UK lifestyle and money blog

Victoria Sully Nov 2018 Circle Logo


Welcome to the Lylia Rose UK money and lifestyle blog.  I'm Victoria Sully, a busy mum of two, wife, full-time blogger and online money-maker.  I’m passionate about making money online, saving money, self-employment, healthy living and blogging.  I’m on a personal mission to be healthier and wealthier!  Thank you so much for joining me.


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  1. Harness Your Garden’s Full Potential & Transform It Into A Multifunctional Space

    If you follow my blog on a regular basis, you will know that I love my garden. I’m one of those people who thinks that having a usable and useful garden is just as important as having a smart and stylish house, if not more so, in fact. With that in mind, I’m going to share some ideas for harnessing your garden’s potential and turning it into a multifunctional space.

    Far too many of us take our gardens for granted and don’t see the potential that they have. However, we should be making the most of our outdoor space, as we really are incredibly lucky to have it. There are thousands of people with access to little or no outdoor space who would love to have a big, beautiful garden. So if you’re lucky enough to have a sizeable garden, you ought to take advantage of it.

     garden 1.jpg

    Photo source

    Of course, not everyone has a green thumb, but that doesn’t mean your garden should simply go to waste. The truth is no one’s born with a green thumb, just like with anything, becoming a skilled gardener is something that you learn as you go along. Some of us may be more interested in spending time outdoors than others. But that doesn’t mean that we’re better equipped when it comes to gardening.

    So, without further ado, here are some ideas and suggestions for harnessing your garden’s full potential. Take these on board and you can transform it into a fantastic space with many uses.

    Inspire your imagination


    Image credit

    The truth is your garden can be whatever you want it to be; it’s just a case of using your imagination. Perhaps, you love the idea of transforming it into a bright, bold space packed full of trees, shrubs, and flowers. Or maybe, you’ve always dreamed of making your garden the ultimate relaxation space. Complete with deck chairs for sunning yourself on and a hot tub for relaxing in. When it comes to what you can do with your garden, the sky’s the limit. It’s just a case of getting inspired; that’s all.

    The best places to find inspiration and ideas is in home and garden magazines. There are always so many fantastic suggestions in these; it’s just a case of looking through them carefully. You’ll also find that social media sites like Pinterest, We Heart It, and Instagram, are packed full of wonderful ideas. Spend some time getting inspired and saving the ideas that you like so that you’re able to get some fantastic ideas for your own garden. Appreciate the fact that you have a garden to use and enjoy and make sure to harness its full potential.

    Get it in ship shape

     mowing 2.jpg

    If your back garden is a bit of a jungle right now, you need to take the time to change that. You can’t do anything with an overgrown space, so getting it back in shape is important. It may take a couple of days of hard work, but it’s something that’s more than worth doing.

    Start off by trimming overgrown areas, then follow this by mowing any sections of grass. Once you’ve done that, you can then start removing any weeds. When doing this, make sure to dig the root out as well as the plant. Otherwise, they’ll quickly grow back again.

    An overgrown garden can be somewhat overwhelming, so if you’re not sure where to start, it’s okay to get some help. If you have a look online, you should be able to find plenty of local gardeners who you can hire to come and clear your garden of weeds and overgrown plants. It might cost you, but it will make the process easier and less stressful, so could be worth it.

    Split your garden into zones

     hot tub 3.jpg

    The next step to harness your backyard’s full potential is to consider splitting it into zones. The fact is that to make the most of your garden, having separate areas for separate things can work incredibly well. It can allow you to design each area of your garden in a unique way, creating a backyard that meets all of your needs.

    Take the time to think about what you want to use your garden for. From relaxing to growing your own produce, there are so many options. Draw out a basic sketch of your garden and then start thinking about which zone you would like to put where. For instance, if you plan on having an area for BBQs and eating, that should be as close to the house as possible to make it easier to use and access. However, an area of relaxing in can be anywhere that’s quiet.

    By having a garden that’s separated by different zones, you’ll make it easier to keep it in shape. You’ll also find it easier to design each area and make your yard a more practical space.

    Decide on what features you want to include

     tomato plant.jpg


    Once you’ve got an idea of what zones you want to create, the next step is to think about the features that you want to incorporate into each area. This is important, as to be able to harness your garden’s full potential and transform it, you need to get the features just right.

