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: Views & Ramblings

  1. Festive home hygiene tips

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    There’s no doubt that Christmas is a fun and fulfilling family time.

    But for house-proud homeowners, it also brings a host of cleaning challenges.

    It’s tricky creating a cosy and welcoming domestic environment where family, friends and neighbours feel welcome — while ensuring that high standards of cleanliness are maintained for the duration.

    But if you want to implement festive home hygiene without feeling like a yuletide party pooper, here are four top tips.

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    1. Food

    A mouth-watering Christmas dinner is a time-served 25th December tradition and the centrepiece of celebrations for many families.

    But a multi-guest meal that requires cooking different meats at their optimum temperatures and precisely timing preparation and storage of side-dishes is a logistical challenge that’s almost as complex as the software on Santa’s sleigh sat-nav.

    So it’s no disgrace to double-check official guidance on everything from trimming a turkey to storing leftovers — this Christmas advice from The Food Standards Agency should help.

    2. Tree

    Christmas is the only time of year when a delightfully decorated tree temporarily replaces the TV as the focal point in a family lounge or living room.

    And since even the toughest vacuum cleaners struggle to pick up pesky pine needles, it’s no wonder so may of us prefer plastic trees to their real counterparts.

    However, it’s possible to find a real tree that doesn’t leave an unbelievable mess — the Nordmann Fir and Douglas Fir look fab and hold their needles fantastically. You’ll find further tips on prepping real Christmas trees perfectly in publications like Gardeners’ World.

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    3. Hand sanitiser

    Your home will hopefully experience an influx of festive guests in the party season and there’s every chance that you and your family will be coming and going more frequently as you finalise arrangements.

    This frequent footfall makes the environment crackle with Christmas energy, but also potentially gathers more germs in the home. And no one wants to be battling bugs and viruses when they should be pulling crackers and unwrapping presents. To battle this danger in festive fashion, leave some Christmas hand sanitizers from Mad Beauty in prominent positions for guests to use liberally — they’ll soon get the message.

    4. Keeping the floor clean

    Since Christmas falls bang in the middle of winters that are often wet and wild, there’s always the potential for dirt and detritus to be dragged onto your carpets from outside.

    The best way to prevent this is by making sure the kids kick their shoes off before they come in and investing in a tough floor mat to place outside and inside your door, offering a double layer of protection that keeps carpets pristine.

    These four festive home hygiene tips will help you keep guests and family healthy and happy as they gather round your hearth this Christmas.

    Do you have any festive hygiene tips? We would love to hear them! 

  2. The Snow Queen | Review at The Old Rep Theatre, Birmingham

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    The Old Rep Theatre in Birmingham hosts The Snow Queen for Christmas this year and we were lucky enough to be invited along for their press performance on Saturday 23rd November 2019.

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    The Snow Queen (not to be mistaken for a certain Frozen Queen currently at cinemas right now) is a force to be reckoned with. This tale is based on the original from Hans Christian Anderson, however is a modern day version of the classic story. If I am honest, it is not a story that I was overly familiar with but that didn’t stop me from becoming immersed in the story from the second the curtains went up.

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    The Old Rep adaptation has the basis of most historical tales, and centres around good versus evil, but what makes The Snow Queen stand out is how the “bad guys” are still likeable characters. The Snow Queen has an underlying vulnerability that evolves as the story is told. Although her voice and presence are both strong and powerful in presence and delivery.

    Despite Letitia Hector playing a phenomenal role as the evil Snow Queen, it was Hader (played by Charlie Keable), her goblin sidekick, that was my favourite character with his bumbling charm that made me laugh so many times I lost count.

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    The story follows the adventure of best friends Kai and Gerda but when The Snow Queen steals Kai, can Gerda rescue him in time and find her way through a whole heap of obstacles (and creative characters) along the way to bring him back home? We don’t want to ruin it by telling you what happens, but the cast were exceptional, with many of the lead characters playing multiple roles.

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    The Snow Queen is on at The Old Rep until the 30th December and it is the ideal show for all the family. Our youngest is 8 years old and sat through the performance, both engaged and fascinated by the story. We all enjoy the theatre and I think it is the first year that she hasn’t whispered relentless questions throughout the performance, showing how captivating the tale actually is.

    The Snow Queen is packed with songs, dance and plenty of family fun for audience, making it the perfect choice for a family theatre trip this Christmastime.

  3. Halloween Party Ideas for Grown Ups on a Budget

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    Need Halloween party ideas for adults? Start by setting a budget and creating an invitation list. Think through every detail so there will be no frightening surprises. Don't forget the Halloween music. Download a CD of spooky music and sound effects for Halloween party fun. Create decorations that are low-cost, and add a few decorations the guests can eat.

    Tips for Halloween Party Food and Decorations

    Ask each guest to bring a food item or finger food – enough to go around for everyone unless it's a big crowd. (Hint: A big pot of chili works great for a crowd and is perfect for cooler weather.) If the weather is warm, serve snack foods, a few easy appetizers and a variety of beverages. Use disposable dinnerware to make cleanup easier.

    Add one or two carved candle-lit pumpkins for "atmosphere" and make use of glow sticks (Department store Halloween aisle) to add a little drama after dark. To save money, homemade and store-bought sweet treats can double as some of the party decorations.

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    Need a few more Halloween decoration ideas?

    Buy small Halloween party bags and fill halfway with wrapped candy or a few homemade cookies. Staple closed or tie with orange or black ribbon. Put a few bags on the fireplace mantel, a few on each bookshelf, and so forth. Display at least enough bags so that each guest can take one home at the end of the evening.

    Decorate for Halloween with natural decorations: Indian corn, gourds, clusters of bare sticks, tall grasses, and pine cones. A little fake cobweb (Halloween supplies) stretched over each cluster adds to the ghoulish effect.

