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.
My husband says that our morning school run is more like a catwalk show and he has never known parents look so glamorous driving their "chelsea tractors" for what is essentially a taxi service for a small person. Whereas my best friends children go to a school where it has been known for children to be delivered to school on an actual tractor, complete with wellington boots. So it really is funny how people can make judgements based on the car you drive or how you arrive to school each morning.
We live about 7 miles away from my children's school so walking to school isn't really an option, not in this weather or these heels for that matter, and unfortunately there is no local bus service for the girls, so we rely on the car to get us to where we need to be. My husband has always been a biker, so has no real interest in cars, other than making sure they get him from A-B but I spend a lot of time driving the girls from one place to another so I have to admit that I do like a car that has some creature comforts in it but what does that say about me? Apparently a lot! I entertained myself by taking a car personality quiz and was shocked at the results.
How does it know my shopping habits?
Do we really sterotype ourselves with the cars that we buy?
Do you think people make a judgement of you based on the car you drive?
Do you want to know what the personality quiz says about you?
Just click below and come back and let us know the results because I am genuinely intrigued to see how accurate it is for everyone else!
Christmas is the only day of the year you’re allowed chocolate for breakfast - why else would we stuff the toes of our children’s stockings with chocolate coins? Many parents will testify that excessive sweets and chocolate can have a detrimental effect on their children’s health and behaviour. You don’t want to limit the fun of indulging over Christmas however few days of splurging should not turn into a fortnight’s binge. We’re not talking about diets for kids, but we are starting a new year of healthy eating, so here are our top tips on how you can get the entire family back into a healthy way of eating after Christmas.
Supermarkets are savvy and drop the prices of tubs of chocs in October and November so that we start stocking up early and then we still buy more in the sales ..... because it is just too good to leave at that price. Don't! Limit the amount of junk coming into your house and you’ll have an easier time getting rid of it afterwards. My kids always get spoiled by school, Santa, and relatives. They bring half a year’s worth of junk food into the house in the space of week, so I don’t need to buy them any more.
Don’t make the mistake of letting kids keep their goodies in their bedrooms where you can’t see what they’re eating. It can lead to them guzzling in between meals, having massive sugar crashes, and picking at their plate because they weren’t hungry. Try storing their chocolate in the kitchen, somewhere it is out of sight but where you can see (or hear) when they are helping themselves and can stop them if it’s inappropriate.
Two Days, not Two Weeks
Research carried out into children’s eating habits found that they eat nearly four times their recommended daily calorie intake on Christmas Day, which is quite a shocking fact when you consider it. Give your kids one or two days where they can scoff sweets but then bring things back to normal. Dilute the influence of the sugar they are ingesting by making meals vegetable rich, and giving them water or milk to drink instead of sugary, fizzy pop.
All those extra calories children ingested over Christmas need to go somewhere. Channel the energy in a positive way through family walks or other physical activities. You don’t have to go outside - playing Twister, dancing around the sitting room, or even pillow fights will have the same effect.
Moderation is Key
Ditch the feast-or-famine mentality about Christmas eating. Lead by example - if they see you gorging non stop for a week before going on a strict diet you end in disappointment after ten days, your children will assume that an all-or-nothing approach is normal.
No one is telling you to be a food-Scrooge, but you’re not doing your child any favours by encouraging - or even allowing - them to eat their body weight in Quality Streets. Reign back on the amount you bring into the house, keep an eye on what they’re eating, and gradually bring their diet back to normal once Christmas (not the Christmas holidays) is over.
Mu husband is always telling me that eating shouldn't be about diets and cheat days, it should be a healthy way of eating EVERY day, so how do you manage to get your children eating healthily? We would love to hear your tips for keeping your family healthy.
Last weekend my husband had to physically drag me out of bed on Sunday morning for our daughters swimming lesson and according to many experts, the earlier you start your child in the water the better (although I am guessing this means in age rather than the time of the morning).
There are genuinely few activities that are quite as life enhancing as a morning (or afternoon) in the swimming pool. It’s one of the cheapest ways to get plenty of health and psychological benefits and is also a great way for children and parents to socialise. Swimming delivers a complete activity package that provides great fun and important physical exercise, something we could all do with little bit more of (especially after the Christmas excess). I know I have said it before, but it really is great for both children and parents, can improve bonding, develop self-confidence, improve health conditions and provides an ideal opportunity for mums and dads to destress and relax in safe surroundings.
