UK lifestyle and money blog

Victoria Sully Nov 2018 Circle Logo

 

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.


 

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Category: Travel, Holidays & Days Out

  1. Staycations - 4 great family friendly attractions in London

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    At the moment I am desperately hoping to save lots of money for a last minute all-inclusive holiday over Easter.  I know, I know!  I said I wouldn’t travel much this year as I'm saving my emergency fund, but the SAD has really got me this winter! 

    I’m dying for some sunshine and it’s much cheaper to go abroad at this time of year rather than waiting until the summer holidays when Ben next has time off work.  The prices are literally double for the same holiday if we went in the summer, so I’ve been convincing myself it’s better to go now.

    It’s not set in stone yet that we’ll go abroad as my car has its MOT today, Ben’s work are making redundancies by the end of this month, I have a savings goal and I have no idea how much I’ll earn being self-employed. 

    I’m just wishfully hoping all these things go very well and we’ll be able to bag a really low cost last minute deal.  Fingers crossed!

    Save money with a staycation to London this year

    Affordable staycations - 4 great family friendly attractions in London (1)

    If for any reason it all goes to pot, then we have discussed a staycation and perhaps a trip to London.  The children have never been to London and Bella has been asking to go since she studied London when she started school two and a half years ago!

    A great family getaway doesn’t have to be an expensive trip abroad as there are plenty of amazing places that you can go right here in the UK. Even if you’ve been there before, there’s always so much to see and do on a trip to London.

    Compared to the price of four of us trekking abroad, I reckon we’d be able to spend less than half if we book a couple of nights in London and some activities.  Even if we don't go in Easter I really want to make sure we go within the next year.  It's even on Bella's bucket list for this year!

    If you’re considering taking a family trip to London soon, here are some of the best things to do with the kids.

    Harry Potter tour

    If the kids love Harry Potter (and maybe you do as well) you can’t miss the Warner Bros. Studio tour. You’ll get the chance to see all sorts of different models and mock-ups of the iconic scenes from the films. There are also loads of great props and costumes on display as well.

    They’re always changing the exhibits so even if you’ve been before, it’s worth going back again. You can also get a discount if you’ve got a kids pass so you don’t need to spend a lot of money. The studio isn’t in the centre of London, it’s in Watford about half an hour away but it’s easy to get to on public transport.

    The theatre

    There are some great family shows on like Aladdin or Matilda at London theatres. It’s a great night out for the family and it’s a new experience for the kids if they’ve never seen a show at the theatre before. You do have to be careful with the tickets because they do cost quite a bit and if you’re paying for the whole family, it can get expensive.

    But it is possible to get cheap London theatre tickets if you buy last minute. There are some great sites online where you can check to see if there are discount tickets on offer. If you buy through them, you can save a lot of money on a family trip to the theatre.

    London Dungeons

    The London Dungeons are a great attraction that combines a bit of history with some scary exhibitions. It’s only really suitable for kids over the age of 12 because some parts of it can be a little scary but it’s great fun.

    I went to this attraction years ago when I was a child in Yorkshire, if I remember correctly.  I loved stuff like this, but my little sister was terrified!

    You’ll get to learn all about Henry VIII, the great fire of London, Guy Fawkes and much more. Tickets are around £20 for adults and £15 for kids so it isn’t the cheapest attraction out there but it’s not too bad for London.   Again, always check around for discounts and offers before booking anything!

    Madame Tussauds

    Madame Tussauds wax museum is a very unique tourist attraction which has a little bit of everything. You’ll get to see the wax figures of all sorts of different celebrities and entertainers. There’s plenty to see for the kids as well with the new Star Wars and Marvel superhero exhibitions as well.

    It’s on the more expensive end of the spectrum with tickets coming in at £27 for adults and £24 for kids. However, there’s a lot to see in there so you’ll get your money’s worth.   

    They have online ticket discounts and family ticket offers.  Also, check Google for sites with offers on entry prices to find loads of great discount codes and also check the London page on Wowcher.

