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Christmas 2016

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(For Christmas 2017 – Heigh-Ho Ho Ho, it’s off to the grotto we go – please click here)

Halloween is another year away and Bonfire Night 2016 has seen its last explosion so… it must be time for the countdown to Christmas!

Such an attitude is definitely new to a previous rather Bah Humbug me but having children does tend to change you in many ways.  No one wants their mini ones to miss out on any fun if they can help it but that often means planning and booking ahead – also new skills I need to acquire!

If your children are hoping to meet Father Christmas ahead of the big day then take a look at the list of where he and his helpers will be appearing in and near Lincolnshire this year and follow the link to see if you need to book.  Be sure to be checking it more than twice as we’ll be adding to it if we find somewhere new and, if you know we’ve missed one, then please email hello@theminimalpi.co.uk 

arkwildlifeArk Wildlife Park, Stickney – Santa’s Grotto
Various December dates
Visit Facebook page

baytreeBaytree Garden Centre, Weston, Spalding
Everyday until Christmas Eve
Winter Wonderland, Grotto and reindeer
Visit www.baytree-gardencentre.com

Belton House, near Grantham
Various December dates
Winter Grotto, breakfasts and suppers with Father Christmas
Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/belton-house/

Bracebridge Heath Village Christmas Party
December 4
Tickets can be purchased from the Little Pottery Studio.
Visit Bracebridge Heath Events Facebook

santabriggBrigg Garden Centre
Daily until Christmas Eve
Grotto experience includes a train ride, bouncy castles, photo booth, elves toyshop and more.  Breakfasts and teas with Santa also available.
Visit www.britishgardencentres.com

Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway – Santa Specials
December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17-24
Visit www.cclr.co.uk

The Deep, Hull – Santa Specials
Various December dates
Visit www.thedeep.co.uk

fb_img_1479500424776Digby Memorial Hall – Digby Christmas Market
November 19, 11am-4pm
Visit Facebook event

Doddington Hall – Father Christmas
December 4th, 7th, 17th & 18th
Meet the Christmas Elves, share your Christmas wishes with Father Christmas and receive a small present per child.
Visit www.doddingtonhall.com

Downtown Garden Centre, Grantham – Meet Santa
Various dates from November 19th to December 24th
Breakfast and supper with Santa events also available.
Visit www.oldrids.co.uk

Downtown, Lincoln – Visit Santa and Tea with Santa
December 10 and 11
Visit www.oldrids.co.uk

Eleanor Cafe and Tearoom, St Katherine’s Heritage Centre, Lincoln – Join Santa for lunch
December 17th
Santa is taking a break from his workshop and is calling into The Eleanor Cafe and Tearoom for his lunch. He will be having a nice hot bowl of soup and some crusty bread, would you like to join him?
Visit Facebook event

Fillingham Christmas Trees, Castle Farm – Woodland Grotto
December 3rd, 4th, 10th & 11th
Visit www.fillingham-trees.co.uk

fb_img_1479836335204Great Fen Day Nursery, Boston – Christmas Party
December 15
Visit Facebook event

Hildreds Centre, Skegness – Pirate Castle Grotto
Visit www.hildredsshoppingcentre.co.uk

fb_img_1479231582812Holly Tree, Washingborough – Christmas Extravaganza
December 17th, 4pm-7pm
Soft play, mini disco, party games, face painting and visit from Santa.
Visit Holly Tree Facebook

Hykeham Lions – Christmas Sleigh Run
From December 3
Visiting areas of North Hykeham, South Hykeham, Lincoln, Waddington, Witham St Hughs and Skellingthorpe
Visit www.hykeham-lions.co.uk

Johnsons Garden Centre, Boston – Visit Santa
Various November and December dates
Breakfast with Santa also available.
Visit www.johnsonsofboston.co.uk

