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 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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Category: Lifestyle

  1. 10 ways to keep the kids amused when the weather's wet

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    So, the six-week holidays are upon us and, as if right on the cue, the heavens have opened. Yes, The Great British Summer has sprawled itself over August once again, complete with dull grey skies, pounding rainfall, and spectacular thunderstorms. What’s more, that rain has wiped out your entire school holiday entertainment itinerary. 

    LLP - 10 ways to keep the kids amused when the weathers wet

    Playing in the park, picnics, long family walks, when the weather’s on your side, the list of summer activities is endless. Yet, thanks to the UK’s clime, us parents must prepare for the worst. We need a bag of tricks for keeping the kids entertained when we’re three-weeks deep into the summer break, and the rain just won’t quit.

    1. Perfect the Pinterest crafts
      You’ve had them pinned for months on end. Now is the time to brave the storm – bring out the coloured pencils, the paint, the PVA, and get stuck in!
    2. Rustle up a culinary sensation Have a flick through some cookbooks for inspiration and spend an afternoon making a luscious family dinner. Alternatively, children go wild for baked treats, you know, biscuits, cake and buns. Organised well, you can scatter such activities out across the remaining weeks, filling up mornings with quality ‘together time’.
    3. Tap into the autumn term
      If your school lets you in on your child’s topic for the upcoming term, use those rainy days to explore the subject. Perhaps there’s a book you can enjoy together, a film, a related local attraction. Google is your friend and learning can be fun.
    4. Look out for library events
      Meet the author, comic book creations, character-inspired crafts, check out your nearest library for some surprising summer fun.
    5. Swot up at local museums and exhibitions
      From Halifax’s Eureka! Museum to London’s Natural History Museum, the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre, Shakespeare’s Birthplace, and all that’s in-between. Inject a bit of culture into their break at museums and exhibitions.
    6. Head for the pool
      Swimming! It’s such a simple solution, you may have even overlooked it. Forever a crowd pleaser, pack up your swim stuff and take a dip with the kids.
    7. Bring out the board games
      Prepare some snacks, set the table, put a family movie on the tele, and you’re set for an afternoon of board games.MonopolyTrivial Pursuit, and Jenga are just a few timeworn family favourites, but why not try something new, too. Check out QwirkleArticulate, and Beat the Parents.
    8. Make the most of kids’ cinema
      New cinema releases often make the family calendar over the summer holidays. Yet, when the brood gets bored, early morning kids’ cinema can be a lifesaver. Showing films that have recently left the big screen, it is a cheap and cheerful way to pass a few hours, especially when it’s miserable outside
    9. Create a cinema at home
      I am usually one for letting light into the rooms and have taken every opportunity to create more light in the house with roofwindows (and because they are so easy to install too) but why not shut all the curtains and blinds and create your own cinema at home? Get some movies and popcorn, snuggle up on the sofa and enjoy some family favourites. 
    10. Just get wet!
      We all seem to have such an aversion to rain! For guaranteed ultimate family fun, brave the weather and just get wet! Kids love mud! Mud fights, mud pies, mud slides, whatever! Dress them in old clothes and let them loose. It is sure to be the day they remember from the entire summer break.

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  2. Step Up To Parenting By Facing These Responsibilities

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    Let’s be honest; adulthood is a myth. None of us ever feel ready to take on those big life events. Instead, we float along and hope the hard decisions will go away. But, when you become a parent, it’s important that you step up to the responsibility. You’re not only letting yourself down now; there’s a little one along for the ride. Is it any wonder there are so many overwhelmed parents out there? All that responsibility at once is a big ask. That’s why we’re going to look at a few things you need to get right now there are children in your life! 

    THE CAREER

    Have you failed to settle on a career? You aren’t alone. A lot of us end up in jobs which are far from what we imagined. These are make-do jobs, rather than lifetime careers. But, there are bills to pay, and before you know it, you’ve been there for five years.

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    Once you become a parent, it’s that bit more important that you find a career you can settle in. The chances are, you’re going to wish you had done this sooner. But, hindsight won’t do you any good. Instead, take proactive steps to achieve your dream. Return to studying part time, or jump straight in and apply for careers which suit. 


    Why is a career so important? Because you need to offer a secure lifestyle to a little person. A  make-do job isn’t going to provide that. For one, the chances are that your wages don’t offer the best lifestyle. For another, you need a career you can feel secure in. Convenient options are rarely the most stable. How are you meant to build a life for your kid when you don’t know what you’re working from one week to the next?

    FACE THE FUTURE

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    You’ve been putting it off, but now is the time to face the future. If your security down the line isn’t enough incentive, consider your child. The money you put into pensions and life insurance policies will form the basis for their inheritance. So, it’s time to get round to it. The good news is, there’s plenty of help available to make this an easy and painless life choice. Talk to your workplace about a pension, or look online at private options. The net can help you with life insurance, too. Sites like my Insurance Hero can compare various options to ensure you get the best deal. As horrible as these things may be to contemplate, finally taking care of them will be a huge relief. And, your child will thank you later on!