    Say, for example, you’ve decided to include an area for growing your own produce, you need to think about what you want this to include. Obviously, you will need an area for growing vegetables in, but what you need to think about is will this be a raised area or a simple flower bed? It’s also important to think about the size of the plot that you want. As well as whether you would also like to plant fruit trees and bushes. You may also be wondering about investing in a greenhouse, to make growing your own produce easier. If this is the case, take the time to think about the size of the greenhouse you want, as well as the type. As well as traditional full glass greenhouses, you could opt for a sturdier, wood greenhouse. There’s lots of styles and designs to choose from.

    Perhaps you’ve always dreamed of having a garden with a water feature, and would love to include one. The best way to go about this is to decide on what your budget is for your water feature and to consider where you want to place it. Then, all you need to do is pick the perfect one for your outdoor space. Just make sure to pick a design that matches the style of your garden and home. If you have kids, make sure to pick a child-friendly design.

    Or, say you’ve always wanted to have a shed in your garden, take the time to think about where you want to put this. As well as about how much you want to spend on it and what size shed you would like. It’s also important to think practically - ask yourself, do you have the room for a shed?

    If you’ve always wanted to have a summer house in your garden, now could be the perfect time. This could be a basic summer house for relaxing in and storing garden furniture in or it could be a more modern and more complex design. Today, a lot of summer houses also double as guest bedrooms. If you would like to build a summer house that could also act as a guest bedroom, take the time to get inspired online. There are plenty of tips and ideas, as well as lots of advice for making the process quicker and easier. Just remember when calculating the cost that it’s not just the price of the materials, but also the cost of the furniture as well. There’s also the price of underfloor heating to consider - this is a must-have if you want it to be useable throughout the year for guests.

    So there you have it, all the best advice for harnessing your garden’s full potential and turning it into a multifunctional space. If you’re lucky enough to have a garden of your own, it’s important to take advantage of it. Not everyone has their own area of outdoor space, so make sure to take full advantage of yours.

    There’s so much that you can do with your garden - the opportunities are endless. It’s just a case of using it in a way that works well for you and is practical. From using it to grow your own fruit and vegetables to building a BBQ pit, there’s so much that you can use your garden for. It’s just a case of getting creative and being willing to spend time transforming the space. Or, if you’re not able to do it yourself, hiring someone who can. Sometimes getting some professional help can be incredibly useful.

    Click to read my next blog post: I gave blood for the first time.  Here's what happened.



  2. Smart Ways Of Preparing Your Home To Go On The Market

    It's a funny thing, but often our homes look their best when we are considering selling them. This is because we want them to create the best impression on the estate agents and potential buyers. But what does need to be done around the house if you are getting ready to sell? Read on to find out.


    Curb appeal

    The first thing that anyone sees when visiting your home is the front garden including the fascia of the house and your garage if you have one. That is why is so essential that this is presentable and pretty. Remember that first impressions count.

    To improve the look of the front of you home, make sure that the front garden is mowed, weeded and well manicured. Add a few potted plants, if you are not too green fingered for some colour.


    Then take a long hard look at your drive. Is it in good condition? Does it need weeding or power washing? Potential buyers will always be looking for a reason to drive the price that you are asking down, and a driveway can be expensive to repair or re-lay. So make sure it is in tip-top shape before you start to show your home. Look at Entwistle Green for some good example of how this is done on high-end properties.


    Lastly the look at your house. What is the front like? Are the gutters all attached and clear of blockages? If your property is rendered, is the render clean and crack free? Do you have any creeper vines over the front of the building that potential buyers might worry are affecting it structurally? Make sure to clean up the entire facade for that all-important first impressions.


    Another aspect of the property that a potential customer will look for is the quality and condition of the flooring through the property. Lino is no longer acceptable. Make sure that your floors are either hardwood, laminate or carpeted. Carpets in the bathroom are a no go. They are impractical and unhygienic. A simple white tile will suffice here.


    If you home is carpeted check for bald spots and marks. It is a good idea to get your carpets professionally cleaned before you start to show your home. Surprisingly a clean carpet can make the rest of the property seem cleaner and lighter, so it's worth the investment.

    If there are particular places in the carpet or flooring that are worn, it may be a good idea to cover with a plain light rug.


