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 get the mickey taken out of me regularly for the amount of photos I take and it is not just the Christmas ones or the special occasions, they are the ones that capture the memories as your children get older. So we have collaborated with Photobookdeals to put together a guide to perfectly keeping those memories.

    size and format

    From the moment they are born, babies develop rapidly. Everything grows and changes and with every day you can see more of your little one’s personality and uniqueness unfold. Of course, in the first year, you’ll have plenty of photographic proof of all this happening. At some point you’ll look at your little angel and marvel at the changes they went through and how big they’ve gotten. Photos and videos will help you look back and remember each and every important or adorable moment.

    Baby photos are practically predestined to be used for something special. The wonder of life and the growth of your family is something magical. As such, they don’t belong on your smartphone or in a drawer to be looked at only when you’re doing a little spring cleaning. For many families, a photo book of a baby’s first year is the perfect way to document those developments and be able to look back on them whenever they like. Of course, framed photos, wall decorations, and announcement cards are all part of the deal. But the photo book offers the unique chance to really tell a story. That’s why we’ll go into the key points to consider for the perfect baby photo book.

    1. Size & Format

    There is, of course, no right and wrong when it comes to the size and the format of a baby photo book. A small square coffee table book can make an adorable impression and is a great option for a gift to friends and family. But if you’re looking for a story book option that will really show off those pictures, best practice is to go with A4 or even A3. As most photos are taken in portrait format, that’s also the likely best fit. That doesn’t mean that landscape photos have no place. The size of an A4 or A3 photo book alone makes it possible to design pages with collages and if you want to go all in, you can even place a photo over two pages with most photo book services.

    2. Binding & Cover

    Remember how we said we can place a photo over two pages? There’s a way to perfect this: Lay-flat binding is very popular at the moment, because the pages of the book connect practically seamlessly. That means that when you place a photo over two pages, there’s no fold or line or anything that disrupts the photo. For baby photo books, that is the holy grail of bindings. For a good look and feel, a hard cover is recommended. Of course, almost all photo book services let you print the most precious photo you have on the cover. That will make a wonderful impression on the final photo book.

    3. Paper

    Here it really depends on the company you go with. Sometimes, you can pick different paper weights (measured in gsm). The higher value you pick, the better the feel (but of course also the higher the price). Thick pages also make up for a better photo quality most of the time. A good weight for the paper for a baby photo book would be from 100gsm upward.

    There’s also the matt and glossy options: Glossy pages reflect light and show off the colours richly while matt pages give the picture a rich look, meaning the texture comes across better.

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    4. Price

    Of course, the price tag matters at the end of the day. Each and every decision you make (matt or glossy, paper weight, binding, and size) is relevant to the final price of your photo book. While a beautiful photo book is worth every penny, that doesn’t mean you can’t be smart about it. Especially around holidays like Christmas and Easter, photo book services offer many deals and promotions. If you’re undecided about which service to choose, there are also deal websites that offer you pretty much all information at a glance, plus a look into all the promotions available. Don’t let all those wonderful and unique photos of your baby just wither away on some smartphone or camera. Give them a chance to shine and share those memories with the people you love. The added bonus of creating a photo book is that one day, when the baby becomes a grown person, you can show them how they started and relive those special moments

     

     

     

  2. As the clocks strike midnight on the of 30 November, all at once, all across the land, (and on Instagram), they appear. Dressed in red and green, looking as innocent as can be, Elf on the Shelf begin to steal your social media feeds once again.

    Elf on the Shelf

    Oh, sweet Father Christmas, not again.

    Just how will we survive this annual month of elf antics? How is there possibly anything original to post? What is with parents’ incessant need to track this toy’s every little move, gawdammit!?

    How to embrace the Elf of the Shelf

    Get ready to unfreeze your Grinched-up soul and feel a tingle of festive spirit. Here’s a lowdown of what to love about an Elf for Christmas. At the very least, it’s the survival guide you asked for.

    “To see something, you have to believe in it. Really believe it. That's the first elf rule. You can't see something you don't believe in. Now try your hardest…”

    - Matt Haig, A Boy Called Christmas

    Remember what it was like to be young

    Not everyone loves Christmas. Don’t tell the elves. It upsets them quite a lot. And it’s way too close to Christmas Eve to risk impacting toy production rates. Let’s avoid upsetting elves.

    But, just cast your mind back to when Christmas was last truly magical? Remember what it was like to believe. That excitement. Those tingling toes.

    As soon as you do, you’ll grow an ounce or two of understanding for parents who want to make those years as enchanting as possible.

    But, what if?

    We’ve all seen Toy Story, we all know the drill. So, now you’ve slipped into the right frame of mind, ask yourself… what if?

    The thing with Elf for Christmas is, that is seems to ignite the imagination of children of all ages. Even those in the know about Big FC, himself. After all, nothing captures hearts quite like creativity. Who doesn’t love waking up to a surprise every morning!

    From toddlers to teens, and all ages in between, there’s something wonderful about allowing yourself the gift of believing. And what better, more magical, month for it than December?

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    Capturing pictures of the Elf antics can also highlight other things you might want to focus on. Before sharing anything online, we can all be over critical of our own homes but when I decide that I want some new torus skirting my husband is grateful for a different project to the one that makes him create Elf magic every day!

    But who knows, maybe even a grown up grump like you could learn to love an elf too? If you can't beat them, join them! Welcome one into your home and see how he, or she, can enrich advent. We’re talking serious enhanced excitement levels. Be warned.

    It seems that to enjoy Elf on the Shelf, you simply need to be rid of the adult inside you and allow magic in once again. Go on .... it is the most magical time of the year after all!

