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. Every person has a natural in built fear of the water. The human body not naturally designed to be underwater which is why swimming is such an important life skill for any child. But what if confidence holds a child back, what then?

    We are huge swimming advocates and ensure that the girls swim on a weekly basis but going on holiday this summer meant a new pool, new depths, no lifeguards and a big adventure as far as the girls were concerned but I was a little more cautious. I was therefore delighted when Swimfin gave us the opportunity to try out one of the pink shark fins for our summer holiday.

    The website tells us that the SwimFin compensates for different abilities, providing as much support as the swimmer needs, yet giving confidence to even the most timid learner. For me the fact that it works in harmony with the body, helping to develop a better and more natural swimming position, was attractive to me as whilst the little one has achieved her 10 metre badge with Water Babies, she has a tendancy to "run" through the water rather than lying flat.

    So what did we think ......?

    Swimfin 3

    The Swimfin feels sturdy without being heavy and the adjustable velcro straps give a feeling of security for the little one (and for me). I *may* have put it on my daughter backwards the first time round and whilst she looked like a backwards shark, it didn't actually detract from its bouyancy. There is no need for inflating or deflating after use (and it dries quickly too ..... although that may have been more to do with the sunshine!)

    Swimfin 1

    The deep end of a new (freezing cold) pool can feel quite daunting, especially when the water temperature takes your breath away but the Swimfin gave our little swimmer that extra bit of confidence in getting into the pool. Our little swimmer doesn't like "fuss" so the fact that the Swinfin is so easy to get on and off when she is getting in and out of the water is a big plus.

    Swimfin 2

    We saw lots of different bouyancy aids on our holiday but unlike other swimming aids, we love that the SwimFin is multi-stroke functional. It leaves the arms completely free to move and so can be used to learn front-crawl and back-stroke with ease. Our youngest daughter has never been a huge fan of swimming on her back but with the Swimfin she was happily swimming around on her back, comforted by the protection of the Swinfin.

    Swimfin 4

    Essentially the SwimFin is just a very clever flotation device. There are no gimmicks (aside from being very cool looking) but it does its job and complies with international safety standards, which is a big plus for safety conscious parents.

    The Big Plus Points :

    • The Swinfin gives confidence for mum and child in the water
    • The Swimfin looks super cool
    • The Swinfim is not restrictive
    • The Swinfin is always a talking point at the pool so great for helping the children make new friends on holiday.Everyone was asking "where is the little shark"
    • There is no need to get out of breath blowing up inflatable water wings as the Swinfin is ready to go.
    • It helps to improve the childs swimming position

    Is there a downside to the Swimfin?

    • The only downside for me is that it took up a little extra room in my suitcase that I could have used for an extra pair of shoes!

    Swimfin 5

  2. This week I went through my eldest daughter’s wardrobe and found a Beavers outfit that had barely been worn. She has chosen lots of different clubs and extra-curricular activities over the years and we have bought lots of different uniforms and outfits for each of them.
    Ballet Lesson
    Dance classes
    I danced as a child (well until I was 16) and I squeezed my feet into pointe ballet shoes and despite my feet never really recovering from that kind of abuse, I really wanted my daughter to enjoy dancing as much as I did.
    So I attempted to convince her that she loved ballet.
    I bought all the outfits. The leotards, the leggings and let’s not mention the sequins.
    I had her feet measured to make sure those feet were looked after.
    Pointe Ballet Shoes
    Unfortunately for me …… she didn’t love ballet as much as I did.
    Brownies / Beavers
    Again, I loved being a Brownie as a child but once again, she wasn’t a fan of being a Brownie, opting for the “more adventurous” option of Beavers.
    So I bought her the outfit. The modern Beaver doesn’t wear a neckerchief and woggle, opting more for cargo trousers and a polo t-shirt.
    Thankfully I didn’t actually need specific shoes this time.
    She went on camp but after doing it once, she decided she wasn’t a big fan and the Beavers uniform was relegated to the back of the wardrobe.
    One of the things she did love about dancing was the acrobatics, so I relented when she asked to do gymnastics, especially when she could start WITHOUT me having to buy another outfit.
    But guess what …… I bought the outfit.
    But gymnastics don’t need shoes! (another win for me!)
    But the very best activity is ……
    ….. playing with her little sister. Running through the fields by our house, feeding the horses and generally having fun. I do worry about their little feet though and this is definitely not the place for ballet shoes or bare feet. They frequently wear wellies as they run through the long grass but I recently saw some childrens walking boots, which would protect their feet more so it maybe another shoe purchase on the cards.
    Snow play
    Last time we had all the snow, I bought the girls salopettes and snow boots to wear but I think they have been used more at our local Snowdome than outside but at least they looked good and were safe whilst playing in the snow!
    I wasn't sure how to finish this post but having just read it back to myself, I have realised that whilst I always ensure that my girls are wearing the right footwear for the activity they are doing, it seems to me that my favourite activity is shopping for the girls!
  3. Have you been to a wedding this summer? Did you find that being excited for the couple is one thing and then you realise that it might be quite costly for you and your family to attend as a guest?

