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. There’s no doubt that Christmas is a fun and fulfilling family time.

    But for house-proud homeowners, it also brings a host of cleaning challenges.

    It’s tricky creating a cosy and welcoming domestic environment where family, friends and neighbours feel welcome — while ensuring that high standards of cleanliness are maintained for the duration.

    But if you want to implement festive home hygiene without feeling like a yuletide party pooper, here are four top tips.

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    1. Food

    A mouth-watering Christmas dinner is a time-served 25th December tradition and the centrepiece of celebrations for many families.

    But a multi-guest meal that requires cooking different meats at their optimum temperatures and precisely timing preparation and storage of side-dishes is a logistical challenge that’s almost as complex as the software on Santa’s sleigh sat-nav.

    So it’s no disgrace to double-check official guidance on everything from trimming a turkey to storing leftovers — this Christmas advice from The Food Standards Agency should help.

    2. Tree

    Christmas is the only time of year when a delightfully decorated tree temporarily replaces the TV as the focal point in a family lounge or living room.

    And since even the toughest vacuum cleaners struggle to pick up pesky pine needles, it’s no wonder so may of us prefer plastic trees to their real counterparts.

    However, it’s possible to find a real tree that doesn’t leave an unbelievable mess — the Nordmann Fir and Douglas Fir look fab and hold their needles fantastically. You’ll find further tips on prepping real Christmas trees perfectly in publications like Gardeners’ World.

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    3. Hand sanitiser

    Your home will hopefully experience an influx of festive guests in the party season and there’s every chance that you and your family will be coming and going more frequently as you finalise arrangements.

    This frequent footfall makes the environment crackle with Christmas energy, but also potentially gathers more germs in the home. And no one wants to be battling bugs and viruses when they should be pulling crackers and unwrapping presents. To battle this danger in festive fashion, leave some Christmas hand sanitizers from Mad Beauty in prominent positions for guests to use liberally — they’ll soon get the message.

    4. Mats

    Since Christmas falls bang in the middle of winters that are often wet and wild, there’s always the potential for dirt and detritus to be dragged onto your floors from outside.

    The best way to prevent this is by investing in tough yet attractive floor mats to place outside and inside your door, offering a double layer of protection that keeps carpets pristine.

    There are lots to choose from, but prioritise quality if you’re picking products online. For example, household floor mats from Kleen-Tex look great, have high-quality technical features and can even be customised to tailor-made, unique designs.

    These four festive home hygiene tips will help you keep guests and family healthy and happy as they gather round your hearth this Christmas.

    Do you have any festive hygiene tips? We would love to hear them! 

  2. Christmas is officially around the corner and having now seen a certain Coca Cola advert at the weekend, the holidays are definitely coming.

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    Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you can't have escaped the build up to Christmas with Elf posts all over social media last year and this year is destined to be even bigger and better with the introduction of the Magical Elf Door and personalised letters!

     Elf for Christmas Door

    If you honestly haven't heard about the Elf, it 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.

    We LOVED seeing the Elf mischief last year and cannot wait for our very own Elf, Pip to make his appearance on the 1st December. The Magical Elf Door is the perfect way for your Christmas Elf to travel back and forth from the North Pole to your home – the Magical Elf Door is new for 2018 and is sure to get the magic started this winter. 

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    One of the favourite things from last year was that Pip brought a letter with him every day and I was a little worried about re-using them again this Christmas but Elf for Christmas have thought about that too and added the bonus of having them personalised this year too. 

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    The Elf for Christmas Personalised Advent Letters are written directly to your child or children, from their very own Elf, and mention their hometown and the other people in their house throughout. How amazed will your little ones be when they see their Elf pal has written special letters just for them!

    Elf for Christmas personalised letters

    Our Instagram feed is due to be filled with Elf for Christmas mischief from the 1st December and if you would like to join in the fun, we are delighted to be able to offer you an Elf for Christmas Magical Light Up Door to our readers. All you need to do is enter below >

     Elf for Christmas Magical Door

    Good luck! 

    Terms & Conditions

    The Prize: Elf for Christmas Magical Light Up Door
    The winners will be chosen at random by the random winner generator on Gleam and notified within 2 working days by email
    Elf for Christmas will make every effort to provide this by the 1st December 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 25/11/2018 12am

     

  3. Halloween is out of the way and we are into November, which means that we can mention the C word without fear of too much reproach. Seeing your children’s eyes light up at Christmas keeps the magic of the season alive — but away from the tinsel and crackers, it can be a testing time.

    So some of us are opting to spend our Crimbo cash on a sun-kissed break rather than presents and party food — according to a British Airways survey, 45 per cent of Brits would rather head for the horizon than spend big on gifts.

    If you’re tempted to get away from it all, here are five reasons why a festive break is the best Christmas present.

