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  1. One of the best and worst things about being a full time blogger is being able to work from home.  That may sound strange as most people would give anything to be able to work from the comfort of their own home, so how can it possibly be bad?  In this article I’m going to tell you why it’s not always as brilliant as you might think and why shared working spaces and virtual offices could be a dream for professional bloggers.

    From a year of working full time from home I have now experienced the good and the bad.  Sure, it’s great I can sit on my sofa to work, be surrounded by things I love and not have to deal with annoying co-workers.  If I didn’t have kids to get to school and nursery, then I could even work in my pyjamas all day.  I never need to miss deliveries, can be here for meter readings and can nip out whenever I need to pick something up from the store or if I have an appointment, within reason.  Sounds great doesn’t it?

    The Benefits of Co-working Spaces for Professional Bloggers and Home Busine

    But believe me there are plenty of negatives and I’ve been feeling them more than ever lately.  There’s no separation from work and home life, meaning I always feel like I’m at work and could be working.  It’s difficult to switch off when you have an overflowing inbox and you’re always able to do work.  Working on your own all the time can get quite lonely.  As much as co-workers might be annoying or you might not get on with your boss, at least there’s some human interaction in your day at an office or most types of employed workplaces.  Chances are there are people you get along with, even colleagues you’d call friends and maybe even a social life.  Being at home all the time for work and play may sound like the ideal scenario, but believe me, cabin fever does set in, especially in winter!  Spending so much time in one environment and not being able to even work outdoors in the garden because it’s too cold means you start feeling like a prisoner in your own home.  Not good.  There are coffee shops with WiFi, but sometimes these can be too noisy and distracting if you have important projects to work on.

    So what’s the solution? Flexible office spaces and work environments that provide an alternative office or desk, if only for one day per week, to break up the mundaneness of sitting in your house 24 hours a day, working, sleeping, eating, living, playing there.  It’s only natural that our eyes want a bit more excitement and to see a different environment for at least part of the week. 

    Here are the top benefits of co-working spaces for professional bloggers:

    No house distractions

    When working at home it’s really important to try to set working hours and distance yourself from the chores of the household, but that’s often easier said than done when there’s a mountain of laundry staring you in the face.  It can be all too easy to stop working and crack on with housework losing valuable workhours in the day.  A dedicated office or desk outside of the home will have no home distractions and you could even have any online shopping delivered to your new workplace so you don’t miss it!

    Increased productivity

    Many people struggle with being productive in their cosy home environments, not being able to get into work mode as they’re too comfortable or tempted by the surrounding entertainment of TVs and social network sites.  I’m not saying you can’t have a TV or access Facebook if you share an office, but as you’ll be paying for the office space to actually work whilst you’re there, you’ll probably be less tempted.  A fresh environment, dedicated workspace away from home and the incentive you use the time wisely will all result in a more productive you.

    The Benefits of Co-working Spaces for Professional Bloggers and Home Busine

    Meet new people and network

    You’ll stop feeling so isolated and lonely as you’ll always have people surrounding you in other offices and to natter with in the communal spaces.  It could also provide great networking opportunities as you’ll never know what complementary businesses may be in the building or who might rent a space in the future.  It’s a fantastic way to introduce your business or blog to a variety of new people and they may even need your services already.

    A better work-life balance

    If separating work and home life is difficult when your home is your office, then co-working spaces could be the solution.  You have the opportunity to set actual office work hours and leave the work in the office as soon as you leave for home.  That distinct separation could be all you need to reduce stress at home and create a healthier work-life balance.

    Professional surroundings

    Unless you have a dedicated office space at home that’s neat and tidy, you might not want to take a client video call in your living room or kitchen.  A shared office gives you a professional background for those all-important Skype calls and even in person appointments.

    It’s flexible

    Shared office spaces are usually very flexible with contracts starting from as little as one month or three months so a heavy commitment is not needed.  It’s great for small home business owners or bloggers to get a feel for working in their own office outside of the home without the fear of a long contract or huge financial commitment. 