     

    These are just a few of the amazing attractions that you and your family can enjoy in London.   Many attractions also offer cashback, so remember to check Top Cashback and Quidco before booking anything.  Top Cashback often have discount codes too!

     

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    Affordable staycations - 4 great family friendly attractions in London

  2. Blog giveaway – Win a free annual Kids Pass membership

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    It’s almost half term and to celebrate I've teamed up with Kids Pass, the UK’s No.1 Family Discounts App for your chance to win a FREE Kids Pass annual membership.

    The Kids Pass App gives you instant access to 1,000’s of offers, including up to 40% off cinemas nationwide (7 days a week, adult and child), kids eat free at 1000’s of restaurants, up to 65% off family days out, up to 10% off UK family breaks and up to 50% off Eurocamp holidays!

    Want to try Kids Pass for yourself? Start a £1 trial for 30 days

    How to save money on days out this February half term with Kids Pass

    Blog giveaway – Win a free annual Kids Pass membership - half term save mon

    Are you struggling for ideas for days out this February half term that will keep the whole family happy as well as your bank balance? For just £1 you can sign up for a trial Kids Pass membership and gain instant access to 1000’s of family friendly offers on the Kids Pass app!

    This really is the best £1 you’ll spend this half term, as you could potentially save over £90* in just a week…

    • Planning a trip to the cinema? You’d save on average £10.34 on your cinema tickets
    • Fancy a meal out? You can cut £15.90 off your food bill
    • Taking your tot for a sensory day at the aquarium? Average savings of £24.00 on aquarium tickets for the whole family
    • Off to see furry friends at the zoo? You can save your family £40.00 on zoo tickets

    *based on family of four (2 adults, 2 children)

    How does it work?
    You pay £1 for a 30 day trial membership, after this you can cancel or continue your subscription for £3.99 per month. For these 30 days you have full access to all the offers on the Kids Pass app and website.

    Blog giveaway – Win a free annual Kids Pass membership

    What does it get me? 
    Instant access to 1,000’s of offers, including up to 40% off cinemas nationwide (7 days a week, adult and child), kids eat free at 1000’s of restaurants, up to 65% off family days out including leading theme parks, and up to 10% off UK family breaks and up to 50% off Eurocamp holidays.

    Does one membership cover the whole family?
    Yes! Your Kids Pass covers the entire household, that’s Mum, Dad, the kids (whether you have one or ten!), Granny and Grandad too!

    How do I use it?
    You can download the free Kids Pass app from all major app stores, which is easy to navigate, or you can use the Kids Pass website to search for offers.

    How do I redeem offers?
    Most of the offers are completely digital meaning that tickets or promo codes can be sent straight to your phone, however some tickets are still paper and will be posted to you via Royal Mail.

    What’s the catch?
    There isn’t one! You can cancel your monthly subscription at any time.

    Claim your trial
    Join over 2 million members and click here to start a £1 trial today!

    Win a free annual Kids Pass membership

    febawincompetitionbanner-blue1200x400

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Giveaway terms:

    • There will be one winner
    • The prize is a free annual Kids Pass membership
    • There is no cash alternative
    • There is no limit on the number of entries per person, follow the instructions to enable multiple entries
    • Winners will be notified within 28 days
    • Prizes will be sent within 28 days of receiving the winners email address
    • The winner must claim their prize within 28 days or it will be forfeited
    • All entries must be received by the date and time specified
    • The winner will be picked at random by Rafflecopter & notified by email
    • Giveaways are open to the UK only 

    Prize terms:

    There are no other alternatives to the prize offered and the prize is not transferable (no cash alternative). Entry is open to residents of the UK only.

    Blog giveaway – Win a free annual Kids Pass membership

  3. Tips to make booking a family holiday more affordable

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    If you’re anything like me then you’re getting well and truly fed up with the cold English winter weather and dreaming of escaping to more luxurious destinations.  The January blues have set in and to cheer myself up I’ve booked a couple of family holidays for later in the year.  In this blog post I will explore how to make your next family holiday more affordable.

