UK lifestyle and money blog

Victoria Sully Nov 2018 Circle Logo

 

Welcome to the Lylia Rose UK money and lifestyle blog.  My name is Victoria Sully.  I'm a busy mum of two, wife, full-time blogger and online money-maker who’s always trying to make and save more money.  I’m passionate about making money online, healthy living and blogging.  I’m a mama on a mission to be healthier and wealthier!  Please join me on my journey.


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  1. Welcome to my UK family lifestyle roundup.  It's a monthly roundup where you get an insight into the person behind this blog and what my little family and I have been up to for a whole month.  It's also a place for me to document our lives each month and save them in this category so we can look back through them and remember what we've done!

    If you follow me on Instagram then you’re probably up to date!  But here is a more in-depth blog post of things we’ve been up to and family happenings.

    We're a family of four - Victoria 33, Ben 35, Bella 6 and Reuben 3 in Gloucestershire, south west England, UK.

    Catch up on some of my previous family roundups here: 
    January 2018
    February 2018
    March 2018
    April 2018
    May and June 2018
    July 2018
    August 2018
    September 2018
    October 2018
    November 2018
    December 2018

    January 2019 mont­­hly family roundup

    January has been half calm and half busy.  It’s my mum’s birthday in January so there’s always something to celebrate at the start of the year.  We’ve been cracking on with business plans and discussions as well as focusing on our savings.  My goal for 2019 is to save an emergency fund of £10,000.  I was half way there by the end of 2018.  I’d hoped to complete in 2018, but we lost a lot of money on selling Ben’s old car which typically got an engine problem as we came to sell (around £3000 lost) and then we had two big car repair bills for the new car within five months of owning it (£2400 for a new turbo and to replace the head gasket/top of the engine).  Very frustrating!  So I’m one year behind on my savings already thanks to annoying cars and also my dental work that was a LOT more than we expected.   But I am thankful we had been saving already and so had the funds available to pay for such extensive car repairs, towards a new car and for my pricey dental work.

    I’ve always been a spender, especially when younger getting into horrific debt at an early age, but now things have changed and I am focusing on spending less and saving more with specific goals in mind.  We’re even planning a no-spend month in February so we can really top up our savings!  I couldn’t do it in January as I had already booked a few appointments, meals out and have my mum’s birthday.  So it’s postponed to February and I’m actually looking forward to it.

    Before I crack on with the rest of January, here are my best Instagram posts (based on likes I believe) of 2018.  Goodbye 2018!

    January 2019 monthly family roundup 6

    Family businesses – a reflection and going forward

    Happy New Year!  2019 is well and truly here and we are all settling in nicely.  2018 was a great year for us overall.  My self-employed business had a successful year and improved greatly on 2017.  I’m hoping for an even better year in 2019 as I have four blogs now, so I hope I can increase my income and have plenty of back up too!  More blogs with more niches opens me up to more opportunities – well, that’s my plan!  I also love blogging so it makes sense to do more of what I love to make an income for myself.

    Related - How I made £35000 from home, blogging and online in 2018

    Ben started his handmade furniture business in 2018 and he hopes to grow it in 2019. Time is just the struggle for both of us, especially with two young children and Ben already having a full-time job.  We may just convert our playroom into an ensuite bedroom for a lodger after all.  It’s something we’ve ummed and arred about for a while and you may remember me mentioning it in previous blog posts.  This will give us an income to cover the mortgage payments and then perhaps Ben can have more freedom to pursue his passion and reconsider his existing career. 

    I know that’s what he wants to do ideally, but we obviously need his stable income at the moment as mine is never guaranteed.  It would definitely be risky for us to both be full-time self-employed at the moment.  Hopefully we can come up with some great ways to make this happen though in 2019 or even 2020!

    January 2019 monthly family roundup 2

    January has been a healthier month than December, where I let my usual healthy eating habits slide for a couple of weeks and then felt awful!

    The kids and school

    The kids had a great year.  Bella has completed her first term in year two, that’s the last year of infant school.  I can’t believe she will move up to juniors at the end of 2019!  This means it’s also time for Reuben to start school this year too as he turns four in March!  We have applied for his place and await the confirmation.  It’s the same school as Bella so there should be no issues with him getting a place there.  I’ve already heard that 14/30 of the new school places will be filled with siblings and 10 of those are boys!  Wow!

