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.
I spotted two teeth in Reuben’s gums tonight! Eeek! It’s such a magical moment. I can see the tops of two teeth right next to the gum along the bottom. They are so clear, I’m sure they’ll pop through any day.
It’s very exciting, but also quite sad! I felt all elated at first, but soon after whilst I was changing his nappy, and he was being all sweet holding his feet grinning at me, I felt a horrid deep ache in the pit of my stomach.
I realised I want to keep him as this super cute baby forever and I don’t want him to grow up. I’ll never experience these baby years again, well until we hopefully have Grandchildren, and time just needs to slow down. I suddenly felt a little sad and wished those teeth would stay away a little longer! Soon there will be no more adorable gummy grins and that saddens me a little.
Please stay my cute little baby boy forever Reuben!
I finally purchased my first bag of cacao nibs! I went with brand ‘Inspiral’ as I was placing a delicious snack order on their website and noticed the nibs. I’ve mentioned these nibs previously in food posts and have kept saying I’ll get some. I’ve eaten them in lots of raw food snacks I’ve purchased so I knew I liked them already. They are so handy as a substitute for unhealthier chocolate chips or just thrown onto muesli for a much more exciting breakfast. I have even made some new energy balls with them!
Cacao nibs come from just inside the cacao bean when the skin is peeled back. They have a rich, slightly bitter, dark chocolate flavour and an addictive crunch. Being cacao nibs, they are 100% raw, meaning they are not roasted to high temperatures (like cocoa) and no other ingredients are added. There’s a great article all about the benefits here, though from what I’ve researched cacao and cocoa are pretty different. I explain the difference in more detail here.
Since making my first few batches of energy balls (click here) I have made loads more with varied ingredients. I just knew I had to make some as soon as I had some cacao nibs and they are super good. They always last really well in the fridge too. Mine are normally all devoured within a week, but I’m certain they’d last much longer as the taste doesn't appear to alter.
Ingredients: 1 Jar Meridian Cashew Butter 1 Small Mixing Bowl’s worth of Dates (soaked in warm water for 20 minutes) 1 Cup Oats 1 Cup Milled Flaxseed A Few Tablespoons/A Handful Each of Goji Berries, Inspiral Cacao Nibs, Cacao Powder, Chia Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Bee Pollen
I popped everything, except the dates (which were soaking whilst I gathered the other ingredients and did this), into my food processor and processed until they had mixed really well.
Once the dates had soaked in warm water for at least twenty minutes to make them really sticky, I added them to the mixture gradually. I processed for around 20-30 seconds each time I added some, until they were all in. I probably processed for around 4-5 minutes in total, but in 20-30 second intervals with a rest inbetween. My machine processes for a maximum of 60 seconds in one go, so I didn’t want to tire it out!
Eventually, the mixture will come together in a big ball and it’s ready. I roll them into chunky balls and pop into paper cupcake cases. You can eat them straight away, but I think they’re much tastier eaten directly from the fridge the next day.
Oh my goodness – fastest month yet. Days whizz by with kids, but now I’m doing a preschool run four times a week (one 9-12 and three 9-3s), time is going RIDICULOUSLY fast. I think it’s because before now we had the whole day to ourselves, so when we woke it felt like ages until Daddy came home.
Here’s how the new routine for 9-3s goes: 6am – Daddy up 6.30am – Mummy, Bella, Reuben up 7am – breakfast then play 8.30am – start getting ready to leave – toilet, bags, shoes, coats 8.45am – preschool run 9.15am – Mummy home, washing, washing up, cleaning, tidying, blogging, emails, playing with Reuben, run any errands (food shopping, post office, etc), nursing 11.30am – preparing lunch for Mummy & Reuben 12pm – Mummy eat lunch 12.15pm – Reuben eat lunch – can take up to 45 minutes and creates a big mess! 1pm – tidy up and wash up from lunch, more of the 9.15am stuff 2.15pm – make sure Reuben has had a feed and change ready to go out 2.30pm – go for a walk 3pm – pick Bella up 3.15pm – home, wash up lunch bag, make packed lunch for Bella for the next day 4pm – start dinner 4.20-4.40pm – Daddy home 5pm – dinner 5.30pm – clean up, play, go for walk 6.30pm – bath if bath night (every other night, unless very messy), story time, bed time 7.30pm – hopefully both children asleep, sometimes this can take until 8pm 8pm – time for more 9.15am stuff or me and Ben watch something together, or we’re so tired we just have an early night and don’t come back downstairs after putting both kiddies to bed!
