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, when he is not relaxing in one of our best recliners, or our baby bloggers 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) education and swimming (we love this too). It is hopefully helpful, sometimes funny and always honest.

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  1. We’ve an important matter to discuss today. I’m having trouble with a genuine pondering. Perhaps you can help me out?

    Yesterday we went to a birthday party that had party games. Proper pass the parcel and general craziness. I loved it. It led me to wonder whatever happened to old-school birthday parties, and why am I arranging extravagant birthfest fiestas year in year out? Why are children receiving favours of organic, freshly-spun unicorn sourced candy floss? Whatever happened to plastic party bags filled with penny sweets, a trashy yellow yo-yo, and a birthday blower?

    Whatever happened?

    Birthday parties of times gone by

    Cast your mind back. Not that far. Just, say, 15 to 20 years. When birthday parties came around, the venue was almost always the birthday girl or boy’s home, save a soft play or two. The living room would be adorned with foil bunting, homemade banners, and corner-shop latex balloons.

    Entertainment took the form of pass the parcel (wrapped nothing but the very best weekend supplement), musical chairs, musical statues, and Bongo the clown – if you were mega lucky. And I mean mega lucky. Your party would be the talk of the class for years to come.

    Party food? Well, it was carbelicious. This was pre-noughties. No one cared about good carbs and bad carbs. Starch? Pah! We partied in the face of starch. Our buffet tables were a glorious shade of beige. We ate every form of corn crisps on the market. Jam sarnies. Cocktail sausage and cheese cocktail sticks. Yes, cocktail sticks; if a child choked, they’d learn and sit down the next time they picked a prick out of the hedgehog.

    Those were the days. But where did they go?

    Parties of the contemporary era

    Fast forward to the 2000’s and birthday celebrations became a different beast altogether.

    Today, the game is on to throw the most creative, extraordinary parties. While soft play is always a favourite for young ones, farms, kiddy museums, and pottery painting have also entered the ranks. Parents with older offspring are shelling out exorbitant amounts for quad biking, trampolining, 4DX cinema experiences, and more.

    And that’s not all! Colin the Caterpillar will no longer suffice. Personalised cakes are in vogue, and this doesn’t equate to a printed icing sheet. The bigger, the more original, the better. It is the centrepiece of the party, and woe betides those who don’t know. Cake is everything. Cake is life.

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    Final ponderings of a perplexed mother

    Are our children missing out on good old fashioned British party traditions? Are we absolutely going overboard? Or are there other underlying parental wins here?

    After all, these places take your child and his or her friends, keep them entertained, and feed them, while you sit back with a brew.

    Forget tradition… shut up and take my money. Every time.

  2. Being frugal in the run up to Christmas isn't always easy. Yes I mentioned the C word, it is October and therefore allowed (unless you speak to my brother who won't allow mention of Christmas before his November birthday ... but I digress).

    So how to save money when all the shops are encouraging you to buy those "must have " gifts and you have a list of friends and relatives as long as your arm? Well I have attempted to remain frugal this week and here's what I have done.

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    Stop-tober

    Stopping shopping in October. There is a campaign at the moment promoting staying sober for October but I decided to stop shopping. I have to admit that this is only for myself but it means no new shoes, clothes, bags or even a cheeky scarf which is already proving difficult as I have two nights out planned already but I have been steadfast ..... so far. 

    Buying Christmas presents on offer

    I have been slowly buying Christmas gifts, not the big ones but the little gifts that my girls like to buy for their friends. I saw a 3 for 2 offer and online discounts at Claire's Accessories this week, so have stock piled gifts at pocket money prices. 

    Re-selling

    I may have become a little addicted to my local selling pages on Facebook. It reminds me of the old Bargain Pages where you could sell anything locally but unlike eBay, there are no seller or Paypal fees and someone will generally come and collect it from your door. The girls are loving making space in anticipation of Christmas and putting money in their piggy banks while doing it. 

    No coffee shops

    I have to admit that I am a big fan of hot chocolate and marshmallows but my regular stop off at Costa is not good for my waistline or my bank balance. So I have stopped going in. Stopped the temptation. Stopped the spending. For now anyway ..... I am already thinking about buying and getting into that Christmas party dress. 

