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. Happy New Year, guys! Ish. We’re three weeks in, I know. But perhaps if I keep wishing everyone well, I’ll eventually feel the fresh buzz of the new year for myself.

    I’m not sure why I’m feeling a little dragged down by 2019, but I can’t seem to step into the swing of things. I’ve loved having Christmas off with the girls. Frankly, I didn’t want them to go back to school nor me back to work. Rather than starting a fresh and feeling as though I’ve got a whole year of opportunities ahead, I’m hanging on to December’s festive vibes. Reminiscing.

    Take me back!

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    But, all this will never do! I’m absolutely positive that I’m not alone in feeling a little demotivated during January. I know it. After all, the ‘January Blues’ is a thing. How is it, at a time when so many of us are prone to feeling glum, the other half of us are motivated to hit the gym, quit the drink, or eat clean?

    I’m not committing to finding some ‘supreme level’ of myself in 2019, and I’m not signing up to any half-hearted resolutions, but I have had a think about my levels of motivation and how I can rediscover my mojo.

    Perhaps we all need to invest in a little love for ourselves. Some self-soothing wouldn’t go amiss, I reckon.

    I don’t know about you, but I’m much more content when I’m clam, relaxed and have simple things to look forward to. I’m motivated to get through the day and meet my deadlines, when I’ve something cheery to turn to in the evening.

    After pondering it over, I’ve decided that they key to giving myself a 2019 kick-start, is simply being and enjoying my days. Letting the pressures of work and school be what they are and focussing on the things I enjoy and the people I love.

    While I’d love to, this doesn’t mean booking loads of breaks abroad or splurging out on a new wardrobe.

    Rather, I’m going to put time aside to watch a series with my husband, download a film to watch with the girls or do some mindfulness colouring.

    I’m going to run a lavender bath and put my head back, let my hair become damp, and feel any worries wash away.

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    I’m going to creep into bed at 8:30pm with a cup of tea and read three chapters of a paperback, before effortlessly falling to sleep.

    In 2019, I’m going to endeavour to take a step back, be mindful, and not become caught up in the fast-paced madness of the modern world.

    Now, hit me up with some tips in the comments below. How do you like to relax?

     

  2. I can't believe that it has been a month since we have posted on the blog and we have taken some time out and had a really good break. To be honest, having so much "down time" I have struggled to get back up again. And get out of bed in the morning. But you can't keep me down for long.

    The New Year always brings new starts for people, new ideas, sometimes new jobs and new homes and for me it is always a spring clean and a fresh approach.

    Last weekend I "cleansed" our bedroom of things we were just holding on to and in the words of Marie Kondo, found myself questioning whether or not those things brought me joy ..... or just something else to clean or store.

    Having cleaned out a lot of space I have now have some extra room to store some of the bargain savings I have been making.

    1. Buy Christmas Cards at less than half the price

    I know, I know! But I have bought some stunning Christmas cards for less than half the price and there is nothing nicer than opening a cupboard in November, already being prepared and having one less thing to buy in December.

    2. Make the swap

    We have swapped some of our brand shopping for local produce and shopping at Aldi. I can't say that I can still do a whole shop in one place but we are being more supportive of local businesses and saving money

    3. Buy in advance

    Being prepared is one of my biggest money savers. I always check the calendar for upcoming birthdays and events and set a budget. Especially at this time of year when so many expensive items are reduced, it is good to plan present ideas meaning the recipiant gets more, while you pay less!

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    4. Encourage money management

    Both my girls had Christmas money and now when they ask for something, I reply with "do you want to spend your Christmas money on it". If they do, then I know they really want it but if they don't, it highlights that it is just a "want" rather than a "need".

    5. Just say NO

    This is something I am learning to do this year. I am very much a Yes person. I love to go out, I love to take my girls on activities but in January I have said no on more than a couple of occasions already. Money saving right there! 

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    What do you do to survive the January pinch?

  3. As the end of the year draws near, many of us reflect on the good bits, the bad bits and all the bits in between. When it comes to schools, we as parents tend to look at the essential bits. How well is the school performing from a grade perspective? What is the local opinion of the school? What facilities does the school have? Whilst all of these questions are extremely important and very valid when making a decision, one of the things we tend to overlook is the quality of the playground.

