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  1. Why aren't ehere more police manning our dangerous roads?  lylia rose blog post thoughts opinion rants

    Stop driving like idiots!

    I’m not sure if it’s just me, or perhaps the areas I now live in, but over the past few years there seems to be more and more idiotic drivers on our roads.  Every single time I go out in my car, or even just for a walk, I see numerous people either breaking the law whilst driving or being very irresponsible (which is possibly also breaking the law whilst driving).  It makes me quite furious!

    I’m always moaning to Ben about another imbecile I’ve seen on the road and it seems to be a more regular occurrence.  I went for a walk this morning for one hour in total and I saw three near accidents on mere 30 mile per hour residential roads!  Crikey!  One poor woman was nearly knocked off her bike.  A man in a van was waiting to come out of a junction onto a busyish but also residential road and obviously lost his patience.  He screeched out onto the main road totally ignoring the lady about to pass the junction on her bike and the car which was right next to her.  I looked up and witnessed it as I heard his tyres screech and the lady on her bike let out a yelp as she thought she was going to crash into him.  It was a very near miss and I can only imagine her stomach did a thousand flips and heart jumped into her mouth.  There was a car just about to overtake her and it could have been a very nasty accident.  I only wish I was nearer so I could have seen the company name on the van.  I witnessed another car pull out right in front of someone else with only a couple of metres to spare and another car not bother to wait behind a parked car on their side of the road, and instead meet a car in the other lane who’s right of way it was.  Both just stopped for a moment, before the right of way car gave in and let the other go!  Gosh.

    This is only a snippet of it. In the last month I can remember being cut up when it was my right of way to turn left at traffic lights and a car was coming from the other direction.  He was all over the place so must have been drunk.  I saw two cars with smoke coming off their tyres over take a car who was doing the speed limit on a country road.  They were going so fast it was ridiculous.  I saw a car mount the curb as it took a corner after I’d been following it for ages doing 30 in a 50 zone.  Just before this 50 mile per hour road which I regularly travel on, there are forever cars up my bum on the 30mph road before it, which are then miles behind me when I do reach the 50mph part.  What is it with these 40mph only drivers?!  Almost every day I have cars seeming to want to get in my car as they’re driving so close to me when I am DOING THE SPEED LIMIT.  Arg.  Stop making me want to break the law just to get you a safe distance from my car which has two children in the back! 

    My point is, where are the road police?  Why aren’t the roads manned more?  I see these idiot drivers EVERY SINGLE DAY and I’ve probably only seen a handful (if that) of people pulled over in the past couple of years.  Why isn’t more being done about it?  Why do I have to feel intimidated by other drivers when I’m actually doing the speed limits?

    When I was in America one of the main things I noticed was how courteous all the drivers were and how safely the majority drove.  I also noticed how many people I saw pulled over on their motorways.  Like loads.  Every day.  The police there are tough (or in fact, just doing their job and enforcing the law) and will fine you on the spot for a motoring offence.  There’s no just letting you off this time.  The law is the law and safe roads are enforced.  I remember very slowly crawling over a stop sign as it was so obvious the roads were clear for miles and the Americans in my car were quite shocked and remarked ‘you MUST come to a stop or you’ll be fined!’.  Wow I thought.  They told me I would get fined on the spot if caught speeding, etc, and after driving for a few days and seeing so many pulled over, I believed them!  People on the highways/freeways seemed so much nicer than here, letting people pull in, not cutting each other up, not seeming to be in a race or rush to get everywhere.  I can travel for hours on the motorway here, see cars doing ridiculous speeds or driving so dangerously (or hogging middle/outer lanes) and yet I’ll not see one marked police car or a single person pulled over.  Perhaps that’s why everyone drives like idiots here, because 99% of the people get away with it.