    Cost effective

    There are no hidden extras and most offices provide exactly what you need.  Business broadband, free parking, a communal kitchen, cleaners and toilets are often standard when renting a shared office space.  There are no long term lease payments or business rates to cover, just the rent.  It’s much more affordable than buying or renting an entire business building to yourself.

    I’m definitely considering hiring office space as soon as my youngest enters full time education.  It may not mean I never work from home again, but it will create a professional and productive work environment for me to focus my business time on, as well as give back dedicated family time in the evenings and weekends.

    Related
    5 tips to stay healthy if you work from home
    How to survive the half term when you work from home
    Manage your time effectively working at home

    The Benefits of Co-working Spaces for Professional Bloggers and Home Busine

    Collaboration

  2. I can’t believe it, but I’ve already been matched betting over one year.  I was planning on writing a one year update, but time has gone so quickly and I’m now into my 14th month of matched betting already.  I’m only matched betting for around 1-2 hours per week at the moment and I’m making £100-200 per month thanks to matched betting company Profit Accumulator guiding me through each offer and finding them all for me which saves hours of time every week.

    This month I don’t feel like I’ve spent more than one hour per week matched betting as I’ve just taken part in some of the easiest and quickest offers available to me, but I’ve made £200 which is great.  I luckily won £40 on a risk-free slot offer which really boosted my winnings.  I usually never win much on slots, so it was a massive surprise.  The slot offer was simply some free spins, so I didn’t have to pay anything upfront and made 100% of whatever I won.  I love the simple offers like that, though they aren’t massively regular.

    For me the beginner’s offers were definitely the most lucrative and where I made the quickest and easiest income.  You can catch up on these blog posts here:

    I’ve made £300 tax free cash from home in 2 weeks and you can too!
    £753.62 Matched Betting Profit Month One (and silly mistakes)
    Not sure about matched betting?  Make £40ish now to see if it’s for you!
    Matched Betting Profit 2 Months: £1341.81
    Matched betting profit after 3 months: £1706.81

    One Year Review How I earn up to £50 per hour matched betting from home

    Even if you only take part in matched betting for the beginner offers, it’s worth it.  You could make £1000-£1500 easily within a few weeks, for a small amount of time.  Why not try doing it whilst sat on the sofa watching TV each evening?  Just make sure you concentrate when you need to though and don’t get distracted at the important parts of placing the right bets!

    One brilliant tip to make even more money, which I stupidly didn’t realise when I began, is to sign up to each bookie through Top Cashback.  That way you’ll also get cashback for every bookie once you’ve placed enough bets, which is more than likely if you continue matched betting.  Many of the cashback offers are very high, around £30-£50 per bookie.  It’s a great deal and I wish I’d realised when I started.  I cottoned on a bit too late and only managed to get cashback for one of the bingo sites.

    If you’re concerned whether matched betting is moral.  Here are my thoughts:

    Is matched betting a gateway to gambling and is it dirty money?

    As a way to make extra cash from home, it’s one of the best ways.  There are some bloggers who have even made £100,000 from home in one year by hitting some great jackpots on the slots, for example.  Others make a full time income by learning all the various tactics and taking part in much more than I do.

    For me it’s continued as a side hustle and is a great boost to my other at-home earnings.  I didn’t follow all the recommended strategies such as ‘mug betting’ which is placing a few pretend real bets (they’re pretend as you back and lay your bets so only make a small loss of say 20p each time) to look like a real punter.  This has led me to be ‘gubbed’ (restricted from certain offers, mainly free bet offers) on 11 of my bookie accounts.  Frustrating!  But I expected it as I was only taking part in the offers on all the accounts.  I continue to do this so I won’t be surprised if I lose more, but my plan is to just keep going until that happens.  Even with losing 11 accounts I can still make a nice profit of £100-£200 per month for 4-8 hours work per month.  That’s up to £50 per hour.  I can’t complain

    Another thing to note now I’ve been matched betting for over one year is my monthly Profit Accumulator fee has reduced!  It was £17.99 but it’s now £14.99 a month as a loyalty bonus.  So that’s an extra £3 in my pocket from now on.  If you use PA then make sure you email them after your one year anniversary to request your loyalty bonus.

