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. Asthma can be hard work at any time of the year for sufferers but the changing weather of late can make it all the more difficult. We have had some really cold snaps and the cold, dry air can be painful on the lungs and make doing the simplest task outside more arduous. Aside from the cold, dry air is the other big problem for asthma sufferers at this time of year as is the high number of respiratory and sinus infections that hang around.  Nearly every child in my daughters school has a cold at the moment, meaning avoiding those bugs can be hard work. 

    Most asthma sufferers, are eligible for a flu shot and this is another good measure to reduce the risk of getting those cold and flu bugs.  It also helps that if you do get the flu, the conditions won’t be quite as severe as they would be without the jab.

     How to deal with Asthma in the changing weather temperatures

    Combatting the cold

    It would be nice to say don’t go out in the cold during winter but this doesn’t always solve all the problems.  However, when you are outside, try to avoid opening your mouth.  This is because when you open your mouth, the cold air is sucked straight into your lungs and causes the asthma to flare up.  If you are going to be chatting while outside, wear a scarf or a muffler over your nose and mouth to reduce the impact of the cold.

    How to manage your asthma on warmer days

    The weather has been beautiful in the UK for the past few days but with increased temperatures there is also an increased risk of having an asthma attack for the 1 in 11 people in the UK who have asthma. There is a theory that warm weather can increase the amount of pollutants and mould in the air - both of which can trigger asthma symptoms

    It is great to encourage children to play in the fresh air, if a child wants to play outside, it is good to let them but try to plan any outdoor activities for earlier in the day when the air quality tends to be better.

    Have an asthma plan

    All asthma sufferers should have a plan to deal with an asthma attack and for children, this plan should be discussed with teachers and child-minders.  It involves knowing what to do if there is an attack, what medication is needed and at what point help must be sought.  Medication should also be taken any time before you go outside to help the change in air temperature – around 30 minutes beforehand is ideal if possible.

    Conclusion

    The cold, damp weather, thunderstorms, really hot weather and a sudden change in temperature can trigger symptoms for some people so while we welcome the sunshine at the moment, we need to ensure that it is not triggering asthma symptoms for the little one.

    In the meantime, we are continuing to show our support for Asthma UK which has been an invaluable resource to us and we are planning on trying to organise an Big Asthma Bake Sale for World Asthma Day on the 2nd May 2017. So, anyone for cake??

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  2. We first heard about the Ebookadabra app after reading a review on the blog from Emmaand3.com and with my youngest daughter in reception (and also always wanting to play on my phone), that this was something that definitely sparked some interest with me.

    Story time has always been bedtime in our house but since the youngest member of the family has gone to school, she is too tired at bedtime to read and would seemingly prefer to watch a YouTube video on the iPad than concentrate on her reading. This doesn't sit well with me, both from a learning perspective and as someone who loves nothing more than a good book. 

    Ebookadabra reviewReading for a new generation

    Ebookadabra is designed for a new generation, the generation of children who have been born into a technological age where everything is available at the touch or swipe of a screen. Even I have converted to reading books on a tablet as it is so accessible (and I can now read in the dark - who knew!), so having a wide range of books on the Ebookadabra app means that reading becomes more accessible to a technology loving child too. 

    Although Ebookadabra is only just launching, the platform already has a wide variety of features on it such as:

    - The ability for parents to record themselves reading the stories that their children are looking at

    - A safe and secure messaging system that allows a child to talk to their parents about the progress they are making in app.

    - An innovative visual search engine designed for kids that lets the use visual search terms to explore our library of books.

    - The ability to save stories to your in-app library so you can enjoy them on the go. 

    - All of this is available for less than the price of a book a month £2.99 (introductory offer) along with a 30 day free trial.

    The team at Ebookadabra tell us that it is a reading experience aimed at young families with kids aged from three to seven years old. It is a world where kids will discover books for themselves, be rewarded for their reading and be able to share the experience with their family. 

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    My youngest daughter is five so she is perfectly placed to trial to app and everytime she picks up my phone or the iPad now to play a game, she goes to the Ebookadabra app first to read through a book. She can navigate her way around the app much quicker than I can (which I suppose is the point) and I feel like we have only just seen the tip of the iceberg with what we can do on it. 

    She loves getting a little reward at the end of each book and the game challenges once you had completed every book are a fun way to help with some of her fine motor skills, which can only be beneficial from a learning perspective too.

    We are presently having the books "read to us" but the app has difficulty levels so as each child's educational needs change and their reading improves, the books become more age appropriate. 

    The monthly cost is the same as you would pay for a single paperback book and as more titles are added, or siblings share the app, so it really becomes a very affordable and cost effective way to read new books with your children.

    I am enjoying seeing her reading more avidly and she is enjoying "reading like mommy" on the iPad. I honestly feel like we haven't explored everything that the app can do and am excited to see how it develops but more so how my daughters love of reading develops too!

