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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Category: Travel, Holidays & Days Out

  1. How to earn cashback on things you already buy!

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    how to earn cashback on things you already buy! lylia rose lifestyle blogHow we got over £100 cashback in the last week & will get lots more!

    To sign up and see what you can start getting money back on click here: http://www.topcashback.co.uk/ref/victoriasully

    You’re going to think I’ve been paid to write this article, well I will get a little commission if you sign up from my link, but I genuinely can’t believe I’ve never used this cashback site before.  Once you see how amazing it is you’ll be giving a link to all your friends and family too.  I think mine are going to be pretty sick of me banging on at them about this site soon!  I’ve recently signed up and I’m super excited.

    Our home insurance renewal came through around three or four weeks ago and it had gone up quite a bit.  I always assume insurance will go down every year, especially if you don’t make a claim, but Ben tells me they put it up in the hope you’ll automatically renew with the same company and not bother with the hassle of looking around for a better deal.  Cheeky isn’t it!

    We’re not loaded, saving even £20 or £30 would be helpful, so out came the laptop and several open tabs with all the well-known comparison sites. We stumbled across an article about how to pick the best home insurance which had a video by that Martin guy (money saving expert, I’m sure you know the one), so we watched it.  I was super intrigued as he said the best deal he’s ever heard of following his advice was someone being paid £40 to take out some home insurance!  His quote was £60 and he applied through a cashback site offering £100 cashback for the type of policy he’d signed up for.  I normally wouldn’t believe things like this, but this Martin Lewis guy is very trustworthy so I wanted to know more.

    I think the reason I’ve always usually ignored adverts for cashback sites is because I thought there must be a catch or upfront fee.  I was so surprised you can just sign up for Top Cashback for free and start earning on your purchases.  They do have a higher membership where they take £5 of your cashback for the year, but you’ll probably earn that back as they give you higher cashback rates all year for this membership.  There’s also a totally free option, so you have nothing to lose, but lots of pennies to gain!

    We did a normal comparison site for home insurance and discovered which was the cheapest.   Ben then signed up for Top Cashback and we searched to see if the same insurance company offered cashback and to our surprise they did!  £75 cashback!  To get the cashback we just had to click the link to the insurance via Top Cashback and enter all our details again.  You have to click the link via Top Cashback so the order can be tracked to ensure the cashback is received.  Our insurance quote was £150 and we will get half back (it takes a few months for some cashback to come through, but it’s still totally worth it and will be a great way to save too!).

    I then noticed £7.50 was offered if you refer a friend and the friend earns at least £10 cashback in their account.  I told Ben to recommend me and I signed up straight away.  I wondered what sites I could save cashback on and I’m shocked we can save on literally EVERYTHING we already buy!

    There are thousands of online retailers, even eBay, loads of high street names (e.g. Next, BooHoo, ASOS, New Look), grocery shopping, takeaways (e.g. Dominos, Just Eat), hotels, Groupon, flights, basically anything you’d ever normally purchase online should be checked through Top Cashback to see if you can get some of your money back! 

    My phone contract ends in May and I’d already found a Tesco Mobile deal I wanted.  I searched to see if they offered cashback and couldn’t believe they were on there!  I signed up for the deal through the cashback site and got £32 cashback.  I’m so amazed (as you can probably tell) and this was something I was going to sign up for anyway. 

    We also visit Ben’s Gran yearly in Germany using Flybe as they’re the only airline to fly from near to us to Hannover.  I’ve just searched this morning and we can get cashback on our flights every time as well as our car hire.

    I’ve got a bit of cashback from eBay too.  You can click their link to shop on eBay and get cashback on everything you buy.  We use eBay quite a lot, so this is amazing.

    I also got £1.52 cashback for ordering a Graze Box for FREE.  You can get a box for free and then cancel your subscription right away if it’s not for you.

    The only drawback is to wait a while for the cashback, but I guess this protects the retailers.  I also don’t mind waiting as it will be a nice lump sum when it is available to withdraw.  I’m already thinking we can save up the extra cash all year and put it towards Christmas.  In your account you can see the total ’pending’ balance, so you can still keep an eye on how much cashback you’ve earned.  There’s an app too so you can check your account on the go and still buy things through the cashback site on your phone as well as check how much money you have made on the app.

    I wish we’d known of this site when we moved home as we spent thousands in B&Q and they offer cashback too!

    To sign up and see what you can start getting money back on click here: http://www.topcashback.co.uk/ref/victoriasully

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  2. Bella Meets the Easter Bunny!

