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 very entertaining) daughters. It is sometimes written by the Man on the Pad or my gorgeous sister in law as part of our baby blog 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) and baby swimming (we love this too). It is hopefully helpful, sometimes funny and always honest.

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  1. Have you been to a wedding this summer? Did you find that being excited for the couple is one thing and then you realise that it might be quite costly for you and your family to attend as a guest?

    We have two weddings to go to this year, one in the Autumn and one on New Years Eve and whilst the latter helps us to solve the "what are we doing for New Years Eve debate" it also means hotels, outfits and gifts straight after the expense of Christmas. We are firm believers in never arguing about money but it is quite sad to see that one in four Britons has argued with their partner about the cost of watching others say "I do"

    There has been a recent survey by Experian’s that suggests the rising cost of weddings is rocking the boat for many couples, and not just for the bride and groom. In fact, almost a quarter of Britons (22%) have argued with their partner about the cost of witnessing others tie the knot. Eek!  

    Experian have highlighted some top do's and don'ts for financial harmony, which I think is great advice for any frugal family.

    Do

    • Set the ground rules. Do you want a joint account for regular expenses and separate bank accounts for personal spending? Or do you want everything to go together?
    • Work out who does what. The more frugal partner could look after the budget, while the more extravagant works out the ‘treats’, like meals out or trips away
    • Agree on short and long-term goals and how you’re going to achieve them, and review regularly together
    • Be honest about your past. If you have a less-than-perfect history of repaying money you owe, this could affect both of you in the long-term if your credit reports become linked
    • Take time together to understand if you need to improve one or both of your credit reports. Do this well in advance of applying for credit together
    Don’t
    • Spend all your time together talking about money 
    • Keep secrets. Research from Experian shows that 29% of people in the UK discovered that their partner was keeping credit card debt from them
    • Dig yourself into a hole. If you find yourself in debt, don’t borrow more in the hope of putting things right. Ask for help and be open about it with your partner
    • Talk about money issues when you are angry. Arguing about money is never going to be productive
    • Expect your partner to completely change. It’s unlikely an extravagant spender will do a complete about-turn and suddenly become frugal

     

    Wedding-guest-infographic-600

     

    Managing your finances and your relationship can be quite a balancing act – when it comes to both organising and attending weddings, moving in together or just life in general. That’s why Experian have created a dedicated Money & Relationships Guide to help people understand what we know can be quite a complex series of topics – in jargon-free, easy-to-understand language. All of the guides are available online. Hopefully these guides will be helpful for you and your followers who are trying to get their heads around how credit referencing works, and the good, the bad and the surprising when it comes to managing your finances to get what you want in life.

  2. I bought my eldest daughter some sandals at the start of the summer. They are now too small for her so I haven't even considered buying school shoes just yet, although I am not particularly looking forward to it, despite my love of shoes as we tend to have very different ideas on what is appropriate for school shoes these days. I want well fitted and practical whereas she wants whatever all her mates are wearing!

    Back to School : Vivobarefoot

    It is therefore interesting to learn that barefoot shoes pioneer, Vivobarefoot, have launched a nationwide campaign to highlight the damage ill-fitting, tapered non-foot shaped shoes do to children’s feet. Supported by medical professionals and parents across the UK, the barefoot shoe brand is mounting pressure on mainstream footwear manufacturers and retailers to carry warnings informing people of the proven[i] danger of conventional footwear design on a child’s natural foot development.

    • To launch the campaign, an army of frustrated parents and children took to the streets of London barefoot to highlight the dangers of wearing standard tapered, cushioned shoes.
    • With 200,000 nerve endings, 33 major muscles, 26 bones, 19 ligaments; the human foot is a natural feat of biomechanics, and is the most sensitive part of the body after the hands and mouth.
    • Cushioned shoes compromise vital feedback to the brain from the feet, and a tapered shape, which does not mirror the natural shape of the foot, prevents the foot from splaying when you step, limiting toe mobility and weakening the foot.
    • Up to the age of ten years old, the bones in a child’s foot are soft and can be easily misshapen by external forces like poor fitting shoes and in a matter of weeks a child’s foot development can be compromised.
    • The company is campaigning for footwear that does not meet the standards required to avoid damage to feet to carry a formal warning on packaging and sales material in the same fashion as cigarettes and other products proven to damage health and wellbeing.
    • As evidence surrounding the dangers of conventional footwear on children’s feet grows, Vivobarefoot is building an army of medics, scientists and health professional to take its barefoot message global and lead a revolution within the footwear industry.
    • Barefoot footwear, which provides wider, flat-soled, flexible shoes without cushioning is proven to mitigate issues of footwear damaging children’s feet.
    • In order to educate parents, Vivobarefoot is running parent learning sessions at its London store in London and has provided a guide to buying safe shoes on its website www.vivobarefoot.com

    I have got terrible feet from doing pointe ballet at a (too) young age and squeezing my feet into fashion heels for the last 15 or so (ahem) years so making sure that the girls have the right footwear is really important to me. I love being barefoot, so I already have a pair of Vivobarefoot trainers myself, so welcomed the chance to get some for the girls. They have a handy size chart on their website which you can download so you can buy online confidently and my youngest daughter wont take them off her feet .... even when she is watching TV.

