Where to go to deliver your wish lists

Christmas 2018

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IMG_1834Oh my goodness, how the year has flown!  I usually manage to post my where to meet the man in red list in November but the chances to sit with my laptop for any length of time in recent weeks have been few and far between.

We have, however, actually made it to a grotto ourselves this year, unlike 2017 where the emphasis was on making sure Faith recovered from her heart surgery.  We chose Brigg Garden Centre’s Santa experience which the minis enjoyed.

We went early due to Daddy Malpi being away for one December weekend and the following one being taken up by celebrating Willow’s birthday and we didn’t plan ahead enough to have booked a later December date.  Next year we may well be prompted to book further ahead so that certain minis don’t end up as disappointed that Christmas was still a few weeks away!

 

If you’re still looking for somewhere to take your excited little ones so they can deliver their wish lists to Father Christmas in person then here are a few ideas in and around Lincolnshire.

As always, live events can be subject to last minute changes and selling out so be sure to check booking details before you travel and before making any promises to mini ones.  If you know of one we’ve missed, then please email hello@theminimalpi.co.uk with the link and I’ll be happy to add it or let us know where you’d recommend in the comments below.

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December 7th & 8th:
Santa Shoots, England’s Finest Photography, Grantham

December 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th:
Fillingham Trees, near Gainsborough

December 8th & 9th:
Santa Paws festive fun for four-legged friends, Sherwood Forest

December 8th & 15th:
Breakfast with Santa, Uncle Henry’s, Grayingham near Gainsborough

December 9th:
Admiral Rodney Hotel, Horncastle
Wyndham Park, Grantham

December 10th:
Moorland, Lincoln

December 13th & 20th:
Supper with Santa, Oldrids, Boston

December 14th:
Sutton on Sea Christmas Festival

December 15th:
Bluebell Wood Goats and Farm Shop, Nettleham
Breakfast with Santa, Adam’s Bay, Gainsborough

December 15th & 16th:
Breakfast with Santa, Natural World Centre, Whisby Nature Park

December 15th, 16th, 22nd, 23rd:
Breakfast with Santa, Windmill Farm, Lincoln

December 15th & 22nd:
Breakfast with Santa, Downtown, Boston

December 15th-23rd:
Lincoln Castle

December 16th:
Lincoln Santa Fun Run & Walk (not a grotto but you’ll definitely see one or two Santas!)

December 20th:
Lincoln Toy Library

December 23rd & 24th:
Trinity Arts Centre, Gainsborough

December weekends:
Pescod Square, Boston

Various dates throughout December:
Ark Wildlife Park, Stickney
Baytree Garden Centre, near Spalding
Belton House, near Grantham – FULLY BOOKED
Brigg Garden Centre
Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway
Doddington Hall – SOLD OUT
Downtown, Grantham
Fair Gardens, Kirton in Lindsey
Fun Farm, North Hykeham
Hildreds Shopping Centre, Skegness
Hykeham Lions
Johnsons Garden Centre, Boston
Lincolnshire Fire & Rescue Santa Sleigh Tour, countywide
Lincolnshire Wildlife Park, Friskney
Lincolnshire Wolds Railway – FULLY BOOKED
Oldrids, Scunthorpe
Oliver Boat Trips, Lincoln
Pink Pig Farm, near Scunthorpe
Rand Farm Park, near Market Rasen
Rufford Abbey Country Park, Nottinghamshire
Sundown Adventureland, near Retford
Waterside Shopping Centre, Lincoln
Whisby Garden Centre Animal Park and Playbarn, Whisby near Lincoln
White Post Farm, Farnsfield

Me Becoming Mum

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

069A0820With the arrival of December the 1st hundreds of children will have been eagerly tearing open little cardboard doors anticipating the treat behind them whether sweet or otherwise.

Not so our mini ones however as they’re having to wait until Daddy Malpi comes back from watching the snooker in York with their Advent calendars in hand as a surprise gift on his return.

069A0834Our countdown to Christmas actually started very early this year however as the minis had the honour of being models for England’s Finest Photography and being the first to try out their seasonal set for 2018.

It was our first visit to the Grantham studio but I have a feeling it won’t be our last.

Chris and Michelle were lovely and patient with all three of our minis – and quick thinking when the need arose! – making sure the experience was enjoyable for them.

Based in The Old Malthouse, the photographers benefit from a number of rooms meaning that not only is there a seasonal studio, there’s also a permanent magical fairyland scene (which is given a layer of frost for fairies visiting during the winter) and a permanent newborn studio that even has a playroom nearby to keep older siblings entertained.

