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  1. Welcome to my latest monthly family roundup.  Once a month I look back through our photos and my planner to record the highlights of the previous month.  It’s a great way to create an online scrapbook that I, hubby and the children can look back on for years to come.  I always think that even if the rest of my blog fails somehow one day, I’d still write these posts and use my blog as an online memory book for me and the children.  I bet they’ll love reading through this category when they’re grown up!

    Catch up on some of my previous family roundups here: 
    October 2017
    November 2017
    December 2017
    January 2018
    February 2018

    March has disappeared in a flash!  I’m not sure it was as eventful as February with as many day trips or outings, but I think this every month then look back through my photos and calendar and surprise myself!  I just can’t believe it’s nearly the fourth month of 2018 already.  We were just sent home Bella’s PE kit to wash as it’s now the Easter holidays as of today for us, yet I remember clear as day Ben asking me what the PE kit was doing at home just 6 weeks ago when it was the last half term!  That feels like a week ago, not six.  I’m a broken record, but just wait until you have kids at school.  It’s scary how the time goes so quickly.  I guess that’s what happens when life is hectic and busy every day full of events and activities, work, play, school runs, gym sessions, housework and planning.  There’s never enough time and there’s always a huge to-do list that never gets complete!

    Anyway, let’s take a look at what we got up to in March.

    Monthly Family Roundup: March 2018

    March 2018 The Sully Family Monthly Roundup Lifestyle Blog UK Parent (93)

    SNOW!

    Unbelievably we had two bouts of snow in March.  The time when we were hoping for warmer weather and the sun to make an appearance, but instead we had so much snow the children’s school and nursery closed early and then shut for an entire day the next!  It’s the first proper snow we’ve had here for around 5 years.  I remember seeing snow when Bella was a baby, but she was too young to remember, so this is the first snow she has seen and played in.  We had a light sprinkle last year, but nothing like this.  It was easily a foot deep in places.  Then when we thought spring might start, two weeks later, it snowed again!  It was over a weekend and so we had no snow day off school this time round, but it was still exciting to see a white blanket covering our garden in the morning.

    March 2018 The Sully Family Monthly Roundup Lifestyle Blog UK Parent (50)

    Reuben is 3

    Reuben turned three at the start of March!  I can’t believe it, but I am also happy to be leaving the baby years behind us.  He’s now officially a pre-schooler and has just a term and a year before starting school next September.  I will now get 30 hours free childcare (term time only) and can start getting a better work-life balance I hope.

    His birthday was a quiet affair.  We took the kids to the soft play and a few family members popped over with gifts.  Both of the snow weekends we had planned to go to All Things Wild for Reuben’s birthday and had to cancel because of the weather.  We will still go as he’s obsessed with dinosaurs and there’s a dino section, but perhaps I won’t plan it as it may snow again!  Reuben did get around 15 new dinosaur toys, clothes and books, so he was in his element!

    Happy birthday Reuben!

    March 2018 The Sully Family Monthly Roundup Lifestyle Blog UK Parent (76)

    Playroom update

    I was very kindly sent some boards for the playroom walls (read my review here) and so we had a little update of the playroom.  We took everything off the walls and repainted them as the children had also drawn everywhere over the years.  I cleared out a load of their toys to the charity shop and now they have just a row of toys up high on a shelf in boxes and one tub down at a time each.  I’m a minimal person, but it’s tricky being so minimal with kids and toys.  They build up so much over the years and with having a three year age gap I find we save a lot for Reuben to play with so can never clear out quite as many as I’d like to!  I want to buy more from charity shops, then return them after use, then we can recycle the toys and freshen them up a lot more without spending a fortune and feeling like we have to hold on to them.

    We also treated the kids to a TV in their playroom.  We recently got Netflix and they love watching kids programmes.  It gives us the freedom to watch something ourselves in the living room whilst they watch their shows in their playroom.  It also means I can shut off the living room and keep all things kids in the playroom.  It will be great as they grow up and they want to hang out with their friends in there.  Bella has asked for a TV in her bedroom a few times before, but I’m not ready for that, so a shared playroom TV is a better choice for now.

