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. We are big breastfeeding advocates but let's be honest, we all just advocate making sure our babies are happy, healthy and well fed regardless of who is feeding them (bottles are always nice bonding time for Dad's too), so our baby blogger has been putting the Tommee Tippee Complete Starter Kit through its paces for the past 6 months. We did an unboxing video on Youtube a little while ago, so you can see everything that is in the kit. Have a little look below;

     

    After 6 months of intensive use,  our baby blogger wanted to share her honest thoughts and opinions on the kit, so I shall therefore hand you over to Lynette .....

    I had always intended to bottle feed my daughter. I did with my son, and always felt quite confident that I would with my daughter.  It was important for me to choose a good steriliser, as I knew that it would be used a great deal. Possibly up to 4/5 times a day. I had an Avent one with my son, but after a few months it wasn't performing as well as it was previously. This may have been through over use as my son fed a lot. 

    We decided upon the Tommee Tippee starter kit steriliser. Not only did it come with the steriliser, it also came with a variety amount of sized bottles and other items that really did give us everything we needed to get "started". The set includes:

    • Electric Steam Steriliser
    • Travel Steriliser
    • Electric Bottle and Food Warmer
    • 3 x 150ml Closer to Nature Easi-Vent Bottles with Slow Flow Teats
    • 5 x 260ml Closer to Nature Easi-Vent Bottles with Slow Flow Teats
    • 2 x Medium Flow Teats – 3-6m
    • 2 x Fast Flow Teats – 6m+
    • 4 x Milk Storage Lids
    • 6 x Milk Powder Dispensers – 0m+
    • 2 x Insulated Bottle Bags
    • 1 x Bottle and Teat Brush

    On first inspection the steriliser was nice and big, with room to fit 6 bottles. Plus extra space to fit the lids and dummies should need be. The design, although large on first appearance, is oval shaped and slim fitting on a work surface. I chose the white design, however the black design was lovely. 

    I found the steriliser is easy to use. It is clearly evident where the bottles, teats and kids need to go. There is ample room around the tears and lids for dummies. 

    As a result of  my daughter having to spend time in SCBU, I also had to use the steriliser to sterilise my breast pump.  There was lots of room here to fit all of the attachments from the pump, as well as any containers for storing milk. 

    The time for the steriliser to complete a cycle is about 15 minutes, a little longer my previous steriliser, however, the bottles come out feeling fresh and clean, although very hot, so do be careful.

    My only down point to the steriliser is that sometimes when it is put on, it will switch itself off after a couple of minutes. I have still not discovered why? I thought this may be a fault with just mine, however friends of mine who have the same one have also had the same problem.So, you need to check once you have put it on after about 5 minutes. That it is still running, otherwise you may come to making up a feed and the bottles have not been sterilised.  

    Without gushing too much over a practical piece of equipment, in my honest opinion it is the best one I have tried, it is stylish and doesn't look out of place in my kitchen. I loved all the accessories that came with it. We are off on holiday in a few weeks and I will be taking the travel steriliser with me. The bottles, even after 6 months are still in excellent condition and look as good as new. The only thing that have been changed are the teats, and that is due to the need for faster flowing ones and not as a result of wear and tear.

    If you are looking for a steriliser that is stylish and dependable then this is the one for you, it is available from all major retailers for around £99.99, although it is worth shopping around for the best deals. The health advice is that you can stop sterilising after 6 months but I intend to carry on using mine for the foreseeable future. If you are looking for more Tommee Tippee videos, take a little look at our Perfect Prep video that we did a few years ago.

  2. I have a pre-teen. I am not even sure how that happened. Wasn't she a baby only five minutes ago? Now I am worried about her hormones more than mine and the inevitable body and personality changes that will ensue. 

