Join in festival fun for a (slight) change of scene

The Big Little Tent Festival #BLTF20

TBLTF LogoThere was much needed excitement in our chickenpox-hit household this morning when daddy put up the tent in the back garden.

In each of our children’s early days of sleeping under canvas we never ventured far in case we needed to make an abrupt return to bricks and mortar.

These coronavirus-restricted days means no one can go any further than their fence or hedge property boundaries anyway and, whilst we’re no strangers to camping in our back garden, it’s been nice to remember how exciting pitching a temporary home is to the mini ones.

The Caravan and Motorhome Club’s Big Little Tent Festival started in 2015 as a way of encouraging people who had never been camping to
try it in their back garden with all home comforts close at hand.  In 2020 with campsites temporarily
closed, it’s also a great way to remind your children of what fun camping can be.


If you haven’t got a tent or a garden to pitch it in to be able to spend the night under canvas then you can still treat the kids to a change of scene by creating an indoor den to take part too.

For the 2020 event the Caravan and Motorhome Club is also offering free downloadable packs which include a variety of hints, tips, recipes, activities for the kids, bunting, wristbands and flags to help fuel that festival feel.

Taking place on Wednesday, April 15th, the organisers are encouraging people to use their devices to share their experiences with loved ones they can’t physically be with right now.

CaravanMotorhomeClubPlus, not only can you share your photos of your very own Big Little Tent Festival for all of us to enjoy using #BLTF20, if you upload them directly to the Carvan and Motorhome Club’s website you also have a chance to win a £50 Marks & Spencer voucher.  When you download a printable pack you will also be entered into a
prize draw for the opportunity to win one of six Cotswold Outdoor tents worth £190 each.

Click here to find out more about the Big Little Tent Festival as well as it’s sister event the Big Little Tea Time Festival.

Lincoln City FC sponsors 2018/19 Lincoln Loves Kids booklet

LincolnFC2News of Lincoln City Football Club and Visit Lincoln’s new collaboration hit my inbox around the same time as Luke received his birthday card from the Junior Imps Club so I quickly went from knowing kids love Lincoln City to Lincoln City loves kids too.

The city’s “official Destination Management Organisation” and the League Two club are working together to encourage more people to visit Lincoln.

The Imps’ role as a new Corporate Partner will see a new Visiting Supporters’ Guide produced and the club sponsoring the 2018/19 Lincoln Loves Kids booklet.

Liam Scully, Chief Executive at Lincoln City Football Club, said: “We’re delighted to be working in partnership with Visit Lincoln; not only to encourage travelling away fans to visit Sincil Bank to watch their team, but also to spend a bit longer in Lincoln to see our beautiful city.

“As Lincoln City FC continues to grow on and off the pitch, we believe it will have a positive impact on the local economy; not least with the travelling away fans and local home fans, but also with other commercial opportunities that will be presented by having a vibrant football club within Lincoln”.

Left to right: Joel Murray (Digital Marketing Coordinator, Visit Lincoln), Poacher the Imp (Lincoln City FC Mascot), Jake Longworth (Marketing Manager, Lincoln City FC), Liam Scully (Chief Executive, Lincoln City FC), Lydia Rusling (Chief Executive, Visit Lincoln) and Alan Long (Supporter Liaison Officer, Lincoln City FC).

“Working in partnership is at the heart of everything we do,” said Lydia Rusling, Chief Executive at Visit Lincoln. “We have enjoyed working with the team at Lincoln City FC to produce a new Visiting Supporters’ Guide to encourage visiting football fans to stay a little longer in the city, and maybe turn a match day into a short break.

“The Lincoln Loves Kids booklet sits at the centre of our family marketing for Lincoln and the surrounding area and to have the association with the city football club is a winning combination!”

#30DaysWild Days 6 & 7 – Poo and kite craft

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_06What better way to introduce young children to the natural world than via poo?

littlemole.jpgDescribed as “a scatalogical masterpiece”, The Story of the Little Mole who knew it was none of his business by Werner Holzwarth and Wolf Erlbruch has long been a favourite in our house and was the day’s choice of after school reading.

Will the mole solve the mystery of just which animal decided to “do its business” on his head?  He’ll certainly learn that poo comes in all shapes and sizes along the way.


TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_07

I loved today’s activity because Willow decided on it and did it (to use her favourite phrase) “all by myself”.

Never far from our craft stash on any given day she combined stickers and crepe paper to make a “kite” and enjoyed running around to help it fly in the wind.


30DAYSWILD_ID2 lightorange

What the ladybird wore

World Book Day 2018

wbdlogoThe wintry weather experienced in the UK at the beginning of March threatened to make Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman the most popular costume for this year’s World Book Day celebrations.

However, the depth of the white stuff meant schools and nurseries were shut and the literary-inspired day postponed.

My little ladybird in March 2017

Willow wasn’t attending her nursery on the day of their rescheduled Alice in Wonderland tea party although she’d previously helped to make some of the heart decorations.