    Matched betting continues to provide me with a part time source of income even after one year.  If you are a bit savvier than me or even have more spare time to commit to it, you can make a lot more per month than I do.  Even if you’re not looking to be a long term matched bettor, you can easily make over £1000 in a matter of weeks from the sign up offers.  PA, the company  I use, walk you through two offers for free, so you can see just how easy it is.  It seems complicated at first and my first bet took me one hour to place as I constantly re-read the information, but now those sorts of bets take me a few minutes to place!

    Good luck if you decide to try it.  I can’t wait to hear how much you make.


    Click here to try Profit Accumulator today!

    One Year Review_ How I earn up to £50 per hour matched betting from home

     

  3. Welcome to today’s giveaway.  Today I’m giving away this beautiful scarf!

    If you love printed scarves, do pop over to my online fashion accessories boutique for a good browse where you'll find almost 100 different designs in stock! 

    The minimum spend is only £4.99 per order and 2nd class UK delivery is free.  Perfect for gifts for her.

    Win this scarf in my blog giveaway:

    Blog Giveaway: Win a Pink Tassel Elephant Spring Scarf #winitwednesday

    The full terms and conditions are below, but simply enter using one or more of the entry methods in the Rafflecopter widget below and remember, if you win your delivery address must be in the UK.

    Good luck!

    Check out my Giveaways section for more amazing prizes!

    ENTER HERE:

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    PLEASE PIN ME:

    Blog Giveaway_ Win a Pink Tassel Elephant Spring Scarf #winitwednesday

    Term and Conditions:

    • There will be one winner
    • The prize is the item pictured above
    • The prize must be claimed within 7 days of the first winner's notification email being sent.
    • There is no cash alternative
    • There is no limit on the number of entries per person, follow the instructions to enable multiple entries
    • Winners will be notified within 7 days
    • The winner must claim their prize within 7 days or it will be forfeited
    • All entries must be received by the date and time specified
    • The winner will be picked at random by Rafflecopter & notified by email
    • Giveaways are open to the UK only
    • The winner's name and county is available upon request
    • Entrants will be signed up to the Lylia Rose newsletter to receive blog posts and giveaways.  Subscribers are entered into a monthly prize draw to win a scarf of choice from my online fashion boutique -  You can unsubscribe at any time, but this will stop your entry into the newsletter giveaway.
  4. I’ve lost count of the number of weddings I’ve attended so far, sometimes as many as three in one year.  Turning up to a wedding for the first time can be a little nerve wracking if you’re not sure what to expect, but it’s definitely nowhere near the nerves the bride-to-be will be feeling on her big day.  To make sure the day runs as smoothly as possible for both you as a guest and to help satisfy the bride’s expectations of her guests, assuming it’s a traditional sort of wedding do, here are a few pointers to help you prepare for being a guest at a wedding:

    Wedding Guest Etiquette Prep tips to be the perfect wedding guest

    RSVP promptly

    There’s nothing worse than people who don’t reply to invites!  The wedding organiser will need to know and confirm numbers ASAP both for the venue and the caterers.  If numbers are limited, they may even need to send out invites to a reserve list, so don’t be one of those who ignore the invite and require chasing for a response.  This is not going to score you any Brownie points with your friend who is planning one of the most stressful events of their lifetime, albeit also one of the happiest!  If for any reason you can’t go after accepting, let them know right away; weddings cost a lot of money per guest, so they’ll need to cancel favours and catering for you, or invite a replacement.  Don’t ever just not turn up!

    Let them know any special requirements

    If you have any dietary requirements or allergies, then let them know sooner rather than later.  A special meal may need to be made and the catering team will need to know.  Your friend is planning a huge event, so it may slip their mind that you’re vegan or allergic to lactose.  Just send a friendly note to remind them.  The same goes if you need baby bottle warming facilities or wheelchair access.  They may not remember about everyone’s unique requirements, so just ask politely if such things will be available on the day or even if you can do anything to help with your necessities.

