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 Best Educational Days Out

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    Trying to find things to do with the kids that are educational as well as fun can be tricky, but fear not! There are plenty of days out to be had across the UK that your family will never forget. Whether you choose to visit a zoo, museum or go to an outdoor adventure park, there are always new things to discover.

    Safari

    • Knowsley Safari is a great day out for the entire family. Get up close and personal with your favourite animals and watch on as they roam freely. Enjoy a wild day out whilst learning about all the conservation work that Knowsley Safari take part in, including their breeding programmes!
    • Get involved with loads of activities at the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre, from creating your very own Wonka Bar to storytelling. Your little ones will have the opportunity to develop their creative skills, learning how to create a story of their own - and then perform it!
    • Step back in time with The Beamish Museum. This town-turned-historical-treat shows what life was like in the 1820s, 1900s and 1940s in North East England. You can explore the old town on foot, catch the tram, or travel around by horse and carriage! Learn how to make sweets in the old sweet shop or go to school and learn some of the oldest playground games.
    • The Royal Air Force museum offers lots of fun activities including exhibitions and displays about the history of the RAF and a flight simulator. The museum has free admission which makes the day a cheap trip out for those who wish to save money! The Royal Air Force Museum is a great day for birthday parties offering trails to complete and a goody bag each.
    • Situated in the North West of England, the Blue Planet Aquarium is a popular attraction for adventurous families. Come eye to eye with sharks, crocs and many more sea creatures! Whilst visiting, why not check out their conservation work and discover how you can help protect the planet?

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    • Experience life as an Anglo Saxon in the West Stow Anglo Saxon village. Take part in an archaeological mini-dig, perform ancient battles, and enjoy some bush craft activities!
    • See the UK’s largest domed planetarium at the National Space Centre in Leicester. You can explore the universe and learn everything there is to know about planets. Discover the famous rocket tower up and see if you can spot some astronauts - that’s something for your kids to tell their friends about!

    Where’s your favourite place to go to as a family? 

     

  2. Hatton Adventure World : Enchanted Christmas Kingdom Review

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    Enchanted Christmas Kingdom

    There is no escaping the fact that Christmas is looming and with a Santa experience available everywhere from the supermarket, school fetes or local garden centre, how do you choose the best place to go? We were invited along to Hatton Adventure World to experience their Enchanted Christmas Kingdom this year, so we gathered all the family up for a crisp November morning and set off in search of Santa and his reindeer.

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    Christmas Shopping Markets

    Before you even step inside Hattion Adventure World, you get to walk through some fabulous Christmas market stalls that are just there for the festive season. The stalls change week on week and you don't need to pay entrance to the park to enjoy the shopping experience either. There was so many fabulous Christmas themed gifts from handmade plaques and personalised pictures through to our particular favourites of gorgeous scented soy candles from Wicks of Water Orton. There wasn't a cash machine working on site during our visit, so it is definitely worth making sure you have some cash available if you want to shop in the market area. 

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    Zoobee's Christmas Cracker Show

    Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas at Hatton without Zoobee and his marvellous magic show. We have seen Zoobee a few times and every time is different and the Christmas Cracker Show doesn't disappoint. We won't tell you what happens as we don't want to ruin it but the jokes are as funny for the grown ups as much as the children!

    Farmyard Favourites

    No visit to Hatton Adventure World is complete without popping in to see (and feed) the farmyard animals and they have been given the festive treatment with tinsel and decorations around the farmyard too. The children love to feed the animals (but you need to double check as there are signs saying that not all the animals should be fed).

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    Writing A Letter To Santa

    All children love to write their letters to Santa and if your little ones haven't done so already, they can sit on a toadstool and write their list in the Arts and Crafts tent area before taking a trip to see the big man!

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    Christmas Decorations Making

    Hatton are all about children making memories and the Arts and Crafts area gives them a chance to make their own decoration to hang on your Christmas tree or personalise your own Christmas card or wreath. My girls loved this area and we actually went back again after we saw Santa as they wanted to make more things, after walking around for a few hours it was nice for us to sit down in the warm for half an hour or so too!

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    Reindeer Quest 

    Ooh we forgot to mention that upon arrival you are told that elves have (carelessly) lost the reindeers and you are tasked with trying to find them. They are hiding around Hatton find all [12] of them and you get to win a Christmas thank you prize! (which is chocolate so that works for us). While we were hunting the reindeer locations we actually came across a real one ....

