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 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. Our baby blogger talks about getting ready for Baby Number 2.

    I am not sure where the last 30 weeks have gone? I am now in my third trimester, I'm huge, and if I am honest I am freaking out!

    If you read my last blog post over on The Rose Diaries, you will know that I am a worrier. Mainly in regards to health. But, this period of worrying involves me freaking out about all sorts. My biggest problem at the moment is space, or lack of it. We are in the midst of building an extension. Which means that our little boy is sharing our room. We haven't even begun building his or his new sisters bedrooms, and with 10 weeks to go, I'm panicking.

    With our son, everything was ready for the time I was 34 weeks. I felt organised and completely in control. I knew that when he arrived, everything was where it should be. But now, my amazing husband informs me that the building work and it's contents may not be finished for my due date - is he kidding me? He tells me we may all have to be in one bedroom for a few weeks. Four people, one bedroom, have I suddenly been transported back to Victorian times? A nearly 4 year old, a crying baby, a snoring husband and a tired mummy will not be the recipe for a harmonious household!

    Family in bed

    I worry about how big I am. On frequent visits to the supermarket, I have had comments such as "you can't have long left" or "are you sure there is only one in there." Or my all time favourite is "there is no way that baby is staying in there till September 4th". Whilst I am very proud of my bump and the miracle inside it, peoples comments of basically saying "I'm fat" is driving me mad. I have even resorted to telling people that she is due the end of August(which she may be as her brother was 5days early) so that people don't look at me in complete horror. 

    Then, when I finally calm myself down about the building work, and how big my bump is, listening to the reassuring words of my best friend that "all will work out in the end". I start to panic about labour -will I be able to cope? Will it be quicker? (Oh I do hope so) will I have the same placenta issues as last time? All of which I am thinking at 2:30am when I get up for my 5th wee of the night. I also keep watching re-runs of "One Born Every Minute". I love this programme, but am I doing myself any favours of reminding myself of labour? But, then I watch the wonderful outcome of labour and realise it is a position that so many would love to be in. 

    My friend is still trying to get me to try Hypnobirthing, to relax me. I know the benefits of it. However, you could have the gorgeous Gary Barlow singing live in the room and it still wouldn't relax me. 

    So what do I do? Keep convincing myself that it will be less painful and quicker than last time, or think of the worst and anything else is a bonus? 

    What would you do?

  2. Maxstoke Castle in Warwickshire, is simply 10 minutes from where we live and unless you know where it is nestled behind a barracade of tall trees, you could pass it unnoticed (which I did do for years). It is "technically" not a castle, more of a fortified manor house but I have always had a love of castles and I wouldn't say no to living here. It is amazing to think that Maxstoke Castle is still the family home of the Fetherston - Dilke family and it is only opened to the public annually (usually in mid-June), in aid of local charities. Last weekend was that weekend and I couldn't wait to go and explore but the three year old throught she was going to be a princess for a day, so what can draw the attention of a toddler for a day in the castle, other than thinking she can wear a pretty dress?

    Maxstoke 1

    The long walk up to the castle gave us a trail to see whether the Gruffalo was hiding in the deep dark woods .... he wasn't obviously but we had fun looking.

    Maxstoke 2

    We pretended to be horses, cantering up to the front of the castle and then halting to appreciate the fluted ceiling under the gatehouse. 

    Maxstoke 3

    Then there were adventures to be had, sneaking through tunnels to see where they would lead.

    Maxstoke 4

    To finding secret doorways 

    Maxstoke 5

    And being told that this is where the naughty children sat many years ago. (I may have stretched the history lesson a little bit here)

    Maxstoke 6

    Maxstoke Castle is truly beautiful, it doesn't dominate the surrounding countryside but just sits in all its glory with its mixture of designs from its development through history.

    Maxstoke 7

    The gardens form a large part of the courtyard and make a fabulous forum for a 3 year old to run off some excess energy. 

    Maxstoke 8

    The moat surrounds the whole castle, which we can only assume was a good defence to withstand attacks many years ago and whilst fascinating to a 3 year old, we didn't get too close. 

    Maxstoke 11

    The gardens are beautiful and filled with a variety of flowers but it was the pleasure garden that captured the attention of the toddler. This *may* have had something to do with the sloping walls that proved irresistable to a 3 year old that thinks rolling down hills is the best thing ever.

