Sunday Sevens #3

#SundaySevens is a blog series started by Natalie from Threads and Bobbins.  Here’s my third entry into the series looking at a few of the little things that have happened in the mini ones’ lives this week…

1. And the winners are…

Isn’t it nice when people agree with you? We already know Lindum Books in the Bailgate is a fabulous book shop and this week the British Book Awards 2017 agreed with us by declaring it the Independent Bookshop of the Year Regional Winner.  And we already knew that the mums who run the weekly Parent & Toddler Group we attend at St Giles Children’s Centre are fabulous and now the Preschool Learning Alliance has recognised it too by awarding them the Outstanding Volunteer Team 2017 Divisional Winner.  Both teams are now headed towards their national rounds – we’re keeping all our mini fingers tightly crossed for them.

2. Taking to the dance floor… possibly…

Luke and Willow have recently started a ballet class as we found one they can do together.  Fortunately they have a very understanding teacher as it’s not gone quite straightforwardly as yet.  Week one was very much a first week for Luke – he sometimes likes to take time to see what’s going on before joining in and the lack of appropriate footwear seemed to be causing issues.  Week two, two pairs of newly acquired ballet shoes on two pairs of feet, and it was Willow who was distracted by hunger as the breakfast-skipping dancer was more inclined to eating snacks than spinning pirouettes.  Week three was going so well until Luke decided to try and make friends with another girl in the class – when his hand-holding advances were spurned his disappointment led him off the dance floor, rejection is tough.  Week four and four out of the five Malpis were sent into meltdown when we couldn’t find where we put the ballet shoes so we never actually made it.  We’re now on an Easter break, probably just as well.

3. Hardwick Hall

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We love being National Trust members and when we needed to be in Sheffield late afternoon today it gave us a great opportunity to drop in and enjoy one of its special places on the way.  The organisation’s lovely Tweeter suggested Hardwick Hall which, with its woodland play trail leading you in from the car park, two houses to explore and gardens showing the signs of Spring, along with the lovely weather, proved perfect for the minis to explore and it was a shame we had to interrupt a game of hide and seek to leave as early as we needed to because of our appointment – Luke particularly liked climbing the steps and going “really, really high” in the ruinous Old Hall.  It’s also been the perfect lead in to Hh week at Luke’s nursery next week with Hardwick Hall, house and high.

4. Road signs

TrafficSetLuke’s nursery-prompted obsession with road signs shows no signs of abating.  Grandmum has already fuelled his zeal with a traffic light crafting session and then she spotted this traffic set – with working traffic/green man lights!  We raced down to Sainsbury’s to pick up a set for ourselves as soon as she told us about them – they’re still in the box at the moment but hopefully they’ll go down well.

5. Godmum playdate

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Who doesn’t love a godmum playdate?  Especially when it involves sombrero hats, penguin binoculars, lab coats and accessorising!

6. Stargazing

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Have you been following CBeebies Stargazing this week?  My mini astronauts are both intrigued by it – especially loving Robert the Robot’s involvement – so it’s one we’ll be looking up again on the iPlayer.

7. Playdate

We had another playdate at the beginning of this week for the first time with a girl Luke particularly gets on with nursery.  Willow was voluminously sick, Faith was on a constant feed and Luke kept distracting the girl from playing with the (unhealthy because we hadn’t done any shopping at the weekend) snacks I’d packed for the walk home.  It remains to be seen whether her mother will contact us again…

SundaySevens

Science in the Park 2017

WollatonScienceAnyone who thinks there’s a lack of interest in the STEM subjects clearly didn’t attend Science in the Park 2017 at Wollaton Hall on Saturday.

The difficulty we had in finding a parking space on arrival was mirrored in the number of people vying to get their hands on the interactive exhibits inside the hall.

But before we headed up to the hall we stopped by the Nottingham Industrial Museum housed in the ground’s stable block.  As well as all its usual exhibits, the museum also had a few special experiments available to take part in in support of British Science Week and Luke and Willow were able to have a go at generating their own electricity and seeing what their voices look like.

