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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Category: Lifestyle

  1. 5 ways to upgrade your old family car with new car tech!

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    My husband loves his car and as he was a biker for many years, he was never going to be the one with the "family car", so while I like a nice car, it has to work for the family too.

    Automotive technology has evolved rapidly over the years and made our rides safer and more comfortable. The best thing is that you don’t have to buy a modern car to take advantage of the innovative technologies. There are a number of car gadgets in the market today that you can install on any car regardless of the age, make and model. 

    Here are some of the best gadgets to upgrade your old family car:

    1. Heads-up display

    Head-up display, also known as HUD, reduces driver distraction by displaying important information directly in the driver's line of sight. It displays a variety of information including your car’s current speed, speed limit, turn-by-turn navigation, traffic alerts and estimated time of arrival among others.

    This gadget connects wirelessly with a compatible Bluetooth-enabled smartphone. It works by receiving information from your smartphone and projecting it onto a reflective film on your windshield or an attached reflector lens.

    Most HUDs are compatible with vehicles manufactured within the last decade. Therefore, you are sure to find one that works with your old family car.

    2. Seat heaters and massagers

    These gadgets are designed to keep you and your passengers warm and comfortable during a ride. They can be installed on virtually any vehicle and any seat including the driver, passenger, and rear seats.

    Some of the best seat heater and massager kits you may want to try out include the Comfitech car seat massager and 3D Shiatsu seat massage cushion.

    3. Bluetooth stereos

    A Bluetooth stereo allows you to connect your smartphone to your vehicle via Bluetooth. This way you can stream your favourite music from your smartphone. Some Bluetooth stereos have a built-in microphone that allows you to make hands-free calls. (this is a particular favourite of mine, so I can talk freely AND safely).

    If you’re looking to go on a road trip and want your family to stay entertained but don’t want to install a Bluetooth stereo on your car, leasing a car can be a great option. There are several car leasing companies in the UK like Intelligent Car Leasing that have modern cars with Bluetooth stereos.

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    4. Parking sensors 

    Installing parking sensors to your old car is a great way to ease parking pains. These gadgets use either electromagnetic or ultrasonic sensors to detect obstacles while parking. Additionally, they send clear audio warning alerts when an obstacle is detected.

    Parking sensors can be installed on a licence plate frame or into holes drilled into the bumper of your car. Be sure to purchase a parking sensor that’s compatible with your car.

    5. Rearview camera

    A rearview camera is a simple yet important safety feature. It gives you a clear view of everything that’s behind you which helps to reduce rear blind spots accidents. Statistics show that rear blind spots cause about 300 deaths and 18,000 injuries every year in the United States. A study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that back up cameras help to reduce blind spots by about 90%.

    Most rearview cameras are easy to set up and are compatible with old vehicles. Be sure to purchase a camera that is waterproof and has night vision.

    So those are our top tips, would there be anything else you would add?

  2. Things to Keep in Mind While Decorating Your First Home

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    I have been scouring the online estate agents for years trying to find our forever home. My husband and I go round and round in circles about whether moving house is the right thing because a person’s living space is naturally of extreme importance. It is where they spend a lot of their time, and it is the final place they head back towards, after a long day at work. It is no wonder that there goes a lot of emotional and financial investment into home.

    The first home that anyone buys always holds a special place in their heart. It is the first time they invest their earnings in a solidified property. On a more emotional note, their first home is a mark of their hard work and hard earned money. It is no wonder that a lot of thought goes into decorating a home, especially the very first one. There are many ways to turn a house into one’s personalized home. 

    Decide on a Theme

    The importance of a theme lies in the fact that it makes the entire house come together in an extremely synchronized manner. Usually, people go for a colour theme for their apartments or bungalows. Sometimes the entire house in color-coded in varying shades of a single color such as, say, blue. This can be taxing thing to do, so the more feasible alternative is to douse each room of the house in a certain color palette. This can be easily achieved by adding, for instance, canary yellow chairs by a well-lit entryway. On the other hand, multiple cushions could be added to seating areas in huge rooms to make the area seem more compact and cosy. If in the mood to splurge, a style theme can be added to the rooms as well. For example, the living room can be vintage themed, with lace trimmings on the curtains and rotary dial telephones. Having any sort of theme, along with promoting coordination, also increases the aesthetic appeal of the residence.

