Blog : Little Lilypad Co

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The Little Lilypad is a lifestyle blog mostly written by a mum to two beautiful, cheeky and entertaining daughters. It is sometimes written by the Man on the Pad or our baby bloggers and occasionally we accept guest posts. There is frequently talk of shoes and clothing (we love fashion and savvy shopping), chocolate (who doesn't love chocolate) education and swimming (we love this too). It is hopefully helpful, sometimes funny and always honest.

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  1. You know that old adage, a change is as good as a rest, well, in my opinion it doesn't just apply to mini-breaks and summer holidays, but can be perfectly applied to your own home. Tired furniture and sagging sofas aren't just a strain on the eye, but aren't too good for your health either, and with this in mind, I decided to make a list of all the things that I could change in my home to make it a more comforting, and comfortable, place to be.

    Taking it from a health perspective, let's start with the main living area of your home and see precisely what you can do to make sure your furniture isn't literally being a pain in the neck, or back, or bum...You get the idea. Of course, you will want your sofas to look good, but when replacing your old suite, don't just pick one because it's super snazzy, without actually testing whether it will hold up against a good trouncing from the whole family. A sofa should support your weight, be comfy and be an investment that should last years. If your sofa is causing you to experience aches and pains and has seat and back cushions that wouldn't support a limp piece of lettuce, then it is time to open your wallet and buy a new one.

     LLP - Does your home impact on your health-

    It is said that you spend a third of your life asleep (unless you're a teenager and then it's probably around two thirds), and so scrimping when it comes to your bed and mattress is not a good idea. Ensure you get a great night's sleep by changing your mattress every few years, and if needs be, your bed, especially if it is looking a little worse for wear these days. From a personal perspective, I think Bedstar, with their extensive range of mattresses and beds, have a lot to offer as they have various styles, sizes and colours when it comes to bed frames, and a good variety of different mattress types.

    Mental health should be considered as important as physical health, and studies have shown that an untidy, cluttered home can increase the risk of depression and anxiety. Therefore it is vital that you strip back your home to an uncluttered state to ensure it is as happy a place to be as possible. This is of course easier said than done when you have children throwing things left, right and centre, but if you clear out any non-essentials bit by bit you will soon see a difference to the state of your home and, hopefully, your state of mind. If you are still not convinced, think about the money you can make by selling items you haven't used in months or even years – now surely that is an incentive for a good old clear out?

  2. Decisions are part of our every day life but this week lives appear to have been torn apart over a certain decision made by a large proportion of the county. This blog isn't political, it is not even about that decision per se but about how a single decision shouldn't ignite the hatred, abuse and aggresion I have seen across social media over the past couple of days.

    I made a decision once to marry a man who (as it turns out) most of my friends didn't like. They didn't like my choice but they didn't unfriend me because of it. They made a decision to welcome him into their circle and put their faith in me and although that decision in the end didn't work out, we all muddled through together.

    I have worked in industry and made Company wide decisions that affected a significant amount of people but decisions had to be made and they were done so with the best interests of the Company and its employees at heart.

    I made a decision to choose a faith for my children that was met with some surprise. I had friends raise their eyebrows or roll their eyes in disbelief but just because their faith differs from mine, doesn't mean that we fell out about it.

    AdobeStock_109159729

    I made a statement on my personal Facebook wall on Wednesday night, saying that I firmly believe that religion and politics are a very personal thing but I also believe that every single person who is eligible to vote, should! I might discuss my views with a close circle of family and friends and I totally respect those who wish to discuss it on their Facebook pages or Twitter feeds but I have been saddened by the agressive frenzy that has torn its way across social media. I have seen friends fall out, insults hurled on Facebook profiles and Twitter feeds and I have felt the weight of every person who feels they have "lost".

    A decision was made. 

    Unfortunately, personally or politically, no decision is ever going to please everyone.

  3. My husband thinks I am addicted to shopping, he thinks that I am unable to stop myself from buying things online because I love the thrill of the parcels arriving. I justify it to myself that a third of the clothing that arrives at our house is for the fashion conscious preteen and her evolving style choices. (although who doesn't love those parcels arriving with new delights inside).