069A0816On December 7th and 8th, children visiting the Lincolnshire Santa set will not only have the opportunity to have their photos taken but they’ll also have the chance to meet the man in red himself at the same time.  If you can’t make those two days or your minis are already handing over their wish lists to Father Christmas elsewhere, then Christmas mini sessions are also available on other dates.  Winter fairy shoots are available to book until February.

For further information visit www.efpics.co.uk, call 01476 577798 or email studio@efpics.co.uk

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How do you celebrate Advent?  Is your calendar full of chocolates or toys?  Do you treat your minis to 24 new books?  Or are you taking part in a reverse Advent calendar?  Let us know in the comments below.

Me Becoming Mum

 

Santa’s Workshop open to new little elves

LFandGFor those of us who won’t have managed to have our entire Christmas list completed, wrapped and delivered, hidden or stored in the larder by the end of November there’s still plenty of opportunity to catch up with our seasonally smug friends.

And what better way to do it than to visit a Christmas fair with lots of opportunity to support scores of local small businesses, all with their own unique offering, all assembled in one place?

Lincolnshire Food & Gift is returning to the Lincolnshire Showground on December 1st and 2nd and will host 150 exhibitor stands.  Entry is £5 in advance or £6 on the gate and, not only is entry free for accompanied under 16s, but there’s also a lot of activities on offer designed to keep the shopping experience festive for them too.

Craft making at the Lincolnshire Food and Gift FairYounger visitors will be able to “get hands on with Christmas craft making, exciting storytelling and seasonal baking”.

Lincolnshire Showground CEO Jayne Southall says, “Entertaining the little ones over the festive period can often leave families feeling light on cash which is why the Lincolnshire Food & Gift Fair is offering a fun free day out for children under 16, when attending with a full paying adult.

“The popular Santa’s Workshop area, which returns to the Fair for the third year running, will provide hours of free entertainment for little ones, whilst adult visitors can sample the county’s finest foods, explore the unique handmade gifts on offer and relax with a drink or two!”

Lincs Food and Gift Fair 2The Little Pottery Studio is joining in the fun this year, giving children “the chance to get artistic and have a go at painting their own festive ceramic shapes”.

Studio owner Jemma Stimpson says, “We are really excited to be exhibiting at the Lincolnshire Food & Gift Fair for the first time and even more excited to watch children try their hands at pottery painting, get stuck in and have some fun!  Children will be able to paint and glaze Christmas themed ceramics in our Elf Workshop, decorate their handmade creations with glitter and jewels and then take them home on the same day, ready to hang on the Christmas tree!”

“We’re really looking forward to showing off what we do, whilst helping children with their designs and also explain the process to parents – hopefully people will come back and have another go at our new studio at The Lawns.”

Mini event-goers will also have the chance to get creative with gingerbread decorating with Ticklebelly Lane Bakery, make willow star wands with Lincolnshire Willow and enjoy an extract of the New Theatre Royal’s Christmas pantomime from the stars of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Lincolnshire Food & Gift 2018 is open from 9am to 4pm on the Saturday and Sunday.  Visit www.lincolnshireshowground.co.uk or call 01522 522900 for further information and, if you’re sharing your mini ones’ crafty creations on social media, don’t forget to include #FoodandGift18.

Theatrical tale of tails inspires audience to want to take part

img_10341.jpgAlways one to enjoy it when cast members run around the audience, Luke started enjoying a stage adaptation of Tabby McTat even before the characters took to the stage.

It was Terence who made it up the stairs to introduce himself to those seated in the circle and his continuing goofy clowning antics throughout the show confirmed him as Luke’s favourite.

The minis were the guests of the New Theatre Royal Lincoln for Freckle Productions’s late afternoon performance of Julia Donaldson’s musical tale of feline adventure on Sunday.

Willow enjoyed all of the opportunities to join in with the tale of friendship and loyalty and has since been attempting to teach her friends at nursery how to do the special paw shake apparently.

Advertised “for all ages”, Faith enjoyed the “heroic and epic lighting changes” as well as the harmonious songs and mummy enjoyed the inventiveness of some of the staging, including the depiction of the brass band, on the sparse set.

Presented by Samuel Spratt telling his father’s story, the other three actors swapped hats to indicate which role they were performing as the tail tale took us through Tabby’s life from street cat to home cat to cat on a mission to find his friend.

