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  1. Discovering if I have any hidden talents with Genesis DNA testing

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    Genesis DNA testing kit review

    You may remember that a short while ago I posted a picture of myself on my Instagram holding a DNA testing kit from Genesis DNA.  I’ve popped the image below to jog your memory if you don’t recall…

    View this post on Instagram

    ??‍♀️What are my secret talents? Who am I? Ever wondered if you have secret skills you don’t know about? I’ll be reviewing the @genesisdnalab DNA Talent Test at a blog near you very soon! ? I’ve just received it and will do my swab in the morning. You have to not eat or drink for 30 mins before, so I think first thing is the best time for me! ?? The results should reveal my full physical, mental and intellectual potential according to their website ??‍♀️ Being someone who has not yet discovered that one hobby or skill that I have mastered, I wonder if it will reveal to me a talent I haven’t yet even thought of that I will enjoy ??‍♀️ I have become so passionate about healthy living, plant based diets and exercise in recent years so perhaps that’s my calling? I will reveal the results when I get them! ?? Have you ever considered doing a DNA test? . . ✨ Get 20% off DNA tests at @genesisdnalab with code LYLIAROSE10/18 ✨ . . #ad #dna #dnatest #dnatesting #dnatests #genesisdna #genetics #decoded #dnakit #biotechnology #lbloggers #lifestylebloggers #whoami #curiosity #hiddentalent #genes #health #hbloggers #science #talentDNA #genetictesting #review #blogreview #ukbloggers #uklbloggers #reviewer #knowyourself #knowingyourself #knowyourselfbetter #biology

    A post shared by Victoria: UK Lifestyle Blogger (@lyliarose) on

    I received my results today so I want to share with you my thoughts and a review of the Genesis DNA Talent test.  Firstly, though, let’s start at the beginning as you may be wondering what completing a DNA test involves.

    How to complete a DNA testing kit with Genesis DNA

    Usually you would register and order a DNA testing kit from their website directly, but as I was sent the kit for the purpose of this review, I didn’t order online.  I guess my process is the same as if you receive a kit as a present.  It comes with instructions to register your kit at their main website using the special ID number unique to your kit.  You simply fill in a few quick details such as your name, age, email address and sex along with the box registration number to ensure that your results are sent to you when ready.

    The kit comes with everything you need to take two DNA swabs and clear instructions so you’ll know exactly what to do.  It’s totally pain free and you simply need to pop on some gloves and take a swab with an extra-long cotton swab in the side of your cheek.  You twirl it round whilst coating it for 30 seconds or so and then pop it in a test tube.  Then you repeat with a second swab.

    There’s no need to worry that you’re doing it wrong as they’ll send you a second kit if for any reason they can’t extract your DNA from your two swabs.

    Simply send the test tubes back in the envelope provided and await the email of your results!

    Genesis DNA testing review

    Why choose the Genesis DNA talent test

    I was at first offered an immune health DNA test which is very appropriate for this time of year, but my immune health is not something that concerns me.  I eat a plant based vegan diet full of superfoods, fruits and vegetables every day and exercise several times a week.  I don’t drink alcohol and I don’t smoke.  Whether it’s my lifestyle choices or a strong genetic immune system, I rarely get ill - this entire year I’ve had one migraine and one day where I was feeling under the weather, but that’s it.  I never get sick or ill.  It’s very rare for me.

    So I decided the immune test might not be so beneficial to me and they offered a talent test instead.  It definitely sounded intriguing as it promises to reveal:

    • Your physical, mental and intellectual predispositions
    • Which activities and professions could be your most successful
    • What potential talents you haven’t yet tapped into
    • How your genes affect your personality

    This certainly interested me as perhaps there is a hobby I have not yet realised I am good at or a profession I have never considered.  Maybe I’d have a light bulb moment in my head and realise my future career and potential. 

    genesis dna testing

    Through my twenties I never had a hobby or interest and always felt I was lacking one.  I wanted so desperately to be good at something and to have a talent.  I tried a few things and nothing ever stuck.  I was always so envious of those who had a skill or talent, especially those who had perfected their skill from a young age. Why didn’t I know what I was good at?

    It was the same with career choices.  As a child I never knew what I wanted to be. I never had a focus or set dream.  I flitted between wanting to be a teacher, a firefighter, a radio presenter and more.  I never knew what my skills were or what I wanted to be.  I had no set direction and this continued into adulthood.  I never had a set career in mind.  I was always hardworking and worked my way up in a company I was loyal to for 9 years before having children, but once I left to start a family I again realised I did not know what I wanted to be.