Social and Parental Bonding
New and challenging environments are brilliant for parents and children. The swimming pool is a place of great excitement for kids with plenty of opportunity to splash around and play with other children. Not only that, swimming brings an important opportunity for mum and dad to develop stronger bonds of trust and love with natural skin-to-skin contact as well as bunches of fun.
Great for Physical and Mental Health
Swimming is perfect for both your physical health and your state of mind. There’s nothing more natural than teaching your kid how to love and trust water, from the time you step into the baby area to that momentous occasion when you take them into the big pool for the first time. According to a lot of research, swimming is one of the top activities that creates a better overall sense of well-being. Parents love it just as much as the kids.
Better Breathing and Coordination
Learning to swim comes with all sorts of value added extras. I have blogged about my daughters asthma previously but children with breathing problems such as asthma actually find swimming makes a big difference – you might think the opposite but actually the warm humid air can often make breathing a lot easier. Swimming also helps to develop coordination and build muscle strength without being high impact and is one exercise that your children probably won’t moan about as they grow older. (My oldest daughter is testament to this as she is now part of a swimming club)
Boosting Confidence for Later Lessons
How early you get your baby or toddler involved with baby swimming lessons could have long term effects on building their confidence. Toddlers are usually happy to splash around in the water and if you keep it up until they are ready to swim properly then learning to do the crawl or the breaststroke should be breeze. Getting in the swimming pool not only benefits the kids, it’s good for parents too.
Did you know ....?
A study back in 2009 found toddlers that went into the swimming pool early developed better motor coordination and had improved balance over those that didn’t go in the water?
Another German research project showed that toddlers who were introduced to water at a young age exhibited more intelligence and better social skills later on.
If you need any other reasons to get your kids in the water as soon as possible, then how about the absolute fun you can have splashing around in the pool? We are planning a swimming birthday party for later in the year, so we hope that everyone else is as enthusiastic as we are about swimming!!
Thankfully another Christmas has passed without any major incidents and we are now looking ahead to a brand new year and getting rid of all the Christmas chocolate (if you look on my instagram feed, you will see the detox plans for 2016). But one thing from 2015 that seems to be showing no signs of going away is the Star Wars craze.
Not only did Star Wars become the UK's biggest film of 2015, but it also took over our offices with discussion of whether it was any good (it was, apparently although I have to admit I haven't seen it yet!), and also our playgrounds with a range of toys and merchandise to keep the little ones amused for weeks on end. So in case you've been asleep for the past six months, here's a catch up on how Star Wars has infiltrated our homes!
Star Wars merchandise
From double-bladed lightsabers to pocket-sized Millenium Falcons, it seemed that no staircase in the UK was safe from tripping over some artefact of Star Wars memorabilia. (although my husband has a Millenium Falcon in storage .... maybe I should put it on eBay - ha ha)
The gadget geek inside me loves the BB-8 Droid that can be controlled from your smartphone or even your voice and can also display holographic messages. But if that sounds a little too futuristic, then the reliable range of Star Wars action figures meant that your kids can create their own Star Wars odysseys for many years to come!
Of course, any modern film needs some gaming accompaniment, and the Star Wars: Battlefront has earned rave reviews for its relentlessly fun hi-octane gaming opportunities. This game provides an endless array of missions and battles, and may just be the best Star Wars game yet.
However, parents should be aware that the game has a 16+ rating, so for the very little ones the Lego Star Wars games could be a good alternative. And for grownups who may seek something a little more soothing after a hard day's work, then Betway have a great collection of online slots that feature many top titles from the world of film and television.
Star Wars style
Science-fiction may not be the most likely source of style for fashion aficionados, but just one look at the furry Chewbacca bathrobe should help just about anybody realise how to stay warm and on-trend on those long and cold winter evenings!
And finally, just to make sure that you realise the all-encompassing power of Star Wars, even the famous beauty brand Max Factor got in on the Star Wars action with their own limited edition Star Wars make-up.
Whether the futuristic make-up will prove as popular as the online games or lightsabers remains to be seen, but one thing's for sure, and that's that there is no escape from Star Wars this year and it will be around for a long time yet!