  3. There’s no doubt that Christmas is a fun and fulfilling family time.

    But for house-proud homeowners, it also brings a host of cleaning challenges.

    It’s tricky creating a cosy and welcoming domestic environment where family, friends and neighbours feel welcome — while ensuring that high standards of cleanliness are maintained for the duration.

    But if you want to implement festive home hygiene without feeling like a yuletide party pooper, here are four top tips.

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    1. Food

    A mouth-watering Christmas dinner is a time-served 25th December tradition and the centrepiece of celebrations for many families.

    But a multi-guest meal that requires cooking different meats at their optimum temperatures and precisely timing preparation and storage of side-dishes is a logistical challenge that’s almost as complex as the software on Santa’s sleigh sat-nav.

    So it’s no disgrace to double-check official guidance on everything from trimming a turkey to storing leftovers — this Christmas advice from The Food Standards Agency should help.

    2. Tree

    Christmas is the only time of year when a delightfully decorated tree temporarily replaces the TV as the focal point in a family lounge or living room.

    And since even the toughest vacuum cleaners struggle to pick up pesky pine needles, it’s no wonder so may of us prefer plastic trees to their real counterparts.

    However, it’s possible to find a real tree that doesn’t leave an unbelievable mess — the Nordmann Fir and Douglas Fir look fab and hold their needles fantastically. You’ll find further tips on prepping real Christmas trees perfectly in publications like Gardeners’ World.

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    3. Hand sanitiser

    Your home will hopefully experience an influx of festive guests in the party season and there’s every chance that you and your family will be coming and going more frequently as you finalise arrangements.

    This frequent footfall makes the environment crackle with Christmas energy, but also potentially gathers more germs in the home. And no one wants to be battling bugs and viruses when they should be pulling crackers and unwrapping presents. To battle this danger in festive fashion, leave some Christmas hand sanitizers from Mad Beauty in prominent positions for guests to use liberally — they’ll soon get the message.

    4. Keeping the floor clean

    Since Christmas falls bang in the middle of winters that are often wet and wild, there’s always the potential for dirt and detritus to be dragged onto your carpets from outside.

    The best way to prevent this is by making sure the kids kick their shoes off before they come in and investing in a tough floor mat to place outside and inside your door, offering a double layer of protection that keeps carpets pristine.

    These four festive home hygiene tips will help you keep guests and family healthy and happy as they gather round your hearth this Christmas.

    Do you have any festive hygiene tips? We would love to hear them! 

  4. With Christmas just around the corner, it’s time to start preparing our homes for cosy evenings with the family. While trees and decorations are special ways to make your home feel festive, actually, there are more important things to consider too - one of these being the health of your boiler. (not quite so festive I know!)

    boiler-replacement

    If you’ve had the boiler in your family home for several years or have noticed your boiler needing regular attention, it may be time to consider a boiler replacement. No one wants a chilly home, especially not at Christmas time. 

    Here are some of the top benefits of opting for a new boiler in time for the festive period…

    Cosy home 

    Christmas is all about cosying up with family and friends on the sofa or round the dinner table, which isn’t half as enjoyable with a temperamental boiler. There’s nothing worse than having to wear extra layers in your own home, especially at the time of year when everyone’s together. Opting for a boiler replacement gives you peace of mind knowing that your home is the perfect temperature for everyone - kids, adults, and grandparents. The BOXT boiler replacement service is quick and top quality. Simply find the right model for your home’s needs and book in to have your new boiler fitted as soon as the next day! You can even choose a monthly payment plan to avoid having to make a big investment around Christmas time.

    Efficiency 

    Aside from the relief of not having a chilly home during the festive period, boiler replacements these days are all highly efficient. Each model produced now has an A-rating for energy efficiency, to comply with new laws. Boilers account for the largest portion of household energy bills, so the more efficient your boiler is with the amount of energy it uses, the less of your hard-earned money is blown on energy bills each month. Christmas is naturally an expensive time of year, so the more you can save on your monthly outgoings, the more money you’ll have to spend on what really matters, like buying for loved ones.

    Reliability

    Over the years, boilers start to deteriorate with age, meaning there is an increased risk of things suddenly going wrong. Sometimes, boilers can actually pose a danger to your home with gas leaks.  If your boiler has shown signs of packing in or has started to shut off unexpectedly, it’s definitely worth considering a boiler replacement to ensure complete safety over Christmas and new year. New boilers are far more reliable than older models and can allow you to rest easy knowing your ancient boiler isn’t putting anyone at risk.

    new-boiler

    More control

    Every year at Christmas there is a new piece of technology or an updated smartphone that everyone’s after. Actually, boiler technology is always developing too, making it far easier for families to control their heating and keep a lid on energy bills. Older boiler models may rely on you reminding yourself to manually turn it on and off at certain times, whereas nowadays you can set your boiler to turn on and off at certain times of the day, all from an app on your phone.

    Having a new boiler installed just in time for Christmas means you can set times and temperatures and leave your boiler to it! While remote thermostats are super convenient, but they can also save you tons of money in the long term. Why not set your heating to turn off once it reaches a certain temperature? This way you’re not paying out for heating your home when it’s already keeping everyone cosy. 

    Smaller and quieter models 

    If you’ve had your boiler for almost or over a decade, the chances are it will be a lot bigger and louder than models produced today. To free up some storage space for presents and ensure peace and quiet this Christmas, opt for a more compact boiler replacement. Most combi boilers these days are small and quiet enough to be installed inside a kitchen cupboard!

    So if you don't fancy going out in search of firewood to keep your house warm this Christmas, check your boiler to make sure that Santa (and your family) have a cosy home to come into this festive season .... and all year round.

    *Post in collaboration with BOXT