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 by one of our baby bloggers. Occasionally we accept guest posts too. 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. Need Halloween party ideas for adults? Start by setting a budget and creating an invitation list. Think through every detail so there will be no frightening surprises. Don't forget the Halloween music. Download a CD of spooky music and sound effects for Halloween party fun. Create decorations that are low-cost, and add a few decorations the guests can eat.

    Tips for Halloween Party Food and Decorations

    Ask each guest to bring a food item or finger food – enough to go around for everyone unless it's a big crowd. (Hint: A big pot of chili works great for a crowd and is perfect for cooler weather.) If the weather is warm, serve snack foods, a few easy appetizers and a variety of beverages. Use disposable dinnerware to make cleanup easier.

    Add one or two carved candle-lit pumpkins for "atmosphere" and make use of glow sticks (Department store Halloween aisle) to add a little drama after dark. To save money, homemade and store-bought sweet treats can double as some of the party decorations.

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    Need a few more Halloween decoration ideas?

    Buy small Halloween party bags and fill halfway with wrapped candy or a few homemade cookies. Staple closed or tie with orange or black ribbon. Put a few bags on the fireplace mantel, a few on each bookshelf, and so forth. Display at least enough bags so that each guest can take one home at the end of the evening.

    Decorate for Halloween with natural decorations: Indian corn, gourds, clusters of bare sticks, tall grasses, and pine cones. A little fake cobweb (Halloween supplies) stretched over each cluster adds to the ghoulish effect.

    Black and orange balloons cost very little and make great decorations. Cluster 3 or 4 together and attach to corners of the room close to the ceiling.

    Put a handful of wrapped popcorn balls or wrapped candy in a basket and stretch a fake cobweb over the basket.

    Buy a bag of candy "body parts" (Halloween candy shelves) and place parts strategically on the food table.

    Cupcakes or cookies frosted and decorated with bats, spider webs and tombstones make ideal edible spooky party decorations that are low-cost. Draw the creatures, etc. or buy plastic party decorations.

    Make a spider web cake for an edible centerpiece. (Instructions in last section)

    Make a jack-o-lantern centerpiece cake: Bake two Bundt cakes and assemble together to look like a pumpkin. Frost with orange tinted frosting. Create a jack-o-lantern face with small candies as desired.*

    Halloween Costume Party Ideas

    For a cheap and easy Halloween party, try a hobo theme. Write invitations on scrap paper. Ask guests to dress up in hobo clothes and award a prize to the "best-dressed" hobo. Have everyone pitch in with the food: shepherd's pie, chili, tuna salad, or a bag of broken cookies. Bake a lop-sided cake or bake cupcakes of various sizes (some too small, some half-frosted).

    Halloween costume ideas from classic TV shows are good choices for singles and couples. The TV character idea can even be a costume theme for a party. Guests will have fun dressing up as a favorite television personality from the sixties or seventies (or later).

    How to Make a Halloween Spider Web Cake

    Making a spider web design on top of a cake is easy. The directions below can be modified – make a white web on a chocolate frosted cake, for example. Add a plastic spider to the web if desired.

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    Bake an 8 or 9-inch round cake according to package directions.
    Frost the cake with white icing.
    Take a brown or black decorator gel tube and draw 4 concentric circles on top of the cake. (Chocolate syrup in a squeeze bottle also works well for drawing circles.)
    Using a table knife and starting at the center of the cake, lightly pull through the rings from center to the outside edge. Wipe frosting from knife. Repeat every few inches until the "web" is complete.
    Attach a plastic spider or two if desired, or make one that's edible.

    Successful Halloween party planning is easy and fun, and can fit any size budget. Be sure to make a list of all the things needed – paper cups, napkins, ice, and so forth – so that nothing is overlooked. Share the preparations for less stress, and be sure to delegate a few close friends to help clean up when the party is over.

    And have a frighteningly good time! 

  2. We are now officially in pumpkin season! The weather has changed, Autumn is definitely upon us and all we can think about is that Halloween is approaching!

    Last year we wrote a post about 5 Things To Do With A Pumpkin Other Than Carve It but nothing says Halloween more than a carved pumpkin outside your house. But where are the best places in the Midlands to get your pumpkins this year? We have been taking a look!

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     Manor Farm Fruits - Tamworth

    12th, 13th, 19th & 20th October and Saturday 26th October to Sunday 3rd November 10am – 4pm (stock permitting)

    There is no need to book tickets, you can just turn up on the day and pay.  

      • Choose your own pumpkins (prices vary)
      • Bouncy Castles ( up to 1.3 meters)
      • Climb and Crawl Straw Bales Pyramid and Mini Maze
      • Spooky Space Hoppers
      • Face Painting
      • Creepy Sneaky Scare Tunnel
      • Pumpkin Express Tractor Rides (£3.00 per person)

    The Strawberry Cabin Team Room is also open serving hot and cold food all day including Halloween Cup Cakes and lots of other delicious Pumpkin dishes!

    Prices

    £5 per child ages 2 to 12
    £1 adults
    Under 2 go free.

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    Pumpkin Week at Hatton Adventure World - Warwick

    Tickets are valid on any one day between 26th October to 31st October 2019. We have enjoyed Pumpkin Week at Hatton in previous years and it is a great day out for all the family.

    Tickets can be purchased online up until 10am on the day of visit. (Making a saving on the door prices)

    In addition to pumpkin picking, there are lots of things going on during pumpkin week including :

    New Haunted House

    Pumpkin Carving in the Events (closes at 4pm)

    Pumpkin Hunt

    Pumpkin Carving Competition judged at 4.15pm

    Along with all the usual Hatton activities

    ADULT - £16.95

    CHILD - £16.95 

    UNDER 2 - Free

     

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    Hill Top Farm - Leamington Spa

    Between Saturday 19th October to Thursday 31th October (stock permitting) their pumpkin field will be open for you to pick your own pumpkin.

