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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 very entertaining) daughters. It is sometimes written by the Man on the Pad or my gorgeous sister in law as part of our baby blog and occasionally we accept guest posts. There is frequently talk of shoes and clothing (we love fashion and savvy shopping), chocolate (who doesn't love chocolate) and baby swimming (we love this too). It is hopefully helpful, sometimes funny and always honest.

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  1. It's just a few days away now, but there's still time to spoil your loved ones this Christmas. If you don't want to resort to a boring old pair of socks for Dad or an impersonal bath set for mum, there are a few alternative Christmas gift ideas that you could consider this festive season. Here are some I've given and received over the years that have always been a hit.

    A personalised dinner set

    A new dining set is always a gift gratefully received, particularly for newlyweds – but you can deliver yours with a twist. Today you can now purchase dinner sets which come complete with names inscribed on plates, cutlery and more. These are perfect for couples, who will appreciate the 'his n hers' theme, or even better for families – consider putting nicknames on each plate to raise a few laughs.

    A new bed set

    It's one of those essentials that we often neglect, but there's no reason not to pamper ourselves with a new bed set if we're given one for Christmas! Again, the perfect gift for newlyweds, or perhaps even those with a new baby, a new bed set shows that you care about your loved ones' comfort – with so much to choose from online, such as those at bedstar.co.uk, this one will delight all audiences.

    A moon estate

    This one is perfect for all those weird and wacky friends you have. Did you know it's actually possible to purchase a piece of land on the moon? Thanks to the folks at Moon Estates, your loved one can receive the deeds to areas of land on the moon, and now, more recently, Mars and Venus. The recipient will be given an official deed to the land – it's the visiting their new home that's the hard part!

    Moon

    A lesson in a new activity

    Has your loved one expressed an interest in learning to cook, play a musical instrument, or finally booking those driving lessons? Purchasing him or her lessons in their chosen field will give them the push they need to finally achieve their dream. There are countless musicians, for example, who say their career began when their parents bought them a new guitar – the same could happen for your significant other!

    A historical collectible

    Perhaps your loved one is something of a history buff – so why not get them something they'll really enjoy which is also highly valuable? NYT Store has a huge range of collectibles from vintage books to microphones, coins and even newspapers.

    So maybe if you have someone who hasn't written that all important list to Santa, these might be some alternative options for you!

  2. Christmas may only come round once a year but for many folk (especially us moms), it can be more than a little stressful. There are those unbreakable social obligations, buying countless gifts, preparing meals and the arrival of a deluge of relatives can make this time of year seem more like a chore and less like a holiday. If you’re dreading the upcoming festive season, we have put together some top tips to try and help ensure you have a happier holiday.
     
    Take a break
    If you’ve never considered a festive season away from home then why not make this the first year to book a break? It is not too late, there are some great deals on holidays during December and it’s easy to find cheap hotels and flights using internet travel websites. You may get some disapproving comments if you are the type who usually has friends and family over for Christmas but everyone deserves a trip away now and again.  There are some great deals to be had, we particularly like the offers at:

    Holiday Inn Aylesbury

    We have some friends living in Aylesbury and they are always asking us to go and stay. Christmas is a great time to visit a family member or friend living in another city and combine the holiday with catching up with friends or relatives.
     
    Shopping made easy
    Christmas shopping may be fun but it’s a lot more interesting and a lot less stressful when you don’t have to battle the crowds. Most people now shop online in order to obtain bargain prices on gifts but that’s not the only thing that can be purchased online. Stocking up on your entire Christmas food order online and having it delivered will definitely help eliminate the stress of Christmas supermarket shopping. I was thrilled this week to secure a last minute home delivery slot, so they are still out there and it means no battling people in the aisles for the last turkey or queuing for hours in order to pay once you finish. The benefits of shopping online include no crowds, cheaper prices, home delivery and retail therapy at your leisure. (this is my perfect kind of shopping)
     
    Know your limitations
    If you are a perfectionist (like me) then you probably won’t be happy unless you are doing everything yourself. However, knowing how to delegate is one of the best ways to combat the stress of doing it on your own. Basically it means letting others help whether that’s with decorating the Christmas tree, cooking the Christmas dinner, wrapping up that mountain sized pile of presents or clearing up after the celebrations are complete. There are only so many hours in the day and you only have two hands, and Christmas is a time for sharing, including the festive chores.
     
    Let someone else cook dinner
    It’s not uncommon for people to now go out to a restaurant, pub or hotel for their Christmas meal. Letting someone else do all the cooking is one of the best ways to avoid Christmas day disasters. Your dining location of choice will be full of people who have had exactly the same idea and the atmosphere will be relaxed and festive. Another major plus point towards eating out on Christmas day is that other people will be doing the washing up afterwards – definitely worth the cost.
     