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    One of the things I really liked about our day out at Hatton was that it wasn't overly crowded and as you are able to book a slot to see Santa, there are not huge queues (and bored children). The approach and entrance to the grotto is very twinkly and you could see the excitement building in the children's eyes. 

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    Children don't sit on Santa's knee anymore but Hatton had provided a wooden chair to sit on next to Santa. My youngest was a little shy so I got the chance to sit next to him too!! Santa must see A LOT of children but he was so welcoming and engaging with the children, making them laugh and even raising a smile from the 11 year old!

    The look on the children's faces when they were told their key meant they could pick any present they wanted was only surpassed by their expression when they saw the toy workshop and all of its offerings.

    So overall, what did we think?

    Hatton Adventure World has enough to do to fill a whole day out, so if you are used to paying a couple of pounds for a quick visit to see Santa in a local grotto it may seem a little expensive. However the earlier you go, the cheaper it is with prices increasing up to £19.95 in Christmas week. The prices here are on the gate prices, and the website says there are discounts if you book online in advance.

    So what are you waiting for? Go ho ho ho .....

  3. Keeping our children safe online

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    I have a preschooler and a preteen and they are both technology mad. They are admitedly more tech savvy than my parents and can often be found showing their grandparents how to work an app on the phone or streaming something on Youtube but being comfortable online can mean that defences are down. As a parent (and an extremely tech savvy one at that) I am acutely aware that children think that "everyone is their friend" but we hear all the time that those online are not always what they seem.

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    I have seen my daughters friends become obsessed with taking photos of themselves (and their food), not to mention the number of followers they have on Instagram, whereas my daughter thinks I am the popularity police by wanting to verify everyone that she connects with online. Instagram is seemingly the social media of choice for many teenagers now but it is worth noting some important points:

    • Profile photos, usernames and the bio screen will always be public.
    • Users are able to block and remove followers on Instagram. The person who is blocked won’t be informed about this.
    • Shared private Instagram posts sent to social networks (e.g. Twitter) can be seen by the public unless you have set up your privacy settings on those social networks too.
    • Be aware that anybody is able to send photos and videos directly to an account without being a follower.
    • Remember to look out for location-sharing which users can enable with the ‘Add to your Photo Map’ feature. It is set ‘off’ by default, and it is strongly recommend that young users do not change the setting to ‘on’. This is because when it is on, this feature publishes the location in which a photo or video was taken, which is risky information for a young person to share publically.

    My children having online presence, even in such a strongly monitored way seems a million miles from my own childhood but while the world changes, children don't and protecting their innocence has always been my priority. We are all grown up for a really long time!! It is worthwhile taking look at this short film to see how young people are not necessarily changing but the world around them is changing.

      

    So what can we do? There are parental controls that we can use which are are designed to help parents and carers manage their child’s online activities.  There are various types, some of which are free but others which can be bought.  However, nothing is totally fool proof so as parents we need to be conscious that they don’t replace the need for adults to support and advise children using the internet.

    With new applications and games launching all the time (I suppose I can't not write this post without mentioning the current obsession with Pokemon Go) it is our responsibility to make sure that we keep up to date with what our children are using and who they are talking to online. Utilising online resources like Think U Know provides parents with sensible and up to date information about staying one step ahead. 

    So right now, I am off to check how many PokeBalls I have and see if I can catch a Pokemon or two! 

  4. If you see a fairy ring in a field of grass.

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    There has been lots of talk of fairies recently, so when we were invited to a nature birthday party we went in search of fairies. It was such a beautiful day and the sun was streaming through the leaves as we went sneaking through the trees looking for signs of where fairies were sleeping.

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    We climbed over tree trunks seeking adventure.

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     If you see a fairy ring,

    In a field of grass,

    Very lightly step around,

    Tiptoe as you pass,

    Last night fairies frocklicked there,

    And they're sleeping somewhere near.

    If you see a tiny fay,

    Lying fast asleep,

    Shut your eyes and run away,

    Do not stray or peep,

    And be sure you never tell,

    Or you'll break a fairy spell.

    ~ William Shakespeare

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    Can you see them?

    Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall