Enjoy festive family fun whilst picking out presents

FandGParents will be trying all sorts of different ways to complete their Christmas shopping once again this festive season.  Alongside finding further childcare to keep them well away from the excitement of decorated and overheated stores to ordering everything online, mums and dads can also choose to attend an event that concerns itself as much with the enjoyment of its little visitors as it does with the selection of presents their grown ups have to choose from.

The Lincolnshire Food and Gift Fair is returning to the Lincolnshire Showground this month.  With more than 8,000 people expected to attend, advance tickets for the Saturday, November 30th and Sunday, December 1st event are now on sale.

Doors are open from 9am to 4pm on both days to allow customers to browse the more than 150 exhibitor stands showcasing the county’s finest foods and unique gifts but there will also be plenty of activities to keep little ones busy.

Cookery workshops hosted by 42nd East Bakehouse, a reindeer food bar, pet bandanas designing workshop with Zukie Style, Christmas pottery painting with The Little Pottery Studio, willow weaving with Lincolnshire Willow and storytelling from Lincoln Performing Arts Centre will all be waiting to help mini participants to start their festive fun.  Hobbycraft Lincoln will also be giving children a chance to make festive wrapping paper and design their own Christmas cards.

Jayne Southall, CEO at Lincolnshire Showground, said: “Preparations are well underway for the Food and Gift Fair, and we are getting ready for this year’s Fair to be the best yet! It is a fun festive event to suit all ages and tastes, including foodies, families and Christmas shoppers and is guaranteed to get everybody in the Christmas spirit.

“Visitors will be able to sample the best of Lincolnshire produce, including famous pork pies, speciality cheese, wine tasting, locally distilled gin, chocolate, fudge and much more.

“There will also be free activities for children including hands-on-crafts, Christmas storytelling and baking activities and we also have a few more surprises rolled up our sleeves!”

Tickets for the Fair can be bought at £5 each (plus postage) in advance and are £6 on the gate.  Under fives go free when accompanied by an adult.

Visit www.lincolnshireshowground.co.uk/whats-on/event/foodandgift19 for more information about #FoodandGift19 or call 01522 522900.

Are you visiting one of Santa’s helpers this year?

Christmas 2019

As Halloween’s witching hour ticked by did your avid trick or treaters wake up instantly transformed from creatures of the night into overly-enthusiastic apprentice elves?

Whilst some might be momentarily distracted by the promise of a few flashy fireworks many will already be anxious to start opening Advent doors even though there’s a month to go until the start of the official countdown to the big day.

If finding out what’s on your mini ones’ not so mini Christmas wish lists in time for you to possibly be able to fulfill it on behalf of the man in red then get them booked in early for a special seasonal experience and be prepared to take notes surreptitiously.

The list below predominantly includes grottos but if quantity is what your child is after, or the chance to don the beard themselves, then don’t forget there’ll be a sea of red and white at the county’s Santa Fun Run and Walks including Belvoir Castle (December 1), Wyndham Park in Grantham (December 1)Lincoln (December 15) and Cleethorpes Santa Stride (December 15).

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 little believers (second edit for Bransby Horses – the equine welfare chairty near Lincoln has been severely affected by flooding and has now had to cancel all its seasonal events unfortunately – it is still asking people to please still visit its gift shop and cafe though, find out more here)

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.

November 2, 9-10, 13-17, 20-24, 27-30 and December 1-24:
Santa’s Grotto
Brigg Garden Centre

November 2 – December 24:
Winter Wonderland
Baytree, near Spalding

November 23-24, 30 and December 1, 8-9, 14-24:
Santa Grotto
ARK Wildlife Park, Stickney

November 23 – December 23:
The Real Christmas Experience
Rand Farm Park, near Market Rasen

November 23 – December 24:
The Springfields Grotto
Springfields, Spalding

November 24:
Christmas Charity Fayre
Rhys’ Donation Foundation, Cherry Willingham Village Hall

November 24:
Meet Santa!
Cheeky Monkeys, Guildhall Street, Lincoln

November 29:
Santa’s Grotto at Christmas Light Switch On Event
Old School Hall, Winterton

November 29, 30, December 1, 7, 8, 14, 15 and 21-24:
Santa’s Workshop Grotto
Hildred’s Shopping Centre, Skegness

November 29 – December 24:
The North Star “Narnia” Experience
The Pink Pig Farm, near Scunthorpe

November 30:
Sleigh Ride Through Spilsby
Spilsby

November 30, December 1, 7, 8 and 14:
Santa’s Grotto
Normanby Hall, near Scunthorpe

November 30, December 1, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 20-24:
Father Christmas and Friends
Belton House, near Grantham

November 30, December 1, 7, 8 and 15:
Father Christmas Grotto
Fillingham Trees, near Gainsborough

November 30, December 7, 14 and 21:
Santa’s Grotto
Oldrids, Scunthorpe

December 1:
Christmas Extravaganza
Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln

December 1:
Photo with Santa
Tiny Feet Studio, Nettleham

December 1:
Santa Paws Christmas Extravaganza
The Pavilion, Sidney Sussex Recreation Ground, Cleethorpes

December 1 – 22:
Father Christmas
Doddington Hall

December 7:
A Victorian Christmas
Wellingore

December 7:
Breakfast with Santa
Jolly Scotchman, Sleaford

December 7 and 8:
Christmas on the Farm
Bluebell Wood Goats and Farm Shop, Nettleham

December 7-8, 14-15 and 21-22:
Tea with Santa
Lincolnshire Wildlife Park, near Skegness

December 7-8, 14-15, 21-24:
Breakfast With Santa
Harvester, Brayford, Lincoln

December 7, 14 and 21:
Breakfast with Santa
Uncle Henry’s, Grayingham

December 7, 14 and 21:
Breakfast with Santa
Captain Kids Adventureworld, Skegness Pier

December 8:
Christmas Fayre
Ruskington Village Hall

December 8:
Glentworth Christmas Fayre
Glentworth Village Hall

December 8 and 15:
Santa Special
North Scarle Miniature Railway

December 13:
Christmas Extravaganza
Sutton on Sea

December 14:
Breakfast with Santa
Whisby Natural World Centre

December 14:
Children’s Christmas Party
Willingham Village Hall

December 14:
Umbrellas Christmas Party
Dunholme Village Hall

December 14-15 and 19-22:
An Audience with Father Christmas
Lincoln Castle

December 14-15 and 21-22:
Santa Specials 2019
Lincolnshire Wolds Railway, Ludborough

December 14-15 and 21-23:
Breakfast with Santa
Skegness Aquarium

December 21:
Christmas Party
Captain Kids Adventureworld, Skegness Pier

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.

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*

Celebrity performers will create “warmth and laughter” for panto season.

*EDIT: Since this post was published Melinda Messenger has had to withdraw from this year’s pantomime*

The New Theatre Royal in Lincoln has announced some of the stars of this year’s pantomime this week.

Running from December 3rd, 2019, to January 5th, 2020, the production of Robin Hood will welcome both familiar faces and new celebrities to its Clasketgate stage.

Barney Harwood - Press AnnouncementBarney Harwood returns to the city as the brave hero Robin Hood.  Last year’s Huntsman in Snow White, the winner of a Children’s BAFTA for Best Presenter will be wielding a bow and arrow this time.

Chris Johnson - Press AnnouncementAlso back by popular demand is Chris Johnson who will play Will Scarlet.  CBBC’s “Yonko” has been a regular in both Christmas and Easter pantomimes at the New Theatre Royal since Cinderella in 2017.  Speaking about returning to Lincoln Chris says, “The thought of once again spending my festive season at the New Theatre Royal makes me a very merry man indeed! In fact, I’m all aquiver!”

Melinda Messenger - Press AnnouncementModel and presenter Melinda Messenger is heading the list of new celebrities due to tread the boards.  Performing the role of Fairy Stardust, Messenger says, “Panto is such a great Christmas theatre tradition that the whole family can enjoy, I really love the warmth and laughter it brings to everybody and can’t wait to work with Natalie and the team at the New Theatre Royal in Lincoln”.

Zoe Hedge - Press AnnouncementRounding up the star casting is Zoe Hedge as Maid Marian.  Zoe appeared on The Voice UK (2017) as one half of the duo Capital B, who were chosen to be on Sir Tom Jones’s team.

The theatre’s visitors can expect this Christmas season to be full of laughs, boos and audience participation for all the family to enjoy.  Artistic director Natalie Hayes-Cowley says, “Robin Hood will be filled with high energy dance routines, outstanding vocalists, comedy and, of course, added surprises in the script for those stand out wow moments.  Perfect entertainment for all the family this festive season.”

There will be a signed performance on January 3rd at 6pm and a relaxed performance on December 7th at 11am.

Tickets start from £16.50 and can be booked via the box office on 01522 519999 or online at www.newtheatreroyallincoln.co.uk 

Use express service to make a personal art gallery

The advent of digital photography has meant many of us are more than snap happy with thousands of pictures taking up storage space on our smartphones but often very few of those make it past their virtual existence anymore.

We’re certainly guilty of this, frequently talking about doing something more with the lovely photos we’re lucky to have taken of our three minis that are stored somewhere on a device, backed up on an external hard drive box or floating in the cloud.

We’ve become better at ordering prints in recent months and the minis love going through them and talking about who is in them and what we were getting up to but, whilst these are suitable for photo albums or scrapbooks, our walls are in sore need of updating as our children age much quicker than the artwork representing them is updated.

So when Tesco got in touch asking us to try out their Same Day Canvas Express Service I jumped at the chance – “Order your gifts in the morning and collect after 3pm the same day!”

