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: Travel

  1. How to camp at home

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    If you are an avid camper, the restrictions of movement because of the pandemic must be a real pain. You miss the sun, the wild abandon of fellow campers, the fresh breeze in the forests, the excitement of taking a road trip, and the anticipation of the beautiful sceneries that await you.

    LLP - Camping

    That does not mean you cannot have some fun in your home. With just a little imagination, you can camp at home, in your living room or your backyard, and re-live some of your camping experiences.

    Gather your gear

    What kind of gear would you normally have with you if you went camping in the wild?

    Prepare cooking gear, entertainment kits, and other survival kits. The best way to integrate some important parts of the house (such as toilet) into the camping adventure would be to ward off areas that you do not need. You can use strings or ropes to create some sort of a perimeter around your camping 'site'.

    No tent? No problem!

    You would need a tent when you go camping in the wild but you can improvise if you are camping at home. Your bed sheets or blankets can work just fine here. You do not even need poles or pegs to prop them up. Just tie the ends to bits of furniture for support and create your fort within minutes. Then start decorating to give it a personal touch.

    Go electronic free

    To make it seem more realistic, you will need to switch off your devices. The idea here is to mimic normal camping in the wild. For entertainment, focus on creative stuff such as board games or card games. This would also be a great time to bond with your kids over good stories.

    Encourage them to be creative and innovative in their entertainment options. A good book would also come in handy depending on how long you want to spend camping. Bring a lantern with you and switch off electric power inside the room.

    Pack on the snacks

    A camping escapade would not be complete without good food and snacks, especially if you are doing it with your kids. Use a gas stove to roast marshmallows outside your 'tent'. Download good camping recipes and try them out.

    An excuse to try out new gear

    If you are a beginner camper, it's advisable to try out your new gear at home first. This could save you a lot of time and stress at the actual camping ground. If you have a large backyard, this would be the best place to set up camp.

    No campfire? No problem!

    Due to safety reasons, you might not be able to make a campfire in your living room. You can improvise though. There are many ways to do it, depending on what is available to you. If you have a chimney, you can run a fire directly on the wood stove using dry wood. Coal, charcoal, and briquette can also work great. And you can roast some marshmallows right on top of them!

    How to camp at home

     

  2. How To Train Your Dog To Relax On Long Car Journeys

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    My youngest daughter is desperate for us to have a dog, although I am not sure that the cat would be so happy about it. She takes every opportunity to walk her friends dogs or "train" our neighbours dog and I am quite sure that she would actually take great care of a new canine friend but there is more to consider than daily walks and holding a paw.

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    Any experienced dog owner can tell you that, while there are few joys in life as great as taking your dog out for an adventure in the great outdoors, not every dog enjoys the car journey needed to get there. Some dogs can’t even make it to the vet without kicking up a fuss.

    Below are some simple tips for training your dog to relax more on long car journeys.

    Prepare Them For The Experience

    Before you begin training your dog in any regard, you first need to make sure that both you and they are prepared for the experience. Training your dog to stay calm and relaxed on long car journeys will inevitably require you to put your pet in the car at some point. No matter how careful or skilled you are as a driver, having your pet in the vehicle with you exposes them to the risk of injury[1].

    Because of this, it is vital that you have dog insurance in place before you take your dog on any car journeys. You can use a service like Everypaw to compare dog insurance quotes online. Everypaw lets you compare different types of cover, including Lifetime Pet Insurance and Maximum Benefit, to find the right cover for your dog.

    You can begin acclimating your dog to car journeys by having them enter and exit your vehicle while it is stationary. This lets them get used to climbing in and out of the car and will make the space feel more familiar to them. This will also give you the opportunity to ensure that you have a suitable space for your dig while the vehicle is in motion.

    Begin With Shorter Trips

    There are a number of reasons that dogs might become anxious on a car journey, taking shorter trips will help you to assess how your dog responds to being in the car while you are driving. For example, some dogs, like people, suffer from motion sickness, which can turn into a source of anxiety for them during a journey. Signs of a nauseous dog include excessive drooling, yawning, or whining. If your dog actually vomits during the journey, motion sickness is likely a problem for them[2].

