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. Being a mum to two girls, there’s no better feeling for a parent than seeing their children wiggle and jiggle and having the best time of their life. However, in more recent times baby bouncers have become a rather controversial piece of equipment, criticized by many for potentially creating more harm than fun. Whilst my girls are past the baby stage, I still have lots of friends becoming pregnant and having little ones, so before purchasing anything for a baby, whether it is baby bouncers, car seats or toys, it is important to do your research – so here is some helpful advice for you!

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    Feature image credit: FamVeld/Shutterstock

    Are baby bouncers harmful?

    Like any other piece of equipment, a baby swing or bouncer can potentially be dangerous if not used properly. Most accidents happen due to human misuse, and all parents are advised to read and follow the instructions.

    One mistake most parents do is leaving their children in the bouncer for a long period of time. While it’s nice to have your hands free for a minute, leaving your child in the bouncer for too long could potentially be harmful. The bouncer is designed to secure the baby in a half-lying, half-sitting position, and experts are warning that this may lead to him or her developing positional plagiocephaly, also known as ‘flattened head syndrome’. This is a condition which results in part of a baby’s head becoming flattened due to sustained pressure on one spot. This can be easily avoided by limiting use to 20-30 minutes, and never let your child sleep in the bouncer.

    What the research says

    A study that examined 43 infants and their motor development when using play-assist equipment has left many unsure about the safety of these items. The results revealed that the children using the equipment the most would score lowest on infant motor development, in comparison to those who rarely or never use such equipment. Because there were no other tests to support this study, parents are encouraged to only allow moderate use of such equipment within the home, to ensure healthy child development.

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    Credit: didesign021/Shutterstock

    When is it time to stop?

    Whilst you may never want your baby to grow up, they eventually will, and there will be a time when they will be too big for the bouncer. The majority of baby bouncers will only be good if your baby weighs between 18 and 30 pounds. A general rule is that, if your child is big enough to sit on his or her own, then he or she is too big for the bouncer. This usually happens at the age of 6 months. If you want a piece of equipment to last you a little longer, there are some multiple-purpose baby seats that will be suitable for a wider age range. Do your research thoroughly and make sure you only buy products from authorised sellers.

    Conclusion

    Let ‘em bounce! But never for longer than about 30 minutes, and make sure you are there to supervise them. Never purchase any piece of equipment without doing your research and always follow safety and operation guidelines. Choose the highest quality for your child, and buying equipment that will suit their age and needs will keep your baby safe and happy. 

  2. If you listen oh-so carefully, as soon as the clock strikes midnight on NYE, there is a simultaneous clatter of glasses. All adults across the land abandon their prosecco flute in favour of quinoa, salad and paleo bars. And never shall it be seen again… until day 23 of the diet.

    We all know that eating a varied diet with lots of fruit and veg, and a good portion of protein is good for us. We all know we need to cut back in January to rid the Christmas pud tum. So, if we all know the sugar-free score, let’s ditch diet resolutions. Let’s focus on feeding our souls some good stuff instead.

    Skills to soothe your soul

    There’s no denying it, the new year is tough going. So many expectations, the unknown awaits… also, it’s baltic outside and you can’t remember the last time you saw daylight. Is there anything worse than dragging yourself back into the term time routine after two weeks of indulgence? I think not.

    So, rather than starving yourself this January, choose to soothe your soul instead. Feed it some good stuff by throwing yourself into new endeavours. Learning new skills is a great way to distract from the monotony of the daily nine while five. What’s more, the contentment you feel from accomplishing a goal, investing in interests, and refining your skills, is boundless.

    At a time when everything from your work to your weight seems to be dragging you down, do something for you. Have a think about what makes you happy, what ignites a spark of passion inside you. And go for it. Your choice doesn’t have to be ‘wholesome’ or ‘healthy’. Simply engaging with your chosen activity is enough to cleanse the mind and satisfy the soul.

    I have had the opportunity to review the Digital Marketing Diploma with New Skills Academy this year, to develop my own skill set and expand my mind! I have used online training courses before but this is the first time I had tried the New Skills Academy, so was interested to see how the course would be delivered.

    online training

    Online studying is a massive benefit for folk like me who want to fit around other life commitments (you know the ones .... the school run, work, ironing and all that jazz) and you can pick it up and do a module when it suits you. Other online providers have webinars at set times but the New Skills Academy is very research based and gives you tasks to complete in your own time.

    The benefits to these type of online course are:

    • Wide range of courses that are CPD accredited
    • You can study anywhere and any time
    • You get an actual recognised qualification
    • Helps to improve career prospects around your other commitments
    • Online support
    • Ability to download the materials for future reference.

    The downside can be ensuring you stay motivated to get yourself through the course but there is a definite sense of achievement when you click through each module and mark it as completed. There are no tutors looking over your shoulder (or indeed monitoring your progress), which can be a blessing but equally it is nice to get some reassurance at times too.

    There is a final assessment to ensure that you have actually absorbed all of the information but again, this is done online and your certification emailed to you immediately, so if you are considering online learning, the only thing you need to do is decide on what subject!