    Black and orange balloons cost very little and make great decorations. Cluster 3 or 4 together and attach to corners of the room close to the ceiling.

    Put a handful of wrapped popcorn balls or wrapped candy in a basket and stretch a fake cobweb over the basket.

    Buy a bag of candy "body parts" (Halloween candy shelves) and place parts strategically on the food table.

    Cupcakes or cookies frosted and decorated with bats, spider webs and tombstones make ideal edible spooky party decorations that are low-cost. Draw the creatures, etc. or buy plastic party decorations.

    Make a spider web cake for an edible centerpiece. (Instructions in last section)

    Make a jack-o-lantern centerpiece cake: Bake two Bundt cakes and assemble together to look like a pumpkin. Frost with orange tinted frosting. Create a jack-o-lantern face with small candies as desired.*

    Halloween Costume Party Ideas

    For a cheap and easy Halloween party, try a hobo theme. Write invitations on scrap paper. Ask guests to dress up in hobo clothes and award a prize to the "best-dressed" hobo. Have everyone pitch in with the food: shepherd's pie, chili, tuna salad, or a bag of broken cookies. Bake a lop-sided cake or bake cupcakes of various sizes (some too small, some half-frosted).

    Halloween costume ideas from classic TV shows are good choices for singles and couples. The TV character idea can even be a costume theme for a party. Guests will have fun dressing up as a favorite television personality from the sixties or seventies (or later).

    How to Make a Halloween Spider Web Cake

    Making a spider web design on top of a cake is easy. The directions below can be modified – make a white web on a chocolate frosted cake, for example. Add a plastic spider to the web if desired.

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    Bake an 8 or 9-inch round cake according to package directions.
    Frost the cake with white icing.
    Take a brown or black decorator gel tube and draw 4 concentric circles on top of the cake. (Chocolate syrup in a squeeze bottle also works well for drawing circles.)
    Using a table knife and starting at the center of the cake, lightly pull through the rings from center to the outside edge. Wipe frosting from knife. Repeat every few inches until the "web" is complete.
    Attach a plastic spider or two if desired, or make one that's edible.

    Successful Halloween party planning is easy and fun, and can fit any size budget. Be sure to make a list of all the things needed – paper cups, napkins, ice, and so forth – so that nothing is overlooked. Share the preparations for less stress, and be sure to delegate a few close friends to help clean up when the party is over.

    And have a frighteningly good time! 

  4. When & where can I go pumpkin picking in the Midlands?

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    We are now officially in pumpkin season! The weather has changed, Autumn is definitely upon us and all we can think about is that Halloween is approaching!

    Last year we wrote a post about 5 Things To Do With A Pumpkin Other Than Carve It but nothing says Halloween more than a carved pumpkin outside your house. But where are the best places in the Midlands to get your pumpkins this year? We have been taking a look!

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     Manor Farm Fruits - Tamworth

    12th, 13th, 19th & 20th October and Saturday 26th October to Sunday 3rd November 10am – 4pm (stock permitting)

    There is no need to book tickets, you can just turn up on the day and pay.  

      • Choose your own pumpkins (prices vary)
      • Bouncy Castles ( up to 1.3 meters)
      • Climb and Crawl Straw Bales Pyramid and Mini Maze
      • Spooky Space Hoppers
      • Face Painting
      • Creepy Sneaky Scare Tunnel
      • Pumpkin Express Tractor Rides (£3.00 per person)

    The Strawberry Cabin Team Room is also open serving hot and cold food all day including Halloween Cup Cakes and lots of other delicious Pumpkin dishes!

    Prices

    £5 per child ages 2 to 12
    £1 adults
    Under 2 go free.

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    Pumpkin Week at Hatton Adventure World - Warwick

    Tickets are valid on any one day between 26th October to 31st October 2019. We have enjoyed Pumpkin Week at Hatton in previous years and it is a great day out for all the family.

    Tickets can be purchased online up until 10am on the day of visit. (Making a saving on the door prices)

    In addition to pumpkin picking, there are lots of things going on during pumpkin week including :

    New Haunted House

    Pumpkin Carving in the Events (closes at 4pm)

    Pumpkin Hunt

    Pumpkin Carving Competition judged at 4.15pm

    Along with all the usual Hatton activities

    ADULT - £16.95

    CHILD - £16.95 

    UNDER 2 - Free

     

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    Hill Top Farm - Leamington Spa

    Between Saturday 19th October to Thursday 31th October (stock permitting) their pumpkin field will be open for you to pick your own pumpkin.

    The field will be open between 10am-4pm each day and they are taking people down to the pumpkin patch via tractor rides every 30 minutes.  You can then select your pumpkin and take it home with you to carve!
     

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    Planters Garden Centre - Tamworth

    The Pumpkin Paddock returns for 2019! This Halloween event includes lots of family fun such as pumpkin picking, carving, games and more! It is not really pumpkin picking like at pick your own locations but it is a great location and very child friendly.

    Every £5 child ticket includes picking a pumpkin, which you can pick from the paddock area, carving it and being able to take it home. Anybody not wishing to take home a pumpkin can purchase an adult ticket for £1.50.

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    Essington Farm - Wolverhampton

    PYO is open again on the 12th October 2019. 🎃 Go and pick your own perfect pumpkin from all different shapes and sizes. This is farm so always best to wear appropriate clothing and footwear, especially if it has been raining.

    Top Tip from Essington Farm :Remember, if you keep the stalk on your pumpkin it will easily last until November!!

    We will be updating this listing throughout October, so do let us know if you find a great pumpkin patch! 

    And finally ......

    Once you have carved your pumpkin up and created a Halloween masterpiece, the best thing to do then is make some delicious pumpkin soup! 

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