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. The weather has been grotty for the past few weeks so we are already thinking about holidays for the summer. Travelling around the world can be an exciting experience. Not only do you get to take a much-needed break from your typical weekly routine, but you also get to explore new cultures and experiences too. Of course, as wonderful as an adventure can be, it also comes with a few common concerns too.

    One of the biggest worries that people have about travel, is that it will be too expensive for them to maintain their budget and have a wonderful experience at the same time. The good news is that these budget-friendly travel tips could help to keep your spending on track without asking you to compromise on fun.

    1.     Travel at the Right Times

    The first thing you need to do when you want to travel for less is make sure that you get your timing right. The price of your flights will vary according to the day, month, and even time you choose to travel. With online apps, you can compare prices across months and days to determine when the cheapest days to fly are in your area. Usually, it's cheaper to travel on a Tuesday than it is on a Friday for instance.

    2.     Choose a Different Airport

    If you don't mind driving a little further to start your trip, then you might get a better deal from an airport that's further from your front door. Different airlines offer different routes and offers for their customers, which could mean that it works out a lot cheaper to begin your adventure with someone who you don't usually fly with. This could also be a great way to avoid delays and cancellations if you know your nearby airport is prone to problems.

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    3.     Avoid Baggage Fees

    If you're concerned about charges caused by excess baggage, try weighing your suitcases before you leave home. If your hand-luggage or your suitcase is slightly heavier than it should be, consider wearing some of the extra items you need instead of putting them in your case. For instance, make sure that you always wear your heaviest pair of shoes, jacket, jeans, cardigan, and anything else you're taking with you. You can always shed your layers when you're on the plane.

    4.     Look Beyond the Hotel

    In recent years, the way we travel has changed significantly. You don't necessarily have to over-spend on an expensive hotel to get the most out of your journey. Instead, sites like Airbnb allow you to stay at someone else's home instead, which can be a much cheaper option if you want to get around on a budget. There's always the option to consider hostels and sharing solutions too if you don't mind sleeping in a room with people you don't know. Eat Like the Locals

    5.     Fly Indirect

    Most travellers prefer to fly direct when they can, but if money is more important to you than time right now, it might be a good idea to consider a stop-over. There are plenty of flexible flights that allow you to save money by mixing and matching flights from one leg of your journey to another. Just make sure that you leave a cushion of time between your flights so that you don't end up missing your transport if you're hit by a delay.

    6.     Bring Your Own Snacks onto the Plane

    We all know how terrible airline food can be. While most travel experts are working on improving the meals that they offer their customers in the air, you still might find yourself craving a few snacks on the way to your destination. Unfortunately, the price of your favourite foods on an airplane can be overwhelming, and it doesn't save you much money to buy them from duty-free before you board either. As long as you're not bringing liquid foods like soup or yogurt, you should be able to bring your own snacks with you.

    7.     Eat Like the Locals

    Saving money on your travel expenses isn't just about making sure that you get the cheapest plane tickets. If you want to keep track of your budget, then it might be worth changing the way you eat abroad too. For instance, make sure that you check out local favourites for meals instead of relying on the biggest tourist destinations and fancy restaurants that might be close to your hotel. Eating like a local could be a great way to keep your expenses to a minimum, and make sure that you get the full experience of the place you're visiting too. 

  2. It is well known that I love shopping but I love giving gifts even more than receiving them. It is good to be able to do something nice for friends and family. The only problem is that sometimes working out what to buy can be a bit of a pain. Occasionally, we all struggle for inspiration, so I have detailed below some ideas that we turn to when we are stuck for present ideas.

    Top Tips For Finding the Perfect Gifts for Family Members

    A canvas print or painting

    Not so long ago we bought a new canvas print from an online print firm and we were very impressed by the quality. It looked fantastic, plus the ordering process was super easy. All we had to do was to select an appropriate high-resolution photo, upload it, choose a size and frame, pay, and wait for it to be delivered. That particular print was for our own home, but you can just as easily send them as presents. Most online printers will happily add a message, gift wrap it and send it straight to the recipient´s address.

    The nice thing about this type of gift is that it is unique and very personal. Plus, you can potentially use any non-copyrighted image. So, if you want you can scan something that you or another member of the family has drawn and have that turned into a unique piece of art.

    Experience days

    Treating someone to an exciting experience is another excellent idea. These days, there are thousands of different options to choose from. Everything from a rock climbing lesson or hot air balloon ride to theatre tickets or cooking lessons can be found online. For the more expensive experience days, for example, learning to drive a sports car family members could potentially club together to buy it.

    When buying these kinds of gifts, it is wise to read the terms and conditions carefully. With some, you have to choose a date. This is fine if the person you are giving it to is free on that day. Not so great if they are not. So, it is wise to make sure that the retailer you are buying from is flexible about when the experience voucher is redeemed.

    Hobby-related gifts

    If the family member you are buying for has a hobby, a gift that is related to it can be ideal. There is plenty of scope. You can buy them everything from equipment and materials to classes and tickets to exhibitions. With this type of gift, it makes sense to hang onto the receipt. That way if they already own the piece of equipment you have bought them, they can simply exchange it.