Kelham Hall, near Newark – Christmas Fayre
November 26th and 27th
Visit Kelham Hall Facebook

castlesantaLincoln Castle – An Audience with Father Christmas
December 10th, 11th, 17th, 18th, 21st, 22nd & 23rd
Join Father Christmas as he tells stories of Victorian Christmases of the past. Every child will receive a Victorian style gift and get an opportunity to meet the man himself and tell him their Christmas wishes.
Visit www.lincolncastle.com

santafunrunLincoln Santa Fun Run & Walk 2016
December 11th, 11.30am
Not your traditional visit to a grotto but a very fun experience to take part in or spectacle to watch where you’re certain to see many men (and women and children and dogs!) in red.
Visit www.lincolnsantafunrun.co.uk

firefighterssantaLincolnshire Fire & Rescue – Santa’s Sleigh 2016
From December 12
Every year, Santa joins forces with firefighters and goes on a tour around the county to help raise money for charity.
Visit here for the routes he will be taking

Lincolnshire Food and Gift Fair, Lincolnshire Showground – Santa’s Workshop
November 26th and 27th
Christmas storytelling, festive baking and hands-on craft activities for children – and even a visit from Father Christmas himself!
Visit www.lincolnshireshowground.co.uk

Lincolnshire Wildlife Park, Friskney – Santa’s Grotto 
December 10 and 11
Visit www.lincswildlife.com

Lincolnshire Wolds Railway, Ludborough – Santa Specials 2016
December 10th, 11th, 17th and 18th
Visit https://lincolnshirewoldsrailway.co.uk

LMS Country Store, Wellingore – Christmas Market
November 26th
In aid of Cancer Research.  Lots of stalls, raffle prizes and a visit from Father Christmas.
Visit LMS Facebook

Metheringham Swimming Pool – Breakfast with Santa
December 10th
Visit Metheringham Swimming Pool Facebook

The Natural World Centre, Whisby – A Crackin’ Christmas Celebration!
December 11th
Includes Santa’s Grotto.
Visit Natural World Centre Facebook

fb_img_1479325099250Nocton Community Primary School – Christmas Fayre
December 13th, 3pm-6pm
Visit Facebook event

Normanby Hall Country Park, near Scunthorpe – Father Christmas in his Grotto
December 3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th, 17th and 18th
This includes meeting Father Christmas, a special gift, a ride on the miniature railway and a Christmas activity sheet.
Visit www.nlcdev4.co.uk/christmas-at-normanby/

funfarmlunchNorth Hykeham Fun Farm – Out for Lunch with Santa
December 7th
Toddler Christmas lunch. Come and lunch with Santa, have a private chat and present from Santa and eat an amazing hot traditional Christmas lunch.
Visit Fun Farm Facebook Event

North Scarle Miniature Railway, North Scarle Playing Field – Santa Specials
December 11th and 18th
Visit http://www.lincolnmes.co.uk/events/

Oldrids, Gainsborough – Visit Santa and Tea with Santa
December 3 and 4
Visit www.oldrids.co.uk

Oliver Boat Trips, Brayford, Lincoln – Santa’s Grotto
November 12th to Christmas Eve
Visit Oliver Boat Trips Facebook

The Pink Pig Farm, near Scunthorpe – Santa Woodland Adventure
December 10th to 23rd
Walk through the enchanted elf woodland, write a letter to Santa, make reindeer food with Mrs. Claus and meet the man himself in his grotto.
Visit www.pinkpigfarm.co.uk

Rand Farm Park, near Wragby – Real Christmas Experience
Various November and December dates
Breakfast with Santa also available
Visit http://randfarmpark.com

Reepham School – Christmas Fayre
December 10, 11.30am-2pm
Stalls, games, chilli dogs, raffles, special guest Santa, join Elsa and Anna for a sing-along.
Visit Facebook event

Ritz Cinema, Lincoln – Film screenings with Father Christmas Visits
Various December dates
Films include Elf, The Polar Express, Santa Claus The Movie, The Grinch and The Nightmare Before Christmas
Visit http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/

The Ritz, Lincoln – Breakfast with Santa
December 10 and 11
Visit Facebook event

Rushmoor Country Park, North Cockerington, Louth – Breakfast and Lunch with Santa
Christmas Eve
Visit www.rushmoorpark.co.uk

santashideawaySanta’s Hideaway, near Horncastle
November 26th and 27th, December 3rd, 4th and 10th-24th
Visit Santa’s Hideaway Facebook

