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. Beach towels take up valuable packing space in your holiday cases, so I was thrilled when Tesalate asked us to do a review for their beach towels. We have seen many of these "compact, sand free" towels advertised online and were delighted at the opportunity to try one for ourselves! 

    Tesalate started with humble beginnings when two friends---Volkan Ozbek and Jacky Lam went on a beach outing in Sydney a few years ago. Carrying a sand-laden beach towel at the end of the day inspired them to make a beach towel that not only functioned better but looked terrific, too. Having sand "everywhere" actually puts me off from going to the beach so the thought of having a towel that repells it, was already a plus point for me.

    STZ_2950a

    What are my choices?

    There are countless striking designs to choose from on their website, however we chose the "Is This Love" design. Each towel is double sided and the reverse side always has Tesalate’s signature black & white triangle pattern, so you get two looks for the price of one (winning so far)

    The sales blurb said "Tesalate beach towels are ultra compact, super absorbent, dry rapidly and are insatiably vibrant. Sand doesn't stick to them, even when wet. All our towels are made from our exclusive AbsorbLite fabric and are full beach towel sized"

    This seemed the perfect solution for my teenager daughter who was going away with school for 4 days with only cabin luggage allowance (!!). Or a mom who insists on filling the cases with everything except the kitchen sink (according to my husband).

    Where can I buy one?

    The towels retail at £49 and can be purchased directly from their website. All orders have free shipping, which is amazing really considering the towels are coming from Austrailia and you get fully tracking updates of their journey. £49 may be considered expensive for a towel that you use once a year on your summer holiday but the Tesalate towel is so much more!

    They advertise the key features as:

    • Sand free. Leave the beach at the beach.
    •  
    • Full sized beach towel: 160cm x 80cm / 63 x 31 inches.
    •  
    • Ultra absorbent; over 1 litre of water.
    •  
    • Rapid-drying. Half the time of a regular beach towel.
    •  
    • Compact when rolled. Fits in your bag.

    But we see the extra benefits of using it such as a yoga mat or for all year round school swimming events .... although the sand free element won't get as much use in these locations I suspect. 

    IS THIS LOVE

    Is it really sand free?

    The towel is a great size and we did the "sand test" to check out the fabric of the Tesalate towel, which means that the sand doesn't stick like it does to traditional towels. I think I expected the sand to magically filter through the towel but it actually doesn't attach itself to it in the first place. Obviously a few grains do remain but better than taking half the beach back to your hotel or apartment! 

    Is it better than a regular towel?

    For travelling - absolutely!

    It is compact without being flimsy and has great absorbancy. While we didn't time how long it took to dry, it seemed to dry much quicker than a regular towel. To  be honest, I personally love being enveloped in a big fluffy towel when I get out of the bath or shower at home but that isn't the purpose of the Tesalate towel, it is designed for being out and about. 

    Also because it is a great size, you can actually scoop two children into the same towel! Bonus!

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    What happens if you don't like it?

    We are all different and what one person loves, another doesn't (that is what makes the world go round after all) but the folk at Tesalate want you to be entirely happy. They really want you to love your Tesalate however if you don't you can return it for free. They will even pay for return shipping!!

    We were gifted our Tesalate towel and in all honesty, if I hadn't had the chance to review one first, I am not sure I would have purchased one. However having now experienced not only the quality of the product but the fantastic customer service and I would forgo another holiday outfit and spend the money on another Tesalate!  

     

  2. After a long summer holiday, when the school reopens, a little anxiety can creep in and more often than not, parents face the challenges of getting the children back into their routine. As again the child has to familiarise with the school environment, they have to again learn new things, make new friends, so on and so forth. The child, on the other hand, faces a different problem altogether, as he/she has to again come to the routine of getting up early and making themselves ready for school. Apart from that, after a long vacation, children tend to forget subjects they were taught in their previous class and here comes the problem of again making them learn the same things and bringing them back in track. 

    Many schools give holiday homework which is good for a child to brush up his/her knowledge. Apart from this there are many simple things that can be done to make your child or more appropriately prepare the child to return to school. Lets figure out some simple things that can be done to make the child get rid of return to school fear:

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    Learn with fun: This is a simple formula to be followed while on vacation. While you and your little ones are enjoying the holidays, you can spend some time on teaching things which you child has already studied and which he/she would be studying in the next class. This will make it easy for you child to grasp things when taught in class, as this has already been taught by you.

