Plump, orange and spooky – the ceramic pumpkin search returns!

Lincoln’s uphill Pumpkin Trail challenge is back for its second year this autumn.

The free half-term activity challenges families to track down quirky ceramic pumpkins hidden the windows of the city’s uphill shops and other businesses and has once again been devised by a partnership of the Bailgate Guild, Lincoln BIG and Visit Lincoln, tapping into the artistic talents of staff at The Little Pottery Studio.

There’s plenty to play for too, because your family could win anything from gift vouchers to an afternoon tea or coffee experience, cuddly toys or a book voucher.

The Pumpkin Trail leaflet includes 29 pottery pumpkins to find as well as some fiendish clues to solve.  The pumpkins will be in the windows of shops and other businesses in the area which stretches from The Strait to Newport Arch.

Many ceramic pumpkins have been individually painted, including those which have been decorated by Lincoln Minster School pupils and the trail area will be easy to spot with the hanging of black and orange bunting on the streets.

Running from Saturday, October 19th, to Sunday, November 3rd, families can pick-up a trail leaflet from the city’s Visitor Information Centre in Castle Hill or participating shops and businesses or download it from www.visitlincoln.com/pumpkintrail.

Completed leaflets can be left with one of the shops taking part in the trail or posted to the Visitor Information Centre, 9 Castle Hill, Lincoln, LN1 3AA. They must arrive before midnight on Monday, November 11th, 2019.

Visit Lincoln’s Chief Executive Mike Timson said: “As a Partnership organisation it’s great to work with 29 businesses and Lincoln BIG to provide another reason to come into Lincoln over half term and in the lead up to Halloween.  The trail will help visitors find shops, pubs, and tea rooms they might not have visited before and will be a fun and active family activity to enjoy in the city.”

Bailgate Guild Chair Nicola Lockwood said:  “We are thrilled to be supporting this year’s Pumpkin Trail.  All the businesses involved are pleased to sponsor this event and they have donated a spectacular range of prizes for the winners.  We’re sure it is going to prove to be more popular than ever.”

Lincoln BIG Chief Executive Sarah Loftus said: “We are very pleased to be a partner in this event.  We know that everyone really enjoyed the Pumpkin Trail last year and we think this attraction will bring many more people to the uphill area this time around.”

Find out more at www.visitlincoln.com/whats-on/uphill-lincoln-pumpkin-trail-2019

The most magical panto of them all…

A spectacular royal carriage and a unicorn will be flying into the Lincoln Drill Hall this Christmas.

After last year’s sell-out production, Jamie Marcus Productions is delighted to be returning to the Free School Lane arts centre from December 6th, 2019, to January 4th, 2020, with this season’s show, Cinderella.

The production promises a fabulous traditional pantomime, packed full of well-known songs, fantastic comedy and spectacular special effects.

James Campbell returns by popular demand as one of the ugly sisters Lady Domestos and he’s looking forward to it: “I’ve performed in over 25 pantos now all over the country and since 2012 at Lincoln Drill Hall,” says James.

“It is always the highlight of my acting year! I love coming to Lincoln over Christmas and the productions at the Drill Hall are always special.

“Who can forget the Red Arrow in 2017 or Peter Pan flying over the audience heads last year?

“The panto is always packed with fun and frolics for everyone; sweetie throw-outs, singalongs, kids up on stage, the John Lewis skit, and of course the incredible special effects.  Last year we played to nearly 15,000 audience members and each year the productions get more spectacular.  I can’t wait for Cinderella to start!”

Tickets to see all your favourite characters, including the beautiful Cinderella, the Ugliest of Sisters, the magical Fairy Godmother, the lovable Buttons and the handsome Prince Charming, start from £12.

Call the Lincoln Drill Hall box office on 01522 873894 or visit www.lincolndrillhall.com/cinderella for further information.

Sid’s Time to Play

SidThe Lincoln Performing Arts Centre (LPAC) is continuing its family programming this season by welcoming CBeebies star Sid to its stage.

Sid will present Time To Play at the city venue on Saturday, October 19th, at 2.30pm, promising a show jam-packed with live games for little ones and their fun-loving parents.

This enthralling show includes Simon says style song Copy Sid, a Challenge Sid friendly quiz with not so friendly (but fun) forfeits, Wacky Races which pits the audience against each other using a beachball to decide who wins and Dress to Impress, a dress-off between two where speed and balloon popping skills are a huge advantage.

Sid’s own brand of comedic playfulness and spontaneous interaction aims to leave everyone, young or old, with a smile on their face.

Find out more at Sid’s Time to Play.

Other family shows coming up at the LPAC include:
Vienna Festival Ballet’s Snow White, Sunday, October 27th, 5pm
Big Bouncing Boogie, Saturday, November 9th, 10am, 11.30am and 1pm
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, December 11th-24th
Ready, Steady, Yeti!, December 16th – January 5th

The merriest pantomime adventure

The star-studded cast from the New Theatre Royal Lincoln’s Christmas pantomime, Robin Hood, came together for the first time this week ahead of the show, which runs from Tuesday, December 3rd to Sunday, January 5th.

The Mayoral party were in attendance to officially welcome the cast to Lincoln, and they really got into the pantomime spirit when they put the Sheriff of Nottingham into stocks for his bad behaviour.  A team of young reporters from Monks Abbey Primary School also came along to ask the cast some testing questions.

 

CBBC’s Chris Johnson, who will appear as merry man Will Scarlet, has appeared in every pantomime since Cinderella in 2017: “It’s always a joy to be even thought of for one of the shows here, never mind asked back. So, to have the chance to play out with this team again, I’m over the moon.”

Children’s BAFTA award-winner Barney Harwood (Blue Peter, Prank Patrol) will play the role of Robin Hood and starring as Maid Marian is Zoe Hedge who previously appeared on ITV’s The Voice as part of duo Capital B.

Lincoln’s own Chris Hayes will be featuring as Friar Tuck and can’t wait to get back on stage, “The good thing about panto, the thing I enjoy, is just coming out on stage and seeing the kid’s faces light up, seeing all this magic in front of them, that’s Christmas.”

Tickets start at £16.50.
A signed performance will take place on Friday, January 3rd, at 6pm.
A relaxed performance will take place on Saturday, December 7th, at 11am.
Call 01522 519999.
For further information visit www.newtheatreroyallincoln.co.uk

*EDIT: Since this post was originally published Melinda Messenger, who was due to take the role of Fairy Stardust, has unfortunately had to pull out of the show*

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

 

After the carving…

#Blogtober18: Perfect Recipes For You #nationalbakingweek

I got just a little excited at my first visit to a pumpkin patch last year (and the kids enjoyed it a lot too) and, even if supermarket bought, carving pumpkins has long been part of our Halloween celebrations.

Sadly though, we have often contributed to the annual more than 18,000 tonnes of pumpkin flesh waste so this year I’ve turned to my fellow bloggers for inspiration to make sure we don’t even lose one gram this time.

PumpkinSoupPumpkin soup is my first recourse to dealing with the flesh of the orange fruit and invites special memories of our wedding reception where it was served as the starter – if we eat it this year at least I won’t have the worry of not spilling it all over a white dress.  Deborah’s recipe over on her blog Country Heart and Home is not only titled “quick & easy” but also suggests “a glass of wine to wash it all down” so I’m sure I’d welcome this for a warming dinner – Quick & Easy Pumpkin Soup!  Kerry at Blissful Domestication adds a bit of heat to the mix for her Spicy Pumpkin Soup and also explains how to save the seeds in order to create your own pumpkin patch ready for next year’s harvest.

pumpkinstew.jpgSarah at Kippers and Curtains details a Pumpkin Pasty Recipe which is perfect for incorporating left overs in and Laura at Mind, Madness, Miles and Mum Me Time, now she has “two smallies in tow”, creates Pumpkin and Potato Curry and Sweet and Savoury Pumpkin Seeds as part of her “fabulous festive food”.

A Pumpkin Stew with Chickpeas and Moroccan Spices cooked up by Corina can be found on Searching for Spice and, “full of flavour and warmly spiced”, it’s a “great vegetarian one-pot meal that freezes well and is easy to prepare”.

And, before adding sugar to your scales, why not try Wendy’s Pumpkin Pasta as she describes on Daisies & Pie.

PumpkinPieJust the words pumpkin pie are so evocative of all things Fall (American autumn) to me so I’m sure the taste would be positively transportative.  Country Heart and Home’s Deborah has a recipe and step by step for Pumpkin Pie on her blog and anything that says “Serve with clotted cream, ice cream, whipped or pouring cream” gets my vote.  Jane from Hodge Podge Days tried out a “really simple” Honey Spiced Pumpkin Pie and if you need a gluten free recipe then check out Jules’s Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie Recipe on her blog Pondering Parenthood.

PumpkinCakeWhilst Hodge Podge Days’s Jane’s boys loved her pumpkin pie, Jane herself thought her Halloween Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Frosting was “delicious”.  Using “the flesh, the firm pale bit, not the slimy gloopy bit”, the amount of cake batter created made not only “one decent sized cake” but also “12 yummy cupcakes”.

PumpkinMuffinsThe words “surprisingly easy to make” reeled me into taking further notice of Emma’s Savvy Savings’s Bake Pumpkin Spice Muffins post that describes trying out Aldi’s recipe along with her daughter as a great opportunity to introduce new vegetables such as pumpkin and squash to children.

PumpkinCookiesThat’s pie, cake and muffins covered but if it’s brownies or cookies you’d like to whip up then take a look at Claire’s suggestions on She Eats and Corina from Searching for Spice adds a spooky twist to her autumnal offering by including chocolate spiders on her Spiced Pumpkin Cookies for Halloween.

And if you’re looking for other sweet bites to share with any trick or treating visitors then try making a batch of Eva’s Pumpkin Gingerbread Cookie Bats for Halloween Recipe posted on Captain Bobcat or her Homemade Pumpkin Granola Bar Mummies for Halloween.

Click here to find out more about National Baking Week (October 15-21).

#Blogtober18