    The playroom is looking great with their new boards, layout, fresh lick of paint and TV.  Fingers crossed they don’t draw all over everything again!

    Read my review of the new notice boards here: An Eco-Friendly Playroom Makeover with Sundeala Notice Boards

    March 2018 The Sully Family Monthly Roundup Lifestyle Blog UK Parent (77)

    Wardrobe

    The never ending wardrobe saga!  We originally had a wardrobe each in our bedroom, but I’d cut down my clothes so much I wanted me and Ben to share a triple wardrobe and create a bit more space in our bedroom.  Ben, loving woodwork and DIY, wanted to build our wardrobe himself.  That was probably over two years ago I reckon and it’s still in progress.  He did build one and it looked great, but the doors were a bit of an odd design and we ended up having to take them off.  Then we had no doors for ages, maybe a year.  Now he’s finally making doors out of recycled pallets, but had to rip out his original design and start again.  Needless to say I wasn’t impressed when I returned home to a bedroom one evening as above (considering I had no idea he was doing this).  Hopefully we might finally have a wardrobe this year!  The joys of living with a DIY fanatic!

    March 2018 The Sully Family Monthly Roundup Lifestyle Blog UK Parent (18)

    March 2018 The Sully Family Monthly Roundup Lifestyle Blog UK Parent (153)

    Countryside & Canal Walks

    I’ve not been in the countryside as much as I’d have liked this month, but we did manage a short walk at the top of May Hill near the Forest of Dean.  On the very first day of the clocks going forward we had a beautiful sunny and even warm day!  The kids refused to even wear their coats it felt so much warmer.  Pretty mad considering the week before was full on snow!  We made the most of the warm weather by firstly me and Ben walking up May Hill kid free where we saw the tallest trees ever at the top.  Then we picked the kids up and popped to The Bell Inn pub in Frampton upon Severn and had a short stroll down the canal afterwards which the kids loved.  Bella can remember the canal, but Reuben being only three probably can’t remember our last canal walks back in the previous summers.  He was so excited by the boats and swans.  It’s made me wish for warmer weather even more.  Unfortunately that was the only warm and sunny day, it’s now forecast rain for the next 10 days at least.  Meh.

    March 2018 The Sully Family Monthly Roundup Lifestyle Blog UK Parent (129)

    Vegan restaurants in Gloucestershire

    As Ben is continuing on his meat and dairy free diet, we decided to check out some local vegan friendly restaurants in Gloucestershire as we had a kid free afternoon, morning and evening.  We enjoyed food at Portivo Lounge in Gloucester Docks, Vinnie’s Eatery in Cheltenham and The Olive Tree in Nailsworth.  My absolute favourite is Vinnie’s Eatery where they focus on a plant based diet and don’t use refined sugar in their food.  They score the best for food.  I do love the décor in Portivo Lounge and they have a large range of vegan food which is always yummy.  The Olive Tree is a gorgeous little cosy place with several vegan options.  We had the pizza here which was a bit tricky to cut with a very crispy crunchy base, almost like biscuit, but yummy once we could cut a slice away!  I’d like to go back and try something else off the menu as the actual place, staff and ambience were really impressive.

    Read my Vinnie’s review here: Vinnie’s Eatery Review: Plant Based Restaurant in Cheltenham

    March 2018 The Sully Family Monthly Roundup Lifestyle Blog UK Parent (126)

    Litter picking

    When we had our kid free time this month we went to clean up the brook at the end of our road.  It’s been a mess since we moved here four years ago and I was hoping the council would do something about it, but no.  It’s such a shame and I didn’t want our kids to think it’s acceptable to treat nature and wildlife like this, so me and Ben cleaned some up.  We cleaned as far as the kids can see over the bridge at the end of our road and we were amazed to fill FIVE bin bags in around 10 metres!  What a disgrace!  I want to clear more, but we filled our bins and they’re only collected every two weeks.  It’s mental the amount of rubbish that was embedded in the banks of the brook.  We could tell no one has EVER litter picked or cleaned the rubbish up as there was litter deep in the soil.  It really makes me angry. 