    Ebookadabra offer a free trial to all new sign ups, so with a mix of good old fashioned story books blended with modern technology, what have you got to lose?

     

     

  3. One thing parents don’t need any reminding of is the costs which accumulate when having children. There are the things you bargain for – education, clothing, buying a family-sized car, increasing the size of the food shop etc. But it never ceases to amaze how many little (and sometimes not-so-little) unexpected costs crop up, particularly when it comes to activities.

    Of course, it’s always worth it in the end, and it’s difficult to really put a price on the memories shared with your children. But that doesn’t mean you can’t save a few pennies along the way, especially if it doesn’t reduce the levels of fun and enjoyment involved.

    6 ways to save money with the children over half term

    Here are some winning deals which may give you and the old bank account a bit more to smile about by the end of the month.

    Restaurants

    There are plenty of family-friendly restaurants with family-friendly prices. But there are a few which really stand out from the crowd. The ones which caught my eye are the 50% off mains at Frankie and Benny’s (who also have a separate £10 off offer via the app); kids eat free at La Tasca, and Toby Carvery all you can eat breakfast for £4, where kids can eat for just £2.99.

    Supermarkets

    Experts say that the supermarket price war is now coming to an end, but that’s not to say there aren’t some really good deals about. And there are some hidden gems too. For example, online supermarket vouchers to entice new customers tend to be particularly big savers. You can also take advantage of price-match policies by separating your bargain buys and your full price items into separate shops, as price match is done by the basket. Also, late-night shopping can allow you to take advantage of yellow-sticker reductions, with Morrisons and Co-op usually starting these offers from 7pm.

    Credit cards

    Many people I know have a bit of a love-hate relationship with their credit card, but there are some excellent cashback rewards available. At the moment the pick of the bunch is Amex Platinum, which offers a staggering 5 per cent on all spend for three months. But there are other good rewards from the likes of MBNA, Aqua and Sainsbury’s too.

    The cost-cutting loan

    The irony of the above is that any benefits from the rewards gained by spending will be more than negated if you don’t clear your balance each month. That’s because of high interest rates. But if you’re stuck with high balances on your card(s), you can cut your interest bills straight away by either taking advantage of 0% balance transfers, or consolidating debt with good-value loans.

    Clothes and fashion

    Season changes are always a good time for high-street (and online) store sales, and there are some good deals about. Asos top the shoe charts, with 70% off most merchandise at the moment, along with excellent discounts on shirts and jeans. M&S have an ‘up to 50% off’ general sale on the go too, while if you’re eyeing up school uniform for the next school year, you can pick this up for as little as £6.50 from Asda and Morrisons.

    Activities and excursions

    One offer which really jumped out at me is the collaboration with the Sun and Alton Towers. Tokens are in both the weekday and weekend Sun papers, and by collecting 10 different ones, you can win a pair (180,000 available) of free tickets to visit the theme park. Otherwise for other days out, it’s worth noting the myriad of free museums and galleries around, while, for the kids, there are free tennis and football clinics (the latter offered by the FA – free for girls, £2-£5 for boys) during school holidays. After all, it is by getting out and about that the precious time we have with our children can really be maximised.

    What do you do to maximise the time but minimise the cost of keeping up with the kids?

  4. “Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows.” This is a really famous quote from Helen Keller and I am a big fan of her mindset. Helen Keller, left blind and mute after an illness at the age of nineteen months, proves that attitude, and a refusal to accept life in "the shadows" can change challenges into inspiring achievement.

    Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows

    It is well known that I gave birth to my youngest daughter at home, on the sofa, by using hypnnobirthing techniques and a positive mindset but not everyone is able to do that. We had so many people say "what if this happened" or "what if that happened" but I never once chose to dwell on the potential negative elements of our birth choice and always strive to find the positive in every situation.

    So how can you stay positive all of the time? It is sometimes just about the little things. Here are our 5 top tips.

    1. Share positive vibes with someone else as what you send out you tend to get back from the world and the people in it. I have a friend who openly says she comes round to my house for a cuppa and a dose of positivity, so it does work.

    2 . In the words of Helen Keller, "keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows", embrace natural light and allow more light into your home. A dark room can bring a mood down, so adding aVELUX to a room can improve the natural lighting and uplift your mood. 

    3. Learn to accept criticsm for your own personal development, rather than taking it as a negative. (this one is easier said than done).

    4. Start your day in a good way. Prepare what you can the evening before as if you start your day rushing around then your stress levels can increase and this lets negative thoughts in.

    5. Accentuate the Positive. Do you remember that scene in The Jungle Book where Baloo breaks into a song about staying positive?

    You’ve got to accentuate the positive
    Eliminate the negative
    And latch on to the affirmative
    Don’t mess with Mister In-Between

    He was a wise old bear!

    Life will continue to present us with negative situations because well, that is life. It is up to you as to how you choose to react to them.

    What are your top tips for keeping your face to the sun?