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We chose one of the pictures Merika Green took of all three minis back in April in Moot Hall near Market Rasen (photos taken on a modern smartphone will be fine too) and did a quick bit of measuring to see what sort of size would fit one of our walls.

“Our gallery canvas prints are printed on Poly-Mix canvas material. To ensure you get the best quality, we use non- fading inks and hand stretch every canvas over a handcrafted wooden frame.”

The online ordering system is very easy to use and offers a range of sizes and shapes from 10×8″ (£28) up to 60×40″ (from £115).

After you choose your size you click on the Personalise button and upload your photograph.   You can then zoom in or out, rotate the image and move it about to sit exactly how you’d like it in the frame.  You can change the orientation of the canvas and choose from four different styles for the edging.  You can even add text in different fonts and colours before clicking on the Add to basket button to order your finalised artwork.

“When you order by noon, canvases including 12×10″, 16×12″, 20×10″, 20×16″, 20×20” and 30×20″ can be collected from store after 3pm! Larger canvas prints or orders shipped to home take approximately 8 days.”

The longest part of the process for us was choosing the photo and size but if you are more decisive than us (which wouldn’t be particularly difficult) then it will be even quicker for you.  But if you absolutely can’t decide on just one photo, then you could always make a collage or use the heart shape template designs instead.  And I love the store’s suggestion of scanning in your child’s own artwork to display in proper art gallery style.

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To find out if there’s a photo store near you pop your postcode in here:  Photo store locator

Sadly there isn’t one in Lincoln so we opted for delivery instead which is also quite speedy – an estimated two to three days, longer over weekends and Bank Holidays, I ordered over a weekend and received our 20×16″ in four days.

If you are as pleased with the quality of your final product as we are then you might want to consider not trying to get your little ones to pose with it for the sake of another photo.  Fortunately the canvas is quite sturdy and survived the experience but you’re probably all more sensible than that anyway…

Now the only thing stopping the photo taking “pride of place” in our home is Daddy Malpi getting his tool box out!

Click here to find out more about Tesco’s canvas printing.

Snow White’s strong performances are on trend

SnowWith the opening few minutes featuring a unicorn fairy and a song from The Greatest Showman, New Theatre Royal pantomime audiences will quickly be assured that the show they are about to see is very on trend.

Topical references are littered throughout the production of Snow White including birds that deliver Twitter messages, an X-Factor scene, a sly reference to O2’s recent connectivity issues and an audience-pleasing wrecking ball entrance in the style of Miley Cyrus.

The minis were guests of the city’s theatre for Saturday morning’s performance of the fairytale that included all the traditional elements of such a seasonal show too.

Boasting an all-star cast with X Factor and Celebrity Big Brother star Amelia Lily as the Unicorn Fairy and Prank Patrol presenter Barney Harwood as the Huntsman, we were delighted that CBCC’s Christopher Johnson was returning to the venue as Muddles having enjoyed his performance in the similar role in last year’s pantomime.

SW3

The role of the mystical Magic Mirror was undertaken by a different person or people each time it appeared in an ingenious way to introduce even more, both national and local, famous faces.

SW2Those of us who wouldn’t necessarily recognise the actors from their previous CV entries because our televisions are still stuck firmly on CBeebies can rest assured that each actor throws themselves into their latest stage role with great energy, encouraging as much audience interaction as possible.

And Paige Cook certainly played her part of the Wicked Queen with appropriate venom as my three year old hasn’t stopped telling me how naughty she was and that she needed to go to jail ever since seeing the show.

And there are plenty of other wow moments too – from the dwarfs arrival on a train to the tune of “Hi Ho” Silver Lining, to an aerial silk dancer, to an impressive rendition of What is this Feeling? from the musical Wicked.

SW1We enjoyed the show even more than last year’s production of Aladdin even before we actually ended up in it.  With a couple of children at the last minute thinking better of going up on stage to sing with Muddles, Mummy Malpi enthusiastically volunteered her three year old who was equally keen to take the spotlight.  What Mummy Malpi hadn’t realised is that this year a parent had to go on stage with their child too!  Fortunately for me Muddles was very kind and I’m sure most eyes would have been on Willow, who had borrowed her friend’s Snow White dress to wear for the occasion, and her fellow child volunteer as they confidently joined in with a rendition of 2018’s viral song Baby Shark.

With a narrative that relies on it’s female lead being kind hearted to a fault and being saved by a true love’s kiss, it’s difficult to see how it can be easily updated to portray a  stronger modern woman but a slight twist in the story’s final proposition even ticked that box.

Visitors to Clasketgate’s theatre can be sure of rousing entertainment and a great start to their seasonal celebrations.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs continues at the New Theatre Royal in Lincoln until January 6th.  Find out more here: www.newtheatreroyallincoln.co.uk or call 01522 519999.