    As you may have seen me mention in other blog posts my 2019 goal is to save an emergency fund, which did originally mean that holidays were taking a back seat.  But with seasonal affective disorder worse than ever this year and snow potentially still to come, I decided I needed something to look forward to this year so I found a couple of great holiday deals and couldn’t resist.  I’m hoping we can really smash our savings target in the first half of the year and treat ourselves to a summer holiday too, if we can find a bargain.

    Last year we totally splurged on holidays, with the excuse of not having been abroad for a holiday for six years.  We travelled to Fuerteventura for an all-inclusive holiday with no expenses spared.  It was fantastic, but £3000 for the four of us.  We also went to Center Parcs for a four night August break at a staggering £1200 and a three night Twixmas break at Bluestone for £430.

    This year we are being more cautious with our money and I hope to be able to go on three or four holidays for the same price as just our Fuerteventura break, around £3000 for all four of us.  This is much less than the £4800 families spend on average on holidays each year.  Plus we’ll be going in the school holidays, so prices are usually rocket high!  So far I have spent £400 on a 7-night stay at a 5* on the beach caravan park in Cornwall (a total bargain) and £544 for a Twixmas break in Wales (this could have cost us £380 so I’m really annoyed about that one, so read on to see how).  I’m hoping we’ll be able to save and book a last minute abroad holiday, or even venture into Europe in our Mazda Bongo!

    Here are my tips for saving money on your next family holiday:

    Tips to make booking a family holiday more affordable

    Choose an all-inclusive package

    If you want to book a holiday abroad then I’d definitely consider looking at all-inclusive deals, particularly if you plan on spending a lot of time at the hotel resort itself.  Often with unlimited drinks, snacks, ice-cream and all meals included, this can be a cost-effective way to holiday as a family.  It also makes budgeting much easier as everything is provided for you once you are there.  You don’t need to worry about finding somewhere to eat each day or paying for meals. 

    All you’ll need is some spending money if you want to go on any excursions or to buy souvenirs.  I’ve known friends to find great last minute all-inclusive deals before and not even take any spending money with them.  It’s totally possible if you just want to explore the local area.  If you’ve young children then a beach and pool will keep them entertained for hours. 

    An all-inclusive package can be a great way to book a family holiday and then not have to worry about any expenditure whilst you are away.  Everything is paid for in advance and you can relax and enjoy your holiday without money worries whilst there.  Many hotels will offer a packed lunch if you are going out for the day, so check if this is an option too so you don’t need to spend any money on food at all if you don’t need to. We chose an all-inclusive family holiday in Spring 2018 and barely needed any spending money at all. 

    I’m hoping we’ll be able to find a great last minute all-inclusive deal in the summer that is much cheaper than what we spent last year.

     

    Where can I find the best all-inclusive packages?

    The internet can be overwhelming when searching for a holiday, so it's great to have an online tool that does all the hard work for you.  If you're anything like me then you like to rely on Trip Advisor reviews to help you decide on the best hotel to choose. To find the top 10 all-inclusive hotels for a particular destination, based on Trip Advisor reviews and number of bookings, then check out this interactive all-inclusive hotel finder at Loveholidays.  Simply add your destination, choose the type of holiday you are looking for (i.e. family) and let it do the hard work for you.  You can then see the top 10 hotels as well as a map to show you exactly where they are located.

    Book time off work as far in advance as possible

    I’m self-employed and work online so it’s really easy for me to go away at any point so long as I have internet connection.  My husband, however, is employed and needs to approve his holiday dates.  This recently cost us £164 when booking our Bluestone holiday.  I looked whilst we were there over Christmas 2018 and the same holiday for 2019 was the same price - £430.  Plus we could have saved £50 if we booked whilst there, so it would have only been £380.  Unfortunately we needed Ben to book time off work, so we waited until we returned.  I went to book the holiday only three weeks after returning and the price had shot up to £569!  Crikey!  We managed to still get a £25 saving, but at £544 we had to pay £164 more than if we had booked three weeks earlier.  Very frustrating!