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    Nobody knows your child better than you and I’m sure we can all agree that a good playground can do wonders for our children, helping them grow and develop in ways that we often don’t notice. So, this post is dedicated to highlighting the key activities and factors to look out for when judging a school playground. The hardest part is trying not to be swayed by your own childhood playground memories!

    Physical Challenges

    The first point to consider is the physical challenges that your child should be undertaking in the school playground. Physical activity has been proven to have a positive effect on classroom learning, so for your child to make the most of their time at school, they must have room to push their physical limits and expend energy.

    In particular, you want to keep an eye out for physical challenges that encourage healthy competition or interaction like agility trails, climbing apparatus and themed equipment (depending on the age of your child of course). A good school playground will have a variety of different physical challenges for children to enjoy and use based on their personal tastes.

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    Socialising Opportunities

    The second essential feature to look out for is socialising opportunities that encourage the school children to interact with one another. Humans are social creatures and a massive part of child development is directly linked to speaking, picking up social clues and generally interacting with others.

    Social opportunities can be presented in a variety of different forms. Meeting places and seating is always a great way for children to come together and interact but equally, large thematic equipment can be great at encouraging children to engage with each other.

    Brain Teasers and Discovery

    The final key points we’re going to look at is the inclusion of brain teasers and discovery. This is particularly important in nurseries and primary schools, where the children are still full of imagination. The brain behaves just like a muscle - it needs practice and continual use to become more efficient. Giving children the equipment and materials to let their imagination run free is a great way of helping them develop. For older children, riddles and mental challenges are more appropriate for developing critical thinking and problem solving.

    In general, discovery can be incorporated in school playgrounds for younger children through moving parts and physical puzzles. In particular, puzzles that involve walking or moving are really good, which is why lots of school playgrounds feature mazes on the floor. Keep an eye out for this when you’re visiting a school playground. On the flip side, trying to put tougher brain teasers into a playground is much more difficult, though there are still some puzzles that might be appropriate.

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    Overall, the key to a healthy and positive school playground is variety. No playground should focus on a single goal, whether that be physical growth, mental challenges or social opportunities; instead, they should combine all of these targets into one and have equipment that works towards this overarching goal.

  4. It’s advent! Time to deck the halls and pull out all the stops to ensure your home is sparkling, twinkling, merry and bright. While Christmas decorating is one of my favourite things to do with the kids, I’m definitely feeling as though there’s more of an expectation than ever to have a fantastically festive home.

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    Whether you’ve found inspiration on Pinterest, from a neighbour, or via following certain Insta accounts, 2018 is about creating a classy Chrismassy abode, from lighting to scents and all that’s in between. Heck, even your favourite seasonal Zoflora scent is a topic of interest this year. Yes, even your disinfectant. Needless to say, the pressure is on!

    With so much to think about, the cost of Christmas decorating can quickly sky rocket. It’s important to remember that your Christmas is about what it means for you and your family. If your Christmas tradition is to pull down the same tree from the attic and decorate it with family favourite baubles, then don’t cave under social media standards. As soppy as it sounds, memories are moments with meaning, rather than heaps of material possessions.

    That said, if you’re fancying a revamp or want to add to your existing collection, there are ways to push down the financial burden of decorating, so it’s a little kinder on your pocket.

    During advent, children are on top form, bursting with the excitement of Christmas. Channel this energy into some creative crafts. Making Christmas paperchains, paper snowflakes to stick to the windows and even Christmas crackers, will not only keep the young ones entertained, but is a sure way to make decorations steeped in sentimental value.

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    Scout around the charity shops, too. Often, when people buy new Christmas decorations, they donate their old ones to charity. This doesn’t mean they’re worn and outdated, either. Some homes buy new year on year, others donate theirs when they decorate with a new colour scheme. Have a browse around! You’ll be surprised.

    Do a bit of a decoration swap with family or friends. What’s old to you, is new to them, and sometimes that’s enough to give your Christmas decorating a bit of a boost. Incredibly cost effective – costing nothing at all – get together with your bits and bobs, and you may well have enough to swap to give your home a fresh new festive feel.

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    And finally, failing all that, check out the sales. As we head closer to the big day, stores start to panic that they won’t shift Christmas stock and prices drop. With up to 75% slashed of RRP on the highstreet, the longer you leave it, the better the deals you will get on decorations. Perhaps, you will keep your existing sparkle for this season, and bag a brand-new haul for 2019. Sounds like a plan!