    I knew I didn’t want to return to the same job as it was demanding and full time hours, when I wanted to be with my new daughter more, and so I trained to be a childminder.  I think I was more passionate about running my own business and having more flexibility than the job itself and it never materialised as a house move took a lot longer than anticipated.  In this time I had already started a jewellery business and from this a passion for writing was rediscovered and I turned to blogging as a hobby and future career choice.  I am now a full time blogger - a blogger because I love to write.

    Yet I always wonder how long the blogging bubble will last and if it bursts, then what will I do next.  I have no idea.

    Perhaps my DNA test will help guide me to a suitable career choice or suggest a talent that I could be great at!

    genesis dna testing kits

    A breakdown of my Genesis DNA talent test results

    When my results were ready yesterday I was sent an email notification.  I had to login to my account and download the results – a 36 page A4 booklet!  It can be viewed online, but as it looked quite extensive I printed it out and read the whole thing.  Sometimes I find a huge amount of information easier to process on paper instead of staring at the screen for a long period of time.  But there’s no need to print and you can access everything totally online.

    The results are broken down into an overview, main recommendations and then detailed recommendations.  Let’s look at my results and my thoughts:


    Apparently due to my variant of the COMT gene I have an increased level of dopamine and adrenaline which help to shape my personality.  I was somewhere on the middle of their scale which meant I was a ‘sensitive discoverer’ as well as a ‘warrior’.  I definitely like being called a warrior!

    My personality traits were a bit hit and miss to be honest.  It was a bit like reading a horoscope where some I could really relate to and sounded just like me, but others were nothing like me.  Perhaps genes aren’t always conclusive or maybe I’m not interpreting them correctly.  Here are some of the interesting points:

    • It says I can easily lose my temper which is true!  Not with friends though, but more with my kids! There’s only so many times I can repeat myself and ask nicely before I do lose my mind… put your socks on, put your socks on, put your socks on, put your socks on, put your socks on, can you please put your socks on, PUT YOUR SOCKS ON.  Job done.
    • It does tell me to break away from my professional life or else it will have a negative effect on my lie.  I’m certainly a workaholic and even more so since running my own business.  It’s important to take breaks and not let it take over your life, but that is sometimes easier said than done when you work by yourself and can only rely on yourself to get the work done!
    • It suggests I work on my creativity by listening to classical music.  I’ll just leave that one there…
    • It does say I can easily break addictions which I think is very true.  Some people are terrible at breaking an addiction, but I am strong willed and if I want to do something then my will takes over!  I also love an experiment and see anything such as giving up added sugar for a year (which I did in 2017) a challenge and one that I will succeed in!  Turn giving up something into a challenge and I bet you’re far more likely to succeed.
    • For my professional career, seeing as I have traits of both a sensitive discoverer and a warrior, it displays a whole host of varying career ideas: writer, fashion, artist, lawyer, nurse, waitress, broker, manager, lifeguard, the list goes on.  It’s not very specific, so at least now I can blame my genes for my indecisiveness when it comes to a career path!  It does say I need to decide which personality prevails in me to make a career choice, so can I be a warrior?
    • Pressure at work is apparently good for me and I agree.  I hate twiddling my thumbs and I need a lot of work to keep me engaged, so lots of deadlines and pressure – yes please.  I work best when I’m fired up with lots to do.
    • But then it says I need greater self-discipline which I disagree with as I am highly self-motivated and work well by myself, at-home, where others often say they’d be too distracted or procrastinate too much!
    • It says as I’m a warrior then if I’m not satisfied with my career then a change won’t be challenging – ‘hear hear!’ This should so be true for everyone!  Isn’t it so boring to hear those people moan constantly about their jobs they hate, but they don’t do anything about it?!  Life’s too short to keep working a job you detest – do something about it!
    • The diet section is probably relevant to everyone –consume more magnesium, don’t drink sugary drinks, do drink green tea.  Sensible advice for all I’d say.

