Checking Your Car Before the MOT Check

The MOT annual check is required for your safety, the protection of the environment and the safety of others. We understand that it can be frustrating to go into a MOT check with confidence just to be told your car failed.

For example, in March there were more than 3.62 million vehicles that drove to the MOT test centres but 830,619 cars left with a failing grade. However, the vehicles owners could easily prevent many of these failures.

In 2012/2013, 40% of the 30million cars that were inspected for the MOT test failed. These failures get logged so that they will forever show up in a Mot history check. Of the 40%, only 20% were giving the failing grade because of faulty lights and more than 7% failed because of their tyres. Furthermore, 10.5% of MOT failures were because of brakes. Although some of these were due to malfunctioning equipment, many of them simply failed because the fluids were not adequate. Here’s what you should have checked at a Car servicing garage before you take your car to the MOT test to guarantee you don’t fail for something as simple as low fluids:

  • Headlights and indicators: Check that all of your lights function properly, including hazard lights, rear lights, turn signals, brake lights and headlights.
  • Number plate: Make sure that your number plate is legible and clean. Simply wiping it off with a cloth can make a difference.
  • Wheels and tyres: Give your wheels and tyres a once over. The minimum tyre thread is 1.6mm – any less and you’ll be giving a failing grade. If you aren’t sure how much thread you have, then ask your local manufacturer to check for you. If you need a replacement, they’ll be able to suggest the right tyre.
  • Seat and seatbelts: The driver’s seat should be adjusted forwards and backwards and the seatbelts should be in perfect working condition. Test the movement of the seat and make sure the seatbelt moves its full length. Tug sharply to guarantee their integrity.
  • Horn: Give it a quick honk and make sure that it works.
  • Engine and fuel oil: Make sure that all the oils are topped off.
  • Screenwash: Top up the washer bottle before taking it to the test. Something as simple as empty screenwash can result in failure.
  • Windscreen Wipers: Make sure that your wipers are in good working condition. If there are holes in the wiper then you might receive an MOT fail.

Paying a minor Car service cost can prevent a second attempt at the MOT check. Rather than going in and hoping that they won’t catch your faults, use a comparison site (Tootcompare are highly recommended) to find your nearest garage and guarantee you’ll pass.


Who Should Try Barefoot Running?

If you are part of the cardio community then chances are that you have heard about barefoot running. The debate has been turned into a Running Shoes vs. no shoes competition but in reality, there is no right or wrong when it comes to running. The biomechanics of running are not simple nor are they the same for everyone. As a runner you should do what feels natural and safe for you. Every runner has their own technique and stride because of their individual built but if discover that you are repeatedly having problems then change is imminent. So, who should consider barefoot running?

Between 30 – 70% of runners report some suffering from repetitive stress injuries annually. For some cardio-lovers this pain is severe and chronic that they are forced to give up their passion for a period of time and even permanently. If you are one of those people then barefoot running is definitely something that you should try.

When you are considering the long run – both metaphorically and in actual distance – every runner can benefit from barefoot running or minimalist shoe running. This doesn’t mean that you have to throw your Running Trainers in the rubbish but leave them in the closet for periods of time. It’s important that you slowly introduce your body to barefoot running. After you’ve given your feet that initial introduction to running with nothing, or next to nothing on your feet, you can make barefoot running part of your regular running routine. For example, allow for 10-15 minutes of barefoot running on grass. This will strengthen your legs and feet and help prevent injuries from repetitive stress on ligaments, tendons and muscles that are not used when wearing modern trainers.  Barefoot running also puts us more in-tune with our musculoskeletal system so that we focus more on our strides, technique, pronation, etc.

The most common mistake runners make with barefoot running is doing too much too soon. Regardless if you want to become a full-time barefoot runner because of chronic injuries or a part-time barefoot runner, it’s vital that you introduce barefoot running gradually. This is because we are use to wearing trainers, which do not put the same demand on our ligaments and muscles as barefoot running resulting in strain and tension.

As a society we love our Trainers because of comfort, style and practicality. The fact is, as a runner, you should have a variety of options available to you. All runners can benefit from introducing barefoot running into their technique, even if it’s just for a few minutes per week. This will reach those neglected muscles from when you were young and running around shoeless. If you aren’t up for completely running barefoot then Trail Running Shoes that offer flexibility and less-structure will reduce the risk of injury and give you more well-rounded training.