    Read books daily: Purchase story books and other knowledgeable books and make it a habit to make them read these books daily, so they don't lose the flow of reading and this will also add to their knowledge. Also keep reminding them that their school is going to reopen soon, so they get prepared for the final day.

    Go shopping together: you have to shop new books, new uniform, and new shoes! Take your children along. Make them feel excited about return to school. Buy the books together, buy them new shoes and also some learn and fun stuff like creative writing books, painting books, so they feel excited about the same. My girls love shopping and are small stationery addicts, so this is a day of fun for them! 

    Early to bed and early to rise: As the children have to again make a habit of early to bed and early to raise, its better to keep the school routine going. Get up early and go for a walk with your kids, this will make them feel fresh and healthy and they will also get into the habit of getting up early. Similarly make them go to bed early. NO late night cartoon watching or playing games as the summer draws to a close. You all need to get back into the school run routine. 

    I absolutely adore having the girls home over the summer but following these simple things to make your child ready for the new session of the school without any hassles and without they having a fear of return to school after a long and tension free summer.

  3. So, as the UK swelters in a heatwave, the forecast will most certainly predict that the sun will be out tomorrow and like it or not the next few days too - however in this case we are taking a break from the near constant weather themed conversations and instead heading away from talking about the actual sunshine, and instead directing ourselves towards the metaphorical sunshine of hope, optimism and enthusiam that tomorrow will bring.

    The smash-hit production of the much loved film ANNIE comes to the Birmingham Hippodrome for 3 weeks only, direct from London’s West End and as fans of the original (and remake) were thrilled to be gifted the opportunity to visit on launch night. The story is loved and well known by every generation of children and adults alike and most (but not all) of the familiar timeless songs are here however this production breathes some new life into the story with the added bonus of a new cast and new songs too. 

    ANNIE_UK_Tour_JUN18_BMH_2426x1365

    Starring Jodie Prenger (winner of the BBC’s I’d Do Anything, Oliver!, Spamalot, Calamity Jane) as the tyrannical Miss Hannigan, the audience was given a more familiar 'true to movie' performance vs the representation delivered in previous shows starring Craig Revel Horwood's deliciously over the top characture of the Miss Hannigan character - both equally satisfying in different ways.

    Set in 1930s New York during The Great Depression, brave young Annie is forced to live a life of misery at Miss Hannigan’s orphanage. We all know the story of how her luck changes when she’s chosen to spend a fairytale Christmas with famous billionaire, Oliver Warbucks. Meanwhile, spiteful Miss Hannigan has other ideas and hatches a plan to spoil Annie’s search for her true family.

    The tale has always been about Annie piecing together the missing parts of her life whilst enriching and adding to Daddy Warbuck's shallow existence this is fantastically reflected in the set design which shows puzzle pieces that glow during scene stages. I was unsure of the relevance of the set design at first but on reflection proved a great way to show how the story evolves and comes together, not only for Annie but for the key characters too.

    Annie 4-0497 retouched press

    As always, there has to be a soft spot for Daddy Warbucks and his assistant Grace, who were both fantastic in their roles and very true to the original movie, however even more impressive was the Easy Street performance which combined impressive choreography, great character and charm in Miss Hannigan, her evil brother Rooster and his pick-pocket wife Lily proved to be a highlight for me.

    ANNIE_GROUP_JodiePrenger_Credit_MattCrockett

    The young cast are captivating and we left the show convinced that regardless of any heatwave, the sun really will come out tomorrow! If you want a live action adaptation of the original movie that combine familiarity with the charm of the stage, then this is the show for you!

    Tickets start from £24 and as the show only runs until the 11th August at the Birmingham Hippodrome, make sure you don't miss out.

     

    Directed by Nikolai Foster, Book by Thomas Meehan, Music by Charles Strouse, Lyrics by Martin Charnin.

     

  4. Many things that could ruin a beach holiday. Give the following some thought prior to travel. If all the events happen in a lifetime you will be extremely unlikely. Fortunately most of them can be avoided, or mitigated, through careful planning and forethought.

