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, when he is not relaxing in one of our best recliners, or by one of 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. sports-summer-feature

    Feature image credit: g-stockstudio/Shutterstock

    In a world where technology is taking over most of our lives, it is becoming increasingly difficult for children to lead an active lifestyle when there are so many distractions, such as tablets and games consoles at hand 24/7. According to Public Health England, the number of children getting a sufficient amount of physical activity last year dropped by a staggering 40%. Therefore, it is important, more than ever, to ensure our children take part in a healthy and active lifestyle.

    Being physically active every day is vital to ensure healthy growth and development for our youngsters – both mentally and physically. The amount of exercise and the intensity differs depending on your child’s age, however, one thing is certain: it should always be encouraged to guarantee your child is getting the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity, per day.

    For many parents, getting your child to be active can be hard, which is why persuading your child to take up a hobby may be a good idea. Why not give your child a taste of different sports this summer?

    5 sports to try this summer:

    • Swimming

    sports-summer-swimming

    Photo credit: Michael Brin/Shutterstock

    Whilst the sun is shining and the temperature is warm, swimming is a great activity to take part in – particularly if you have access to a lido, or even an outdoor pool in your garden. Not only does swimming provide all-round exercise for your little one, it is a fun way to get more active and stay healthy; even for parents too! Regular swimming sessions are proven to reduce the risks of developing any serious illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes and, more seriously, heart disease.

    In addition, splashing around in the water not only has physical benefits, but also helps to boost your child’s mood and unwind — and there are lots of different strokes to try and learn.

    • Cycling

    sports-summer-cycling

    Photo credit: Soloviova Liudmyla/Shutterstock

    We all know that kids love to ride their bicycles — it's great fun, helps them feel independent, and keeps them fit and healthy. Riding a bike helps fine-tune your child's motor skills, such as balance and co-ordination, as well as building up strength, in both their legs and core. Encouraging kids to cycle from an early age, and getting them to take their “Bikeability” test, will help equip them with an important skill for life.

    As well as that, cycling is a fantastic family activity; great for a day out. All you need is a bike that is suitable for the road and the appropriate size for your child (this can be second-hand or from a bike shop), some basic safety gear including a helmet and perhaps some knee and elbow pads, and a little bit of practice; a highly affordable hobby as there are very little to no maintenance costs.

    • Running

    sports-summer-running

    Photo credit: Sergey Novikov/Shutterstock

    Kids love to run and compete with each other, whether it be in the school playground, on sports day, or taking part in extra-curricular activities, such as athletics. It is incredibly easy to get into running as a sport — all you need is a good pair of running shoes, which doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg!

    Running in races teaches our children about healthy competition, setting goals and achieving them. It can help to improve their performance in other sports too, as it helps them develop core and back strength, endurance and co-ordination. These skills all play an important role in activities like popular sports, such as gymnastics, dance and football.

    • Golf

    sports-summer-golf

    Photo credit: Dasha Petrenko/Shutterstock

    Despite needing to be donned in the correct golf clothing when stepping foot on a golf course to take a few swings in an attempt to hit a hole-in-one, there are other cheaper and more entertaining ways to get your child involved in the sport. Around the UK, there are a wide variety of crazy golf courses up and down the country that enable children to have fun and get active.

    Alternatively, there are also golf ranges that allow you to take the kids and compete for points, such as Top Golf, where you pay a small fee to hire the golf club and balls for couple of hours – perfect to get your children out and about during the summer holidays (even when the weather is below par!).

    • Tennis

    sports-summer-tennis

    Photo credit: Olena Yakobchuk/Shutterstock

    Children today love playing games such as football, rugby and dance, so why not make this summer an opportunity to introduce your child to something entirely different? Tennis is a great activity to play, not only due to the many social benefits, but due to the countless health benefits, which include: balance and body coordination, agility and flexibility to name a few. Tennis also promotes overall good health in children – improved bone strength and density, and a robust immune system.