    That’s the problem here.  Everyone is in a rush.  But why?  Why is every car determined to get to their destination so quickly and break the law?  It baffles me why people nearly cause accidents just to get to their destination a few minutes quicker.  We can’t all be in an emergency situation that we have to drive like maniacs.  What happened to enjoying driving and the surroundings and sticking to the law?  Oh and it also saves petrol if you go a little slower and stick to the speed limits.

    My idea for all this is the ‘Secret Police’.  It would be my ideal job.  When I’m doing the speed limit and some impatient so-and-so decides to overtake me, I’d pop my sirens on, pull them over and fine them.  Wouldn’t that be brilliant?!  No excuses for breaking the law, just an on the spot fine of say £100.  If they don’t pay up, then points on their licence.  A camera on my dashboard would prove everything.  Every time I see one of these driving idiots I say to Ben ‘Secret Police’ and he knows what I mean.  He also now agrees it would be the most fun job.  You can just imagine the look on their faces when they wind their windows down!

    Slow down.  Stop rushing everywhere.  Start driving considerately.  Please.

     

  2. May 2016 Family Roundup Lylia Rose Blog Victoria Sully

    So it’s nearly time to do June’s monthly roundup and I’m only just looking through photos from May to write this blog post!  I always think we don’t do too much, but we do always seem to be busy and time is going quicker than ever.  People have said time goes even quicker when the children are at school.  Bella starts infants in September and I just can’t believe it can pass by any quicker.  But I’ll be sure to let you know if miraculously it does.  She does 21 hours at preschool, so maybe it’s already going as quick as it will?!  Here we are now more than half way through this year and that means half way to another Christmas too!  I’m sure we only just had the last one.  You may think it’s a little early to mention this C word, but for my small online shop the buzz usually starts around September, so I’m already thinking about it!

    I always think we haven’t done very much each month, but these blog roundups are a great way to see that, actually, we have!  It’s nice to remember the lovely days out we have and look back through the photos reminiscing recent times.  I usually sit and look through all my photos for the month I’m writing about to select the ones I want to use.  This is great fun and some photos seem so long ago, but they are only a few weeks.  I also flick through my planner to see what we got up to.  I don’t know about you, but since becoming a parent and being so busy my days just blur into one big long day!  I’m also super forgetful with things like trying to remember what I did two weeks ago! I pretty much just focus on the here and now, taking one day at a time and not thinking too much about yesterday as it’s gone and I’ll look at tomorrow, well, tomorrow!  One day I’ll look back at these blog posts with fond memories of everything we did during these busy manic family days.

    We finally did our kitchen this month WOOHOO!  We’d bought new worktops, a sink, tap and tiles in JANUARY!  The sides were real wood and so needed three coats of oil before we fitted them.  Each coat takes 6 hours to dry.  They’re so heavy (and one was 3m long) that both of us were needed to carry them in and out.  We also obviously needed a dry day to do this.  It basically took us until April to find free weekends and dry days to be able to oil them all.  If we do a kitchen again I’d definitely buy pre-treated to save this hassle!  Or build a veranda or something outside so we have shelter!  Our kitchen is so much brighter and lighter now.  You can read our ceramic sink disaster story here!

    At the very start of the month I had a whole day to myself and visited a friend by train in Bristol.  It was bliss!  It was my first day out with a friend by myself, kid free too, since before I had Reuben, so well over one year!  I had such a great time and chose to take the train rather than drive so I could have even more time to myself!  I took my laptop and wrote blog posts on the train journeys.  Perfect!  I must do it more often. 

    I haven’t been doing very much friend visiting or play dates during the week at the moment as I’ve been so busy with work.  I feel pretty much like I’ve been working nonstop for a couple of months now.  Not helped by my employed morning job which starts at 5am, so I am literally working from the break of dawn (or so it feels!) until I close my eyes at night! I’ve been trying my best to take some nights off; Friday and Saturday, and sometimes Tuesday night.  It’s hard to do this all the time though as any small business owner might relate.  The best quote I’ve heard from someone running their own business is ‘I thought I always worked hard, until I ran my own business’ (Mike Pickles from Really Useful Products).

