Read my UK family lifestyle, making money online & healthy living blog here:

Matched betting banner imageGet cashback on your shopping

 RSS Feed

» Listings for March 2016

  1. i got a job (which was a great excuse for a shiny new watch) lylia rose uk

    I got a job (which was a great excuse for a shiny new watch)

    Look at my lovely new watch.  I’ve never really been one to wear a watch.  For a while I wore a Casio style watch in different colours, in my early twenties.  I still quite like them, but don’t have them anymore.  They were just cheap things that I expect broke or I probably got them too wet.  I can be quite idiotic sometimes and I have a vague memory of getting in the bath or shower with one!

    I got a new job this week, nothing special – just a cleaning job VERY early in the morning.  My shifts are going to be from 4.30am for 3-4 hours, six days a week.  OH MY GOODNESS I hear you cry!

    It should be OK. 

    When Bella was one I worked evening shifts for a year, but they became too much and I decided to leave when we moved home.  I finished at midnight, would be home by around 12.30am, but couldn’t actually sleep until 2am.  Then Bella would be up around 7am and Ben off to work.  I couldn’t handle the lack of sleep in the end.  I thought I’d get used to it, but I seemed to get more and more tired.  I cut my shifts down to two instead of four a week, but I was still shattered all the time.  I felt like a right wuss knowing there are other stay at home mums who work entire night shifts (um, how on earth do they do it?!).

    So the time has come for me to work again now Reuben is one and my website is going through its quiet steady patch.  It’s all go go go at Christmas, but it does quieten down quite a bit the rest of the year and we sadly came to realise we'll be on a really tight budget for a few months, unless I work.  It made finding a job that fits around family commitments, which doesn’t finish at midnight or later, with twenty hours or so a week quite tricky!

    We don’t have anyone else to look after the littles in the week, so if I went to work during the day we would need to fork out for childcare, meaning we’d be not much better off.  So a day job (and something I was probably a lot more passionate about) was out of the question.  The ideal job would be from home, but I bet these are few and far between.  I could only find loads of those spammy ‘make an extra £10000 a month by working just 1 hour a week’ type things.   I could work weekends, but that’s our only family time to go out for the day, visit relatives, all be together at once, work on the house, etc, so unless I really have to, I’d rather not as it’s such precious family time.  I was getting quite stressed not being able to find anything, then finally this morning cleaning job popped up.  Perfect.

    Not my dream job by any means, but it’s something for now that fits around our family commitments, means I can still blog and sell in the daytimes and evenings, Ben can continue with his normal working times and we don’t need to pay any extra for any childcare.  I’ve convinced myself of all the benefits and I feel quite positive about it.  It will be nice to not have any money worries and it won’t matter if I have a quiet month on the website as we’ll have the backup of my regular income.  I may also be done by 7.30am.  That’s a woo-hoo right?!  The whole rest of the day to myself, or kind of to myself when you factor in looking after the littles, being a housewife and running my business…!

    So things are going to change a little and I’m sure I’ll be shattered for the next few weeks as I get used to a change in our routine.  I still plan on networking my business and blogging as much as possible, but my bedtime is going to have to change.  Sometimes I'd stay up until 11pm on the laptop, sometimes even midnight (though this was far too late with a normal 6am start in our household!).  I think I’ll have to go to bed at 9pm to get 7 hours sleep.  I’m pretty sure I’m an 8-9 hours a night person ideally, but 7 will have to suffice for now!  Hopefully it will all work out.

    I’ve rambled on a bit there, so back to the watch!  Isn’t it lovely?!  It’s from Tesco and was only £12.  I popped in to grab a cheap watch so I can keep an eye on the time when I’m working.   I never thought I’d get distracted by all the watches, but SO did.  They had a really fab selection.  I was like a kid in a sweet shop!  It’s also the first thing I think I’ve bought for myself all year, so I was even more excited!  I was planning on getting a basic black strap just for the job type thing, but I love this one so much I haven’t taken it off for two days.  I never thought I’d be a watch person, but perhaps I am.

    So wish me luck with my new job and let’s hope I’m not a snoozing zombie by 6pm every night!


  2. Over the past few years the stay at home vacation, otherwise known as a staycation has boomed in popularity with families. With many parents concerned with saving money, these holidays make a cheaper alternative to trips abroad. You don’t have to buy expensive flights and hotel bookings. You can just stay in the UK and enjoy all of the incredible places and activities it has to offer. Plus it’s far more convenient for families with young children and those wanting to save some money. So to help you plan the perfect staycation, take a look at these fabulous tips.

