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: News

  1. 6 ways to save money with the children over half term

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    One thing parents don’t need any reminding of is the costs which accumulate when having children. There are the things you bargain for – education, clothing, buying a family-sized car, increasing the size of the food shop etc. But it never ceases to amaze how many little (and sometimes not-so-little) unexpected costs crop up, particularly when it comes to activities.

    Of course, it’s always worth it in the end, and it’s difficult to really put a price on the memories shared with your children. But that doesn’t mean you can’t save a few pennies along the way, especially if it doesn’t reduce the levels of fun and enjoyment involved.

    6 ways to save money with the children over half term

    Here are some winning deals which may give you and the old bank account a bit more to smile about by the end of the month.

    Restaurants

    There are plenty of family-friendly restaurants with family-friendly prices. But there are a few which really stand out from the crowd. The ones which caught my eye are the 50% off mains at Frankie and Benny’s (who also have a separate £10 off offer via the app); kids eat free at La Tasca, and Toby Carvery all you can eat breakfast for £4, where kids can eat for just £2.99.

    Supermarkets

    Experts say that the supermarket price war is now coming to an end, but that’s not to say there aren’t some really good deals about. And there are some hidden gems too. For example, online supermarket vouchers to entice new customers tend to be particularly big savers. You can also take advantage of price-match policies by separating your bargain buys and your full price items into separate shops, as price match is done by the basket. Also, late-night shopping can allow you to take advantage of yellow-sticker reductions, with Morrisons and Co-op usually starting these offers from 7pm.

    Credit cards

    Many people I know have a bit of a love-hate relationship with their credit card, but there are some excellent cashback rewards available. At the moment the pick of the bunch is Amex Platinum, which offers a staggering 5 per cent on all spend for three months. But there are other good rewards from the likes of MBNA, Aqua and Sainsbury’s too.

    The cost-cutting loan

    The irony of the above is that any benefits from the rewards gained by spending will be more than negated if you don’t clear your balance each month. That’s because of high interest rates. But if you’re stuck with high balances on your card(s), you can cut your interest bills straight away by either taking advantage of 0% balance transfers, or consolidating debt with good-value loans.

    Clothes and fashion

    Season changes are always a good time for high-street (and online) store sales, and there are some good deals about. Asos top the shoe charts, with 70% off most merchandise at the moment, along with excellent discounts on shirts and jeans. M&S have an ‘up to 50% off’ general sale on the go too, while if you’re eyeing up school uniform for the next school year, you can pick this up for as little as £6.50 from Asda and Morrisons.

    Activities and excursions

    One offer which really jumped out at me is the collaboration with the Sun and Alton Towers. Tokens are in both the weekday and weekend Sun papers, and by collecting 10 different ones, you can win a pair (180,000 available) of free tickets to visit the theme park. Otherwise for other days out, it’s worth noting the myriad of free museums and galleries around, while, for the kids, there are free tennis and football clinics (the latter offered by the FA – free for girls, £2-£5 for boys) during school holidays. After all, it is by getting out and about that the precious time we have with our children can really be maximised.

    What do you do to maximise the time but minimise the cost of keeping up with the kids?

  2. Five Frugal Things I've Done This Week

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    I mentioned last week that I have been enjoying the Five Fabulously Frugal Things posts from Emma and 3 and I have become a little more conscious of our spending habits, even more so as this week has been half term. Keeping two girls of two different ages occupied and happy is no mean feat, especially when I am sure they simply believe that the money is delivered from the hole in the wall.

    Five Frugal Things Ive Done This Week

    1. Saved on Cinema Tickets by using my Taste Card. As part of my bank account, I get a Taste Card and it gives you money off meals but if you upgrade to the Taste Card Plus for just £7.99 you can make HUGE savings on days out, like 40% off Cinema or Warwick Castle tickets.

    2. Kids Eat for £1 at Harvester. Yes £1! So after our discounted cinema visit, we went and had lunch and for every adult meal we bought, we got a childs meal for £1. This was a half term offer but it is definitely worth checking out websites for venues prior to arriving.

    3. It is no secret that I LOVE shopping and I do 90% of it online but before I check anything out and pay for it, I always google discount codes for that website. This week I have managed to find 20% off codes for some of my daughters clothes which was a great saving.

    4. I bought uniform for next year! I know this sounds ridiculous but it appears that John Lewis are not longer stocking our school uniform so they are selling off all their stock at less than half price, I therefore "may" have purchased enough school logo cardigans and jumpers to last for the next school year, or so. 