    Genesis DNA testing review

    Memory and spatial orientation

    I have a high level of the BDNF factor so I’m predisposed to faster transmission of information from short term to long term memory.  This must be before I had kids and suffered baby-brain and mumnesia…

    It goes on to say I gain motor skills rapidly and memorise them even after a few days.  I’m a fast learner and can learn pretty much anything I set my mind to, especially anything academic.  Here are some of the points that are interesting from this category:

    • I might be a good driver.  We’ll have to ask my husband Ben’s opinion on that…
    • I may be good in maths, geometry and geography.  Yes I am!  Or at least I was!  I got an A in GCSE maths and GCSE geography and loved the subjects.  I ummed and arrrred about taking them at A-level, but was trying to release my more creative side and took drama and philosophy instead.  Doh!  I 100% should have continued with geography and maths and then who knows what career path this could have led me down.
    • It reminds me that cortisol is increased in stressful situations and also too much working out and lack of sleep… I know, I know.  I’m working on it.
    • I’m also predisposed to high blood pressure which is interesting as my Grandad has hypertension and my uncle did.  I’m hoping my lifestyle choices will help to keep mine down.

    Verbal skills

    I have high levels of the protein KIBRA which means I have high verbal communication skills:

    • Written and spoken communication isn’t a problem for me so it suggests a career with these.  This is good as my current career involves a lot of writing!  I love to write and hopefully I communicate well through my writing.  I’m always told everything reads well.
    • I don’t have problems with written work at school or work.   I’ve always loved writing, spelling and reading and always enjoyed writing essays!
    • I shouldn’t have a problem learning foreign languages.  Well I learnt German at school and found it relatively easy, so I took up French as a second language and struggled!  I don’t think I’m great at languages, but I just don’t have the time to learn one currently.= or the need.
    • Apparently public speaking and presentations are not difficult for me.  But they so are! I hate talking in front of large groups of people.  I hate the attention and all the eyes on me.  I went to a yoga class recently and had to introduce myself in front of around 35-40 people and my heart was beating so fast and palms sweating.  I’m definitely not comfortable speaking in front of large groups of people I don’t know.  I prefer small groups or 1-1s.

    Genesis DNA testing review

    Interpersonal relationships

    I have a higher sensitivity of the oxytocin receptor which means having a higher resistance to stress, emotional, optimistic and empathetic.  I don’t think I do have a higher resistance to stress.  Maybe more than others, but I still get stressed on a regular basis.  But perhaps we all do?

    • ‘Stressful situations aren’t problematic for you’… until I had kids…!  (Of course I’m always saying this in jest, but parenting is stressful!)
    • I find it easy to recognise lies and manipulation – yes I think I do.  I’ve known a few liars and manipulators and I can see straight through it, even when others can’t.
    • I’m kind.  Why, thank you :)

    Type of muscles

    My muscles contain an additional protein – alpha-actinin-3 (ACTN3 gene).  I may be good at sports that require high dynamics, muscle contraction and anaerobic effort.

    • Because I have an additional protein in my muscles I should be able to take part in sports that require high dynamics and strength.  I love to run 5km-10km and I also love the step machine at the gym and yoga classes.
    • I can easily build a muscular silhouette.  Ooh I’d better try this!  I do need to work on my bingo wings!
    • I’m apparently more suited to sprinting, but I never got on with sprinting.  I’ve always been good at and enjoyed long distance running.  I do 5km runs at the gym a few times a week and sometimes go up to 10km.  For 5km I run 1km per 5 minutes which I don’t think is bad.  I could push myself to go faster if I was racing.  I do sometimes sprint for a minute or so at the end of my 5km to really get my adrenaline pumping!

    Energy metabolism

    My energy is efficiently transported during physical activities, meaning I get fatigued slowly during exercise.  This definitely rings true and is why I like long distance running over sprinting and can sometimes keep going and going…

    • I am apparently talented in ‘sport’.  I’m not sure I am.  I enjoy running to keep fit, but I don’t think I’ve ever been talented in any other sports.
    • This section tells me to choose long distance, whereas the muscle section said short distance.  My genes are conflicted!
    • It tells me to include dark chocolate, green tea and cocoa in my diet to improve performance.  All things I love and all things that will give me more energy and also contain caffeine.  I use cacao rather than cocoa as it is less refined.  I choose dark chocolate that’s without added sugar so it’s healthier.  Anyone who knows me will know how much I love green tea!  These three foods could benefit everyone.