    Christmas table
     
    It’s your Christmas too
    If you’re the sort who is running around organising everything at Christmas then set yourself a deadline. This deadline doesn’t mark when everything has to be complete, this is the point when you simply stop and relax. This is your Christmas as well and setting that deadline means you get a chance to put your feet up, unwind and de-stress. Hopefully, if everything goes to plan you can easily beat that deadline by more than a few hours. It’s also important to remember that the world won’t end if you forget to buy the sprouts or you don’t post Aunty Ethel’s gift on time.
     
    This weekend my plan is to find some time to sit on the sofa and watch some Christmas films with my little family in order to remember what Christmas is all about! How about you?
     
  3. Despite the Lilypad being a very personal and craft based website, I have to hold my hands up and say that I am not personally the most "crafty" person with the children.  I am not a huge fan of paint and glue (my compulsive cleaning disorder doesn't cope well with the mess) but as a family, we do love a challenge, so when we saw that Mattress Online were asking children to turn their beds into a magical sleigh, we thought we would give it a go!

    How hard could it be to get a toddler to create a magical sleigh? Not hard at all ...... so you would think.

    Vertabaudet Room Finished

    She had a roll top cot that converted into a cot bed (and I think it has the makings of a good sleigh). The toddler loves a challenge and gets totally absorbed in lets pretend, so I didn't think we were going to have much trouble, unfortunately for me, all of her teddies needed to come along for the ride in the sleigh - cue much deliberation over who was going to sit where!

    The 9 year old didn't want to miss out on the sleigh bed action and as soon as her little sister went off to find reindeers to play with, she started getting blankets for the main sleigh and putting the toddlers toys in.

     Sleigh Bed 1

    Apparently, the toddler was not happy about this and had a very specific idea of what she wanted and who had to sit where!

    Sleigh Bed 2

    The reindeer teddies HAD to be pulling the sleigh, not sitting in the sleigh ..... obviously!

    Sleigh Bed 3

    Then the reindeers needed a little rearranging .....

    Sleigh Bed 4

    And Ta-Dah! I asked the toddler if she wanted to sit in her sleigh bed and she looked at me a little perplexed and said " Mommy, Santa rides the sleigh, not me!"

    The cutest thing about it all was that when bedtime finally arrived, she looked at her bed and said "bye bye sleigh, I have to sleep in my bed now as Santa won't come if I am not sleeping in my bed properly".

    If you want to enter, your child (aged 12 or younger) has to turn their bed into a magical sleigh. You can enter by featuring photos of your sleigh on a blog, or as a post on social media – then email the link and your details through to Mattress Online before midnight on 17th December 2014. You can find full details of the Super Sleigh competition plus the T&Cs on the Mattress Online website at www.mattressonline.co.uk/christmas-competition/terms-and-conditions. Good luck! 

  4. Christmas has to be perfect doesn't it?
     
    Everything has to be cleaned to within an inch of it's life, only to be covered in wrapping paper and those little bits of plastic that companies insist on wrapping around the legs of toys just a few hours later. (My vacuum particularly likes those little plastic things).
     
    But the cleaning seems to happen on a daily basis in our house due to the toddlers creations (otherwise known as exuding glitter wherever she goes) and the tweens ability to drop crumbs everywhere, not to mention the cat and her muddy little paws, it is a good job we have a decent vacuum cleaner. No matter what happens the floor is always where the nightmares happen!
     
    I am not supposed to remind my husband of the time he was rushing to iron something and decided to do it 
     
    on the floor,
    on a towel,
    on the landing (I am deadly serious)
    and he set the iron down.
     
    We were left with a very hard, iron shaped, piece of carpet as a result. Well the result for me was a new carpet but I am sure it still gives him nightmares.
     
    Or my Dad, strolling onto the new carpet in his freshly polished black shoes ........ I don't need to say anymore do I?
     
    Or the girls kicking over a glass of wine in the evening. The loss of my evening tipple, coupled by the stain on the carpet could have been a complete nightmare but I am thankful for stain removers!
     
    Wine spill
     
    Carpet nightmares are certainly not a thing of the (Christmas) past for us but what about you? Do you have a story to tell?
     
    Carpetright are currently running a #CarpetStain campaign because at this time of year, when the festivities are in full swing, it’s almost guaranteed there will be small accidents here and there. One of the main ones being #CarpetStains.
     
    Carpetright are running a competition for people to be given the chance to win a prize of having a large room within their house re-carpeted for the new year. They can enter by submitting a #CarpetStain nightmare story, telling Carpetright all about a time when a spillage has occurred, the more dramatic, the better!
     
    The campaign is in collaboration with Dr. Beckmann and one lucky runner up will win a year’s supply of carpet stain remover product. As well as any person submitting a story getting 20% off Dr. Beckmann products online.
     
    So what are you waiting for? Your#carpetstain nightmare may just turn out to be a dream winning story! 
     
    PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE YOUR STORIES HERE BUT THE ENTRY WILL NOT BE COUNTED UNLESS YOU SUBMIT DIRECT TO CARPETRIGHT.
     
    CLOSING DATE for entries is 05/01/2015 at 11:59am
     

     
    Image courtesy of Mister GG via Freedigitalphotos.net