    Branscombe Airfield and Campsite review and travel diary - exmouth pretty b

    Work out what kind of staycation you want

    Sit down and talk to your family about what kind of staycation they would like to go on. They might just want to stay somewhere near to your home and explore more of the surrounding area. Or maybe they would prefer a change of scene in a caravan park or by camping in the countryside. They may even want to visit a major city and visit famous monuments such as Big Ben. Go online or use UK travel brochures for ideas. Finding out what each member of your family wants to do will guarantee you keep everyone happy. Once you’ve decided what type of staycation you all desire, you can start considering your needs and budget more effectively.

    Plan in advance

    Even though you might not be travelling too far from home, you still need to plan ahead. This will not only save you valuable time but could also save you more money too. Tourist attractions such as theme parks and zoos will provide discounts on early booking. Hotels and other accommodation will get booked up quickly during the school holidays. So booking early avoids disappointment and having to choose a more unsuitable alternative. You could also use this time to find static caravans for sale or family deals on accommodation. So decide when you would like to start you staycation as far ahead as possible and reap the benefits.

    Always have a backup plan

    We all know how unpredictable weather can be. You might have had a day at the beach planned, but now it’s ruined because of unforeseen stormy weather. This can put your family in a bad mood and spoil your trip. So it’s always best to have a backup plan. Whether you’re staying at home or somewhere new, there’s bound to be an indoor activity nearby you could utilise. It could be a swimming pool, museum or indoor play area. This will keep everybody happy and help to make your holiday much less stressful. Research the local area and find age appropriate indoor attractions you could visit if the weather turns bad.

    While you may miss going on holiday abroad this year, a staycation can still give you and your family the same relaxation and fun you desire. It’s always good to see what your home country has to offer, and the UK has endless possibilities to enjoy. So take what you have learned and make your staycation one to remember.


    More great family travel articles:
    Where to get affordable family travel insurance for a pre-existing medical condition
    The ONLY two things you’ll need when flying with children
    Save money on UK family days out with Kids Pass and sign up for just £1





  3. Buying a house for the first time can be incredibly exciting. But it can be quite hard to know exactly what you’re looking for. You may already have a budget in mind. Depending on where you want to live, that budget may not stretch very far.

    However, new build properties from Linden Homes have Help To Buy schemes that can ensure you get the very best property for your money. So what are you looking for? When you’re looking to buy a property, it’s important you pick a place that is suitable for your needs.

    What To Look For When Youre Buying A House


    It’s always a good idea to live within your means. That goes for houses too. The bigger the property, the more expensive the council tax and heating costs will be. Picking something that has just enough space for you will save you money overall.

    The next thing you need to consider is how energy efficient the property is. An A grade on the EPC is the very best you can get. Most properties are C or D graded. You can also now find information that will give you an estimate of what your running costs will be. Don’t forget older properties may require far more maintenance than a newly built property. You should factor this in when considering your budget.

    The location is everything. You want to choose a property in a neighbourhood that is low on crime, not too developed, and not likely to be developed near to your property. If you’re buying a place for the view, your solicitor will be able to confirm if the land is likely to be built upon in the future. You should also check if the area is susceptible to flooding or seismic activity. A history of subsidence could make your property difficult to insure and difficult to sell on in the future.

    A house is not just a home. It’s an investment. You want to be certain that you can make a profit on that property. You might choose to look for places that you can renovate or extend to increase its value. Those that need an overhaul are often sold more cheaply. New kitchens, bathrooms, and loft conversions can be good to do. Of course, if you buy new, you can pick the flooring, kitchen, and bathroom suite you want so it’s all ready for you when it’s built.

    If this is the first house you’re buying, you are a desirable buyer. This is because you don’t have any chain. There is no property that you need to sell before you can buy another. When you’re buying, it can be better to choose a property that isn’t part of a chain. You could have more control of the completion date, and there is less chance of the sale falling through.

    Buying a house is a really big undertaking. It isn’t something you can do quickly and easily. When a mortgage is required to buy the house, there are a lot of legal processes to get through. Some lenders can make it tough on you too! But if you’ve found the house of your dreams, stick with it. With just a little tenacity, you could be the new owner.

    What to read next

    Get 100% renewable energy with Bulb and save lots of money (over £250)
    5 great reasons to get an attic conversion
    Features my dream home would have
    Easy Ways to Boost Your Energy Efficiency
    How my bedroom décor describes my personality