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: Travel

  1. Childhood Car Memories

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    Childhood memories can be a funny thing and I am frequently saying to my husband that we need to give the children memories not material things. I remember the holidays we had when I was a child and bizarrely I remember the cars we had. I can even quote the number plate from the brand new Ford Sierra we had when I was about 10 or 11.

    Childhood Car Trip Memories

    Bizarrely I also remember that song by Janis Joplin that went …..

    Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz
    My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends. 
    Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends, 
    So Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?

    (Sorry if that is stuck in your head all day now!!)

    There are strong leather smells that evoke memories of travelling in the back of my Mums Triumph 2000 with its plush spring seats and no rear seat belts (it is horrifying to think that we just used to slide around in the back of the car).

    My dad was (and still is by trade) a mechanic and we would always have a car being built in our garage at home and spare parts from WWW.SPAREPARTSTORE.CO.UK were almost part of the furniture. My brother and I have fond memories of his latest project being ready “for Christmas” ….. although I have a feeling that we may still be waiting on completion. I remember being taken to school in a variety of different cars that my dad was working on, from luxurious Mercedes and Jaguars, through to hand painted vans and Hot Rods. I was always a little embarrassed getting out in the school car park and never realised just how cool it was to have a Dad that drove such a variety of cars.

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    Fast forward to the present day and both my husband and I have had the pleasure of owning a Mercedes Benz …… although none of our friends drive Porches so there is no need to make amends! My girls are never embarrassed about the cars we drive, they are more concerned with making sure I am not singing in the car when they have their friends in there on our road trips.

    I know as parents that embarrassing our children is almost part of the job description but while they won’t have memories of sliding across the back seat of the car without a seat belt on, or being taken to school in a Hot Rod, I hope that they will remember the car journeys we have had, the giggles on the school run each day and maybe, just maybe they will smile as they remember me singing in the car with their friends.

  2. 5 reasons why a festive break is the best Christmas present

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    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.

  3. Top Attractions in Aspen for Families?

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    The weather has definitely made a turn for the worse so we are already thinking about our next family holiday and looking for somewhere different to go.

    I am told that Aspen is like a vast playground for families. Whether you arrive there during summers or winters, there is a lot to do there for the lovers of the outdoors. One can ski, hike or for a brewery tour, or a Museum tour. Aspen may be known for skiing, but there are indeed many other attractions to explore.  Just pick one of the aspen cabin rentals for your stay and enjoy panoramic views as well as self-catering accommodation units. Your children would love staying in a cabin made of wood complete with a fireplace and mountain views. Enjoy all the world-class amenities like sauna, flat-screen TV, private bathrooms and more. Aspen is the perfect location for summer or winter getaway for the whole family.

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    Aspen offers many indoor and outdoor activities to create a memorable family time. Here are some of the top attractions to enjoy in Aspen.

    • Hop on the Silver Queen Gondola
      Families just cannot get enough of Silver Queen Gondola in Aspen! Once you reach more than 11,000 feet, you feel on top of the world. Those picturesque views are truly unforgettable as you gaze at the city below and the vast Elk Mountain Range. During summer, you can enjoy the recreational trails, nature tours and special events like concerts, and in winters, one can enjoy a skiing, snowboarding and snowshoe trolley.
    • Maroon Bells with unforgettable natural wonders
      It is indeed a unique and special experience to explore the breathtaking Maroon Bells. Rising 14,000 feet above sea level, Maroon Bells are one of the most picturesque forestlands of the state. Apart from the scenic beauty of the wildflower-filled meadows, what draws the families and visitors are the picturesque trails. Maroon Creek Trail and Maroon Lake Scenic Trail are the most popular. Families can bring picnic lunch along and can hike or bike amidst the lovely Maroon Bells.

