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. I was standing at the school gates today with some of the other mums and we were chatting about the school uniform and how despite carefully looking after it since September, it is starting to look a little tired. Thankfully Easter is not too far away and we can bring out the summer uniform which is much lighter (and takes much less effort to get ready as it is non iron).

    The 5 Reasons To Love School Uniform

    My eldest daughter cannot wait to get out of her uniform immediately after school but after being asked to look at this by 4imprint, we found that there are reasons to love school uniform. Here are our Top 5 Reasons To Love School Uniform.

    1. Everyone is the same and it creates a feeling of equality. It doesn't matter who has the best trainers or clothing, in school everyone looks the same.

    2. Apparently wearing school uniform helps with attendance (who knew).

    3. Reduces the cost of buying clothing for school and having to replace it regularly with the latest trends.

    4. Own clothes days are then extra special

    5. Most uniform shops now offer "non-iron" options! (Time saving for mums and dads)

    4Imprint-Deconstructing-the-uniform-

    Thankfully most UK schools have a school uniform policy but when our children leave school many of them will have jobs that require certain clothes and uniform. In addition you then have celebrites that wear printed t-shirts  to support their charitable causes, so uniforms never really leave us after we leave school.

    So whilst I do love my children wearing uniform, it doesn't define them as a person but a "non-iron" uniform certainly makes for a happier mum on a Sunday afternoon!

    Collaborative post.

  2. I am not usually known for my music prowess and some of my favourite artists over the years have been somewhat questionable but before Christmas we were sent an Electric Jukebox to review and I thought that it was something that would make me "cool" with the kids. 

    ElectricJukeboxThe Honest Review

    So if you are not familiar with the Electric Jukebox, I can tell you that it is Britain's first and only music streaming service and device, backed by Robbie Williams, Alesha Dixon, Stephen Fry and Sheryl Crow (Robbie Williams *may* have been one of those questionable artists I mentioned earlier but every girl loved Robbie didn't she??). The sales spiel tells me that I can turn my TV into the ultimate music machine, it comes with 29 million songs AND takes just 2 minute set-up. So what did I think?

    I have to admit that I struggled with the review, hence the reason why I am posting this in February rather than prior to Christmas, mainly due to the price tag for the Electric Jukebox being £169 upfront, with an annual fee of £52 which seems a lot for something that you can essentially already do through your phone.

    One of the big marketing messages with the Electric Jukebox is that it only takes 2 minutes to set up and surprisingly, it really does only take a couple of minutes. All you need to do is plug in, find the Wi-Fi and you are all ready to go, although I think the power cable could be a bit longer because not everyone has a free socket next to the TV.

    electricjukebox4a

    It has lots of neat little features like the easy navigation and voice control, although I think the whole thing would be dramatically improved if the voice control doubled up as a kareoke microphone. Because everyone loves kareoke. Don't they?

    I feel like this review has a definite negative tilt so as I am always looking for the positive in everything, I dug deep and found the things that we did like about the Electric Jukebox.

    • Optional explicit lyric filter to protect your children from inappropriate songs
    • In comparison a Spotify or Apple music yearly subscription is £120 a year - Electric Jukebox is less than half this price - £52 per year for unlimited music streaming. That's £1 a week to be able to listen to all the music in the world! That's a good deal, if you compare to the cost of a CD of downloading MP3's.
    • The upfront cost of £169, includes the annual music pass. The remainder of the cost is for the hardware. With Electric Jukebox, you are getting everything you need to play music.
    • You do not get any adverts on Electric Jukebox. For anyone that regularly watches Youtube, you will appreciate that this is a definite plus point. 

    pointing hand

    Overall, while it is expensive and not too everyones budget, it is a solid product that is simple to use and hopefully in time, with some hardware updates you may get a kareoke version. Although I suspect that my neighbours maybe living in hope that this is not any time soon.

    Disclaimer : It didn't actually make me any "cooler" with my kids either!

