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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  1. It already feels as though summer is over. We can feel the crisp chill creeping in to the morning air, and the nights are definitely that bit darker.

    Sure, we still, officially, have a few days left of the summer season, but I definitely won’t be wistfully holding onto it, begging it to stick around for that big longer. Roll on autumn, I say.

    So long, the Great British Disappointment

    To me summer is always a bit of a disappointment. We put together all these grand plans for what we’ll do with the kids when the sun shines and the skies are blue. But the fact of the matter is, our Great British Summer rarely delivers.

    We have the odd few days of beaming, unbearable heat… and then we’re back to downpours and rained-off picnics. Your plans are in the gutter, along with the 100 mm of rainfall that so gladly graced your summer month.

    On the other hand, as summer comes to a close, we approach autumn. The season that doesn’t disappoint. We don’t expect glorious weather, we want candlelit evenings, autumnal leaf fall, and brand new wellies. And guess what, every year, without fail, we get it.

    This is, of course, along with some of the best festive dates of the year. Autumn is Halloween, Bonfire Night, and Advent. Yes, autumn even allows you to enjoy the Christmas build up without the actual pressure of entertaining over Christmas. As soon as winter kicks in on 21 December, that relaxed autumn ambience is well and truly out of the window.

    So, with all that in mind, I’m here to say autumn is awesome. Let’s embrace the change in season. Look, here’s a listicle. Let’s round it up – ten reasons why.

    10 reasons why autumn is the very best of the seasons

    1. Your autumn wardrobe

    Oh my goodness! Knitwear, gorgeous coats, scarves and the ability to layer soft fabrics to keep you wrapped up warm, what is not to love about an autumn wardrobe. It is also a great excuse to go shopping, especially if you had a clear out in the spring and in my case “have nothing to wear”, you can sit comfortably on your sofa and browse through online shopping sites such as ESPRIT, ASOS or Zara to find quirky, on trend, gorgeous new pieces for your wardrobe.

    Everyone always tells me that I need to add more bright colours to my wardrobe but autumn is a chance to celebrate those muted warm tones. Here are some of the things I am coveting right now.

    Autumn Wardrobe Goals

    Let’s be honest, can a girl ever have enough black jumpers??

    1. Acceptable weather

    By acceptable weather, I mean expected weather. Rain is all well and good, when you want it. In fact, in the autumn darkness, the pavement even gleams in the light of the lampposts. Yes. In autumn, rain is poetic. In summer, it’s merely an annoyance. All hail that crisp morning air as well. Oh, the relief after the summer humidity.

    1. Food

    Pumpkin, and treacle, and parkin, oh my! Flapjacks, toffee apples, chocolate apples, plums, soups, stews, dumplings, crumbles, hot chocolate, pears… oh, the food.

    1. Pumpkin Spice Latte

    OK, so we did food. But we all know pumpkin spice latte deserves to stand independently.

    1. BED

    Autumn is even so kind as to give us an extra hour in bed. As soon as we’ve settled into the season, enjoying pumpkin spice lattes and cosy roll-neck knitwear, it treats us yet again. No, stay in bed. Have a lie in. Autumn has got this. Boom… Daylight Saving Time ends. What a gem autumn is.

    1. Halloween and Bonfire Night

    Stress-free festivities for the whole family. Unlike mass summer barbies and huge Christmas dinners, Halloween and bonfire night are laidback autumn events. The kids are happy with a Wilkos dress-up. Heck, they’d be happy as a bin bag ghost, so long as they can knock-on, Trick or Treating. What’s more, there’s so many organised bonfires nowadays, you no longer need to fear for your life garden on Guy Fawkes Night.

    Autumn - AdobeStock_66178001

    1. Autumn leaves and conkers

    I don’t know if you have a dog, but even if you don’t, there’s nothing like walking through the woodlands during October and November. Falling leaves, the array of autumnal colours, conkers scattered all around. It’s beautiful. It truly is. And if you need reassurance, Insta loves autumn too.

    1. Cosy evenings in

    Forget fanning yourself down with the windows wide open. Crack open the cocoa, light your scented candles, and cosy up with your favourite blanket. At 5pm.

    1. View-worthy TV

    On the topic of cosy nights in… there’s so much on the box. Autumn greets us with Bake Off, swiftly followed by The Apprentice, Strictly, the X Factor. All the best dramas save themselves for the long nights, as well. Get on my tele!

