D is for dragon egg

DragonEggHuntWe’ve hunted for eggs, we’ve hunted for rabbits and this weekend we hunted for… dragons’ eggs!

Heritage Lincolnshire hosted the event at Bolingbroke Castle yesterday and our own knight and princess were keen to explore the ruins to find the hidden eggs and their attached letter clues.

We enjoyed the event last year during the Easter period but this year the search was moved to be a highlight in the 650th birthday celebrations of King Henry IV, who was born at the castle.

Fortunately we found all the letter clues and were able to claim some sweet treats for the minis on completion of the anagram riddle.

Visitors to the ruins were also able to walk into the picturesque village where the Friends of Bolingbroke Castle had arranged refreshments, a craft fair, face painting, pony grooming, games such as hook a duck and small animal petting too.

Rather handily it’s letter d week at Luke’s nursery next week so d is, of course, for dragon egg!

For more information on the castle built in the early 13th century by Randulph de Blundeville, Earl of Chester and Lincoln, click here.

Hunting for wabbits

What better way to spend your Easter Monday than hunting for rabbits?!

Doddington Hall & Gardens, part of the Historic Houses Association, were hosting the Easter trail during their Cherry Blossom Fortnight and, as well as finding the 10 white rabbits and collecting their letters to solve the anagram, we also enjoyed playing skittles, croquet, egg and spoon races, hook a duck, skipping and exploring the gardens.

Do I think that’s the end of Easter hunts? No, of course not.  In lieu of chocolate, Willow has now started hiding toy cars to find.  And seeing as Luke and I are often still talking about Christmas there’s every possibility we might still be discussing Easter come Halloween…

Sunday Sevens #5

#SundaySevens is a blog series started by Natalie from Threads and Bobbins.  Here’s my fifth entry into the series looking at a few of the little things that have happened in the mini ones’ lives this week…

HowTimeFlies1. How Time Flies

Christopher Nibble wasn’t our only theatrical experience this week as I braved taking all the minis on my own to see How Time Flies at the Lincoln Drill Hall on Monday.  Billed as interactive, it was testament to how engaging the show was that both Luke and Willow were fully focused on the archaeologists’ investigations into ancient skeleton Skelebob’s possible origins and endings whilst I had to walk an unsettled Faith around at the back of the auditorium several times.  Eccentric characters, melodramatic speculation, interesting facts – did you know the largest fossilised poo ever found is seven inches of Viking excrement? – repetitive sing-along musical interludes, a camel that added to the toilet humour and the chance to move, touch, discover, build and be involved in the narrative meant that the minis weren’t the only ones fascinated by the unfolding mystery.  To find out where Handmade Theatre are taking Skelebob next click here.

ChickenHat22. Seasonal storytelling

Less ardent tractor fans who made it past the line of vintage agricultural vehicles quicker than we did at Countryside Lincs last week may have made it to one of Rhubarb Theatre’s interactive storytelling sessions.  Willow obviously knew she’d have a second chance to enjoy one of the company’s theatrical tales as we were booked in to Lindum Books’s monthly storytime on Tuesday.  In honour of the Easter holidays the session was based on The Little Red Hen and saw us decorating and donning flapping chicken hats which Willow was eager to share with daddy later that evening too.  We missed March’s interpretation of Jack and the Flumflum Tree as it was fully booked before we thought to enquire so don’t forget to give them a call to reserve your place if you’d like to take a mini one along in May.  To find out more about the uphill store’s calendar of events click here.

IMG_43933. Celebrity posing

Christopher Nibble wasn’t the only star that Willow was able to pose for the camera with this week.  Despite thinking we’d somehow managed to avoid the Frozen phenomenon we discovered a few weeks back that, whilst we haven’t seen the film all the way through, the minis have with their grandparents.  And Willow seemed to definitely know who Elsa and Anna were when they put in an appearance at Holly Tree soft play centre this weekend and was eager to skip to the front of the queue to get her photo taken with them.

4. Hard graft

Whilst most parents were planning egg hunts and Easter crafts for the bank holiday weekend, the minis’ parents took them to a workhouse instead!  Fortunately for them The Workhouse in Southwell is now a National Trust property and provides exploration and dressing-up opportunities for its visitors instead of hard labour.  And we can confirm that the tasty treats in the cafe are a lot more delicious than the original menu of gruel sounds too.

