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. Enchanted Christmas Kingdom

    There is no escaping the fact that Christmas is looming and with a Santa experience available everywhere from the supermarket, school fetes or local garden centre, how do you choose the best place to go? We were invited along to Hatton Adventure World to experience their Enchanted Christmas Kingdom this year, so we gathered all the family up for a crisp November morning and set off in search of Santa and his reindeer.


    Christmas Shopping Markets

    Before you even step inside Hattion Adventure World, you get to walk through some fabulous Christmas market stalls that are just there for the festive season. The stalls change week on week and you don't need to pay entrance to the park to enjoy the shopping experience either. There was so many fabulous Christmas themed gifts from handmade plaques and personalised pictures through to our particular favourites of gorgeous scented soy candles from Wicks of Water Orton. There wasn't a cash machine working on site during our visit, so it is definitely worth making sure you have some cash available if you want to shop in the market area. 


    Zoobee's Christmas Cracker Show

    Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas at Hatton without Zoobee and his marvellous magic show. We have seen Zoobee a few times and every time is different and the Christmas Cracker Show doesn't disappoint. We won't tell you what happens as we don't want to ruin it but the jokes are as funny for the grown ups as much as the children!

    Farmyard Favourites

    No visit to Hatton Adventure World is complete without popping in to see (and feed) the farmyard animals and they have been given the festive treatment with tinsel and decorations around the farmyard too. The children love to feed the animals (but you need to double check as there are signs saying that not all the animals should be fed).


    Writing A Letter To Santa

    All children love to write their letters to Santa and if your little ones haven't done so already, they can sit on a toadstool and write their list in the Arts and Crafts tent area before taking a trip to see the big man!


    Christmas Decorations Making

    Hatton are all about children making memories and the Arts and Crafts area gives them a chance to make their own decoration to hang on your Christmas tree or personalise your own Christmas card or wreath. My girls loved this area and we actually went back again after we saw Santa as they wanted to make more things, after walking around for a few hours it was nice for us to sit down in the warm for half an hour or so too!


    Reindeer Quest 

    Ooh we forgot to mention that upon arrival you are told that elves have (carelessly) lost the reindeers and you are tasked with trying to find them. They are hiding around Hatton find all [12] of them and you get to win a Christmas thank you prize! (which is chocolate so that works for us). While we were hunting the reindeer locations we actually came across a real one ....


    One of the things I really liked about our day out at Hatton was that it wasn't overly crowded and as you are able to book a slot to see Santa, there are not huge queues (and bored children). The approach and entrance to the grotto is very twinkly and you could see the excitement building in the children's eyes. 


    Children don't sit on Santa's knee anymore but Hatton had provided a wooden chair to sit on next to Santa. My youngest was a little shy so I got the chance to sit next to him too!! Santa must see A LOT of children but he was so welcoming and engaging with the children, making them laugh and even raising a smile from the 11 year old!

    The look on the children's faces when they were told their key meant they could pick any present they wanted was only surpassed by their expression when they saw the toy workshop and all of its offerings.

    So overall, what did we think?

    Hatton Adventure World has enough to do to fill a whole day out, so if you are used to paying a couple of pounds for a quick visit to see Santa in a local grotto it may seem a little expensive. However the earlier you go, the cheaper it is with prices increasing up to £19.95 in Christmas week. The prices here are on the gate prices, and the website says there are discounts if you book online in advance.

    So what are you waiting for? Go ho ho ho .....

  2. A month today is Christmas Eve ... how is that possible? 

    We are 11 months into the year and the children are keen to believe that the elves have been working hard all year, although I am still unsure as to how this actually works when the children only seem to write their lists in the last few weeks but I suppose that is all part of the magic isn't it?

    For many parents Christmas can be a mix of emotions from the excitement of sharing Christmas with the children to the stress of actually affording to pay for the gifts and festivities. 

    How to afford Christmas without breaking the bank

    So how do you afford a magical and (financially) stress free Christmas? Here are our top tips.

    Make a list and check it twice.

    Having a plan is my top tip! This includes creating a list of everyone you need to buy for and setting a budget. You then know what you need and then don't deviate from it! If you can agree present budgets with friends and family that is even better because no one likes feeling awkward when your gift is significantly more expensive (or cheaper) than theirs.

    Budget, budget, budget

    I am not talking about finding a way to make your pay packet last all the way through December and I know it is easy to say now we are in November but putting away a little bit of money every month can make life a lot easier when it comes to present buying at Christmas time. I am acutely aware that a lot of families don't always have disposable income to put £50 in the savings account every month, especially when you get requests for school trips or the children need new shoes but there is always an option of playing a couple of pounds with games online. I was asked by Lottoland to take a look at their site and as I am usually a bit cynical about the lottery, I wanted to take a look. The interesting part is that you are not actually purchasing a lottery ticket, instead, you are betting on the outcome of the lottery. This was a totally new concept for me as it is a form of betting that gives you the opportunity to play along and bet on lotteries that are not normally accessible to us. There is the EuroMillions, Irish Lottery and Powerball which is the American lottery which had the £1 billion jackpot ealier this year! So even if you played this for £1 a week, the chances of adding more pennies to your Christmas savings pot definitely has better odds than sitting in your piggy bank.

    Shop online 

    Christmas shopping may be fun but it’s a lot more interesting and a lot less stressful when you don’t have to battle the crowds. Most people now shop online in order to obtain bargain prices on gifts but that’s not the only thing that can be purchased online. Stocking up on your entire Christmas food order online and having it delivered will definitely help eliminate the stress of Christmas supermarket shopping.