    As well as attending a couple of kids birthday parties, both family and playschool friends, we also celebrated Bella’s birthday!  Her 4th birthday was on 2nd June, but we decided to celebrate on the last May bank holiday as most people would be off work.  It was also the day of the local Cheese Rolling which is a crazy event behind our home.  We can see it from our house!  We had a BBQ, which was touch and go with the weather forecast for a while during planning, but luckily we had a dry warm day.  We have a 90 foot garden so it’s an ideal length for a garden party with lots of folk and children running around.  I expect we’ll have a yearly BBQ or garden party as the kids loved it.

    Bella had a super time and kept saying she wanted another birthday soon!  She also loved the mini cupcakes I surprised her to from The Cakery in Gloucester.  They make delicious homemade cakes (and more) with a huge free from range so I ordered no/low sugar so I could enjoy them too!  Read my review of The Cakery here!  

    The last couple of days in May were the start of Bella’s final half term at preschool.  I can’t believe how quickly it came round and knew after this half term she’d only have a few weeks left as a pre-schooler.  Only just 4 years old and we’re planning her exciting start at big school.

    May 2016 Family Roundup Lylia Rose Blog

     

  3. The Cakery – Scrumptious Homemade Cakes, Made To Order in Gloucestershire

    The Cakery – Scrumptious Homemade Cakes, Made To Order in Gloucestershire

    Based in Upton St Leonards, Gloucester, is a wonderful small business ran by the lovely Esther called The Cakery.  Covering the whole of Gloucestershire (and further for an extra charge) The Cakery provide all sorts of delicious home baked treats including cupcakes, layer cakes, macarons, free from cakes and even cupcakes for men from the Mancakery!

    The cupcakes are a generous muffin size with a fantastic range of flavours including salted caramel, ultimate Oreo, gingerbread, hazelnut rocher, strawberry & champagne, blueberrylemonicious and so many more.  Don’t these flavours sound divine?

     The Cakery – Scrumptious Homemade Cakes, Made To Order in Gloucestershire

    If you prefer a more bite sized chunk of cake, the mini sized cupcakes could be for you.  Orders for up to 500 mini cupcakes or 300 normal cupcakes are accepted for business events, or social occasions such as weddings.  Treat your clients or guests to homemade cakes with a personalised topper featuring your design or business logo.  Esther really does have it all covered.

    Layer cakes can sometimes be turned around in as little as 24 hours, should you have an emergency cake request!  The finest ingredients are used to create three layers of sponge, each with delicious fillings.  Either cream frosting or buttercream will generously coat the outside depending on the cake selected.  Three sizes are available with mouth-watering flavours such as pistachio and raspberry, lemon and blueberry, and red velvet to name but a few.

     The Cakery – Scrumptious Homemade Cakes, Made To Order in Gloucestershire

    Fancy a delicious nibble with your coffee?  The Cakery’s ‘Coffee Break Menu’ is filled with goodies to provide the perfect complement to your mid-morning beverage; muffins, brownies, American style cookies, shortbread and dacquoise.  Prefer macarons, meringues or marshmallows?  Fear not as The Cakery supply the most colourful delectable selection of these too!

    Everyone knows the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, so why not visit the fabulous Mancakery!  Not all cupcakes have to be pink, pretty, girly and swirly.  Men love cupcakes too, even though they might not all admit it!  The Cakery has a range of man cakes with carefully selected man satisfying flavours.  Such a genius idea and they look incredibly appetising with lavish dollops of buttercream and mighty chunks of deliciousness piled on top.  In fact, they look so luscious; they are my favourite looking cakes from the whole website!