    We have two weddings to go to this year, one in the Autumn and one on New Years Eve and whilst the latter helps us to solve the "what are we doing for New Years Eve debate" it also means hotels, outfits and gifts straight after the expense of Christmas. We are firm believers in never arguing about money but it is quite sad to see that one in four Britons has argued with their partner about the cost of watching others say "I do"

    There has been a recent survey by Experian’s that suggests the rising cost of weddings is rocking the boat for many couples, and not just for the bride and groom. In fact, almost a quarter of Britons (22%) have argued with their partner about the cost of witnessing others tie the knot. Eek!  

    Experian have highlighted some top do's and don'ts for financial harmony, which I think is great advice for any frugal family.


    • Set the ground rules. Do you want a joint account for regular expenses and separate bank accounts for personal spending? Or do you want everything to go together?
    • Work out who does what. The more frugal partner could look after the budget, while the more extravagant works out the ‘treats’, like meals out or trips away
    • Agree on short and long-term goals and how you’re going to achieve them, and review regularly together
    • Be honest about your past. If you have a less-than-perfect history of repaying money you owe, this could affect both of you in the long-term if your credit reports become linked
    • Take time together to understand if you need to improve one or both of your credit reports. Do this well in advance of applying for credit together
    • Spend all your time together talking about money 
    • Keep secrets. Research from Experian shows that 29% of people in the UK discovered that their partner was keeping credit card debt from them
    • Dig yourself into a hole. If you find yourself in debt, don’t borrow more in the hope of putting things right. Ask for help and be open about it with your partner
    • Talk about money issues when you are angry. Arguing about money is never going to be productive
    • Expect your partner to completely change. It’s unlikely an extravagant spender will do a complete about-turn and suddenly become frugal




    Managing your finances and your relationship can be quite a balancing act – when it comes to both organising and attending weddings, moving in together or just life in general. That’s why Experian have created a dedicated Money & Relationships Guide to help people understand what we know can be quite a complex series of topics – in jargon-free, easy-to-understand language. All of the guides are available online. Hopefully these guides will be helpful for you and your followers who are trying to get their heads around how credit referencing works, and the good, the bad and the surprising when it comes to managing your finances to get what you want in life.

  4. I bought my eldest daughter some sandals at the start of the summer. They are now too small for her so I haven't even considered buying school shoes just yet, although I am not particularly looking forward to it, despite my love of shoes as we tend to have very different ideas on what is appropriate for school shoes these days. I want well fitted and practical whereas she wants whatever all her mates are wearing!

    Back to School : Vivobarefoot

    It is therefore interesting to learn that barefoot shoes pioneer, Vivobarefoot, have launched a nationwide campaign to highlight the damage ill-fitting, tapered non-foot shaped shoes do to children’s feet. Supported by medical professionals and parents across the UK, the barefoot shoe brand is mounting pressure on mainstream footwear manufacturers and retailers to carry warnings informing people of the proven[i] danger of conventional footwear design on a child’s natural foot development.

    • To launch the campaign, an army of frustrated parents and children took to the streets of London barefoot to highlight the dangers of wearing standard tapered, cushioned shoes.
    • With 200,000 nerve endings, 33 major muscles, 26 bones, 19 ligaments; the human foot is a natural feat of biomechanics, and is the most sensitive part of the body after the hands and mouth.
    • Cushioned shoes compromise vital feedback to the brain from the feet, and a tapered shape, which does not mirror the natural shape of the foot, prevents the foot from splaying when you step, limiting toe mobility and weakening the foot.
    • Up to the age of ten years old, the bones in a child’s foot are soft and can be easily misshapen by external forces like poor fitting shoes and in a matter of weeks a child’s foot development can be compromised.
    • The company is campaigning for footwear that does not meet the standards required to avoid damage to feet to carry a formal warning on packaging and sales material in the same fashion as cigarettes and other products proven to damage health and wellbeing.
    • As evidence surrounding the dangers of conventional footwear on children’s feet grows, Vivobarefoot is building an army of medics, scientists and health professional to take its barefoot message global and lead a revolution within the footwear industry.
    • Barefoot footwear, which provides wider, flat-soled, flexible shoes without cushioning is proven to mitigate issues of footwear damaging children’s feet.
    • In order to educate parents, Vivobarefoot is running parent learning sessions at its London store in London and has provided a guide to buying safe shoes on its website

    I have got terrible feet from doing pointe ballet at a (too) young age and squeezing my feet into fashion heels for the last 15 or so (ahem) years so making sure that the girls have the right footwear is really important to me. I love being barefoot, so I already have a pair of Vivobarefoot trainers myself, so welcomed the chance to get some for the girls. They have a handy size chart on their website which you can download so you can buy online confidently and my youngest daughter wont take them off her feet .... even when she is watching TV.

    Vivobarefoot 1

    We will be reviewing them fully once the girls have had a chance to give them a good run out and we will let you know how we get on!