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  1. This month I said to someone 'that's happening in June'.  I think my head was still in April!  The first of the summer months has been and gone as quickly as the rest. 

    You may have seen I planned on growing veg next year once our homemade compost was ready.  Well, I felt a little impatient and was keen to start growing something, so went vegetable plant shopping!  I do plan on starting from seed once I properly get going.  After reading up on growing vegetables from seeds, I've realised it's quite an art form!  So many different rules for each veg and a lot of time and care.  I hope I'll be successful at this in the future, but for now I went for some small potted veg to start me off easier this year.  I've planted courgettes, yellow courgettes, bunched carrots, sweet peppers, bell peppers and tomatoes.  I also purchased a 'tumbling tom' to grow tomatoes from a hanging basket.  I'm excited to watch these grow and to see what veg we have at the end!
     
    growing veg and fruit in garden newbie - lylia rose lifestyle blog uk
     
    I was struggling to think what my Mum could get me for my 30th this year, but finally had a great idea.  I'm going to choose some fruit trees!  I'd like a couple of apple trees, a pear tree, blueberry bush and a plum tree.  I'm going to plant these along one side of our garden.  Very exciting.  Our garden already has an apple tree, but they seemed inedible to me last year.  I'm going to try one again this year, but perhaps they are a baking variety.  We have a mulberry tree too. I often order dried white mulberries, so I'm interested to see what the mulberries from our garden taste like.  We have raspberries which we've been picking already - so tasty! There's a cherry tree, but this too seems inedible.  Last year the birds ate all the cherries in one day!!  Oh, we also have strawberries everywhere and I have some potted ones too which are delicious!
     
    As you can probably tell I'm a total novice when it comes to growing fruit and veg.  I'm looking forward to learning lots and growing lots from now on!  How great it is to now have the space to grow our own.
     
    bella june 2015 - lylia rose lifestyle blog monthly family roundup
     
    The 2nd June was Bella's birthday. She turned three this year! Wow! I fear we have entered the 'troublesome threes' as she asserts her independence more and more!! I think we luckily got away with any 'terrible twos'!  She's fab though and it's amazing watching her grow and learn every day.  She's really got into dressing up and role play including sitting on her pirate ship (Reuben's change mat) and rescuing mermaids!  Here's some Bella talk for this month:
     
    'Mum, you've got a sausage face'
     
    Us - 'What would you like for breakfast/lunch/dinner?' 
    Bella - 'Sweetcorn' 
    (first answer every time, but Bella does not like sweetcorn!)
     
    'My Mu' 
    (meaning my Mum - she's started saying my Mum, my Dad and dropping the end of her words!)
     
    'I don't like talking to babies' 
    (fed up of Reuben now perhaps?!)
     
    reuben june 2015 - lylia rose lifestyle family blog
     
    Although Reuben seems fit and healthy on the outside (no problems yet, not even nappy rash!), the pressure in his poor little heart has risen quite quickly.  We've had two appointments already to check on his pulmonary stenosis and the pressure has just shot up.  He'll be having the balloon dilation procedure again in August at age 5 months.  The poor little thing!  Fingers crossed all will go well and the pressure will be reduced enough this time to stop him having the procedure again, especially so soon.  I'm very scared of going through it all again, but trying not to worry until the date and just carry on as normal.  He's a little champion!
     
    Our new home improvements have slowed down this month. Partially due to making the most of the lovely weather, but also a couple of birthdays, a trip to Cotswold Wildlife Park and Fathers Day.  Ben went for a round of golf with his Dad and brother whereas I enjoyed a family meal with my Grandad.  We went to The Gupshill in Tewkesbury which always serves great food with a fab choice of vegetarian dishes.  They never disappoint.
     
    Ben is working the first three weekends in July (boo) and then we have family birthdays and events every weekend until the end of August! So house plans are pretty much on hold!  Ben did manage to stain one door this month, so 3/7 are stained.  He also sorted through the shed.  It's beautifully organised now! Things were just dumped in there when we moved in and it was never sorted until now!  Although we have done so much to the house in a year, there seems to still be so much left to do!  I must make a list soon and see exactly what's left.  
     
    cotswold wildlife park pitville park pitville pump rooms
     
    I've been making Reuben's new bedroom cosier with a new chair and cot bumpers/toys.  I plan on adding a few more bits to Reuben's room now his cot is up and it's purely his room. I also want to complete my office with more shelves, a rug and sofa or futon.   Watch out for more 'In My Home' posts soon!
     