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    bella meets the easter bunny at gloucester wyevale garden centre (7)

    Review - Breafast with the Easter Bunny at Gloucester Wyevale Garden Centre

    Today was a day Bella had been waiting for all week.  Every day she had asked me ‘Mum, when am I meeting the Easter bunny, today?’ Bless!

    This morning we went to Breakfast with the Easter Bunny at Gloucester Wyevale Garden Centre.  We love visiting this garden centre already as it also has a fab range of gifts, home décor, a café and a soft play.  So it’s very handy for a morning out with the children!  I’d noticed before now that they do Christmas and Easter craft events for children, but Bella was perhaps a little too young.  Now she’s a fully-fledged pre-schooler and loves doing crafts, especially any type of ‘decorating’ so it was the perfect event for her.

    bella meets the easter bunny at gloucester wyevale garden centre (3) 

    At the time of booking we requested which meals we’d like and gave our names.  When we arrived the tables were already set up so there was no faffing around waiting to be seated.  There was even a sweet Easter card wishing The Sully’s (us) a happy Easter!  A colouring sheet was laid out with crayons, a name tag for Bella and children’s cutlery.  The cutlery was a welcome touch as lots of places that serve children’s meals seem to miss this important detail and adult cutlery is often far too large for them to manage.

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    Bella seemed amazed they knew her name and it added to the magic of the whole experience!  She got to work colouring in the Easter picture.  Colouring is always great entertainment for children whilst they wait for their food! 

    Oh, I can’t believe I almost forgot, but the table had a bundle of mini eggs!  ‘Ooooh’ exclaimed Bella!  ‘Who could they be for’ I said to Bella.  ‘I don’t know, who?’ asked Bella so innocently!  Bless her, she didn’t realise they were for her!  When I told her she was super excited and wanted one right away, but I told her she’d have to wait until later, or at least after breakfast!  ‘What do you think are in them Bella?’ ‘Chocolate!’ she replied with a big grin.

    bella meets the easter bunny at gloucester wyevale garden centre (6)

    Bella was offered squash, but we prefer her to only drink milk or water so the waitress (dressed as Alice) kindly got Bella a cup of milk.  We were offered tea or coffee.  Ben had coffee and I asked for water.  I only drink green tea, so it would have been nice to have more hot drink options included. 

    Rather quickly our breakfasts were served, which was great as we usually have breakfast at 7am so we were pretty hungry!  As its pre-booked they knew what we wanted so things were nice and speedy!  I had a vegetarian breakfast, Ben had the Great British Breakfast and Bella had the Child’s Breakfast.

    bella meets the easter bunny at gloucester wyevale garden centre (8)

    The breakfasts were cooked well and enjoyed by all of us.  Extra toast was served half way through and Bella and Reuben happily shared this!  I gave my fried bread to Ben as it was white and also too crunchy for my new brace!  My only other suggestion (fussy aren’t I) would be to offer wholemeal bread as well as white.  It’s much healthier!  Bella liked the look of my fried egg much better than her scrambled, so swapped with me!  ‘Mummy I want your egg please!’  The only thing left on our plates at the end was Ben’s black pudding.  Ben eats meat, but never eats black pudding.  He tried a bit but said it was too weird and he felt like a vampire!

    bella meets the easter bunny at gloucester wyevale garden centre (4)

    After breakfast Alice said she needed the children’s help.  She gave them a bag each and they went on an egg hunt around the store!  I stayed with Reuben, but Ben went with Bella.  He told me afterwards they had to find pictures of eggs around the store.  When they came back she ran to me excitedly as her paper bag now contained some sweets!  She was super excited as we never let her have sweets at home, so this was a real treat!  They are now safely at home as a treat only as we would have had a sugar fuelled monkey otherwise!

    Then the big moment…

    The children had to shout ‘Easter Bunny’ with Alice and then he appeared!  They went to find more eggs with the Easter Bunny (a man in a big bunny costume in case you were curious!).  Bella looked so amazed by the bunny and gave him a wave!

    bella meets the easter bunny at gloucester wyevale garden centre (1)

    Once back from the final egg hunt the bunny handed out a cuddly toy to each of the children.  Bella picked a cute chick and was super chuffed with it.