    5. Theatre visit for FREE! Now I have to admit that this wasn't something I found but we were lucky enough to be offered tickets by some friends to go and see a traditional pantomine and it was amazing. (Oh no it wasn't ..... oh yes it WAS!)

    There are lots of things we want to save for this year and being a little more conscious week by week, will hopefully help us get those things a little sooner. 

    Have you done anything to save money this half term?

    I’m linking up with CassEmma and Becky  in this week’s ‘Five Fabulously Frugal things I’ve done this week linky.

     

  3. Why writing a will is important for your children

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    I was watching one of the those daytime TV programmes the other day (whilst taking a well deserved break from the laptop of course) and the subject of what happens to your children when you are gone was being debated. Although death is a part and parcel of life, it's not often talked about around the coffee table. As inevitable as getting out of bed in the morning, the question remains as to why we’re always planning what we’re having for dinner tonight instead of planning for what’s happening to the things we care about the most once we’re gone.

    Why writing a will is important for your children

    Taking the time to write a will, clearly defining your wishes is one of the most important things you can do, especially for your children. Wills aren’t just there as written expressions of how you want the family home, or assets divided up, but they also clearly define your intentions for who will look after your children in the event of your death. Writing a will is a decision that many of us find difficult but a will provides clarity for whom you are leaving responsible for your children’s well being, defining the person, or people, who will be guiding them into the future in your absence. 

    which-unmentionables

    A lack of planning now can result in even more distress and anxiety for your loved ones at a time when you’ll be unable to help. So make the time to write your will today, safeguarding and protecting your children for tomorrow. 

    Katie Price was a panelist on the daytime TV show I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post and much like her, I need to sort my will out to safeguard my girls futures ..... although I suspect my will may be a little less complex than hers!

  4. Talking to your child’s teacher about asthma

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    We have spoken openly about asthma and the affect it has on us as a family, so we have been working closely with Asthma UK about children starting school and are therefore delighted to share this information on their behalf.
     
    You know the location of every spare inhaler within a five-mile radius. You know exactly when the neighbour’s birch trees start releasing their pollen. Even before your child starts to wheeze, you know the signs that their asthma symptoms are getting worse.
     
    You are an expert at your child’s asthma – and it still catches you out. So it’s understandable to be nervous at the thought of handing them over to a new teacher on the first day of the school year.
     
    Make sure you’re all on the same page
     
    Lots of parents tell us that they worry about leaving their child with other people – and it’s a fact that children are much more likely to go to hospital with their asthma in September than in August. But there are things you can do to make sure that you and your child’s school are working together to reduce the risk.
     
    Sharing and talking through your child’s asthma action plan with the school is a great start. At a glance, a teacher or classroom assistant can see exactly what they need to do if your child starts feeling worse. And because it’s personalised to your child, you know they’ll get exactly the treatment they’ve been prescribed. If your child doesn’t have one yet, ask your GP or asthma nurse, or download an asthma action plan here. Your GP can help you update the action plan every six months to make sure it includes any new triggers or changes to their medicines.
     
    Prepared, not pushy
     
    Parents sometimes tell us that they worry about being seen as ‘pushy’ or over-protective if they speak to their child’s teacher about their asthma. But more than a million children in the UK are affected by asthma – so the odds are that there’ll be a couple in your child’s class. A few minutes’ discussion could help your child AND their classmates to stay well, and make sure they don’t miss out.
     
    Every child’s asthma is different, but asking a few key questions can help you make sure the school is prepared.
     
     Back2SchoolChecklistFSV2-update-Ellie
     
    Keep lines of communication open
     
    It’s not just about the start of term, though. Starting the conversation about your child’s asthma now makes it easier to update teachers during the year – for example, if your child is more tired during the day because symptoms have kept them up at night. And teachers can feed back to you too: maybe your child benefits from the warm, humid air of the swimming pool.
     
    We’ve collected more back-to-school tips from asthma experts and other parents at www.asthma.org.uk/back-to-school - you can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.
     
    And if you’re concerned about  your child’s medicines, feeling under pressure or have a question you’ve always wanted to ask, call the Asthma UK Helpline. Our friendly asthma expert nurses are on the line Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm – just call 0300 222 5800.
     
    Thank you Little LilyPad for donating this space to Asthma UK – we wish ALL parents and children a happy and healthy new term.