Welcome to the Lylia Rose UK money and lifestyle blog. I'm Victoria Sully, a busy mum of two, wife, full-time blogger and online money-maker. I’m passionate about making money online, saving money, self-employment, healthy living and blogging. I’m on a personal mission to be healthier and wealthier! Thank you so much for joining me.
Working out is a matter of personal preference. Some people like to run outdoors, others thrive in the gym and others wouldn’t want to set foot anywhere near one! One of the main factors in establishing a successful fitness routine is to find an activity you enjoy, but which should you choose?
I’ve always liked a mixture of all three! Before kids I used to go running on the streets with a friend each week, but I was also a member of a gym which I used in bad weather or if I was on my own. When having kids money was tight for a few years so I worked out at home or Ben and I went running in a local park, taking it in turns to watch the kids.
Now money is better as we are both working full-time again, we have been members of a gym for the past 18 months and I go almost every day. I used to do a lot of their classes, but at the moment I love running on the treadmill and stair climbing. I alternate each gym session and also do some weights as I’m trying to prevent getting bingo wings! I feel more comfortable going to a gym by myself, but would prefer to run outdoors with a companion.
Take a look at the benefits of working out in the gym versus working out at home to help you decide which one is the right choice for you to get fit.
Why work out in a gym?
All the equipment you could need
A gym offers a wide range of exercise equipment from cardio machines to weights, allowing you to enjoy a varied workout. Gyms can help you work out different areas of your body and can easily help you keep you mix up your workout. Modern gyms have equipment that boasts several extras too, such as fans or on-screen entertainment to stop your workout from getting boring.
Feel motivated by others around you
Staying motivated to exercise can be difficult, but going to the gym can be a good way to find motivation. While you’re there, it’s difficult not to do anything else, while seeing other people working hard can also help you to stay strong and carry on.
Get expert help and advice
At the gym, you’ve got expert help on tap to help you reach your goals and exercise safely. The Gym Advisors provide real gym and personal trainer reviews that can help you choose the right gym for you. Having personal trainers based in the gym can give you the professional advice necessary to help you achieve any weight loss or fitness ambitions you might have.
Why work out at home?
One of the biggest benefits of working out at home is that it makes working out affordable. From designing your own body weight working to following videos on YouTube, you can easily find ways to help you stay fit without spending a penny.
When you’re short of time, fitting in a session at the gym can seem impossible. However, when you work at home, you’re already where you need to be to exercise. You can easily fit in a 20-minute HIIT before work, or you can multitask and exercise while watching TV.
Design your own targeted workout
There are all sorts of ways you can tone your body through exercises, and many of them can be done using nothing more than your own body weight. Working out at home will give you the option of designing your own targeted workout to help you reach your goals.
Whether you choose to join a gym or finding out what working out at home can do for you, the main thing is that you’re taking charge of your health by getting fit. With so many ways to exercise, it’s worth trying everything to help you work out what’s effective and what you enjoy. Getting started is the hard part, so find something you love doing to help make it that little bit easier to fit exercise into your life.
It’s common to feel time pressured these days as we rush from home to school to work to gym to social (phew) with barely a break in-between. Healthy eating and even healthy living in general often gets put on the wish list - something to focus on when there’s more time or to start next Monday! The only problem is there’s never going to be more time, at least not any time soon if you’re a parent or even if you have a hectic career. Therefore we need to figure out how to make healthy eating a part of our full and busy lifestyles.
How to save time and money eating healthily, even when busy
You can do meal planning for the week ahead without much effort — even while watching TV! All you need to create a shopping list and plan for the week ahead is a pad and pen, or the notes app on your phone. Making lists on your phone has the advantage that it’s always with you so why not set up a new meal planning note that you can edit each week, wherever you are.
Plan which meals you’ll eat on which days through the week, but stay flexible about it. While listing the days is useful because it reminds you of other commitments, you can easily switch things around if you want to. What you‘re looking for is a basic roundup of potential meals so you can get all the ingredients in one shopping trip instead of wasting time on top-up shopping.
Plus it’s good to be flexible in case certain fresh food you buy needs using up sooner than you thought! Rather than waste food and therefore money, simply switch some of your meal paln days around.
Creating a meal schedule also highlights how often you eat out during lunch breaks at work. Most fast food is not the healthiest option, so swapping out one or two bought meals for those you take from home can benefit your purse as well as your body. If you make your own packed lunches then you are totally in control of the ingredients and can ensure they are super healthy.
Of course you can always add a few pre-prepared meals to your shopping list for lunches if you want to. Just remember to choose healthy options, such as non-GMO, organic, vegetable-based meals to make sure you are getting nutritious wholesome meals.
Facing hours in the kitchen after a busy day is daunting. It’s when you’re tired that unhealthy eating is most attractive. One answer is to cook more than you need on days when there’s more time for meal prep and you’re less tired.
You can either freeze what you don’t need, or pop it in the fridge ready to use as the base for dinner the following day. You can even make portions to take to work to heat up in the staff microwave, if you have one.
An example could be a delicious plant-based lentil cottage pie. When making the pie, cook way more of the lentil, saucy part of the meal than you need for the main dish, then use what’s left to create more meals such as a quick pasta bake. All you have to do is bulk out the sauce with veg (if there isn’t quite enough), simmer some pasta until it’s soft, then drain the pasta and mix it with the heated-through sauce. Grate some vegan cheese on top or create a creamy cheese-like sauce with nutritional yeast, mustard and plant-based milk and pop it in the oven for about 20 minutes.