  3. I often read the weekly 5 Fabulously Frugal Things I've Done This Week post from Emma at Mums Savvy Savings and whilst frugal is not usually something that my husband would describe me as, savvy is something that I do consider myself to be.

    I had my eldest daughters friend to stay over last weekend and we had a girlie day out shopping. She was amused to see me picking up different items from discounted Christmas Cards to random gifts and she asked me if I just buy things on a whim. To be honest, whilst I do have a bit of a shopping habit, I buy things on offer that I know we will need and whilst this might not be today or next week, I know that I will need to buy them so I may aswell buy them when they are on offer. 

    LLP How to be a savvy saving mum

    So in the spirit of Emma's Frugal Linky, I thought I would share my tips on how to be a savvy saving mum with my 5 Fabulously Frugal Things I've Done This Week.

    1. Despite fear of mentioning Christmas in February, I have to admit to buying Christmas cards. Boxes of Christmas Cards that have a RRP of £5 - I paid just £1.25. I do this every year as Christmas cards don't ever really go out of fashion, so they don't need to be "on trend", you just need to remember where you put them when you start looking to write them.
    2. Buying toothpaste in the Pound Shop. I genuinely do not know how high street or supermarkets can justify charging £2.50 for a tube of toothpaste when the pound shop charges just £1 and with the amount of toothpaste we use, this is a good saving over the year. 
    3. My friend and I have started book swapping to save buying so many books. I have to admit that I do enjoy reading on my tablet as it is easier to do this late at night when my husband wants to sleep but there is nothing like the feel of a good book and swapping paperback books means I am not buying them as often.
    4. Stocking up the present cupboard. Both of my girls are lucky enough to have a large circle of friends but this can get expensive when they have so many parties to go to. The sales are a great way of stocking up on present cupboard essentials, I always try and get "named" or "on trend" gifts while they are on offer meaning that the birthday child gets a great present, without the big price tag.
    5. Emma inpsired me a week or so ago to try and reduce the amount of toiletries we buy. I am terrible for buying shampoos, shower gels, creams, sprays nail varnish and frankly anything that takes my fancy so I am making a concerted effort not to buy new ones until the old ones are finished. Do you know what? My bathroom feels a lot less cluttered too!

    Piggy Bank

    So while I may not necessarily be frugal, I am getting more and more savvy in terms of what we are spending .... although I just need to teach my girls to think the same way!

  4. With half term on the horizon, many of us parents are already contemplating how to keep the children amused and our sanity in tact over the school holidays. It seems however that taking the family on holiday is one of the best things we can do.

    How to have a happy half term holiday!

    While some folks (that would be me then) consider the packing and unpacking element of going away to be relatively stressful, recent global research commissioned by Booking.com shows that travel gives us such an emotional boost, many of us consider planning and going away on holiday more vital for our happiness than other big life occasions such as getting engaged (45%) and even our own wedding day (49%)! It is said that travel experiences bring more lasting happiness than material things such as clothes, jewellery and gadgets. In fact, a huge 77% of us book a holiday just for a happiness boost.
     
    The findings also include some interesting family-travel insights, including:
     
    ·         75% said travelling with family makes them happier than travelling on their own
    ·         34% said spending time with their family is one the key ingredients to a happy
    ·         47% say they get on better with their family when they are on holiday
     
    I am forever telling my husband that holidays are memories for our children (although he frequently counters with the fact that they can't remember where they left their school bag most days) but I am a firm believer in having family holidays allows us to simply enjoy being a family without the stresses of day to day life. I love the anticipation of a holiday, from finding the perfect location to the excitement of actually getting on the plane. According to this recent research, over a third of people admit to researching holidays months in advance (35%), with an eager 5% planning over a year in advance. 
     
    When I was a child, we were lucky enough to have holidays ranging from camping breaks, holiday parks to luxurious exotic holidays and I want those same experiences for my children. We don't need to go abroad every year but I do think having a "holiday" from every day life is something that is good for us as parents and for their childhood memories.
     
    Holidays don't need to be expensive to be memorable, although having a break from the daily search for the school bag or shoes sounds pretty perfect to me!