    January 2019 monthly family roundup 8

    Christmas school holidays

    So the first week of January was the school holidays.  Ben was back to work, but he had New Year’s Day off.  We went to Stratford Park in Stroud with the kids for the afternoon.  It’s somewhere I went as a child so it’s great to take my own children now and see them have so much fun there.  We spent a day with my mum and sister playing at our home.  We spent a morning at Jungle Chums soft play in Thornbury with my friend who has four boys, so the kids loved that.  The kids went to holiday club the other two days of that week so I could crack on with some work.  We also saw Ben’s Dad at the end of the week for Christmas and went for a carvery at The Fountain Inn in the Forest of Dean – they did a vegan option for us.

    Back to school, pre-school and nursery

    The second week of January was back to school, work, nursery and so on as normal.  I felt totally in hibernation mode and the weather really seemed to get freezing that week, so I struggled to get back in the swing of things in the day times, which only led to catching up at night staying up late and being tired again the next day… a catch-22 situation I needed to get myself out of sharpish!  The kids settled back into school and nursery well and after a week the holidays seemed an age away already as they always do.

    Vegan meal at The Red Lion, Wainlode Hill

    It’s my mum’s birthday in January so we met up for a meal at The Red Lion pub and restaurant in Norton, Gloucestershire on Wainlode Hill.  It’s a place me and Ben used to go to for a drink after work when we first got together as it was on the way home from work!  It’s set by the river so perfect for sitting outside on a sunny day and then wandering off for a walk along the river and through the meadows.

    Luckily they had some great vegan options.  Ben ordered roasted avocado which was stuffed with sundried tomatoes, garlic oil and pine nuts on a bed of salad leaves and baby potatoes.  Me and the kids had a pumpkin and potato hot pot with vegetables.  The kids weren’t too impressed and barely tried it.  I’m sure if they did then they’d have been fine.  Mine was OK, but I’ll be ordering the avocado if we ever return!  Mine was a tasty but like a bowl of mush.  I’d have preferred the veg to still be chunky and have a bit of firmness!  It’s a lovely place though and has been refurbished since we used to go years ago and now has a rustic cosy feel.

    A day out in Stroud town and a vegan lunch

    January 2019 monthly family roundup 7

    At the start of January I had a day out in Stroud with two of my friends.  We live so close to Stroud and often go to a park there called Stratford Park with the kids, but I’ve never really explored the town centre.  It’s crazy really as they have a very indie vibe and lots of lovely vegan places to eat!  In 2019 I will explore these cafes and eateries more foe sure.  I’m already going back in February for a photo shoot as I need head shots for my business, so I hope to go for lunch again!

    In January I had a peek around the market and saw a few vegan options such as homemade vegan pasties.  We snuck our heads into a few vegan friendly cafes to check out the offerings, but decided to eat at Falafel Mama as soon as I spied someone’s amazing looking pitta they were eating outside!  It looked delicious so I had to try one.  They are vegan friendly and homemade falafels served in pittas or as salads with a huge selection of salads and condiments.  Mine was so good!  We also had a bliss ball each.  I loved the creative energy of the place, the friendly staff and the music.  I’ll definitely go back! 

    I’m starting to think I want to move to Stroud.  I feel it’s more my kind of place and lifestyle.  I’d love to sit and work in the cafes each day with my laptop!

    January 2019 monthly family roundup 4

    Bella in a 5000 year old house near Stroud

    Planning holidays and events

    Perhaps it’s the January and winter blues, especially as I said this is the year of saving and not holidaying, but towards the end of January I booked two holidays for 2019.  We will return to Bluestone Resort in Wales for a short stay in the Christmas holidays.  We went last year and loved it! 

    I’ve also booked to go to Pentewan Sands in Cornwall in the autumn.  A seven night break was only £400!  I’d much prefer to hop on a plane and go and get some guaranteed sunshine, like we did in 2018 to Fuerteventura, but it was so expensive.  We need some cheaper holidays this year so I can reach my savings goals.  £400 is an absolute bargain for a week in Cornwall, on a beach, with indoor pools, parks and a soft play.  Plus Bella is super excited to stay in a ‘caravan’.  I always find it funny people call them caravans – it’s actually more a mobile home. 

    When I was little we stayed in a real caravan – a dinky little thing where the table turned into the bed and you couldn’t swing a cat in it!  We’ve also been looking at a possible summer trip as we’d love to drive the Bongo to Europe, but I think we’ll wait and see how our savings goals go first.

    January 2019 monthly family roundup 3

    The usual

    Most of this month was just the usual. We go to the gym at least three times a week and the kids go to kids club.  Bella has swimming ever Saturday and she’s doing great – I think she’s even starting to enjoy it and so it’s becoming less of a chore to get her there!  It still sometimes takes her a while to get in the pool, but once she’s in she is off.  There’s some sort of fear there still that she’ll hopefully overcome this year.

     

    Pop back to my Monthly Family Roundups next month to see what we get up to in January!