    Final thoughts (and save 20% off Genesis DNA tests)

    Wowsers, that’s only a tiny snippet of the comprehensive DNA report I received!  There’s a lot that I feel matches me and some that really doesn’t.  Overall  I found the process of completing the test and receiving the results a fun thing to do.  It was definitely interesting to see what levels of certain genes I have and what this should mean for my personality and health traits, even if they weren’t always accurate. 

    I’d definitely do a DNA test again, but I think I’d opt for something more specific like a health DNA test or even a food intolerance DNA test if I thought I might have intolerances to something.  I think DNA testing for health reasons is great to pinpoint a specific health problem or issue and could really benefit someone’s life.   For recreational purposes or for a nosey insight into your genes it can be quite expensive, so I think it’s more valuable if you have a specific purpose in mind.  That said, it does make a modern and unique gift idea!

    If you want to discover your hidden talents then you can find the DNA test I took here:

    Save 20% off any of their tests with my promo code LYLIAROSE10/18


    “We focus our tests only on areas where we, with proper counselling, could change our existence positively and thereby achieve a stronger, longer and more quality-filled life.”
     - Genesis DNA


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    Discovering if I have any hidden talents with Genesis DNA testing

  2. Neveo app review – easily send a family photo newspaper to grandparents each month

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    Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to easily share your family moments with your grandparents?  Perhaps they are not tech savvy and can’t regularly see all your happenings on social media and via email.  Now there is an app that is very easy to use to upload your photos and captions to each month which will automatically create a booklet and post it directly to your grandparents or chosen recipient.  Isn’t this a genius idea?  The app I am talking about and will review in today’s blog post is the Neveo app.

    Today something very exciting came through the post to me – my Neveo booklet.  I have literally just opened it and flicked through every page.  I’m very impressed with the quality and even more excited to know that a copy is also winging its way to my husband Ben’s Gran (Oma) in Germany. 

    Neveo app review – easily send a family photo newspaper to grandparents eac

    What is Neveo?

    Neveo is an easy to use platform that allows you to upload up to 50 photos per month, along with captions or descriptions if you wish, that will be sent to your chosen recipient each month.  You can upload your favourite photos each month from your tablet, iPhone or computer to your account and they’ll go into that month’s album for your chosen recipient. 

    A family newspaper automatically sent to loved ones

    On the first of the following month Neveo will automatically gather all your photos and create a family booklet style newspaper that will be dispatched directly to the recipient.

    Then you start adding your photos to your album for that month and they’ll create a booklet the following month, and so on.

    Hassle free

    It’s a subscription service so you pay each month and they will automatically use the photos you upload to send a family journal to grandparents or whoever you choose.  You can even add more than one recipient if you like.  It’s a hassle free way to send memories to family members who live far away.

    Easy to use app

    I personally find the app easiest to use as I take all my photos on my iPhone.  I simply upload a few photos, mainly of the children, every few days and add some quick descriptions.  As our recipient is German I just add short captions so they are easier to translate, but you can be more detailed. 

    Neveo app review – easily send a family photo booklet to grandparents each

    Add more contributors

    Plus you can choose to add more contributors.  I have added my husband Ben as a contributor and we can create the album together.  He has the app on his phone and it is synced to my account.  That way we can both share our favourite photos with his Gran.

    Worldwide delivery

    You can send the booklet to anyone in the world!  Neveo offer worldwide delivery so you can keep in touch with friends and family far and wide.   It’s just perfect for us to send family photos regularly to Ben’s grandparent in another country.

    Neveo app review – easily send a family photo journal to grandparents each

    Who will receive our Neveo family newspaper?

    Ben’s mum is German and moved here to the UK by herself as a young adult.  This means the rest of his mum’s side of the family is in Germany – an uncle, cousins, his cousin’s children and his Gran. 

    Ben calls his Gran ‘Oma’ as this is German for Gran.  As she is our children’s great Gran we came up with the nickname ‘Oma Oma’ for the kids to say which technically means ‘Gran Gran’ as it was easy to say when they were younger, rather than ‘Uhr Oma’ which is the correct translation.  So we all now just say Oma Oma.

    We have been very lucky to fly to Germany five times to visit Oma Oma with the children and she absolutely loves to see the children and play with them each time.  It’s always an incredible feeling to see how happy she is to see them. 

    Oma Oma is now 94 years old!  She doesn’t have a computer, email or mobile telephone which means we cannot send her images of the children and our goings on electronically.  Neveo is the perfect solution for us!