IMG_44115. Hill Holt Wood

We did have plans to go egg hunting as well though and braved today’s weather forecast to head to Hill Holt Wood to join in their organised search.  We’re going to put our lack of success down to following another group of searchers too closely rather than simply being completely inept at finding any.  Having accumulated a tally of zero, we took a “not ‘appy” Luke and his sisters into the craft room where Easter crowns were decorated and cake devoured in the adjoining cafe.  Luke and Willow were also very privileged to have the hard won chocolatey prizes of friends’ children shared with them (when Luke allowed it as he didn’t think he should take it at first as he hadn’t found an egg).  Refuelled we then took another quick turn around the woods and were well rewarded in racing the raindrops as this time Luke found an egg, now “‘appy” we were allowed to return to the car.  Apparently 100 eggs were originally placed around the woodland, I wonder how many they’re still looking for now!

6. Eggscellent explorers


Our home, very DIY, egg hunt was much more successful in volume though.  Whilst we had to relocate to indoors, Luke wasn’t satisfied with finding all the shiny-wrapped treats once.  Following their first quest, daddy and mummy were banished to the hall whilst he and Willow re-hid them all so we had to find them instead and then we all took turns to hide and find them over and over again for the next hour or so, albeit with a slightly decreasing supply each time.  It was very heart-warming that Luke, unprompted, was always keen to make sure Willow had as many in her basket as he did.  Although Willow had to be convinced that the prolonged search was a sensible plan of action at first.  She seemed to consider the find the chocolate, eat the chocolate way of playing the game more preferable but soon joined in enthusiastically too, remaining as excited at finding an egg in the same place for the tenth time as she was the first time.

7. Not just chocolate

Luke was given a mini bat signal as part of an Easter gift from grandmum.  Daddy and mummy may let him have his turn soon…


Everything’s dandy in Dandeville

IMG_4399If you’re looking for a role model to help expand your picky eater’s palate then at first glance Christopher Nibble isn’t your guinea pig.

He, along with his friends and family and all the guinea pigs in Dandeville, love eating dandelion leaves – for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  At least they’re eating their greens, right?

They love eating them so much that Topsy Turvy Theatre have turned their munching and crunching into a song as part of their stage adaptation of Charlotte Middleton’s story.

Performing at the Terry O’Toole Theatre in North Hykeham today, the company combined cute puppets with musical numbers and an engaging narrative, along with the chance to join in a rain dance, to reenact the horticultural tale.

As well as enjoying a side lesson in the economics of demand and supply, the audience took a trip to the library with the curious cavy and learnt how to cultivate dandelions to ensure they didn’t disappear from the town – but they did also learn that eating a range of food was a good idea along the way too.

Click on the poster to find out where Topsy Turvy Theatre are taking Christopher next.

Luke liked Mr Rosetti the cafe owner and the farmer trying to sell his cabbages, they both enthusiastically joined in the rain (and get dry) dance and Willow was very excited by the paper dandelion seeds released over the young audience memebers’ heads near the end.

We’ve long been fans of the tale of dandelion derring-do but didn’t realise there were sequels and, whilst Luke and Willow enjoyed a post-show meeting with the furry star, we added Christopher’s Bicycle and Christopher’s Caterpillars to their bedtime reading pile – signed copies too!

And just in case you can’t remember what you have to do – just pick your dandelion’s white head of seeds and 1, 2, 3… blow!

To keep up to date with the Terry O’Toole Theatre’s children’s theatre shows click here.

Topsy Turvy Theatre’s Christopher Nibble

ChristopherNibbleIf you’ve already had your fill of fluffy bunnies and cute chicks this Easter then why not try to turn your children’s attention to guinea pigs instead?

Topsy Turvy Theatre are proudly presenting Christopher Nibble at the Terry O’Toole Theatre in North Hykeham on Saturday, April 15th, at 3pm.

The musical play for children aged 2-7 is adapted from the book by Charlotte Middleton and follows the story of the dandelion-loving cavy as he learns how to save the delicious delicacy from disappearing.

Add in energetic storytelling, handmade puppets and stunning scenery and Christopher Nibble’s tale of derring-do is sure to be as uplifting as any chocolate-fuelled sugar rush in your children’s Easter break.

Click here to find out more about the show. There is also a BEE A Garden Super Hero family workshop at the venue at 1pm celebrating National Garden Week.

Call the theatre on 01522 883311.

