F is for Faith (…and fuchsia)

IMG_9579Every mother knows that her own children are gorgeous but it’s always nice to hear it confirmed by other people too.

And it was lovely to hear that a photo I shared of Faith on @TheMiniMalpi Twitter account caught the attention of the artist behind Bertie Bear Button Art and Crafts.

Designing and hand making personalised artwork with buttons, Sarah from Kirton Lindsey in North Lincolnshire, offered to send Faith her own individually designed initial art frame and, as you can see, she was very pleased with the finished piece.

The idea appealed to me for several reasons – I love words and letters, button is a term of endearment I often use for all three of my minis and it’s always lovely to have something personalised and individual appropriate to your unique child.

And the frame lived up to those expectations too.  The natural wooden frame can be freestanding or hung on a wall and came very securely padded in a mailing box surviving two deliveries in our case as a neighbour was kind enough to receive it for us when we missed the postman.

The mix of buttons sizes, shapes and shades is lovely and I like the 3D dimension to the nature of the craft.  I think most parents would love the heart button but, as Faith is currently waiting for a heart operation, it has extra significance to us and I like its prominent placing.  There is a bow button, flowers and the butterfly would definitely currently be a winner with Faith’s older sister.


The frames currently come in either pink or blue.  I’m quite a fan of using other colours too and Sarah says this is something she’d consider in the future although it’s understandable why those two colours are the mainstays in her button stash.  Plus when I was trying to think of a colour that begins with f as well I just came up with fuchsia anyway!

I’m sure it will make a lovely feature to her bedroom wall for years to come.

As well as initials, Sarah’s designs also include a family tree, ballerina, heart, the words home and love and an apple perfect for a teacher thank you present.  Find out more at Bertie Bear Button Art.

If you’d like a unique letter button frame made for your mini one or would like to buy any of her artworks as a gift then Sarah is offering The Mini Malpi readers 25% off their order.   Use the code THEMINIMALPI25 in her Etsy store at to claim your discount.  And we’d love to see your photos of your little one with their own art piece too so don’t forget to tweet us @TheMiniMalpi.

Lincoln (still) Loves Kids!

Lincolnshire County Council’s Samantha Phillips, Visit Lincoln’s Lydia Rusling and Emma Crellin from Lincoln Mums launched the second edition of Lincoln Loves Kids at the Lincolnshire Show. Photo: Visit Lincoln.

Did you pick up a Lincoln Loves Kids brochure last year?

If you did then you’re one of the reasons the pilot project was so successful it had a second edition commissioned.

Promoting family activities and experiences in the city and surrounding countryside, it is produced by a partnership between Visit Lincoln, Lincoln Mums and Lincolnshire County Council’s Heritage Services.

“If you know a budding history hunter or outdoor explorer who needs entertaining or want to find out what clubs and classes are available, just pick up the free 2017 Lincoln Loves Kids brochure,” says Visit Lincoln’s business development manager Clare Williams.

Samantha Phillips, Emma Crellin, Lydia Rusling and EBP’s Emma Wellbourne.  Photo: Visit Lincoln.

“All 40 pages are crammed full of ideas for places to visit, experiences you can enjoy as a family and the best places for child friendly food stops, as well as swimming classes, messy play sessions and baby massage.

“As well as working with all the venues again on this second edition, we’re also organising an event on Saturday, July 29th, in the city centre to coincide with Lincoln by the Sea.”

The new edition once again includes a competition to win a family break in Lincoln and now also includes a family “Selfie Trail”, sharing the best places in the city to capture that perfect family photo.

Lincoln Mums’s Emma Crellin says “In Lincoln we really do have the best of everything for families to enjoy.  It’s great to be involved with Lincoln Loves Kids as the guide brings all the many activities and destinations we have on offer together in one place.  It also highlights all the places where parents can use their Lincoln Mums card too!”

15,000 copies of the brochure will be distributed throughout the city – I’ll definitely be looking out for one! – and you can find out more at www.VisitLincoln.com/kids.

#30DaysWild Day 30 – Tattershall bats

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_30We were going to go camping this weekend but the adverse weather forecast earlier in the week made us decide it was not the right time for Faith’s first foray into canvas living.

It has, of course, mainly been a lovely day after all and the weekend looks set to be the same but it did mean we had an extra “Daddy Day” today anyway and we decided to head to Tattershall Castle for the afternoon instead.


The 15th century red brick castle is a National Trust property in the village near Sleaford in Lincolnshire and – as well as lots of steps! – it has lovely grounds whose moats add to the diversity of wildlife that makes its home there.

And there’s also a great sandpit behind the tower where, not only can you make your own more temporary battlement bedecked buildings, but you can also have lots of fun burying your brother.