    On one of the key element of selling any home is that the property has the right amount of space for the buyer's requirements. That means as a seller you need to be clever with how you use and display the space that is available in your home.

    Firstly, unless your home has four bedrooms or over, remodel any upstairs home office spaces as another bedroom. Potential buyers are more than capable of picturing an office in that space if they want to. More bedrooms, even smaller ones make for a higher asking price.

    Secondly, keep only the minimum amount of furniture that you need in each room. Many people do appreciate ornate and decorative furniture. But unless you live in a huge space, it does nothing but clutter up a view for potential buyers. Most people want space and light for their money. So be sure to give it to them to get the best price.


    Re-skimming and painting the wall isn't the biggest home renovation job to deal with when you buy a new home. But remember many potential buyers want to be able to move straight in without worrying about having to do, or pay for any home improvements.

    Straight and smooth walls have a huge effect on the saleability of your property. It is so much easier for a buyer to see their choice of home decor and furnishings on a good quality blank canvas.


    Of course, any serious potential buyer will have a survey of the property done before parting with their hard earned cash. So it's worth dealing with any major repairs before it gets to this point.

    For minor repairs, it is more up to the owner’s diligence. Of course, anything cosmetic will affect whether your property sells or not. So leaking pipes, peeling wallpaper, or damp will all need to be sorted before you start to show people round.


    You can't always predict the type of garden that a potential buyer will want from a property. But there are some basic rules that will help you get the outside areas in tip top shape before you put your home on the market.


    The first is that green grass does wonders. That right if your grass is looking patchy and dry, get some patch treatment and manage your lawn with that. The sight of a green, well manicured lawned is associated with a well kept and tidy garden that will impress your viewers.

    Secondly, no matter whether you garden is modern, old fashioned or a mix of the two make sure that it is neat and tidy. No potential buyers want to see an out of control areas. It could cover all manner of sins, only to be revealed when they have brought the property and cut it back. Show them that the garden will be easy to care for by caring for it yourself.

    Lastly, a little colour goes a long way, even in winter time. If you plan to sell you home in the spring, then you are lucky because they’ll probably be plenty of flowers out to brighten up the outside space. However in the winter that might not be the case. If this applies to your situation, then use garden accessories like colour pots and decoration to add a bit of fun and colour to your outside space.  This will help your potential buyer to envision the benefit of the garden in the summer.


    Click to read my next blog post: Harness Your Garden’s Full Potential & Transform It Into A Multifunctional Space!



  3. My favourite natural, healthy and wholefood ingredients company, Nutriseed, recently sent me a box of loveliness (thank you), which included a pack of Total Greens powder which is perfect for adding to a green smoothie.

    This superfood powder contains a whopping eight body loving ingredients; Wheatgrass, Green Tea leaf, Ashwagandha, Hemp Seeds, Flax Seeds, Chia Seeds, Maca and Spirulina.  Super amazing goodness packed into one fabulous pouch.

    I just love the convenience of mixed powders like these.  It saves me so much time.  Instead of scooping out the individual ingredients from all my jars, I can just grab one scoop of this and be done!  Fab if you’re on the go (work, mum, busy social life, etc) and you want to make a green smoothie as quickly as possible.  Just grab a couple of pieces of fresh fruit/veg and a handful of salad leaves (spinach and kale work best), add a scoop of Nutriseed Total Greens, top of with water, hit blend and you’re done.  It takes me only a couple of minutes to chop this and whizz it up in my Nutri Ninja!  No excuses.

    This mix is gluten free, full of vitamins and minerals, rich in anti oxidants, good for you, vegan and vegetarian, high in fibre, quick and easy to use, convenient, and did I already mention super duper good for you?!

    Since receiving this powder I’ve been making a similar concoction to the below recipe almost every other day for my breakfast.  It’s a super delicious feel good start to the day.

    If you haven't visited Nutriseed yet, it's a must.  I buy lots of smoothie ingredients and more from them. 

    Green Goodness Smoothie Recipe (with Nutriseed Total Greens) Lylia Rose Lif

    Green Goodness Smoothie Recipe (with Nutriseed Total Greens) Lylia Rose Lifestyle UK Blog

    Green Goodness Smoothie Recipe (with Nutriseed Total Greens) Lylia Rose Lif

    Green Goodness Smoothie Recipe (with Nutriseed Total Greens) Lylia Rose Lif


    My Nutriseed Total Greens Smoothie Recipe:

    • Handful of kale
    • Banana
    • Chunk of cucumber
    • Apple
    • Pear
    • Kiwi
    • 1 scoop of Nutriseed Total Greens
    • Water (enough to just cover all ingredients in the cup)

    Method:  Chuck it all in your Nutri Ninja (or similar) and blend until smooth!  YUM!