    Return with a loyalty discount

    If you go somewhere and you love it, then check for a loyalty discount.  Sometimes holiday companies will give you a special returning customer discount if you rebook a holiday with the same company within so many days or weeks.  We know we can get a great discount at Bluestone if we rebook whilst we are there, so we’ll know to make use of this next time.

    Book early

    Booking early has lots of great benefits for making a holiday affordable.  In our experience with booking a Twixmas break for this year the price shot up £139 in only three weeks!  If you see a price and you’re happy with it then I wouldn’t wait too long as often the prices will go up as more rooms get booked.

    Spread the cost by booking early

    Another advantage of booking early is being able to pay only a small deposit at the time of booking and then spreading the cost over the remaining months until your holiday.  If you can’t afford to pay upfront for a holiday, then this is a brilliant way to spread the cost and make it more affordable.  Some hotels or resorts will take the deposit and then the final balance on a date such as six weeks before your arrival date.  Just make sure you add this date to your calendar and save up the remaining due balance yourself. 

    Ideally I’d love to save in advance and have enough money to pay upfront for all our family holidays, but it’s not always possible.  Booking as far in advance as possible has allowed us to spread the cost and afford to go on some great holidays.   We booked our 2018 Fuerteventura holiday 15 months in advance which allowed us to spread the cost into affordable monthly payments.

    Check for cashback

    Don’t forget to book using a cashback website when possible to save even more!  We’ve managed to get £60 cashback for a holiday booking online before as well as cashback on car rental, holiday insurance, flights and hotels.

    Check the facilities and location

    We made the mistake one year of choosing a cheaper location that was far away from any beaches or activities to save money.  Only, it didn’t save us money in the end.  The resort had no facilities for the children, so we had to travel every day to entertain ourselves.  We ended up spending a fortune and a lot of time travelling in the car each day to keep ourselves amused.  It would have been more cost-effective to spend a bit more money on a better resort location with more facilities, especially for the children.  Now I will always make sure we are within walking distance to a beach and there’s a park/pool for the children.  Just having these things within walking distance means we don’t have to spend money every day on travelling or entry fees to keep the children entertained.

    Go during term time

    If your children are not school age, or you’re brave enough, then travel during term time.  I feel too anxious to take my children out during term time as I know it’s against the school rules, but I know plenty of people who do this and they save hundreds, even thousands on their holiday costs.  It really is the best way to make a massive saving.

    Don’t go in the summer holidays

    The summer holidays are the most expensive time to book a holiday.  Instead choose a holiday in spring or autumn to get a much better rate.  There are still plenty of places to get some sunshine if that’s what you desire, such as in the Canary Islands.  Make the most of the sunshine in the UK in the summer and then jet off when it’s a little cooler here for a cheaper holiday abroad – win-win!

     

    Hopefully these tips based on my personal experience will help you to save some money on your next family holiday.

     

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  4. How to prepare for a family road trip

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    Not only are road trips a great way to save money when travelling, compared to flying - especially when you’re bringing the whole family along on the trip, but they’re far less stressful than standing in lines at airports and then being crushed into tiny seats for hours with kids who are perfectly happy to be more than vocal about the fact that they’re uncomfortable and annoyed.

    The other great thing about road trips is that they’re seriously fun when done the right way and a great adventure for children. So if you’ve been considering going on a road trip for your next family trip, or you simply have a long car journey ahead of you and would like to make a small holiday out of it, then in this post there are some top tips for how to prepare for a family road trip, so that you can enjoy it as much as possible.

    How to prepare for a family road trip
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    Plan your route

    There’s often more than one way to get to the same place, so choosing your route is the first step to making sure the trip goes as smoothly and stress free as possible. Choosing your route isn’t just about planning the best and quickest way to get there, although that’s definitely part of it, but it’s also about planning for some things to do and see along the way. For example, maybe there’s a lovely town or city on the way to the place you’re going that you’ve always wanted to visit, so maybe now would be the perfect time to make a stop there since you’re passing through.   You may also want to consider toilet stops if you have a long journey.  Though the motorway might be the most direct route, you could opt for an alternative route with plenty of countryside views that become a part of the journey.