    Maxstoke 9

    It is really interesting to know that the estate was leased to a country club in the 1930's and they put in swimming pools and tennis courts but due to the threat of war, the country club went into liquidation and the swimming pool filled to continue the gardens.

    Maxstoke 10

    Photography is not allowed inside the castle and I would have loved to capture some of its internal beauty but ultimately it is the Fetherston - Dilke family home and despite my curiosities, I have to respect that. The toddler was unfortunately not overly enthused at the impressive banqueting hall so we couldn't spend as much time as we wanted leaning about the history of the castle (thank goodness for the guide book!).

    Maxstoke Castle is a truly magnificent building, a fantastic day out and ultimately an amazing family home. It is a credit to the Fetherston - Dilke family that they extend a warm welcome to the community and beyond ..... even if it is for just one day a year.

    Do you know of any hidden gems that we can go exploring next?

  3. I regularly talk about sleep.

    I love sleep.

    I always feel like I don't get enough.

    I never understand why children insist on denying they are tired when they very clearly are!

    It also makes me laugh when people use the phrase "sleeping like a baby" ..... I am quite sure those people have never had a baby that wakes repeatedly in the night (or a toddler for that matter).

    So I have been looking at the top Sleep Myths  .....

    Sleep Myths

    So how do we get the holy grail of uninterrupted deep sleep? Well aside from asking the grandparents to have small children overnight, sleep experts Sealy believe that our bodies are not uniform so why should our mattresses be any different? Given that we have a small asthma sufferer in our house, it is really interesting to know that the natural “Purotex” addition to Sealy mattress ticks has been endorsed by Allergy UK for the elimination of house dust mites (a common cause of asthma for some 5 million people in the UK and Ireland).

    So aside from making sure that you have the best mattress for you, here are some other sleep related facts (some are quite surprising).

    Sleep Facts

     I am now just working on trying to get the toddler to self soothe ....... wish me luck! 

    Facts & Myths from National Sleep Foundation

  4. I love the summer holidays, I love the sunshine, the lazy days, the light nights and no school run! If you have children of school age then you doubtless have a Monday to Friday routine that is the same every day - well, at least it's supposed to be! School clothes on, brush hair, clean teeth, grab school bag, coat and shoes on, and off we go... or not.

    Anyone who doesn't have children would think it quite simple to keep to a routine that happens five days out of seven. After all, getting a routine going from an early age based around feeding is one of the first things parents learn. Routines for older children help to instil personal responsibility and prepare them for higher education and work. Yet so many parents find that, somehow, each and every morning there is some new drama that seems specifically designed to slow you down and make everyone late. (insert : I haven't finished my breakfast, can't find my shoes, where is the hairbrush, have you brushed your teeth, etc.....) 


    So, if you're having problems getting the morning routine to run smoothly and without complaints, yelling and screaming on all sides, then you might want to try a simple reward-based system where good behaviour and sticking to the routine earns privileges in the form of time allowed for entertainments in the evening. Perhaps the most obvious one is TV time, but it could be computer game time, tablet time, mobile phone time - and, as all of these are things that you may well want to limit the use of anyway, it's a good way to kill two birds with one stone.

    I know that there are some that might consider this blackmail or bribery, but this depends whether or not you consider something like TV time a right that should be allowed no matter how your kids behave. And you could always make the reward things that you approve of and want to encourage - story time, reading together time, games together time, and so on. The time earned by good behaviour could also be saved up for use at the weekend.

    The system is very simple. Just make a check list of all those little tasks that have to be done each morning: getting dressed; combing/brushing hair; getting down to breakfast on time; cleaning teeth and washing face; and so on. Each is to be completed without complaint or drama, and the reward for completing each task is a few minutes of whatever leisure activity you decide. You can even add bonus time for completing all tasks without the need for being told, or told more than once.

    If time after school is also stressful, with homework not getting done and bags not getting packed for school in the morning, dinner not getting eaten, bedrooms not getting tidied and so on, then you can use the same system.

    There may well be resistance at first, with kids bound to see less time for entertainment as something that's being taken away from them. However, if you make it clear that everyone starts with NO time, then not earning any time is not really a punishment.

    So, if your school run is hell on earth and you're fed up of barking orders morning and night, then why not try out a reward-based system for those little things that need to get done every day at the right time?


     For more help and advice, there are some great resources here :