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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One of my favourite TV programmes is Lives in the Wild by Ben Fogle. Back when we had mainstream TV it was the only TV programme I recorded and watched. You may remember I cancelled our TV licence to save money as we barely watched anything on TV anymore. Instead we just use Netflix and some of the catch up TV channels. We decided we could cope without live TV or the BBC catch up and save the licence money each year.
I actually stopped watching Lives in the Wild when we stopped with the ‘normal’ TV, but writing this blog post just inspired me to search and I can watch it on My5 so I can’t wait to get stuck in as I’ll have lots to catch up on!
Anyway, the reason I love the programme so much is because I secretly dream of being able to live in a more secluded, and of course warm, location. A place where things are simple and we grow our own food. To many that may not be the dream, but to me I think it really is. Of course there would have to be no money worries to make it the dream. I’d need to be able to build a small and comfortable home and a warm climate is a must for me. We could plant fruit trees all over the land and grow vegetables all year round if the climate was right. There would be a golden sandy beach nearby with clear turquoise warm waters, plenty of luscious green countryside and mountains. Of course my husband says this would be paradise and really is all in my head!
I find life in the UK really overwhelming. I also detest the long, cold winters. I suffer with SAD dreadfully each year and basically go into a deep dark mode for a few months. I can’t stand to be cold or outdoors when it is cold, yet I know the outdoors is all I really need. I dream of being able to pack everything up, sell the house, stop worrying about appointments, schedules, pay checks, mortgages, debts, social media and so on, and just go back to basics.
I totally get why the people featured in the series have had enough and want to leave the rat race. Many of them have had high flying careers, but are so much happier once they give them up and live this totally opposite lifestyle.
Permaculture in Portugal
This series and the lifestyle is at the forefront of my mind as my brother-in-law has only gone and done it!
Ben’s brother and girlfriend bought a piece of land and moved to Portugal last week. They towed a caravan out and that’s their current home! The plot of land has two wells which they will use for water. They plan to set up the land using permaculture methods which is a way of setting up the land so everything works together. The aim is to be self-sufficient and sustainable by setting up the land in a way that is harmonious to both nature and humans and allows the humans to live off the land without destroying it. They want to grow their own fruits and vegetables and possibly have a small holding.
They plan on living a much simpler (and warmer) life. They’ll add yurts to the land and possibly build a small home for themselves eventually. It’s a totally different lifestyle and very exciting. I bet it will be hard work, but I hope it all works out. You can follow their journey on Instagram.
Could you set up your own organic mini farm?
I love the idea of permaculture and I also love the idea of growing lots of organic food to feed our family. I’ve dabbled in growing a small amount of vegetables in our garden, but it’s nothing really. With working full time, doing up our house for several years and having two children, I just don’t have the time. I would love to grow more and learn more, but it would need to be a dedicated hobby. That doesn’t mean it’s not possible for you though if you have the time and dedication now.
Of course the climate in Los Angeles would definitely help this to be a reality!
If you’re environmentally conscious and you’re looking for new ways to make your eating habits more eco-friendly, and save yourself a bit of money at the same time, setting up your own organic farm is a great idea. You could grow most of the produce that your family needs, which cuts your grocery bill in half or even more as the above case study shows. It’s also better for the environment because you’re not using all of the plastic packaging and you’re not contributing to a food industry that produces a lot of carbon emissions. It’s also a great way to teach your family about where their food comes from and it gives them more of an appreciation for the food that they eat.
There are so many benefits to growing your own organic produce and that can be in your garden, in an allotment or even on a piece of land if you’re lucky enough to own some land or could find some for a reasonable price.
If you’ve got some money set aside and you think that starting your own organic mini farm might be a good thing to spend it on, here are some things to consider:
Decide on the size of your farm
If you’ve got a fairly big garden, you might be able to grow some vegetables out there already. If you do that, you won’t have to worry about buying land and equipment etc. but you might not be able to grow a whole lot unless you convert the entire space . Starting a vegetable patch in your garden is still a good way to reduce your carbon footprint and save yourself a bit of money but you’ll still have to buy some things from the supermarket. It’s also a good way of learning about growing food without investing a lot of money, so it’s often a good place to start before you expand and commit to renting an allotment or even buying a piece of land.