    Give an IOU to your other half or best friend

    Instead of paying December prices, offer to take your partner or best friend shopping in the January sales. It means that you get a day out together at a fraction of the pre-Christmas cost. This is an especially good idea if you wanted to buy a joint present for the house (this does not mean a vacuum, in case my husband is reading this!!)

    Get cashback

    Whatever you are buying, make sure that you are getting cashback whether this is through an online site (there are so many to choose from) or with your own bank account. It makes total sense toget cashback on the gifts you are buying and you can start to put this into your 2017 Christmas fund!


    What are your top tips on affording Christmas?


  3. Have you seen it yet?

    Can you feel it?

    You know what I mean don't you? ..... The magic of Christmas of course!!

    Magic isn't just reserved for Christmas Eve, not when there is an Elf for Christmas involved in the build up to the 25th December. Sent from the North Pole, Elf reports on good behaviour to let Santa know if children are on the Naughty or Nice List. 

    This is the perfect way to create a modern family tradition, ‘Elf for Christmas’ is an enchanting toy and reward kit perfect for girls and boys aged two and over. You can choose from a girl or boy Elf and this charming toy brings fun and magic to your home throughout December – while promoting good behaviour and family engagement.


    Where the magic really happens is in the Christmas Reward Kit - a unique package to help you bring the excitement of the Elf to life. The kit is designed for families with up to two siblings, includes an arrival letter from Santa explaining Elf's role in your home, a reward chart and stickers, mini report cards and certificates, which can all be used to promote kindness and good behaviour.  

     Win an Elf for Christmas

    Keep the festive spirit alive with Beware of the Elf signs for your door and a Thank You postcard to round off the magic in January. Also included is a Letter to Santa Claus template, ready to post your letters off to the big man himself, and a goodbye letter for when it's time for Elf to go back to the North Pole. Refill Kits can be purchased for larger families, or for annual use.

    Throughout December, you will receive unique personalised emails from Santa Claus, directly to your children or class, with information your Elf has learnt about you. It really is magic. All you need to do is believe it!

    In 2015, 34-year-old mum-of-two Sarah Greenwell put pen to paper and turned her magical Christmas Elf ideas into a product for her young children. From a kitchen table and an online store, Elf for Christmas was born. A sell-out in its first year, Elf was noticed by leading toy retailers, including Selfridges, who will stock Elf for Christmas this winter, so we are delighted to be able to give you the chance to win the "must have" Elf for Christmas just in time to let the mischief, mayhem and madness start!

    December will never be the same again......

    All you need to do is enter below!

     a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Terms & Conditions

    The Prize: Elf for Christmas 
    The winners will be chosen at random by the random winner generator on Rafflecopter and notified within 2 working days by email
    Elf for Christmas will make every effort to provide a choice of elf but this cannot be guaranteed
    By entering this competition, you understand that your details may be retained for future mailings. You can unsubscribe from this mailing list at any time.
    There is no monetary equivalent.
    Little Lilypad Co take no /responsibility for loss or damage in the despatch of prizes
    If the prize is unclaimed within 7 days we reserve the right to redraw the winner.
    End Date 28/11/2016 at 12am



  4. I remember as a child that my brother and I used to laugh so much as we slid across the back seats of my dads car when he went round a corner or island but you wouldn't dream of putting your child in the car now without using a car seat. 

    Understanding the child car seat law

    Nowadays there are various laws that you need to consider ahead of buying a child car seat, and folk like baby nursery specialists Babythingz on-hand to detail everything you should know:

    General child car seat laws

    Car seats are required for children until they are either 12 years old or 135cm tall, depending on which comes first. (My eldest daughter has been willing herself to grow taller every year!!)

    Furthermore, EU-approved child car seats are the only type of equipment that can be used across the UK — you can identify if a seat conforms to this requirement by looking for a label which shows a capital ‘E’ in a circle.

    Laws regarding height-based and weight-based child car seats

    Also known as ‘i-Size’ seats, height-based child car seats must always be set up so that they are rear-facing until a child is over 15 months old. Forward-facing seats are suitable once this age has been reached.

    When it comes to weight-based child car seats, bear in mind the following types to find the equipment that’s most suitable to you and your family:

    • If a child weighs up to 9kg, you must use a rear-facing baby carrier, a lateral or lie-flat baby carrier or a rear-facing baby seat that comes complete with a harness.
    • If a child weighs up to 13kg, you must use a rear-facing baby carrier or a rear-facing baby seat that comes complete with a harness.
    • If a child weighs between 9kg and 18kg, you must use a forward- or rear-facing baby seat that comes complete with a harness or safety shield.
    • If a child weighs between 15kg and 36kg, you must use a forward- or rear-facing baby seat that comes complete with a harness, safety shield or also has a seat belt applied. There is an alternative solution in this scenario though — a high-backed booster seat or a booster cushion.

    Laws on how to fit a child car seat

    As well as laws about choosing the correct type of child car seat for your requirements, there are also some legal obligations to be aware of, with regards to actually fitting the equipment.

    For example, a child car seat must only be fitted where a vehicle’s seat belt has been designed with a diagonal strap. There are two exceptions here:

    • This requirement doesn’t apply when a car seat has a specific design that enables it to be used with a lap seat belt.
    • This requirement doesn’t apply when a car seat comes fitted with the use of ISOFIX anchor points.

    Front airbags must also be deactivated if you are looking to fit a rear-facing baby seat into your vehicle’s front passenger seat.

    One last point is that a child car seat must in no circumstances be fitted onto a side-facing seat.

    With laws changing all the time, it is good to keep up to date with the very best ways to keep our children safe ..... the same couldn't be said for my brother and I rolling around in the back of my parents car circa 1983.