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. Sitting down as a family to eat is really important to us and so when Nailcote Hall invited us to choose from their Afternoon Tea or Sunday lunch experience, despite being the self crowned "Queen of Afternoon Tea", I thought it would be a lovely chance for us to all go out for lunch this Sunday afternoon.

    Nailcote HallSunday Lunch in the Oak Restauarant

    Nailcote Hall is a small English stately home, built in 1640 just before the start of the English Civil War. It is situated in Berkswell which is less than 20 miles from the centre of Birmingham but has a lovely rural feel about the locality. I have been to a number of events at the venue before from weddings and tribute nights in the marquee to fashion shows but have never experienced the restaurant for a dining experience, so we were all looking forward to our lunch!


    The entrance to the hotel doesn't have a "contemporary feel to it, with rugs over original wooden floors it is more like you are going back in time to a place where time stands still and no one is in a rush and we were encouraged to go through to the bar area and relax, where someone would come and see us. We arrived a little after 1pm but despite being lunchtime it didn't feel hectic, although we did initially have to wait a while for someone to come and see us. We were presented with the Sunday lunch menus whereby we could sit in the comfy chairs to browse through the selections before being taken through to the restaurant. 

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    The Sunday lunch at Nailcote can be as big or as little as you like, as you can choose from 2,3 or even 4 courses depending on how hungry your stomach is.... or how much the menu tempts you. 2 courses are £24.50, £27.50 for 3 courses, rising to £29.50 for 4 courses. There is a smaller menu choice for the children and this is 3 courses for £15. 

    My eldest daughter and I choose the Fan of Cantaloupe Melon with fresh berries and home churned sorbet, which was a light and refreshing start to our meal (unsurprisingly she was particularly partial to the sorbet)

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    My husband immediately chose the Duck, Orange & Green Pepper Pate as this is something that we never tend to buy at home, although he swapped the sour dough bread that it came with, for the multitude of warm bread that was served on the table. I am personally not a big fan of pate but he was delighted with his choice and commented on the velvety texture of the pate that had non of the fatty elements that some pate's can have.

    For my main meal, I chose the Roast Leg of Lamb which is a personal favourite but as no one else in our house really likes lamb I never tend to cook it at home, so it was a real treat for me. It was accompanied by roast potatoes and mashed potatoes together with seasonal vegetables which were cooked beautifully. My husband chose the Roast Sirloin of Scottish Beef which came with the largest yorkshire pudding I have ever seen and according to him, the most melt in the mouth beef he has possibly ever tasted. The meat was carved at the table for us and presented with seperate dishes of vegetables that were served to our plates. Had my Dad been with us, he would have commented that the meat was not "piping hot" but it had clearly been left to rest and served how it should be. (It is just worth noting for any one that is like my Dad and insists on burning your tongue on your food).

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    We chose the Fresh Exotic Fruit Salad and Dark Chocolate Creme Brulee for dessert, which were light enough to find room for after such a hearty meal. The smallest member of the family asked for chocolate ice cream but we were advised that the kitchen were not happy with how the ice cream had been churned, so they would rather not serve it, she was happy to accept strawberry and vanilla as an alternative. We were impressed that so many of the foods on the menu were made and churned in house but equally, we were impressed with the honesty of the hotel that they didn't want to serve an icecream that did not meet their standards ... even if it was for a 5 year old. 

    The restaurant was quiet and relaxed, with ambient music fed into the room. It wasn't too crowded but had a nice feel to the room and we were treated to a 5* experience without being pretentious. 

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    Throughout our time at Nailcote Hall, the staff were extremely attentive and responsive, and it is always the little touches that make the Nailcote experience more than just a Sunday lunch. From the staff taking our drinks through to the restaurant, providing an extra cushion so that the youngest member of the family could sit at the same height as everyone else, to personal recommendations on the wine and dessert offerings, we really did have a relaxing and enjoyable afternoon. I was surprised to find that 2 hours had gone by and the girls hadn't once asked for any kind of electrical device at the table, as we had just sat, chatted and laughed together, which for me is what a Sunday is all about. 

    The 5 year old delighted in every part of the meal and experience today, from being personally attended to at the table, to pretending to drink wine at the table (it was obviously only water) and she declared that she would like to go to Nailcote Hall every Sunday for lunch. We received the adults meals as part of this review but had we not received any concessions, it would have cost just over £100 for today's lunch which makes it more of a special occasion venue choice than an every day meal location.

    That said, I would have no hesitation in recommending the food and service to any of our friends and it makes a perfect location for Mothers Day or a birthday celebration. We saw that there are lots of events coming up at Nailcote Hall from tribute acts to ladies day at the races, so there is always something going on (that is without the golf course facilities). We will be returning to Nailcote next month for a charity fashion show with Liliann Occasion Wear but I have no doubt that we will be going for Sunday lunch again soon (especially if the 5 year old has anything to do with it).

  2. Today is International Women's Day.

    I have seen lots of posts on Facebook this morning from awareness raising to concrete action, organizations rally to pledge support to help forge gender parity on International Women’s Day (IWD) and beyond.