    Arrange a vehicle

    Depending on how far you’re travelling, you may want to go in your own car, or you may be considering hiring something a little bigger that could make it more comfortable for everyone on a longer journey - especially the kids. Whether you want to hire a people carrier, or even a full-blown RV that has a lot of the home comforts you’re used to, you can find many options online for these. Of course, no matter which rental company you go with, you should make sure they’re reputable and well known, and that they have all their paperwork, safety checks, and things like a solid traders policy in place.

    Check out this blog post before you hire a car: Tips to save money on car rental for a road trip

    Bring plenty of supplies

    As an adult, it’s a lot easier to keep occupied on a longer road trip since you’re generally going to be happy enjoying the view and playing some good music, but children are going to need a bit more.  If you don’t want to be taking the brunt of their boredom, then bringing things like snacks, games, and even movies for them to watch will just make everyone’s time more enjoyable.

    Make sure you check out these tips: 3 ways to keep your kids entertained on a family road trip

    Bring a good camera

    If you’re planning to make some stops along the way, then a good camera will definitely come in handy so that you can make some nice family photos and memories together of your fun road trip that you can look back on in years to come.  Luckily most of us have a great camera on our smartphones, so just remember to charge it up fully before you leave and that you have enough space to take lots of snaps.

    Ensure the car is safe

    Always make sure the car is maintained before setting off on a road trip.  There are several checks you can do yourself such as fluids, wiper blades, tyres and lights which I guide you through in this blog post: 5 important car checks before your next family road trip

    Enjoy your road trip!

     

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  5. How to save money on car and travel costs

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    Despite the internet making things like remote working and shopping easier, travelling isn’t something that the majority of us can avoid.  However, if you’re clever about it, there are ways to significantly lower your car and travel costs.  From obtaining cheaper car insurance to leasing instead of buying, below are some of the simple steps you can take today.

    How to save money on car and travel costs

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    1. Shop around for cheaper insurance

    Car insurance can be very expensive for new drivers, but if you don’t take the time to shop around when your policy is up for renewal, you could end up paying way more than you should for your car insurance.  When you know you’ve only got a month left on your current policy, head on over to uSwitch or Compare The Market and see how much you could save.  Some policy providers will even match or beat quotes to convince you to remain with them, so this is a step worth taking.

    Related
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    2. Shop around for fuel

    Just like you can shop around for car insurance, you can shop around for fuel as well.  While the local garage may be the most convenient, travelling just a few miles out of town could end up saving you a lot of money over the cost of the year.  You can also look to supermarkets here too.  Many will give you discounts on fuel when you spend over a certain amount in-store.  It all adds up and you could make a great saving over a whole year.

    3. Consider leasing instead of buying

    While many people think of buying when they need a car, it can actually work out better to lease.  Jaguar Leasing, for example, through Vantage Leasing can be obtained for as little as £200 a month, and there are other car brands available too at lower prices.  When you consider how much the finance would be on a new Jaguar, you’ll see how much you could save.  On top of this, when you lease a Jaguar or similar car, you aren’t responsible for maintenance or repairs, something else which can cost a lot of money the older the car is.

    4. Change the way you drive

    We’re taught about fuel economy when we take our driving tests, but few drivers give it much thought once they’ve passed and are out on the roads.  But what if we told you that you could save a lot of money if you changed the way you drive?  By driving in the correct gear, avoiding over-revving and limiting the amount of weight your car is carrying, you will be saving fuel, which in turn saves money.  It’s also good to ensure your car receives regular maintenance, as there are a few car problems (such as not having your tyres inflated to the correct pressure) which can also waste fuel.

    Driving is an important part of life for pretty much everyone who doesn’t live in a city centre.  However, the tips above should help you to lower your car and travel costs.

     

    Read these next:

    Where to get affordable family travel insurance for a pre-existing medical condition
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    How to save money on car and travel costs