    Then… more sugar!  An Easter egg shaped cookie was given to Bella with pots of sprinkles, marshmallows and chocolate drops and some icing.  Bella absolutely adored decorating her cookie and luckily she resisted eating it, instead eating the left over sprinkles and chocolate drops.  (Right after this she was going to Nana’s to play for the day, so we avoided the dreaded sugar high.  Poor Nana!)

    bella meets the easter bunny at gloucester wyevale garden centre (9) 

    Bella had a fantastic time and we’d definitely go to an event like this at Wyevale again.  In fact I want to book to meet Santa this year as I know Bella will love it.  It’s a much more magical experience for the children having a meal and getting crafty, rather than being rushed in and out to meet them.  The meals were tasty and the server made sure we had everything we needed.  I’m impressed with the whole event overall and would recommend it to anyone with young children.  My only recommendations would be more hot drink options, wholemeal bread and perhaps a craft that doesn’t involve more sugar!

    bella meets the easter bunny at gloucester wyevale garden centre (2)

    I asked Bella what her favourite thing about the event was and she said ‘decorating the egg’.  So I asked her if she liked anything else about the morning and she said ‘decorating the cookie’.  I think that was her favourite part!

    You can visit their main website here: http://www.wyevalegardencentres.co.uk/

    Or why not book to meet the Easter Bunny yourself here: http://www.wyevalegardencentres.co.uk/breakfast-or-tea-with-the-easter-bunny

    We were very kindly invited to breakfast with the Easter Bunny at Wyevale Garden Centre in Gloucester and this is my honest review.

     

     

  3. Where to Stay in Coleford, Forest of Dean: The Cottage at No 17

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    Review of The Cottage at No 17 Coleford, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire

    Review of The Cottage at No 17
    Coleford, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire

    Last year we had two wonderful stays at this picturesque 1600s cottage in Coleford, Forest of Dean.  We’re not too far away from the forest as we live in Gloucester, but sometimes it’s still nice to get away for a weekend!

    The cottage is the perfect pit stop whilst exploring the numerous attractions the forest has to offer.  There’s so much to do in the Forest of Dean, especially with little ones.  The Sculpture Trail is a fab walk, made more exciting by trying to find the 16 sculptures as you go along.  I remember seeing the huge giant's chair as a child and now it seems so much smaller than I remember!

    Puzzlewood is a must.   It’s an area of ancient woodland which feels super mystical with exposed twisting roots, stunning rock formations and magical twisting paths to explore.  It’s a dream for photographers and it’s no wonder it’s been a filming location for many famous films and TV series. 

    A short drive away is Symonds Yat where we enjoy walking along the River Wye and crossing Biblins Bridge, a wobbly suspension bridge!  The views are just fantastic. 

    If you’re kid free, or have older children, there are loads of activities you can do on the river and Go Ape also looks like loads of fun.  We’re definitely going to go back kid free one day as I’m dying to have a go at Go Ape!

    The cottage was great to return to after our fun days out.  Alex the owner is so welcoming and nothing is too much trouble.  If you need advice about the attractions or what to do he is more than happy to help.  There were nice personal touches such as a few children’s toys and games left out for Bella and some wipes and nappy bags for Reuben!  Very thoughtful!

    The cottage is located in a residential area, but there are some fabulous views out the back and we never felt like we were next to lots of other houses.  We had a peaceful and comfortable sleep each time we stayed.  Being so close to the shops was also perfect for picking up essentials, especially more nappies and baby food! It also meant we could treat ourselves to a cheeky takeaway and enjoy whilst the children slept upstairs.  I’m sure if you don’t have young children there are plenty of lovely restaurants nearby and Alex is the person to ask!

    It’s a self-catering cottage with an all in one living and dining area downstairs with everything you need to make your own food, cook, wash up and clean.  A stable door opens to a front seating area which is great in the summer.  We could open the top half on a hot day whilst safely keeping the children indoors.  A widescreen TV with plenty of channels and several DVDs entertained us in the evening.   Along with several board games left in the cottage for our use!  Oh and WiFi is free too, so we had plenty of evening entertainment once the children were sleeping.

    Upstairs are two bedrooms and a shower room.  We stayed in a cosy and comfy double bedroom which had clean, soft sheets and was presented beautifully.  The second bedroom had twin beds, which could be made into a double if needed.  Bella slept in one of the beds just fine and enjoyed the novelty of staying somewhere different to her bedroom!  I was worried how she’d sleep, but she probably slept better than at home!  We requested a travel cot and this was ready to use in the twin bedroom and Reuben also slept perfectly.

    If you fancy a peek at more reviews, photos or want to book, take a look at the links below:

    The Cottage on Trip Advisor

    The Cottage on Air BnB

    The Cottage on Holiday Lettings

     

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