    Taking shorter trips before you try to put your dog through the stress of longer journeys enables them to acclimatise to conditions in the car, while also providing you with the opportunity to observe their behaviour and make a plan for transporting them accordingly.

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    Keep Your Dog Under Control

    When you’re driving with your dog, it is essential that you keep them under control, either in a crate in the boot or using a harness.

    The law in the UK[3] requires drivers to secure their dog, so that it does not distract the driver. As such, you need to find a harness or crate that your dog will feel comfortable in and then get them used to spending time in it.

    Foster A Positive Association

    Not every dog will naturally take to car rides; some dogs really don’t want to get in the car and go anywhere. However, you can change your dog’s conditioning and turn a negative response into a positive one with the right training. The trick here is positive reinforcement - you can use rewards to encourage your dog to form a positive association with your car and to view getting in it as a rewarding act.

    As you begin to take your dog on longer and longer car rides, make sure that you are constantly providing them with positive reinforcement. Speak to them in a cheerful tone as you drive along and make sure that they have access to their favourite toys and treats - these will help them to relax and develop a positive association with being in your car.

    Keep The Temperature Cool

    Every dog owner understands the importance of ensuring that their pet is never left alone in a hot vehicle. This can easily lead to the death of a dog if they are alone for too long[4]. While the majority of dog owners are good at following this simple rule, many are much less alert to the dangers of a dog overheating during a long car journey.

    Remember, dogs are not people and they will react differently to the same circumstances. Just because you and your family feel fine in a hot vehicle, it doesn't necessarily mean that your dog is going to be ok with the same conditions. You should always have the air conditioning running whenever possible, and you should ideally keep windows open as well when your dog is travelling with you but avoid opening them all the way. It is also essential that you keep water in your car, use a special water bowl to enable your dog to drink while the car is in motion.

    With the right approach to training and a little patience, you can teach your dog to at least tolerate a long journey in your car. Having a stressed-out dog in the back seat is enough to stress any driver, it is worth taking the time to properly prepare and train your dog beforehand.

    How to train your dog to relax on long car journeys

    This is a collaborative post

    [1] https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/training/ask-trainers-get-dog-ride-car/

    [2] https://wagwalking.com/behavior/why-do-dogs-get-anxious-in-cars

    [3] https://www.clenthillsvets.co.uk/did-you-know-it-is-a-legal-requirement-to-restrain-your-dog-in-the-car/

    [4] https://www.vets-now.com/2017/01/dogs-travelling-in-cars-seven-dos-donts/

     

  3. Fun Summer Activities For The Whole Family

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    When the kids have time off of school (or home schooling), take advantage of some of those gorgeous summer afternoons to plan activities together as a family. Not only will everyone have fun along the way, but you’ll end the day with some lasting memories and maybe some good old-fashion family bonding. Here are a few ideas for fun summer activities for the whole family.

    PIN - Fun Summer Activities

    Fruit Picking

    Find a local farm that is close by or use the internet to find one a little further away. If the farm is close, it can be a day trip. If not, why not make a mini family vacation out of this adventure? Kids will love seeing where strawberries come from, and picking their own is a great way to get them involved with their own nutrition.

    During the Covid-19 pandemic we have seen pick your own farms offering a Drive Thru service, which is very innovative!

    The best part is that when they’re all done, you can all pitch in to make some great strawberry jam or even a strawberry pie.

    Kite Flying

    If you like gettnig outside for your daily exercise, younger children will love the exhilaration that comes from controlling something darting and dancing around the sky. Older kids and adults might like to try their hand at a trick kite for a more challenging part of this family outing. Once everyone has a kite up and flying, hold some family contests, like who can get their kite the highest and who can make theirs dive the furthest and still rise back up to the sky.

    Museums

    Many museums and attractions are now offering virtual tours, so look for museums that have children’s sections in addition to their main museum. That way kids will have fun with hands-on activities, but older kids and adults can still browse exhibits that they find interesting. If all kids are younger (age 8 or younger) try to see if there is a children’s museum nearby. They will love using their minds and imaginations to explore the exhibits, and parents might just find some fun activities too.

