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Blog : Little Lilypad Co

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The Little Lilypad is a lifestyle blog mostly written by a mum to two beautiful ( 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 (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. There has been much talk recently on the Lilypad about getting a new pet (!!), now those that know me will know that we have a cat. A somewhat crazy cat that loves to bring us presents and I am not entirely sure that I can cope with the delivery of any more mice, frogs or birds at the moment, so we decided to look at what else might suit our family.

    There are definitely two tupes of people, those that love animals and those that don't and although different nations have different attitudes to them we all favour some pets over others. Here are the four most popular pets worldwide which are dogs, cats, birds and fish and with vetinary costs spiralling, it pays to choose someone like More Th>n who can offer insurance for your pets.

    Cats and Dogs

    The most popular pets worldwide are dogs and cats, however there is some confusion about which are the most popular. While it used to be thought that there were many more cats than dogs, in fact pet dogs outnumber pet cats by a factor of two. A report published by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) estimates that there are 432 million pet dogs and 272 million pet cats.

    People keep pets for a variety of reasons, and this varies from country to country, but overall 49% of pets are kept for companionship; 43% for guard; 5% for hunting; 2% for religious reasons, and 1% for herding. It is also interesting to look at how this varies across various continents. In Europe the order of importance for keeping pets is companionship, guarding, hunting, and working (mainly herding) while in Africa it is guarding, hunting, herding, companionship.

    Birds

    Birds are the third most popular pets and again there are a number of reasons why we keep them. One of these is that compared to cats and dogs they make inexpensive pets. All they need is a little food and water.

    Although we think of dogs as intelligent, so too are birds; they have much more intelligence than they are usually credited with. They are even clever enough to use tools, which is more than dogs can do. They don’t need walking, house training or even a litter box; cleaning out a bird cage is very simple. We keep them because of their beauty, their companionship, and also sometimes for guard duties which include warning of intruders and chasing them away.

    Fish

    In terms of the numbers that are kept as pets fish far outnumber all other kids of pets, but the reason is that people who keep fish tend to keep large numbers of them.

    Keeping fish has been popular for hundreds if not thousands of years. Originally kept for food, in Japan it was traditional to keep brightly coloured koi and goldfish as pets 2,000 years ago. In Ancient Samaria fish were kept in ponds for aesthetic reasons, and in Ancient Egypt they were kept in temples. In Europe carp were kept both for aesthetic reasons and for food.

    There is something particularly calming about watching fish swim in an aquarium tank or in an outdoor pool, and keeping fish can be inexpensive, but fish can also make expensive pets. For instance some koi can cost many thousands of pounds for a single specimen which is light years away from the goldfish I won as a child at the fair! I am not even sure that they do this anymore.

    Goldfish

    So in the end, I think a fish may end up being the new pet on the Lilypad, I just hope the cat doesn't choose to go fishing!

    This post is in collaboration with More Than.

  2. My sweet tooth is well documented, so when I was asked if we would like to review Edible Sweet Art, resistance was futile.

    We were told that the small Edible Sweet Art kits come in a range of gorgeous designs to inspire children to get creative. Inside each box are easy to follow instructions, coloured blocks of Sweet Art sugar dough and where necessary shaped moulds or icing to complete the designs.

    Given that we have two creative monkeys in this house, I was thankful that we were sent a set which was able to make two shapes. It does say that the kits are suitable for 6+ and the 9 year old definately wanted to get straight into the pack as soon as she saw it. We had to hold her back and make sure that we were reading the instructions properly and working out how much we had to seperate and lay out.

     Edible Sweet Art 1

    The pack contains:

    120 grams sugar dough

    10 grams cornflour, rolling pin, brush and instructions.

    Now the pack very clearly says that the kit is not suitable for children under 36 months but the "almost" 3 year old didn't want to be left out. So she had to get involved but needed a considerable amount of help and supervision from Daddy (who is the most creative one of the family, I usually give up when he starts his creation). She loves panda's so this was hers (aka Daddy's) first attempt.

    Edible Sweet Art 2

    The kit comes with cornflour to help prevent the dough sticking to the surfaces but we found that we didn't need it ..... except from when the 2 year old got the dough extremely wet trying to stick different pieces together. I reiterate that it does say it is suitable for children over 6 but we were supervising, so all was well.

    Edible Sweet Art 3

     

    The 9 year old managed to actually make two animals out of her half of the mixture and thankfully (for her teeth) she doesn't actually want to eat them. The same can't be said for the 2 year old.

    We had to prop them up with cocktail sticks while they were still soft but within a couple of hours, the sweet dough had hardened and the animals able to sit up alone. We followed the instructions closely but you could make whatever you wanted, given a little imagination.

    It was a great activity for the children on a Sunday morning and would be lovely for them to make decorations for their own birthday cakes. You can always nibble on them afterwards but my eldest daughter thinks that they are just too cute to eat!

    These affordable small Edible Sweet Art kits make perfect gifts, cake toppers, party activities or holiday fun. Designs available include bears, elephants, caterpillar, snails, frogs, penguins, cookies, lollipops and candy box.  RRP 7.00 and available from www.tobar.co.uk 

  3. Mecca have challenged me to come up with my favourite/cherished memories from my childhood, which is certainly a challenge as usually I can't remember what happened last month, let alone the last decade (ahem) or so, but here goes .....