    Monthly Family Roundup_ March 2018

  2. Every Friday I invite other bloggers and money making mums to share the ways us busy parents can make money from home.  These are real life people making a living from home who can share their experience with us and inspire us.  If you’d like to feature in this series with a guest post or you’d like to be interviewed, please do get in touch.

    As you’ve probably guessed, I love making money from home.  As a busy mum to two young children, working from home for myself provides me with the flexibility I need to care for my children and avoid high full time childcare costs.  It also means I get to do what I love.  I’m an advocate of earning money online and from apps, and I’m always looking for new ways to make more income from home. 

    Enjoy.

    thrifty mum blogger interview - money making mums - work from home

    Hello, welcome to my Money Making Mums Interview. Please tell me a little about who you are, where you’re from and where you blog.

    Hi. I'm Alison from Harlow in Essex. I have two toddlers and I blog at www.thriftymum.co.uk

    This series is all about mums being able to make money from home. Can you tell me what you do from home to make money?

    I do various side hustles that I can work around the kids. These include matched betting, surveys, money making apps and mystery shopping.

    What makes it suitable for mums?

    I can fit all of these in around both my children. When the oldest is at nursery, the youngest always naps so I make the most of that time. I then spend my evenings doing various side hustles.

    What do you love about working from home?

    I can do all of these things in my own time. Even if it means staying up until midnight. It also means I'm there all day for both my kids and not having to be out working.

    What are your top three negatives to working from home?

    I can only think of two! Getting distracted too easily and losing motivation sometimes.

    If you could only pick one, either working from home or working in an office for the rest of your life, which would you pick?

    Definitely working from home.

    Lots of people say they’d find it hard to stay motivated if working alone at home. What keeps you motivated?

    Knowing that the more I can earn from home, the more I can be there for my children as they grow up.

    Do you have any advice or words of wisdom to share with mums wanting to make their own income from home?

    Just to give it a go. Once you start earning money online, you find lots of other ways to help boost your income. Keep going and it will be worth it.

     

    Thank you so much for taking part in my interview series!

     Money Making Mums Blogger Interview_ ALISON THRIFTY MUM

    Would you like to take part? 

    Find a contact form in my top menu or email victoria@lyliarose.com

    Not a mum?  No worries!  This guest series is all about inspiring parents to earn their own income and realising they have more than two choices of going out to an employed job or being a stay at home parent. 

    Of course if you choose to do either of those options that's absolutely fine, no judgement here, but lots of mums, like me, didn't realise there was another way to make money by the many self-employed options available nowadays.  If you earn from home, parent or not, and it's suitable for parents then you can take part.

    Check out the rest of the series here: Money Making Mums

     

  3. Welcome to today’s #winitwednesday giveaway.  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.  

    Plus get 40% off until 30.03.18 with discount code MARCH2018

    Win this scarf in my blog giveaway:

    Blog Giveaway: Win a Batik Print Tassel Scarf

    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 Batik Print Tassel Scarf

    Term and Conditions:

    • There will be one winner
    • The prize is the item pictured above
    • The prize must be claimed within 28 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 28 days
    • The winner must claim their prize within 28 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. Does your boyfriend have bad taste in clothes?  Do you wish you could dress the man in your life a little better?  You’re in the right place!  In this article I’m going to share some tips to help you encourage your man to dress a little more fashionably.

    This is definitely a topic I can relate to.  When I met my husband I wasn’t overly keen on most of his wardrobe and style choices, including wearing black shoes with casual jeans.  It made me cringe!  Shallow perhaps, but it really did.  I had to sort out his shoe collection and luckily I introduced him to Vans slip on shoes which I thought would suit him much better and look more appropriate with his casual attire as well as age appropriate as we were only in our mid-twenties then!  Luckily he loved the Vans and they’ve become his staple shoe choice ever since I encouraged this change.  Paired with casual Superdry jeans, a t-shirt, hoody and bomber jacket, they really do look so much better!