  4. Follow my adult brace journey here as I reveal my experience with fixed app

    (Teeth Envy. Pic from Pexels)

    I was sure it was about my 4th or 5th tightening, but only my third!  Good job I’m documenting it here so I know where I am!  Last Thursday I went for my third tightening and I write this one week and one day after.

    The tightening appointments are always super quick.  The appointment time booked is 15 minutes, but I’m in and out much quicker than this.  Perhaps once I have my bottom brace fitted the appointments will be the full 15 mins.  I’m always surprised at how speedy and hassle free the tightenings are.

    At my last appointment elastics were added for the first time to start moving the teeth into different positions.  The orthodontist was concerned it could be uncomfortable/painful so left them a loop loose.  I feel some pressure after my tightening’s, but after a couple of days it’s gone.  I told her this and said feel free to put the new wire and elastics on as tight as she liked!

    My wire was changed for the thickest wire.  This is the last wire and my bite was already looking in the right position and the twisted tooth almost in the perfect position.  She said from now on it will be the elastics doing the work – pulling my adult canines back to where they should be (they were 2nd back instead of third!).

    I could feel the pressure as soon as the wire was changed.  New elastics were put on without being loosened at all.  It all felt tight and ‘pulley’, but not agonising.  It’s a satisfying pain as you can feel something’s happening.

    Oh, one thing I did learn is curry stains the elastics!!  My elastics are clear but as soon as I had a vegetable passanda last month, they turned bright yellow!  Almost neon yellow!  Ooooops!  So I either avoid curry this month or go for the crazy neon yellow elastics which are really obvious.  With the elastics clear, you can’t even see they’re there. To curry or not to curry?!

    These elastics are really working!  One day after they were fitted my canine next to my peg tooth had moved around 1mm. I know this as the sides of the teeth were fully touching and now there’s a gap!  A week later it’s probably about 2mm.  Really obvious.  I’m still amazed at how quickly the changes happen.

    One week after my tightening and I’m sure my other canine (the previous totally twisted one) is perfectly turned round the right way.  It seems to have moved along more, but the orthodontist felt it's getting stuck on my bottom canine.  Something that will be resolved once my bottom brace starts moving the bottom teeth (next month, eek!)

    So much has happened to my teeth, but when I take a photo they still look blooming awful!!  I made Ben take some photos the other day and we looked at them together exclaiming ‘oh gosh, aren’t they awful!!’.  I’m going to look pretty hilarious soon once my canines are in 3rd place where they should be.  This is because I’m having 2 false teeth at the front (2nd back) and before this I’ll have an entire gap on one side (luckily there’s a little peg tooth on the other side to fill most of the gap!).  I’m going to look really gappy!  I just hope the brace part will be 18 months instead of 24.  If so I’m a third of the way through the brace.  Fingers crossed.

    Watch out for next month’s update when my bottom brace is fitted!

  5. Why Paying for Things We Used to Get for Free Isn’t so Bad

    When you take into considerations all the things we spend money on, it can sometimes be difficult to balance our budgets. The more children you have, the more money you’ll be spending on their well-being and the more money you’ll be spending overall on necessary expenses. As a result, it helps to learn how to manage your money. This is usually done with a combination of understanding your income, where your money is going and how to budget for different types of expenses.  For example, I have a family spreadsheet with all our incomings and expenditure for each month.  I update it on payday to see exactly where we are and what’s left for the month as spending or saving money.  It really helps to keep us on track and not overspend.

    Luckily we often rely on a lot of free services that can help us cut the costs of living. In the United Kingdom, we receive free healthcare thanks to the NHS so we don’t have to pay £50 per appointment we make at the doctors. If you’re a tenant that rents out a property, then you’ll also get free repairs on most of the troubling things in your home. If your boiler is broken or a tap isn’t working correctly, then you simply phone your landlord for free repairs. If you or family members are certain ages, then you might even get free travel depending on what part of the country you’re in.