    January 2019 mont__hly family roundup

  2. Moving house can be a stressful time, and nothing makes the stress worse than trying to figure out how you are going to pay for everything. It can be quite a challenge and one that makes everything seem that little bit harder.

    But how would you feel if I told you that it didn’t have to be this way? That I had some money saving tips for you when it comes to moving home?

    Keep reading this article because we’ll be going through some of the simple ways that you can save money when you move house.

    Remove it yourself

    Saving money when you’re moving home is simpler than you think (6)

    The first tip is to handle the removal of everything yourself. This can be quite a strenuous task, but one that could be manageable with enough preparation. If you think about it, the amount of stuff in your home will depend on how many people are living there. For example, if it is just you, then you aren’t going to have as much stuff as you would if there were three of you.  So the removal of your goods shouldn’t be too complicated.

    If you have a car, then a few trips should do the trick. When I was in my early twenties and single, I moved several times.  It took a few car trips each time, but I was always able to move as cheaply as possible when it came to the removal vehicle.  Either my own car or a friend’s (if I didn’t have one) was satisfactory.  I just had to pay for petrol and devote my time and strength!

    However, it could be the case that you are moving quite far away and you don’t have the time to make multiple trips. For this you might look at options to hire a van for the move. It might cost you a little extra, but it is still going to be cheaper than paying for an entire removal team to come and help you. If you look online, you will find a variety of places that allow you to hire cheap vans to make moving a little bit easier.  I’ve also done this option a couple of times.  I’ve always been surprised at how affordable van hire is, especially if you only need one for one day or a few hours.  As you’ll begin to realise, I’ve moved house a lot!  Around ten times in my late teens and twenties!

    Moving house should only be undertaken by yourself if you are in good physical condition. You should not put yourself in harm's way to complete this job, and this is something important that you need to remember at all times.  Lifting furniture and heavy boxes is a strenuous task and you don’t want to put your back out if you have a dodgy back for example.  The money side is secondary to your health so if you know that you have a bad back or other issues with your health, do not try to do this alone.  Get help or pay for help and don’t do anything that puts you at risk just to save a few pennies.

    Related - Live in Yorkshire? Sell your home for free!

    Safe packaging

    Saving money when you’re moving home is simpler than you think (7)

    Next we’ll move on to packaging and how you can save money here.  I always advise people to start collecting boxes and packaging as soon as you know you are going to move house.  With most people buying goods online nowadays, you, your friends, family and colleagues can all start saving the packaging such as bubble wrap and boxes for your move.  This will save you a small fortune as opposed to having to buy it all.  Local shops and supermarkets might be more than happy for you to take cardboard boxes off their hands.  They can only say no, so just ask.

    You don’t want to go overboard on the packaging, especially if you do have to buy it as that’s money wasted.  But at the same time you want to know that all of your items are going to be safe during transit.  If you end up breaking items because they are not packaged properly then you’ll end up spending more replacing smashed items!

    Make sure breakable items are protected and not just loose in the boxes.  Check out online companies such as Easy Foam to find solutions for wrapping up your fragile items.  Foam is a great way to ensure that nothing gets damaged while you are moving, and it can be a lot cheaper than the alternatives.

    Once you’ve collected plenty of boxes and materials to safely wrap delicate items, then the fun begins – it’s time to pack!  Removal companies offer a packing service, but it’s going to cost you!  Instead, skip this luxury and pack everything yourself.  Check out my moving house timeline to see how to prepare for the move and have everything packed and organised on time.

    Out with the old

    Saving money when you’re moving home is simpler than you think (8)

    Have you been through everything in your home and decided what you are taking and what you are keeping? If not, then this is something that you need to do sooner rather than later. You might be wondering how on Earth this is going to save you money! Well, the more stuff you are taking with you, the bigger the van/the more trips that need to be completed. For this reason, it is important that you are decluttering your home both before and while you are packing. 

    My moving house timeline in the paragraph before this section will suggest when you should start sorting each part of the house.  In brief I suggest starting in the attic weeks before you are due to move as there’s probably a bunch of belongings up there you really don’t need and haven’t used for years.  Then you pack away non-essential items and declutter as you go.

    For some people, this is going to be the hardest part of moving. Saying goodbye to items that have been in your home for as long as you can be difficult, but it is something that needs to be done. The general rule for doing this is that if you haven’t used it for years, or even a year then it should be passed on.  I go through my things regularly, like once per month and declutter as I’m always trying to minimise what I own.  This is a good starting point for decluttering all the rooms in your house.

    When moving there are usually items of furniture that won’t be of use in the new home, so organise which items need to be sold or passed on a few weeks before moving and start arranging a sale, collection or drop-off.   

