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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Category: The Toddler Years

  1. Zapf Baby Annabell Brother | Review

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    There was recently the birth of a new baby prince and it became very apparent in our "baby collection" that we had rather a lot of girl babies and not many boys. Fear not, we were delighted to be given the opportunity to review the Baby Annabell brother doll, which was perfectly timed following the birth of Prince Louis of Cambridge! 

    We adore Baby Annabell and have tried and tested many of the products in the range from the swimming doll to big sister, not to mention the Baby Annabell bedroom. And if I am honest, it makes for a refreshing change to have a baby boy in the house! 

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    The key things to note about Baby Annabell's Brother are:

    • You can cradle him in your arms and he will yawn and his eyes will close (this is actually adorable)
    • You can tell how well he's feeling as his mood changes when you stroke his cheek or pat his back. (again adorable)
    • He can now really wet his nappy & use his potty!
    • It says that the Baby Annabell brother is suitable for three years and up and we have a six year old so it is definitely made to last. Please note: 4 x AA batteries are required (not included).

    First impressions of the Baby Annabell Brother, or "Baby George" as he is now affectionately known in our house (the 6 year old wasn't convinced on the name Louis, but lets not tell William and Kate) was sheer delight at firstly having a new baby to look after but secondly, and more importantly, that it was a boy. 

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    I know that I have stressed this a few times but the fact that it is a boy is a big deal. We have a great deal of "pink" in our house and if you go into any toy shop, the pink baby girls ALWAYS outweigh the number of blue ones. It is proven that from cognitive and motor development to social-emotional growth, that no other single toy comes close to the impact that dolls can have. So having a "boy" doll may inspire more opportunities for boys to play, explore and experiment with different choices, personalities, and responses.

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    The Baby Annabell Brother is soft to the touch but his face moves with a sucking motion when he has his dummy or bottle. This is possibly my favourite feature of the doll (although we are not allowed to refer to him as a doll - he is a baby of course). lf you him flat or pat his back, baby goes back off to sleep. The sounds he generatees are varied, from crying to a sucking sound and a cute “happy” sound along with snoring whilst it’s asleep. Baby Annabells brother is suitable for ALL children and can assist them to learn skills of nurturing, empathy, and caretaking through doll play.

    The new Baby Annabell Brother is available from around £50 which seems a lot for a "doll" but when it is suitable from 3 years of age and we are happily playing with it at the grand old age of 6 and a half, this makes it a gift that will stand the test of time. (oh and it is adorable too! 

  2. 5 sports for your child to try this summer

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    Feature image credit: g-stockstudio/Shutterstock

    In a world where technology is taking over most of our lives, it is becoming increasingly difficult for children to lead an active lifestyle when there are so many distractions, such as tablets and games consoles at hand 24/7. According to Public Health England, the number of children getting a sufficient amount of physical activity last year dropped by a staggering 40%. Therefore, it is important, more than ever, to ensure our children take part in a healthy and active lifestyle.

    Being physically active every day is vital to ensure healthy growth and development for our youngsters – both mentally and physically. The amount of exercise and the intensity differs depending on your child’s age, however, one thing is certain: it should always be encouraged to guarantee your child is getting the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity, per day.

    For many parents, getting your child to be active can be hard, which is why persuading your child to take up a hobby may be a good idea. Why not give your child a taste of different sports this summer?

    5 sports to try this summer:

    • Swimming

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    Photo credit: Michael Brin/Shutterstock

    Whilst the sun is shining and the temperature is warm, swimming is a great activity to take part in – particularly if you have access to a lido, or even an outdoor pool in your garden. Not only does swimming provide all-round exercise for your little one, it is a fun way to get more active and stay healthy; even for parents too! Regular swimming sessions are proven to reduce the risks of developing any serious illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes and, more seriously, heart disease.

    In addition, splashing around in the water not only has physical benefits, but also helps to boost your child’s mood and unwind — and there are lots of different strokes to try and learn.

    • Cycling

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    Photo credit: Soloviova Liudmyla/Shutterstock

    We all know that kids love to ride their bicycles — it's great fun, helps them feel independent, and keeps them fit and healthy. Riding a bike helps fine-tune your child's motor skills, such as balance and co-ordination, as well as building up strength, in both their legs and core. Encouraging kids to cycle from an early age, and getting them to take their “Bikeability” test, will help equip them with an important skill for life.

    As well as that, cycling is a fantastic family activity; great for a day out. All you need is a bike that is suitable for the road and the appropriate size for your child (this can be second-hand or from a bike shop), some basic safety gear including a helmet and perhaps some knee and elbow pads, and a little bit of practice; a highly affordable hobby as there are very little to no maintenance costs.

    • Running

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    Photo credit: Sergey Novikov/Shutterstock

    Kids love to run and compete with each other, whether it be in the school playground, on sports day, or taking part in extra-curricular activities, such as athletics. It is incredibly easy to get into running as a sport — all you need is a good pair of running shoes, which doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg!

    Running in races teaches our children about healthy competition, setting goals and achieving them. It can help to improve their performance in other sports too, as it helps them develop core and back strength, endurance and co-ordination. These skills all play an important role in activities like popular sports, such as gymnastics, dance and football.

    • Golf

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    Photo credit: Dasha Petrenko/Shutterstock

    Despite needing to be donned in the correct golf clothing when stepping foot on a golf course to take a few swings in an attempt to hit a hole-in-one, there are other cheaper and more entertaining ways to get your child involved in the sport. Around the UK, there are a wide variety of crazy golf courses up and down the country that enable children to have fun and get active.