    Beach

    In first place, consider the journey to the beach. It would be ruinous not to get there. It is possible to be denied a flight by arriving late or forgetting a key travel documents such as a passport. Flight delays can of course ruin ongoing connections to the beach resort.

    Second consider the hotel, resort and country where you choose to stay. It could be a horrible place. The hotel could be half built, the beach polluted, and the locals unfriendly. Although most travel brochures give more accurate descriptions of the hotels and resorts compared to the case a few years ago it is wise to give the descriptions careful scrutiny. Check that the resort is suitable, not noisy if you seek a quiet life, nor sleepy if you seek out a lively nightlife. In certain countries it might pay to consider the problems of crime and political unrest. Make sure that the resort is suitable for the holiday. Is it over commercialized? Is it family friendly?  Is the beach clean and safe, sandy and gently shelving for safe bathing?

    Third, consider the disappointment of a holiday cancelled or cut short. Cancellations can happen if the airline, tour operator, or hotel proprietor goes out of business. In such cases you might be offered an alternative holiday, or a refund of the operator is protected under a travel industry bond. More unusual reasons for cancelled flights include bad weather, industrial action by airport staff, security alerts and dust in the atmosphere arising from volcanic eruptions. Be mindful that there are situations which could leave a traveller stranded at a holiday resort. In such circumstances seek advice from your travel insurer before incurring any non redeemable expenses.

    Fourth, consider the problems of sickness or injury while on holiday. Minor self inflicted such as sunburn, sunstroke and too much alcohol can ruin the enjoyment of a holiday. Food poisoning can lead to more serious discomfort. Follow recommended guidelines as to what is safe to eat. If the water supply is suspect stick to bottled water and avoid salads that are washed locally. On the beach watch for local insects and be careful if there are jelly fish in the water.

    Fifth, avoid the problems of bad weather that could spoil a beach holiday. Chose a resort that has reliable sunshine and warmth for the time of year of your visit. If the weather is unreliable check that alternative activities are available for a cool, or rainy day. In many resorts have are indoor pools or leisure centres. Alternatively, there could be places of historic interest which could be worth a visit on a day not perfect for the beach. At the very worse, the holiday could be ruined by very bad weather such as a hurricane which lays waste to a West Indian resort.

    Sixth, keep control of your money and possessions., Shortage of money, or loss of possessions and luggage is a sure way to ruin a holiday. Tourists are often careless, or targeted by local criminals. Be careful with cameras and carry money close to the body on money belts. Keep some money elsewhere in reserve in case there is a theft. Although a nuisance loss of property is covered, subject to an excess, on a standard travel insurance policy. Make sure that you stay within budget while on holiday, taking into account fuel surcharges which many be being added to current airline ticket prices and unanticipated changes in exchange rates.

    Seventh, avoid any circumstances that give rise to stress. Taking a family through airports, watching over them on the beach, and keeping an entire family amused can be stressful and ruin the personal experience of a holiday. Relax and enjoy the sunshine. This is made easier through good organisation and use the facilities offered within the resort to entertain the children. Above all, cater for all the interests of the family and avoid family arguments as this is a sure fire way to spoil a family holiday.

    Eighth, many holidaymakers complain that fellow holidaymakers have ruined their holiday. Their behaviour ranges from the plain rude, to the discourteous, selfish or the mildly irritating. Crying babies and badly behaved children are a common irritant. The best remedy is to be tolerant and exemplary in one’s own behaviour.

    Ninth, make sure that your attitude does not spoil your holiday. Make sure that your expectations match the standards of the holiday and resort that you have booked. An approach which seeks to find fault in the holiday and seeks to identify issues upon which to claim is sure to spoil the enjoyment.

    Finally, watch for the wild card. There are many unexpected circumstances could ruin a beach holiday. Could anyone who travelled to the Maldives for a Christmas vacation in 2004 have anticipated the Boxing Day tsunami in Sumatra that left many of the low lying islands knee deep in water?

    In spite of all the things that could ruin a beach holiday the chances are that you can take them in your stride provided that you prepare beforehand, keep a cool head and approach the difficulties as they arise with good humour.