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. Style a secret shed? I know, I know, it sounds like I have gone off in search of the Enid Blyton Magic Faraway Tree and although I could do with some magic to come and deal with my shed, I am conscious that I may need a little more than magic. So when I saw that the lovely Amanda from The Ana Mum Diary was hosting a competition to encourage us to create a perfect hideaway; hidden in the depths of your garden away from the daily drama and noise of the house, I knew that I wanted to indulge my imagination.

    I consider myself quite house proud and the garden is an extension of this so I am not entirely sure why the shed is the one thing that is neglected. I am so ashamed of it that I am not even sure I can share a picture. A shed (or summer house) would be a perfect work space for me, I would be able to create a totally girlie shabby chic space to inspire and create within. So I went mooching around the Tiger Sheds website and decided that a corner summerhouse would be perfect to help me meet my aspirations. The Tiger Corner Summerhouse looks to be the epitome of garden living, just imagine it whitewashed with soft chair and drapes and no toys (!!).

     Tiger Corner Summerhouse

    I have to admit that as my husband is the only man in our abode, I very often give in to more masuline design in the house so he doesn't feel completely overwhelmed by the feminine influence, which means that our bedroom is not particularly girly so my summerhouse would allow me to indulge in a perfectly personal girlie space. I managed to lose myself in Pinterest with cool, calm colours perfect for a clear head and a long to do list. 

     

    I did mention that I wasn't going to share a picture of our current shed with you but my husband suggests that it is full of character ...... whereas I am convinced it is more full of spiders and a possible wasps nest. It needs to be gone so I can get the girlie work space my heart craves.

     Shed - old

    There is no Pinterest board that is going to help that now is there?

  2. We are half way in to the school holidays and whilst I love having the children at home, keeping the endless craft or activities tidy is no mean feat, so here are our top tips on keeping the house tidy this summer.

    Stop buying things you don't need

    This is one that personally I struggle with, as I am a self confessed shopaholic but more "stuff" means more clutter. Get rid of what you don't use and stop buying things you don't need. And the next time the children want that cheap toy, get them an experience instead, go and feed the ducks rather than buy more rubber ducks for the bath. Give them memories not things.

    Rotate the toys

    If you can't bear to part with your little ones toys, put some away in a box in the loft and then do the same again in a months time. Bring down the old box and your little one will have renewed interest in the toy that they haven't seen for some time - failing that, if they had completely forgotten about it, maybe it is time to give it away.

    Floor free zone

    Nothing actually belongs on the floor. Make this a general rule, especially if you have luxury flooring and furnishings the last thing you want is someone scraping a piece of lego across it! Everyone in the family should be responsible for putting their ‘stuff’ away.

    Toys on the floor

    Clear tubs / bins

    These are the best type of containers for kids stuff, in general. Bins or baskets. The key is to make it easy for the kids (or you) to toss their stuff into the bins, making cleanup simple. If you can, label each bin with the type of stuff that goes there (building blocks, barbie dolls, stuffed animals, painful lego pieces). If your child can’t read, use picture labels or photos taped to the side.

    Allow them to be messy.

    No child is perfect and as a parent you have to concede that they will inevitably make a mess. You have to allow them to do this. Then, when they’re done, ask them to clean it up. It is a good life lesson!

    Eat outside

    Children are notoriously messy eaters and while there is warm weather, eating outside saves a lot of floor clean up later. Plus if the mess gets really bad you can at least just hose down the area, something I wish I could do in my house (and children) sometimes.

    Finally, any life that includes children is never going to be clean and clutter free, at least to some degree. I don't believe that you will ever get an absolute minimalist lifestyle with children and I’ve learned to accept that. Would you disagree?

    Tips on keeping the house tidy

  3. There is no question that I love shopping and the bargain hunter in me loves sale shopping even more. In my mind, if something is half price I can buy twice as much! I am terrible when my favourite shops email me with sale notifications but I am not so much a fan of standing queuing in shops, so when Vertbaudet emailed to tell me about their BIG sale with up to 60% off, I had to go and check it out online. Surprisingly for me, I was not all about the clothes (which is most unusual) and was quite taken with their home collection, which is perfect for children's bedrooms and fantastic prices in the sale.

    Vertbaudet Sale Shopping

    Sale shopping can give you a thrill like no other, especially when you find that dress you have been coveting or a pair of shoes at a price that you simply can't resist. There are obvious pitfalls too, so here are our top tips for sale shopping!

    Do you really need it?

    Do go with a VERY level head. Yes, your eyes will be on stalks at all those reduced tickets – but with everything you pick up, consider whether you really like it. Would you have considered saving up for it if it hadn't been reduced?

    Buy bigger sizes for next year

    Children don't stop growing but that doesn't mean that you can't be savvy about their clothes. Buy bigger sizes this year in the sale and put them away for next year.

    Check the returns policy

    Clearance buys are often a great deal, but it’s important to read the fine print. Finding a top for £2 is great, but not if you can’t return it if it doesn’t fit.

    Shop online to save more

    Shopping online can sometimes means even more savings – websites like KidStart offer members money back for their children on online shopping from loads of major stores, so it is worth checking out prior to clicking buy now!

    And finally ....

    Set a budget

    It is worth making a list of the things you actually need and want to look for and decide in your mind how many more you’re prepared to buy so you have something to aim for. Getting a bargain is great but not if you can't actually afford it in the first place so set a budget and decide how much are you prepared to spend in advance.

     

    With sales popping up everywhere this summer, it is a great time to grab a bargain. Now I really must go and look at that Vertbaudet sale again ......

     SALE

  4. The tooth fairy had a little problem last night. She couldn't find the tooth and was left with the dilemma of leaving a note asking for the tooth tomorrow night or just simply leaving the money without taking the tooth. Now I think there is a reason that the tooth was "missing" as a certain 10 year old is challenging the simple magical characters that have always been in her life.

     

    tooth_fairy_004

    She knows in her heart that the tooth fairy is not real (I think she just pretends now for her little sisters sake and for the £1 coin) and she has openly laughed about the validity of the Easter Bunny but as we get closer to Christmas, do I need to finally give in and accept she may no longer believe in Father Christmas? Most psychologists will suggest that children need to know they can trust their parents to tell them the truth, even about things like this. In other words, when your kids ask if Father Christmas, the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny are real, you should tell them the truth.

    That's obviously easier said than done.

    What age should you tell them the truth?

    This really depends on the parents, and to a very large extent, the child. 

    Last year she asked me if Father Christmas was real as one of her classmates had said it was his mum (they were 9 years old). It was one of those moments where I held my breath for a minute. I had hoped and wished this day would never come. But it did. And so with it brought another phase of parenting. It’s that phase where my baby girl is no longer a baby, she is no longer naïve and I have to accept that a part of her childhood innocence is a thing of the past.

    If I am honest, I may have dodged the question last year but I know that I have to face it as much as she is going to. I don't want her to be ridiculed at school and whilst the age of every child is different, the truth about her childhood magic will be as much as loss to me as her. 

    How to deal with their new knowledge?

    Encourage your child to help younger siblings, cousins, and other children keep believing in the tooth fairy and Father Christmas. This can be an great way to build nurturing skills in your own child, and help them feel more grown up. By having her join us in teaching her younger sister about these magical creatures, can hopefully help make the transition into a world where magic can still exist but in a more realistic context.

    Let's be honest, everyone needs a little magic in their lives don't they?

    When should children stop believing in magic-