    Vivobarefoot 1

    We will be reviewing them fully once the girls have had a chance to give them a good run out and we will let you know how we get on!

  3. It is no secret that I love shopping online and while you used to have to visit a local plant nursery or gardening centre to find the plants that you want for your garden, these days you can shop online instead. And there are plenty of great reasons to do so, which is why buying plants online has been steadily growing in popularity.

    Are you interested in learning about a few of the benefits of buying plants online, whether you want to give a plant as a gift or you need to look for specific flowers, bushes, and trees that you want to adorn your front and back gardens with? Then are you sitting comfortably, let me tell you more......

    More Variety and Choices

    Shopping online gives you the opportunity to make purchases from all over the world. And when it comes to gardening, there could be plants online that you simply can't find locally. This means that you don't need to make any sacrifices when it comes to the vision that you have for your garden. Just be smart about your online purchases by only shopping with reputable sellers, purchasing your plants early enough so that they'll have time to bloom at the perfect time after they're planted, and making sure that the plants you purchase are suitable for your zone.

    Get Very Young Plants at Reasonable Prices

    Another great reason to shop for plants online is the fact that you can get your favourite flowers and trees while they're still very young. Once you transplant them into your garden, you can watch them grow and you can nurture them with the right fertilizers and the right amount of sunshine and water.

    Plants - Save Money

    Plus, when you purchase younger plants, you can often find them at very reasonable rates, so you can save money in the long run if you shop online rather than at a retail location where the plants are already larger and pricier.

    Ask Questions from Online Experts

    The best online plant sellers will have experts available to answer your questions. So if you aren't sure if a particular plant is really right for your garden space, you can ask questions before you make a purchase, just as you would do at a regular nursery or garden store. Therefore, there is no need to be afraid of making incorrect purchasing decisions while you shop online.

    Enjoy Free Shipping (and we love free!)

    Many online retailers also offer free shipping, especially after you spend a certain amount of money. So instead of spending money on fuel to get to and from the garden centre, you can instead stay home in your comfortable office room or living room, shop for your favourite flowers, and then have them at your door in a matter of days at no additional cost. If you already prefer shopping online versus shopping in a brick and mortar location, consider getting all of your gardening plants and supplies on the internet as well. There are many reputable online gardening shops, such as The Gluttonous Gardener, that offer a variety of plants and gardening gifts, so there is definitely no shortage of options.

  4.  Collins4Parents_blog banner 728x90

    Back to School! It seems like we have been talking about it since the children broke up from school but no matter how long those 7 weeks seem, they soon fly by and there is frantic last minute purchases that are apparently essential in a 10 year olds life!

    She will be going into Year 6 this year so we will have the preparation for the dreaded SATS and although they are not the "be all and end all" of your child"s education, the National Tests (SATs) can potentially be quite stressful (for parents too). Providing your child with some simple "steps to success" will improve their confidence and help them to feel prepared. 

    So I am really pleased to be working with Collins this month, who have produced a parent guide that includes practical information or parents about each stage of their child’s education, as well as product recommendations for key stage. This is a FREE (we love free) guide that parents can download at www.collins.co.uk/parents 

    Collins4Parents

    There is some really useful on the website about talking to your child when they have finished their homework or revision tasks, asking questions like "How do you feel that went?" "Do you need any extra help?" "What areas are you still struggling with?"

    They suggest that learning should be a fun process by trying to shape some of the key exam objectives around the interests of your child. For example, with percentages, fractions and word problems, why not take your child shopping (this works for me)? By connecting knowledge with experience, things start to "make sense" to children.

    Back to School : Collins

    In addition to this great resource, Collins are also offering a 25% discount plus free P&P on the Collins Back to School range of books until 30 September 2015 using promo code SCHOOL25 which can be used on the colllins.co.uk website.

    To ease your little ones back to school/to make life a little easier this back to school, Collins are giving away £100 worth of dictionaries, thesauruses, atlases and revision guides, tailored to your child’s school year. For your chance to win, simply answer the following question on the widget below:

     a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Terms & Conditions

    The Prize: £100 worth of dictionaries, thesauruses, atlases and revision guides tailored to the school year of the winner
    The winner will be chosen at random by the random winner generator on Rafflecopter and notified within 7 working days by email
    Collins will make every effort to provide the books detailed here but this cannot be guaranteed
    By entering this competition, you understand that your details may be retained for future mailings. You can unsubscribe from this mailing list at any time.
    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.
    End Date 12/09/2015 at 12am