    Keeping up with her changing and developing style is not cheap, especially when she wants a Ted Baker outfit in the sales for her end of year disco in one breath and Nike Air trainers in the next. I know that there will be some parents who think it is ridiculous to put children in named clothes or designer outfits but it doesn't seem that long ago when I was at senior school and watched in envy at the children with all the "right" clothes. Unfortunately for me, being fashion conscious has arrived in our house earlier than expected so it is important for me to shop savvy so that she can get the best of everything but at the best price for my bank balance too!

    I always shop around, whether it is making sure that we get cashback for the girls savings accounts or getting money off upfront via online websites such as Love the Sales. I know that when I am shopping for her now that her friends influence her far more than I do, but while she still wants to shop with me I just have to remember that I can't simply enforce my own tastes anymore.

    For her, it is an experimental time, working out what sort of teenager and young person she is eventually going to become ..... hopefully one that has been taught that if she works hard and shops smart, she can have the life AND the wardrobe she wants. 

     LLP - Keeping up with the fashion choices of an pre-teeenage girl

  4. I have to be honest, sending my girls to a government funded school is a lot more expensive than I expected, and that’s just with one child in full time education at the moment! With my oldest moving on to year 7 in September, and her little sister starting in Reception, I am already looking at our budget and working out where we can cover the costs of their free education. 

    Actually, my gripe is unfair because it isn't the cost of the education that is increasing, but the expense of everything that goes along with it. And, yes, I know it's a first world problem to moan about the fact that my children have both an education and a social life, but that doesn't make it any less of an issue when it comes time to pay for school trips, uniforms, meals, and various sundries. 

    A Children’s Commission on Poverty report found the average cost of uniforms was £108 for primary schools, and £126 for secondary pupils, and I am faced with buying both this summer. That report doesn’t take into account replacing outgrown shoes, lost jumpers, lunch boxes and drink bottles (which are ludicrously expensive, in my opinion) and school bags which just weren’t up to the task. Buying some items of uniform from supermarkets items can reduce this cost, but that’s no good if a school has embroidered badges on their jumpers, or specially printed sports kit. Some hand-me-downs will help cut the cost of uniform buying this year but I still expect to pay £200 to kit both my daughters out for their new schools.

    Other financial treats in store for my overdraft include school trips (averaging over £50 per year for secondary school, and £25 for primary); and stationary, which thankfully isn’t much as both schools provide most items, but which will still end up costing around £20. Include music lessons at £45 per child per term, and I am glad I am sitting down because that’s already over £800, or £2,185 if the children decide they want school dinners! 

    I am not ranting because I know that all parents want to provide the very best for their children and as parents we budget for these things accordingly but what happens when you get an unexpected cost. Many children work on computers for their homework but what happens when the laptop breaks and you have tears at bedtime because they don’t have access to powerpoint that apparently they absolutely need to use for a presentation on the Vikings(!!). As parents it is easy to panic but thinking about responsible lending with a payday loan company such as Vivus could help to ease this pain for the short term. They offer short term loans of £100-£300 which is enough to cover a decent laptop and to prevent the melt down in a pre-treen.

    laptop

    We are fortunate to be in a position to provide everything our children need (though not everything they want!) but an alarming number of school children go without. 1.2 million pupils in England alone do not have access to a nutritious meal during the day - 700,000 of them live in low-income families whose parents are not entitled to claim benefits, while another 500,000 of them are entitled to free school meals, but their parents have not applied for them either because they don't know how, or because of potential stigma associated with claiming benefits. 

    We might complain about various education ministers and SATs, about the perceived deterioration in the standards of teaching, and about not being able to take our kids on holiday during term time, but with Pearson ranking Britain’s education system as the sixth best in the world as recently as 2014 (the last PISA ranking was in 2012) I can’t really gripe about having to spend £900 a year on my children’s school life when they get an education children in some parts of the world could never even dream of.