Called up on stage one by one to fulfil Samuel’s storytelling needs, Luke was convinced that the only reason he hadn’t fit the bill of being able to help act out McTat’s journey was his lack of appropriate hat and knowing all the words in advance – cue on returning home him immediately looking for his beloved summer baseball cap mummy had tried putting away for the winter and requesting another reading of the book.  Considering he hadn’t been feeling well before we went, the show fully captured his, and his sisters’ imaginations, and provided all of us with some much needed theatrical magic.

Are Freckle Productions performing Tabby McTat in a theatre near you?  Find out at www.tabbymctat.com 

The next family production to be hosted by the New Theatre Royal Lincoln is pantomime Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs but there’s lots of fun promised for 2019 too with There Was An Old Lady, Twirlywoos, Wizard of Oz, the Amazing Adventures of Pinocchio, Dear Zoo, Sooty’s Magic Show and The Tiger Who Came to Tea already programmed into the venue’s next season – find out more at www.newtheatreroyallincoln.co.uk 

Fantasy titles make fantastic festive gifts

Are you splashing out on a book advent calendar and need some suggestions to make up your 24 titles?  Are you following the more frugal four gift rule of want, need, wear and read and would like to make sure each gift is extra special?  Or are you just looking for something easy to wrap?  Here Gill Hart of Lindum Books picks out a few of her fantastical and seasonal favourites that might prove the perfect present if you’re buying for mini ones this year…

OUaWWOnce Upon a Wild Wood – Chris Riddell (Pan Macmillan, HB, £12.99)
Little Green Raincape is on her way to Rapunzel’s party, deep in the wild woods. The way is long and dark, but Green is a smart girl. Smart enough to turn down apples offered by kindly old ladies, smart enough to turn down travel advice from helpful wolves, and above all, smart enough to solve a wealth of classic fairy tale problems – not least mend a lovelorn beast’s broken heart.  Once Upon a Wild Wood is a richly imagined story packed full of familiar fairy tale characters as you’ve never seen them before.  Including Red Riding Hood, Thumbelina, Rapunzel, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, the three bears, the seven dwarfs and many more!  A visual feast on every page, illustrated with warmth and humour and full of witty details to discover – this is ex Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell at his picture book best!

TTPThe Truth Pixie – Matt Haig (Cannongate, HB, £9.99)
Matt Haig has become known as an ambassador for the importance of talking about mental health and this heartwarming story, brilliantly illustrated throughout by Chris Mould, is being called the Reason’s to Stay Alive for seven-year olds.  “Wherever she is, whatever the day, She only has one kind of thing to say. Just as cats go miaow and cows go moo, The Truth Pixie can only say things that are true.”  A very funny and lovable tale of how one special pixie learned to love herself.  The Truth Pixie is an enchanting, rhyming story that will delight younger readers.

TSMMThe Snowman – Michael Morpurgo (Penguin, HB, £12.99)
Michael Morpurgo has re-imagined Raymond Briggs’ classic The Snowman for a new generation of readers.  One December morning, James is thrilled to wake up to see snow falling. He spends the whole day making his perfect snowman; he has coal eyes, an old green hat and scarf and a tangerine nose, just like the snowman from his favourite story.  That night, something magical happens – the Snowman comes to life!  He and James take to the skies on a magical adventure where they meet someone very special.  Inspired by the timeless tale, Michael Morpurgo and illustrator Robin Shaw have created the perfect Christmas story for the whole family.

NSCSNoel Streatfeild’s Christmas Stories – Noel Streatfeild (Little Brown, HB, £12.99)
A captivating collection of festive stories from the author of Ballet Shoes.  There are auditions on stage and antics on ice, trips to the pantomime, holiday adventures, and laughter shared with family and friends.  Originally written for annuals, magazines and the radio from the 1940s-60s, these stories by this much-loved author have never been collected before and are sure to be a hit with readers of all ages.

SWCThe Spiderwick Chronicles: The Completely Fantastical Edition – Tony Diterlizzi & Holly Black (Simon & Schuster, HB, £14.99)
When the Grace children moved into the old, abandoned Spiderwick Mansion, little did they realise that their lives would never be the same again. Having uncovered a fantastical world of sprites, faeries and goblins there’s no turning back. The Ultimate Spiderwick Chronicles features all five of the original books plus great new bonus content!  Discover the three “lost” chapters that were included in the Nestle Cereal Partners cereal boxes, and the special “development” section showing sketches and early drafts. Readers both old and new, young and old will be completely immersed in the world of Spiderwick with this ultimate collection.