    We try our best to print photos and send them as often as possible as well as a larger printed album of the children each Christmas.  We always hear that she loves to receive them and now we are able to send even more with ease, thanks to Neveo.  It's going to save us the hassle of uploading and printing our own photos and even a trip to the post office!

    Neveo app review – easily send a family photo newspaper to grandparents each month

    My final thoughts on Neveo

    I am really impressed with Neveo, from the level of customer care to the quality of the booklet.  The app is very easy to use and they sometimes send little reminder notifications so you don’t forget to upload photos to your album.  When the album was printed I received an email and again when it was dispatched so I was kept in the loop the whole time.  They have been very helpful and friendly every time I have contacted them.

    I absolutely love the concept and it’s going to be an amazing way for Ben’s Gran in Germany to see what we are up to each month.  The booklet is a nice quality and just perfect for a little update each month and to bring so much joy for only £9.99 per month.  50 photos is more than generous to include each month and can really give an insight into what we have been doing.  You can choose to pay more, currently £14.99 a month and have up to 100 photos!

    I’m also tempted to order a booklet for ourselves each month.  When Bella was a baby and toddler I was keeping a family scrapbook, but since having Reuben and working full time it’s been impossible to find the time to maintain.  All our photos are now digitally stored or on our iPhones.  It will be a great idea to use Neveo to create a little family newspaper for ourselves each month of the best photos. 

    Special offer – first booklet only 99p

    Neveo app review – easily send a family photo newspaper to grandparents each month

    They currently have a special offer of your first booklet for only 99p if you sign up through my Neveo link.  There is no commitment so you can cancel anytime, but I really hope you will see what a beneficial service it is and continue to print a family journal for your loved ones each month.

    Watch the video to learn more

    Get more of an insight of how much it can mean to grandparents and how it all works in this video:


    Find more reviews here

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    Neveo app review – easily send a family photo newspaper to grandparents eac

    Collaboration with Neveo – all opinions my own.

  3. How to save money at the supermarket with Shopmium

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    I’m a bit late to the party with these cashback apps, but I’m absolutely loving them!  Today I received my first pay out of £2.50 from Shopmium for buying some soup.  The offer was a ‘buy one get one free’, so I had to buy the two soups myself in Tesco, upload my receipt to the Shopmium app and then they sent the cashback directly to my PayPal account!  You can also choose to have it sent to your bank account instead.

    How to save money at the supermarket with Shopmium

    Simply sign up by clicking my referral link here  and enter my referral code 46e3t – there is sometimes a freebie in the app if you do this…  at the time of typing it’s a free Nutella jar for you!

    I hadn’t even checked the app before going to the supermarket, but remembered to check it when I got home and saw that the soup I had already purchased was on the app.  I simply had to take a photo of the receipt and scan the barcode on the product to receive my cashback.

    You could check the app before you go to the supermarket as it will save you money doing it this way round if you buy items that are on offer.  For example, you can choose to buy the on offer items as an alternative to what you normally buy.  So if you are going to buy crisps or soup anyway, as an example, then take a look at the app and see if there are some crisps or soup that have money off and buy these ones instead to save!

    It’s also a great way to try new products by getting them at a discount.

    How to save money at the supermarket with Shopmium cashback app

    Which supermarkets can I save at with Shopmium?

    Shopmium is a cashback app that helps you to save money every day in the supermarket.  They currently have offers in the following supermarkets:

    • Tesco
    • Sainsbury’s
    • Asda
    • Waitrose
    • Morrisons

    How much can I save?

    Every offer is different, but you can save up to 100%!  Some are money off vouchers such as 50p off, some are BOGOF and some are to try a product for free with 100% cashback!

    Is it easy to use?

    Yes!  It’s so simple and easy to use, so if you have a smartphone then definitely download the app and take a look.  As with most apps nowadays it just takes a little clicking around on the different tabs and icons to see what’s what and away you go!

    Will I get paid quickly?

    I am pretty sure you will.  I was paid in less than 48 hours after uploading my receipt.  The money went straight into my PayPal with no fees and it was only for £2.50.  Usually apps like these have a £20 threshold to avoid a fee or even to cash out at all, so this is a real bonus for using Shopmium – no pay out fees and they send you the money pretty much straight away so you don’t even have to cash out yourself.

    I’m looking forward to saving a lot more money with Shopmium and will now check the app for every supermarket trip to see if anything tempts me or whether I can save on my usual shopping list.