    Beaches

    If you live in an area that lets you take advantage of a beautiful beach, grab the opportunity. Beaches might be a bit of a cliché summer destination, but there’s good reason. Kids and can splash in the water and build sandcastles with parental supervision, and older kids or teens can relax on the sand and read a book or listen to music. There are lots of discussions about the use of beaches and open spaces during the Covid-19 pandemic and therefore this option should be considered with discretion and consideration of others.

    There are many fun summer activities that your whole family can enjoy. So this year take advantage of some of those sunny afternoons to make some lasting memories, at a safe distance of course.

    PIN - Fun Summer Activities (1)

  4. When & where can I go pumpkin picking in the Midlands?

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    We are now officially in pumpkin season! The weather has changed, Autumn is definitely upon us and all we can think about is that Halloween is approaching!

    Last year we wrote a post about 5 Things To Do With A Pumpkin Other Than Carve It but nothing says Halloween more than a carved pumpkin outside your house. But where are the best places in the Midlands to get your pumpkins this year? We have been taking a look!

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     Manor Farm Fruits - Tamworth

    12th, 13th, 19th & 20th October and Saturday 26th October to Sunday 3rd November 10am – 4pm (stock permitting)

    There is no need to book tickets, you can just turn up on the day and pay.  

      • Choose your own pumpkins (prices vary)
      • Bouncy Castles ( up to 1.3 meters)
      • Climb and Crawl Straw Bales Pyramid and Mini Maze
      • Spooky Space Hoppers
      • Face Painting
      • Creepy Sneaky Scare Tunnel
      • Pumpkin Express Tractor Rides (£3.00 per person)

    The Strawberry Cabin Team Room is also open serving hot and cold food all day including Halloween Cup Cakes and lots of other delicious Pumpkin dishes!

    Prices

    £5 per child ages 2 to 12
    £1 adults
    Under 2 go free.

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    Pumpkin Week at Hatton Adventure World - Warwick

    Tickets are valid on any one day between 26th October to 31st October 2019. We have enjoyed Pumpkin Week at Hatton in previous years and it is a great day out for all the family.

    Tickets can be purchased online up until 10am on the day of visit. (Making a saving on the door prices)

    In addition to pumpkin picking, there are lots of things going on during pumpkin week including :

    New Haunted House

    Pumpkin Carving in the Events (closes at 4pm)

    Pumpkin Hunt

    Pumpkin Carving Competition judged at 4.15pm

    Along with all the usual Hatton activities

    ADULT - £16.95

    CHILD - £16.95 

    UNDER 2 - Free

     

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    Hill Top Farm - Leamington Spa

    Between Saturday 19th October to Thursday 31th October (stock permitting) their pumpkin field will be open for you to pick your own pumpkin.

    The field will be open between 10am-4pm each day and they are taking people down to the pumpkin patch via tractor rides every 30 minutes.  You can then select your pumpkin and take it home with you to carve!
     

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    Planters Garden Centre - Tamworth

    The Pumpkin Paddock returns for 2019! This Halloween event includes lots of family fun such as pumpkin picking, carving, games and more! It is not really pumpkin picking like at pick your own locations but it is a great location and very child friendly.

    Every £5 child ticket includes picking a pumpkin, which you can pick from the paddock area, carving it and being able to take it home. Anybody not wishing to take home a pumpkin can purchase an adult ticket for £1.50.

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    Essington Farm - Wolverhampton

    PYO is open again on the 12th October 2019. 🎃 Go and pick your own perfect pumpkin from all different shapes and sizes. This is farm so always best to wear appropriate clothing and footwear, especially if it has been raining.

    Top Tip from Essington Farm :Remember, if you keep the stalk on your pumpkin it will easily last until November!!

    We will be updating this listing throughout October, so do let us know if you find a great pumpkin patch! 

    And finally ......

    Once you have carved your pumpkin up and created a Halloween masterpiece, the best thing to do then is make some delicious pumpkin soup! 

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