    If you’ve ever suffered from bad premenstrual syndrome (PMS), you’ll understand how irritating and uncomfortable it can be. From bloating to mood swings, the weeks before your monthly period can cause a great deal of discomfort and interfere with your day to day life. As a mum to two girls, the good news for them is that I have plenty of simple ways to keep symptoms under control so that they can continue with normal everyday activities (and hopefully not be in too much discomfort!) 

    How to deal with PMS (1)

    Medical treatment 

    Let's be honest, if you genuinely suffer from severe PMS, there is a range of medical treatments available that may be able to offer some relief. For example, over the counter painkillers like paracetamol can be used to ease stomach cramps, headaches and muscle pain. There are also different contraception options (which as a mum, I am just going to stick my head in the sand about right now) I used the combined contraceptive pill to ease my PMS symptoms long before I was actually using them for the reasons they were intended. It is obviously important to make sure you consult your doctor before starting new contraception as they will be able to recommend the most suitable type for you based on the symptoms you experience and possible side effects. It is also worth bearing in mind that you may have to try a few different treatments before you find something that works for you.  

    Alternative treatments  

    I am a big advocate for alternative treatments and there are natural supplements that some women find to be effective at treating PMS. For example, supplements of magnesium, calcium, vitamin D and a herb called agnus castus have all been shown to alleviate troublesome symptoms. Again, it is a good idea to speak to your GP or a healthcare professional before starting any complementary treatments, as taking them too much and too often, or alongside certain medicines, can have adverse side effects.   

    Behavioural therapy  

    If you suffer from psychological symptoms during the weeks before you get your period, you may benefit from attending cognitive behavioural therapy sessions. This type of therapy is designed to help you cope better with emotional problems such as anxiety, depression, anger and frustration. A cognitive behavioural therapist may be able to suggest new ways of thinking and behaving to help you manage some PMS symptoms.  

    Lifestyle changes 

    Sometimes, all it takes is some simple lifestyle changes to stave off symptoms of mild to moderate PMS. For example, doing a small amount of physical activity every day can increase your energy levels, reduce feelings of stress and release endorphins that lift your mood. Eating a well balanced diet can also help minimise symptoms and boost your overall health, while having smaller portions and avoiding salty foods can prevent bloating and swelling. You should also try to steer clear of caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes as much as possible, as they can have a detrimental affect on your mood and energy. 

    I "hopefully" have a little while longer before my eldest goes through all these changes and while there is no single solution that will work for everyone, trying some of these self-help techniques and medical treatments has helped me in the past to deal with my PMS but if after all this, you are still finding it difficult to cope with your symptoms, it is always best to speak to your GP for further advice. 

  3. After a stressful few weeks worrying about school selections, we have our places and this now means I can look forward to some of the more exciting dates in the calendar ahead. Ladies Day at the races is always a favourite of mine, especially when a day at the track has always been about more than a horse race. It is a place to see and be seen, and that means wearing the sort of clothes which will get you noticed for all the right reasons. Online newspapers and magazines love showing photos of Ladies’ Day at the races, highlighting the fabulous and the faux pax. So here are my top tips to ensure you don’t fall into the latter category! 

    Dress Code

    Before you even think about what you’re going to wear check whether the racecourse you’re attending has a dress code. For example, Ascot encourages smart formal dressing during all their racing seasons, with more formal attire being required during Royal Ascot week. Ascot does not allow fancy dress or football shirts, however Cheltenham has no such restrictions as long as the costume is not offensive. Newmarket and Ayr have similar guidelines, as do other racecourses around the country. A good tip is to dress for the races as you would for a smart wedding. 

    Weather

    The unpredictability of the British weather is shown to perfection when looking at photos of Ladies’ Day at Aintree in April. Some years it is freezing, other years it is like mid-July. Plan your outfit to take into account the conditions you may face, like rain, wind, and bright sunshine. In other words: layers.

