#30DaysWild Day 17 – The sun has got its hat on!

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_17I’m going to say it.  After all of last year’s #30DaysWild and the beginning of this one spent moaning about the rain… oh, my isn’t it too hot!

Turns out whatever my mixed nationality background, I’m very British when it comes to the weather.

Today was the first time I’ve taken part in Photo an Hour, posting on Twitter (#photoanhour) each hour to document our day.

Our day was originally planned to be very full of arranged activities, perfect for jumping in on the hashtag party for the first time I thought, and it at least started out that way as we made it to ballet class first thing in the morning.

10am – finished ballet class –

We then headed to another inside activity, this time popping into Lincoln Inspired at The Collection in Lincoln.  At the Magical World of Fingley crafting table, Luke was helped to make a monster and Willow an owl before she had the opportunity to meet pixie Astori and Dodl the bear. And mummy learnt about the Fingley’s themed restaurant in Barton that’s definitely gone on our “to visit” list.

11am – Willow meets Astoria and Dodl from @FingleyWorld at today’s @LincolnInspired in @collectionusher #photoanhour

Refreshments were had:

Noon – it was yummy (too hungry to take the photo at the start)

And then we finally headed outside to enjoy the weather and continue with the Lincoln Knights trail, ticking off another four on the list.

1pm – more spotting

It was after this and the following walk back to the car park that the heat started to take its toll.  Several Malpi members were in need of a nap (although only three were able to take the opportunity) and, instead of heading to one of the Jo Cox Great Get Togethers and a school fair, we simply crash landed at Grandmum’s.


2pm – storytime –

Story time with an Old MacDonald’s Farm finger puppet book provided a short cool down five minutes but as soon as the mini ones were refuelled:

3pm – summery refreshments –

they certainly weren’t going to be satisfied with sitting down for the rest of the day so, whilst mummy continued to feed an understandably extra thirsty Faith, daddy got dragged outside again, this time for a water pistol fight:


4pm – in the great battle of grandmum’s back garden, water pistols were the weapon of choice, Daddy may have lost.

Grandmum’s back garden, including the former pond, also provided an excellent environment for hide and seek.

5pm – hide and seek –

As well as pretty purple/pink flowers:


Whilst the front garden was reserved for daddy to chase little monsters:

6pm – chasing monsters –

And then, when finally exhausted again, it was time to get back into the car.


7pm – home time –

The day may not have gone quite to plan but we were still able to enjoy a wild time without melting temperatures prompting too many mini meltdowns.30DAYSWILD_ID2 lightgreen


#30DaysWild Day 15 – The Snail and the Whale

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_15We’re big Julia Donaldson fans in the Malpi household and The Snail and the Whale, originally recommended by my aunt, is one of our favourite titles.

It certainly fuels my wanderlust to visit wild places “Of shimmering ice and coral caves, And shooting stars and enormous waves” or to go “To towering icebergs and far-off lands, With fiery mountains and golden sands”.


And it’s also a lovely tale of how even the smallest among us can make a difference on a large scale.

Maybe tomorrow we’ll ask the snails in our back garden whether they’ve ever hitched a lift on the tail of a great big, grey-blue humpback whale.


Will you be Inspired on Saturday?

Inspired1The enthusiasm a county writers and illustrators group has for a long-standing literary award has led to them not only shadowing the 80th
anniversary of the CLIP/Carnegie award but also prompting the return of a city festival.

Lincolnshire’s Society for Children’s Book
Writers and Illustrators (SCWBI) Carnegie shadowing group are eager to discuss with fellow children’s/young people book enthusiasts the highlights of this year’s short list and see who agrees, or doesn’t, with the judges.

Inspired2The SCWBI team will be leading the discussion as part of Lincoln Inspired: One Spectacular Saturday.

The Carnegie Prize – what makes a great read for young people? will be held at The Collection in Lincoln from noon to 2pm on Saturday (June 17th) ahead of the winner of the Carnegie Medal being announced on Monday (June 20th).

At the same time as SCWBI approached the organiser of Lincoln Inspired, which saw its last outing in 2015, venues that had held events in previous years were also telling Sara Bullimore that the festival had been missed last year – so she rose to the challenge.

The whole day is free and has something to appeal to fans of children’s literature, poetry and those keen to hone their own writing skills.
Mini readers can enjoy an introduction to The Magical World of Fingley with help from Astoria the Pixie and Elgiva the Elf at The Collection from 10am to 2pm.  The fun treasure hunts, magical drawings, mysterious maps and more are recommended for age 5 to 8.
Also in the Orientation Hall from 10am to 2pm will be an Usbourne Books stand selling a range of the publisher’s educational and activity books and novels.

Click here to read the Inspired Programme 2017.

Click here to visit Lincoln Inspired’s Facebook page.

#30DaysWild Day Five – Everybunny Dance!

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_05Today is the start of National Bookstart Week and with 2017’s theme being Let’s Explore Outdoors! it complements #30DaysWild really helpfully!