An Introduction to Orthotics

High heels are getting a lot of attention for the damage they cause to feet but it doesn’t seem to put people off. In fact, I see many women who come into the salon all dolled up, wearing their high heels. I, myself only wear them on special occasions.

If you DO insist on wearing high heeled shoes (and other shoes which may damage your feet), you can get orthotics. You do not require a referral by a chiropodist or another medical expert such as a Physiotherapist or Osteopath to obtain an orthotic device however it is recommended to visit a chiropodist to undergo a proper examination.  Orthotics are also made from different materials and the type of material determines if it is a ‘soft’ or ‘hard’ orthotic.  Your chiropodist will ensure that the orthotic is made of the appropriate material according to the requirements of your foot condition and body type.

If you are going in for your first consultation with a Chiropodist to look at getting an orthotic support, it is important to ensure that you bring along everything that is needed to complete the first medical evaluation.  Naturally, you will need the referral (if you have one), any x-rays and previous medical reports on your condition and you should take your sports shoes.  Take both your old and new sports shoes (if you have recently bought some).  It is recommendable to not buy any new sports shoes until you have undergone the medical evaluation with the Chiropractor.

Your prescribed orthotic will last between two to five years, depending on the amount of wear it gets and whether your feet are growing. The duration also depends on whether they are off-the-shelf or a customized prescription.  Customised prescription orthotics are usually more durable than off-the-shelf and require replacement up to five years.  The off-the-shelf types are made from less durable material and require replacing up to eighteen months later.  It is recommended to replace them at the most every five years.

Orthotics are developed and customized for your feet and should be comfortable to wear.  If your feet develop blisters because of the orthotic device you should immediately take them into your chiropodist for an assessment.  It may be that they need some adjusting or it may be that you are wearing them incorrectly.  The wrong types of socks and shoes may also be the cause and this is why it is important to provide the chiropodist with as much information as possible.

Orthotics are usually covered by the top levels of health funds.  It is best to call your private health fund and ask if your level of cover covers orthotics and podiatry.  The percentage of rebate will vary depending on the health fund.  If you expect to wear orthotics over an extended period of time or permanently and do not have ample health fund cover it is worthwhile upgrading to a higher level that will offer the right type of cover.

What Are Interest Rate Swaps?

Interest rate swap claims are a derivative contract and over-the-counter trade that two parties enter into to exchange or swap their interest rate payments over a period of time. Interest rate swaps help manage and limit exposure to fluctuations in interest rates or it will help a company/individual receive lower Swap rates.

Vanilla Swaps

The most common type of interest rate swaps are “vanilla” swaps and it makes up most of the interest rate swap market. This is where you swap a fixed-rate payment for floating-rate payments based on London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). LIBOR is the interest rate that banks with quality high-credit are charged for short-term financing. Each participant is the vanilla swap is known as counterparties but the party that receives the fixed-rate in exchange for floating-rate is known as the ‘receiver’ and the counterparty that receives the floating rate in exchange for the fixed-rate is the ‘payer’.

Who’s Involved in Interest Rate Swaps?

Both investment and commercial banks can be swap market-makers and offer fixed or floating-rate cash flows to their customers. The counterparties who partake in interest rate swaps are usually a commercial or investment bank, an investor, corporations, etc. The swap bank will execute the swap and offset the swap through an interdealer broker and charges a fee for setting up the swap.

Swaps such as the Cross currency swap have traditionally been a way to help corporations manage their debt liabilities by exchanging their floating-rate for the fixed-rate payments. However, interest rate swaps reflect the markets interest rate expectations for the future and therefore have become attractive for a variety of financial market participants including investors and speculators. Therefore, swaps have grown rapidly over the past two decades.

Additionally, clearing houses, such as the London clearing house are used to reduce the risk of interest rate swaps by offering extensive financial checks on clients, serving as a guarantor and offering insurance against one of the counter parties potentially defaulting.


A few examples to better illustrate an interest rate swap would be: Company A needs to take out a loan for 10 million GBP and the best rate that they can receive received-rate of 7%. Company B needs to take out a loan for 10 million GBP and the best rate that they can receive from their bank is 11% floating-rate. The two companies could exchange the interest rate payments for a specific period of time to better suit their company.