     LLP - IF THE SHOE FITS

    Shoes

    Even if you’re lucky enough to have a pass to the Royal Enclosure, It’s likely you’re going to be on your feet a lot during the day so wear shoes that won’t cripple you. I always go for an amazing pair of heels like those above but if you are more practically minded, wedges and platforms are fantastic for the races as they are easier to stand on for long periods of time, and won’t get stuck in the grass the way skinny heels will. Not only will you be standing, you’ll be walking a lot - from the car to the track, from the track to the bar and the bookies so bear this in mind if you have your heart set on a pair of Angel Wing Leather Sandals

    The Perfect Race Day Outfit

    The perfect outfit for the races is a dress or skirt that is knee length or longer to avoid any embarrassing mishaps with the breeze, and to keep your modesty intact when you sit down. Add a smart tailored jacket on top - something thick enough to keep you warm, but light enough that you can carry it if gets hot, and finish off with a pair of mid-height wedges. Trouser suits are fine - just make sure you don’t look like you’ve come from the office.  There are so few occasions when you can legitimately wear a hat these days that it would be a shame not to. Look to Kate Middleton for inspiration. 

    Men can also go to town with their outfit. Whether they wear a classic grey or navy suit, or choose a modern look of mismatched trousers, jacket and waistcoat, they should at least consider wearing a hat like a trilby or fedora.

    The three main tips to remember when dressing for a day at the races are to dress for style, consider your comfort, and wear layers to accommodate dithering weather. 

  4. Just as we have relaxed after our secondary school selection, we are now awaiting the primary school places. We all know that it’s a big world out there, and one of the first major hurdles for your child is the transition from pre-school to reception, or in plainer terms, the move from structured childcare into formal and compulsory education.

    So just what can a child expect to face when starting this new and exciting chapter?

    LLP - Dealing with the change from pre-school into reception

    Reception is a year that is specifically engineered to introduce a child to school but without making it a huge trauma (or in our case a drama!!). Let’s face it, there’s a minimum of 12 years in education ahead so any damage done at this stage could be hugely detrimental. (no pressure here!!) So the emphasis in a reception class is on ‘structured play’ – we are told that it is along the lines of lining up cars and counting them, dressing up but with a relevant theme or playing with a boat in water but discussing how it floats. The idea is for children to learn without necessarily realising they are doing so.

    Mixed in with this of course is a subtle introduction to a mainstream curricular education. Maths, English, Computer Skills and Science will begin to be embedded and the seeds for a love of learning very firmly sown. Add also social skills and respect. Assemblies are a good way of young children seeing how older children behave and ‘show and tell’, where your child can bring in an item from home to show their class, encourages confidence in talking in front of others as well as teaching them to be patient and respectful as others talk. Friendships are encouraged with no differentiation for race, religion or disability. Or to put all this into a condensed way, reception is the year when a child learns the skills that will help them to have a successful education with a hope on exceeding expectations.

    It was also launched last year that children as young as five will be learning programming skills in the classroom, as teaching programming skills to children is seen as a long-term solution to the “skills gap” between the number of technology jobs and the people qualified to fill them. We are already quite a tech savvy family but with more and more emphasis for online learning, it is important that you make sure you have the right package for your children's needs (and also at the best price). We are always searching for the best deails and Broadbandchoices makes finding the right package easy as you simply input your postcode and it then informs you of the best deals on offer, so whether you are looking for a faster service or better value, it is certainly worth a look. 

    The changes ahead can be a myriad of emotions for us parents too (and that is without the talk of algorithms, debugging and Boolean logic). Firstly, there’s the first experience of ‘school-gate competitiveness’, where eager adults move house, use grandparents addresses and even find religion in order to get their child into THE school. Remember that this is just the start, so now is the time to think ahead and assess where your child will move to next.

    Us parents also often feel a mix of excitement as well as deprivation. The little one is growing up, freeing up time and often money, and returning a portion of our lives back to us. I know that she needs to grow, spread her wings and make new friendships but I will miss my little buddy and I suspect there might be a few tears come September (just not sure if they will be hers or mine!).