really good and catered to a variety of ages. The boys really enjoyed themselves and were sad when it came to leaving.

With so much to do and to see this is the perfect attraction for the whole family, and a mixture of ages.
We had such a great day and would definitely make the effort to travel a similar distance for a day out in the future.

We were allowed entrance into the parks for the purpose of this review. All words are honest and my own.
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