    How to save money at the supermarket with Shopmium and get referral credit

    Earn £3 in referral credits for referring your friends

    Once you are signed up you will get a special code and link in the app that gives you £3 in referral credits any time you sign a friend up using your link!


    Simply sign up by clicking my referral link here  and enter my referral code 46e3t – there is sometimes a freebie in the app if you do this…  at the time of typing it’s a free Nutella jar for you!


    Related - 5 ways to get more money out of every in-store shopping trip

    How to save money at the supermarket with Shopmium

  4. How to find a restaurant Christmas menu to suit your budget

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    Christmas is for spending quality time with family and friends, but it’s also a time to stay cosy and warm indoors with some great soul-warming comfort food.   You may have noticed the Christmas decorations and trees popping up in pubs, shopping centres and supermarkets now it is only six weeks until the big day.  This means the eateries are busily promoting their Christmas menus and special festive dishes to tempt your every taste bud!

    If you’re looking to eat out in a restaurant during the festive season and you want to find the best deals all in one place, then I can recommend searching the festive dining deals at Bookatable.  We’ve booked a few tables at local restaurants throughout the year using this website as they share great value set menus and restaurant deals all year round.  There’s also an option to check out vegan dining options only which is very handy for us!  Though most places now offer vegan menus as standard which is amazing.

    How to find a restaurant Christmas menu to suit your budget (1)

    To keep things within budget, you can choose to search for deals under £30.  A quick look and I can find a 3-course festive set menu for under £20 and a 2-course festive menu for under £15.  That’s a bargain!  It will depend on the areas you are searching to what you will find, as there are different deals and restaurants available in different areas.  If you do have some extra cash to splash then you can search for deals over £30 to find a more exclusive setting.

    A great tip is to sign up for the Bookatable newsletter from their homepage and receive deals via email for the county you live in!  This is how we find all the best deals and get tempted by special offers at the restaurants we love.  It’s never worth paying the full price off a menu in a restaurant if you can find a special offer or set menu deal that offers better value.

    Reviewing the vegan festive menu at All Bar One, Cheltenham

    On Sunday Ben and I went to All Bar One to sample their festive menu.  They have a great 3-course set menu available which we booked using the Cheltenham festive dining options on Bookatable or select your closest location to see your local Christmas menu options.  The set menu sounds absolutely delicious, but there was a little bit of a mix up.  I booked our table on Friday, so perhaps at short notice, and unfortunately they would have had to order in our food so we were unable to have the festive menu.  They had only just noticed the menu we wanted to order from the day we were arriving to eat.  As we had already arranged childcare we couldn’t rearrange easily, but they were ever so apologetic and accommodating so we were able to stay for something else.  They actually also have a walk in festive menu available with vegan options so we were able to order from this.  Phew - as I was feeling all festive and really wanted to sample some of their seasonal offerings!

    They have a huge range of vegan options on their main menu too which they proudly showed us.  They all sounded delicious and were tempting, but we had festive vibes going on and so stuck to the walk in festive menu which had The Vegan Festive Burger – aubergine and harissa vegan burger with shredded sprout, coleslaw and BBQ cranberry sauce served with sage and onion fries.  Wow!  It sounded might beasty and also like a sort of burger roast dinner?!  I had no idea if stuffing flavoured chips would be good or even if cranberry sauce mixed with BBQ would work, but I was willing to try.

    We could have swapped the chips for salad, but couldn’t resist trying the sage and onion chips!  We also ordered a side of sweet potato fries to share.  Partly because we were being greedy and partly in-case we didn’t like the burger.

    Reviewing the vegan festive menu at All Bar One, Cheltenham

    The Vegan Festive Burger review

    We needn’t have worried as the burger was INCREDIBLE!  Oh my goodness.  It was so delicious, I have to go back for another. It definitely ranks as one of the best vegan burgers I have had.  Maybe even the best.

    One of the best parts is that it came with a wholemeal seeded bun.  I only choose wholemeal at home, but whenever we eat out this is rarely an option.  Burgers always come in white buns as standard.  I was so impressed to see a wholemeal bun and a good quality seeded version at that.

    The burger was delicious too.  I love crispy vegetable burgers, so this was a hit.  Ben is also enjoying these types of vegetable burger which is fab.  Before he went vegan he would always choose a meat cheeseburger when we ate out – there wasn’t even any point in him ever reading a menu as he’d just choose the burger!  Recently we had a vegan burger that was very meat-like and I assumed he’d love it.  He didn’t enjoy it all.  He said he actually preferred crispy breaded vegetable burgers now.  What a transformation in a year!