     Selecting your new skill

    When it comes to selecting your skill, it may be that you have an idea in mind. Perhaps you have always wanted to upcycling shabby furniture finds? That being said, it isn’t unusual to want to invest time in developing a newfound interest, either.

    If you’re looking for inspiration, here’s a handy list of 15 skills to consider. 

    1. Attend a yoga or Pilates course
    2. Craft stunning cake designs from fondant
    3. Keep a bonsai garden
    4. Learn a new instrument: the piano, violin, ukulele, bongos…
    5. Give rock climbing a go
    6. Master a competitive card game or another mind sport
    7. Develop your photography skills
    8. Create scented candles
    9. Practise mindfulness and/or meditation
    10. Start a blog
    11. Clear and feng shui your home
    12. Grow your own in the garden or on an allotment
    13. Pursue your hidden talent for the stage
    14. Get arty – try needle felting, watercolour painting, pottery…
    15.  Become a star baker at a pie-making or bread baking workshop

    P.S. I already gave you upcycling furniture, so you can have that one for free. It’s on me. Online learning isn't free but there are lots of offers on at the moment, so why not take a look (although I don't necessariy think you need a course for becoming a star baker ..... just remember to share the cakes with me!)

     

  3. We are at the end of the first week of January and I am starting as I mean to go on, saving on the right things so that we can indulge in the fun things. I have written a post this week about 40 things I would like to do this year and some of them are not cheap, so my attempt at making some savings will go towards our adventures this year.

    Here is how I have got on this week:

    1. Eating out of the freezer.

    Before Christmas I bought a ridiculous amount of food and whilst we have obviously eaten all of the fresh stuff, there were other bits and pieces that have been put into the freezer. Now I cannot claim that we have had Michelin star meal this week and there have definitely been some random collaborations but it has reduced the shopping bill and eased the pressure on my freezer.

    2. Savvy sale shopping

    My daughters have got a fabulous circle of friends but this often means lots of party invitations and like their mother, they love to give nice presents. So I have set to work in the sales this year, finding fantastic branded gifts at half the original price. They will go into my present cupboards so there is no last minute (expensive) panic buying when the birthdays roll around.

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    3. Not buying in the sale

    I realise that this sounds like a complete contradiction to number 2 but I am terrible for online shopping and the pull of the sales is akin to an addiction but I walked away from the laptop. I have said "do I really need it" and asked myself "did I want it when it was full price" and if the answer is no, then I am recognising that it is just my desire to have parcels arriving rather than me actually needing to buy it!

    4. Taking / making lunch

    I know that this is an old one and whilst I very often take my lunch, having given up sugar I have found that I am regularly buying "Coke Zero" or "Pepsi Max" while I am out and about, which isn't really cost effective. So I have bought in bulk from the supermaket and stashed a supply in my car. The bonus is, at least if I break down I won't dehydrate either ;-)

    5. Starting a penny jar

    I used to do this years ago and put all my loose change into an oversized bottle and empty it out once a year. Inspired by a blog post from Emma at Mums Savvy Savings I am going to give this a go this year. 

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    Are you starting January with renewed enthusiam?

  4. There "may be" a big birthday this year and while I am still feeling 19 in my head, I realise that as I hurtle towards being 40 there are some things I would like to have achieved / completed / indulged in* (*delete as necessary).

    So if you are looking for ideas for your own bucket list, take a look below and let me know what you would add!!

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    1. Go To Scotland
    2. Try Glamping for at least one night
    3. Visit a Castle
    4. Go To Italy
    5. Do a Mud Run
    6. Go to the London Dungeons
    7. Afternoon Tea at the Ritz / Claridges or somewhere like that
    8. Go to a West End Show with the girls
    9. Get a piercing
    10. Visit my Nan’s sister in Somerset
    11. Go to Cheddar Gorge
    12. Try Oysters
    13. Get a new hair style or colour.
    14. Learn something new
    15. Have a makeover and stop using the same techniques I have been doing for past 10 years.
    16. Go to a drive in movie
    17. Conquer my fear of heights by “attempting” Go Ape
    18. Watch a sunrise or sunset.
    19. Do something good for someone who doesn’t know who I am.
    20. Break my habit with sugar
    21. Be the fittest / healthiest I have ever been
    22. Buy (and drink) a really expensive bottle of champagne and don’t feel guilty about it
    23. Do an “escape” room challenge
    24. Do a digital detox for an entire weekend
    25. Travel First Class
    26. Master a cocktail
    27. Update my will
    28. Try a new drink and enjoy it at GONG in the Shard
    29. Book a day off to spend by myself
    30. Write a letter to my 50 year old self and save it in a time capsule
    31. Do an indoor skydive
    32. Go skating on an outdoor ice rink
    33. Dine in a Michelin star restaurant
    34. Buy fresh flowers more often and not always the same ones.
    35. Wear something bright and step away from always wearing black
    36. Go to a music festival …. Or at least watch live music somewhere new!
    37. Take the girls to their first concert
    38. Try Pilates
    39. Go paintballing
    40. Have a party with all of my favourite people

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