     The Cakery – Scrumptious Homemade Cakes, Made To Order in GloucestershireThe Cakery – Scrumptious Homemade Cakes, Made To Order in Gloucestershire

    My Personal Review of The Cakery, Gloucester

    You may be thinking ‘hey, doesn’t this blogger usually say how anti sugar she’s becoming’.  Yes, you’re right, I do.  And guess what?  The Cakery have a range of free from cupcakes which includes no refined sugar or low sugar.  As soon as I discovered this I immediately ordered a batch. Luckily my daughter’s birthday party was close to this discovery so I had the perfect excuse for the husband - ‘Ben, we neeeed to order these refined sugar free cupcakes for Bella’s birthday party!’

    I ordered 36 mini cupcakes with a split of 12 lemon, 12 vanilla and 12 chocolate.  The only part which contained refined sugar was the flower embellishments which could easily be removed or you can request the cakes without.  As I live close by, Esther delivered the cakes free of charge at a time to suit, which was super convenient as we were busy setting up the party décor.  The cakes looked absolutely adorable (and delicious) in their presentation boxes.  I was instantly impressed.

    Even better, the cakes were also gluten free.  One of our close friends is gluten intolerant; a whiff of gluten and she could be unwakeable for hours no matter the location!  It was so amazing for her to be able to enjoy some birthday cakes at the party too.  I’m sure she’s very used to attending such events and frustratingly not being able to eat any of the party food.

    Esther, the owner, has taken food allergy training and provides a very substantial free from range.  Cakes can be made free from gluten, egg, lactose, dairy and sugar.  Unbelievably, they can even be made free from the whole lot!

    We didn’t wait long to try the cakes.  Bella hovered around me as I set them up on our cake stand and I knew exactly what she wanted!  I let her offer our helpers (the Mums) a mini cupcake each and then choose one herself before our guests arrived to tuck in.  It was hard to resist eating more than one straight away as they were scrumptious!  Really sweet and so amazing they didn’t contain regular sugar.  In fact, you’d never have known.  I think they were perhaps even sweeter than regular cupcakes, so much more enjoyable if you have a sweet tooth.

    The cakes looked perfect on the cake stand, making the food table look really fabulous.  The mini size was perfect for Bella (four) and her mini friends to handle with ease and ‘gobble up’ (Bella’s newest phrase) without having party cake overload!

    I will absolutely be ordering from The Cakery again.  Thanks Esther :)

     

    Pop along to The Cakery's website here: www.thecakery.design

     

    The Cakery – Scrumptious Homemade Cakes, Made To Order in Gloucestershire

     Images kindly provided by The Cakery

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  4. Don’t make accusations unless you have facts (or at least the right person!)

    Don’t make accusations unless you have facts (or at least the right person!)

    This past week has been a bit of a week.  Though considering how much I use Twitter I’ve been very lucky to not come across much negativity/hate/trolls, etc.  Not that this is exactly what has happened to me the last few days, rather a couple of false accusations!

    The other morning I woke up to a surprising number of website views overnight.  These were mainly from the USA at 2am in the morning.  Very bizarre I thought as I checked my analytics app first thing.  I then saw why this was when I checked my Twitter.

    I woke to a tweet saying something along the lines of ‘No you can’t copy and paste an entire essay OBVIOUSLY.  Remove it now!’

    Oh my gosh.  My heart started racing and I was panicking thinking ‘well what on earth are they on about?’ All my content is original.  It’s written by me out of my head.  If I quote something I’ll pop where the quote is from.  Otherwise I might be recalling things I’ve read, but in my own words and I’ll say ‘I read something saying this recently’ or similar.  I’ve certainly never ever copied and pasted something and claimed it’s my own.  I’m actually very passionate about not copying.  I live by ‘be inspired, but don’t copy’.  I don’t understand why you would want to copy and claim it as your own.  First it’s basically lying and I hate liars.  It’s dishonest.  It’s theft.  I also don’t understand how you can be proud of your work if it’s not yours.  I’m actually very proud of my blog.  I may not be the best writer in the world but I am proud of my blog posts, how it’s grown and all the hard work I put into my blog and business.