    Reviewing vegan festive menu at All Bar One Cheltenham

    I never used to like BBQ sauce, but it’s often on vegan burgers and I’ve recently stopped asking for mine without and I think I’m developing a liking for it.  Perhaps it’s just because it’s so full of sugar and just tastes so sweet to me.  At home I don’t buy anything with sugar added, so my taste buds are perhaps really picking up the sugar flavour!  This burger had BBQ at the top and cranberry at the bottom.  Now let me tell you, I DO love cranberry sauce.  It makes a roast dinner perfect if you ask me.  And yes, I found a no-added-sugar version by a company called Meridian!  The combination of the BBQ and cranberry in this burger was spot on.  It was sweet, but it worked really well and made the burger so tasty!  Usually I’d love mayo and ketchup in a burger.  At home we use Vegenaise or Mayo Rice and tomato puree, so it’s all very savoury tasting, so the cranberry/BBQ mix was the total opposite.  It made it really sweet, but I really enjoyed the flavour combination.

    Stuffing flavour chips as I kept calling them were a hit too.  They definitely had that unmistakable sage and onion flavour that is reminiscent of a roast dinner, but again this worked really well.  I think when we ordered we thought it all sounded very strange for a burger and chips, but of course festive.  Luckily it all worked and we both really enjoyed every bite.  So much so that I do want to go back and have another festive vegan burger before the year is out and they stop serving them!

    Reviewing the vegan festive menu at All Bar One Cheltenham

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  5. A last minute campervan camping trip to Rhossili Bay, Gower Peninsula, Wales

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    Two weekends ago we went on a spur of the moment camping trip to Rhossili Bay which is part of the Welsh coast on the Gower Peninsula.  It was the first time going there and our second trip to the Gower this year.  Earlier this year Ben and I took the camper van for its first ever camping trip to Oxwich Bay.

    My mum had the kids for the night which had already been planned.  She was having them for 24 hours from 3pm Sat to 3pm Sun.  We didn’t originally plan on going away as it didn’t seem long enough to get very far and after writing my winter bucket list blog post I originally wanted to go tubing to tick it off the list!  So we’d planned on going tubing which is only £11 each at the local dry ski slope in Gloucester – somewhere I’ve never been yet.  But that week I was feeling really stressed!  I was getting serious cabin fever with being at home so much!

    A last minute campervan camping trip to Rhossili Bay, Gower Peninsula, Wale

    A last minute campervan camping trip to Rhossili Bay, Gower Peninsula, Wale

    For the first time in almost eight years, Ben managed to take some nice photos of me!

    I work at home and I’m at home nearly all the rest of the time as our kids are just 3 and 6, so in bed early and so on.  My day is often school runs, work at home, then home all evening.  I was starting to feel like I’ve just been at home for weeks on end and not done anything else, so needed to get out of here. School, home, gym.  That’s my life and it’s all local to me and I just need to get out and do more things!

    I said to Ben we should maybe go away for the night instead and expected him to say there wasn’t enough time.  He usually classes any drive over one hour as a holiday and doesn’t usually like driving far at all unless it is for a holiday or specific reason.  So I was shocked when he sent me a map image of Rhossili Bay back and said ‘let’s go’.  It was a 2.5 hour drive and we only had 24 hours!  I thought he was joking, but luckily he was being serious so we started searching for a campsite.

    Hillend Campsite review

    A last minute campervan camping trip to Rhossili Bay, Gower Peninsula, Wale

    Our van is down there in the field!

    We found Hillend Campsite online before we left and it looked perfect.  It was right by the beach and only £16 for a night’s stay as it was October – the last month they are open for the year.  There was also no need to book, just turn up, pitch up and pay when your there.  I loved this flexibility so we didn’t feel tied to go if it was chucking it down with rain!

    Pitching up for us is easy with the van.  We have a Mazda Bongo with pop top roof.  We literally pull up, find a spot and we’re done!  Ha!

    It’s so easy.  We don’t have a converted van as we decided we wanted a larger sleeping area and would just go out for food, buy picnic type food or use Ben’s new camping stove to cook something easy in a pan and we don’t need to take up valuable space in the van for this.  I’d much rather a bigger bed!