The Showroom, Lincoln – YMCA Community Christmas Cracker
December 23rd, 11am-3pm
Meet Father Christmas, step in to Santa’s Grotto, Rodeo-Raindeer, Christmas crafts, face painting, games and more.
Visit The Showroom Facebook

sk8zwithsantaSK8Z, Gainsborough – Skate with Santa
December 10th, 2pm and 4pm.
Call 01427 760 150.
Visit http://play.sk8z.co.uk/

Springfields, Spalding
December 1st
Father Christmas arrives in the Springfield Grotto via the land train at 7pm.
Visit http://springfieldsshopping.co.uk/events/

St Mark’s Church, Grimsby – Christmas Disco
December 11
Visit www.kingofthepartycastlehire.co.uk

fb_img_1479828800630Suncastle Skegness – Santa’s Family Christmas Party
December 18
Visit Facebook event

Sundown Adventureland – Night Before Christmas
From November 19th
This includes park entry for the day, use of all the rides and attractions, the Night before Christmas ride and a visit to Santa.
Visit https://tickets.sundownadventureland.co.uk

Tension Exit Games – Saving Santa
Visit www.tensionexitgames.co.uk

Wacky Warehouse, Lincoln 
December 4th: Breakfast with Santa
December 10th: Santa’s Supper

santasgrottowelton

Waterside, Lincoln – Santa’s Grotto
December 1 to Christmas Eve
Visit www.waterside.com

Welton Pre-School – Santa’s Grotto
December 17th, 3pm
Visit Welton Pre-School

White Post Farm, Farnsfield – Christmas 2016
From November 26th
Breakfast with Santa and Christmas evenings also available
Visit http://whitepostfarm.co.uk/

Wragby Town Hall – Christmas Craft & Gift Fair
November 27
Visit Facebook post

Family photographer captures our mini monsters perfectly

I can’t be the only family blogger who dreads her kids acting up when being asked to link up with someone.

When Adrian Rowan of A. Rowan Photo contacted The Mini Malpi to suggest a Halloween-themed photo shoot I jumped at the chance.

Based on Luke’s current giggly enthusiasm for all things Halloween and his posing skills developed during Lincoln Fashion Week and well honed in the following months, what could go wrong?!

Having been to see Justin Fletcher Live in the morning probably didn’t help Luke’s over-excitement levels and Willow was also feeling decidedly floppy after all the dancing and car journey and, with one being uncooperative and one being incredibly clingy, I was beginning to wonder if we’d wasted the photographer’s time.

But she quickly proved her skills as a family photographer coercing Luke into playing with her through the use of bubbles and he was soon keen to try out his different costumes and play around for the camera having great fun running around Hartsholme Park and exuberantly kicking through the leaves at the same time.

Willow was feeling the cold (although resolutely refusing to put her coat on) as well as being tired and clingy but in the end it was daddy’s decision not to be left out on the costume front that made Willow eager to join in too.

http://arowanphoto.com

I love all the shots she took of both of them but am particularly impressed by the ones she managed to capture of Willow given her mood for most of the session, from the cutest of little smiles to the picture above that makes me wonder what she’s thinking of turning us all into!

If you’d like to capture some memories with your own mini monsters then Adrian is running more Halloween Mini Photo Sessions on Sunday, October 30th, at Hartsholme Park from 10am to 2pm.  Booking is essential.  Click here for further information.

As well as preserving some precious moments you’ll have lots of fun doing it!

Sold out success for Justin Live

justinliveYou know you must be at the epitome of your career when, as a comedian, you can simply stand still on stage and have your audience in fits of laughter and, as an entertainer, your listeners are so keen to join in with you, you can easily get them to finish off all your songs for you.

Star of several CBeebies shows including Something Special, Justin’s House and Gigglebiz, Justin Fletcher is an idol for pre-schoolers across the country and so it’s unsurprising that the two performances of his latest stage show that were hosted by Grimsby Auditorium on Sunday were both completely sold out.

Those of us who managed to secure tickets were richly rewarded with a high-energy spectacle with a pantomime atmosphere that included confetti canons, water blasters, circus skills, slapstick comedy, audience interaction and even an appearance from Nellie the Elephant (which earned extra special applause from Willow who was transfixed throughout the show).

Nursery rhymes, original songs, pop favourites and even a jive number meant there was a choice for everyone musically and many of those lucky enough to have parents who booked far enough ahead to secure seats in the stalls (unlike Luke and Willow who were looking down from the balcony) even had the opportunity to have a dance with Justin as he made his way through the audience on a several occasions.