The day is filled with so many little sections and so much to do, especially washing – where does it all come from?! I rejoice when I get to the bottom of our two laundry baskets and then magically in a day it will be filled again! If I get through it all you can guarantee Bella will have an accident, Reuben will have an ‘explodapoo’, I’ll get food/sick all over me and the washing basket will be half full again in no time at all!
Bella is getting on well at preschool. She went to playgroup last year, but only for three hours each Thursday morning, so the jump to 21 hours was quite a difference. She loves it though and has even been playing ‘playschool’ once home. It’s nice to hear her mention things she’s done, hear songs they’ve sung and hear names of children she’s been playing with. Though she usually tells me she’s done ‘nothing with nobody’ all day every time I collect her!
Reuben is now (in the words of Daddy Pig) an expert at sitting up. I had a Widgey nursing pillow, which I never got on with for nursing, but instead used to sit Bella up in it. I did the same with Reubs at around 5 and a half months and he can now sit for ages without it. Though I still pop it by him usually, so he doesn’t bump his head! They’re really great for helping them sit up and if they fall back they have a soft landing. Reuben started sitting pretty well straight away and I think his weight helped him a lot! He’s always at the top of the chart in the red book, around the 91st percentile. If he sits in his nappy I think he looks like a little Buddha! He’s so cute!
Ben and I have enjoyed our first month of married life! Nothing much has changed really except the change of my name which is ongoing. Arg. There are so many things to change! I’m pretty sure I just have a couple left to do and I’m just waiting on my marriage certificate being returned to me. I’m pretty used to my new surname as I’d had one of my emails like it for a while, but the Mrs is still so strange to me. I must look so strange for a minute if asked my name as I hesitate and have to stop myself from saying my maiden name. It’s so wonderful to have the same name as Ben and my children and feel like a complete family unit. I’m considering buying a ‘Christmas at the Sully’s’ sign this year as I am rather chuffed!
Work on the house has almost stopped this month. There are a few odd jobs that need doing, but they are going to create a lot of mess. All the door frames need sanding back and repainting. This is a job we should have done when we first moved in and rooms were bare. It’s going to create a lot of dust so everything will need covering/mess will need cleaning up for days/weeks. Sanding dust seems to get everywhere. I’d like to get the kitchen complete, but we need to save some money first. I’m not sure we’ll get much more done to the house this year now.
(Since writing this, Ben has now started doing the door frames and staining doors at the end of September! He attached the hoover to the sander and popped dust sheets everywhere he could, so it wasn’t too messy. Phew.)
We have lots of plans for the garden too so Ben has been measuring the garden and drawing up various plans and ideas. One of the main things we want to do is get some chickens! We’ve been thinking long and hard about it and also received a great book for our wedding, so we’re reading that to make sure we really want to do it! I think it will be so magical to have our own fresh eggs from our very own chickens. The children would love collecting them too. It seems a big responsibility so I want to wait until Reuben is a little older so I have more time to devote to it.
I’ve started prepping for my return to work. I’ve decided to come back one month early and reopen the Lylia Rose Shop at 6am, Friday 30th October 2015. I have a lot of new stock which will make perfect Christmas gifts so I think opening a little earlier than originally planned is a good idea. I’m also missing it a little now, so I’m look forward to running my business again.
One big purchase this month was a bread maker! I went to a friend’s house whilst she was baking bread and it smelt (and tasted) amazing. It totally inspired me to get our own. I’ve also been pretty horrified at the lists of ingredients in shop bought bread and the preservatives. Some of our shop loaves really start smelling chemically after a couple of days and this weird smell wafts out of our cupboard once opened. It’s really been putting me off, so I’m excited to start making our own instead with the most basic ingredients. We’ve only made a couple of loaves so far, but they were tasty and quite successful!
