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.
Christmas Adverts have become big business this year and while some people love to shed a tear at the John Lewis advert, there are those of us rooting for the underdog and in recent years that has come in the shape of an orange little carrot called Kevin.
The marketing campaign from Aldi is brilliant and their social media team have gone to new levels this year, enjoying some entertaining banter with Coca Cola too. The frenzy around Kevin reached new heights last week when Aldi released their Kevin the carrot (and family) soft toys for 2018.
The world official went mad.
Queues outside the stores.
Women wrestling in the carrot aisles (okay I may have made that bit up).
Despite not caring where I buy our food from, my girls were swept up in the Kevin the Carrot frenzy and wanted their very own Kevin and Katie. So I was amazed when I went into our local store to find that they still had some left. I wrestled worked my way to the front and was delighted that there was still a choice so I got a Kevin and Katie each for my girls.
However (now this is the good bit) as it happens, one daughter only wanted Kevin and the other Katie so I have two to spare!
I have seen so many of these plush toys selling on eBay for silly money and whilst I am not saying a few extra pennies might be nice this Christmas, it is the season of goodwill after all, so I have decided to give the Lilypad readers a chance to win them!
All you need to do is enter on our Instagram page!
It’s beginning to look at lot like Christmas! And now, with Halloween and Bonfire Night done and dusted, the weather has turned colder and we’re officially allowed to crank up both the central heating systems and our plans to go full Crimbo! Eeeek!
I don’t care what anyone says. No matter how much you dread spending hundreds on stuff you don’t need, and food, and all that jazz, we definitely do it because Christmas is simply magical. It captures us from October onwards and gives some sparkle to our cold and dreary winter days.
You’re tired. But it’s OK, it’s Christmas. You’re skint. But it’s OK, it’s Christmas. You’re having a glass of wine straight after the school run. It’s OK. It’s Christmas.
Such a special time of the years deserves to be celebrated with crafting and all things creative. We’ve got Elf season coming up, and I’m even excited for that. Don’t judge me. Our Insta is going to be merry and bright!
That being said, there’s one thing that I’m absolutely not feeling.
Decorating the dreaded gingerbread house.
OH MY GOSH. Tell me I’m not alone on this one? I can’t be the only mum who finds it darn near impossible to piece together gingerbread with watery or clumpy royal icing (there’s no inbetween) and make a delightfully festive and equally delicious gingerbread abode.
My attempts always look like the Hansel and Gretel witch’s dwelling, after she’s been burnt alive and the house is left in ashes.
Gingerbread houses cum war zones aside, there has to be some other stuff we can decorate with the children in the run up to the 25th December. Here are five of my favourite, and totally doable, Pinterest-worthy ideas.
1. Christmas Bauble
The beauty in a bauble is that it can literally be any craft whatsoever… on a string. Just make some fabby Christmas creation with your youngster and thread a hanger through it. Job done. Literally.
2. Christmas Cake
You might have to nip to M&S to make sure you have a reserve in play, you know, just in case, but Christmas cake decorating is the perfect way to spend an afternoon with your sprogs. Rank up the degree of difficulty depending on your baking skills. Mums and dads who are a dab hand in the kitchen can make fruit cake and chocolate yule logs from scratch. Parents who aren’t, well, no one will no. Nip to Asda. Stockpile all your decorating bits and bobs and let your children create their own snow scene. A chocolate log complete with perched robin is a traditional and easy-to-do festive favourite.
3. Christmas Cards
Three options. Visit Santa with the children, go to the photo shop and reprint your snaps. Create photo cards. Turn a fantastic morning out into a crafty and productive afternoon at home. Alternatively, finger prints make for some unusual abstract reindeers and snowmen cards, or so I’ve seen online. Or, you could just nip to ELC or Tesco and buy a card kit. Like the rest of us.
4. Christmas Wreath
If you want to make a wreathe with anything other than tissue paper, I suggest you attend a class before introducing eucalyptus leaves and holly to your children. You’re a better person than I am. For those of us that wish to stay sane, scrunching shades of green tissue paper onto an O-shaped piece of cardboard looks surprisingly brilliant. Adorn with pinned pinecones, dried orange rings, holly berry tissue paper balls, and any other Christmas decoration your DD/S fancies.