Now you have the cottage pie you intended to make, but also a pasta bake! You can save portions in the fridge or freezer for lunches and dinners at a later date. You can even store more of the lentil sauce part and use it with spaghetti for a vegan style spaghetti Bolognese or as a topping on a baked sweet potato. You can do the same with many more sauce-based dishes.
Cooking like this will save time and also ensure you stay on track with your healthy eating goals.
Frozen and pre-prepared foods
Including a few dishes that come ready cooked and prepared is a lot different from relying on ready-meals. Rice veggies are one example, with cauliflower rice being a popular choice. You can use the likes of cauli rice or broccoli rice in place of ordinary rice, with tossed salads or as a quick lunchtime meal on their own. You’ll save time in the kitchen, and in terms of health and nutrition over many other quick lunch options on a workday.
Frozen veggies are also a fine alternative to fresh ones. They contain all the nutritional value of fresh vegetables (maybe even more since the shelf life of fresh veg is very short) but without the need for extensive preparation. Plus they’ll last a lot longer which can help to prevent food waste.
Save time at the chopping board by using frozen prepared veg such as chopped onions or peppers, and include side servings of frozen mixed vegetables with main meals. These days, freezing methods ensure that lightly cooked frozen veg retain the texture and taste of their fresh alternatives.
Frozen vegetables that are frozen soon after picking will retain their nutrients. Lightly steam them to save as much of that nutrition as possible.
When you’re crazy busy, healthy eating is even more important as it gives you the energy needed to maintain a hectic lifestyle. Figure out ways to sneak in more healthy options and don’t be afraid to use some pre-prepared food to save time. Your body will thank you for it!
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.
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!
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
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.
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
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.
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
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?
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.
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.
Lesser known grains such as teff, amaranth, sorghum, freekeh, farro
Sprouted grain bread
What about protein for working out and building muscle?
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.
There are lots of ways to live an eco-friendlier lifestyle - including changing your diet. Many of the foods we eat are processed in a way that can harm the planet, whilst other foods may use up lots of energy to prepare. Here are just several ways that you start eating more eco-friendly and as a bonus, you’ll save some money too!
Bring your own bag when shopping
By bringing your own bag, you could reduce the need to take home a new plastic bag each time. Plastic bags are having a huge negative impact on the environment – landfill sites are full of them and it could be 1000 years before they degrade. Many supermarkets now sell ‘bags for life’ which are large and durable and can be used as a permanent solution every time you go shopping. Plus, if you do keep buying a plastic bag, they’re now at least 5p each in the UK. This is a great reason to stop using plastic carriers and to invest in a cost-effective long lasting bag instead.
Buy less products with plastic packaging
When it comes to encouraging zero waste living, it could be worth also cutting out products that use plastic packaging. A lot of modern brands are now adopting paper and cardboard – try to opt for these when shopping or at least glass or tin which doesn’t require the use of plastic. Getting an organic vegetable delivery is a great way to totally cut out all plastic packaging on your weekly fruit and veg shop.
Recycle food waste
You should be able to recycle all your food waste with your local council’s food recycling scheme or by using them for gardening purposes. A lot of this food waste can be used as compost, whilst orange peels are a great natural pest repellent. Of course, you can also cut down on food waste by not throwing away leftovers - many leftover foods can be repurposed and put into curries, pasta bakes, soups, stews and sandwiches.
Buying more food that is sourced locally can also help to save the planet. Food that isn’t sourced locally often has to shipped by sea or flown over by air – both of these create lots of carbon emissions. Farmer’s markets are a great place to buy local food. Some supermarkets also have sections for local food.
Foods that are non-organic often use chemical pesticides and chemical fertilisers that require industrial processing that is harmful to the environment. By opting for more organic foods, you could help to reduce your carbon footprint. You can find organic food by checking the label. You can also try shopping at organic wholesalers that only sell organic food. Few foods are wholly organic - many are 90% organic and some may only use organic traces. However, these foods are still better for the environment than non-organic foods. Check out their organic credentials and which company is certifying them as organic to have a better understanding of whether they allow any chemicals at all.
You can also try growing some of your own food. By growing your own food, you’ll be buying less food that has to be transported plus you can ensure that no chemical fertilisers or pesticides are used. You could start a vegetable patch or grow plants in a greenhouse. There are even edible plants that can be grown indoors if you don’t have a garden such as tomatoes, peppers and herbs.
Industrially farmed meat has a massive negative impact on the environment. This is due to the land, food, water and energy required for raising livestock. That land, food and water could feed us several times more than the meat it produces could! Eating meat has lots of health consequences and is now proven to be bad for the environment. Whether you stop eating meat to save the planet, for your own health or for the animals themselves, there are plenty of reasons to stop.
Eat more raw foods
Cooking food uses up energy that is often produced by burning fossil fuels. By trying more raw foods, you’ll use your oven less. There are lots of foods that can be enjoyed raw. If you don’t enjoy raw foods, you could try cooking less food inside your oven and using the hobs more to fry, steam and boil as hobs use up a lot less energy.
There are lots of ways to start being more eco-conscious when it comes to how we eat, plus some of them will save us money too.
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