Luke’s favourite exhibit was definitely the model railway and I think we only managed to pry him away thanks to the operator noticing and taking a short break.  Willow is a fiend for phones and mummy and daddy quite liked playing with the rotary ones on display too where the reminder of the dialling clicks made us nostalgic for a time you could answer the phone without the threat of a PPI sales pitch being on the other end.

The last Sundays of the month are know as Steaming Sundays here where their collection can be viewed in full operation so this is one for our list of places to return to.

We then rushed up to the hall through the rain that arrived earlier than forecast proving meteorology at least is far from an exact science.

We learnt about DNA, the way light travels and phosphorescence, walked through the hall’s natural history exhibits and made dinosaur masks.  Mummy overheard something about a gin and tonic experiment and had been quite prepared to fight her way through to the front of that table if Faith hadn’t decided at that point that milk was a more appropriate afternoon tipple.

Presented as part of British Science Week 2017, Science in the Park lived up to its “something for all ages” promise, kept us entertained for several hours and had a lot more to offer that we didn’t get to – including the chance for young scientists to present their own experiments – and it was free (there was a charge for car parking and a small entrance fee for the industrial museum) so we’ll be sure to look out for the event again next year, although it’s clear there’s the demand for it to be more than an annual occasion.

Do you have a budding palaeontologist in your house?  Wollaton Hall will be playing host to a world exclusive Dinosaurs of China exhibition this summer.  Click here for further information.

Soaring high with Flutter and Fly

flutterandflyHave you ever had your hand tickled by a clarinet?

No? Then you probably weren’t a member of the Lincoln Drill Hall’s audience for either of Sinfonia Viva’s performances of Flutter and Fly at the weekend.

A sensory delight all round, the show was designed for ages 6 and below and the mini ones knew they’d come to the right place when they were greeted with their choice of sticker and some ribbons to hold ready to wave as kite tails later on (and, of course, anytime they felt like it in between).

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The colour of Faith’s beanbag of choice coordinated with her ladybird outfit.

Two steps further in and the very aesthetic carpet of brightly coloured bean bags caught your eye and welcomed you to take a seat on the surrogate clouds ready to float along with the narrative (in between getting up and dancing of course).

Before being lifted up by the music there was a chance to meet the musicians and their instruments and even have a bang on the jungle drum yourself, as well as decorate your own paper aeroplane.

Beyond children’s percussion instruments there are rare opportunities for mini ones to come up close to a range of woodwind, brass and string instruments to see what might capture their interest and this pre-event meet and greet was one of my main reasons to book tickets for the show.

It was then time to take flight with the story of Rowan and her paper aeroplane as we watched illustrations being drawn live alongside listening to the music.

The programme choice definitely appealed to me – from the nostalgic reminder of a bumble bee song we sang at Brownies (although ours wasn’t so nice a version) juxtaposed with The Flight of the Bumblebee to the crowd pleasing Let’s Go Fly a Kite and from a mini ones’ favourite Zoom Zoom Zoom We’re Going to the Moon to Beatles song Blackbird that I haven’t stopped singing since, our ears had a very special treat.

And, as it was the first cultural experience that Faith was mostly awake for rather than sleeping through, it got the miniest of mini ones approval too.

A book and CD of the performance, included in the ticket price, were handed out to families as then left the venue so we could continue our enjoyment at home.

Like the sound of this?  Then you might be interested in the family lunchtime concert being  presented at the Lincoln Drill Hall by the LICMF featuring the Slidin’ About Trombone Quartet.  Click here for more information on the Tuesday, April 4th event that will take place at 1pm.

Scarecrows, disco dancing and the roll of a dice equal half term fun

It’s always nice to hear other people back up your own opinions isn’t it?

The Lincoln Drill Hall has long since been a favourite venue of the Malpis both before and after the arrival of the mini ones and also before and after Daddy Malpi and I worked there.

So it was lovely to hear another two mums chatting about how fabulous the arts centre is too whilst we were sat in the auditorium waiting for curtain up.

