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. Anyone that knows me knows that I love a party and having two girls means even more reasons to celebrate throughout the year but what age is too old to to have a birthday party?

    Well that got me thinking about how different parties can be at every age and having lived through a few of them, here is our birthday party guide for all ages ....

    Age 1 - Let's be honest, the first birthday party is really a celebration of the anniversary of you becoming a parent. A one-year-old may enjoy being the centre of attention but she will have no idea of what a party is. We chose to have the girls first birthday's in a function room with sensory toys for the little ones (and a bar for the adults!). Everyone happy!

    Age 2 - Despite their reputation, two-year-olds aren't always terrible, so a party for this age group can be great fun. A toddler has no expectations, so there is little point wasting time and money on  an extravagant affair. A teddy bears picnic in the park ( or the back garden ) is ideal for this age.

    Party - playground

    Age 3 - It's not until they hit three that children begin to really understand parties. Children very often go to nursery or playgroups at this age, so have a small circle of friends that they play with, so soft play is frequently the destination of choice at age 3 as it gives them chance to run around without restrictions (but don't forget the cakes)

    Birthday cupcake

    Age 4 - For some reason, parties seem to step up a notch by the time children are four. Many children have established friendship groups at nursery and there appears to be a little competition in the quality of the party, so an entertainer is a good idea. It is at this age that children also seem to become acutely aware that they get a party bag at the end of a party. This is usually filled with all sorts of goodies from balloons, sweets and small plastic toys!

    Party bags

    Age 5 - Having started school, your little ones social circle will have expanded again and for the first couple of years at school you may find a constant merry go round of children's parties so trying to find something "different" can be a challenge. A farm party is always good for this age as they love discovering, feeding the animals (not forgetting getting muddy) and you can have larger numbers here too, without significant expense.

    Age 6 - A disco party is a favourite at this age. Children will especially enjoy this if it's hosted in the early evening rather than the afternoon. Make sure you have plenty of space for dancing if you are not holding it in a village hall. Six is a great age for throwing a birthday party, as children can play without too much supervision and they love the idea of entertaining their friends.

    Age 7, 8, 9 - Sleepovers and cinema trips are the usual party of choice as they go into Juniors and decide that a "disco" in a hall is not cool enough any more. 

    Age 10 - I am now the proud owner of a 10 year old and despite saying (for years) that she was too old to have a birthday party, this year she chose to take a (large) group of friends on Skytrail, which is essentially an adventure playgroup suspended in the sky! Apparently they turn into adrenalin junkies when they reach double digits.

    Skytrail party

    Party 10

    Age 13 - This is the age of hormones and teen angst. Whatever they want to do at this age will probably end in tears but you can try a pamper party (for the girls anyway).

    Age 16 - Celebrating being 16 is the new 18. My god daughter is already planning her sweet sixteen party and she wants chocolate fountains and a limo. This seems to be an American thing that is now crossing the pond but thankfully they no longer want party bags at this age!

    Age 18 - Most 18 year old's can't wait to have a "legal" drink in a pub and with a lot of function rooms being reluctant to hold 18th birthday parties for fear of serving those who are still underage, they usually decide to go into the nearest town for pubs and clubs with their official I.D.

    Age 21 - My Nan would always sing, "You've got the key to the door, never been 21 before" and it is the age where you are seen as an adult. No more children's parties, no more party bags and very often now, you have the key to your own door. So maybe it is house party time?

    And thereafter?

    I still celebrate my birthday every year, whether it is drinks with friends, a BBQ at the house or a meal out. I *may* be 40 in a couple of years time and that is as good a reason as any for having a party in my book.

    So what age is too old for a birthday party?

    Never I say! You are never too old for a party in my book.

  2. Having two little monkeys, oops I mean children, in our house it is no secret that we love animals. The girls always want to go and feed the chickens or horses and the toddler seems to have found a strange recent obsession with the cows in the farmers field, so we have been talking recently about taking them to a safari park. We are therefore delighted to share this competition in associated with The Aspinall Foundation, one of the leading safari and animal conservation parks in the UK working in conjunction with Port Lympne and Howletts Wild Animal Parks.