    1.       Expense

    Christmas figures from stats gurus Statista show that the average spend per British household was £821 in 2017.

    And since many of us spend considerably more, perhaps this hard-earned cash would be better invested in a flight to take us on a revitalising winter break?

    With bargains available in a range of destinations in Europe and beyond, no wonder we’re rejigging our festive priorities.

    2.       Choice complexity

    Choosing an appropriate gift for friends and loved ones feels tougher as we get older and research from US clothing brand Trunk Club suggests that this struggle is real.

    Apparently, someone aged 55 or over is twice as likely as someone in their 20s or 30s to consider themselves poor at giving gifts and 26 per cent of all age groups find festive shopping frustrating.

    So perhaps it’s worth abandoning those trips to source socks and soap-on-a-rope in order to stay calm and composed?

    3.       Cheap holidays

    Destinations like Tenerife and Lanzarote are perpetually popular with Brits looking for an affordable winter break to top up their tans and sink some sangria.

    But according to info from travel experts Lonely Planet, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia is the cheapest place to fly to this year for a Christmas adventure.

    With a week-long break coming in at just £923, it’s not much more than the average household Christmas bill, and a reasonably small price to pay for experiencing an exciting culture.

    4.       Disposable gifts

    If you’re worried about waste and the environment at Christmas, cover your eyes — a study by retaildive.com last year revealed that a staggering 5 billion pounds of unwanted Christmas presents end up rotting away in landfill sites.

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    So if you want to save the planet and avoid wasting your cash, it might be appropriate to cut back or consider a charity donation as an alternative.

    5.       Stress

    Christmas is officially stressful — a survey from discount app Zeek reveals that 15 per cent of us find it worse than moving house and ten per cent report that it’s more nerve-wracking than a child’s first day at school.

    So you’ve got to ask yourself if your time’s not better spent booking airport parking from comparison specialists Looking4.com and stashing your car at the terminal before sashaying to check-in for a chilled-out winter break.

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    There’s no reason this season should be nerve-shredding — perhaps a change of scenery’s all you need.

    That’s our list! Are you flying abroad this Christmas? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

  4. I know that there are some parents that hear the world ‘Halloween’ and their stomach automatically fills with dread. Let’s be honest: PTFA school discos; the mad costume hunt; extreme YouTube face paint tutorials; B&M Bargain decoration battles; £30 trick or treat sweet shops… I could go on. That’s along with the doorbell going every minute on a Wednesday evening when you’re trying to enjoy a glass of vino and catch up on Tuesday’s Bake Off Final.

    That is of course, unless you did successfully complete the £30 trick or treat sweet shop. Then you’ll have no one come to the door. Because. Sod’s. Law.

    Sure, it’s a bind when it falls mid-week, but need we be such a Halloween Grinch? I say us adults milk it for all it’s worth. Sure, it’s commercialised. Sure, it’s full of tack and tat. Sure, it’s costing you a fortune in wear-once costumes and sugar. But, heck, let’s cut loose and live a little. Enjoy the sugar high. Here’s five reasons why Halloween isn’t only for kiddiwinks.

    A good reason to dress up

    Those costumes you’re complaining about? Don’t pretend you don’t like to dress up, too. Come on, get online, have a browse. Go full Morticia Addams. Channel your favourite retro horror characters from Freddy Kruger to Beetlejuice and all that’s in between.

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    Spooky cocktails

    While the kids are getting their kicks on all the sugar-loaded 10p cartons, get creative and conjure up some spooky cocktails in the garden. Zombie Punch, Morgue-a-rita, Spooky Sunrise. Go on, let your hair down. See how things go. It could get really scary.

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    Eat sweets without feeling guilty

    No matter how you try, if you just cannot persuade yourself to get into the spirit of things, at least take this one thing away from the evening. Get home, put your feet up and tuck into to some sweet treats minus the guilt. After all, all that leftover chocolate isn’t going to eat itself. It would be rude not to.

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    Socialising and getting to know your neighbours

    Speak to strangers? Well, that’s sure to be the scariest thing you do this Halloween! But, seriously. In lots of places, there isn’t a sense of community on the street as there used to be once upon a time but we are fortunate to live in a secluded croft and we have a Sloane and Sloane garden bench under our kitchen window and the neighbours regularly sit and have a chat. So whether you’re new to the area or you just usually keep your head down, Halloween is an excellent opportunity to break the ice and be good neighbours. And, we all know, everybody needs good neighbours.

    Couldn’t resist. Sorry.

    Absolute film fest

    Everyone’s got a TV subscription these days, whether it’s Sky Box Office, Netflix, Prime, whatever. You may not like horror, but that doesn’t detract from greats such as Hocus Pocus, Addams Family, Ghostbusters, Rocky Horror… light an orange clove scented candle, grab a blanket, grab some Halloween treats, and go wild. Rock and roll.