Sunday Sevens #4

#SundaySevens is a blog series started by Natalie from Threads and Bobbins.  Here’s my fourth entry into the series looking at a few of the little things that have happened in the mini ones’ lives this week…

1. Age appropriate behaviour

My eldest daughter is two.  We missed the terrible twos with Luke although he more than made up for it when he hit three.  Willow, however, started engaging in what our health visitor called “age-appropriate behaviour” before her second birthday and the bigger she gets the bigger her outbursts of “age-appropriate behaviour” get.  It’s been an interesting week…

IMG_3478 Babywearing
Look mum, no hands!

2. Beautiful behaviour

It pays to remember how much toddlers are taking in, developing and growing though and it’s lovely when it comes back out in more constructive ways.  Willow’s obviously been noticing me wearing Faith in recent weeks and wanted to try it out herself!

3. And just because

Icecream screamI love this photo!  My fairy-dress wearing, butterfly face-painted, ice cream loving daughter is, of course, amazing.



4. “Beyond my body and labels”

A friend read my Loving a designer label blog post about Faith’s Down’s Syndrome diagnosis and sent me this lovely quote from the book she was reading at the time.

I think it’s safe to say Haemin Sunim is far more eloquent than me: “I wish you could see my true nature.  Beyond my body and labels, there is a river of tenderness and vulnerability.  Beyond stereotypes and assumptions, there is a valley of openness and authenticity.  Beyond memory and ego, there is an ocean of awareness and compassion.”  The book title is The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down and it’s definitely going on my to read list.

5. With bated breath

Anyone else waiting for the decision on primary school places for this September?  Did the email sent out this week get your heart racing?  It was just confirming that we will find out after Easter.  It also stated that 94% of applicants have their first choice.  Which means they have already placed everyone so just tell us already!  (Really don’t want to be in the 6%…)

6. Holidays court ruling

Speaking of schools, this week’s Supreme Court ruling against the father who took his daughter on a term-time holiday has saddened me due to its wider implications.  We are very privileged to have a universal system of public education in the UK and we mustn’t forget that but family should very much come first.

7. They build you up… they knock you down…

Husband: “Hello sexy.”
Son, quite emphatically: “No! Not sexy! Mummy!”
Husband now has a new game…


Tractors, tortoises and toe-tickling weather – Countryside Lincs 2017

Luke's photo of Willow
We have numerous photos of Luke and Willow sat on tractors taken throughout the day but this one, my favourite, was taken by Luke.

When you support an event from its original launch it’s lovely to see its success grow, guaranteeing it a place on your yearly calendar.

Countryside Lincs is still in its infancy.  We walked through its Lincolnshire Showground gates along with about 1,000 other visitors in 2015.  The event increased its offering in 2016 and obviously word had spread as we were joined on the day in 2016 by three times as many people.

So we were delighted to be guests of the event this year when, along with its growing reputation, the glorious weather is sure to have the Lincolnshire Agricultural Society team counting today’s visitor numbers for some time to come.

Whilst there were plenty of things to see at the event celebrating food, farming and the countryside, including a range of animals and a variety of ring displays, it’s the fact there was plenty of things to do too that really got our vote.

From petting a giant tortoise to sitting on huge modern as well as smaller vintage tractors and riding on self-propelled mini ones, to decorating a biscuit to eat, balancing on bouncy balls and helping inject a toy dog back to health – the provision of hands-on activities had been given the highest priority.

Exploring the vintage fire engines that were lined up just past the entrance gate was very timely for Luke who enjoyed a visit from the modern day service earlier in the week at his nursery.  If we thought it took a while to get past these vehicles there was a row of vintage tractors waiting just to the side of them and we could still see the car park almost an hour after our arrival as we queued at the behest of the minis to sit on each one in turn.

And the setting lent itself to activities not strictly mentioned on the map too – the warm sunny day gave us pause to take off our shoes and socks and let the grass tickle our toes and a small grassy mound proved great for rolling down on when Luke and Willow (and lots of other younger visitors) were further procrastinating leaving at the end of the day.

Save the DateWe arrived at the Showground within the opening hour of the event and didn’t leave until after the clock struck closing time and we still had a lot more left to do if only we’d have had more hours to do it in – I guess we’ll just have to make sure it’s written in next year’s diary.

And the event’s parting gift – a daffodil plant – will hopefully give us a blooming good reminder to write 2018’s date down after we help it take root in our garden.