Car insurance: Drivers can make ‘very significant savings’ by doing this one thing

Car insurance experts say drivers should simply check their renewal date and then secure a better deal to make top savings. The current financial situation may well be a great time to make the switch with many insurers reducing their current premiums.

Firms have also been forced to scrap their cancellation fees amid the pandemic meaning drivers could make a switch without facing any additional charges.

Lee Griffin, CEO of insurance experts Go Compare, said one of the best ways to reduce expenditure is to secure a better deal.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “For those people who are still working, using their cars and able to pay premiums, the advice is to check your insurance renewal date.

One way to reduce outgoings is to shop around for a better insurance deal.

READ MORE: Car insurance experts reveal five-point plan to make savings

This is when firms incrementally increase your overall payments each year to bring your total charges in line with what the agreement is actually valued at.

Usually, new customers receive a policy at a heavily discounted rate to get them to sign up which prompts slight rises over the next few years.

Experts at Confused.com say that the best time to renew an agreement is between 21 and 340 days before an agreement ends.

They say this is when agreements are usually at their cheapest with some firms taking advantage of those who are days away from an agreement running out, by upping quotes.

Experts at Confused.com say that it is worth shopping around, with savings of up to £276 on average available for those who switch.

Analysis from the firm has revealed one in six drivers who made the switch to a new agreement could find a new policy more than £100 cheaper.

Louise O’Shea, Confused.com CEO, has previously warned that not shopping around could be “costly” for road users.

She said it was likely there would be another insurer who could offer a “better price” compared to what your current provider is charging.

She said: “Automatically renewing with your insurer might seem like the easiest, stress-free option, but it could be costly.

“Even if your renewal price is cheaper, or the same, it’s likely there will be another insurer out there willing to offer a better price.

“Please don’t pay more than you have to – take a few minutes to check your renewal letter and get a cheaper price because now, more than ever, it’s so important to shop around.”

Mr Griffin told Express.co.uk: “For many people, running a car is essential to their everyday life for commuting to work, shopping or, supporting family and friends.

“COVID is having a significant impact on motorists – affecting everything from the availability of serving and MOT testing to obtaining or renewing a driving licence.”



Butternut squash soup recipe: How to make butternut squash soup

Soup lovers, listen up. Butternut squash soup is a delicious, healthy and comforting addition to any autumn day and we have found the perfect recipe for you to try. This recipe serves four and will be ready to eat an hour. Express.co.uk talks you through BBC Good Food’s butternut squash soup recipe.

Picture the scene: the leaves are falling, you’re wearing a cosy jumper and you have just stepped inside after a brisk walk.

A cup of tea will warm you up… but something else will do a better job.

Why not whip up a bowl of butternut squash soup to make you warm while filling you up with all the good stuff.

If you have a soup maker, you’ll get the job done much quicker without needing to chop all the veg up.

READ MORE- NHS soup and shake diet: What is the NHS diet for diabetics?

Step three

While the butternut squash cooks, melt one tablespoon of butter with the remaining one tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan.

Then add two diced onions, one thinly sliced garlic clove and ¾ of the two deseeded and finely chopped red chillies.

Step four

Cover and cook on a very low heat for 15 to 20 mins.

When the onions are completely soft, they’re done.

Step five

Tip the butternut squash into the pan, add 850ml hot vegetable stock.

Add four tablespoons of crème fraîche and then whizz with a stick blender until smooth.

For a really silky soup, put the soup into a liquidiser and blitz it in batches.

Return to the pan, gently reheat, then season to taste.

Serve the soup in bowls with swirls of crème fraîche and a scattering of the remaining chopped chilli.



Autumn equinox spiritual meaning: What is the meaning behind the autumnal equinox?

The autumnal equinox marks the first day of autumn as summer sunshine gives way to red leaves and rain. This year, the equinox falls on Tuesday, September 22, which is a day when nighttime and daytime are roughly equal. Astronomically, on the day of the equinox, the Sun crosses the celestial equator and the days start to grow shorter.

Spiritually, there is also a lot happening during this time as the ebb and flow of energies shifts with the seasons.

According to Tanaaz of Forever Conscious, as Mother Nature prepares for the cold embrace of winter, so should we prepare to let go.

The spiritual expert said: “Now, as the leaves begin to fall and the weather gets cooler, Mother Nature begins preparing for a type of death, and we too may feel called to let things go.

“We may also feel a need to ‘put things on ice’ or to release our attachment to taking action and making decisions in order to see where things may flow on their own.”

READ MORE: Equinox 2020: What causes the autumn equinox?

The word equinox comes from the Latin for equal night and this is often reflected in astrological forecasts for this time of the year.

Tanaaz said: “Even though our location will determine how we will experience these Equinox energies, on this day, all of us will experience this equality and balance between light and dark energies.

“The scales will be balanced and we will be able to experience the merging of these two energies to the point where we can feel them as one.”

Astrologers, in particular, believe tomorrow’s equinox is all about balance.

Neopagans will spend this time celebrating Mabon, the second harvest and the creeping approach of winter.