5. Mini Christmas Tree
Mini Christmas trees can be picked up almost everywhere on the highstreet, in supermarkets, and in gardening centres for next to no cost. Pick one up and let your little one decorate their own tree for their bedroom. Mini baubles from Paperchase are slightly expensive, but fun and young, and definitely worth it if you reuse each year.
So with the cold weather on the way, stay in the warm and get crafting! You never know it might warm your soul too!
Going to the theatre is such a treat, it is a way to escape reality and Director of the Pinocchio at The Old Rep Theatre, Alec Fellows Bennett feels that in the age of iPads , smartphones and computer games that it is important to come together as a community and fall in love with live theatre.
This year The Old Rep are sharing the story of Pinocchio, the tale of a wooden puppet who wants to be a real child. "To me Pinocchio is the perfect story for this theatre," says Alec. "If you asked a young child to draw a theatre they would pretty much draw The Old Rep auditorium. The idea of a story where toys come to life and it's all make-believe is the perfect story for a classic theatre like The Old Rep."
The lead is played by Holly Sayer and her ability to actually act and walk like a puppet had you believe from the outset that she wasn't a "real boy" and you are rooting for her portrayal of Pinocchio to be successful in his quest.
The ensemble cast for Pinocchio is made up of Birmingham Ormiston Academy (BOA) students. This is very personal to me as my best friends daughter is auditioning for BOA next year, so it was a great chance for me to see the opportunities that are ahead for her.
Launched in 2011, BOA is an independent state-funded academy which specializes in creative, digital and performing arts. Sponsored by the Ormiston Trust and Birmingham City University, the academy is for students aged 14-19 years old and The Old Rep is an amazing platform for them to perform.
I couldn't recall the tale before we went into the show and I had forgotten quite how "dark" the storyline was. I was amazed to learn that the adventures of Pinocchio is the second most translated book in the world, beaten only by the Bible! The original version of the story was written to teach children moral lessons and whilst the live show is a little more light hearted than that Collodi's original story it still keeps its moral compass.
We were invited to the press showing of the stage show but the tickets are reasonably priced as;
Stalls Tickets £19.00 (Conc £17.80)* Balcony Tickets £16.00 (Conc £14.80)* Schools & Groups £9.90 *Price includes £1 restoration levy
We also got the chance to meet some of the cast after the show and I "may" have pinched the Fox's hat ....... he was crafty enough to get it back though!
At the start of this review, we mentioned that the Director wanted a new generation to fall in love with live shows and we were captivated by the Pinocchio production at the Old Rep Theatre in Birmingham but fell in love completely with the Blue Fairy. Daisy Ann Fletcher might be my new girl crush.
So if you are thinking about introducing your children to live theatre shows, The Old Rep Theatre is the perfect place to start.
It’s that time of the year again. The holidays are once again upon us, which means it’s time to bring out your favorite party dresses, get them dry cleaned and head out for a night of fun and enjoyment. Or, (as I love to do) you can go shopping for a new one. There are many great places to shop for a party dress and it never hurts to have an additional one in your closet should the need arise.
Whether you’re getting dressed up for your office Christmas party or letting it all hang out for New Year’s, there’s something to be said about having a party dress (or party dresses) that makes you look and feel fantastic.
Of course, on of the best things about heading out to parties for the holidays includes making the decision about what you’re going to wear. It doesn’t hurt that you get to treat yourself to a new dress in the process. Holiday parties are the ideal excuse for spending a little extra on a few special outfits that will make your family, friends, and co-workers sit up and take notice.
Our top tips for finding the perfect party dress:
Try it on, things ALWAYS look different on a hanger
Know your body and what suits you.
Make sure you know the dress code
Accessorise .... where necessary.
Be bold .... it is Christmas after all.
It’s fun to dress up for parties, but finding the perfect outfit can be a painful process. There is no shortage of options from which to choose, and you want to make sure you select the one that looks best on you. Don’t forget think about the location and theme of your holiday party. It won’t do you any good if you’re under or over dressed. The most important thing, however, is to have a good time while you're picking out party dresses. Keep a watchful out for any dresses you think will be great for your holiday parties.
And don't forget, while shopping for everyone else this Christmas, you could also be on the lookout for your own perfect party outfit.