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: Money Saving

  1. 5 Things to do with a pumpkin... other than carve it

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    5 Things to do with a pumpkin... other than carve it

    Woohoo, Halloween season is upon us and it is one of my most favourite parts of the year. Everyone is starting to feel festive, evenings are drawing in, cloves and cinnamon fill the air, and the kettle is on for cocoa constantly. Blankets are back out, we’re not baking in 30-degree heat, and we’ve finally getting a good run of evening TV. Ah, autumn, come at us.

    Nothing gives off Halloweeny October vibes quite like the pumpkin. Once you see them hit the supermarket shelves, you know it’s time to light some candles and get ready for the cosiest season of the year. But while we all know we can carve a pumpkin – good luck to all the mums crafting Fortnite logos this year – what else can we do with this beloved autumnal fruit, if we’re feeling super seasonal. Let’s see how we can make more use (and most value) of our pumpkins.

    1.    Make pumpkin muffins

    Of course! We may not be able to master a Pumpkin Spice Latte from fresh at home, but we can make one heck of a stash of freshly prepped pumpkin muffins. We were challenged recently by Aldi to show that you can actually get your children eating healthy food with vegetables that you would never expect them to eat. 

    I have to be honest, I have never eaten pumpkin myself (hangs my head in shame) but love the idea and the recipe behind the pumpkin muffin so we decided to give them a go. The girls loved making them and they are genuinely my new favourite treat! 

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    I was amazed at how much flesh is in a pumpkin so there is lots to go round and if you’ve any left over, pumpkin fries are a delish alternative to accompany your burgers.

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    2.    Decorate the home

    Pumpkins come in a whole host of shapes and sizes, and you can even get some stunning variations in colour and shade too. Arrange a date when you can go out and hand select your pumpkins on a farm. Just as you would at Christmas time with various decorations, adorn your home with your selection to really create a homely ambience in your house. Don’t forget to add a bunch of October flowers, too. Deep reds, browns and oranges will look divine.

    3.    Use as an Insta-worthy photo prop

    Seeing as you’ve gone to all that effort to decorate the home, go fully family-blogger and turn it into the ultimate Insta photo opp. Whatever you do over the coming week, make sure you snap your youngsters in an amongst your glorious display of pumpkins. Whether they’re crafting, cooking up the pumpkin soup, watching tele, or frankly just sitting there to get the perfect pic for your blog, snap it. You know the score. Use the Portrait setting on your iPhone to capture a picture worthy of the family album.

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    4.    Make art with pumpkin seeds

    Is half term. Must craft. It’s the law of the parenting blogs. And once you’ve carved out a pumpkin, you may as well make use of all the sticky seeds you’ll have lying around. There’s really no hard and fast rule on how to make art with pumpkin seeds. Let your child paint them, colour them with felt tips, stick them into patterns on A3 paper, craft them into a scary sculpture. Sometimes free creative play is the best kind of play. Leave the rules at school.

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    5.    Paint your pumpkin pretty

    If the thought of scooping out a pumpkin makes your stomach turn, it doesn’t have to mean you and your youngsters miss out on the Halloween fun. Paint pretty patterns or pretty scary pictures onto your pumpkin using poster paints, acrylics, or even chalk-based markers. If you’re feeling super fancy, you could even design one or two to enhance that Instagram area in your home. Children’s name pumpkin? Family pumpkin? Blog name pumpkin? Blog logo pumpkin? Oh, the options are endless and oh-so brilliant. Enjoy! 

    How do you plan to celebrate with pumpkins this Halloween? Let me know or do link me to your pumpkin picture blog posts. Mwahahahahaaaa!

     

  2. Frugal Christmas Shopping

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    It is almost October, I have seen Christmas cards in the shops so I am sure that it is okay to start mentioning Christmas. There has been a lot of talk online and on TV this week about not being excessive with Christmas shopping and remembering that being with family is the most important thing, not the latest gadget.