The equinox is also linked to Japanese beliefs and falls during the Buddhist celebrations of Higan.

Another aspect of the equinox to consider is the longer nights from henceforth – spiritual and physical darkness.

While on the day of the equinox the two are in harmony, moving forward you will have to fight for every bit of sunlight.

This will continue until the day of the summer solstice in chilling December – the first day of winter after which the nights will grow shorter and days longer.

Danu Forest wrote in the 2004 book The Magic of the Autumn Equinox: “During the autumn and spring equinoxes, the Sun rises and sets at the midpoint between its furthest northern and southern positions, marking a seasonal shift between these two extremes.

“The Celts, skilled astronomical observers, noticed these points in the solar year as times of change, tidal shifts in the productivity of the Earth herself, which were of great spiritual and as well as practical significance.”

And in Seasons of Witchery: Celebrating the Sabbats with the Garden Witch, author Ellen Dugan wrote: “The autumn equinox is the beginning to our most bewitching time of year, so let the magick of the wonderful season inspire you.

“Tip up your face to the golden autumn sunshine and be motivated by the energies and the sense of balance that is so prevalent at this time of the calendar year.”



Driving test changes: These major updates are coming into effect from next week

Mr Brabin commented: “The changes being implemented to the car theory test as of next Friday are fantastic as ultimately it gives it a greater sense of reality with the new video aspects.

“By taking away the written case study and replacing this with a short video clip, the theory test becomes far more accessible to people who may have previously struggled, or have been otherwise deterred from learning to drive because they saw this as a barrier.

“If anyone thinks this might make the test easier – it doesn’t. You still have to answer 50 multiple choice questions and score 43 out of 50 alongside the hazard perception part of the test too.

“It’s simply about improving the theory test and making it accessible to all, not just most, which is vitally important.”



Type 2 diabetes: What are the three main symptoms to spot warning that you may be at risk

Half a million adults may have type 2 diabetes without even realising it, a study has revealed. Scientists analysed blood samples from 200,000 Britons aged between 40 and 70. They found that 2,000 of them had very high blood sugar levels, indicating they had diabetes, but had not yet been diagnosed with the condition. With these shocking statistics, what are the three main symptoms to look out for warning you may be living with the condition and not know?

Type 2 diabetes is a common condition that causes high blood sugar levels.

Anyone who experiences possible signs and symptoms of diabetes should see a doctor for an evaluation, especially if they have other risk factors for developing this condition.

The early detection and treatment of type 2 diabetes can improve a person’s quality of life and reduce the risk of severe complications.

With this in mind, health care professionals warn of the three most common signs experienced indicating your blood sugar levels are too high and are at risk. These include frequent urination, increased thirst and feeling tired.

READ MORE: Type 2 diabetes symptoms: The sign in your mouth you may have developed the condition

Frequent urination

Excessive thirst and increased urination are common diabetes signs and symptoms.

“When you have diabetes, excess glucose — a type of sugar — builds up in your blood,” said the Mayo Clinic.

The health site continued: “Your kidneys are forced to work overtime to filter and absorb the excess glucose.

“When your kidneys can’t keep up, the excess glucose is excreted into your urine, dragging along fluids from your tissues, which makes you dehydrated.

“This will usually leave you feeling thirsty. As you drink more fluids to quench your thirst, you’ll urinate even more.”

DON’T MISS

Increased thirst

Having an insatiable thirst is caused by too much sugar (glucose) in the blood.

When a person has type 2 diabetes, the body cannot use sugars from food properly.

This causes sugar to collect in your blood.

High blood sugar levels force a person’s kidneys to go into overdrive to get rid of the extra sugar which in turn leaves a person feeling constantly thirsty.

Feeling tired

Blood glucose levels go high when there is either insufficient insulin or the insulin is not working effectively enough.

“To provide us with energy, insulin is needed to transport glucose from blood into our cells to be used for energy,” explained Diabetes.co.uk.

It added: “When there is not enough insulin, or the insulin isn’t working effectively, it means the sugar in our blood cannot get into our cells and therefore our cells do not receive the energy they need.

“As a result, we feel tired.”

A study by the University of Exeter revealed that one percent of people in the UK – over half a million people – could be living with type 2 diabetes without knowing it.

The study suggested that a national screening programme should be brought in to improve diagnosis.

Experts said symptoms of type 2 diabetes, which include frequently going to the toilet, being thirsty and feeling tired, are easy to miss, especially during the early stages.

Co-author Dr Katherine Young, said: “As people can have type 2 diabetes for many years without symptoms, diagnosis may be delayed, increasing the risk of complications.”



Coronavirus symptoms update: Five unusual warning signs

Britain is at a “tipping point” in its battle with COVID-19, according to health secretary Matt Hancock. This comes as England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty has warned the rate of COVID-19 infections in the UK is “heading in the wrong direction”. With the prospect of a second national lockdown becoming more likely with every passing day, it is more vital than ever to look out for the symptoms and self-isolate if you experience them.

