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.

Santa1

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

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 

New pumpkin trail brings half term fun to uphill Lincoln

#Blogtober18

Have you been keeping an eye on all the additions to my Haunted halls, pumpkin patches and terrifying trains family-friendly Lincolnshire Halloween event list?  If so, then you’ll have seen that I can now add horrifying hill to that headline as Visit Lincoln explains…

It’s not a trick, it’s a real family treat – so make sure you take part in Lincoln’s newest trail and track down some fantastic Autumn prizes!

We want everyone to take a leaflet and rise to the challenge of the fantastic free Uphill Lincoln Pumpkin Trail, which is bursting with half-term and Halloween fun.

This Trail has been devised by a partnership of the Bailgate Guild, Visit Lincoln and Lincoln BIG and uses the artistic talents of staff at The Little Pottery Studio at The Lawn.

It also follows in the footsteps of Lincoln’s traditional colourful family trails, which have won the city a worldwide following!

Visit Lincoln has drawn-up a brilliant Pumpkin Trail leaflet, which challenges families to find 44 pottery pumpkins and solve some fiendish clues. The pumpkins are going on display in the windows of shops and other businesses in the area which stretches from The Strait to Newport Arch.

Every pumpkin has been individually painted, including 20 decorated by Lincoln Minster School pupils, adding extra fun to this experience and the Halloween vibe is being heightened with the hanging of spooky black and orange bunting, as well as Lincoln Loves Kids bunting!

Pumpkin Trail
Peter Mason Charlotte House, Valerie Hope Wig & Mitre, Charlotte Goy Visit Lincoln, Nicola Lockwood Bells Tea Room and Bailgate Guild Chair, Richard Baxter Lincoln BIG.

The Uphill Pumpkin Trail will run from Saturday, October 20th, to Sunday, November 4th.  It’s so easy to take part.  All families need to do is pick-up a trail leaflet from the city’s Visitor Information Centre in Castle Hill or participating shops and businesses – or simply download from the Visit Lincoln website at:  www.visitlincoln.com/pumpkintrail then go exploring. 

Bailgate Guild Chair Nicola Lockwood said: “This follows July’s Enjoy Uphill Lincoln campaign, which highlighted the unique offer and high level of customer service given by independent businesses in uphill Lincoln.

“It’s great that this trail is something that every family member can have fun doing. It’s a real bonus that it is free and there’s a massive list of fabulous prizes waiting to be won.

“Thanks to the generosity of businesses in this area, they include gift vouchers for everything from pottery classes to antiques and collectables, books and artwork through to delicious lunches, afternoon teas to flowers, entertainment and sparkling drinks,” added Nicola.

Visit Lincoln Chief Executive Lydia Rusling said: “This fun seasonal trail is a natural follow-on from the success of the Enjoy Uphill Lincoln campaign, which encouraged businesses to work together to bring more people to shop in the Uphill area and discover Lincoln’s world-famous tourist attractions.

“This pumpkin trail ties in perfectly with our Lincoln Loves Kids project, which aims to get more families involved in a wide variety of local activities. It is really like a mini Lincoln Knights’ Trail for the Uphill part of the city, and we’re sure it’s going to be a real winner for Lincoln.”

I’ve gone off topic for today’s #Blogtober18 post but if you want to check out what movies other bloggers have watched a thousand times then just click on the #Blogtober18 image below – maybe there’ll be a few horror films lurking in the links!

#Blogtober18

 

Tale of treacherous travels is a theatrical treat

#Blogtober18: Ditty #NationalPoetryDay

“Stick Man lives in the family tree.
With his Stick Lady love and their stick children three.”

StickManTheatreJulia Donaldson’s perilous tale of a morning’s jog gone wrong leapt off the page on to the stage – and around the auditorium – to the delight of a rapt young audience.

Performed by Scamp Theatre at the Lincoln Drill Hall as part of the Lincoln Book Festival at the end of September, Stick Man saw the author’s rhythmic verse brought to life with inventive staging, puppetry and live music in a mix of styles with the space for the child’s own imagination to join in too.

My six year old enjoyed the chase scene around the auditorium as park warden followed dog followed Stick Man and loved the beach ball being thrown through the audience too and my three year old was thoroughly caught up in the drama of Stick Man’s every increasingly hazardous travels that include him being mistaken for a flag pole, a sword and kindling among many other things.

Advertised as “most suitable for children aged 3+ with their friends and families” I wasn’t sure the more darkly lit than most children’s theatre show would capture the attention of my one year old but she loved the sparkly light effects of the underwater and wintry scenes.