    They are running a great competition at the moment and are looking for children of all ages to tell them: “What is your favourite animal and why?” Some of their keepers have already got involved by telling us theirs:

     

    The contest entry is really easy to enter: recording a short video (60 seconds or less), then, uploading the video to either the Port Lympne or Howletts Facebook page along with the hashtag #AnimalsRockComp.

    After a family discussion, we decided that the big cats were our favourite (and I don't mean our crazy moggy) but the beautiful lion pride, as the man on the Lilypad very often refers to us as his pride. He *may* also say that a King only bows down to his Queen .... I am kind of hoping that means me!

     Lion Pride

    The winners will be chosen by TV personality and animal lover Paul O' Grady and the prizes include:

    ·         The chance to be a Junior Ranger, or join the Keeper Academy along with four Gold Cards to both Howletts and Port Lympne animal parks 

    ·         A personal VIP Safari Experience for four at the Port Lympne Reserve

    ·         4 Passports to either Howletts or Port Lympne Reserve 

    There are no age restrictions on the competition, so adults are welcome to try their luck as well as kids to be in with a chance to win. You can find out all about it here and the full terms and conditions are here. The end date is 31st May 2015 at 11:59pm. Entries after the closing date will not be accepted.

    Good luck!

  3. Working from home has lots of advantages in flexibility (not to mention staying in your pj's .... I can assure you that never happens!) but having come from a corporate world in a former life, I am always conscious of health and safety too, although not carrying out risk assessments every five minutes definitely has its advantages.

    When I was told that More Than were launching their Fire Safety Campaign, I was straight on the phone to my brother, who is a Fire Fighter to see what his top tips were regarding fire in the home. His immediate response? Get out, stay out and call the fire brigade! Once I told him I was not working for his boss and wanted "real" advice about fire prevention, he was actually really helpful! (who knew my baby brother could be so informative!)

    It appears that a small thing can make a big difference where fire is concerned and the Fire Service advocate the use of Smoke Alarms. They are such a small thing at relatively small cost but can be the difference between getting out of a fire in time and not. More Than suggest buying longer life batteries and it is important to have them on every level of your home.

    Smoke Alarm

    Did you know that ....?

    • 90 people die each year because the battery in their smoke alarm was flat or missing.
    • More than five fires a day are started by candles
    • Every three days someone dies from a fire caused by a cigarette
    • Faulty electrics (appliances, wiring and overloaded sockets) cause around 7,000 house fires across the country every year. (Yes, I bet you looked under your desk at the extension lead right then didn't you?)

    The one thing that my brother said that really made me think was to make a "Bedtime Checklist" as you are more at risk from a fire when you are asleep, so it is a good idea to check the house before you go to bed.

    • Close inside doors to stop a fire from spreading
    • Turn off and unplug electrical appliances, unless they are designed to be left on (I don't want to be responsible for you unplugging the freezer and having all the food defrosted!)
    • Check the cooker is turned off
    • Don't leave the washing machine o
    • Put candles and cigarettes out properly.
    • Make sure exits are all clear
    • Leep door and window keys where everyone can find them quickly if needed.

    It is worth taking a few minutes to take a look at the #MoreThanFireSafety campaign as a fire can be devastating but making sure you do everything possible to prevent it and protect your family against it can be done by a few very simple measures.

    Do you have any tips you would add?

  4. September

    My September child is not always full of grace but born on a Monday she is fair of face,

    Whilst pregnant through the summer, in a hazy warm whirl, I was constantly asked if I wanted a boy or a girl.

    I never had a preference, although girls are the best, which is particularly good given that with two I am blessed.

    The timing of the birth became something of discussion, never once really thinking about timing repercussion.

    How a simple matter of days can change things in a jot, from those who are at school and those who are not.

    My gorgeous girl likes to crack a funny, and repeatedly ask "do I make you laugh Mummy?"

    My September child who has friendships that will change, when finding new friends can sometimes be strange.

    Will they want know how funny she can be, will they give her chance to see what I can see.

    My September child misses the school cut off by a matter of days but I know that I have not missed the school placement craze.

    Because I don't inwardly groan about the difference those days make and every opportunity to be with her I will take.

    And while others worry about the right school uniform gear, I am just glad that girl is mine to enjoy for another whole year.