    In other words, we rely on such ‘free’ services to get by.  I’ll say ‘free’ as we do pay taxes and national insurance to contribute to these services, so in effect we are actually paying for them, though it may not seem like it!

    There might come a point in the future where this ‘free’ stuff just isn’t good enough. Maybe your healthcare plan doesn’t cover certain dental treatments, or perhaps the quality of your healthcare isn’t as good as you’d like. In times like this, we may look for private alternatives that cost money—but are these really worth the extra cost?

    Sometimes paying for a service we are used to getting for ‘free’, might be the better option:

    Why Paying for Things We Used to Get for Free Isn’t so Bad

    Paid Healthcare Is Always Better

    Thanks to the NHS, British citizens are able to access healthcare without having to pay anything in person.  Almost all medical procedures are covered.   Unfortunately, this service isn’t always great and it comes with some glaring disadvantage. You might get a decent service but if not, you’re usually stuck with a terrible doctor that doesn’t seem to know what they’re doing or have any people skills. Booking appointments can take a long time and often you have to wait weeks to be seen. With so many issues, people often ask themselves what other options they have for better health care.

    The first thing that comes to their mind is private healthcare. Due to the fewer number of patients each private healthcare location has, it’s usually much easier to get a dedicated doctor whenever you need them. They’re more likely to accommodate home visits and they’ll even provide you with better information and help than your free service. Private healthcare companies, such as the aptly-named SameDayDoctor, can be used for emergency services or when you’re in dire need of professional healthcare. This is fantastic for anyone that lives a busy lifestyle and simply doesn’t have time to fit their work schedules around doctor appointments. Instead, private healthcare allows you to fit your appointments around your work, giving you far more control over your lifestyle.

    Although it can cost a bit of money, it’s ultimately worth it. This is your life, after all, so it makes sense to get the best service you can. Although free healthcare can be good enough for most people, there’s ultimately a much better chance of you living a healthier lifestyle if your doctors are better and they can be fit around your lifestyle so it doesn’t interrupt your work or time with your children. There are even services that allow you to see a doctor over the internet for common illnesses. You can get an appointment and a subscription within minutes and you don’t even have to worry about queuing up at the doctor’s office or leaving the house.

    Why Paying for Things We Used to Get for Free Isn’t so Bad repair

    Emergency Home Repairs

    When you need a home repair, it’s usually going to cost you quite a bit of money unless it’s covered by some kind of warranty or if you’re currently renting a home. When you rent as a tenant, you’re usually entitled to free home repairs because it’s still the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that the home is fixed up and safe to live in. However, what you might not know is that these conditions depend on what the contract you signed says.

    In some cases, you may have signed a contract that doesn’t enforce those rules. This might have come at the cost of lowered rent, or perhaps it’s just because your landlord doesn’t want to assume that responsibility. Either way, if you’ve never required your landlord to repair something, then you may want to review the contract and take a look to see what you’re entitled to.

    However, this doesn’t solve the issue of emergency repairs. For instance, if a pipe suddenly bursts or if your carbon monoxide alarm goes off, then you’re going to need to spend money on fixing it. It doesn’t matter how urgent the situation is, you’ll eventually be charged for sending out a specialist to come and fix your issue. This is why people budget for emergency situations—because they understand that if something were to happen to their house that puts their well-being at risk, they’ll need to spend money on remedying the issue.

    If you need something fixed, it’s best to pay the money for it. It may seem like a lot (especially if you’re hiring a professional with years of experience) but you get what you pay for—a quality service. Some of the contractors that landlords connect with are terrible and cheap. They usually don’t offer a very good service and they’re incredibly rude when they come and visit. Their cheap cost is just a testament to how much effort your landlord is willing to put in just so they can meet the criteria of fixing your home. They won’t care how late the contractors are, how many appointments they meet or how they treat you; if it’s a cheap option they’ll usually go for it.

    Fortunately, not all landlords are like this. Many landlords do care about their tenants and provide them with quality repair services, but this is usually reflected in the cost of the rent to cover these potential costs.

    To summarise, if you’re given the option between a paid and free option in life, don’t always go for the free option if your well-being is on the line. There’s nothing wrong with keeping some emergency savings aside for when you have an emergency, and in most cases, you get better service and better results for the cost.

    *collaborative post