    So to be accused of copying was really upsetting.  I had a few other tweets saying about plagiarism and so I replied to all with question marks or saying I have no idea what they are talking about.  The only thing I could think is a guest post on my blog was copied.  Or even someone had copied me and then said I copied them.  You can imagine my thoughts processing it all and trying to work out all eventualities.  I checked Copyscape just to be sure and thankfully it proved nothing of mine was duplicated anywhere else on the web.  I might not have been so bothered, except one of the accounts accusing me had 400,000 followers and they tweeted publicly for all to see!

    I finally got a reply… still accusing me!  I asked what I was supposed to have copied and they sent me the link.  A link to an article I had never ever seen before in my life.  I replied letting them know this and that they must have @ the wrong account.  Before apologising I got a private message still asking if it definitely wasn’t me!

    Arg.

    It then turned out the copied article had been shared by a Victoria on Facebook.  Firstly I don’t use Facebook anymore.  I haven’t for about two years.  Secondly the Victoria who shared it wasn’t me.  She had a totally different surname!  I’ve no idea how they found me and thought my Twitter account was the same person.  Thankfully they finally believed me and couldn’t stop apologising.

    Panic over, but unnecessary stress caused.  If you are publicly going to accuse someone of something then please make sure you have the right person!

    So, the next thing.

    I was tweeted by someone saying how for 50k followers you’d expect more interaction.  Another of their tweets said how awful companies buy fake followers and then charge for Twitter services.

    Here we go again I thought!

    I have never ever bought followers.  I advise against it.  I’ve actually organically built my followers for nearly four years now on Twitter by pretty much spending a full working week on there! I run giveaways weekly, take part in networking hours six days a week (up to 13 a day) and use lots of retweet hashtags.  I’ve won several Twitter awards opening me up to various Twitter communities and boosting my support and followers.  I am always interacting on Twitter and have a good engagement rate which is slightly above average for a brand on Twitter.

    Plus, if you know much about all this you will know you can check if an account’s followers are fake on several websites.

    I replied to this person saying some of this and for a while they still accused me of buying followers and having no interaction.  I’m interested to know how they know how many link clicks/sales/messages I get from Twitter, as I thought only I could see these?!  You can see replies if you search for an accounts name and how many retweets on a tweet, but that’s it.  If you’re judging interaction from only this then you’re missing out on everything else.

    And yes I have over 50000 followers but not all my tweets are retweeted.  Do you retweet every tweet you see in your timeline or reply to everything you see that is interesting?  I know I don’t.  I would love to but there’s not always enough time in the day and there’s so much to see on Twitter!  I often click on links that are interesting and save them to my reading list or open in Safari to read later.  I don’t always retweet these or message the person.  Sometimes I might laugh at a picture or think ‘ooh that’s nice’, but I might not retweet or say anything.  It doesn’t mean the tweet has not caught my attention. I may add an account to one of my private lists of things I want to buy or really like, but this account wouldn’t know that.  So interaction and engagement is much more than what is publicly available to see.

    What I do know is my engagement rate (currently 1.1%) is way above the top 25 brands on Twitter who have 0.6% engagement rates. The average overall is 0.5-1%.  I know I’m never far from my Twitter and I’m a real person who will interact with you.  Yes I schedule tweets, but I’m also online every single day.  I always respond to people (unless for some reason the notification doesn’t come through, in which case give me a nudge as I’ll not be ignoring you).  I know I work hard on Twitter to tirelessly promote my business to support myself and family and do something I’m passionate about.  I know I support hundreds of other businesses on Twitter and I’m always happy to offer free advice and even a hashtag (#lyliarose) for people to reach a wider audience. I know I’m a good person and I would never ever buy fake followers to defraud anyone.  I also know most of my sales are from Twitter as well as a huge chunk of my website traffic.  I know as my followers grow so does my website traffic.

    I also know it was just one doubter and I shouldn’t have let it bother me, but it really did.  Perhaps because they also included a couple of searchable hashtags in their tweets for more than just their followers  to be able to see the accusations!  I also do not want to be branded dishonest when I'm not.