    Avoid throwing things away as they will be useful to someone else.  You shouldn’t throw things in landfill unless it’s absolutely necessary.  Pass them on, give them away, sell them, give them to a charity, reinvent them into something else if possible – anything but throwing reusable things in the bin.  It’s even better to take them to a local recycling centre as they will be able to dismantle items and recycle different bits.  Our local recycling centres usually recycle around 80-90% of the items dropped off there.  

    By doing this in advance then you are not taking them to your new home with you and chucking them into a garage or attic to sit being unused for years on end!  Doing this will save you those extra pennies, but will also make you feel pretty good about yourself.   You might even make some money from sales in the process which can all help towards moving costs!

    Friends and family

    Saving money when you’re moving home is simpler than you think (3)

    Asking your friends and family to help out is a great way to get the support that you need without spending the entire content of your account. By using your friends and family to get your stuff moved to your new location, you are going to be saving yourself the high cost of booking removal companies. And you might not even have to hire that van we talked about above, especially if your friends and family can drive and you have plenty of cars.  You might even have a very helpful friend with a van - fingers crossed you do!

    Don’t use storage

    You may need to move out of your house before your new house is ready to move into. This is where many people will find a storage unit and put their stuff in there for a while. This is only going to be worth it if you have so much stuff that it can’t be put anywhere else like one of your friends or family member’s homes. Or if you can pay on a monthly basis and the price is not too high. It is all going to depend on how long your items will need to remain in storage to whether it is worth it to rent a space.  It’s going to be a hassle and a cost, but sometimes needs must.

    Think of it this way, if your new home is going to be ready to move into in three weeks, but you have to pay for the storage place three months at a time, this is not going to be financially worth it for you. If this is the case, then you can ask your parents or friends if they will have some of your stuff at their house for the next couple of weeks.   Maybe you can spread the items between a few houses.  This way you don’t have to pay for storage and each friend or family member only has to store a small amount to help you out.  Just make sure you return the favour when they need your help in the future!

    Make a checklist

    Being organised is key when arranging a house move.  You don’t want to forget anything, so if it helps you stay on track then make a checklist of everything that needs to be done, everything that needs to be moved and so on.  Making a note of everything to sell, all the items that are going into a skip and items you want to donate closer to the time will ensure nothing is forgotten and you don’t end up paying to lug a huge piece of furniture to the new house at a cost, just because you forgot to order a collection or sale of the item.  If you can’t mentally remember everything then checklists are a must for you.

     

    Moving house can be a costly experience, but there are plenty of ways to make it more affordable from roping in friends and family to lend a hand, to decluttering and planning in advance.  Happy moving!

     

    More helpful articles when buying a house:

    Live in Yorkshire? Sell your home for free!

    9 ways to start updating your home on a budget
    Why I won’t use a mortgage adviser again
    My top tips to prepare for a house move
    Is buying a house better than renting?
    3 ways to make sure the house you are buying is in good shape
    Should I stay or should I go. Moving house decisions.
    Why you should check the water pressure when buying a new home
    How to survive a house move without losing your mind

    Saving money when you’re moving home is simpler than you think (1)

    Images from Canva

  3. Welcome to my monthly income report where I share how much money I have managed to make from home.  This income is from blogging, various online side hustles, money-making smart phone apps, website testing, matched betting, online selling and I also include any cash back I have earned.  

    To read an in-depth reason behind sharing my income reports start with the blog post why I publish income reports and another great read is how I made £35000 from home in 2018 

    Enjoy :)

    My January 2019 blogging, at-home & online income breakdown

    Income report - How I made £1923.70 at-home, blogging & online in January (

    Please note, this blog post shares my total turnover for the month, before tax deductions and expenses.  My expenses vary each month as some are annual or quarterly payments, however my average monthly business expenses, tax savings, NI, etc were £830 last year.  Deduct this from the total for an idea of my take-home pay.

    From smallest to largest:

    Shopmium  £1.80
    User Testing £7.42
    OhMyDosh! £12.51
    Crowdville £13.69
    Top Cashback £21.43
    Whatusersdo £25.00
    Personal eBay £30.00
    Matched betting £41.04
    Profit Accumulator referrals £64.62
    Blog writing £1,706.19
    TOTAL £1,923.70

     

    Shopmium £1.80

    I've recently started using smartphone apps GreenJinn, Shopmium and Checkout Smart to save money on items I buy in-store. 

    Simply buy any of the featured items and then upload your receipt to get cash back.  Sign up with my Shopmium referral link and you'll get a freebie!