On the other hand you can also take advantage of interest rates in other countries. For example, you have Company C which is located in England but needs to take out a loan in Australian Dollars. Company D, located in Australia needs a loan in British Pounds. The two companies could swap their interest rates to benefit from one another’s privileges their own market.

Interest rate swaps allow companies to take advantage of the global market and competitive interest rate swap types without breaking the rules and regulations of their loan agreement. Although there are some risk associated with CCP clearing, clearing houses help reduce that risk so that companies can reap the benefits without the potential cost.

Go Shopping With Your Fussy Eaters!

As someone who had kids quite young, I had to pick things up quickly. One of my major difficulties was with feeding. If you have one or more fussy eaters at home and you are always keen on trying a new strategy to make them eat properly, here is one that is highly likely to work! Go shopping with them! This, however, does not mean to simply take them to the supermarket and follow your list of products you will need for the next healthy recipes for kids you have planned – instead, give them the freedom to choose the products themselves. Your kids’ health is important, but you are more likely to improve it by making them eat everything instead of insisting on them eating what you tell them to eat.

How can shopping with your fussy eaters help? For one thing, they will be responsible for choosing the food the family will live off for the next couple of meals. This is a great responsibility and they are likely to understand that, especially if you have never asked for their opinion before. Choosing what they like to eat means they can have what they want – and having what they want is what children love most. Don’t try to teach them lessons in healthy eating in the supermarket, don’t tell them don’t take that (having in mind that it has no place in any of the healthy Recipes for kids you know). Instead, let them buy whatever they want, suggesting that it is their own choice.

If they are old enough, you can even give them some money and send them to the supermarket, telling them to get their dinner. To make sure that the dinner will be appropriate for everyone, you can give them a list of products and tell them to buy whatever they want with the rest of the money. They will be grateful for entrusting them with this task and it will be a step towards learning how to take care of themselves, how to spend money reasonably and how to live on their own.

If you are up for a challenge, you can sacrifice yourself in the name of your Kids health by promising that you will try something new – whatever they choose for you. Thus, you will set an example and will teach them that new things are always worth trying. You may not like everything you try, and so may they. The important thing is to keep the horizons open – yours and theirs. And don’t get surprised if the next time you go shopping with your fussy eaters, they ask for something new to try – this means they have learned the lessons and you have made a small step towards the improvement of your kids health.

Never forget that eating healthily is important, but eating in the first place is more important. If you have fussy eaters at home, don’t hesitate to turn the meals into a game, a challenge or a play. Don’t fuss too much over eating – you don’t want to draw too much attention on it, but also try to make it an enjoyable activity for everyone. Thus, you will find that your Healthy snacks for kids are more welcomed and the food disappears much faster!

What to Ask Your Chiropodist

Many people are intimated when they first visit their chiropodist or Podiatrist Covent Garden. These specialists work exclusively with those who have foot related injuries or lower leg problems. If you’re getting ready to have your first consultation or if you simply aren’t sure what to ask about your next visit, think about some of the helpful questions that can help you get more information about your condition and overall health.

Your Chiropodist East Dulwich will want information about how you’re pain management is and how well you can move and function with your injury or condition. Be as specific as you can so your physician can better understand what you’re experiencing. Often you’ll be asked to rate your pain a scale of one to ten. You might also be asked to discuss how your injury or condition has affected your daily life. Be sure to give your physician detailed information as well as you can.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Sometimes physicians and nurses might not know that you aren’t sure about a prognosis or that you need more information. No question is too small or silly to ask. Again, try to be specific. Try bringing a pad of paper and pen so you can jot down notes to refer to later.

Ask your physician about pain medications, if you need some. If you’re uncomfortable or feel like you need a prescription for something, talk to your Podiatrist East Dulwich about it right away. There might be a medication or a treatment plan that you can start that will help improve your pain scale and increase your quality of life. Always talk to your physicians before starting any new drug regimen or healthcare plan.

Your Podiatrist Dulwich wants to help you and has your best interest in mind. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek advice so you can take care of your health.

If you would like an alterative explanation of what chiropody is, watch the video below.