    Here are some handy tips if you want to get your man to dress better:

    Tips to get your man to dress better

    Image

    Be honest

    Sometimes honesty is the best policy.  Be upfront and honest.  Just tell him what you don’t like about his wardrobe.  Some men just wear things for their purpose rather than trying to be fashionable or look good.  He might not have realised something bugs you and he may be happy to make a switch.  If he loves what he wears, then he can tell you and you’ll know he doesn’t want to change.  Then you’ll just have to move past this and accept things as they are.  At least you’ll know.  Be prepared too – he might return the favour.

    Buy clothes as presents

    Some men don’t want to spend money on clothes.  They have much better ways to spend their money than the latest fashion!  In this instance it might be best to buy him clothes as birthday and Christmas gifts.  That way he doesn’t have to spend his own cash on something he’d rather not!  This way you get to buy him exactly what you’d like to see him in and hope he likes it too.­

    Related: Brilliant gift ideas for the man who says he wants nothing

    Go shopping with him

    As we’ve established some men are clueless when it comes to styling themselves and even knowing what to buy.  They like to walk in a shop, get what they need and exit as soon as possible!  Sometimes shopping needs to be done and perhaps a little help from you will go a long way.  Some gentle persuasion to try clothes he might not otherwise have thought of trying could change his clothes shopping habits for the better.  He could be pleasantly surprised by your clothes choices and you’ll come home with a newly dressed man!

    Compliment him

    Tell him how great he looks when he dresses how you prefer.  Compliments can go a long way and make him feel better in what he’s wearing.  If the compliments aren’t working and he doesn’t feel comfortable, then you’ll need to try something else that suits his style more.

    Have a clearout

    Make it a joint mission to donate some of both of your old clothes or sell some on eBay.  Once he feels good about giving and also making a bit of extra pocket money you can hopefully get him to give away the clothes you are least impressed with.  With the tips above and some new clothes from your shopping trip, he’ll hopefully feel ready to part with his old attire to make space for new things and even feel good about it.

    Tips to get your man to dress better

    More fashion posts
    How my style is changing now I’m in my 30s
    Style Challenge: Dressing the man in my life

  5. Many Brits will use a rise in temperatures and just a glimpse of the summer sun as an opportunity to take their cooking outside and enjoy some barbecued food. However, this pastime could be made a lot easier if homeowners make the most of the winter and spring months to create a barbecue pit in their gardens.  Even though I’m practically eating a vegan diet, free of meat, dairy and eggs, I still love a good BBQ!  There’s something so amazing about eating outdoors and cooking food outdoors.  I enjoy grilled vegetable kebabs, slices of meaty aubergine or Portobello mushrooms with a slice of vegan cheese, as well as spicy bean burgers in pitta or a seeded bun.  I’m drooling just thinking about it!

    The one think we’re missing in our garden is a permanent BBQ station.  I love all the outdoor kitchens I see floating around on Pinterest and cool brick cooking stations.  Ben has been quite keen to build one since we moved into our home four years ago.  Below I have a guest post today for you from Flogas, who supply people with LPG storage tanks that can be used to power BBQs.  They will guide you through the process of building the perfect barbecue pit for your garden and the safety considerations which must also be considered:

    A guide to creating a permanent barbecue pit in your garden - vegan bbq

    1.      Get your items

    Here’s everything that you will need in order to build your barbecue pit:

    • Bricks
    • Carpenter’s square
    • Cinder blocks
    • Dry mortar
    • Gravel
    • Grill top
    • Hand tamper
    • Measuring tape
    • Metal braces
    • Metal cylinder or can (if you’re building a metal pit)
    • Paving slabs
    • Shovel
    • Spirit level
    • Trowel
    • Water

    2.      Take plenty of time to plan

    You shouldn’t dive straight into building your barbecue pit before first doing some planning.

    Start by having a think about just what type of barbecue pit you want for your garden. You’ll be surprised how many varieties there are — with this handy guide from DIY Cozy Home helping you find the one that will be perfect for you and the space you are working with. Don’t forget to also consider your budget, as you don’t want a half-finished pit just because you realised during the project that you couldn’t afford all the materials.

