Half-sized knights are riding into Show


If you’re planning to do the Lincoln Knights trail on Wednesday, June 21st and Thursday, June 22nd then you’re going to come up one short unless you head a couple of miles north of the city and walk through the gates of the Lincolnshire Showground.

Designer and illustrator Mel Langton’s Show us what you’ve got knight will be riding into the county’s showcase event, taking the spotlight at the Epic Centre during the Lincolnshire Show, before being returned to her trail position in City Square in Lincoln.

The “Show us what you’ve got” knight will be travelling to the Lincolnshire Show on Wednesday and Thursday before returning to City Square in Lincoln.

Mel said: “My aim for the Lincolnshire Showground Knight was to show off all that the region has to offer, highlighting the significant role the Showground plays in entertaining and educating locals as well as attracting visitors from further afield.

“It was therefore really important to add lots of detail into the design, representing everything from live concerts to farming shows – you need to look really closely to spot everything.”

The knight with blonde plaited hair and rosy pink cheeks “to show off the healthy glow that you get from the great Lincolnshire outdoors” is far from the only mounted guest to be attending the Show.

Along with the showjumpers, Shetlands, hunters and shires, there are also more than 40 half-sized knights that will need stabling too.

Launching at the Show as part of the wider Knights’ Trail, is the Education Programme, led by the EBP.  The trail of one metre high exhibits have been designed by local children from 42 different primary, secondary and special schools. The education Knights will be displayed across the Show before moving to indoor locations throughout the city centre until the start of September when they are returned to the schools.

ShowLogoJayne Southall, CEO of the Lincolnshire Showground, said: “We cannot wait to unveil our Knight army at the Show, it has been great working with all the different partners involved and we look forward to celebrating what really will be a unique year showcasing Lincolnshire at its best.”

Matt Corrigan, chief executive of Lincoln Business Improvement Group, said: “The Lincolnshire Show is playing an important part in the programme for the Lincoln Knights’ Trail by hosting the launch of the Education Programme. A new addition for the 2017 trail will be the 40 half-sized Knights; and Lincoln BIG is particularly pleased that EBP has involved so many schools across our county.”

For more information on the Education Trail and the schools taking part visit http://the-ebp.co.uk/knights

ShowActivityPackOf course the Show isn’t just all about its equine exhibitors.  Freestyle motocross displays, agricultural machinery as well as farm animals, rural crafts, dog agility, retail therapy, culinary delights and demonstrations and an aviation zone are just some of the other highlights of the two-day event which attracts about 60,000 visitors each year.

If you’re planning on taking your mini ones on either, or both, days this year then you can help build their excitement by downloading an activity pack ahead of the event.  Containing a wordsearch, maze, Beasties & Beanstalks game, mini Knights map, colouring in, recipe and details of this year’s Schools’ Challenge, you can start their fun even before they set foot through the gates.

Advanced tickets to the Lincolnshire Show are £19 for adults. Children are £6 and under-fives go free. Family tickets, admitting two adults and up to three children, are £40. Car parking is free on both days.

Visit www.lincolnshireshow.co.uk

#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


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 Four – on the trail of the Lincoln Knights (part one)

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_04In celebration of the 800th anniversary of the Battle of Lincoln and the sealing of the Charter of the Forest the Lincoln Knights’ Trail is made up of 36 sculptures across the city.

KnightsTrailEach knight has been designed by a different artist and takes on a different theme.

The trail could be completed in a day but for those of us journeying with some mini legs we decided we might split it into two or three parts – today, armed with map and booklet to record the secret code in, we went on the hunt for those at the lower end of the city.

Unsurprisingly, given the make-up of the county of Lincolnshire and the inspiration of the Charter, many of the designs take their inspiration from the natural world.

Today’s selection included:

36. Guardian of the Forest by Emma McKinlay: The Guardian of the Forest is handsome, chivalrous and romantic. She is inspired by the virtuous knights depicted in tapestries by the artist Edward Burne-Jones, as well as the nature-inspired patterns of designer William Morris. She nobly protects the right of access to the royal forests. Like her trusty steed, she is at one with nature – a knight to remember!

33. Knight in the Forest by Julia Allum: The 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Charter of the Forest was the inspiration behind the design. The horse is decorated with flora and fauna, with many animals and birds hiding between trees and leaves. The Lincolnshire landscape features on the knight’s body, with his sword and shield standing out in gold. The design is painted in a bold, almost stained glass style with pearlescent and gold leaf highlights to really sparkle in the sun.

23. Knight of the Minster by Lesley Ann Withers: Lincoln Cathedral was built to inspire and the design reflects all that happens within the iconic space, as well as some of the wonders of its architecture. The stylised trees commemorate the signing of the Charter of the Forest in 1217, owned by Lincoln Cathedral and displayed for all to see in Lincoln Castle.

The minis enjoyed spotting the knights from afar, searching for the symbol on a green shield on each one and the process of recording the finds in the booklet and Luke was quite determined to keep going despite the distance covered (including a bit extra where we got confused by building work on the university campus).