BoDPPLa Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One – Philip Pullman (Penguin, PB, £7.99)
Philip Pullman’s prequel to his Dark Materials series is both for fans and those new to Lyra’s world.  Malcolm Polstead’s Oxford life has been one of routine, ordinary even.  He is happiest playing with his daemon, Asta, in their canoe, La Belle Sauvage.  But now as the rain builds, the world around Malcolm and Asta it seems is set to become increasingly far from ordinary.  Finding himself linked to a baby by the name of Lyra Belacqua, Malcolm is forced to undertake the challenge of his life and to make a dangerous journey that will change him and Lyra forever.

For more recommendations from the Lincoln bookseller call 01522 262374 or pop into their store in Bailgate, Lincoln.

For more Christmas gift guides visit www.arepops.com 

Freckle Productions to perform a purr-fect play

#Blogtober18: X-rays and broken bones

“Tabby McTat was a busker’s cat with a miaow that was loud and strong…”

In Julia Donaldson’s feline tale McTat is purr-fectly happy singing all day long with his best friend Fred until one day Fred sustains an injury whilst chasing a thief and the two are separated.  Tabby finds new home comforts but soon misses his friend.

The cast of Tabby McTat. Photo Credit Robin Savage (3)

Fans of the rhyming story and those who don’t yet know whether they find each other again can enjoy a brand new stage adaptation of the book when Freckle Productions performs it at the New Theatre Royal in Lincoln.

The show may be new but Freckle Productions has previously bought Donaldson’s creations to the stage with Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales and say “Brought to life on stage with original songs and inventive puppetry, Tabby McTat is a heart-warming story of friendship and loyalty”.

The cast of Tabby McTat. Photo Credit Robin Savage (7) (1)“I have a very soft spot for Tabby McTat, perhaps because I used to be a busker myself, and also because I am a great cat-lover, says Julia Donaldson, “So I’m absolutely delighted that Freckle Productions are going to be dramatizing my story and I can’t wait to see it.”

Suitable for children and families of all ages, the show’s tour is coming to the city venue on November 4th at 1.30pm and 4.30pm and November 5th at 11am and 1.30pm.  Tickets are £14, under 2s free.

Find out more at www.TabbyMcTat.com or book tickets at www.newtheatreroyallincoln.co.uk

Fortunately Fred recovers from his broken leg and bang to the head but he’s not the only one who’s incurred a hospital stay due to an accident.  For more stories on the theme of X-rays and broken bones click on the #Blogtober18 image below. 

#Blogtober18

 

Monstrously good reasons to indulge

#Blogtober18: Quick hide the wrapper #chocolateweek

Today’s #Blogtober18 prompt is in honour of Chocolate Week (October 15th-21st).  Chocolate is definitely one of my favourite things in life and, as “the UK’s biggest chocolate celebration” is held in October, it seems perfect to pair it with another of my favourite things – Halloween.

And I’m not the only one who thinks that they go well together as several of my fellow bloggers have already posted helpful recipes with seasonally sweet suggestions.

Who doesn’t enjoy making food look like other things?  As a vegetarian I’m not usually a fan of eating things with eyes but Eva of Captain Bobcat’s Pumpkin and Choc Chip Cookie Monsters for Halloween, Becky of Baby Budgeting’s Spider CupCakes and Dannica of The Inspiration Edit’s Frankenstein Monster Halloween Cupcakes all look very delicious.

I have to admit that I didn’t know that Halloween bark was a thing but seeing as both Sophie of Soph-obsessed (Super Easy Loaded Halloween Bark Recipe) and Jenny of The Gingerbread House (Easy Halloween Bark Recipe) immediately suggested their bark recipes it obviously is.  My emerging culinary skills very much liked that the word “easy” is included in both their titles, my sprinkle-obsessed three year old would have great enthusiasm for the decoration involved and it would be lovely to bag pieces up as something a little bit different to shop bought sweets for trick or treaters.

HalloweenBagels

Not fully satisfied the urge to sprinkle or eat eyes yet?  Then The Gingerbread House’s Jenny has also included instructions to make these Halloween Monster Bagels on her website.

HalloweenCocktailsAll good things come in threes though don’t they?  We have chocolate and Halloween, why not throw some wine in the mix too?  Amanda of The Ana Mum Diary designed these Easy But Very Spooky Halloween Drinks one of which is alcoholic and one which uses a sparkling pear drink to ensure mini monsters have something to wash the chocolate down with too.

#Blogtober18