    Related - How to save money at the supermarket with Shopmium

     

    User Testing £7.42

    I've joined some more website testing platforms and I completed my first test with User Testing.  They paid within a few days.  The payments are $10 per test.  There are a lot of tests on there, but I've not qualified for any more yet, but perhaps your demographics and lifestyle will allow you to complete more.  I hope to be able to complete a few tests a month to bump up my side-hustle earnings.  You can sign up at https://www.usertesting.com/be-a-user-tester 

     

    OhMyDosh! £12.51

    This is a Get Paid To style website where you basically get paid to do things such as sign up to trials.  I signed up to the Which? 30 day trial and an Amazon 30 day trial.  I literally cancelled right away and basically got paid to trial them for 30 days!

    Sign up to OhMyDosh! here or read my blog post to learn more: Make money online with OhMyDosh!

    You may also be interested in these free money offers!

     

    Crowdville £13.69

    This was my first payment for the first task I completed with Crowdville.

    Sign up to Crowdville here or read my blog post to learn more: Make money online with Crowdville


    Top Cashback £21.43

    I LOVE getting cashback.  You're just wasting money if you're not getting any on your online purchases.  It's free money back for the things you are already buying!

    Read my blog post about it here: Over £800 cashback in 2 years with Top Cashback

     

    WhatUsersDo £25

    I do website testing at WhatUsersDo and it’s so easy!  I get paid £5 per test and some of them are only a question or two.

    This was my payment for tests completed in December, but I already know I should be getting around £70 in February for the tests I completed in January as I did a lot more.

    Read my blog post easily make money from home by testing websites for my review or sign up here!

     

    Personal eBay £30

    As predicted for the last couple of months, my eBay sales have dropped.  Last year I consistently made over £100 per month selling our unwanted and outgrown toys, clothes and shoes on eBay.  I've barely got anything left to sell and I gave a lot to charity last month, but still managed to bag £30 in extra pocket-money for the month.

    Related - 5 tried and tested ways to make money as a UK stay at home mum

     

    Matched betting £41.04

    A pretty quiet month compared to last month.  This was really lucrative for me in the beginning, but after two years it's dying down as I have been gubbed from so many good accounts.  I still check it at the weekends and sometimes there are good offers for me.  There are other methods to learn, but I only bother with the easiest ways so I limit my potential income.  I made around £1500 in the first couple of months when I started matched betting and I highly recommend it for the startup offers, even if you don't continue with it long-term.

    I highly recommend matched betting as it's made me £5000 in just under two years which is tax-free cash.  At first it was very time-consuming, but once I got the hang of it I could make around £50 per hour with the little time I spent doing it.  As a side-hustle it is a brilliant and fun way to make extra money from home. There's no need to do every offer and you can take your time working through the sign up offers.  

    I recommend using Profit Accumulator for matched betting as a beginner.  I've always used them since starting.  They have so many guides and walk you through the process in the first few offers.  If you get stuck you can ask a question in the forum and someone will get back to you.  They also have a 30 day money back guarantee on their memberships, plus you can try the first couple of offers without even signing up to anything to see that it really does work and is so simple once you get the hang of the free bet offers! 

    See also:

    One Year Review: How I earn up to £50 per hour matched betting from home 

     

    matched betting box

     

     

    PA referrals £64.62

    This is from referring people to Profit Accumulator who I highly recommend for matched betting.  I use them myself and have done since January 2017 making over £5000 profit so far!

    Related - Matched betting milestones 18 months and £5000

     

    Blog writing £1706.19

    This is always my most lucrative method of income from home each month.  I love to write and thoroughly enjoy writing about topics that I am passionate about, sharing my experience, or researching topics I enjoy to learn more and then share it on my blog in a relatable way.   I write for four blogs.  One makes the bulk of the income and I'm building up the others with an aim to have four money-making blogs to give me a more secure income by the end of 2019.

    Want to make money from your blog?  Check out these blog posts:

    Make money blogging
    Blogging tips
    10 ways to make money blogging.
    6 secrets to make more money from your blog
    How to improve your domain authority (DA) 
    6 handy tax tips for bloggers
    Make money blogging with Link Monster

      

     

    January 2019 grand total £1923.70

     

    Shopmium 
    £1.80
    User Testing £7.42
    OhMyDosh! £12.51
    Crowdville £13.69
    Top Cashback £21.43
    Whatusersdo £25.00
    Personal eBay £30.00
    Matched betting £41.04
    Profit Accumulator referrals £64.62
    Blog writing £1,706.19
    TOTAL £1,923.70


     

    More money-making blog posts and links:

    Free money offers

    Make money at home from receipts with Receipt Hog and Shoppix

    The 5 ways I made £30000 money from home in 2017/2018

    How I made £26000 from home in 2017

    How to make money from your phone with the Roamler app [and a Roamler invite code for you] 