    I've had lots of fun this month creating recipes with my new Kenwood Multipro food processor & blender - an early birthday present from Ben (my 30th is sneaking up on me)!  Loads of yummy raw brownies, energy balls and soups have been created so far.  I've also experimented with some more homemade raw chocolate, but none have been as successful as my first recipe which you can view here.  I made a 93% dark chocolate and boy, was it powerful!!  It was too much for me too handle and it's just taken me a couple of weeks to get through, bravely consuming a small piece per day! Now it's all gone I'll have a go at something a little less bitter tasting!
     
    lylia rose food creations
     
    I've also been making the most of the sunny days with lots of park trips.  One of my favourite places to take Bella & Reuben is Pitville Park in Cheltenham.  It's such a great free day out with so much to do.  There's a play park on either side of the park. The park is split into two with a road running through the middle, but you can cross by going through a tunnel underground.  Bella loves to shout 'echo' at the top of her voice as we walk through!  Going through the tunnel is always a highlight of our day!  A giant lake runs through the park where there are plenty of fish, ducks and swans to see.  If you take 20p you can purchase feed for them. I've not done it yet, but you can hire a rowing boat which looks like great fun!  It's on my to do list once Reuben is older.  
     
    There are some picturesque bridges which Bells loves to run over, fab winding paths around the lake, small waterfalls, rocks to climb, a small golf course, skate park and all sorts!  You can picnic under the beautiful trees or on the lawn in front of the magnificent Pitville Pump Rooms and a cute band stand.  They even have some animals!  There are peacocks, birds, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs and chipmunks to see!  It was a place I definitely took for granted whilst living in the centre of Cheltenham for my early adult life.  It's only now I have children I'm making the most of it and realise how lucky we are to have such a destination.  It's so magical to see it through Bella's eyes!
     
    Ooh I've waffled on and on in this month's roundup! I'll leave it there and wish you a happy July :)
     
     
  2. reusing glass ketchup bottles as flower holders jars - uk lifestyle blog cr

    5 Reuses for an Empty Glass Ketchup Bottle
     
    I've become a little thrifty lately and started saving my empty jars and bottles to reuse.  One of my favourite ones to reuse is a Mr Organic ketchup bottle. It's got such a fab shape!  Here are my favourite reuses:
     
    1. A vase.  
    My favourite use is to use as a vase on our dining table.  It looks fab with a few freshly picked flowers from our garden, creating a pretty centre piece.  You could even add twine around the neck of the bottle to create a more rustic look. 
     
    2. A water bottle.  
    Ben uses a glass bottle next to the bed for his night time water.  The glass keeps the water super cool throughout the night.  Probably not great as a bottle to throw in your bag, but just fine around the house.
     
    3. A money box.  
    Great for collecting small change. Fill it up, change it & treat yourself!
     
    4. Food storage.  
    Great for storing a serving of homemade soup, smoothie, juice or sauce in the fridge.

    5. Candle holder.
    Stick one of those super wax dripping candles in to eventually create a superb centrepiece!
     
     
  3. carrot lentil sweet potato homemade soup - lylia rose food blog uk

    Sweet Potato, Carrot & Lentil Soup Recipe

    1 Ginormous Sweet Potato (or 2-3 smaller ones)
    1.5 Litres Vegetable Stock
    1 Can Chopped Tomatoes
    2 Carrots
    8 Tablespoons Red Lentils
    A Sprinkle of Chilli Flakes
    A Few Twists of Black Peppercorns
     
    I made my first successful homemade soup.  In fact, it was so good I made it twice in one week!  This delicious sweet potato, carrot and lentil soup is super easy to make too.
     
    I made the stock using a shop bought veg stock cube and veg gravy granules.  I'm currently saving veg peel in my freezer to make my first homemade stock which I'll use next time.
     
    I made up the stock, mixed in lentils, pepper and chilli, then slow boiled chunks of the sweet potato and carrot in this for around one and a half hours.
     
    I poured the mixture directly into my blender and added the chopped tomatoes.  I use a Kenwood Multipro Blender.  The jug is thermo proof so hot mixtures can be added straight to it.  I like to blend mine to the most liquid consistency possible.  If you like it thicker, blend for less.
     