Have you ever seen a hornet? Wow. I jumped back and screamed as I went to grab a kitchen towel one day and this was crawling up the side of the sink! I thought I was imagining its crazy size, but Ben came in and confirmed! It was at least one and a half inches long and really in two parts. It was so big you could see all the detail really well. It was also very docile. It didn’t make a fuss being transferred to the garden in a glass. It was so ginormous I’m sure it was a hornet!
The sun has been shining here and if I remember correctly, we had a pretty sunny and warm October the past two years. It’s great as we can enjoy the outdoors as much as possible before the cold weather arrives with darker evenings. We’ve visited the Roman ruins near us, I popped up a local hill called Robinswood Hill which has fab carved sculptures near the base and some play equipment so Bella didn’t want to leave! We also visited a food festival in Alcester which also had an awesome park including a maze which Ben got totally lost in! The slides were ginormous and meant to be for ages twelve plus, but Bella whizzed down on Daddy’s lap and had a ball! We also enjoyed a walk along the river in Tewkesbury where we came face to face with three cows on the path! Last time we were there it was a meadow with tall grass and beautiful flowers, now it’s filled with sheep and cows so we had to share the walking path.
Reuben outgrew the Amawrap so another great purchase this month was an Ergobaby Performance Carrier. It’s so easy to pop him into and has meant we can easily go on hill walks. I use it almost every day, even for the preschool runs sometimes. It’s so comfortable to wear and does not pull on me, like one I had with Bella seemed to. They’re quite pricey at £90+, but definitely worth it. I’m certain I’m going to get so much use out of it for a good couple of years.
Plans for October are filling up and I’m already starting to get a little excited for Christmas! Have a great October!
Amazingly we received TWO boxes this month! My good friend had ordered me and Ben one as a wedding present which was a total surprise! She hadn’t realised I already order them, but never fear as great minds think alike and it meant Ben got to take one whole box to work with him and get to experience the goodness all to himself – brilliant! The boxes always contain things you want more, much more, of so doubling up is a win.
The September box was a goody. Lots of scrumptious things to try and some hand cream which is definitely welcome at this time of year. Here are my thoughts:
DESIGNED2EAT Brownie Fudge – warning – super gooey indulgence which must be eaten from cardboard packaging or else creates sticky mess all over fingers! Ha! Very scrumptious and feels like you are eating something truly naughty, but it’s actually full of healthy goodness. It was so filling I had to eat it in two sittings!
TG Drinks Iced Green Tea – I’m sad this contains added sugar so sadly I wouldn’t drink this again, but it was nice to try it the once. It did taste nice and would be enjoyed if you like sweet drinks and aren’t turning into the ‘sugar police’ like I am. I like actual green tea and drink every day so would prefer to just drink a green tea or make my own cold version if I wanted something potable and cool. Added sugar is definitely not desirable and I try to avoid where possible. Me and Ben are actually going to challenge ourselves to a no added sugar week very soon and I now try to limit any sugary snacks to once a week on ‘treat night Friday’!
INSPIRAL Raspberry Coconut Pecks – Oh my goodness, I’m typing this as I munch them! They are so delicious! AND they contain baobab which I have posted about many a time in this here blog. AND the packet is home compostable so you know where that will be going! I’ve never tried anything like these before and they are so good. Really yummy and a perfect not too bad sweet treat filled with coconut ‘pecks’ (chips), raspberries, palmyra blossom nectar (not too sure what this one is),beetroot, baobab and vanilla – not too bad eh? These are like a bag of sweeties for the health conscious among us. Brilliant! I’ve already been scouring their website where there are loads more fantastic treats and I’ll be placing a snackfest of an order soon.