    Make money from your blog with Awin affiliate marketing 

     

    Pin me to your Pinterest boards:

    Income report - How I made £1923.70 at-home, blogging & online in January

  4. Poor eyesight can be a costly nuisance.  Not only do you have to deal with not being able to see things as you should, but there’s the cost of eye appointments, prescription glasses and contact lenses to consider.  I’ve suffered with short-sightedness since I was around 12 years old and it really has been frustrating at times, especially when I forget my glasses, as well as very expensive.  In this blog post I’m going to take a look at how it’s possible to save money on contact lenses with a subscription from Waldo

    You can even try Waldo lenses for free, so read on to find out more.

    Did wearing glasses give me poor eyesight?

    When I was in junior school I always wanted glasses.  In fact glasses and a brace were top of my list!  My mum was of course horrified by these strange things I longed for, but back then I thought people turning up to school in glasses was so cool.  I guess it must have been around this age that people started to notice things wrong with their sight and so more and more of my friends were turning up to school with specs.  I wanted to be part of the glasses gang!

    _Save money on contact lenses with a Waldo subscription [canva image] (3)

    Unfortunately I got my wish.  I always wonder whether I made my sight bad myself, if that’s possible, as I wore my best friend Hannah’s glasses for whole school day’s at a time when we started senior school.  I soon noticed I couldn’t see the school chalkboards unless I was sat close to the front of the classroom and so my mum took me to get my eyes tested.  Sure enough I was short sighted and needed glasses.  My wish had come true!

    Be careful what you wish for

    If only I had realised what a bother needing glasses would be for the rest of my life.  My eyes aren’t so bad that I need to wear the glasses all the time, but sometimes I think that’s worse as it makes me more likely to forget them when I need them.  I am not allowed to drive without glasses and everything is pretty blurry all day long.  If you’re across the road from me then I wouldn’t be able to tell who you are!  Often my husband has thought I’m ignoring him from the other side of a room as if he smiles at me I can’t tell.  I can’t read signs such as menus behind café counters until I’m really close and even then it can be a struggle.  I forgot my glasses for a theatre show once and it was all a big blur!

    If only I could go back and talk some sense into my younger self who wanted glasses so desperately!

    The benefits of contact lenses

    _Save money on contact lenses with a Waldo subscription [canva image]

    Luckily there is a solution to wearing glasses all the time and this is to wear contact lenses.  I’ve been pretty terrible at wearing my glasses as an adult and usually just squint to try and see things far away.  It’s not helping with preventing wrinkles!  My glasses are normally in my car and that’s where they stay as I have to wear them for driving.

    As a young adult I decided to give contact lenses a go and they really have been a lifesaver in so many situations.

    Here are the benefits of contact lenses:

    • No bulky frames – I often found I was put off by my glasses frames.  It’s actually why I first tried contact lenses as I was having driving lessons and found my glasses really off-putting as I wasn’t used to wearing them so much.  I needed to concentrate on driving, but felt distracted by the frames I wasn’t used to seeing.  Once I got contact lenses I was less distracted by the glasses frames and able to tackle the task at hand.
    • No change in appearance – I’m always very self-conscious in my glasses.  As a kid I loved them and thought glasses were the coolest thing ever.  I wanted to wear them all the time.  As an adult, and even when I was an older teenager, I became more self-conscious of my appearance and really disliked having to wear glasses.  I’ve never felt they’ve suited my face.  Contact lenses take this worry away as no one can even tell I’m wearing them.
    • They won’t fog up – Most mornings when I get into my car and put my glasses on, they steam up!  It also happens when I open the oven door – a whoosh of hot air and I can’t see a thing!  Luckily contact lenses don’t have this problem and my sight is never obstructed.
    • They’re great for sports – I love to workout at the gym and had worn my glasses a few times, but they start slipping off and moving around if my workout is intense.   Contact lenses stay put and don’t distract me from my workout.
    • My vision is clearer – I mentioned they don’t fog up, but my vision overall is clearer.  With glasses I can get reflections and lines of light almost bouncing off them from car headlights at night.  With contact lenses it’s like seeing through my own eyes with perfect vision.
    • They’re comfortable – once you get used to them then they are really comfortable.  I even forget they’re in my eyes and often leave out my empty packets on the side to remind me to take them out before bedtime!  My glasses leave indents on my nose when wearing them and get in the way, especially with my young children jumping all over me!

    Save money on contact lenses with Waldo

    _Save money on contact lenses with a Waldo subscription [canva image] (1)

    You might now be thinking, well that’s all well and good, but aren’t contact lenses really expensive?

