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 by one of our baby bloggers. Occasionally we accept guest posts too. 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. Regular readers will know that I am hurtling towards a big birthday this year and have compiled a list of 40 things to do in my 40th year and one of those things was indoor skydiving. 

    iFly Basingstoke Review

    I have always wanted to do a real skydive but my fear of heights does make that a bit of a challenge although the adrenalin junkie inside me is still convinced that I could overcome it ..... if I could just get someone to push me out of a plane!

    I was talking to Emma from Emmaand3.com (not about pushing me out of a plane) but about my 40 list and she said she would love to come and try indoor skydiving with me. So we got in touch with iFly in Basingstoke and booked 2 x 2 minute sessions. 

    There are a number of iFly locations in the UK and while 2 x 2 minute sessions doesn't seem a lot, with the travelling and safety briefing, we really made a day of the adventure. You can see a bit more of this on Emma's vlog here >

    As you would expect there is a considerable amount of time going through the safety waivers, instructions and getting kitted out .... I have to warn you that you are never going to look overly glamorous in a blue jumpsuit and a helmet! Our instructor on the day was brilliant, he was enthusiastic, extremely thorough and really helpful even when we were a bit mischeivous. 

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    You are taken through in small groups and I was first to go in our group (no pressure) and you literally jump into the wind tunnel and away you go. Trying to relax was actually my biggest problem as the more tense you are the less bouyant!! Who knew?

    I didn't wear my glasses (I thought it might be less scary if I couldn't see what was happening with clear vision) but iFly do have larger goggles to fit over glasses if you prefer.

    You might feel that 2 minutes would go really quickly but when you are in the tunnel it is surprising how long it actually feels, especially when you are conscious that you are being filmed. Trying to keep a smile on your face for the camera is definitely fun while you are concentrating on your body position, breathing normally and balance.

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    I know my girls would love the indoor skydiving experience and as iFly welcome flyers from 3 to 103, I suspect we will be back. The only provisio is ensuring you have reasonable health and fitness, although while we were at the Basingstoke location we saw a gentleman who was unable to walk enjoying a flight, proving that disabilities are no barrier to any adrenalin seeker.

    The prices of the experience vary depending on what flight you choose but as I said at the top, we really made a day of it so whilst it may seem a little expensive for 4 minutes flying, it is certainly considerably cheaper than a skydive from a plane (and you don't need to worry about your parachute not opening!).

    I have loved the opportunity to tick something else off my list, to spend time with Emma but most importantly remind myself that I might be heading towards 40 but I still love an adventure! I highly recommend iFly to any adrenalin seekers! 

  2. There is no doubt that we are huge baby doll fans, in fact you are not allowed to call them dolls in our house, they are babies! Most of the babies that we have are not interactive, so you can imagine the delight when we were given the opportunity to review the Baby Born Interactive Sister doll. 

    Baby Born Sister Doll

    BABY born Sister doll has six functions and ten accessories for fun interactive play, including lovely long hair that you can brush and style. She may be a little older than BABY born, but is the same height meaning they can mix and match their outfits. Our very own baby doll fanatic loves changing their outfits so often, she has found that tiny baby clothes can also fit her too. 

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    The Baby Born Interactive Sister looks more grown up and she is able to stand on her own and bend her knees, can drink water, cry real tears and is fully bathable. If you check out our Instagram feed here, you can see how she cries! Her crying ability reminds me of a baby doll I had when I was younger, so it is a timeless classic in the making that never gets old. 

    My youngest daughter is naturally the cute little sister so she loved being in charge of the Baby Born Interactive Sister. She is particularly fond of the way her legs move, this is a great feature as many dolls have solid legs. Having movable legs mean that she sits naturally in a chair, so very often joins us for dinner! 

    Whilst being able to change the clothes of the Baby Born dolls, my daughter also appears to have more naked dolls than anything else (I can't be the only one whose daughter insists on getting all her dolls naked), so the addition of a shower to the range is perfect!

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    The BABY born Rain Fun Shower (RRP £42.99) mean that BABY born and BABY born Sister can now enjoy a real working shower with opening doors, an adjustable shower head, water flow regulator, harness to keep them safe, and towel.

    As many baby dolls are not suitable to take in the bath tub, it is great that play time doesn't have to stop when it is bath time for the children (although as it has batteries, we are not recommending that you take the shower in with you too!)

    The shower is suitable for children aged 3+ but there is definitely some parental supervision needed for assembly. Putting all the pieces of the shower together initially is not difficult but a little tricky and as there is water involved, I always feel the need to supervise or at least ensure it is not on a carpet anywhere!!

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    The shower requires 4 x AA batteries and you need to follow the instructions to make sure everything fits together and the water is filled to the correct levels but once it is, then the shower works like a dream. (although recommend a towel close by .... just in case

    So if you have a little one who would love to try the Baby Born Rain Fun Shower, the kind folk at Zapf Creations are giving one lucky Lilypad reader the chance to do just that. All you need to do is enter below. 

     Baby Born Rain Fun Shower Giveaway

    The Prize: Baby Born Rain Fun Shower
    The winners will be chosen at random by the random winner generator on Gleam and notified within 7 working days by email
    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 26/05/2018 at 12am

  3. 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

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    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

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    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.

  4. 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!