    Alternatively, there are also golf ranges that allow you to take the kids and compete for points, such as Top Golf, where you pay a small fee to hire the golf club and balls for couple of hours – perfect to get your children out and about during the summer holidays (even when the weather is below par!).

    • Tennis

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    Photo credit: Olena Yakobchuk/Shutterstock

    Children today love playing games such as football, rugby and dance, so why not make this summer an opportunity to introduce your child to something entirely different? Tennis is a great activity to play, not only due to the many social benefits, but due to the countless health benefits, which include: balance and body coordination, agility and flexibility to name a few. Tennis also promotes overall good health in children – improved bone strength and density, and a robust immune system.

    During the summer, tennis clubs around the country have one-off classes to help to encourage children to get active and feel a taste for the sport whilst children have free time. Get in touch with your local tennis club and see whether they have any upcoming deals.

  3. Is it the end of the classic birthday party?

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    We’ve an important matter to discuss today. I’m having trouble with a genuine pondering. Perhaps you can help me out?

    Yesterday we went to a birthday party that had party games. Proper pass the parcel and general craziness. I loved it. It led me to wonder whatever happened to old-school birthday parties, and why am I arranging extravagant birthfest fiestas year in year out? Why are children receiving favours of organic, freshly-spun unicorn sourced candy floss? Whatever happened to plastic party bags filled with penny sweets, a trashy yellow yo-yo, and a birthday blower?

    Whatever happened?

    Birthday parties of times gone by

    Cast your mind back. Not that far. Just, say, 15 to 20 years. When birthday parties came around, the venue was almost always the birthday girl or boy’s home, save a soft play or two. The living room would be adorned with foil bunting, homemade banners, and corner-shop latex balloons.

    Entertainment took the form of pass the parcel (wrapped nothing but the very best weekend supplement), musical chairs, musical statues, and Bongo the clown – if you were mega lucky. And I mean mega lucky. Your party would be the talk of the class for years to come.

    Party food? Well, it was carbelicious. This was pre-noughties. No one cared about good carbs and bad carbs. Starch? Pah! We partied in the face of starch. Our buffet tables were a glorious shade of beige. We ate every form of corn crisps on the market. Jam sarnies. Cocktail sausage and cheese cocktail sticks. Yes, cocktail sticks; if a child choked, they’d learn and sit down the next time they picked a prick out of the hedgehog.

    Those were the days. But where did they go?

    Parties of the contemporary era

    Fast forward to the 2000’s and birthday celebrations became a different beast altogether.

    Today, the game is on to throw the most creative, extraordinary parties. While soft play is always a favourite for young ones, farms, kiddy museums, and pottery painting have also entered the ranks. Parents with older offspring are shelling out exorbitant amounts for quad biking, trampolining, 4DX cinema experiences, and more.

    And that’s not all! Colin the Caterpillar will no longer suffice. Personalised cakes are in vogue, and this doesn’t equate to a printed icing sheet. The bigger, the more original, the better. It is the centrepiece of the party, and woe betides those who don’t know. Cake is everything. Cake is life.

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    Final ponderings of a perplexed mother

    Are our children missing out on good old fashioned British party traditions? Are we absolutely going overboard? Or are there other underlying parental wins here?

    After all, these places take your child and his or her friends, keep them entertained, and feed them, while you sit back with a brew.

    Forget tradition… shut up and take my money. Every time.

  4. The challenges of being a dad to girls

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    We’re all well aware of those parent-child relationship clichés. For as long as we’ve known, families have always, supposedly, been made up of ‘mummy’s boys’ and ‘daddy’s girls’. Yet, while dads do seem to take a shine to their little bundle of sugar and spice, for the blokes, their bond certainly isn’t an easy walk in the park.

    My husband has openly admitted that he is struggling with the girls growing up, not with the day to day stuff but the realisation that they are influenced by so many other things than us and it made me consider the challenges that Dad's face.

    Dads and their lads

    Let’s flip this on its head a little. The father and son thing seems to be founded on quite uncomplicated dynamics. Dad relives his childhood through his little lad, and gets to be a kid again. It’s all good.

    Whether it’s football, fishing, WWE, LEGO… whatever. Dad’s got this. He knows because, really, he’s just a big kid himself. Of course, not for all, but for many, fathers and sons are almost automatically mates. While there’s an element of discipline in the air, friendship is the predominant theme here.

    Stepping into the unknown

    But what is a dad to do when he holds a baby girl in his arms? When she opens his eyes to new worlds of adventure and unthinkable enjoyment? When she grows into a young girl, with newfound independence? Just what is a dad to do? And that is the challenge.

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    Girls kick dads right where it hurts. As much as most fathers do everything and anything to protect all of their children, there’s something special about his little girl. Even the sassiest of madams are delicate to dad. They will take him into the unknown, making him vulnerable, as he treads unfamiliar ground and lives completely new experiences with his daughter.

    Protecting something precious

    That innocence, that wonder, must be protected. But how? Wrapping little ones up in cotton wool may well work for the first few years, at a push. But being the shoulder to cry on, the big bear arms, the safe warm chest to lean against, will never grow old. Dad must be reliable, comforting… dad must be the man that never hurts her, never lets her down. The hero.

    The struggle is this, at every stage of his little girl’s life, dad needs to explore emotions, listen to heartaches, offer advice. This is something society just hasn’t encouraged our men to do. Yet, the love they feel for their little girl means it is essential.

    As they grow older, into their tweens, their teens, Dads must fight with their own need to protect their daughter from harm, from hurt. Dad must be there when she falls, allowing his own feelings to take the hit. The journey they’ve had together, that unique bond, makes this all the harder.

    After all, when was letting go of something so precious ever easy?