We weren’t sure whether Justin’s “close friend” Mr Tumble would be making appearance or not but Willow obviously has more faith in his magic, calling for him near the end of the interval and sure enough her call was soon answered as the star waistcoat-ed hero cycled onto stage on his mini bicycle to Let Me Entertain You at the start of the second half.  And, five custard pies later, Luke was most definitely entertained.

I think we can safely say that both Willow and Luke loved the show, finishing dancing along to the finale songs next to their seats and, as daddy paid a quick visit to the merchandise stall to buy  CD on the way out, they kept on dancing in the car to Justin’s singing most of the way back to Lincoln until exhaustion finally overcame their excitement.

If you are better at booking ahead than we are you might be interested to know that Justin will be returning to the north of the county next year.  Justin’s Party will take place at The Baths Hall in Scunthorpe on Saturday, April 1st, 2017. 

 

Storytime invites listeners to Come Fly With Me

roomonthebroomjdRoom on the Broom, Julia Donaldson’s tale of helpful friends, has long been my favourite of The Gruffalo author’s excellent rhyming canon – I could even do a fairly accurate rendition at one point.

So, when Willow and I arrived for October’s storytime at Lindum Books in Lincoln’s Bailgate, I was delighted to discover that the witch and her cat were to be the focus of the morning’s event.

Led by Rhubarb Theatre’s Kirsty Mead, this brand of storytelling uses the original text as a launchpad for its own dramatic interpretation with the emphasis heavily on interaction.

With a musical introduction to the session including doing the Hocus Pocus (think “Hokey Cokey” with a magical twist), Kirsty had her young audience searching pumpkin clues, trying on a range of hats (Willow donned gnome/Santa headgear), playing with scarves and practicing their wand skills before inviting them to “Come Fly With Me” as she zoomed around the shop on her broom (much to all the following children’s delight including Willow) making full use of the book shop’s limited floor space.

After everyone banded together to help scare away the dragon we headed up the store’s stairs to take part in a craft activity that included using a glue stick – currently one of Willow’s favourite activities.

Hopefully we’ll be able to fly up the hill again soon to share another tale brought to life in such an entertaining fashion.

Storytime at Lindum Books takes place monthly and the next event is on Tuesday, November 8th.  Booking is essential.  Call 01522 262374.

 

A monsterously good time with Monstersaurus

monstersaurus2“Monty LOVES inventing,
BUT things don’t always work…”

Claire Freedman and Ben Cort’s characterful tale Monstersaurus (Simon and Schuster, £5.99) has long been a favourite in our house so when I saw there was a stage show adaptation by Big Wooden Horse and it was coming to Terry O’Toole Theatre it was definitely a date to go into the diary and The Mini Malpi were delighted to be a guest of the North Hykeham theatre for the 3pm show on Saturday.

With a set that was bedecked with everything a young inventor could want – magnifying glass, specimen bottles, a bubble machine, instruction books and, of course, an inventing machine – it was interesting to see how the theatre company would adapt and expand on its fun source material.

monstersaurus3Lively puppets, energetic songs and dances (in case you’re wondering, Monstersaurus rhymes with chorus) and disgusting ingredients supplied by some audience participation saw us introduced to Monty’s mum, an expanded timeline, a language all “swampy, green and wobbly” Bogablob’s own, a comprehensive back story covering Dust Monster’s origins (but not the title character’s due to a “sensitive family history”), a diamond geezer version of the main monster that’s sure to have changed a few parental storytime renditions following the show and a glimpse into the best friends’ future travel adventures.

I was in proud, smug-mummy mode to start with as my four-year -old son chose to sit on his own on the front benches the theatre put out for children’s shows for the first time.  He’s not great at sitting still but the show had him riveted, if not to the actual seat, to a defined space around it.

monstersaurus4And it was lovely to be able to watch from above his very physical reactions to what was happening on stage, bouncing up and down with excitement along with Monty’s enthusiasm, laughing at and pointing to things that caught his attention, turning round on one occasion to highlight to us his enjoyment and concentration (“Luke-y watching”) and jumping to the floor behind the bench and back over as each monster was explosively introduced (note to self: must move the sofas away from the wall so there’s space to hide behind them when he’s old enough to be introduced to Doctor Who!)