    International Womens Day#beboldforchange

    The World Economic Forum predicts the gender gap won't close entirely until 2186. Around the world, IWD can be an important catalyst and vehicle for driving greater change for women and moving closer to gender parity. Content marketing agency Axonn Media surveyed 108 parents on their working life and its seems that being a mum still presents greater professional challenges than being a Dad, even in 2017.

    I was shocked to read that research from its Gender in Marketing 2017 report reveals that 62% of Mums said that parenthood hampered their career, compared to just to 24% of Dads. 



    As a woman who delights in working flexibly around my children, I am frustrated to read that 1 in 10 mums said parenthood has significantly had a negative effect on their career, when working mums are some of the most hardworking and dedicated colleagues I know. 

    So if you can do anything today, use International Women's Day (IWD) as an important opportunity to:

    • celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women because visibility and awareness help drive positive change for women
    • declare bold actions you'll take as an individual or organization to help progress the gender agenda because purposeful action can accelerate gender parity across the world



  3. My friend and I were discussing giving things up in March the other day and she was telling me that she was doing "DECHOX". DECHOX is a nationwide sponsored challenge to give up chocolate for March and raise money for life saving heart research, which is obviously a great charity to support. However, I simply replied that I was giving up chocolate for Lent and she asked why, so I thought that there must be so many people that say they are giving up things for Lent, without actually realising why we are doing it. 

    There is so much more to the religious celebration than ditching chocolate or other bad habits before Easter, but what exactly is Lent? After you have eaten your Pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, the 40 day fasting period (not including Sundays) before Easter. The 40 days of Lent are meant to represent the time that Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness ahead of his ministry.   


    The season of Lent does not include Sundays but most believers will still stick to a humble lifestyle on Sundays during Lent.

    This year, Lent begins on Wednesday March 1 and ends of Saturday April 15, one day before Easter Sunday. It is worth noting that the dates are dictated by the lunar calendar and change every year.

    In the end, everyone makes their own choices regarding their faith but Lent is a chance for people to follow Jesus’ example and give up vices in a bid to grow closer to God as Easter approaches.

    Have you given up anything for Lent, Dechox or any other reason this month?


  4. I was introduced to Wicks of Water Orton on the school run. It isn't necessarily the usual place for networking (or it may be for some) but a conversation arose in the school playground about the business that a fellow mum had created from her kitchen table. This is Donna's story ......

    "In June 2015 I gave birth to Erin, and within hours we were told that she had a rare heart disease. After many months and operations, Erin was discharged from hospital at the end of July 2016. Upon arriving at home my husband gave me a whole kit of everything I would need to make candles. He decided I would need a hobby, as during my time in hospital with Erin, my long term employer also made me redundant. I love candles, so I was super excited to give this a go. We soon found out it was not safe to burn parrafin wax around Erin, and so my search for an alternative began, which thankfully led me to soy wax. However turned out that soy wax candles were extremely expensive to buy, so I decided to buy some wax and started making them for myself. When family and friends came to visit I was always complimented on how lovely they smelt and as a result I started making them for others too.

    So Wicks Of Water Orton was born"

    Wicks of Water Orton Soy Candle Review & Giveaway

    We love knowing the story behind the brand and especially that the soy candles are suitable for children with heart conditions like Erin. Wicks of Water Orton tell us that all of the soy candles are hand wicked and poured, and 100% natural. We were therefore more than a little delighted when at one of those endless birthday parties the children seem to have every weekend, Donna asked if we would review one of her candles on our blog. Wicks of Water Orton have a select range of scents, some favourites and some seasonal but we plumped for the very traditional "Fresh Linen".


    The other scents currently available are:

    🕯 Fresh Linen
    🕯 Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
    🕯 Berry Blast
    🕯 Lavender, Rose & French Vanilla
    🕯 Sandalwood & Rose
    🕯 Lemon & French Vanilla
    🕯 Lily Of The Valley

    The candles retail at £9.50 each, which when they come in a solid glass kilner jar, makes them considerably more cost effective than a large number of the high street brands (and you get a re-useable jar if you are so inclined to make jam or something similar).

    The first thing that struck me is the adorable wick on the candle. I have never seen one crafted like this but apparently all candles start off like this but most are trimmed before they are released for sale. I think it makes a love quirky addition to the look of the candle BUT it is important to trim this as if you don't it can actually render the candle unusable after the first use. 


    The scent is subtle and not overpowering like you have put your face in the clean washing (disclaimer - I may or may not do this on a regular basis) but the fresh linen fragrance filters around the house without the need for me to drape washing all over the radiators to create the same smell. 


    The burn time on the Wicks of Water Orton is a minimum of 30 hours, although I don't want to keep burning mine as I don't want it to end. I light it for a couple of hours each evening after dinner, to remove the food smell and fill the kitchen with its fresh clean scent. 

    Candles are ALWAYS a great gift for all ages, from my daughters friends who are 12 years old through to my pension collecting mum, they all love to receive a candle as a present. So how would you like to enter to win one of these fabulous handmade candles from Wicks of Water Orton? All you need to do is enter below .....

    a Rafflecopter giveaway Terms & Conditions

    The Prize: Wicks of Water Orton Soy Candle
    The winners will be chosen at random by the random winner generator on Rafflecopter and notified within 7 working days by email
    Wicks of Water Orton will make every effort to provide a choice of scent 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.
    UK Entrants Only
    End Date 25/03/2017 at 12am