Bookstart2017I picked up a copy of this year’s chosen book, Everybunny Dance! by Ellie Sandall when visiting Lincoln Toy Library last week and since then have also spotted them in Boultham Library and seen Lincoln bookstore Lindum Books advertise that they have them in for people to pick up too.

EveryBunnyDanceThe delightful rhyming tale gives ample invitation for active story listeners to “twist and twirl”, “wiggle and whirl”, bang their drum and sing-along with the bunnies who are revelling in the “perfect chance” to play while nobody is watching.

But when they discover someone is watching it’s time to run and hide!

Fortunately (spoiler alert!) the friendly fox proves a star performer and the rabbits continue their care-free frolicking with a new dancer in their group.

At Boultham Library they also had some supporting materials available to pick up – a sheet of rhymes and some bunny ears to pop out and wear.

The rhymes include Little Peter Rabbit, There’s a Worm at the Bottom of the Garden and Five Little Speckled Frogs (but not Sleeping Bunnies!).

We love a book with actions you can join in with – and Willow does seem to be partial to a bunny rabbit too – so I’m sure this is one we’ll read and enact many more times in the future.

June 5th, 2017: Today isn’t just day five of #30DaysWild and the start of National Bookstart Week, it’s also World Environment Day too!  “On 5 June, go outside and show us that you’re #WithNature. Breathe in the beauty and remember that by keeping our planet healthy, we keep ourselves healthy too”.  And if that weren’t enough I discovered today that June is the month for the Marine Conservation Society’s Plastic Challenge – “Giving up single-use plastics, whilst raising money to fight plastic litter”.  


We all went on a Gruffalo hunt – #30DaysWild Day Three

30Days3Day three of 2017’s #30DaysWild saw us achieve something I intended to do last year but didn’t manage to in all 30 days – take part in a specially organised #30DaysWild event.

Mini Explorers takes place at Boultham Park in Lincoln on the first Saturday of every month and we have often meant to go along to one of the free (but booking essential) sessions and seeing June’s event being promoted with #30DaysWild in mind gave us the extra prompt to get in touch and let the organisers know we’d like to come along.

BoulthamLogoAs we regularly visit the park we arrived early to take advantage of the play area (where an immediate game of hide and seek appears to be mandatory) to try and prevent thoughts of it becoming a distraction during the event and we also caught the end of the weekly Lincoln Parkrun which Luke made quite clear that he would’ve liked to join in.

Then it was time to gather outside Boultham Library for the 10.30am start where we met park representative Neville and Jo who leads the sessions and headed into the wooded area of the park to hear the first instalment of Julia Donaldson’s well-known tale The Gruffalo.

It became clear very quickly both how much preparation had gone into the event and how popular The Gruffalo continues to be, with children being able to recite the words along with Jo’s reading.

As we headed to different part of the park’s wooded areas, the children were challenged to find bits of the Gruffalo’s body that Mouse describes – “his eyes are orange, his tongue is black, he has purple prickles all over his back” – and Luke was particularly delighted to find the first part, the “terrible teeth” for his “terrible jaws” under his feet.

G7Keeping Mouse safe from the Gruffalo’s terrible claws, the mini explorers found a den, helped reassemble the Gruffalo, listened to the end of the story and discovered several residences fit for some furry or feathered creatures.

The hunt completed, Mouse once again safe nibbling his nut, the children finished by making a bee hotel to take home.  Already prepared were the half plastic bottles with string to tie them up at home, a drawn “bee face” in the end and pipe cleaner wings.  Each child was given a couple of hollow elder tree sticks to put in it and then were tasked with packing them in tightly with other sticks from the ground around them.

Public parks are such a precious community resource and it was lovely to see so many people enjoying the green space in so many different ways – on our way out I was even privileged to spot someone riding a bike without stabilisers for the first time and the joy the achievement it brought to both child and accompanying family members.

Boultham Park is particularly fortunate to be undergoing an extensive restoration project which “aims to revitalise the park, restoring features and developing new facilities, encouraging community involvement and ownership, as well as creating lasting memories for local people and park users.”

Keep up to date with all its latest news and progress at www.boulthampark.co.uk


New book day!

AlansBigScaryTeethI learnt about the Bookstart scheme to give books to all children at certain ages before school “to help families read together every day and inspire children with a rewarding love of books” whilst writing a books page for our local newspaper long before having children.

So since having children, finding out what’s in their Bookstart packs has always been something I’ve been quite excited about.

Today Luke came home from nursery with his latest selection – Alan’s Big Scary Teeth by Jarvis (Walker Books).

Coincidentally, Willow has asked me several times during the day to draw her a crocodile so straight away it’s been a very fortuitous choice.

And, with its scares, secrets, surprises and self-discovery, it was a fun read too.

Alan comes from a long line of very scary alligators and loves being scary himself but the other jungle animals come to discover all is not what it seems and, with a little bit of support, Alan finds out that not only is he talented in more than just one way, he can also put his favourite skill to good use instead of bad.

Any story that gives my children the chance to practice their evil laughs, joining in with Alan’s “BWA-HA-HA!”, gets my vote and, having been asked to read it more than once this bedtime, it obviously gets theirs too.

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…