    Lounge, living room

    Recycle and Rejuvenate

    A great way of saving money and adding quirk and novelty to a living space is by recycling pre-existing resources. Sheets of paper, pencils, and other such stationary can be stored in baskets and/or crates. Coins, notes, and loose change can be piled up in jars. This not only removes any sort of clutter from the room, it also ends up saving a bit of money. Moreover, such DIY storage options enhance the texture of the space they are placed in, doing wonders for the feel of the room. Another way of making use of current items is by reimagining their usage. A bench, for instance, could very well become a bookshelf when pressed against a wall. Similarly, a cane rack can feasibly become a place to keep slippers worn at home. Before rushing out to buy a certain piece of furniture, be sure to check if there is anything that can act as a substitute. With a little thought, even decoration costs can be reduced reasonably. Washi tape, for example, can turn those drab kitchen shelves into a jazzy and more attractive alternative. Such innovations not only help one cut down on the budget, it also adds for a quirky and novel twist to the room.

    Personalise with Photographs

    A house cannot become a home if there is no personalisation in its set up. The best, and easiest, manner of doing so is through the aid of photographs. A huge framed photo frame in the living room can easily change the whole mood. Say, if someone is very fond of skylines, they could hang a frame of the Bombay skyline and feel like they are right in front of it, due to the sheer immensity of the photograph. However, if one does not want loosen their purse strings, there are other options too. Photographs hold within them a lot of emotions and memories, and to hang them in one’s living space makes the place become associated with the person. A pocket-friendly way of doing this is by hanging snapshots and/or polaroids that one already has. For example: a string of photos on the bedroom wall make for a cosy and intimate bedroom space. Add fairy lights to the mix and the concept becomes even more enticing. Those fond of photography on a more professional level could stick their shots on the hallway for people to view as they walk throughout the residence. This allows a feasible decoration of the walls and also a chance to show off things that may mean a lot to the owner of the house. Inclusion of photographs is, thus, a must.

    Make Use of Plants

    Plants are a great device to fill up awkward spots in the house. Not only that, but they also make the room come alive, and even add a certain aroma to it! Bare spots in the corner of a room can easily be filled with, say, potted Peperomia. The barren windowsill, for instance, would be neatly adjusted with a small pot of Aloe Vera at one end. Sometimes, people decorate doors with bougainvillea vines, which makes for a really inviting appearance for the entrance of the house.

    Kitchen - pots

    These are the main points to be looked at when thinking of decoration techniques for a first home. However, the penultimate one – making use of plants – can be quite taxing. This is especially so due to the amount of maintenance that plants require, which is not possible for most people to provide. This is due to the fact most people have close to no free time after returning from office and even if they do, are too tired to regularly tend to these plants.

    A foolproof alternative in this instance would be to opt for artificial landscaping. Incorporating faux plants into homes is a seamless procedure that does not take much time and is maintenance free. These false plants will continue to retain their lush countenance forever and do not require any sort of tending. They are a practical yet glamorous housing solution that everyone should opt for.

    Follow these tips, and you will have pleasingly decorated your first home in no time at all!

  3. iFly Basingstoke - Indoor Skydiving Review

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    Regular readers will know that I am hurtling towards a big birthday this year and have compiled a list of 40 things to do in my 40th year and one of those things was indoor skydiving. 

    iFly Basingstoke Review

    I have always wanted to do a real skydive but my fear of heights does make that a bit of a challenge although the adrenalin junkie inside me is still convinced that I could overcome it ..... if I could just get someone to push me out of a plane!

    I was talking to Emma from Emmaand3.com (not about pushing me out of a plane) but about my 40 list and she said she would love to come and try indoor skydiving with me. So we got in touch with iFly in Basingstoke and booked 2 x 2 minute sessions. 