    They definitely used to be and I remember paying around £30 per month for daily disposable contact lenses, but times have changed.  Contact lenses subscription company Waldo is disrupting this industry by offering affordable contact lenses for just £12 per month that are premium quality.  By cutting out retailers and selling online only, they are able to offer high-quality contact lenses at the most affordable price.  There are no hidden costs either as delivery is free.

    Waldo believes contact lenses should be more affordable and the process simplified.  They’re cutting out the middlemen to keep costs down as well as making life easier for us by sending affordable contact lenses every month, hassle-free.

    Here are some of the benefits of Waldo lenses:

    • They have a super fine edge design so they’re comfortable to wear and reduce any sensation of something in the eye when blinking.
    • They are made with 58% water to keep the eyes moist all day long.
    • You’ll have UV protection with 70% of UVA and 95% of UVB rays blocked.
    • The lens design mimics the cornea to provide HD vision.
    • It’s a subscription service so they’ll be delivered to your door every month.
    • Delivery on subscriptions is free.
    • The original lenses are only £12 per 30 lenses.
    • They offer a free trial to see if they’re for you.
    • You can modify, pause or cancel at any time.

    Try Waldo contact lenses for free

    Sign up for a free trial of Waldo contact lenses to try them yourself.  You’ll get 10 pairs of contact lenses for free.  You just have to cover a one-off shipping fee of £2.95.

     

    Sign up here: https://www.hiwaldo.com/pages/free-trial-sign-up

     

    Save money on contact lenses with a Waldo subscription

    In association with Waldo.

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  5. I recently wrote a blog post to answer whether being vegan is expensive in which I said both yes and no!  In reality though, the answer is no, being vegan does not have to be expensive.  Eating traditional plant-based foods instead of meats and cheeses is actually a much cheaper option.  But, like anything in life, you can choose to buy premium, organic and independent brands or you can choose to buy cheaper supermarket-own labels and value labels. 

    But what about protein?  Is it possible to eat cheaply as a vegan and get enough protein? 

    And the question vegans are probably bombarded with the most – where do vegans get their protein from?

    In this blog post I’m going to share with you why choosing to get your protein from plant-based sources is actually a really affordable option.

    The difference between animal protein and plant-based protein

    Save money by getting your protein from plant-based sources (1)

    One of my favourite responses when meat-eaters ask vegans where they get their protein from is ‘the same place your protein gets its protein from’!  It’s so true.  Animals get their protein from plants and so can we. 

    Around 20% of the human body is made of protein.  Our body doesn’t store it, so we have to regularly get it from our diet each day.  Protein is needed for almost every metabolic process in our body so it’s vital for the overall health of our body.

    Protein is broken down into amino acids in our body and there are over 20 different types of amino acids.  There are non-essential amino acids that our body can make itself, but there are also essential amino acids that we have to get from our diets.

    The difference is meat protein is often called a ‘complete protein’ as it contains a good balance of all the amino acids we need.   But eating meat also comes with a lot of negative health consequences.

    Most plant proteins only contain some of these amino acids, so to get all the amino acids we need from protein we need to eat a variety of plant-based protein sources.  But that’s fine as we should all be eating a variety of healthy plant-based foods anyway. 

    Going plant-based will probably mean you’ll eat a ton more of the highly nutritious stuff you should have been eating, such as different beans, lentils, and wholegrains, which is fantastic news for your overall health.

    Is vegan protein expensive?

    Can I get protein and build muscle on a plant-based diet_ (4)

    If we’re talking basics then no, plant-based sources of protein are not expensive.  What is expensive is if you start buying meat alternatives, vegan cheeses and readymade plant milks.  These things are readymade or processed foods and they come at a premium.  However, they are not needed as part of a healthy plant-based diet and are merely convenience foods, just like readymade snacks and foods based around meat and dairy.

    Plant-based protein is actually very cheap indeed. Good protein sources include many whole grains, wild rice, chickpeas, beans, lentils, green vegetables, nuts and seeds.  Lentils, beans, rice and grains are some of the cheapest foods in existence.  They can be bulk purchased as they can last for ages in their dried forms.  They are so versatile too and can be used to create so many meals.

    Compare the price of beans, lentils and grains to a pack of meat and you’ll start to realise how much cheaper a vegan diet can be.

    How to keep a vegan diet low cost

    Save money by getting your protein from plant-based sources (2)

    There are lots of ways to keep a plant-based diet affordable.  Below are a few suggestions to get you started.