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Rocking a fairy dress and pirate slippers whilst meeting Sally the Scarecrow – you have to dress for the theatre you know!

Whilst the venue in Free School Lane, Lincoln, programmes shows and activities for children all year round this programming inevitably increases during school holidays and Willow, Faith and Mummy Malpi were taking advantage of the half term’s showing of Marty MacDonald’s Toy Machine when we overheard the mums praising the Drill Hall’s family-friendly features.

And Willow definitely enjoyed that day’s show too, joining in with the well-known songs included in the show such as Old MacDonald’s Farm, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and the Hokey Cokey.  It was so nice to see a show advertised for age 2+ as well rather than the more often 3+ or 4+.  And she even had the chance to meet Sally the Scarecrow after the show too!

The following day we were back to enjoy the Diddy Disco.  This time Luke joined us and Grandmum came too because I’m not brave enough to take all three of the mini ones on my own yet.  Was just as well as Luke turned out to be having an excitable day and Willow was determined to get her groove on so they weren’t often in the same area at the same time for long although they did both like joining in with Sleeping Bunnies in between the pop songs as well as delving into the dressing up box in the cafe area.

And we were back again at the weekend, this time it was Grandmum’s choice for the appropriately titled Granny’s Game by Rhubarb Theatre.

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Promoted for age 5+ it was a bit of a gamble for us but we know that Luke has enjoyed one of their previous shows and their trademark mix of physical theatre and use of transformative staging and props is his kind of thing.

Snakes turned into an elephant and a bed changed into an Egyptian sarcophagus as we followed two children whose board game comes to life and they have adventures in a variety of different countries and their audience of mini ones were giggling along at the humorous moments from the start – ours particularly liked the butterflies.  Rhubarb Theatre opened up the stage to their young audience at the end too so they had the opportunity to explore the props and ask questions about the staging including the projection technique which turned out to be delightfully old school.  Anyone else remember overhead projectors from their school days?

Faith either slept or fed through all these events so we’ve got lots of reasons to keep going back so she can join in in the future.

The Lincoln Drill Hall includes children’s events in its year-round programme as well as during school holidays.  View its latest season calendar by clicking here.

Fourth birthday celebrations are picture perfect

Like Luke, many of his friends having been turning 4 in recent months so he’s been a bit of a social butterfly taking in all their birthday celebrations.

Soft play centres, open farms and family homes have all provided the back drops for stampeding hoards of sugar-fuelled preschoolers to mark their friend’s special occasion.

But it was another slightly different fourth birthday that recently helped to showcase a Lincoln venue’s celebratory credentials.

Lincoln Mums, an online magazine dedicated to providing support, guidance and information for parents in the local area along with a few helpful membership discounts and offers, chose to mark its fourth birthday at The Collection in Lincoln.

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Also marking the second anniversary of Emma Crellin taking on the Lincoln Mums mantle, Emma joined forces with The Collection’s party team to put on a few extra activities for the museum’s younger weekend visitors, displays of party food and had lots of local information on hand for their older chaperones to pick up.  There was even a party bag (or “party present” as Luke likes to call them) to take home with you!

We also took advantage of the opportunity to pick up a new leaflet detailing The Collection’s children’s birthday party offerings because Luke and Willow are starring on the front of it!

The mini ones are fans of the children’s room at the front of the museum, as well as of having a good hands on run around the main displays, and don’t need too much encouragement to dress up which makes for a happy mummy.

So when we read on Lincoln Mums Facebook page that the museum was looking for willing participants for a promotional photoshoot we volunteered the mini ones.  Daddy and Mummy Malpi were asked to participate too but we ended up being saved from the camera lens by being a bit busy on the day welcoming Faith into the world.

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The photos were taken by Stuart Wilde Photography and, while realise we might be a bit biased, we think Luke and Willow make very cute knights.

The Lincoln Mums Expo 2017 will take place on Saturday, March 4th.

Happy birthday and anniversary Lincoln Mums and Emma!

(Guess who else is celebrating their fourth birthday – it’s Sarah and Duck!)