INECTO Argan Hand and Nail Cream – This must be the month of argan oil. I was recently sent some pure argan oil to try and have been ever so impressed, so I was happy to see another argan oil product in my Flowbox. I don’t often use handcreams, but when I do it’s always in the autumn and winter when the cold weather starts drying them out. So, perfect timing! This cream glides over the skin so easily and absorbs quickly. It leaves my hands smooth, but not without grip. It’s a really nice cream to use and I’m very pleased it contains the miracle ‘liquid gold’!
PASHMERE Chickpea Chips with Spinach – These had a strong Indian taste to me which I wasn’t expecting. They are very delicious and I’ve so far eaten a few, but I’m saving the rest to enjoy with a curry! I think they’ll be a unique addition to the side of my plate! I love chickpeas so it was interesting to try entire crisps made from them. Really good, but very savoury and strong flavoured, which is why I think I’ll enjoy them as part of a meal rather than a whole bag as a snack on their own.
TEATONICS Ruby-Red Restorative and Nourishing Mate Spice – We were lucky to receive two different flavours to try across our two boxes this month. I’ve quite recently got into herbal and spiced teas and now also drink 1-3 cups of green tea per day. I’ve basically given up my daily coffee for over a year now which used to give me that horrible coffee buzz and then dreaded slump! These teas come in lovely slick pouches and have a premium quality about them. The Ruby-Red Restorative has even won a star in the Great Taste Awards 2015. I enjoyed them both equally. They were earthy, warming, suitably spiced and full of flavour. I’m going to greatly enjoy a mugful each day as the season changes and weather cools.
Budget Pushchair Review | Graco Mirage vs Hauck Viper
Two weeks ago I invested in our second pushchair. We only had the one with Bella, and though it was cheap, it has lasted incredibly well. We bought the Graco Mirage Black Travel System whilst I was still pregnant with Bella. I’d looked at the pushchairs in Toys R Us and Mothercare a few times, but was drawn to this one as it seemed much more lightweight and smaller than most others. I only had a Vauxhall Corsa at the time so needed something that fitted into the boot! We also lived on two upper floors with no downstairs hall space ,so the one handed folding in one second meant I could pop it in my car boot whilst holding Bella!
I’d definitely recommend the Graco travel system. It even survived a fair few hill/forest/countryside walks, even though it doesn’t have the wheels for it! The baby car seat clips onto it easily and the whole travel system idea is a lifesaver with small babies so you don’t have to wake them to move them from car to pram. We invested in a base for each of our cars too so we could pop the car seat in and out with ease.
When pregnant with Reuben I started looking at some rather expensive pushchairs. I was quite tempted, but then decided the Graco was just fine really and such money could be spent on something else, rather than something we already had. I soon changed my mind though once Reuben arrived, as being a four wheeler, it was impossible to steer one handed whilst also trying to hold Bella’s hand. My three wheeler dream began again!
Reuben in the Graco!
I saw a very affordable three wheeler Hauck Viper on sale last week and just had to buy it. Another budget pushchair, but the reviews were great. The one I most liked said the rain cover was really easy to use. In three years I had never worked out the Graco rain cover. I always ended up with it on backwards after five minutes of faffing around in the rain! Ben swears it’s just me. The Hauck raincover is SO simple. I worked it out straight away and can leave it off until it’s raining and pop it on quickly without panic! I wouldn’t dare leave the house without having it ready and waiting on the Graco…
And… OMG… how easy are three wheelers to steer?!! I’m thinking now we should have got one first time round just because of this. They glide around so easily and steering one handed is simply not a problem. I wanted to go out on several walks as soon as it arrived just so I could experience this amazing new steering luxury! The huge wheels make any terrain a dream and it even has suspension!
Hauck Viper Three Wheeler
The only downside with the Hauck is two hands are needed to fold it down and it remains rather large once folded. I do have a slightly larger car and boot now, but this one takes up the whole of my boot. I’ve pretty much used this one every day though so it’s usually up in my hallway ready to go!
If you can only get one pushchair I think the Hauck Viper would be the winner. It can also be used as a travel system so doesn’t lose any points there. For now we are using both, but if I had a larger boot I’d probably just take the Hauck everywhere.
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