    Last year I worked out that I had 25 children to buy for and that is without my own children and all my family, so with a list that long how do you remain frugal with your Christmas shopping? 

    Frugal Christmas Shopping Ideas

    Start Early

    It is never too early to start Christmas shopping and it is always good to have the list of the people that you need to buy for close at hand so you can buy what you need, rather than what you like.

    Take advantage of the sales

    This week I had an email to say that the Paperchase sale was on and I quickly clicked through and ordered 3 presents online for less than £30 and because I spent over £25, I also got free next day delivery. They were 3 presents that I needed to buy, within my budget and great quality, so it was a win all round.

    Find out what they want / need

    I love buying gifts but get so much satisfaction buying a gift that I know someone really wants or needs. It is lovely to get indulgent gifts or the typical bath and moisturiser sets but how many of them get put to the back of the cupboard or regifted to someone else? This year I have resolved to spend a bit more time finding out what people want so that I spend more wisely.

    Cash in those points

    All those points that have been building up this year on my Tesco clubcard, Boots advantage card and even my Costa card, now is the time to cash them in and turn them into "free" gifts.

    Tap into your creativity

    Whether it is taking advantage of your childrens cute school photos and making frames for the grandparents or getting the children to handmake gifts for their friends this Christmas, a present doesn't have to be bought from a shop.

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    We have talked previously about how to stay debt free this Christmas and with the cost of everything rising, hopefully we can all be a little more frugal and spend a little less this Christmas.

  3. How do you get the best deals online?

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    How do you get the best deals online? This is a question that my mom in particular regularly asks me as I am always on a quest for a deal online, whereas she prefers going into a physical shop to do her shopping (and haggling). She is very tactile and likes to see things in the flesh, a real old skool shopper but what if you can do all of those things AND still get the best online deals?

    Let's say that you go into a shop, find the perfect item but it is a little more than you really want to pay? Well now you can simply go home and find the best deal.

    Sounds good right?

    I am going to let you into a little secret, this week I have been introduced to a new price tool alert in the form of PIWoP which lets me know when the item I want is at the price I set.

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    I can't tell you the amount of times I have seen a product I want, only for the price to change a few days later.

    Or get a discount code from a voucher site, then to find it has expired.

    PiWop takes away all of this guess work, their universal price-drop alert engine simply tells you when items you like drop in price to or below a level you choose. Take a look at this video that explains a bit more.

    Registering for the service is FREE and it can be used on a PC/Mac but, if like me, you prefer all the information at your fingertips, you can also download the App so you can use on your phone/tablet too. 

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    I usually get involved in a weekly link up of money saving activity and 5 frugal things I have done this week and I have to be honest after our holiday and a certain little lady's birthday, things have not been so frugal around here but I think that is about to change after being introduced to PiWop.

    In my mind, finding the best deal means more shopping for less money and whilst that may not make me frugal, it definitely makes me happy!

    Why not take a look for yourself?

     

  4. Why reading is saving me money!

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    I love to read but what with all the girls activitives, school, work and general life being bonkers busy most of the time, reading seems to take little priority. So along with my 40 things in my 40th year list, I have challenged myself to read more this year and I love that it is also saving me money!

    Why is reading saving me money you may ask (or may not) but I am going to share it anyway.

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    I have never been a big fan of reading on a tablet, I love the smell and feel of a paper book but trying to squeeze in a couple of chapters before I go to sleep isnt practical when you have a husband who likes to sleep in the pitch black. Reading on a tablet gives me a solution to this. 

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    I can download books instantly.

    I can download free books. 

    I can download the latest releases without going to the shops and spending money unecessarily on other things I don't need.

    I can read on the sofa and not spend my time browsing online websites and spending money.

    I can read in the dark (saving on the electricity .... okay I admit that this is a very loosely hinged money saving point).

    My most favourite thing though? It might keep my pennies in my purse but it keeps my mind rich too! I am looking forward to reading on holiday this summer ..... I just hope the iPad doesn't overheat! 

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