An allotment might be the right choice for you as it can often provide a larger dedicated space than in your garden, but isn’t as big as a patch of land might be to set up and manage.
If you are totally serious about this venture and you’ve outgrown your available garden space then you may want to consider going big and buying or renting land!
Finding a piece of land that is close to home and large enough to grow everything you need is the first step, but there’s more to it than that. It’s important that you choose a piece of land that is actually suitable for growing crops on, so you need to test the soil. You might find that you can get a large piece of land for relatively little money, but that’s probably because it’s hard to grow anything there. Before you make any decisions, always have a survey done to make sure that the land is ready for farming.
The equipment that you need to buy depends on the size of the land. If you’re planting vegetables and crops in a small area, you shouldn’t need any heavy machinery, you can do it all by hand. However, it might be worth investing in some irrigation and watering systems so you can still manage growing alongside your normal job. If you’re buying a really big piece of land to farm then it might be worth investing in a bit of heavy machinery to make life easier. You might be able to find small second hand tractors for sale for a good price. They’re not essential but they will make it easier to get around and move the vegetables and crops once they’ve been harvested.
Deciding what to grow
The first big decision you need to make about your land is what you’re going to grow on it. You’ll be limited by the soil quality because it will be suited to certain things. You should consider what you want to grow when you’re choosing the land and consider the vegetables that you and your family are most likely to eat. If you’re going to feed your family, it’s important that you grow a wide range of different vegetables so you can still eat a varied diet. It’s also a good idea to start with crops that are fairly easy to care for at this point, you can graduate to the more difficult crops once you’ve more experienced.
Do some research
Of course the most important thing is to do plenty of research before you commit to anything financially and also practice growing some things at home or in an allotment to ensure it’s right for you. There are some great farming forums and tons of articles online and videos to help you out, where you can ask questions and pick up some tips. You should also see if there are any other small organic farmers in the area that you can ask for advice. Most people are always willing to help.
You could save yourself a lot of money and reduce your impact on the environment by starting your own small farm, so it’s worth looking into if this sort of lifestyle appeals to you.
More and more people are now switching to a vape, with the number of smokers in Britain continuing to decline. Using e-cigs is far less harmful to individual health than inhaling smoke from incendiary tobacco such as that found in cigarettes. This is because e-cigs contain far fewer toxins. If you’re an avid reader of my blog then you’ll know how much I detest smoking. It’s so destructive to your health, the health of those around you and also to your wallet! There’s no need for anyone to smoke regular cigarettes now that vaping is an option. It’s still costly, but if you have to smoke then it’s a no-brainer to choose the least toxic method for you and those you smoke around.
Data shows that in 2015, 2.3 million people were vaping in Britain, accounting for 4% of the population. An additional 4 million people said they had vaped in the past, while a further 2.6 million partake in vaping, but are not regular e-cig users. Of the 2.3 million people vaping, over half said they started to vape as a means to quit smoking, with 22% stating that they vaped as it was less harmful than smoking. 10% said they chose to vape as it proved cheaper than buying cigarettes.
Switching to a vape can not only be kinder on your purse strings, but can also have a positive effect on your health; both mental and physical.
Action on Smoking and Health suggest that, on average, a twenty-a-day smoker will spend as much as £3,000 per year on cigarettes. That figure works out at £250 per month. Consider the things you could spend that money on; a new car, renovating the house, a dream holiday. Vape pod kits are available at £46.49, and the majority of e-liquids retail from £3 to £6.99. You’re likely to spend an average of £45 on e-liquids a month, working out a saving of £205 - this equates to a saving of over £2,400 a year!
Compared to traditional tobacco cigarettes, e-cigarettes have far more health benefits. Public Health England state that e-cigs are 95% less harmful than tobacco, therefore a wise choice for smokers looking to improve their health and fitness. Smoking can have a damaging effect on the capacity of your lungs, with the tar of cigarette smoke coating their insides, making air sacs less elastic. Smoking can also make your lungs congested as it produces phlegm. Because of this, even just smoking a few cigarettes a day can decrease your body’s ability to effectively synthesise oxygen.
As soon as a smoker does switch to a vape, their lungs will begin to repair themselves right away, and the tar accumulated from inhaling tobacco will be emitted from the body over time. This will allow the former smoker to feel an enhanced sense of wellbeing, and they will be able to endure higher-intensity activity for longer periods.
As well as the physical benefits of switching to a vape, there is also a psychological benefit which can help boost your mental health. Many smokers experience intense withdrawal symptoms when they cut out cigarettes, however, these symptoms are reduced when switching to a vape. E-cigarettes are able to provide a nicotine intake – free the harmful toxins of tobacco – while also avoiding the irritability, anxiety and depression associated with quitting smoking.
Moving to vaping from smoking regular cigarettes is going to be one of the best decisions you make in regards to improving your health and saving money. There’s no need for anyone to be harming their health or spending a ridiculous amount of cash on something so damaging when there is now a much better alternative available.
At some stage or other, I bet all of us would have found school a struggle or boring and wished we didn’t have to go! Even though we may not have realised it at the time, learning is one of the most important things we can do. But just because we’re no longer sitting in a classroom, this doesn’t mean we can’t continue to learn. In fact, I believe it’s vital to continue learning all the time (no matter whether you work for yourself, are studying or are increasing knowledge for your existing career) and this is made even easier now we have the internet at our fingertips.
E-learning has become hugely popular and there are thousands of online courses to choose from. However, if you prefer a more structured way of learning, you also have the option of attending training courses. For instance, Impact Factory offers a variety of courses which can positively impact on your professional and personal life.
If you’ve been thinking of upping your knowledge but aren’t yet convinced it’s right for you, here a just a few of the benefits that you get from learning:
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Shows you’re ambitious
Workplaces are changing and in order to thrive in a competitive environment, you need to be able to stand out from your colleagues. Through choosing to build up your knowledge you are showing your employers that you’re ambitious and that you are serious about progress in your career with the firm. This can be useful when it comes to applying for a promotion or asking for a pay-rise. Plus, if the course is directly related to your job you may be able to get the company to pay for it.
Helps to make new friends
If you spend a lot of your time at work, you may forget to focus on yourself, which can leave you feeling isolated. If you work alone at home then you will definitely know this feeling! Learning a new skill or hobby gives you the opportunity to get out and meet people from different walks of life. You never know, this may even lead you to form new friendships.
Can lead to a new career
If you’ve been thinking of changing your career but aren’t sure what to do, doing different courses can help you identify areas that you’re interested in and also good at. Plus, when you’ve decided what you want to do, you can continue to learn whilst you’re still working. Once the time is right to switch careers, you’ll be fully prepared to do it which only goes to increase your chances of making a success of it.
Makes you happy
Even if attending school didn’t make you feel happy, research has shown that continued learning does, in fact, make us feel happy. Studies have shown that the more difficult the challenge we set ourselves, the happier we feel in accomplishing it. This isn’t just related to work challenges; we get the same feeling when it comes to personal challenges, like learning a new hobby or sport. So, if you’ve been feeling down recently, sign yourself up to learn something new.
Positively impacts well-being
Studies have shown that individuals who continue to learn throughout their adult life are positively impacting on their wellbeing. This is because learning improves optimism and positive feelings, which can reduce stress. In addition to this, learning keeps the brain sharp which can help to prevent diseases such as dementia.
By taking a positive approach to your learning, you’ll not only benefit at work, but it could also improve your overall health and mental wellbeing.
At the moment we are on a saving mission! I’ve set a savings goal for our joint bank account and so most of our disposable income is going there until we reach my emergency fund savings goal. Once that’s saved then we’ll be saving again to pay off our debt which is two bank loans.
