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. The Old Rep Theatre in Birmingham hosts The Snow Queen for Christmas this year and we were lucky enough to be invited along for their press performance on Saturday 23rd November 2019.

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    The Snow Queen (not to be mistaken for a certain Frozen Queen currently at cinemas right now) is a force to be reckoned with. This tale is based on the original from Hans Christian Anderson, however is a modern day version of the classic story. If I am honest, it is not a story that I was overly familiar with but that didn’t stop me from becoming immersed in the story from the second the curtains went up.

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    The Old Rep adaptation has the basis of most historical tales, and centres around good versus evil, but what makes The Snow Queen stand out is how the “bad guys” are still likeable characters. The Snow Queen has an underlying vulnerability that evolves as the story is told. Although her voice and presence are both strong and powerful in presence and delivery.

    Despite Letitia Hector playing a phenomenal role as the evil Snow Queen, it was Hader (played by Charlie Keable), her goblin sidekick, that was my favourite character with his bumbling charm that made me laugh so many times I lost count.

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    The story follows the adventure of best friends Kai and Gerda but when The Snow Queen steals Kai, can Gerda rescue him in time and find her way through a whole heap of obstacles (and creative characters) along the way to bring him back home? We don’t want to ruin it by telling you what happens, but the cast were exceptional, with many of the lead characters playing multiple roles.

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    The Snow Queen is on at The Old Rep until the 30th December and it is the ideal show for all the family. Our youngest is 8 years old and sat through the performance, both engaged and fascinated by the story. We all enjoy the theatre and I think it is the first year that she hasn’t whispered relentless questions throughout the performance, showing how captivating the tale actually is.

    The Snow Queen is packed with songs, dance and plenty of family fun for audience, making it the perfect choice for a family theatre trip this Christmastime.

  2. I love buying for new babies. I have a tendancy to get carried away with all of the cuteness, however finding the perfect gift for a baby especially at Christmas time can be a challenge.

    Most parents will be inundated with cute and cuddly Christmas toys or gorgeous outfits but new mums are eternally grateful for the practical and useful gifts that they can use long after Santa has left the building.

    This year, we have teamed up with BabytoLove to bring you a baby bundle of delights this Christmas time. This bundle doesn't include cuddly or plastic toys but gifts that mums will love all year round,

    BCLIP - MAGNETIC SOFT SILICONE BIB - £9.95

    What is better than a multi purpose product? This clip is perfect for meal time, painting, playing with clay, and other messy activities. 100% Waterproof food-grade rubber, easy to wash and stays clean. The bclip transforms any fabric or paper napkin to a bib thanks to its two clips - what is not to love?

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    FULL BODY – LONG SLEEVE WATERPROOF SMOCK – PINK HEART - RRP £15.95

    A smock needs no introduction, other than this one is totally adorable and perfectly practical for messy little ones.

    301996 302009 AMBIANCE

    BABY PINK WHALE MEAL SET - £14.95

    We have saved our favourite till last. This small meal set is ideal for weaning little ones. It is cute, practical and a great price. It would make a brilliant baby shower or new baby gift and at £14.95 it won't break the bank either! 

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    So whilst we adore all of these gift ideas, we are even more excited to be able to give our readers the opportunity to win the set of three just in time for Christmas. All you need to do is enter below! 

     Baby to Love Festive Gift Bundle

    Good luck! 

    For more gift inspiration, take a look at the 2019 Christmas Gift Guide round up from Family Budgeting.

     

     

    Terms & Conditions
    The Prize: Baby to Love Prize bundle
    The winners will be chosen at random by the random winner generator on Gleam and notified within 7 working days by email
    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 08/12/2019 at 12am 
    This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Twitter, Instagram or Facebook

  3. We all know the saying that the best things in life are free and this is true but unfortunately money is necessary to survive comfortably in today’s society. You need money to pay your bills and to provide food, clothing and shelter for your family. You need money to pay for your children’s education and to put aside for your retirement. In addition to meeting your present day obligations you need to develop life skills that will help you save money for the future. By saving money you protect yourself against life’s unexpected upsets while enhancing your quality of life both now and later on.

    1. Learn to manage your money

    The most important life skill you need to learn regarding your money is how to manage it - how to earn it, how to spend it, how to invest it and how to save it - for both present and future financial stability. Children can develop good money management skills early on by managing an allowance, using a portion of the money for personal expenses and a portion for building up a savings account.

    Money Saving

    2. Respect your money

    Another essential life skill for saving money is developing a respect for your money. Respecting money is not the same as lusting after it. Respecting your money is appreciating the hard work it takes to earn that money and the value it has in allowing you to provide for your family. Never take your money for granted, thinking the well will never run dry. As evidenced by the many years of downsizing, layoffs and high unemployment rates, money, especially earned income from a job, should never be taken for granted.

    3. Live within your means

    Learn to live within your means. Failing to meet your bills, getting behind on your rent or mortgage and accumulating debt are quick ways to financial ruin, leading to possible eviction, even bankruptcy. Buy a home or assume a rent that you can comfortably afford based on your present income. When purchasing or renting a motor vehicle, make sure you can make the monthly payments. Buy what you need, avoid unnecessary spending and don’t take on what you can’t afford.

    4. Work with a budget

    Drawing up a budget worksheet can get you on the right track for managing your money. Keep an itemised account of all money that comes in and all money that goes out, what bills need to be paid each month, every six months and annually. Include present and projected expenses and income. Include everything from the mortgage and car payments to the smaller items such as kids’ school lunches. Obviously, to save money at the end of each month or year you have to bring in more income than you pay out. With a budget you can more easily determine where you may be overspending and where you need to cut back to save some money.

    5. Stretch your money

    To borrow an old cliché, get the most bang for your buck. Whenever possible, buy items on sale and off-season to get the lower prices. If you have a large family, join a food warehouse club and buy groceries in bulk. Always use in-store and online vouchers. Compare prices and always go with the best deal. Avoid impulse buying even when items are on sale, especially if you don’t need them and most importantly if you can’t afford them.

    6. Don’t waste your money

    Avoid credit card use and abuse. Limit yourself to one credit card only and pay off your bill each month. When possible, pay for purchases with cash or check to avoid late fees, interest and finance charges - those ugly expenses that quickly eat up your hard-earned money. Do whatever you can to protect your pension fund, insurance plans. Avoid premature withdrawals and the exorbitant penalties attached to them. Avoid high-interest loans that can consume a huge portion of your income over a lifetime.

    7. Put your money to work

    Take advantage of company pension plans and other incentive plans where your employer contributes, often matching you dollar for dollar. Talk to your local banking institution about ISAs and other long-term options. Consider investing some of your money. Do some research and seek the advice of a reputable financial planner. As no investment is a guaranteed immediate or long-term success, invest cautiously and stay far away from schemes that are too good to be true.

    Money should not become the be-all and end-all of a person’s life but it does need to be recognised for what it is - a basic necessity if you want to adequately provide for yourself and your family. Developing the life skills to manage and save your money can enhance the quality of your life now and minimize the potential for financial difficulties down the road.

    Oh and as a final note, as we are now on the approach to Christmas ..... don't overspend. It is too easy to buy for the sake of it. Buy what is necessary, don't buy for everyone out of obligation. You will be surprised how many people hate the waste of it all and will be grateful not to have to do the same in return!

  4. 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!