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: Lifestyle

  1. How to save money when buying for Christmas

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    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.

  2. 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?

  3. Where is your happy place?

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    I always remember being set an assigment at school that asked us to describe our favourite place in the world but I don't think my teacher was expecting me to go into significant detail as to why my bed was my favourite place!! The assignment was more to do with the places that make us happy and this is was clearly what that teacher was hoping to find!

    According to recent research, eating a pub lunch in the Cotswolds has been voted the nation’s ultimate "happy place", with hiking in the Lake District coming in a close second, followed by eating an ice-cream on Brighton Beach. Interestingly, the researchers from SACO, The Serviced Apartment Company, polled UK holidaymakers and revealed one in four Brits believe there is "no place like home" when it comes to holidays.

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    We recently went on a trip to London to see friends for the weekend and had an amazing time taking in the sights of London, which is apparently number 10 on the list! 

    We were really lucky and got a brilliant day of sunshine to walk around and be tourists for the day. Although hilariously, the research found that 27 percent said it was a must to get blown about on a windy beach and 24 percent said you haven’t experienced a true British holiday until you have been caught in torrential rain.

    You forget how amazing London is and how the history blends with the modern buildings at every turn. I "may" have mentioned in a previous blog post that I walked 20,400 steps that day and while it would have been good fun to go on an open top bus, walking was the healthier option! 

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    Happy Places are not just something that researchers created for marketing purposes, Professor Christopher Peterson wrote a book explaining that when we are acutely aware of the moments in our life that give us pleasure, we can extend these experiences to maximize the amount of pleasure we get from them. Finding our own happy place is good for the mind, body and soul. 

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    So last weekend as we sat in a rooftop bar, looking over St Pauls it is such a shame to think of all the tragedy that London has seen recently because it not only has the ability to inspire happiness but to inspire curiosity, impart historical knowledge and give a sense of patriotism that is rarely found in any other city in the UK.

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    For me, my happy place will always be wherever my friends and family are. As long as we are laughing, we could be anywhere on this list.

    How about you? Where is your happy place?

  4. 5 Frugal Things I've Done This Week

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    I haven't written a frugal post for a little while, mainly because the summer hoildays sucked the life out of my finances but we shall ignore that "small" detail for now.  The beginning of September meant back to school, so after buying school shoes, new uniform and a seemingly endless supply of stationery, it was time to get savvy and a little more frugal.

    I have had to dig deep and find the best way to save money, so here is the best of my frugal ways from the past week.

    Last weekend we went to London to see friends but rather than stay in a swanky hotel, we stopped in their daughters room and on the first night, had a curry and stayed in with a few drinks. We could have gone out for a meal but instead of trying to catch up in a busy restaurant and paying for over priced drinks, we saved money and were actually able to hear each other talk too. Double win there!

    While we were in London we walked EVERYWHERE. Anyone who knows me will know that I am permanently in heels, so you can imagine how my feet felt after walking 20,400 steps around London. It was a gorgeous day (and in light of the recent tube attacks I also felt it was the safer option) but sometimes it is so easy to jump on a tube to get anywhere in London but we saved ourselves the cost of tube tickets and managed to see so much of London while we were doing it!

    I keep encouraging the girls to clear out their bedrooms (it is an ongoing process) and they have become a little enterprising, so everytime they look to get rid of something they now ask if I can put it on local selling pages or eBay for them. The youngest has actually made £50 and is loving making money to put in her savings account. 

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    I am always looking to learn new things, so signed up for a free blogging course this week. I may have been putting content online since 2009 that is not to say there aren't lots of exciting things to learn and put to use. Fab to find a free offer too.

    Next week I am hoping to make some savings on my electricity costs ..... wish me luck! 

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

    Have you managed to stay money savvy this week or blown the budget like me over the summe?