    I went ahead and pasted screenshots of how may fake followers I had and my recent Twitter analytics onto my website to prove myself.  I know I shouldn’t have had to, but I’m happy to be transparent.  If anyone was concerned or curious I would have been happy to send these to them anyway.

    I was so nervous about launching my Twitter services it really put doubt in my mind.  I’m not claiming to be a social media expert, but happy to share my own personal experience of Twitter and wanted to give others an opportunity to tap into my followers whilst reaching a wider audience, for a very reasonable price to cover my time.  Luckily I’ve had very positive feedback from those who have purchased the services so far and a really outstanding feedback via email yesterday which has really boosted my confidence in what I am offering.  I know compared to others my prices are very reasonable and won’t break the bank.  After all, I want to help small businesses and not rip them off.  I will do this through honesty and hard work, not cheating.

    If you’ve got this far, thanks for reading my rant!  I just had to get it off my chest.  I also hope you’ll think twice before ever accusing somebody of something, especially if you don’t have full facts or understand the entirety of what you’re accusing. 

    Also, please please make sure you are contacting the right person, even if you do have the proof!

    Onwards and upwards :)

     

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  5. May The Goodness Project Flowbox Review Lylia Rose Vegetarian Vegan Subscri

     ‘The Goodness Project’ Review – May Mini Vegan Subscription Box

    In case you hadn’t heard Flowbox have changed their name to The Goodness Project.

    Most of my May box was scoffed in no time at all, but I’ve been so busy I haven’t yet written about it.  I’ll probably post my thoughts on my June box very soon too.  So what was in this scrumptious box:

    Le Pain Des Fleurs Chestnut Crispbread: I think I really like chestnuts.  I regularly buy some nut roasts which have chestnuts in, and just love the flavour.  Lots of mmmm noises came from me as I enjoyed these chestnut crispbreads for the first time.  Bella and Reuben also loved them.  Tmade a great on the go snack for my one and four year old.  They’re tasty all by themselves, but also with some new avocado spread I found in Tesco generously spread on top with slices of cooling cucumber.  Delicious!

    Montezuma’s Sea Dog: Dark chocolate with lime and sea salt.  Not a flavour I’d ever pick for myself from a shop as the mix just doesn’t sound appetising, right?  Wrong!  I was so surprised that I liked this combination.  I’m usually very anti salty things, but this bar was delicious.  I probably shouldn’t admit I devoured the entire thing in the very same day!  I put it away, but wanted more straight away.  I think the only time I’ve probably had lime and salt together is in my early twenties when drinking tequila or bottles or Mexican style beer!  The flavours are much better in chocolate though and sometimes it pays to break away from your comfort zone and try something new.  You may be pleasantly surprised.

    Planet Organic Rawkin’Nola: These are granola bites packed full of a load of superfood and wholefood ingredients I just love – quinoa, buckwheat, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, maca, CACAO.  Yum!  Chocolatey thanks to the cacao and a great snack on the go or evening treat after dinner in front of the tele stylee!

    Primal Strips Meatless Jerky: I just can’t bring myself to try this!  It’s still in the cupboard.  I’d never have eaten meat jerky when I did eat meat.  I never thought it looked very appetising.  I don’t think meat does at all and I don’t miss the texture or taste of it.  So for me I’m not a veggie looking for meat alternatives.  I’m all for loads of fruit and veggies instead rather than pretend meat.  If you miss the meat taste though and love jerky, then check them out as they’ve won awards so they must be good!  Just not for me.

    9Bar Hazelnut Cocoa Kick: Arg I love these things.  I’ve had several before and they don’t last long.  It was the first thing I ate from the box.   I had to eat it as soon as I saw it.  It has a melty chocolate mixed into it and loads of super seeds.  It’s so delicious and totally moreish, but sadly contains sugar and golden syrup which makes me sad, so I wouldn't buy again.

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