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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: Love Is ....

  1. Valentines Gift Ideas on a Budget

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    We have vowed to be more frugal this year and whilst I am not suggesting my husband buys me a ring from Poundland (as seems to have been advertised everywhere this year), we can still be romantic without the price tag, can't we?

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    Each year as Valentine's Day approaches there are many among us who begin stressing out over gift giving. A low budget coupled with the desire to show a lover how special they are greatly increases the stress level.

    It seems every shop and store we enter has devoted a large portion of the shelf space available to Valentine's Day gifts, candy, and cards. Newspapers are full of advertisements for these gifts and restaurant ads for romantic dinners for two at an unreasonably high price. With a little ingenuity and forethought you can take the stress out of Valentine's Day this year.

    The top four gifts expected for Valentine's Day are chocolate, flowers, cards, and jewellry. Whether dating, living together, or married, taking a look at each of these categories can assist in finding a reasonably priced means of showing your love.

    Chocolate

    Bigger is not always better. While the heart shaped gift boxes of chocolate are lovely to look at, your lover may actually prefer a smaller box. Even if your lover is not allergic physically to chocolate their hips and waistline are. Many of us are tired of the rich desserts offered through the recent holidays and are dieting with thoughts of summer vacation and activities ahead. Opt for a small box and let your lover know while you wanted to give the largest box available you did not want to destroy their diet. Your thoughtfulness will be deeply appreciated.

    If you have extremely limited or no funds to purchase traditionally packaged delights, try making your lover homemade treats. If your lover prefers another dessert over chocolate, why not see if you can make it yourself for a really personal touch. 

    Chocolate treat

    Flowers

    A florist's largest season is Valentine's Day and the cost of roses can be triple the normal asking price. A less expensive alternative is carnations or a mixed bouquet of flowers. It is thrilling to have flowers delivered to the workplace and it elicits ooh's and ahh's from co-workers. If your schedule permits, instead of paying a florist's delivery fee arrive fifteen minutes prior to your partners lunch break with a single rose or carnation and an invitation to lunch. It will not matter how inexpensive the lunch is, your thoughtfulness and presence will make your loved ones day.

    Cards

    Card shops, department stores, and grocery stores all charge a seemingly unreasonable price for a card. Part of me balks at the cost of cards and then how we recycle them only days later but I do love receiving them. They don't need to be expensive, even hand made but making sure you write heartfelt words inside is the key to the perfect card!

    Jewellry

    Most newspapers are packed with jewellry store and department store advertisements for jewelry, the cost of which can be frightening if you are working with a low budget. While diamonds are the number one gemstone sold through Valentine's Day, no one said it has to be a diamond or has to be heart shaped. There are many lovely gemstones to choose from and many affordable pieces without gemstones that will be just as highly prized by the recipient.

    An alternative to shopping at local jewellry or department stores are those shows on television that sell nothing but jewellry at wholesale prices. Beautiful and affordable jewelry can be found through these shows or their on-line websites twenty four hours a day. 

    If you are a teenager or non-working young adult with little or no funds and no credit cards, you might try offering to do extra work for your parents in exchange for ordering an item for you. Most parents will agree to this and be grateful to gain help in cleaning out garages or attics and similar jobs.

    Stuffed Animals

    Places like the Card Factory and the pound shops are great places to find Valentine themed stuffed animals at great bargains. Most females love stuffed animals but obviously do not give stuffed animals to a lover with an allergy to dust.

    Gift Baskets

    An alternative to the traditional Valentine's Day gifts is to make a basket for your loved one which holds some of their favorite small items. You can make your own confetti to line the basket with the household paper shredder. Perhaps the man in your life is an avid fisherman or hunter. Perhaps the lady in your life loves hot teas or specialty coffees. A gift basket's contents is limited only by your imagination.

    Dinner For Two

    Instead of an over priced meal for two in a restaurant, opt for a home cooked meal or take out. It is the atmosphere that counts the most. Dim the lights, turn the music on low, and light the candles. Purchase two roses, one for the table for your lover and the other to sprinkle the rose petals around the table. Bonus points here if you can actually cook!

    The Gift Of Time

    If you have children offer to clear your schedule to provide your other half with a day to themselves. A gift certificate for a free day can be made on the computer and enclosed in a card and will be a huge hit with a busy parent. Coordinate the date and arrangements with your partner according to whether they would like to spend the day at home alone to relax or a day out of the house.  

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    Regardless of what you decide to bestow upon your loved one for Valentine's Day, remember if they truly love you the cost of the gift is irrelevant. It really is the kindness and thought that went into the gift that counts.

  2. Modern Takes On Wedding Traditions

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    I love a good wedding and although our wedding seems a distant but romantic memory, we still love talking weddings, so when we were asked to host a guest post about weddings, we jumped at the chance.

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    The bride of today designs her own wedding. It is not the wedding of her grandparents. She fuses the traditions of weddings past with her idea of the perfect wedding and sets her own wedding etiquette. Most of us do not even know what the traditions stood for. Here are some examples of outdated tradition and why we feel it is time for a change.

    Something old, something new

    The old English wedding rhyme, “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” still finds its way into the weddings of today.  

    The rhyme was from 1898, and while it is fun to incorporate into our modern-day ceremony, most people do not understand it.  Something old was something handed down in the family to show the bride that they would always be with her. Something new was a symbol of the new life the couple expected to have. Something borrowed meant the bride should find a “good wife” that had a “good marriage” and borrow an item from her to use so she would share in the success of accomplishing the task of being a “good wife”. Finally something blue meant purity.

    The bride normally wore blue (not white) in those days as a symbol of her pureness. As you can see, the meaning of the rhyme has gotten away from us over time.  If a bride wants to hold to firm tradition, she can. The final line of the rhyme is “with a sixpence in her shoe”. The sixpence was a British coin worth about six cents that would ensure she would never be poor.  Good luck finding one.