    During the summer, tennis clubs around the country have one-off classes to help to encourage children to get active and feel a taste for the sport whilst children have free time. Get in touch with your local tennis club and see whether they have any upcoming deals.

  2. When you think about getting your home ready for Summer, the garage may be the last area that comes to mind. It’s true, while we spend relatively little time in this part of the home, this is the place that’s often filled with a lot of our useful Summer-related items, so it needs to be accessible.

    Is your garage disorganised, hard to walk around and unwelcoming? Then here’s how to upgrade it for Summer.

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    Introduce Proper Storage

    When you have a family, the garage quickly becomes filled with outdoor toys, as well as general junk. This can leave the space feeling more like a hazard zone, as you wade through an obstacle course.

    To solve this, introduce storage solutions. This could include wall hooks for hanging tools (just make sure they’re out of reach of little fingers), racks for bikes and scooters, as well as shelves and crates. This will come in handy when the kids are looking for skateboards and sporting equipment in the Summer.

    Don’t be afraid to have some fun with this, too. While shelves and plastic drawers will work, they’re not visually appealing. Instead, consider making pallet boxes, use wooden chests, or upcycle old furniture.

    Time to Paint

    You may spend hours choosing the perfect colour paint for your living room, but would you do the same for your garage? Probably not.

    As a rule, most people don’t consider painting their garage, but it can improve the space. You could paint the concrete floor with a hard-wearing paint, choose a tone to cover up those grey breezeblocks, or use metal paint to give your garage door a refresh.

    All of this will make your garage feel lighter and brighter. This results in a more practical and welcoming space, making it perfect for the Summer.

    Designated Work Station

    As well as storage, you should also be able to use a garage to carry out work. Whether this involves building your own furniture, completing an upcycle project, or repairing your car using SGS axle stands, a garage needs to be functional.

    After clearing space with your storage solutions, add a designated work station. This could just be a simple work bench, but it will make a huge difference to your hobby or DIY tasks.

    Also think about design here, too. After all, you’re more likely to complete projects if you have a comfortable chair and if the area looks visually appealing.

    There you have it. A few easy ways to update your garage and make it useful for Summer. Enjoy your renovations!

  3. It is half term here. There are no school runs for a couple of weeks, it is time to wind down, kick the nine-‘til-five in the shins, crack open a bottle of wine and spend the time … tackling the never-ending pit of dirty clothes, in an attempt to reach the allusive abyss that is the bottom of the laundry basket.

    AdobeStock_102362993

    Over the years I have actually wondered whether the bottom of the laundry basket even exist? Is it actually a thing? If anyone’s ever witnessed its existence, you know where the comments section is. Let us know!

    I am joking obviously. 

    What we need to do to get us through the monotony of the family's washing, is to dream of more enjoyable tasks. Mix it up a bit. It’s a mind-over-matter coping strategy that makes doing the laundry a dream.

    No, honestly, stay with me.

    From one mother to another, we know that the washing isn’t on the top of your ideal weekend to-do list. You work all week, battle over hump day, and reach the weekend falling asleep on your feet, only to be greeted with a laundry basket to rival Mary Poppins’ handbag.

    So, how do we get through it? Focus on the good stuff. Half the problem with weekend chores is feeling as though the take over your weekend. Don’t let that be the case. None of us want to be tied to the washing machine when we can be spending time with our children, so what we need is a laundry service and dry cleaning with free pick-up and delivery that can turn our laundry round within 24 hours. That is exactly what they do at Laundryheap, they come to your address, pickup your clothes and take them to their facility. Less than 24 hours later they bring clean clothes ready for action back to you. It's simple, affordable and convenient. Some call it magic, I am just seeing it as common sense.

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    If you fancy a day of doing the whole ladies who lunch thing with your friends, while the kids enjoy the soft play, Laundryheap means that you don't need to be tied to the house, you can send it off to the washing fairies, which means you can also let the kids play longer (and have a longer lunch).