We enjoyed spending the day in the open air, the lovely rich artwork and seeing different areas of the city, including the Brayford, in the sun.

Find out more about the trail at www.knightstrail.com

30DAYSWILD_ID2 lightgreen

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


Doing the Sling Swing

At the same time you’re battling a postpartum body the reason for it is quite possibly preventing you doing anything about it.

And even if you’re quite rightly proud of your tiger stripes a little injection of exercise endorphins wouldn’t go amiss.

Zumba-ing all the way through her pregnancy with her youngest son, Claire Witherington certainly wasn’t someone who’d be prepared to say goodbye to an adrenaline high after his arrival.

As she searched for an exercise option that her baby could join her at, Claire discovered Sling Swing dance and gentle movement classes for parents/carers with babies in slings and baby carriers and decided to start up some classes in Lincoln herself.

Photos: Hannah at Love with Light Photography

Claire invited me along to try one of her classes and, as a regular baby wearer and someone who also misses the Zumba and pilates classes I’d enjoyed until week 30 something of being pregnant with my eldest, I was really interested in trying it out.

But what really swung it for me was, not only was my baby not just welcome to come along but integral to the class, but my older two were also fully included in the group too – they would need to bring a teddy along with them to put in their own child-sized doll slings that were available to borrow so they could “dance like mummy!”.

How cute is that?!  I really want to go back and enjoy more classes for several reasons, not least to get some better photos of Luke and Willow wearing the slings and joining in because they loved it.  My strong lass even opted for “carrying twins” at one point fitting her doll and red teddy bear into the colourful, stripy sling.

And it’s not just mini sling swingers that can benefit from such loans: “I do have a number of slings available for parents to borrow and I am a trained baby wearing peer supporter so I can fit people safely,” says Claire.

“I used to worry that I wouldn’t have enough slings but, to be honest, most people have their own.

“It’s a shame in a way as I’d love to attract people who don’t usually use a sling!”

The nature of the group may prevent it from being high intensity but it’s emphasis on friendly fun, inclusivity and gentle fitness definitely gets my vote.  Starting with a few songs to engage your child with, then moving on to the exercise routines, the class finishes with some time to socialise with your fellow dancers.

IMG_5970“The focus of the class is the social and bonding elements rather than on fitness although you are obviously burning a few calories whilst doing it!” she says.

“It’s kind of ‘me time’ but without leaving the baby!”

Of course the person who gets to make the overall verdict is Faith.  And the fact she was sleeping contentedly within minutes of the start of the dancing tells me she’d be quite happy for me to put on my dancing shoes again in the future.

Claire currently runs two term-time classes: 
Mondays at 1.30pm at Yarborough Leisure Centre and Fridays at 10.45am at One NK Leisure Centre.

Find out more on Sling Swing’s Facebook page.


Skellingthorpe May Day 3k 2017

Superheroes aplenty took their places at the starting line of the Skellingthorpe May Day 3k this morning.

Iron Man, several Spidermen and a Batman and Robin who were raising money for the Lincolnshire & Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance were among the runners to tackle the race held in Monson Playing Field.


Luke is a very enthusiastic runner and as a family we have taken part in the Lincoln Santa Fun Run twice and the Sports Relief Mile and I’ve been keeping a look out for any similar family friendly events.

3K ScheduleThe published schedule for the Skellingthorpe 3k seemed to suggest it would offer exactly the right atmosphere with it urging “If young children struggle to complete all 4 laps, don’t force them round – it’s a fun run after all!  All participants are entitled to their medal and goodies whatever distance they do”.

And the warmth of welcome and inclusivity projected by the organisers (the true superheroes of the day) were well rewarded as the participants ranged from the miniest of minis (3-month-old Faith came across a 5-month-old also taking on the course from the vantage point of a baby sling) to those competing to be the fastest under 5 all the way up to those who fit into the grander age categories.  All the younger competitors were allowed to choose some sweat bands and soon Luke was bedecked in a read headband and Willow in matching wristbands.

IMG_2038Luke and daddy got off to a speedy start but, despite competitive mummy’s eyes being on the under 5s’ prize, he also found other competitors and the water stations very interesting too as well as high-fiving stewards and stopping every now and then to make daddy say “ready, steady, run”.  He’d obviously read the notes that it was all about the taking part too.

IMG_2042Willow also made a very determined start and was very keen to keep up with those around her, her arms pumping as hard as her legs.  When she finally realised quite how far in front daddy and Luke were, however, she found it quite upsetting and completed her lap in mummy’s arms next to Faith in her sling.  Three people crossing the lap line on two legs garnered us a nice special mention from the lovely commentator followed by a more concerned “Are you all right mum?” at which point I assured him, off microphone, that we were headed off the track at that point.

Everyone loves a goody bag though don’t they and Willow’s good mood was soon restored when she discovered hers included not only a medal and wristband but also some biscuits and they fuelled her happy dancing whilst waiting for daddy and Luke at the finish line.

We’re definitely planning to be at the starting line again next year – perhaps we’ll even come as our super powered alter egos too!