    Remembering not to buy Christmas cards

    I picked up some Christmas cards in the shop the other day but something was nagging at me in the back of my brain that I already had some at home. When I checked at home, I remembered that I had bought a batch of Christmas cards in the sales in January, so I managed to save myself some money without even realising it! 

    What are your top tips for saving at this time of year?

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

  3. A little while back, we had great fun with the L.O.L Surprise Doll, Series 1 so a small person in our house was extremely excited when it was announced that Series 2 was being launched. Thinking that she is now a YouTube sensation (don't ask), she wanted to do an unboxing video ..... complete with her own American accent and requests for subscribers!

      

    There are over 45 dolls to collect in Series 2, and each one has seven layers of new surprises inside: a secret message sticker; a sticker sheet; a water bottle charm; a pair of shoes; an outfit; an accessory and the doll herself. The L.O.L. doll is obviously  the best layer of surprise! Dress her in all of the accessories you've revealed. Each character is completely different. If you're lucky, you unboxed one of the rare dolls .... our little Youtuber thought she had a rare one and you can hear the anticipation in her voice! 

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    There are so many layers to get through, here is a snapshot of another one that we have opened, (if you don't want to sit through 13 mins of the video) 

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    Each layer has a new surprise for you ....

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    There are cute little blind bags to thrill and build the excitement.

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    And eventually you get inside .....

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    And you find the cutest little L.O.L doll inside! 

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    L.O.L Surprise! are the biggest collectable craze in the UK right now, they are the ultimate unboxing toy is combined with the anticipation of surprise. Perfect as a treat or a Christmas stocking filler.

    Have you tried them yet?

  4. We’re all well aware of those parent-child relationship clichés. For as long as we’ve known, families have always, supposedly, been made up of ‘mummy’s boys’ and ‘daddy’s girls’. Yet, while dads do seem to take a shine to their little bundle of sugar and spice, for the blokes, their bond certainly isn’t an easy walk in the park.

    My husband has openly admitted that he is struggling with the girls growing up, not with the day to day stuff but the realisation that they are influenced by so many other things than us and it made me consider the challenges that Dad's face.

    Dads and their lads

    Let’s flip this on its head a little. The father and son thing seems to be founded on quite uncomplicated dynamics. Dad relives his childhood through his little lad, and gets to be a kid again. It’s all good.

    Whether it’s football, fishing, WWE, LEGO… whatever. Dad’s got this. He knows because, really, he’s just a big kid himself. Of course, not for all, but for many, fathers and sons are almost automatically mates. While there’s an element of discipline in the air, friendship is the predominant theme here.

    Stepping into the unknown

    But what is a dad to do when he holds a baby girl in his arms? When she opens his eyes to new worlds of adventure and unthinkable enjoyment? When she grows into a young girl, with newfound independence? Just what is a dad to do? And that is the challenge.

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    Girls kick dads right where it hurts. As much as most fathers do everything and anything to protect all of their children, there’s something special about his little girl. Even the sassiest of madams are delicate to dad. They will take him into the unknown, making him vulnerable, as he treads unfamiliar ground and lives completely new experiences with his daughter.

    Protecting something precious

    That innocence, that wonder, must be protected. But how? Wrapping little ones up in cotton wool may well work for the first few years, at a push. But being the shoulder to cry on, the big bear arms, the safe warm chest to lean against, will never grow old. Dad must be reliable, comforting… dad must be the man that never hurts her, never lets her down. The hero.

    The struggle is this, at every stage of his little girl’s life, dad needs to explore emotions, listen to heartaches, offer advice. This is something society just hasn’t encouraged our men to do. Yet, the love they feel for their little girl means it is essential.

    As they grow older, into their tweens, their teens, Dads must fight with their own need to protect their daughter from harm, from hurt. Dad must be there when she falls, allowing his own feelings to take the hit. The journey they’ve had together, that unique bond, makes this all the harder.

    After all, when was letting go of something so precious ever easy?