The scientists suggest the symptom may be in part exacerbated by being in intensive care.

The multinational scientists concluded that patients who have to stay in intensive care for long periods of time and who are in need of ventilation treatment may be at greater risk of experiencing delirium and confusion.

Health body Mayo Clinic has also compiled a list of unusual warning signs.

COVID-19 might cause mild gastrointestinal symptoms, including a loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea, noted the health body.

“These symptoms might only last one day. Some people with COVID-19 have diarrhoea and nausea prior to developing fever and respiratory symptoms,” it says.

Other unusual symptoms reported include:

  • Skin changes. Younger people with less severe COVID-19 might develop painful, itchy lesions on their hands and feet that resemble chilblains, an inflammatory skin condition. Sometimes called COVID toes, this symptom typically lasts about 12 days. However, new research suggests that these lesions might simply be chilblains caused by sedentary behavior and failure to wear warm footwear during lockdowns, rather than by COVID-19.
  • Confusion. COVID-19 also has been reported to cause confusion in older people, especially those with severe infections.
  • Eye problems. COVID-19 might cause eye problems such as enlarged, red blood vessels, swollen eyelids, excessive watering and increased discharge. The infection also might cause light sensitivity and irritation. These symptoms are more common in people with severe infections.

“Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus and can range from mild to severe,” adds Mayo Clinic.

How to respond

According to UK health advice, if you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus:

  • Get a test to check if you have coronavirus as soon as possible.
  • Stay at home and do not have visitors until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test.

Anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, must also stay at home until you get your result.

A support bubble is where someone who lives alone (or just with their children) can meet people from one other household.

It is better to limit all your social interactions at this time to help stop the spread of coronavirus, however.

Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:

  • You’re worried about your symptoms
  • You’re not sure what to do.



Daily horoscope for September 21: YOUR star sign reading, astrology and zodiac forecast

Also in play today is the planet Venus which kicks-off a conversation with Jupiter and Neptune.

Some consider this an auspicious moment, where the finger of the universe conspires toward love and compromise.

The Moon’s remains waxing to positive effect in star sign Scorpio.

As it Trines Neptune, then Sextiles Pluto, Saturn and the Sun, you at last are getting somewhere.



Heart attack symptoms: Are you feeling choked up? It may be due to a heart attack

Also known as a myocardial infarction (MI), a heart attack is a serious health concern. Immediate medical attention is required to help save your life. Would you know when to dial 999?

One of the symptoms of a heart attack is feeling choked up, which may feel like heartburn, attested the health website WebMD.

This may be accompanied by a sense of fullness or a feeling of indigestion.

Other symptoms you may not have been aware of include excessive sweating, alongside an upset stomach, dizziness and being sick.

Some people suffering from a heart attack may feel as though their heart is beating irregularly fast.

You do not need to suffer from all of these symptoms to call the emergency services.

If you suspect you’re having a heart attack, let the operators on the other side of the line know about it.

Symptoms of a heart attack can be unique from person to person, and can vary from one heart attack to another.

DON’T MISS

This means a person who has already had a heart attack may suffer from different symptoms the next time they have one.

As soon as the paramedics arrive, treatment will begin if it’s found you are suffering from a heart attack.

The most likely cause of a heart attack is suffering from heart disease – do you have this condition?

If so, there are a number of things you can do to help stop the disease from getting worse.

For instance, if you have heart disease you must try to lower your cholesterol levels.

This can be achieved by following an exercise plan and eating a healthy diet.

In order to benefit from exercising, you’ll need to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activities during the week.

For example, any movement that contributes to a faster heart rate will help strengthen your heart muscle, such as jogging.

Exercising is a great way to control blood pressure, as well as a great stress buster.

Stress and high blood pressure are risk factors that will make heart disease worse.

If you’d like specific guidance as to what exercises are best for you, do discuss your goals with your GP.

Taking the time to really look after your health will pay dividends later on in life.



Dementia symptoms: Are you easily upset? It could be a sign of vascular dementia

Alzheimer’s Research UK stated: “One in five people who have a stroke go on to develop dementia.”

Other health conditions that put a person at greater risk of developing vascular dementia include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and heart problems.

Lifestyle factors that contribute to the disease are smoking and obesity.

Getting regular exercise and eating a healthy diet, “especially in midlife and beyond”, can lower a person’s risk of vascular dementia.



Alesha Dixon weight loss: What BGT judge eats daily to stay slim after two children

The star wrote: “Who gives birth then five weeks later attempts to puts on this tight little red number? I do! But only for America’s Got Talent.

“After filming it’s straight into comfy clothes.”

She posed in a red mini dress, which was made from a shiny PVC material.

It was an off the shoulder number with a cape detail.

She wore a bright red lip to complement the dress, with dangling gold earrings.

In March, Alesha showed off performing a workout using her at the time seven month old daughter Anaya as a weight.

She filmed herself doing a number of sits, up and lifting Anaya up for a kiss.

READ MORE: Alesha Dixon wears Black Lives Matter necklace on Britain’s Got Talent