    The field will be open between 10am-4pm each day and they are taking people down to the pumpkin patch via tractor rides every 30 minutes.  You can then select your pumpkin and take it home with you to carve!
     

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    Planters Garden Centre - Tamworth

    The Pumpkin Paddock returns for 2019! This Halloween event includes lots of family fun such as pumpkin picking, carving, games and more! It is not really pumpkin picking like at pick your own locations but it is a great location and very child friendly.

    Every £5 child ticket includes picking a pumpkin, which you can pick from the paddock area, carving it and being able to take it home. Anybody not wishing to take home a pumpkin can purchase an adult ticket for £1.50.

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    Essington Farm - Wolverhampton

    PYO is open again on the 12th October 2019. 🎃 Go and pick your own perfect pumpkin from all different shapes and sizes. This is farm so always best to wear appropriate clothing and footwear, especially if it has been raining.

    Top Tip from Essington Farm :Remember, if you keep the stalk on your pumpkin it will easily last until November!!

    We will be updating this listing throughout October, so do let us know if you find a great pumpkin patch! 

    And finally ......

    Once you have carved your pumpkin up and created a Halloween masterpiece, the best thing to do then is make some delicious pumpkin soup! 

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  3. Yes I mentioned the C word. I know, I know but if you are a savvy shopper I have no doubt that you have probably already made some purchases or at least some plans by now.

    How to save money in the run up to Christmas

    Its never too early to start

    My plans for Christmas start in January. I read an article this week about a mum who buys the majority of her Christmas presents in the Boxing Day sales and whilst I couldn't do that (my kids change their mind multiple times in December, let alone a whole year beforehand) but I do make plans in January. I buy expensives Christmas cards when they are in the sale at Marks and Spencers or Paperchase. Christmas cards aren't "fashionable" and if you are giving last years designs, it also means that its unlikely people will get duplicates! Win win! 

    Take advantage of out of season offers

    I keep an eye out for the offers. This sounds like simple advice but its true, if I see something on offer earlier in the year, like a favourite perfume or discounts on make up, I will buy it early and put it away.

    Always make a list

    At one point, I was buying for over 30 children and I realised that I needed to reign it in. I keep a book with all the Christmas gifts in it, so I can check what I bought last year and it stops me from going overboard.

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    Don't buy anything at all

    No, I promise I am not being Scrooge. Last year I made a pact with some friends that we would spend time, not money. So we made a conscious effort to get together, to really catch up or to do something fun with the kids. Gifts can be discarded over time, memories can't!

    Check voucher sites

    I remember when we used to get excited about having chocolate in our advent calenders each morning but times have moved on and its toys, jewellery and gin these days! I saw on one of the voucher sites this week, a 24 day Jewellery advent calendar with gifts made with cyrstals from Swarovski. It was reduced from from £199 to £21.99! So it is definitely worth checking out the discount voucher sites before buying an advent calender this year.

    Those are my top preparation tips for this week, so I will leave you to do some savvy shopping. Happy saving! (I won't say Happy Christmas just yet!)

     

  4. Last weekend we went to see the AMAZING 9 to 5 Musical at the Alexandra Theatre. It has finished its run now in Birmingham but it is travelling round the UK. I didn't actually know the story or many of the songs but it was a couple of hours of sheer entertainment. to 5 the Musical tells the story of three workmates pushed to boiling point by their sexist and egotistical boss. Concocting a plan to kidnap and turn the tables on their despicable supervisor, will the women manage to reform their office - or will events unravel when the CEO pays an unexpected visit?

    We got an unexpected surprise when we found star of the show, Louise Redknapp outside the stage door on the way home, so it would have been rude not to say hello! 

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    In addition to 9 to 5 in Birmingham last week, the cast of the fairest panto in the land came together for the first time in costume to officially launch Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs which plays at Birmingham Hippodrome from Saturday 21 December 2019 - Sunday 2 February 2020.

    The spectacular production will feature Lesley Joseph as the Wicked Queen, Matt Slack as Muddles, Joe McElderry as The Spirit in the Mirror, Faye Brookes as Snow White, Flawless as The Wicked Queen’s Men, Doreen Tipton as The Lady in Waiting, Andrew Ryan as Nanny Annie Aspirin and Jac Yarrow as The Prince.

    Matt Slack, Andrew Ryan, Faye Brookes, Lesley Joseph, Joe McElderry, Jac Ya

    Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs runs at Birmingham Hippodrome from Saturday 21 December 2019 - Sunday 2 February 2020. Book now to secure the best seats, or you won’t be able to look yourself in the mirror! To book visit birminghamhippodrome.com or call 0844 338 5000 (4.5p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge). 

     

    In November and December The Old Rep brings Hans Christian Andersen’s classic tale The Snow Queen to The Old Rep stage.

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    This adaptation of the magical adventure follows inseparable friends Kai and Gerda.  When the heartless Snow Queen steals Kai to help rebuild her broken treasure, can Gerda rescue him in time before she plunges the world into an eternal winter? With the help of an unlikely band of companions, Gerda travels to the Kingdom of Ice to confront the Snow Queen and rescue her friend.

    From the creative team behind last year’s Pinocchio, comes a seasonal adventure for the entire family. We loved Pinocchio last year and can't wait to see what the creative team have in store for The Snow Queen.

    Have you booked anything for theatreland this winter?