Today is National Poetry Day and the theme this year is Change which the tale of Stick Man certainly embodies so, if you have a copy of the rhyming story at home already, it would make perfect bedtime reading tonight!

 

Is Stick Man being performed near you? Click here to find out.

Would you like to see more Julia Donaldson tales adapted for the stage? 
Tall Stories will present The Snail and the Whale at the LPAC in Lincoln on Thursday, October 25th.
Freckle Productions will perform Tabby McTat at the New Theatre Royal in Lincoln on November 4th and 5th.

Has this traumatic celebration of the numerous ways a stick could be used fuelled your desire to go on a collecting spree on a walk through some trees?  My previous posts:
Stick Inspiration
The Stick Book
might give you further inspiration on what your woody haul can be magically transformed into – just make sure they’re just sticks and not Stick Men!

#Blogtober18

New county visitor website launches on Lincolnshire Day

A new website encouraging people to visit Lincolnshire launched today, helping to celebrate Lincolnshire Day (October 1st).  Visit Lincoln, the city’s “official Destination Management Organisation” tells us more… 

DiscoverLincolnshire

Created by the award-winning tourism team at Visit Lincoln and local marketing agency The Energy Cell, the county website – www.visitlincolnshire.com – has been designed to inspire new visitors to Lincolnshire with striking photos, videos and experiences.

“As experts in tourism we have used the expertise and knowledge of the team to promote Lincolnshire alongside the city,” said Lydia Rusling, Chief Executive of Visit Lincoln Community Interest Company. “We were able to use research into visitor trends with quality visitor experiences to present an inspirational microsite, which aims to boost the visitor economy and increase the performance of the area’s businesses.

“Tourism is a competitive industry and we had to ensure Lincolnshire’s reputation as a place to visit continues to grow. It is essential visitors have a responsive and inspirational website to help them plan a trip to Lincolnshire – the internet is the first port of call for the tourism industry.”

To attract new visitors to the county the website showcases three appealing destinations of Lincolnshire – city, countryside and coast. An interactive map enables visitors to familiarise themselves with the highlights whilst inspiration and experiences are featured across culture, entertainment, heritage, family fun, sport, shopping and the great outdoors.

Talking about the design of the website, Joel Murray digital marketing manager at Visit Lincoln said: “The website has been designed and built to inspire and signpost to a wealth of information across Lincolnshire, helping visitors plan their visit. We are not duplicating content that already exists, but instead providing an inspirational overview of what the county has to offer on one helpful site.”

Lincolnshire County Council is committed to the development of the tourism industry across Greater Lincolnshire, and working with the county’s local authorities, have supported Visit Lincoln with the creation of a new website to showcase Lincolnshire.

“The design of the new website has been entirely driven by the results of the recent research we commissioned,” said Cllr Colin Davie, Executive Member for Economic Development Lincolnshire County Council “This gives us a very clear picture of what is needed to attract visitors to Lincolnshire and the website reflects that.”

The website development has been supported by Lincolnshire County Council, Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership, North Lincolnshire Council, North East Lincolnshire Council, West Lindsey District Council, East Lindsey District Council, North Kesteven District Council, South Kesteven District Council, South Holland Council, Boston Borough Council and Lincoln City Council.

Find out more at www.visitlincolnshire.com 

Where would you recommend tourists visit in the county?  Let us know in the comments below…

Autumn theatre season 2018

It’s not about panto yet – oh, no it isn’t!

The minis enjoyed a dramatic afternoon on Saturday watching the opening show in the Terry O’Toole Theatre’s autumn/winter season, Christopher’s Caterpillars, and there’s plenty more family-friendly stage shows to look forward to ahead of the annual refrains of pantomime and winter offerings.  Here are some of what young audiences can look forward to in and around Lincolnshire in the next few months.

Embassy Theatre, Skegness
October 21 – Milkshake! Live: Starring Milkshake! favourites Bob the Builder, Little Princess, Noddy, Fireman Sam, Shimmer & Shine, Pip from Pip Ahoy!, Winnie and Wilbur and more.
Call 01507 613100 or visit https://embassytheatre.co.uk/whats-on/

Guildhall Arts Centre, Grantham
HowToHideALionOctober 9 – How to Hide a Lion: Pigtails Productions, Polka Theatre and Oxford Playhouse present an adaptation of Helen Stephens’s book.
October 20 – Monstersaurus: Big Wooden Horse present this adaptation of Claire Freedman and Ben Cort’s book featuring young inventor Monty.
Call 01476 406158 or visit http://guildhallartscentre.com/