    TIME TO BUY A HOUSE

    Homeownership is becoming less and less common. Houses are expensive, and private rentals seem like a safer bet. But, your child needs a secure home life. With rentals, there is no security. You stand to lose your home whenever the landlord deems fit. So, it’s time to finally get around to booking that chat with a mortgage advisor

  3. Setting Up A Child's Budget Bedroom That Will Last

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    Kids grow up so fast! One minute you are cradling a newborn in your arms and the next you have a hormone-laden teen rampaging around your house and eating all your food. Just when you think you have their room perfectly set up, they grow and their needs change. You have to start all over again and this can cost you a fortune on new furniture and paint! Becoming a parent is overwhelming enough without stressing about paint and curtains.

    The solution is to set up your kid’s room in a way that will last them. It can evolve with them as they go through the various stages of childhood. Then you can turn it into a spare room when they leave home!

    Set a budget and stick to it

    Start by trawling the web and the high street for bargains. You do not have to buy everything brand new. You can literally cut your budget in half by looking for used items of furniture. Many items have barely been used and are in perfect condition.

    It is easy to organise getting the items to your own home. You will be surprised at what you can fit into a family car with back seats folded down. For really large items you can use https://www.shiply.com/ to get a quote and compare services. You don’t have to spend hours on the phone and you simply have to fill in one simple form.

    Buying ‘out of season’ is a top tip. Look out for fluffy blankets in the early summer and light throws in the autumn. All you have to do is store them safely until you need them.

    There are plenty of places to pick up used furniture at a mere fraction of their cost new. Try sites such as http://www.ebay.co.uk/ or Gumtree where you can select sellers who live near you.

    It is a mistake to limit yourself to an online search. Why not take a peek on your high street and try to spot some bargains in charity shops. The British Heart Foundation https://www.bhf.org.uk/shop/our-local-shops/furniture-and-electrical-shops has dedicated stores where they only sell furniture and electrical items.

    Recycling is a very cost-effective method. You can adapt chests of drawers and bureaus by giving them a new coat of varnish. If you want to be very artistic, try out a stencil. The kids will love helping you!

    Choose a design that can be adapted

    It is easy to be tempted by cute, miniature baby furniture. Who wouldn’t? However, this is going to last you for a couple of years at the most and so it is not a great investment. Swap it for some larger items that will grow with your kid.

    If you choose the right changing station you can easily convert it into shelves or a desk for homework when your child starts school. A bed can be somewhere to sleep plus storage so that toys and books can be packed away.

    Be careful with colour schemes. Choose neutral floor coverings and ceiling paint because they are hard and expensive to change.



  4. How to choose a great hotel for your next trip with your family

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    When thinking about accommodation for your trip, starting the research can be the most difficult step. If you are at a loss and need some advice, then follow our dos and don’ts guide to help you choose the right hotel for your family trip.

    How to choose a great hotel for your next trip with your family (1) 

    Do:

    Establish a budget

    The first, and perhaps most important, thing to do when searching for the right hotel is to set yourself a budget. It is important to set a budget when you are on holiday but also when booking your hotel, so you know exactly what you are looking for. This will take some research, so you don’t set your expectations too high and to ensure you are paying the right price for the area.

    Think about location

    Next, be sure to consider exactly where you want to go on holiday but also what you want to be located in your chosen destination. A hotel out of the centre and away from attractions will be cheaper, but if you have smaller children the commute every day might not be worth it for you.

    Consider everyone’s needs

    When considering a hotel, make sure to take into account the whole family’s needs. Do you want to be near nightlife or do you want a quieter area with a good kids club? Be sure the hotel is family friendly, to ensure you feel comfortable and can meet other families. Choose a hotel that offers the right atmosphere for the whole family.

    Think about room type

    Are you looking for a hotel that can it offer a child’s camp bed? Or if within your budget, do you want a hotel that offers adjoining rooms?

    Consider the food options

    Make sure you decide if you want half board or full board. Full board can be easier with smaller children and means you don’t have to worry about finding a restaurant. However, half board allows you to explore the area and embrace local culture.

    Book well in advance

    Once you’ve considered all these options, make sure to book as early as you can to make sure there are still lots of places for you to choose from. Prices will increase nearer the time, and many hotels will be booked up.

    Don’t:

    Be disheartened

    Make sure you are aware how much research you need to do to find the perfect hotel and don’t be discouraged if you can’t find the right one straight away. Using a site like Toprooms allows you to compare a range of different staycation locations, helping you find the best hotel at the best price.

    Think expensive is best

    The most expensive hotels don’t always offer you the most for your money. Look at exactly what each hotel is offering you and avoid being drawn in.

    Most importantly, don’t stress! It won’t be long before you have found the perfect hotel if you follow our dos and don’ts guide and before you know it you will be jetting off to enjoy quality family time together.