    The campsite was ideal.  Super cheap, lots of toilets, hot showers and as it was end of season it was really quiet – perfect!  It was also only a stone’s throw away from the beach. 

    A last minute campervan camping trip to Rhossili Bay, Gower Peninsula, Wale

    Dinner at Kings Head Inn, Llangennith, Gower

    The setting was great.  It was one mile from a pub called Kings Head Inn which we walked to as soon as we got there.  We arrived at dinner time and are clockwork with our hunger!  I can’t wait too late for food!  They had a delicious vegan chickpea curry so this was perfect.

    We sat outside as the view was lovely.  It wasn’t that warm, but we kept our coats on and the setting was too beautiful not to really.  There was a church opposite and the hills dropped down to the sea.  It was so nice and we really felt like we had got away for a mini holiday!

    The curry was so delicious and huge portions!  I ordered chips on the side as I was starving, but the mains were plenty big enough.

    A last minute campervan camping trip to Rhossili Bay, Gower Peninsula, Wale

    Rhossili Bay review

    I absolutely love Rhossili Bay.  I felt really emotional when there as it’s the most perfect beach in the UK that I’ve seen so far.  I really want to live by a beach one day and hadn’t seen anything remotely suitable yet, but now I think Rhossili could be a contender.  It is a large sandy beach with pebbles and dunes at the back, as well as gorgeous green hills behind it with plenty of countryside and walks.  The back of the beach is hilly and not built up with residence or for tourism at all.  It still has all its natural beauty.

    At the end of the beach is Worm’s Head.  It’s a tidal island that is accessible at low tide.  It has a really cool natural rock bridge called Devil’s Bridge.  We did walk along the beach for around one hour from the campsite to Worm’s Head in the morning, but we needed to get back home for lunch and to pick up the kids, so didn’t make it all the way across Worm’s Head.  I hope to return one day to see cross over at low tide and walk over Devil’s Bridge.

    A last minute campervan camping trip to Rhossili Bay, Gower Peninsula, Wale

    It’s a really spectacular place and we sat for a moment at the edge of the low tide crossing part of Worm’s Head to look back over the beach and see the sea all around.  There are lots of rugged rocky cliffs to admire and I enjoy the fresh sea breeze and sound of the gulls.  I could imagine myself living there and walking to that spot with a book on a summer’s day to lie in the sun and read.  Bliss!

    Rather than walk back along the beach, we walked up the hill to the top where there’s a view over the whole peninsula.  I said to Ben there must be something wrong with this place as it’s so ideal – sandy beach ideal for running along in the morning and the kids to play on,  plenty of countryside, not built up, campsites, a couple of pubs and lots of walks… what could be wrong?  It seemed perfect.  On our hour walk back over the hills to the campsite we bumped into some residents and they said it was very calm day.  They told us it’s normally really windy and we’d be battling against the wind to get up that hill and walk across it.  Ah-ha.  It does have a downside, not that I was hoping for one, but it all seemed too perfect a place.  I think we need to go back and see how windy it is!

    A last minute campervan camping trip to Rhossili Bay, Gower Peninsula, Wels

    Final thoughts

    Even when there Ben questioned why I would not go to the same place twice.  I always say this and it’s because I feel life is short and if I go back somewhere again then that’s a chance of seeing somewhere new that I’ll never get back again.  I want to see and do as much as possible in my life and so I love to explore new places all the time.  That said, I do want to go back to explore the other beaches we didn’t see and to go properly onto Worm’s Head and see Devil’s Bridge.  We also picked up a map for the Gower coastal path so this is something we are both keen to do – walk around the whole Gower over 2-3 days and see everywhere!

    I really enjoyed Rhossili Bay.  It’s a stunning beach with a beautiful natural backdrop, perfect for long walks, beautiful scenery and fresh air.  A true escape from the monotony I was feeling at home!

     A last minute campervan camping trip to Rhossili Bay, Gower Peninsula, Wale

    Here’s some camping we’ve done without the kids before:

    A Kid Free Camping Trip to the Vale of Glamorgan - A weekend in Wales with camping, beaches and castles 
    A Kid Free Weekend: Hot tub glamping and zip wire fun at Chepstow Quarry

    And with the kids:

    Branscombe Airfield and Campsite review and two day Devon travel diary

    A last minute campervan camping trip to Rhossili Bay in the Gower, Wales