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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 very entertaining) daughters. It is sometimes written by the Man on the Pad or my gorgeous sister in law as part of our baby blog 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) and baby swimming (we love this too). It is hopefully helpful, sometimes funny and always honest.

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  1. Last year I had the pleasure of going on two mini cruises. One for my hen weekend and the other for our mini moon. Both were child free. However we have friends that cruise with their children every year and it has got me thinking about how practical and affordable it is to cruise with children?

    Cruise Sea View

    Safety

    As a paranoid mother, I always fret about the children wandering off (which they never do) but the beauty of being on a cruise ship is that whilst it may be vast, they can't actually go anywhere other than around the ship. The views on deck can be stunning but there is that little part of me that worries about them going overboard. I know that this is completely irrational and the safety briefly is compulsory, not optional for all passengers. (obviously having a nap during the safety briefing is frowned upon).

    Cruise Sea Safety 

    Location

    You can cruise anywhere in the world but some children (and adults) have a fear of flying, so a cruise is the perfect option for a couple of days of luxury, Mediterranean cruises or a round the world trip. Just be prepared for the inevitable rocky seas through the Bay of Biscay. I *may* have done this with a hangover and was grateful for the luxury bed in our cabin to lie down on.

     Cruise Cabin

    Activities

    My girls are happiest in the swimming pool but it is good to know that cruise liners cater for the children too. It is not all about formal nights and playing bridge, they provide great entertainment and activities for the children also. It is worth noting that if you are looking to book during the school holidays, it is worthwhile doing it early. We tried to book a couple of breaks in August but the child places weren't available due to restricted numbers, which is frustrating but also good to know that they don't overbook the clubs and ratios.

    Cost

    This is the one element that parents fear. The cost of a break in the school holiday is enough to make the strongest parents quiver in their boots but the good thing about a cruise is that you have everything included. You don't need to worry about them not liking the food as there is a huge of choice in the many restaurants on board. Children do get discounted rates, so it is definitely worth exploring. 

    Personally, I loved cruising last year and would love the chance to do it again with the whole family ..... and when I say whole family, my parents want to come too!

    Would you ever consider a cruise with your children?

    Cruise Sea View 1

  2. The new year always brings the need to clean, declutter and refresh. I don't necessarily subscribe to the New Year : New You philosophy but I do like the idea of starting the new year afresh.

    I would really like a new kitchen but sometimes I have to reel myself in and realise that my cooking skills don't necessarily need a mitchelin star grade work space, although some new pots and pans  wouldn't go amiss after having mine for (ahem) some years. Buying new saucepans and a few accessories can't necessarily help my cooking skills but changing a few little things in the kitchen, or indeed any room in the house can make a massive difference. So here are my 5 top tips for achieving a new look in 5 easy steps.

    1. Choose a colour palette that the whole family can agree on. (unless you take the toddlers advice who wants everything pink). It is good to get the buy in from everyone (there is a method in this madness, trust me). Go and buy paint, talking about it is great but once you have bought the paint, it will sit there and look at you until you give in and put it on the walls.

    Homebase painting 1

    2. Don't wear clothes that you may want to wear again, ever. This is just a small word of advice when you have small children "helping" with the decorating.

    3. Buy enough paint brushes so everyone can get involved. However, expect small children to take a different view of painting to you. <insert smiley face>

    Homebase painting 2

    4. Make sure you have covered everything you don't want covered in paint with a suitable dust sheet (before you start number 3). Again this is especially prevalent when you have a toddler assisting you.

    5. Look despairingly at husband when toddler has created smiley faces all over the wall and ask if he can take over with the tween, while you take the toddler for a bath!

    Homebase painting 3

    Job done!

    Would you add any handy hints?

  3. Swimming lessons have become as much part of our weekly routine, as they have our blog posts but how easy is it really to turn a water baby into a confident swimming toddler?

    You know already that we love our Water Babies lessons and the Water Babies toddler programme can take you and your baby right through until they are 4 years old. This term we are working to help the little ones develop a flat, streamlined body position, coordinated legs and arms and aquatic breathing. (easy right?).

    Aquatic breathing is something that even the tween struggles with at times but somehow it seems easier for the toddler, although I suspect this has more to do with her love of blowing raspberries in the water ..... which is a step up from trying to drink it at least. Blowing bubbles into the water is fun as far as she is concerned but at this stage, she is not conscious that she is learning the skill, merely enjoying doing something she is not normally allowed to do.

    Water Babies Toddler 3

    The woggle and float play a big part in our swimming lessons now due to the little ones are learning to swim in a flat position as the instinct is still to almost "run" through the water. Interestingly, Water Babies tell us that children lack the strength and co-ordination to swim properly until they’re 3 or 4 as their little bodies just aren’t proportioned for swimming on the surface, so its unreasonable to expect that she will be getting her 25 metre badges any time soon.

    I have been reading a lot about baby and toddler swimming this week and the opinions seem really divided about it. There are lots of forums ( I shan't mention them by name) where mums end up debating the merits (and alleged pitfalls) of baby swimming classes. There are those that adore Water Babies and swimming with their little ones and those that harp on about the cost. I loved one particular womans story who stated that her partner had been put on reduced hours but she was saving money elsewhere to ensure that they could continue with their classes. I think that speaks volumes.

    Cost undoubtedly plays a part in the choices we make for our children, the classes they take, the schools they attend, the clothes they wear but for the safety of my children, I am not sure I can put a price on it. The little one has confidence in the water, she can get in and out of the pool safely herself, she can jump in and come back up to the surface unaided and whether she masters the art of a flat streamlined body now she is 3 or when she is 4, I know I can't put a price on that.

    Water Babies Toddler

    Water Babies Toddler 1

     

    So how do you turn a water baby into a swimming toddler?

    You just keep swimming!

    Have you had experience of baby swimming? What are your thoughts?

     

     

  4. Please don't judge me on my parenting. Not today. 

    We were having dinner with some friends and friends of theirs joined us, as the meals were served, I got out my phone and put it in front of the toddler to distract her while she ate. I held my breath slightly waiting for the disproving looks from everyone round the table to tell me silently that I should be teaching my child to eat properly without the need for distraction only to feel relived when another Mum looked over and simply said "I am so glad we are not the only ones that do that".

    It made me realise that people do make judgements every single day and we expect our parenting to be critised by anyone who has ever considered having a child, those that don't, let alone those who have been there and got the t-shirt. Somedays I feel like saying .....

    Please don't judge me today for letting my child have chocolate, you don't know that she has been unwell and hasn't eaten much. I am just glad that she is eating something.

    Please don't judge me today for using a Disney Princess umbrella on the school run today, honestly .... I have no clue where my umbrella is (it wasn't on today's priority list) and anyway the little one was delighted to be huddled up together under the pink brolly.

    Please don't judge me today for wearing a glittery clip in my hair ..... look at the fishtail plait in my oldest daughters hair or the miracle of two small pigtails in the toddlers hair .... they look super cute. Just don't look at me.

    Please don't judge me today for telling my daughter to play with her friends at soft play. I want to help her develop her social skills (and I would really like to drink a cup of hot chocolate while it is still hot). (oh and did I mention that I was at soft play, I deserve a wine!).

    Please don't judge me today for staying with my toddler until she falls asleep, she has asthma and controlled crying is not an option. (I also worked hard today and I sometimes just want to grab those extra minutes with her).

     

    So please don't judge me today. I am doing the best job I can.

    Do you feel judged today?