    1. Advent

    Christmas is coming! And autumn allows you to enjoy it. All the planning, all the prep, all the Christmas music. The parties, the present-buying, the Santa visits. The excitement. It’s all looking so good; the anticipation is the best bit. Pre-winter everyone is a walking Will Ferrell in Elf. As soon as winter hits, the pressure is on to don your pinny and be the hostess with the mostest. Then you’re done. Done, and hopefully not in too much post-xmas debt. Fingers crossed.

    Here’s to autumn! We love you!

  2. I read this week that the Book People had commissioned a report that found one in five UK parents do not spend any time reading with their primary school age children, with 54% of parents spending less than one hour a week reading to their children aged 5-11. I love to read and have always encouraged both of my girls to lose themselves in the story (although my youngest can be a bit of a storyteller but that is a whole other story) so was a little saddened that reading seems to be dropping in priority.

    I read at every opportunity, whether it is indulging in a paperback on a sun lounger on holiday with a cheeky cocktail in one hand or it is reading on my tablet in bed at night time, I can't imagine my girls growing up and not learning to love absorbing themselves in literature. 

    Girl reading

    Interestingly, researchers polled more than 3,000 people in a Travel Book Survey and found that three in four Brits (78%) prefer reading paperbacks on holiday over any other reading material such as magazines (7%), newspapers (4%), digital downloads or reading content online (4%).  

    I rarely read printed media such as newspapers or magazines any more but the study conducted by Opodo.co.uk suggests a resurgence in the reading behaviour among ‘bookish-Brits’, despite the abolition of EU data roaming charges, which now makes it cheaper to download e-books as well as consuming digital content for less through electronic devices while travelling abroad.

    AdobeStock_76420319

    Reading is ranked as Brits' third favourite holiday pastime according to new research by Opodo which comes only after relaxing on a beach and trying the local cuisine. For me the book doesn't have to be a literary masterpiece but I love a story that unfolds, a thriller that surprises and who doesn't love a bit of chic lit?

    Apparently, this years top summer reads were .... 

    1. Small Great Things, Jodi Picoult
    2. I See You, Clare Mackintosh
    3. Conclave, Robert Harris  
    4. The Essex Serpent, Sarah Parry
    5. This Must Be The Place, Maggie O’Farrell
    6. The Gypsy Moth, Julia Fierro
    7. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, Arundhati Roy
    8. Hunger, Roxanne Gay
    9. H (a)ppy, Nicola Barker
    10. Sour Heart, Jenny Zhang.

    I have actually only read "I See You" which was brilliant but it reminded me of a list I wrote a couple of years ago about books that made a lasting impression on me. Here is my list:

    1. My Husbands Secret - Liane Moriaty
    2. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
    3. Sleepers - Lorenzo Carcaterra
    4. The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton
    5. P.S I love you - Cecilia Ahearn
    6. My Sisters Keeper - Jodi Picoult 
    7. Forever - Judy Blume
    8. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
    9. Pride & Prejudice - Jane Austen
    10. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

    Lukas Balter, destination expert at Opodo, commented: "Going on holiday is one of the only times in the year that we can unreservedly put ourselves first and do what makes us happy, so it's no surprise to see people are so eager to pick up a good page-turner.

    “Getting lost in a good book or few allows British holidaymakers to indulge in a total digital detox for a week or two.”

    So what would be on your list?

     

  3. Just because you have young children doesn't mean that you shouldn’t go overseas on holiday. Yes, some parents are put off, especially because of the hassle of getting through the journey part of the break, before you get the actual fun part of the holiday itself, can be immense. However, going overseas with the kids really don't have to be a nightmare. In fact, there is one thing, in particular, to bear in mind that can make journeys abroad with the kids a lot more doable, and that is to shorten your trip as much as possible. 

    Do Pick Short Flights

    Speed is of the essence, as they say, and never has an adage been so true, as when you are travelling abroad with kids. That means for the most part short haul flights to places in the UK, or Europe is a much better choice than long haul ones.

    aircraft-jet-landing-cloud-46148.jpeg

    Yes, you probably do want to take the kids to Orlando at some point or have a fabulous family holiday in Lapland. However, for their first couple of trips at least, make sure that you are on the plane for no longer than three hours at a time. As this will make it both easier for your little ones, and for you if the kids don't take to flying that well.