    • Buy dried ingredients.   Purchasing dried bags of lentils, beans and grains will save the most money compared to buying tins of pulses for example.
    • Buy in season fruit and vegetables.  Buying exotic fruits and vegetables is a luxury, but if they’re not in season then you’ll be paying a premium.
    • Make your own meals from scratch.  This is always the best way to keep costs down as readymade meals are so expensive.
    • Don’t buy faux meat, vegan cheeses or the like.  These are very costly and will really bump your food shopping up.
    • Make your own plant-based milks, cheese and cheese-sauce.  It’s much more affordable than buying readymade.  A delicious creamy cheesy sauce can easily be made with homemade oat milk, a few scoops of nutritional yeast and a squirt of mustard.  Perfect to serve with cauliflower or pasta.
    • Make your own snacks too.  Chocolate bliss balls are super easy to make with cacao, dates, seeds, oats and nuts whizzed together in a food processor and shaped into bite size snacks.  Whilst a pack of raw cacao might seem expensive at first, it’s so rich you only need to use a tiny bit to make plant-based milkshakes, bliss balls and hot chocolate, so a pack will last for ages.
    • Do everything in bulk.  Buy the ingredients you can in bulk to make them as cheap as possible in the long run.  Cook in bulk too and freeze/refrigerate portion sizes for the week ahead.  This will stop you reaching for the convenient foods as you’ll already have readymade homemade snacks and meals instead.

    A list of plant-based sources of protein

    There are lots of delicious plant based foods that provide vegans with protein, as well as everyone else too.  The foods below are good sources of protein and it’s recommended to eat a variety every day.

    Save money by getting your protein from plant-based sources (1)

    • Seitan
    • Lentils
    • Chickpeas
    • Garden peas
    • Beans – black, kidney, pinto, lima, black-eyed, cannellini
    • Tofu
    • Tempeh
    • Edamame beans
    • Soy milk
    • Seeds – hemp seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, sunflower
    • Peanut butter (and other nut butters)
    • Nuts
    • Buckwheat
    • Oats
    • Wild rice
    • Brown rice
    • Quinoa
    • Barely
    • Spelt
    • Bulgur wheat
    • Wheat berries
    • Lesser known grains such as teff, amaranth, sorghum, freekeh, farro
    • Asparagus
    • Avocado
    • Broccoli
    • Brussels sprouts
    • Artichokes
    • Kale
    • Spinach
    • Sweetcorn
    • Cauliflower
    • Potatoes
    • Sweet potatoes
    • Nutritional yeast
    • Spirulina
    • Sprouted grain bread

    What about protein for working out and building muscle?

    Save money by getting your protein from plant-based sources (3)

    Whilst the above plant-based sources of protein will provide enough protein for the majority of us, some people might be looking to up their plant-based protein levels even more if working out, training or trying to build muscle. 

    There has been a rise of plant-based protein supplements as vegan diets have raised in popularity and examples are pea protein powder, hemp protein powder and rice protein powder.  It’s becoming a very competitive market so you’ll be able to find huge tubs or packs of vegan protein powders on offer online, just as you would with animal product protein powders like whey.

    Protein supplement brand Scitec Nutrition has shared six tips with me for those looking to transition to a plant-based diet:

    1.            The number one factor to consider is whether you are getting enough calories. Whether you are bulking up or losing weight, making sure that you are consuming the right amount of calories is key to reaching your goal.

    2.            Because plants usually contain lower calories than animal products it is important to consume a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Not only will a good mixture of fruit and veg provide your body with a variety of vitamins, it will also provide antioxidants to help keep your immune system strong.

    3.            Legumes are a great source of protein and eating a range of soy, beans and peas alongside grains such as buckwheat, rice and quinoa help to ensure that you get the essential amino acids your body needs.

    4.            Make your plates colourful. A good rule of thumb to follow is to make your meals as colourful as possible. A mixture of natural greens such as broccoli and kale, reds from tomatoes and peppers and yellows from sweetcorn and beans complement each other perfectly and provide a good mix of carbohydrates, proteins and fats for your body to use.

    5.            Nuts are a great source of fat and are proven to provide a long-lasting form of energy just when you need it. Eat a handful of nuts before your workout to boost your calories and provide energy, or sprinkle some onto your breakfast to keep you going till lunch.

    6.            Depending on your goals, your lifestyle and your diet in general you may want to look into supplements to complement your plant-based diet. Tracking what you eat on an app or website will give you a good insight into the vitamins and nutrients that you may be lacking, meaning that you can add more into your diet. Many nutritional supplement manufacturers now offer plant-based proteins, BCAA’s and multi-vitamins to help you reach your nutritional targets.

     

    Not only can you satisfy your body’s protein requirements through a healthy and varied plant-based diet, but you can also save money by eating this way.

     

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    Save money by getting your protein from plant-based sources