    There are a number of iFly locations in the UK and while 2 x 2 minute sessions doesn't seem a lot, with the travelling and safety briefing, we really made a day of the adventure. You can see a bit more of this on Emma's vlog here >

    As you would expect there is a considerable amount of time going through the safety waivers, instructions and getting kitted out .... I have to warn you that you are never going to look overly glamorous in a blue jumpsuit and a helmet! Our instructor on the day was brilliant, he was enthusiastic, extremely thorough and really helpful even when we were a bit mischeivous. 

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    You are taken through in small groups and I was first to go in our group (no pressure) and you literally jump into the wind tunnel and away you go. Trying to relax was actually my biggest problem as the more tense you are the less bouyant!! Who knew?

    I didn't wear my glasses (I thought it might be less scary if I couldn't see what was happening with clear vision) but iFly do have larger goggles to fit over glasses if you prefer.

    You might feel that 2 minutes would go really quickly but when you are in the tunnel it is surprising how long it actually feels, especially when you are conscious that you are being filmed. Trying to keep a smile on your face for the camera is definitely fun while you are concentrating on your body position, breathing normally and balance.

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    I know my girls would love the indoor skydiving experience and as iFly welcome flyers from 3 to 103, I suspect we will be back. The only provisio is ensuring you have reasonable health and fitness, although while we were at the Basingstoke location we saw a gentleman who was unable to walk enjoying a flight, proving that disabilities are no barrier to any adrenalin seeker.

    The prices of the experience vary depending on what flight you choose but as I said at the top, we really made a day of it so whilst it may seem a little expensive for 4 minutes flying, it is certainly considerably cheaper than a skydive from a plane (and you don't need to worry about your parachute not opening!).

    I have loved the opportunity to tick something else off my list, to spend time with Emma but most importantly remind myself that I might be heading towards 40 but I still love an adventure! I highly recommend iFly to any adrenalin seekers! 

  4. 3 Ways to Upgrade Your Garage for Summer

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    When you think about getting your home ready for Summer, the garage may be the last area that comes to mind. It’s true, while we spend relatively little time in this part of the home, this is the place that’s often filled with a lot of our useful Summer-related items, so it needs to be accessible.

    Is your garage disorganised, hard to walk around and unwelcoming? Then here’s how to upgrade it for Summer.

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    Introduce Proper Storage

    When you have a family, the garage quickly becomes filled with outdoor toys, as well as general junk. This can leave the space feeling more like a hazard zone, as you wade through an obstacle course.

    To solve this, introduce storage solutions. This could include wall hooks for hanging tools (just make sure they’re out of reach of little fingers), racks for bikes and scooters, as well as shelves and crates. This will come in handy when the kids are looking for skateboards and sporting equipment in the Summer.

    Don’t be afraid to have some fun with this, too. While shelves and plastic drawers will work, they’re not visually appealing. Instead, consider making pallet boxes, use wooden chests, or upcycle old furniture.

    Time to Paint

    You may spend hours choosing the perfect colour paint for your living room, but would you do the same for your garage? Probably not.

    As a rule, most people don’t consider painting their garage, but it can improve the space. You could paint the concrete floor with a hard-wearing paint, choose a tone to cover up those grey breezeblocks, or use metal paint to give your garage door a refresh.

    All of this will make your garage feel lighter and brighter. This results in a more practical and welcoming space, making it perfect for the Summer.

    Designated Work Station

    As well as storage, you should also be able to use a garage to carry out work. Whether this involves building your own furniture, completing an upcycle project, or repairing your car using SGS axle stands, a garage needs to be functional.

    After clearing space with your storage solutions, add a designated work station. This could just be a simple work bench, but it will make a huge difference to your hobby or DIY tasks.

    Also think about design here, too. After all, you’re more likely to complete projects if you have a comfortable chair and if the area looks visually appealing.

    There you have it. A few easy ways to update your garage and make it useful for Summer. Enjoy your renovations!