    Food and drink related gifts

    Most people enjoy eating and drinking. (who doesn't) So, if your Aunt Ginny loves a particular brand of expensive chocolates she will like receiving a box of them as a special gift.

    Handmade gifts

    There is something very special about a gift that has been made especially for you. So, if you are good with your hands, it is well-worth making something unique and personal. There are lots of options, but if you are stuck for inspiration just click through to read this handmade gift ideas article.

     

    What are your favourite gift ideas for your family?

     

  3. Oh my gosh! I know we don’t like to complain, but if we could just grab a minute between school runs, work, after school clubs, pet care, cleaning, fetching, carrying, that would be absolutely swell. I mean, who else just feels as though their ‘to do’ list is never ending?

    I always start the year with good intentions for time management, but without adopting a sergeant major position in my own brain – yes, I talk to myself, too – it’s impossible to keep up with everything there is to do. A standard weekday is non-stop, weekends are non-existent, and I definitely don’t remember what a lie in is like.

    Was that a chorus of ‘I hear you’ that I just heard? I think it was.

    So, with the very best intentions at heart, I want to do my bit for all the parents out there who don’t even get to pee in peace. Here are five little tips (life hacks, you might call them) that take the pressure off a tiny titch, and keep you going just one more day

    Give grass the elbow

    If you have time to do the gardening, then you are on the wrong blog post. Seriously. Pruning and planting and whatnot? Who has time for that? I don’t even have time for my lawn, and all it wants is mowing.

    hollywood artificial grass

    Give grass the elbow and opt for artificial grass from Grass Direct as they have everything from budget to premium grass, just team it with some pretty pebbles and voila, no need for weekly maintenance.

    Friday night chippy tea

    Your eldest’s best friend may well be going home to a plate of sea bass with quinoa rice salad, but that doesn’t sound like a Friday night to me.

    After a week full of school runs, pick-ups, drop-offs, work stress, deadlines, and more, forget washing up, forget cooking, head to the chippy and eat out of the paper, around the fire, with the TV on. Taste the delight. Go on.

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    Learn to love leather

    Upholstered fabric is oh-so stunning, and we all want a showroom home, somewhere down deep at the bottom of our shallow hearts. It’s true.

    But have you ever actually met kids? Now is not the time for fabric. Save it for your retirement. Leather is the way, and the only way. Spills, sick… all that icky kiddy stuff can be wiped away and forgotten. All hail wet wipes.

    Masquerading ‘me time’

    ‘Hey kids, do you fancy popping to the play area?’ Win-win!

    Out of the house for a few hours, rather than turning their rooms upside down, they can run riot in the play area. While they have the time of their lives, entertained with ball pits and swing ropes, you can sneak in some me time. Take a book, grab a latte, and make the most of those minutes.

    Swap how you shop

    No parent should brave a supermarket with any children under the age of five. It should almost be a law. Just don’t do it to yourself. If you have more than two children under the age of five, it’s a miracle if you make it out alive.

    Sign up to a delivery saver and have your shopping delivered to your doorstep. It’s absolutely fool proof. You can even have a glass of wine cup of tea while you shop. Bliss.

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  4. IMG_1256

    I don't really remember learning to ride a bike, it just seems like something I have always known how to do but when teaching my own girls to ride a bike, I am all about their safety, with a helmet and knee pads. I honestly don't think I personally ever had a helmet on to ride my bike as a child and I don't know whether it was because we are more safety aware now or whether helmets were not "cool" back then!

    Mini Hornit Helmet girl

    Mini Hornit helmets are a bit, no a LOT, cooler than most kids’ bike helmets! Painstakingly designed to look stylish & fun (or quiet understated in the case of Stealth!), they are fully adjustable, comfortable, lightweight and actually something children will want to wear. They will also love the integrated LED which is an added safety feature, useful for riding home after school in winter.

    Mini Hornit Helmet boy

    There are lots of designs to choose from but we went for the Minnie Mouse inspired Mini Hornit Lid for our little bike trainee and she squealed with excitement when she saw it, which was a good start. She is usually found sporting pigtails in her hair, so we had to have a hairstyle change to ensure a comfortable fit but she couldn't wait to try it on. It took us a little while to find the best and most comfortable fit but it is really easy to adjust and I personally love the LED light at the back.

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    The Mini Hornit Lid is fully adjustable (for when she gets a big head after learning to ride a bike) but as an overview:

    • M and S sizes fit almost all children:
      • Small: 48-53cm
      • Medium: 53-58cm
    • EN1078 and CPSC tested
    • Head adjuster, 11 air vents
    LED Light:
    • 3 modes
    • 2x AG3 cell batteries
    • 10 hours constant
    • 20 hours flashing
     LLP - Win a Mini Hornet LidsRRP £29.99 (1)
     
    So if you would like to be in with a chance to win one for yourself, all you need to do is enter below! Good luck!
     

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Terms & Conditions

    The Prize: Mini Hornit Lid RRP £29.99
    The winners will be chosen at random by the random winner generator on Rafflecopter 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 26/02/2018 at 12am