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 or by one of our baby bloggers. Occasionally we accept guest posts too. 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. I have a favourite saying to my girls and it is "only bored people get bored". But do our children really ever get the opportunity to be bored these days? With so many playdates, after school clubs, extra curriculum activities and this is without the draw of YouTube or on demand TV, do children have time to be bored?

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    The ease of access to technology, particularly in our house means that there is always something to watch and even to watch other children playing (this is a bizarre concept to me). However new research has revealed that kids have been spending just 3 hours per day away from their screens, while only 31% of parents admitted to giving a bored child a digital device to keep them occupied.

    Conducted by BIC® as part of its Young Artist Award, the study found that kids complain about being bored on average 122 times a month – that’s 1,500 times a year. With the words “I’m bored” being dreaded by 69% of parents.

    In response to the findings, renowned child education consultant Dr Martin Stephen said that “boredom is a brilliant platform from which children learn to use their imaginations …. It’s important that we continue to develop core skills such as drawing and writing.”

    He continued, “Drawing and writing with a pen aren’t old fashioned and out-dated – they’re proved state-of-the-art and affordable boosters to the child’s body and brain: the ultimate fertiliser for the imagination.”

    My girls do love their iPads but we always encourage screen free times with creativity and a family board game. From the study's findings, here are the top 10 ways that parents try to banish their children's boredom. 

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    1. Playing board games with them (42%)
    2. Putting on the TV (40%)
    3. Providing a pen and paper for drawing / writing (39%)
    4. Handing them a book to read (34%)   
    5. Providing a tablet/iPad (31%)
    6. Cooking with them (26%)
    7. Going to the zoo or park (24%)
    8. Putting on a games console (20%)
    9. Taking them to a friend’s house (17%)
    10. Playing imaginary games with them (17%)

    So while, ,creativity can be encouraged via digital games it’s important that we continue to develop core skills such as drawing and writing as it’s been proven that these skills aid creativity and imagination.

    “What a child sees and does on a screen can encourage creativity but all too often it’s the creativity and imagination of the designer, not the child. Drawing and writing with a pen aren’t old-fashioned and out-dated - they’re proven state-of-the-art and affordable boosters to the child’s body and brain: the ultimate fertiliser for the imagination.”

     

    Rebecca Huda, BIC® UK and Ireland’s Product Manager – Stationery, comments: “It’s challenging to consider boredom as a positive thing, but I think we’re all aware that taking a bit of time away from constant noise and activity, has a positive effect. It’s good to be able to let the mind wander and through our competition, we’ve seen that kids in the UK have amazing imaginations”.

     

    It is good to let the mind wander ..... to be fair I think mine wanders off completely at times (but I digress) however this research is really interesting for us as parents to recognise that although we encourage the online design and educational games, there really is nothing like picking up a pen or pencil and creating something all of your own!  

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  2. There is no denying that the cold weather is here. Most of us have already woken up to a frost morning. So, now is the time to plug any holes in your autumn/winter wardrobe, if you have not already done so.

    When you go shopping take the time to look at the range of hosiery that is available from somewhere like JD Williams. Updating these little items can make a big difference to how good you look and how comfortable you feel. Read on and I think you will see what I mean.

    Flattering tights with built-in support

    If you feel a bit self-conscious about your tummy, hips or thighs, try on a pair of tights that have support panels built-in. It really is surprising how much of a difference wearing them can make to your overall look. Despite being made of a very thin material they really do smooth out the bumps and help to flatten out your belly area. (I am personally a big fan of control underwear, its the future!)

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    Their relatively low price tag makes them a great alternative to more expensive full-blown shapewear. But, you will need to look after them if they are to retain their elasticity. It really is worth washing these by hand and let them dry flat. If you ladder them, do not worry, you can just wear them under a pair of trousers or jeans. They will keep you that bit warmer and still offer you the support that you need.

    Practical knee high tight socks

    Not all shoes look good with socks. So, it is always handy to have a few pairs of knee high tight socks to wear instead. That way if you want to wear a pair of classic courts with your winter jeans you can. You will be pleasantly surprised by how much warmer your feet will feel while wearing them.

    Versatile footsie socks

    If you need something a bit thicker and warmer, try footsie socks. These come in a range of different cuts. They are designed not to show when you are wearing shoes open-style shoes.

    When shopping for them, remember to wear the right footwear, so you can try them on properly. It is also worth waiting until the afternoon before you go shopping for them. This is because as the day wears on everyone’s feet swell ever so slightly. You do not want to accidentally end up buying a pair of footsie socks that are too thick.

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    Trainer liners

    If you like running, do not forget to update your trainer liners regularly. No matter how well you look after them, they tend to get a bit loose, over time. When that happens they do not stay in place. That can completely ruin your run or workout. This short guide explains how to choose the right ones for you.

    More style tips

    Hopefully, you have enjoyed this short style post. I love fashion, so write about it quite a bit. If you would like to read more about how to keep your look up to date, this article is a good starting point.

     

  3. It is almost October, I have seen Christmas cards in the shops so I am sure that it is okay to start mentioning Christmas. There has been a lot of talk online and on TV this week about not being excessive with Christmas shopping and remembering that being with family is the most important thing, not the latest gadget.