Advertised for age 3+, my 22-month-old daughter was also fully engaged with the show, joining in the clapping at all appropriate times, both as applause and along with the beat of the songs.

Of course, as with all smug-mummy moments, they only last for a certain length of time.  But this time, my son’s quickly unravelling behaviour was for the sweetest of reasons – and quite an appropriate one too.  “Monty cheered, I’VE MADE A FRIEND… A MEGA MONSTER ONE!” near the end of the book and Luke too found a friend in the (very non-monstrous) five-year-old he was sat next to and whose family member we were sat near to as well.

monstersaurus5It’s so lovely how children can just make friends so instantly and, whilst not necessarily obvious at first glance, they were still very focused on events unfolding on the stage, adorably copying the actions of Monty and Monstersaurus between them as they flew off on an adventure.   But, as the new friends’ enjoyment and reenactments became increasingly spirited, we were also quite relieved when the actors took their final bows and we were all able to leave on a high with no calming intervention required (just).

With the book’s final line reading “What fun did they get up to? YOU’LL HAVE TO WAIT AND SEE…” all we need now is Claire Freedman to pen the sequel and hope that Big Wooden Horse would bring their further adventures to life on stage too as we’d certainly be doing our “Saturday dance” and booking seats (along with the space around them!)

Missed Monstersaurus at the TOTT?  Click here for further tour dates elsewhere.

More children’s theatre coming up at the Terry O’Toole Theatre includes:
Granny’s Game by Rhubarb Theatre, November 19th
Lily and the Little Snow Bear by Blunderbus, December 17th

 

Soaking up the joy of Sponge

What does a sponge inspire you to do?

Something as exciting as the washing-up?  To take a bath?  Clean down your cupboards?

When Turned On Its Head looked at a sponge, they saw the inspiration for their latest participatory dance show for mini ones.

The company’s purpose is “to engage audiences and their families in a journey of discovery and imagination” and yellow, blue and pink sponges, along with a few plastic flexi buckets, provided the squashy launch pads into dream-like worlds where flying, dancing, raining sponges, tall bendy legs, alien creatures and squishy, spinning haute couture were essential elements to the young audience’s experience at the Lincoln Drill Hall today.

“Children are like sponges. They absorb all your strength and leave you limp, but give them a squeeze and you get everything back”

The Mini Malpi watched and joined in the afternoon performance of the show that’s set to a 1970s soundtrack and “is about all things spongy: a child’s ability to soak things up like a sponge, a nice piece of cake or the squashy, squishy texture that fascinates children and adults alike”.

The babies to four year olds, as well as their accompanying adults, were captivated by the show’s sensory wonderment, giggling from the outset and needing little encouragement to join in.  Particular highlights for my mini ones were to fill a bucket up with sponges and tip them over your head, going for a well-cushioned spinning flight in a bucket, building towers of sponge to knock down and generally being able to throw the springy absorbers around under disco lights with gleeful reckless abandon.

Big smiles and eager exploration confirmed a delightful time was had by all at the arts centre, and, of course, we have many sponges at home too which we may never look at quite the same again…

Other shows for little ones coming up at the Lincoln Drill Hall include:
Hubbub – a Musical Adventure, for age 5+, October 16th & 17th
Mavis Sparkle, for age 4+, November 6th

 

Lots of fun at the Fun Palace Weekend

funpalace2016“Part of a worldwide campaign and celebration of culture by, for and with the whole community,” Lincoln Fun Palace Weekend is taking place in and around the Lincoln Performing Arts Centre (LPAC) on Saturday, October 1st and Sunday, October 2nd.

The “free, community event with arts and science activities” is “ideal for families, children and young people” and there’s certainly a wide range of activities on offer.

Today, the Mini Malpi enjoyed LEGO building, face painting, graffiti art, the Anti-Gravity Box, crazy golf (this was charged for), drumming, Zest Theatre’s Boy Meets Girl and much more!

And tomorrow visitors to the arts centre based on the University of Lincoln campus can enjoy it all again too!

Visit http://lpac.co.uk/event/fun-palace-weekend/ and http://funpalaces.co.uk/ for more details.