    Buy a gift they’ll love

    Many couples will set up a wedding list so you can be sure to buy a gift they want and need.  Some now ask for vouchers towards their honeymoon, which is a fantastic idea.  If the happy couple haven’t specified an exact gift and you really want to buy them something to treasure, check out a dedicated wedding shop.  If the bride is a close friend you may even want to buy a ‘bride to be’ gift as an extra special treat or to surprise them on their honeymoon.  It’s all about making the bride feel super special and treating them in their magical moment.

    Don’t turn up with an unexpected guest

    Wedding invites will always include the name of the invited and expected recipients only.  So if yours just has your name and no plus one then don’t expect you can just turn up with your new boyfriend.  Not cool.  Also don’t be offended if a very new partner is not invited, especially if your friends don’t know them yet or it’s not serious.

    Don’t wear white

    Even if you know the bride isn’t opting for a white wedding gown, I still wouldn’t recommend turning up in a floor length white number.  I’m not sure she’ll appreciate it.  In fact, I think all shades of white, ivory and light cream that could resemble a wedding dress should be left for the bride!  No bride wants to feel upstaged on their wedding day.

    On that note, don’t wear black

    I have seen some people wear black to a wedding and I’ll admit, even I have!  My dress was mid length with white flowers all over so I’d say that was acceptable.  It was pretty.  I’d avoid going head to toe in black with a black veil or sunglasses though, basically anything that could be interpreted as mourning wear and not celebratory attire!  You can wear black, but it’s got to be right.

    Wedding Guest Etiquette How to be the perfect wedding guest

    Turn up on time

    A wedding is one event you need to arrive punctually to and definitely before the wedding is taking place!  Sneaking in as the bride is walking down the aisle?  Awkward!  Arrive early and natter with the other guests until you are seated.  If you are unavoidably late, then sneak in as quietly as possible and find a seat at the back.

    Check before buying confetti

    As party-pooper as it sounds, many venues no longer accept confetti being thrown around, even outdoors.  So check with the venue or the bride before purchasing some and definitely before throwing it all over them!  If you can take confetti, check for eco-friendly versions that won’t ruin the environment or venue grounds.

    Do check the dress code, if there is one

    Obviously the above two points can be ignored if there is actually a dress code to stick to.  Most weddings expect guests to make an effort and dress for the occasion, so don’t turn up in your usual gear!  You’ll stand out like a sore thumb in the photos and may even be cropped out if the bride is that bothered.

    Related Dressing for a Summer Wedding on a Budget

    Make sure the kids can go

    Some weddings are kid friendly and some are not.  Either way, it’s down to the preference of the bride and groom and nothing to take offence at.  If the wedding is kid friendly and yours are young, babies or likely to cause a racket, consider sitting near the back of the venue so you can remove the children if they are noisy.  I’ve had to do this at several weddings when my children were babies and toddlers and it’s much more relaxing for me as a guest to know I can escape and not interrupt the nuptials, as well as relaxing for the bride if she doesn’t have to contend with a screaming child in the background!

    Say thank you and leave when appropriate

    Some events you can just leave when you like and not have to tell anyone, but I fell this is a little rude at a wedding, especially as so much has been organised for you to enjoy the day and a lot of money spent.  Before you leave you should find the bride and groom, thank them for the day and congratulate them on their marriage.  Just don’t try to leave and do this whilst their cutting the cake or taking their first dance!  Stay until all the wedding details are complete at the very least.  You should plan to be at a wedding for the entire duration, into the evening, so reserve the entire day.

    Don’t beat them to social media

    If the wedding couple use social media regularly, then it’s likely they want to post about their big day.  It’s also likely they’ll want to be the first to post about their big day, especially to show those friends and family members who weren’t invited or who couldn’t’ make the wedding.  Do not beat them to it and especially don’t upload photos on the day itself if it could upset them.  If they don’t use social media then don’t assume you have permission to plaster their big day over your own social profiles.  They may prefer not to be plastered over the internet at all.