    Last year I worked out that I had 25 children to buy for and that is without my own children and all my family, so with a list that long how do you remain frugal with your Christmas shopping? 

    Frugal Christmas Shopping Ideas

    Start Early

    It is never too early to start Christmas shopping and it is always good to have the list of the people that you need to buy for close at hand so you can buy what you need, rather than what you like.

    Take advantage of the sales

    This week I had an email to say that the Paperchase sale was on and I quickly clicked through and ordered 3 presents online for less than £30 and because I spent over £25, I also got free next day delivery. They were 3 presents that I needed to buy, within my budget and great quality, so it was a win all round.

    Find out what they want / need

    I love buying gifts but get so much satisfaction buying a gift that I know someone really wants or needs. It is lovely to get indulgent gifts or the typical bath and moisturiser sets but how many of them get put to the back of the cupboard or regifted to someone else? This year I have resolved to spend a bit more time finding out what people want so that I spend more wisely.

    Cash in those points

    All those points that have been building up this year on my Tesco clubcard, Boots advantage card and even my Costa card, now is the time to cash them in and turn them into "free" gifts.

    Tap into your creativity

    Whether it is taking advantage of your childrens cute school photos and making frames for the grandparents or getting the children to handmake gifts for their friends this Christmas, a present doesn't have to be bought from a shop.

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    We have talked previously about how to stay debt free this Christmas and with the cost of everything rising, hopefully we can all be a little more frugal and spend a little less this Christmas.

  4. As I look out of the window today, it just all feels a bit grey and the colder weather makes everything seem a little less brighter. Summer in the garden serves up a natural palette of bright and vibrant colours. Autumn has its own hues to offer, but they are much more muted.So, in order to inject your garden with a range of rich and interesting shades once the air turns colder and the nights close in, you have to get a little bit more creative.

    Whatever your favourite colours are, never fear, Sloane and Sons Garden Benches has a few interesting ideas up its sleeve to give you the tools to really brighten up your outdoor spaces this Autumn!

    1. Red 

    Red, and even brown, is certainly one of the colours you think of in conjunction with Autumn. So, naturally, there are many plants, shrubs and trees that will see your garden full of scarlets, burgundies and crimsons. Here are a few you might wish to try…

    Red Maple. This variety of maple is, as you may have guessed, at least partially red for the whole year. Although all maples produce red leaves at some point during the Autumn, this one is known for its abundantly red pigmentation. It is at its deepest red in mid-Autumn. If you plant a fresh one, you will be starting small, but when planning for it you might want to consider that some varieties can grow up to 50 feet tall!

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    Holly. These bushes are prolific and do require regular pruning. However, the bright red berries are a dramatic splash of colour and can really lift your garden when they come through in the late Autumn.

    Tulips. They come in many colours, but the red variety has a similar hue to the poppy, and is quite the contrast to the more rustic red tones that occur in decaying foliage. 

    2. Orange and Yellow

    Orange is perhaps the most common pigmentation around at this time of year. However, there are ways you can inject even more of it, other than that which comes from the leaves, into your garden.

    Pumpkins. The bright orange of the pumpkin is a wonderful thing to see. Pumpkins, and other squash, also come in yellow, as well as a bunch of other colours. They grow very easily and to quite a large size. Plant a few of these and you could have a garden decoration that is not only your favourite hue but is edible as well!

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    Rust. This depiction of decaying metal might well spell the end of the road for your old wheelbarrow, rake or garden chair. However, if preserved, your old rusting kit could become quite the injection of orange if you repurpose them as garden ornaments!

    3. Green

    Green, although it is not a classic colour for this season, is remarkably easy to get into the garden all year round. Evergreens, so called because they retain their pigment at all times, are brilliant additions to your plant collection. There are a lot of varieties to chose from, however, favourites include Daphne, Fatsia and Holly. 

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    4. Blue and Purple

    These are harder to find in nature in the Autumn, but there are many ways to both blue and purple in if they are what you desire.

    Bulbs. There are a number of Autumnal and Wintery plants that you can put in at this time of year for blooms of this colour. Lavender is an excellent choice as it is not only a vibrant purple/blue colour, but its perfume is amazing, and it is an evergreen, so will produce flowers all year round. The Purple Emperor and many varieties of winter lily are also brilliant.

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    Bird Food. It is always advisable to encourage wildlife into your garden, it aids both the life and the general quality of your gardens eco-system. Indeed, a tempting bird feeder might also bring a flurry of colour into the picture in the form of a brightly coloured bird, such as a Robin or the odd Blue Tit!

    5. White

    Other than the various plants you could grow in your garden (such as snowdrops and Nippon daisies) to bring the freshness of white into its palette, you might also take this opportunity to get some paint out! Autumn and Winter are darker months, so a bright white shed or fence will make a welcome addition to the place. Make sure you go about it the right way though, it is not as simple as just splashing a bit of paint directly on to the wood! As well as appearing to be uplifting and fresh, it will also help to extenuate the other colours around the garden.

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