Lincoln Drill Hall
StickManTheatreSeptember 28th-29th – Stick Man: Part of Lincoln Book Festival, Scamp Theatre present their adaptation of Julia Donaldson’s tale of a perilous journey home to the family tree.
October 10 – How to Hide a Lion: Pigtails Productions, Polka Theatre and Oxford Playhouse present an adaptation of Helen Stephens’s book.
October 28 – A Frog Called Woanda: Laura and her frog friend Woanda search for a lost ring through a whirlwind of twists and turns that combine dreams with reality, laughter with tears, fears with friendship.
Call 01522 873894 or visit www.lincolndrillhall.com

Louth Riverhead Theatre
October 25 – Stories on a String: Presented by Dotted Line Theatre and Polyglot Arts, Stories on a String brings the mysteries of the Amazon jungle to life through live Brazilian music, songs and puppetry, for ages 6+.
Call 01507 600350 or visit https://louthriverheadtheatre.com/

LPAC, Lincoln
SpotAlienOctober 6 – How to Spot an Alien: What do you do if you think your aunt is an alien? 12 year old Jelly and her cousin JonJo have their suspicions.
October 21 – The Nutcracker: In this classical ballet Clara and the Nutcracker combat the Mouse King and join the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier on a wonderful journey through the glistening Land of Snow to a kingdom made entirely of sweets.
October 25 – The Snail and the Whale: Tall Stories presents Julia Donaldson’s tale of wanderlust and friendship.
Call 01522 837600 or visit https://lpac.co.uk/

Newark Palace Theatre
September 30th – Milkshake! Live: Starring Milkshake! favourites Bob the Builder, Little Princess, Noddy, Fireman Sam, Shimmer & Shine, Pip from Pip Ahoy!, Winnie and Wilbur and more.
October 29th – Tabby McTat: From the book by Julia Donaldson, Tabby McTat is a cat with the loudest of meee-ews and a best friend with a guitar. 
Call 01636 655755 or visit www.palacenewarktickets.com

New Theatre Royal, Lincoln
BingLiveOctober 13th-14th – Bing Live: Join Bing, Sula, Coco and Pando as they find out how to tell stories by pretending, dressing-up and singing songs. 
November 4th-5th – Tabby McTat: 
From the book by Julia Donaldson, Tabby McTat is a cat with the loudest of meee-ews and a best friend with a guitar. 
Call 01522 519999 or visit www.newtheatreroyallincoln.co.uk

Plowright Theatre, Scunthorpe
October 27th – Crafty’s Halloween Spooktacular: Come in your scariest Halloween costume and help Sally the Scarecrow solve the mystery of the ghostly goings-on and discover who has stolen the golden pumpkin.
Call 0844 8542776 or visit www.scunthorpetheatres.co.uk

South Holland Centre, Spalding
ButteflieTFOctober 24 – Butterflies: Tangled Feet and Half Moon present this tale of three friends who embark on an exciting adventure to chase their butterflies away.  They cross new seas to unchartered lands, on a journey filled with discovery.  The only trouble is, they are all a bit worried about it.  What if they get wet? What if they make a new friend?  What if they don’t?
November 17 – The Suitcase Kid: Act II Theatre Company present this adaptation of Jacqueline Wilson’s book following the story of 10-year-old Andy whose parents have just divorced.
Call 01775 764777 or visit www.southhollandcentre.co.uk

Stamford Arts Centre
LandOfNodOctober 18 – A Frog Called Woanda: Told through live action, puppetry, music and shadows, this is a funny and touching story of love, loss and friendship.  Performed n simple French for ages 6-10 years.
October 20 – Land of Nod: Moon on a Stick Productions blend puppetry, captivating storytelling and an enchanting musical score in this starlight adventure.
November 1-3 – Goodnight Mister Tom The Musical: College Players present this adaptation of the award-winning book by Michelle Magorian following the life of an evacuee.
Call 01780 760203 or visit http://stamfordartscentre.com/

Terry O’Toole Theatre, North Hykeham, Lincoln
TinForestOctober 20th – Tom Thumb: CBeebies presenter Patrick Lynch presents a beautifully crafted and imaginative re-telling of the fairytale.
November 17th – The Tin Forest: An uplifting, humorous and touching show featuring puppetry and musical fun, with mechanical birds, live music, a wind-up circus and exotic animals of all shapes and sizes.
Call 01522 883311 or visit http://terryotooletheatre.org.uk/childrens-theatre/ 

Looking for some dramatic entertainment further north?  Click here to find out what Family Theatre at Northern Stage this October there is in Newcastle as highlighted by Debbie from My Boys Club.