    Never wear white, never wear black

    Tradition states that you never wear white to a wedding, because that color belongs to the bride. You never wear black, because it is the color for grieving. Neither of these traditions are held tightly today, While wearing a pure white dress is in poor taste, a bridesmaid dress with white in it is acceptable.  Black is the color of elegance and class and is used in many modern-day weddings. Better bridal stores carry black bridesmaids dresses, and mother of the bride dresses. Black is no longer off-limits. It is up to the bride.

    Create a registry and stick with it

    While some brides do create a traditional wedding registry, many guests do not like to use them. Sometimes guests do not enjoy making purchases from them. The bride may choose items like a $50.00 serving spoon and put it on her registry. But who wants to purchase a spoon as a wedding gift?  Fortunately, today’s bride has better options.

    Today’s bride has the options of creating honeymoon registries. She may want funds to go toward the honeymoon, an event at the destination, or even home improvements. The couple sets up their registry at a site like Honeyfund, and your money combines with the gifts of others to make their wishes a reality.

    Some couples are already financially settled and they choose to set up free fundraising sites for a family member or friend who is experiencing hardship. Instead of gifts, they could set up a Plumfund account to make it easy for guests to contribute to a worthy cause (which means something to them). The couple is happy. The guests are happy and never feel uncomfortable with the amount they choose to contribute.

    Some wedding traditions are here to stay because they make sense. As an example, if you are invited to the wedding, you are expected for the wedding, not just the after-party. It is noticed and it is unacceptable to show up for the reception without attending the ceremony.

    If your invitation has only your name, you are not permitted to add a guest. There may be seating issues, food issues, and limits set for friends due to the family members who are attending. Adding a boyfriend or girlfriend is not cool. If there is only seating for 200 and 25 guests brought an uninvited partner, this makes an immediate problem.

    We are a people of tradition, merged with technology. We communicate via social media. RSVP is allowed electronically if the bride gets the information. By the way, it is never okay to post unflattering cell phone pictures on social media of the bride or her party.

    The wedding of today is fun and romantic. The bride and groom get to make the rules and anything goes as long as it is okay with them.

    Author Bio

    Wendy Dessler

    Wendy is a super-connector with Outreachmama.com who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.


  3. Does it cost a guest to go to a wedding?

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    Have you been to a wedding this summer? Did you find that being excited for the couple is one thing and then you realise that it might be quite costly for you and your family to attend as a guest?

    We have two weddings to go to this year, one in the Autumn and one on New Years Eve and whilst the latter helps us to solve the "what are we doing for New Years Eve debate" it also means hotels, outfits and gifts straight after the expense of Christmas. We are firm believers in never arguing about money but it is quite sad to see that one in four Britons has argued with their partner about the cost of watching others say "I do"

    There has been a recent survey by Experian’s that suggests the rising cost of weddings is rocking the boat for many couples, and not just for the bride and groom. In fact, almost a quarter of Britons (22%) have argued with their partner about the cost of witnessing others tie the knot. Eek!  

    Experian have highlighted some top do's and don'ts for financial harmony, which I think is great advice for any frugal family.

    Do

    • Set the ground rules. Do you want a joint account for regular expenses and separate bank accounts for personal spending? Or do you want everything to go together?
    • Work out who does what. The more frugal partner could look after the budget, while the more extravagant works out the ‘treats’, like meals out or trips away
    • Agree on short and long-term goals and how you’re going to achieve them, and review regularly together
    • Be honest about your past. If you have a less-than-perfect history of repaying money you owe, this could affect both of you in the long-term if your credit reports become linked
    • Take time together to understand if you need to improve one or both of your credit reports. Do this well in advance of applying for credit together
    Don’t
    • Spend all your time together talking about money 
    • Keep secrets. Research from Experian shows that 29% of people in the UK discovered that their partner was keeping credit card debt from them
    • Dig yourself into a hole. If you find yourself in debt, don’t borrow more in the hope of putting things right. Ask for help and be open about it with your partner
    • Talk about money issues when you are angry. Arguing about money is never going to be productive
    • Expect your partner to completely change. It’s unlikely an extravagant spender will do a complete about-turn and suddenly become frugal

     

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    Managing your finances and your relationship can be quite a balancing act – when it comes to both organising and attending weddings, moving in together or just life in general. That’s why Experian have created a dedicated Money & Relationships Guide to help people understand what we know can be quite a complex series of topics – in jargon-free, easy-to-understand language. All of the guides are available online. Hopefully these guides will be helpful for you and your followers who are trying to get their heads around how credit referencing works, and the good, the bad and the surprising when it comes to managing your finances to get what you want in life.

  4. Cunard Mediterranean Cruise Competition

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    I *may* have mentioned that we are getting married this year, so honeymoon destinations are currently on my radar.

    When I say radar, I *may* actually mean that I am becoming a honeymoon obsessed crazy person .... but shhhh that is strictly between us. 

    I have always dreamt of Italy, for me it is the perfect honeymoon destination. There is no disputing that Italy is considered as one of the most romantic places in the world. It has picturesque landscapes, it is seeped history and art, and I am reliably informed that the food and wine is divine, which makes me just want to get lost in the warmth and passion of Italy’s culture. 

    Am I rambling? Yes I am rambling ...... I just got lost in the daydream again.

    I may have also got a little lost in Pinterest too after seeing this fabulous competition on Love Chic Living with Cunard 

     

    I hope this Pinterest board epitomises the romance and honest beauty of Tuscany in Italy and if we do or don't decide on this as our destination ...... maybe I will just decorate our new marital bedroom with Tuscany inspiration.