The minis were also keen to explore Holy Trinity Collegiate Church on the way back to the car park and we were rewarded with discovering how proud its parishioners are that their place of worship also provides a home to 900+ bats.


The “largest bat colony in any inhabited building in the country” has even inspired a children’s book, Tatty Bat – “a beautiful tale of adventure, friendship and Christianity”.

Perhaps we will order a copy ready to read during #30DaysWild 2018!


#30DaysWild Day 29 – Lavender in the rain

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_29Another rainy day and one I was quite happy to hide indoors from if my two year old hadn’t insisted on leaving the house.

If we hadn’t have gone out I would have missed the wonderful service she was given in a clothes shop even though all the shoes she tried on were too big.  Many thanks to the Peacocks ladies – I think you have won an enthusiastic mini customer (when her feet have grown a bit more anyway).

Bees seem to like lavender in the sun too

And I would have missed the rich scent the rain brought out from the lavender in a neighbouring garden that we passed on the way back.  I wasn’t dawdling due to the conditions but it still gave me pause to take in one of those simple things in life that are mood lifting.

Children don’t always view weather conditions the same as adults do.  I wonder when it starts to change?  Hopefully not too soon for Willow.

Did you know?: Today is International Mud Day

30DAYSWILD_ID2 lightgreen

#30DaysWild Day 28 – Stick inspiration

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_28#30DaysWilders looking for inspiration for their daily act of wildness need look no further than their phones.

30DaysAppDownload the 30 Days Wild app, tap the screen and read on.

Today I was given “Celebrate the humble stick: Pooh stick, lightsaber, wand?  Think of 100 things to do with a stick”.

Sticks are definitely among the minis’ favourite things.  Last year I borrowed The Stick Book: loads of things you can make or do with a stick by Jo Schofield and Fiona Danks and the minis have easily rounded up their 70 projects to 100 in the last 12 months – even if some of their games aren’t always intelligible to adults or if sometimes the point of holding a stick is simply to hold a stick.

IMG_9347[1]There is certainly no question that there is value in them though.

When Luke made a rather impressive wand as part of his nursery’s forest school sessions he was most upset that a friend had forgotten to take his home but I’m sure it was magicked back home the next day too.



Newark Book Festival 2017

NBF logoThe biggest ever Newark Book Festival promises to transform the Nottinghamshire town into a land of adventure and heroes during the event’s weekend of July 15th and 16th.

Back for its third year, more than 100 authors, artists, entertainers, wordsmiths and street performers will take part in ticketed panel discussions, live music, book markets, children’s storytelling, family activities and literary talks on everything from crime writing to bear hunts to the BFG and Sherlock Holmes to Steampunk in various venues across Newark.

gecko echo cover (2)Sara Bullimore, artistic director for Newark Book Festival, said: “We’re so excited to be building the festival with a new feel, brand and working with more venues to bring a bigger festival to Newark. Our programme is full of fantastic fictional tales and amazing true stories from some of the UK’s finest writers; showcasing their talent, stimulating debate and inspiring the next generation of writers.

wally-wizard (2)“We chose this year’s theme, Adventures and Heroes, to celebrate Visit England’s Year of Literary Heroes, as well as Nottinghamshire’s incredible writers.  There’ll be something for book lovers of all ages, from children’s writers and comedy theatre groups to best-selling novelists and the finest local writing talent.”

Pirate Pete HB cover (2)Mini readers may want to look out for Wally the Wizard on his Magic Ship of Stories, Words and Pictures and Make and Create Mr Men workshops and the launch of the library’s Summer Reading Challenge on the first day of the festival.

And on the Sunday, they can take part in The Festival’s Famous Adventures, celebrating 75 years’ of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five, at Newark Castle alongside face painting, treasure hunts and the inimitable Admirable Admirals, as well as enjoying a Pirate Pete storytime at the town hall and time to meet Doctor Rhyme in the Market Place.

Tickets are on sale now from the Newark Palace Theatre Box Office, call 01636 655755.

For a full programme and to find out more visit www.newarkbookfestival.org.uk

#30DaysWild Day 27 – I’m Not Cute!

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_27Tonight’s storytime was I’m Not Cute! by Jonathan Allen.

Baby owl takes a walk through the forest and encounters other woodland animals who all think he’s cute and fluffy.

ImNotCuteBaby owl disagrees.  Vehemently.  He thinks he’s a “huge and scary hunting machine”.  But when his mum agrees with him, he suddenly remembers he is cute too.  Fortunately his mum knows he’s both.

This is one of my favourite books at the moment because it epitomises my two year old (tired temper tantrums and all) – she may be little but she is fierce, unless she’s a little bit tired and just needs a cuddle instead.

Our other favourite stories featuring owls include Wow Said The Owl, Owl Babies and Oliver’s Wood.