On the third weekend of Christmas…

Remembering the fun of last weekend is helping soothe the disappointment of a cancelled operation for my son today.

As well as not one, not two, but three Christmas parties at various children’s groups the mini ones attend, they also accompanied us for an annual seasonal meal out with friends last Saturday.

Sitting still for any length of time isn’t their forte but gifts of Disney character toys, children’s activity packs from the restaurant based on We’re Going On A Bear Hunt, an ice cream desert and our own bear hunt exploration around the building after the meal helped stave off any significant displays of boredom.

 

The following day we headed to Wyndham Park in Grantham for its Christmas in the Park celebration where, for the mini ones, Christmas seemed to be marked in a similar way to at the Lincoln Christmas Market – this time with bouncy castle fun and a teacup fairground ride.

But Luke soon also benefited from another’s display of festive friendship when an older boy tried helping him up the bouncy slide he was having problems climbing.  They were quite determined together which was so lovely of the other child (don’t you just love how children can make friends anywhere they go within seconds?) but ultimately it was still a little beyond my small four-year-old’s legs.  Maybe he’ll be able to climb that mountain of bouncy, slippery steps next time Santa’s in town.

And it did mean Christmas does still include helping others as well as enjoying amusement rides.

On the second weekend of Christmas…

Christmas was put on hold at the start of last weekend in favour of all things second birthday related.

I can’t believe Willow is already 2!

She’s fairly sure she’s already 14 and certainly approves of presents and cake so is sure to be looking forward to many more birthdays to come but such occasions always make me want to grab hold of the earth and slow it down a little, keep my mini ones mini a bit longer.

Time has gone even faster with Willow than with Luke, I fear if we blink we’ll open our eyes to our third baby’s 18th birthday.

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We didn’t have to think too hard about what to treat her to and her new kitchen seems to have gone down very well so far – just as well considering the furniture moving it took to fit it in.  Fortunately the size of it has meant that brother and sister have been able to share it relatively amicably so far too.  Hopefully, as soon as their legs allow, they’ll be replicating what they’re currently practising for real in the kitchen behind that wall.  Luke’s insistence on doing some baking in the last couple of days has given me hope (as well as fairy cakes)!

santalukeSunday included more presents for Willow from friends and family but also featured Christmas in large again as we took part in the Lincoln Santa Fun Run.

Daddy has done it in the past on his own but last year we did it as a family for the first time.  Despite it being just a little bit of a stretch too far in the end (Finishing last didn’t stop it being a fun run) it was clear that this type of event is very much Luke’s thing.

This year the excitement started early as we tried their Santa outfits on to make sure they still fitted ahead of the race, and told them that grandmum, grandma and pops would be joining us this time too, and we had to keep reiterating that it wasn’t going to take place that day (or the next…).

santa2aFortunately his enthusiasm hadn’t waned when the day came and it made a mummy’s heart swell to see him in his element skipping, spinning and ho ho ho-ing leading our way to the starting line.

And what a difference a year makes to a mini one.  Managing to determinedly walk most of the way in 2015 scraping through at the end as they were packing up, 2016 saw him run three quarters of the way with daddy, arriving well within the melee reaching for their water bottles and impressive medals.

2016 and Daddy saw him run it anyway – this mummy carrying a two year old on her back and sporting a 32-week pregnant tummy on her front was quite happy to take a more ambling approach, taking in the atmosphere and all the fun variants people made to their, their children’s and their dogs’ costumes.

Willow, a very savvy lass, took an even more relaxed approach to the event, deciding once again to sleep through most of it, preserving her energy for further present opening and cake eating in the afternoon.

As well as last year’s and this year’s Santa Run, she’s also slept through last year’s Race for Life and was in the womb for the year before’s – she’s definitely worked out the best way to complete these events.

As a family we’ve also taken part in a Sports Relief Mile and it would be lovely to find more family-friendly events like these where we can indulge Luke’s need for speed with an added bit of spectacle.

We ran out of weekend quickly too which means we still haven’t started most of our Christmas shopping or fetched the decorations down from the attic let alone put them up – but there’s still two weekends left aren’t there…?