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    • Cool down at the Mill Street Fountain
      Children love to cool down in the Mill Street Fountain, especially when the Aspen temperatures soar. It is a fantastic and free attraction that is especially loved by families. Located near the Hyman Street Mall and in the heart of downtown, the Mill Street Fountain has always been a major attraction since 1979. Just splash around with your children amidst those the 12 jets of cool, refreshing mountain water! Balls and water toys are welcome, and if you get hungry, there are plenty of stalls nearby.
    • Theatre Aspen with special programs and activities
      The professional Theatre is indeed an amazing location and is actually a lofty, riverside tent that is placed in the center of Rio Grande Park. One can get fantastic mountain views all around. Recent productions of Theatre Aspen include Hitchcock’s all-ages show. The theater also organizes a host of summer youth camps for children. Families must include Theatre Aspen in their itinerary.
    • The immensely popular Aspen Ice Skating
      If you are lodging at Hyatt Grand Aspen, entry to the Aspen Ice Skating is free. The outdoor ice skating is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and all year-round. It is a great place to visit in the heat of the summer. Often you would find art exhibits in Aspen Ice Skating venue.
    • Carriage and Sleigh day tours in Aspen
      Families love exploring the town in this homegrown attraction offers wagon and pony rides, which are just perfect for the children. Sleigh rides very popular in the winter, and you can enjoy hot cocoa as you take the ride and under cozy blankets. It is a wonderful way to relax and enjoy the peaceful tranquility around. It is a joy to explore the Aspen-filled forests and vast meadows that make for a perfect backdrop for a family adventure.
    • Endless fun at Aspen Recreation Center
      Head towards Aspen Recreation Center and you are guaranteed hours of endless fun with your family and kids. No matter the weather outside, you will find children of all age groups rock climbing, swimming, sledding and ice skating at the Aspen Rec Center. On can also take kayak lessons in the indoor pool.
    • Enjoy the speed with Aspen Snowmobile Tours
      Another excellent way to explore the mountains and enjoy the exhilaration of speed is to perch on a motorized snow vehicle comfortably. The sped and thrill is the best part of the Aspen Snowmobile Tours! You can pick from a vast variety of tours and venture amidst the most picturesque and most photographed mountains. The ride is perfect for the more extended weekends!
    • Stress-free trails at Buttermilk
      If you are looking for a perfect spot to teach your kids to ski, then head straight for Buttermilk that is made of 21 miles of open, stress-free trails. The beginner trails are groomed and well suited for the new learners. One can sign for private skiing and snowboarding lessons under friendly and helpful instructors. There is plenty of room and space for skiers to maneuver on the beginner-friendly slopes aside.
    • Aspen Center for Environmental Studies
      If you love nature, then this is your chance to teach your kids about natural surroundings and the local flora and fauna. All you need to do is head for Aspen Center for Environmental Studies. Take them for the winter snowshoe walk and attend wildlife workshops. You may even come face-to-face with the bald eagle, America’s favorite bird. You can sing up your kids for nature hikes and arts and crafts classes. This is the way to go if you want to know the wilder side of the town.

    With so much to do, I am not sure it would be a relaxing holiday but it sounds like it could be pretty amazing.

  4. Want to holiday somewhere different? Why not explore the hidden gems in Oman?

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    I have to admit that since having the children, we have not been particularly brave with our hoilday choices. We have always chosen somewhere that is well known and a relatively short flight away but maybe we should be a little more adventurous and look at exploring somewhere new.

    In recent years Oman has had a turn-around that is unheard of in almost any other country's history. A nearly bloodless exchange of power has put a forward-thinking, and modern monarch into power that has delivered the country into a golden age. You can get your Oman visa and book a trip to experience this new wave of Omani history.

    This uprising and historical oddity have many people flocking to experience a country that was shut up in isolation for so long. Now, the new Sultan in power doesn't intend to let the raw beauty of the landfall by the wayside either. He's brought a balance to updating the country bringing in improved living condition and education access, as well as protecting these hidden gems. 

    The Green Mountains

    These mountains are regularly called “Magical Mountains” or “The Magic Mountain” which says a lot about their stunning geographical features, but more about what these mountains have done for Oman. Omani tribes were separated by these mountains creating historical divides that still have some semblance today. 

    But you’ll find that these tribes have protected much of their culture, and these mountains truly are magical.

    Wadi Nakhr

    A Wadi is any channel or river that runs through a valley or ravine. Wadi Nakhr is special because it runs through an area known as Oman’s Grand Canyon. This ravine sets inside the Hajar Mountains. Its beautiful clear waters are an enchanting contrast to the sandstone cliffs that rise around it. 

    When visiting Wadi Nakhr, you should plan the whole day. Because you’re far out from nearby cities or villages you should account for needing to bring water, and food. Oman camping policies don’t allow people to camp directly next to any wadi, so be sure to go out a few miles before setting up camp.

    Misfat Al Abryeen

    A bit of history still living today, the traditional Omani village of Misfat Al Abryeen is one of this country’s greatest hidden treasures. The stone housing flows right from the mountain. Many houses sit underneath a canopy of banana palms. You can walk through the many lanes of this old village for a lazy and relaxing day.

    If you’re planning to see this ancient big of Omani culture and history, bring a lot of water. Always take your time getting there as well, much of the beauty in Oman is between the villages and towns.

    Al Ayn Beehive Tombs 

    These beehive-like structures are a far cry out from the killing fields that many travels to Cambodia to see. Instead, these toms commemorate a time frame in Oman. These tombs are from the 3rd millennium, B.C. The tombs themselves stand individually with only a single opening to enter or exit and a single room inside.

    When you're visiting the Al Ayn Beehive Tombs, you must be careful to watch your footing. The same stones used to craft these structures lay all across the ground. Losing your balance is easy.

    Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve and Beach

    Although this isn't necessarily a hidden gem, it is the most protected turtle beach in Oman. Ras al Jinz is a world-famous reserve for turtles, and it's only a short trip from the city of Sur. At the right time of year, you can watch sea turtles hatch and make their way to the ocean.

    The warm gulf waters and mostly untouched beaches are the haven that sea turtles look for when nesting. If you're planning on making a trip  to Ras al Jinz, you'll need a reservation. Even during the offseason, many people flock to this reserve for the experience.

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    Whenever visiting reserves, or sanctuaries in foreign countries it’s important to ask about the rules. Some places only allow visitors during certain times of day, or in Ras al Jinz’s case, by reservation.

    My girls would love the turtle beach and maybe, just maybe we should look beyond the usual all inclusive holiday options and look for something different next year!