All this saving is definitely worth it, but it doesn’t stop me dreaming of what I would spend the money on if we weren’t saving or didn’t have debts to pay. Of course the sensible answer would be to invest the money or continue saving, but let’s just imagine we have a bunch of savings already and could spend this money on something useful instead. Of course I'd totally love to travel, but right now as a busy working mum then I’d also want to invest it in all the jobs I hate around the house!
I really feel like I never have time to sit down or to give enough attention to my children. I work full-time running my own business and this takes literally every spare second I have. If I’m not working then there’s always a stack of housework to keep on top of. It’s never-ending! The washing machine is always on and I rarely see the bottom of the laundry basket. The house literally needs vacuuming every single day and I could probably spend all day in the kitchen alone just preparing meals, washing up and cleaning! Then there’s the constant picking up of toys and mess after two young children!
Although I try to see housework as exercise, I’d definitely rather palm it off onto someone else if I could. I’m sure most people don’t enjoy housework. Sure, we enjoy the end result of a clean and tidy house, but the constant effort to get it to this state is not so enjoyable day in day out!
If I had some cash to splash then I’d definitely consider getting rid of these boring jobs:
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Mowing the lawn
This is definitely a dull task in the summer months. It’s noisy and we have to dig out the extension lead just to be able to reach the bottom of the garden. The grass always looks amazing when it’s been trimmed, but imagine never having to walk up and down the garden again to mow the grass. Imagine the grass always looking perfect with little to no effort.
I’m talking about a fake lawn!
Ben is not convinced, but I reckon I could be. I’m all for a low maintenance garden as at this point in my life I’d rather spend my time doing something else. I’d definitely consider taking the steps to contact New Lawn or a similar artificial grass provider to make my lawn into a zero maintenance dream!
Vacuuming the house
Boring. As mentioned above I don’t think anyone really enjoys doing any of these things, but they are just a must. Our house needs a good vacuum pretty much every day.
(On a side note, was anyone else brought up calling it hoovering? It was only as an adult that someone told me this is a brand and not the correct word at all. I just thought ‘to vacuum’ was American and ‘to hoover’ was British!)
To make our lives easier we did purchase a cordless vacuum cleaner, but even better than this would be one of those new iRobot vacuums. Imagine how much time could be saved to do more enjoyable things! The future is definitely going to be robots doing all these boring chores for us!
There are few things worse than jobs which have to be done every day, especially when you’ve already had a long day. And with four of us here, three meals a day and snacks, I feel like I am always washing up! By the time I’ve washed one lot up and put it away, it’s another meal time and the mess is back again! Argh!
Whilst most of you probably have a dishwasher, we don’t. We did have a slim one, but I found it more of a hindrance than a help. The quick washes were useless so it had to go on a two hour cycle to clean a full (slim) load. Then, nothing was dry, so I either had to spend all my time drying it or leave it for aaaaaages to dry. Not ideal. We only have a small kitchen and one set of everything so I couldn’t have stuff in the dishwasher for hours at a time or I’d have nothing to use in the kitchen to make the next meal.
I didn’t feel the dishwasher saved me any time as the time I spent washing up was now being spent on drying the items from the dishwasher. When I wash up I just leave everything to air dry. I could wash the stuff up and leave it to dry and it would be washed and dried so much quicker, so we got rid of the dishwasher.
That’s not to say I love washing up, but dishwashers just didn’t save us the time we needed.
So what’s the solution? Well, hire a cleaner who comes three times a day to do the washing up for me or find a dishwasher with an effective fast wash that also dries too. Do they exist?
OK so I have pretty much got rid of this boring task. We have a local window cleaner come and clean all the outside windows for £13 every eight weeks. So that just leaves the inside for us to clean and, I will admit, it rarely gets done. I’ll probably do it more in the summer, but in the winter we have the blinds down a lot, so we don’t really see the window mess.
Once the sun starts beaming through and we have the blinds up most of the day then the marks and smears will be glaring at us!
So I’d basically be filling my house with robots. Do you think this is what the future will look like? Voice activated robots all over our homes? If Ben wants to keep the real grass then we could even get a robotic lawnmower! What household chores would you get rid of if money was no object? Share this on Twitter and let @lyliarose know!
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