    It's really great with wholegrain rice crackers (I love the Kallo brand). Serve & enjoy!
     
  4. flat peach smoothie - nutri ninja - lylia rose food blog recipe

    Flat Peach Smoothie Recipe
     
    3 Flat Peaches
    1 Large Banana
    10 Strawberries
    1 Mug Almond Milk
     
    For maximum goodness, I leave the skin on the flat peaches.  Just be sure to cut up & remove the stones.
     
    Pop all the ingredients in a blender (I used a Nutri Ninja with size medium cup) and pulse until smooth.

    This is a very peachy delicious drink!  Best served in a chunky wine glass with pretty straws methinks.
     
    Here are some quick and fab facts about flat peaches:
    • Also known as 'Saturn' or 'doughnut' peaches
    • Sweeter than other peaches
    • High in vitamins A and C
    • First grown in China in the 19th century
    • Created by a natural genetic mutation
    • One flat peach has around 50-60 calories

  5. stripping back my blog - lylia rose blogging update

    I recently deleted around 150 blog posts.  I decided to refine my blog and look at every single blog post to see if it was still ‘me’.  It was a process that took a few weeks as I had rather a lot of blog posts, way more than I thought I had, which was quite a surprise.

    I’d been thinking about doing this refining process since writing the blog post ‘Gosh!  How I have changed since starting this blog…’ back in January.  (Just click to read).  I’d been putting it off as I knew it would be a mammoth task.  I also wasn’t sure whether I wanted to keep a lot of my old posts so I could see the change in myself, my writing, my interests, etc.  But I realised I didn’t want someone to stumble across one of my old posts and think I back a product when I no longer do.  As you can see by my blog post above, I no longer use beauty products containing many nasty chemicals and choose the most natural products I can.  This means I would no longer recommend a lot of the items in beauty blog posts from two years or so back, so I made the decision to delete these.

    I have kept only the posts that I still agree with, or which still reflect me then without recommending something I now disagree with.  I also kept most of my fashion/outfit posts, but I took away the text.  I have left the text for a couple of brands I collaborated with, but the rest are now simply photos called ‘Simply My Style’.  When I look at fashion blogs I like to look at the photos.  If I’m honest, I just flick through the photos, stopping and staring at any I like!  I never read the text.  I’m not sure who would have wanted to read my 250+ words about how I thought an outfit looked or felt.  There’s only so much you can say about clothes.  I think a visual says so much more.

    When I started my blog I wasn’t really sure what to blog about.  I wanted more traffic to my website to raise awareness of my fashion accessories boutique and this was my main aim.  At the time I worked evenings in a very popular health and beauty store.  Being surrounded by all these products made them hard to resist, so I often purchased beauty items weekly, which gave me lots of things to blog about.  I’ve always loved clothes and my own style so it seemed natural at first to blog about fashion and beauty.  It also seemed to fit well with selling pretty accessories.  But, if I’m honest, I never really felt very passionate about it.  I felt like I was just churning out blog post after blog post saying pretty much the same thing.

    It was quite a change to start blogging about the things that matter to me and my blog took quite a turn.  I worried that the new themes (family, food, lifestyle) didn’t really have much to do with selling ladies accessories.  But then I had a realisation and thought this is MY blog.  It’s for me mainly.  Not for a search engine, not for money and now not even really for my shop.  Blogging has become something I really enjoy and I want to blog about the things I am passionate about.  It’s now my very own online scrapbook of family updates, products I really recommend, successful recipes, health and nutrition (a great interest of mine) and anything else I want to document. 

    I feel like my blog has really come into its own now and I’m much happier with the content.   My blog has become its own thing, separate from my online store, but just in the same place!  I did think about separating the two, but I actually think it’s kind of great having it all in one place.  My very own little space on the internet - a scrapbook of me, plus a little shop selling wonderful things to make people feel beautiful.   I hope it’s also fab for my shop customers to find out more about me and my interests, to see the real person behind the business.  My blog is to document things I love and our little life, but if others enjoy reading it, well, that's really a huge compliment and bonus.

    So, this is why I have stripped back my blog. To make it more mine and relevant to my interests and beliefs today.  I hope you’ll continue to enjoy as I continue into a healthier, happier and more natural future!