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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Category: School Days

  1. Alice in Wonderland : The Old Rep Theatre Birmingham

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    You don't want to be late for a very important date, do you? That was the question on the White Rabbits lips in this modern adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s classic tale at the Old Rep Theatre in Birmingham.

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    The story follows Alice on her journey through the enchanted and extraordinary Wonderland, meeting many peculiar characters along the way. From intriguing white rabbits, bizarre riddles, mad tea parties and dangerous encounters with the Queen of Hearts, will Alice ever find her way home? 

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    This much loved tale has been transferred to the stage by Director Scott Le Crass and ensures that the frankly quite bonkers story is told well, without some of the more extreme craziness that could be a little frightening for small children.

    The intimate setting of The Old Rep theatre is the perfect introduction to theatre for school children and we understand that it is regularly attended for school trips. Ticket prices are £13.80 for children, £16.50 for adults but there are discounted rates for families and groups. The performance lasts for approx. 115mins including a 20 minute interval. For this particular show, there are two performances from Monday to Friday with one show on Saturday.. We were also impressed to note that they also have British Sign Language days and relaxed performance days (suitable for autistic spectrum) on selected dates.

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    Grace Dean takes the lead role of Alice with Alec Fellows-Bennett playing the Mad Hatter. Katie Paine plays the Queen of Hearts, Ewan Goddard is the White Rabbit, with Mark Collier and Laura Curnick playing the dual roles of the Caterpillar and Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee and Dormouse. Those characters playing multiple roles demonstrated their versaility and we were able to easily distinguish between each character and get swept along with the story. 

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    Despite Alice being the much loved central character, with Grace Dean creating the right balance of cute and childlike behaviour, the Mad Hatter was crowned our favourite character of the show, with his tea party songs being stuck in our heads for the remainder of the day. 

    We're all mad here ......

    So if you enjoy a little dose of madness and would like to see the show for yourself, it is running at The Old Rep Theatre until Saturday 30th December, making it the perfect family Christmas outing. 

    Disclosure: We were invited to attend the show for the purpose of the review.

  2. 5 Important discussions to have with your children

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    The parenting journey is the most incredibly difficult and entertaining experience you will ever go through. For the most part, all you can do is grab hold of your child’s baby grow and then hang on for dear life as they navigate the world and find out who they are as a person. However, there are times where you need to step in and act as the wise woman you are, and that is when the struggle becomes real.

    All of us just treading water and trying to do what we can with the information we have, but that does not mean we have all the answers. Nope. Not at all. Instead, we follow our gut, guide our kids based on what we believe to be morally right and hope that they survive their childhood as best as possible.

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    You need to teach the respect, help them understand why there are rules in place, how important manners are, why school is important and how to go after their dreams, all while playing the role of day-to-day mum or dad. As we said, it is a struggle. But amongst all of this, it is absolutely imperative you hold a few crucial conversations. Trust us, you and your kid will massively benefit from them.

    1. Sit Down And Ask Them How They Are

    We can all be a little obsessed with our own child. You want to be with them every waking minute (even though they stress you out no end) and talk to them and understand who they are better. But when was the last time you asked them how they are; how they really are. We don’t just mean, “how was your day, sweetheart?” We mean asking them how they are doing in general. No one wants to unload their feelings without a prompt, so give your child the floor and let them tell you whatever is on their mind or, better yet, in their hearts. It could take a bit of patience on your part, and a bit of trial and error in the way you ask, but once they are comfortable you will be amazed at what spills out of them. So long as you are sympathetic and not pushy, you will be amazed at who your wonderful little one is and you’ll be teaching them a) how to express their emotions and b) that it is okay to express them.

    2. Talk To Them About Being Street Smart

    It would be absolutely amazing if we all lived in the fictional world of some Disney film where we could let our kids run around the streets without having a single worry or twinge of anxiety about what if this happened or what if that occurred. Unfortunately, that is not possible these days. Whether you blame that on the press, the way society has gone or your own insecurities don't matter; parents don’t feel confident enough to make that kind of Mayberry dream a reality. However, there will come a time where you have to let go which is why it’s so important you talk to them about being street smart. You want them to be kids but not naive. You need them to be aware of the potential dangers out there and how to spot them coming from as far away as possible. If you know they can spot dangers then you know they are more likely to be safe, and that’s all a parent wants; a safe and happy child.

    3. Have A Chat About Compassion

    Raising a child that boasts a wealth of compassion is far better than raising one that is just focussed on making money because compassion is what makes someone want to make a difference. It is the foundation for making them open-minded and sympathetic to their surrounding, especially people. A great place to start is teaching them what a compassionate act is and how they can have compassion for other people, whether they be less fortunate or seem as though they have it all. The intrinsic rewards of showing compassion and actively wanting to help others go far beyond anything else. That is where happiness and purpose come from.

    4. We Can’t Leave Out The Birds & The Bees

    We get it, this is a conversation you would rather not have because the idea of your little one growing up and becoming sexually active is disconcerting, to say the least. But they will grow up, it is their destiny, and so the best thing we can do is talk to them about sex. That means teaching them about the responsibilities involved such as using contraception, whether that be a microgynon pill an implant or condoms, as well as how to own their sexuality and not feel pressured to do anything. Trust us, your kids are going to feel just as embarrassed about this chat if not more, but it is up to you to open the door and start educating them. They will learn about this at some point, so it is whether you want to be the guiding voice or leave it to their friends-slash-the internet.

    5. Discuss The Growing Issue Of Bullying

    This is a part of growing up that has gotten disgustingly out of hand, thanks to the Internet. It isn’t just being done face to face anymore, it is being done through social media and instant messengers and that has had a severe effect on young people, and we mean that in the most serious way possible. Bullying is such a real problem and your role is to teach your kid how and why it is important to speak up if they are getting bullied or indeed know someone that is. You need to make the effort to talk to your children about the topic of bullying, but make sure you read advice about how to first and how to spot the signs that they are being bullied so that you avoid making any mistakes that push them further away. Most parents weren’t brought up in the internet age, so this can be new and terrifying, so it’s as much about educating yourself as it is guiding your kids. It’s hard but so important.

  3. Is it the end of the classic birthday party?

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    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.

  4. The challenges of being a dad to girls

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    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?