    Do Take Carry-On Luggage Only

    You can also make the whole journey time shorter by eschewing hold luggage and taking only carry-ons. Then when you get to your destination, you can get straight out of the airport and on to your accommodation. Meaning you won't have to navigate the wait for your luggage with a clutch of tired, hungry kids to look after. To help you get this right use tools like this cabin luggage comparison site. As they can help you pick the right size cabin luggage for the particular company you are flying with.

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    Picture source

    Just remember anything that makes the journey part of the break easier, means you will have more energy to enjoy the rest of the holiday.

    Don’t Go For Long Driving Holidays

    Now, I'm not saying that driving holidays are a bad thing. In fact,  they can be great value for money and fun for the whole family. However, there is a downside to them that you have to be aware of.  It is that to drive to a long distance destination, you will need to spend a long time in the car with the family, and I don't care how much you all get on, 10 hours and a ferry ride will test truly the best of us! This is without travel sickness and the inevitable "are we nearly there yet".

    So if you want to arrive unfrazzled and able to appreciate every single day of your holiday, go for shorter drives, something you can plan using sites like https://www.originalcottages.co.uk. Leaving the longer ones until the kids are a little older.

    After all, what use is a holiday if it's not relaxing for you as well as them?

  4. We might consider ourselves to be a tech savvy family but reviewing gadgets doesn't usually fall in our remit however with so much focus on dash cam's in the news lately, we jumped at the chance to flex our review skills and take a look at the Philips ADR 810 Dash Cam. 

    We were told the usual sales spiel in that the Philips ADR 810 Dash Cam offers peace of mind when you need it most and with automatic recording means there’s no need to spend ages setting it up each time, simply switch it on and drive. In case of a collision, the Dash Cam automatically saves the recording to secure your evidence and prevent it being overridden.

    So what did we think?

    IMG_4313

    Setting it up

    There isn't much in the box so thought it would be nice and easy to set up but we hit an intiial hurdle when we realised that you need an SD card to do the recording on and the dash cam doesn't come with one. It is worth noting that it is a micro SD card that you need, so worth making sure you have one before trying to set up.

    Once we got past this little blip, the setup was actually very quick, although you don't get a full set of instructions just a handy little guide but even I could work it out. To be honest, the set up takes less than a minute but worth noting that the Philips ADR810 Dash Cam doesn’t have its own internal battery which means it needs to be plugged into the cigarette lighter socket on the car to give it some power.

    It comes with super sticky pads so that you can attach it securely and as the Dash Cam is super lightweight at only 83 grams, with dimensions of 106.7 x 50.0 x 32.5mm, you don't worry about it falling off as can happen with some of the plastic sucker attachments. 

    Functions

    The Philips ADR 810 dash cam features smart automatic functions, excellent video performance with perfect night view and a 156° wide angle lens.

    • In the case of a collision, an emergency (and handy) recording is automatically saved to secure the evidence and prevent overwriting
    • A clever fatigue index will produce a visual and audible warning message when the driver should take a rest (unless you don't like being told what to do by a machine)
    • Instant replay function can help to clarify responsibility on the spot with date/time stamped proof
    • The ADR 810 captures details day and night with optimised night view
    • A 156° wide angle lens captures more of the road with this wide angle lens 

    IMG_4570

    The power cable is REALLY long which is a good thing if your cigarette lighter socket isn't at the front of your car but the wire does need keeping under control (a bit like my kids!!)

    The children have been fascinated by the Dash Cam, although my eldest said that I will have to watch my own speed now as it is being recorded (I am not entirely sure what she is implying) but the youngest has become convinced that we are going to catch "bad guys" doing "bad stuff" on our Dash Cam and become heros! So everyone is a clearly a fan, even if they don't understand the tech side of it. 

    The Pro's

    • Lightweight small & compact
    • Not easy for thieves and other motorists to see, unlike some other cameras
    • Driver fatigue warning that alerts the driver if their tiredness is affecting the quality of their driving.
    • Easy to navigate menus

    The Con's

    • The sticky pads are extremely sticky which is great for keeping its position in the car but not ideal if you want to change it into a different vehicle. A suction mount would be a good option in addition to the sticky pads.
    • You need to purchase a seperate micro SD card before you can start recording. 

    So if the only real downsides relate to sticky pads, we think this is a pretty impressive piece of kit for £139.99 and are very excited to be able to offer you the chance to win one!

    Win a Philips A810 Dash Cam worth £139.99 (1)

    All you need to do is enter below. 

     a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Terms & conditions

    The Prize: Philips ADR 810 Dash Cam
    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 03/09/2017 at 12am