    1.     Name your group of best friends during school – are you still friends?

    In junior school we were all best friends and I love that I am still in touch with three good friends from junior school. Senior school was a little different and friendships could change from term to term. In the latter years I found great friendships and Ashley is godmother to my youngest daughter ..... so we are most definitely still the best of friends.
     
    2.     What would your typical weekend look like as a teenager?

    Staying up late and sleeping all day. I think that is fairly standard for most teenagers!
     
    3.     At 14, what did you want to be when you were older? What do you do for a living now?

    I thought I wanted to be a vet at one point (although that may have had more to do with my friends wanting to do the same thing) but in the end, I realised that I am a bit squeamish so it wasn't the ideal career path for me! Today, well spending most of my day at a computer is certainly a "cleaner" profession than dealing with germs and blood in a vetinary practice. 

    4.     What artists/bands did you love as a teenager?

    I balked at the usual boy bands and liked to be a little different and I never forget seeing Prince when I was about 14! When he recently toured again I saw so many of my friends desperate to get tickets ..... I was clearly a trend setter, I just didn't know it!
     
    5.     Who was your first celebrity crush?

    Tom Cruise! I remember a lad in my class being the spitting image of him and swooning over him hopelessly! Thankfully I got over it, which was good for my own self esteem when I saw him in a club years later and the butterflies of yesteryear had disappeared.
     
    6.     What was your favourite film? Is it still your favourite?

    My favourite film was Beaches and it is definitely still in my top 5 films of all time. It was hilarious to find out that my friends husband also loves that film ..... although our spouses refuse to let us watch it (and weep).
     
    7.     What were your hobbies as a teenager?

    I danced, danced and danced a bit more. I may not do ballet any longer but give me a dance floor and I will still dance the night away.


    Dancing 

    8.     Growing up, who were your inspirations? Has this changed and why?

    Darcy Bussell the ballerina inspired me to take up ballet and she also inspired my choice of name for my eldest daughter. I still think she is amazing but I am a little disappointed that she chose to have so much surgery done. Each to their own eh?
     
    9.     What is your biggest regret?

    I always say you should never regret the things you have done as they were right for you at that time. Maybe we should regret the things we didn't do? Like travelling round the world before settling down?
     
    10.   What advice would you give your 16 year old self?

    Don't take yourself too seriously, have fun and don't change for anyone!
     

    This post is in collaboration with Mecca but all childhood memories are my own!

  4. I recently wrote a post about how  life changes, seemingly in the blink of an eye, although these days more through tired eyes than anything else but my choice of honeymoon destination has changed in the last 10 years, as much as my lifestyle.

    I *may* have mentioned a wedding later this year and we are still debating over our honeymoon destination. Do we want a relaxing beach honeymoon (this may never happen with the children), a cultural city break (again, not sure how enthused the girls would be about this) or simply a big family holiday?

    I am a little reluctant to build my own package with independant agents, so I have been trawling through the First Choice website trying to find a solution. My top three family friendly honeymoon picks at the moment (I am a woman so allowed to change my mind) are:

    Kos

    We have been to Kos before the toddler was born and stayed in a gorgeous resort in Kos Town. I was always a little wary of the Greek Islands (given my necessity to put my toilet paper down the toilet and not in a bin) but so many of the new resorts have modern toilet / sewerage facilities, this isn't so much of an issue any more. You can almost always be guaranteed of the weather and with some amazing Holiday Villages to choose from, good flights and transfers, this makes it a great option for one week or two!

    Algarve

    There are those that love it and those that hate it, but the Algarve is Portugal's premier holiday destination, with pretty beaches, lots of resorts to choose from and picturesque whitewashed towns. We holidayed in Portugal some years ago and if you pick somewhere like Balaia, it is safely tucked away between the livelier resorts of Albufeira and Vilamoura on Portugal’s Algarve coast giving you the best of both worlds. The Holiday Villages again have something for everyone, from entertainment and buffet restaurants for the children to a la carte restuarants for the grown ups!

    Tunisia

    Tunisia was the choice of our first holiday as a family of 4. Again the flight times were not too long (especially when travelling with small children) but we chose to go in January last time, which was a little out of season. The best times to go here are really between April and October to take advantage of the weather ..... we learnt our lesson as the outside pool was a little chilly!! Thankfully there was a great indoor pool that the girls could enjoy.

    Water Babies on holiday

    So given our October wedding, this may be a definite contender with 5* resorts a plenty.

    The girls feature in every decision we make as a family and it seems our honeymoon is no different. 

    In saying that, we could simply sneak off to an all inclusive, adults only resort on the Caribbean Coast in Mexico where I could spend days soaking up the historical sites like Chichen Itzá and Tulum, while my new husband soaks up the sunshine.

    We just need someone to have the children for 2 weeks. Any takers?

    This post is in collaboration with First Choice Holidays but all holiday experiences and honeymoon aspirations are our own!