    Hopefully these tips will stop you from making a wedding guest blooper and ensure the day runs smoothly for the new Mr and Mrs.

    Related

    Can the wedding industry survive offline?

    A Sneak Peek at our Garden 'Wedfest' Wedding

    Wedding Guest Etiquette_ Prep tips to be the perfect wedding guest

     

  5. Before working out it’s important to ensure your body is properly nourished and fuelled to provide the energy you will need to exercise.  Post workout protein snacks are also a great idea to aid muscle recovery and replenish the protein that is broken down in muscles during the exercise.

    The average sedentary man needs 56g of protein per day and the average sedentary woman needs 46g (source).  Advice on how much to consume both pre and post-workout varies, but most studies suggest 20-30g with some saying have half before and half after the exercise, with another suggesting 20g post-workout is the best method (source).

    Luckily getting enough protein is easy and delicious.  There are several great ways to satisfy your taste buds, even as a vegan, and get your protein fix.  Here are my favourite four ways to top up protein after a gym session:

    Perfect Protein Workout Snack Ideas for Vegans

    Homemade energy balls

    I actually treated myself to a food processor purely for this purpose – to make myself homemade energy balls!  They are so easy and quick to make with a few ingredients.  Plus, they’re super versatile so you can use whatever dried nuts, seeds and fruits you have to create different and tasty combinations each time.  You can get the protein from the nuts and seeds you blend in (100g of mixed seeds provides approximately 30g of protein) and you can also mix protein powders in too.

    For some inspiration, check out a couple of my homemade energy ball recipe blog posts:

    White Mulberry, Cocoa and Chia Balls Recipe
    Peanut Butter Energy Balls

    Perfect Protein Workout Snack Ideas for Vegans

    Protein bars

    If you don’t have time to make your own protein snacks, then there are lots of delicious readymade protein bars available to buy.  Even for those like me who are super fussy and avoid added refined sugar, soy and milk, you can still find delicious bars to satisfy your taste buds.  And, even more amazingly, you can even find chocolate flavour bars such as the chocolate protein flapjack squares, chocolate and vanilla snack bites and chocolate brownie bites I was recently sent to sample from Nutreelife.  These convenient bite sized protein snacks are in individual packs so you can grab a couple, chuck them in your gym bag and go, without the hassle of preparing any snacks or buying ingredients.  They’ll satisfy any naughty chocolate cravings you have without any unwanted ingredients such as soy, refined sugar, wheat, gluten or dairy.  Just natural ingredients that are good for you.

    Perfect Protein Workout Snack Ideas for Vegans

    Protein smoothies

    If you’re not feeling hungry, or you want an extra boost of fruit and veg, why not make a smoothie with your favourite protein powder?  Hemp protein works amazingly in smoothies as you can literally add it to any homemade smoothie.  We’ve also used rice protein and pea protein, but there are lots more on the market.  You can buy readymade smoothie mixes too that are already flavoured, but just keep an eye on the ingredients for unwanted additives, pesky soy and added sugars.

    For smoothie inspiration, check out a couple of my recipe posts:

    Green Goodness Smoothie Recipe
    Healthy Creamy Chocolate & Cashew Smoothie

    Perfect Protein Workout Snack Ideas for Vegans

    As nature intended

    Finally, there’s nothing wrong with a good old handful of nuts, seeds or banana to get that great energy fix and protein boost.  100g of mixed nuts provides approximately 20g of protein and the banana will boost glycogen stores providing much needed energy before a workout.  Fruit, nuts and seeds are as nature intended and conveniently ready for us to eat on the go and provide fuel just how our body likes it, naturally.

     Perfect Protein Workout Snack Ideas for Vegans

    *Thankyou to Nutreelife for sending me some of their delicious protein snacks to sample and inspiring this blog post.  All opinions are my own.