    There are so many challenges that we face as a Mum but freeing up a little more time to spend with the children over half term (or indeed every weekend) gets a big thumbs up from us. We will definitely be trying the Laundryheap service and if you want to be in with a chance to win a voucher to put towards their services, all you need to do is enter below:

     Laundryheap

    •  The Prize : £20 Voucher to redeem at Laundryheap.com
    • It is a discount offer of £20 for a single winner of the competition. If you provide me with the winner's e-mail address, once the competition finishes, he/she will be contacted with the details of the offer and how to redeem it. Once the winner places an order, £20 will be deducted from the winner's account for authorisation purposes but this will be refunded to him/her. £20 will be deducted from the final billing amount. The winner may exceed the billing amount of £20 or choose additional services, in which case any amount in excess of £20 will be charged to the winner's account. The winners will be chosen at random by the random winner generator and notified within 7 working days by email
    • There is no monetary equivalent.
    • Little Lilypad Co take no /responsibility for loss or damage in the despatch of prizes
    • If the prize is unclaimed within 7 days we reserve the right to redraw the winner.
    • UK Entrants only
    • End Date 02/05/2018 at 12am
    • This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram or Facebook.

  4. It seems a long time since we built the Lilypad website and I remember struggling to get the right feel and look. We all know that design and visuals are an integral part of daily life, surrounding us wherever we go and filling our lives with pattern and colour. From advertising posters and street signs to artwork and product branding, we are constantly subjected to design, whether we realise it or not. However, one area which has experienced significant growth over the past few years is the world of web design.

    Top Tips for School Website Design 1 (1)

    It can be tricky to perfect the design of any website, but when it comes to school websites, there are a number of things which need to be taken into consideration. A school website must work for all of its users whilst also adhering to any legal and ethical requirements. Of course, this can often be easier said than done. While it’s easy to know what content to put on a site, for example, it can sometimes be harder to find an effective, appealing design which is still suited to this unique market and audience.

    A school website should include all of the relevant information that people both want and need to know. From the school’s latest Ofsted report, school holidays calendar or just some good news that should be shared with everyone, there is plenty of important information which needs to be shared.

    But despite this, the real question for many will always come down to the design. It will, of course, be different for every site, but here are a few essential design tips that are important when it comes to school websites.

    Intuitive Navigation

    It almost goes without saying that any website should be easy to navigate. The user should feel at home when traversing the site, instinctively knowing where to go to find the particular piece of information that they are looking for. Design and functionality should go hand in hand – particularly on a website where there is a lot of information which needs to be conveyed in an effective, logical manner. Above all else, ease and simplicity are key, something which must be kept firmly in mind throughout the process of designing and implementing the website’s new look.

    Functional and Fast

    Approachable and speedy, school websites must be quick enough to load pages and content within a reasonable timeframe without compromising on the overall look of the site. After all, there’s nothing worse than a website which is painfully slow to load, so it’s important to do what you can to make the site run smoothly. Similarly, practicality and functionality should always be the king with a school website. Although a pretty brochure site may look the part, if it can’t live up to the demands placed upon it, there is not much point in having a website at all!

    Individual and Creative

    Having said that, creativity should never fall by the wayside. Design of any kind is inherently creative, so if your website does not make the most of this requirement, the simple fact of the matter is that it just won’t look as good as it could. In addition, every school is unique, and with such a variety of different schools out there, it’s important to ensure that the website reflects the individual school’s particular ethos and branding. For instance, the design of one independent school website may look completely different to another – this diversity should be embraced and welcomed with open arms.

    Top Tips for School Website Design 2 (1)

    Of course, at the end of the day, design is an entirely subjective art, much like many other creative disciplines. What one person loves another may loathe, so the real trick is finding the perfect balance that keeps everyone happy! Designing a school website may not be the easiest task, but when you get it right, the results really do speak for themselves.