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 sustainable living, saving money, lifestyle and travel. It is hopefully helpful, sometimes funny and always honest.

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Category: Views & Ramblings

  1. Zapf Baby Annabell Brother | Review

    Posted on

    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! 


    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. 


    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.


    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. Why I share on Facebook

    Posted on

    OK, so there's no denying that Facebook security has been a pretty hot topic of late. It was only in April that the big man himself, Facebook's founder and chief exec, Mark Zuckerberg, was called upon to explain the ins-and-outs of Facebook privacy policies and what not to members of Congress.

    And it was a pretty big deal. We can't deny it. There's a whopping 2.19 billion Facebook users in the world, putting their trust into and their lives onto the social media platform. It's a bit scary when random companies are able to gather bits of info from our profiles, quite easily. Good ol'Mark also got his hands slapped over Facebook's own data-mining. In English? Tracking what we do, cookies, and all that.


    Sharing stuff on Facebook

    So yes, a bit worrying for Zuckerberg. Defo. For us? Well, is it really? I mean, the scandal was pretty much slapped across every news platform, across the world. Despite this, I have to admit, I paid most attention to the Zuckerberg Interrogation Bad Lip Reading short that did the rounds. Comedy gold.

    Facebook sharing is something that definitely divides the crowd. And it’s not just about whether or not we should share, it’s about what we share too. We all know the rules about relationship overshares, food pics and all that. There’s an unspoken Facebook code, and we all adhere to it. Most of us, anyway.

    Making memories online

    Yet, should we be more cautious? If companies can get hold of our data, surely they can get hold of all the good stuff we share too? Pics of our children, our pets, our nights out on the town? My own mum absolutely hates me sharing photos online. And, while I still do it, I can understand where she's coming from.

    That being said, I have control over my Facebook account. I treat it as a daily journal, in which I scrapbook images of my life, my girls, the things I love, so that I can look back on them whenever I please, year after year. For me it is an online source for storing my most precious and, often forgotten, day-to-day memories.

    Once upon a time, we may well have had shelves filled with photo albums and video tapes. Now, I upload these videos to my private, protected Facebook account, to keep forever.

    What's more, what a quick and convenient way to keep friends and family updated with how the girls are doing! You know, what awards they've received at school, their latest half-term adventure, extra-curricular milestones… and so on. It’s perfect.

    A final word on Facey-B

    We may well live in times when Internet security and data privacy are prevalent issues. But take some control back. We’re moving forwards too. The Internet is no longer the future. It’s now.

    Just check those privacy settings and share away. I can’t wait to see what your children and fur-babies have been up to!


  3. Five Frugal Things I've Done This Week

    Posted on

    Despite my best efforts (or not as the case maybe), I don't feel like I have been particularly frugal lately. May was a really expensive month and with the 40 Things To Do in My 40th Year challenges, I know I need to save a little more this month. My plan is to write a post about it each week to make me more accountable, so here goes!

    Free Make Up!

    Make up is expensive, especially if you want the named brands. Emma Bradley very often shares links for free make up samples which are always welcomed, especially when recently my daughter got to try a (very small) sample of MAC lipstick. 

    I also subscribe to Martin Lewis's money saving email and he sent out a link for Max Factor make up last week. If you spent £14, you got a free gift which includes a primer, mascara, kohl pencil and lip gloss. Obviously if you don't need or use any of this stuff it isn't such a great deal but I was running out of lip gloss and primer so was ideal timing for me.


    Costa Coffee Club

    We seem to spend a lot of time in Costa, whether it is waiting around for one of the girls to finish an after school club or going for a warm drink after swimming, I decided that getting a Costa Coffee Club card was the smart idea. It definitely has been because with my points I have had a few free hot chocolates lately ...... without even doing anything differently!

    Annual delivery pass savings

    I am sure I have probably mentioned this before but as I buy a lot of things online, having annual delivery passes totally makes sense. I use Amazon Prime (it has genuinely got me out of trouble with their next day delivery on more than one occasion) but the big one for me is Next. £20 a year means that you get free delivery every time you shop. So you only have to make 5 orders in the year to make this pay (my husband might say that I do this in one month but we won't mention that). For me it is having the freedom to order clothes / gifts / homeware and look at it at home, without the worry of not liking it and it costing me to order alternatives.I know it probably encourages me to shop more with Next online but I suppose it works for both me as the consumer and them as the brand. Win win!

    Laptop savings

    Buying in advance

    Buying online helps me to seek out the bargains but popping into local stores can also mean you find some great deals. My present cupboard is currently stocked right up and I have got gifts sorted for my daughters friends birthdays right up until the end of August. Finding deals makes me more organised and prepared (which I love) but also helps with the bank balance too!

    Not going out

    Later in the month I have some really exciting days out planned from Ladies Day at the Races and Afternoon Tea at the Ritz (squeal) so this weekend, I am staying put. I am not spending any money and going to eat out of the freezer. No takeaways, no taxis, no spending!

    Wish me luck!!


  4. Planning a 13th Birthday Party without breaking the bank

    Posted on

    May has been EXPENSIVE. Not just a little bit expensive but REALLY REALLY expensive.

    You see I have a teenager. Enough said, no?

    I have a teenager with a birthday and the desire for a "different kind of birthday party"

    Many of her friends have had big parties, with disco and 100 friends. I did not want to go down that road but wanted her to celebrate with friends that matter, not half of her year group who she barely speaks to most of the time. Plus she wanted something a little different.


    So what did we decide to do? Hold a party on a boat! Now before you think I have actually lost my mind, there was a method to my madness. If I hired a hall I would have the hire of the venue, a DJ and the capacity for ALOT of children. On the barge we were limited to 25 people and we could plug in our own playlists, money and stress saving right there!

    My daughter wanted the very fashionable "drip cakes" that are seen all over social media and whilst they are STUNNING, they are also expensive when catering for 25 people. I received quotes for around £50 which on top of the boat hire was beginning to give me palpitations so was delighted to find a supermarket version for 1/5 of that price! 


    After stressing about making sure I got the right cake, the irony is that none of the girls ate it so was more than happy I had chosen the cheaper version.

    Saving on a DJ was perfect as the girls played their own songs for the first hour or so but then some of the mums got involved and took over the playlists so we had everything from YMCA and the Macarena. The teens tried to resist dancing but the sun was shining and the boat floating along the canals of Birmingham and the party vibe took over.


    We didn't do party bags ..... I mean teenagers do not want plastic tat (although I am not sure anyone ever wants plastic tat) and we created our own photo booth with a frame and some silly props. Another saving but with teens who love a selfie, you have to have some photo opportunities don't you?

    This post is headed "planning a birthday party without breaking the bank" and I am not suggesting for a moment that it was the cheapest option available but in comparison to a party with 100 people, it was definitely the more cost effective. That said, everyone had an AMAZING time, we had mums who wanted to join us on the boat, the sun was shining and it was certainly something that they will all remember and for me, that is priceless. Unfortunately the addition of the birthday presents, family gatherings and shopping trips for outfits offset any savings I made and made the month an expensive one!

    So I hope no one wants anything glamorous for dinner this month as the budget has been squeezed ...... I wonder how long I can feed them birthday cake for??