    Once you have selected your barbecue pit, it’s time to find the best location to build it. For convenience, you should be aiming to place it close to your dining room or kitchen so you only need to walk small distances with food and utensils once it’s time to grill on your barbecue. Logistically, you should aim for your pit to be at least 15 feet square (3 feet x 5 feet).

    However, safety is also very important when finding a great location for your barbecue pit. Avoid building it in a place where it’s likely that smoke is going to blow straight into either your home or one of your neighbour’s properties. It should be placed away from any overhanging trees, buildings and fences which are at risk of been damaged from the smoke or catching fire. If your home’s outdoor space is vulnerable to high winds, aim to build the pit close to a brick or concrete wall which will work to break the force of the wind.

    There are very important safety considerations when it comes to gas-powered barbecues as well. Refrain from ever making your barbecue pit an enclosed space, such as by putting a tent or cabin around it — with this the case whether the barbecue is lit or smouldering. Be aware of the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning once a gas-powered barbecue pit is constructed too. You should stop using a barbecue pit immediately if you begin suffering from a loss of breath, dizziness, headaches or nausea and seek advice from a specialist builder before operating the barbecue again

    Related How to Host the Ultimate BBQ

    A guide to creating a permanent barbecue pit in your garden - vegan burger

    3.      Work on the foundations

    When it’s time to actually get started with building your barbecue pit, the first thing that will need to be focused on is the foundations. After all, the barbecue itself is going to be of substantial weight and will require good foundations to support it.

    Begin by digging a pit that is at least eight inches deep and then clear out all loose soil and stones that remain once the hole is created using a shovel. Your hand tamper should also be used to compact the soil that is at the bottom of the trench and to create a level playing field.

    Next, pour a layer of gravel into the trench that is around two to three inches deep and level this off, again using your hand tamper. You will then want to mix your dry mortar with some water and spread a two-inch layer of the mixture on top of the gravel. Level this mixture out using a trowel, though do this quickly as mortar tends to dry-off at a rapid rate.

    4.      Create the base

    Now you’re ready to build the base of your barbecue pit. To do this, start placing cinder blocks around the edges of the mortar. A small hole should remain to drain water and any gaps between the blocks can easily be filled using wet mortar. Just be sure to keep removing any excess mortar while remembering that mortar dries off quickly.

    Once the cinder blocks are in place, check that they are all even using your spirit level and check all the corners with the aid of your carpenter’s square.

    After you’re happy with this construction, spread some more wet mortar on top of the cinder blocks and start placing bricks in a side-by-side format on top of them. By using a double layer of bricks, you will instantly strengthen the entire pit. Once again, don’t waste time removing any excess mortar to avoid problems once it’s been given time to dry.

    5.      The finishing touches

    The complexity of this step will depend on which type of barbecue pit you’ve opted for. If you have decided to go for a metal pit, then all that’s going to be required is for you to install the metal cylinder or can over the layer of bricks you’ve put in place and fit the grill top over the furnace.

    Have a desire to create a brick barbecue pit? Then this is the method that you should be working towards:

    1. Apply more mortar and continue to build additional layers of bricks until you reach the height that you’re happy with.
    2. Work on each layer by placing bricks in the corners first and work out from these points.
    3. Once a layer is complete, make sure that you are using your spirit level to ensure the structure is remaining level and your carpenter’s square to check the layout of the corners.
    4. When you reach the penultimate layer of bricks, be sure to insert metal braces into the mortar so that they face inward before applying the bricks (these braces will be essential for holding the grill top in place).
    5. Leave the pit overnight so that the mortar can set entirely and then place the grill top onto the metal braces the next day.
    6. If building a gas-powered barbecue pit, attach the hoses which will supply gas from its supply and seek expert advice to ensure that the gas transfer is operating properly. (As a side note, gas taps must be switched off before you ever change a gas cylinder. Also, only carry out this process in an open-air environment.)

     

    Once this step is complete, you will have successfully created your very own barbecue pit. All what will be left to do is wait for the first sign of summer to fire up the grill and start enjoying some outdoor dining.

     

    Related 5 Things You Need To Have a Successful BBQ

     A guide to creating a permanent barbecue pit in your garden

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