Luke’s school saved their crumpets and hot chocolate for the following week too, highlighting the pleasure and importance of bedtime stories, but that meant he merely needed to don his pyjamas for the day rather than choose a costume even though I’d saved last year’s just in case.

My little ladybird in March 2018

So it was left up to Faith on this occasion to fulfil mummy’s desire to dress up at least one of her children on a semi-regular basis.

And just look how much my little ladybird has grown!

On the verge of sitting independently, she still rocks a red and black outfit at any angle and I think Julia Donaldson’s rhyming tales will be a staple of storytimes in our house for many years to come.

But will I be able to find a ladybird costume in her size next year?

To drive-through or to walk in?

coffee2aThe imminent opening of a drive-through coffee shop near where we live is causing a bit of a stir in our city’s social media pages.

Other than trying to decide whether to drive-through or drive-thru, the celestial-deer named outlet has left me pondering whether I think the whole concept is a good idea or not.

Objectively, I don’t like the way, as a society, we are becoming more and more like automatons isolated in our tin cans with less and less human interaction required.

Subjectively, as the mother of three aged 5 and under, and it’s a big Hell Yeah! from me (as long as they serve orange juice through their window as well because I don’t actually drink coffee…).

I regularly use a drive-through petrol station because why go to the hassle of getting up to three small children in and out of a car, potentially waking them up and/or putting them in front of pester power sweet displays, if you don’t have to?

So I asked some other family bloggers what side of the fence I should come down on.

Linda Hobbis of Mother Distracted, concentrating on fast food drive-throughs, agrees with my objective side – “Hate them.  Cheap, unhealthy food chucked at you in a brown bag.  That’s no way to eat.  Not to mention the nation’s ever growing girth.  Better food and better priced food at service stations is what I would prefer”.

Household Money Saving’s Pete Chatfield joins me astride the fence.  “I love them, apart from two things.  Some of them are designed so badly that when it rains, it drips from the roof into your car when you’re ordering.  And I hate being sat in a queue of 12 cars to see that it’s empty inside.  Despite that, it means I don’t have to move from my car and use my legs.  I would like to see a drive-through Toby Carvery though.”

And other parents also cherish the route of less faff.

“I love them because I don’t have to worry about all the hassle of getting the baby out of the car, into a pushchair, somehow carry the food and manage a pushchair and then get everyone and everything back into the car,” says Laura Chesmer of Autumn’s Mummy.  “Sometimes when my daughter was tiny I’d drive around to get her to sleep then got to the drive through to get some lunch in peace.  It was the only way sometimes!”

And Sinead Latham agrees, “Drive through Sbux has saved many a long motorway journey with just me and the Small.  Don’t have to worry about waking them up and dragging them out of the car when they are sleeping.”

As does All Things Pink’s Maya Dupre, “Love Starbucks and it’s so much easier when they have a drive through especially when you have a baby.  It saves you from getting out the pushchair just to walk in and grab a frappe and then juggle that, your purse and bag back to the car!”

And, for some parents, this practicality can be even more important for them as Ann Hickman of Rainbows are too beautiful explains.  “Drive throughs can be super useful for us.  Two of our kids are autistic and can find the process of going and getting things in a shop stressful.  This way we can get things in our car and the kids can go in when/if they’ve got used to it and the food.  Big thumbs up from us.”

Some mums are such big fans of the idea they’d like to see more services functioning in the same way.

“I’d like a drive-through doctor for routine appointments because I’m tired of sitting for an hour in a waiting room full of sick people for an appointment that’s two minutes long anyway!” says Welsh Mum Christy Bruckner.

“My friend has often told me about the drive through nurseries they have in Texas – she used to drive to the nursery, the staff unbuckle the kids then you drive off!  It’s the same with pick-up.  No fighting for a car parking space or playground politics.  Sounds like the dream!” says Samantha Rickelton of North East Family Fun.

“Obsessed with a drive through!!!” Jenna Newell of Then There Were Three admits.  “They’re so convenient when you have kids.  I wish we had drive thru cash machines here like America, or where I can order my shop online and go to a drive thru to collect it.  Or a drive thru Nando’s!”

And Welsh Mum Writing Helen Trehane agrees with the need for a step up from supermarket click and collect, “Love a drive-thru coffee franchise.  The car is the only place my son will nap now.  I’d like a proper drive through shop.  I’m not talking click and collect, I just want to sit in the car, with Boy asleep, open the boot and let someone load it with my order.”

But it’s Lauren Gordon from Dilan and Me and The Mummy Monster’s Nicola Wills that share my desire for a particular new drive-through service.

“Love them,” says Lauren.  “So good when the baby is asleep and you don’t want to wake them.  I really wish there was a drive through Tesco express type shop, just to pick up the basics like bread and milk without getting out of the car!”

“I want a drive through essentials shop!!!” agrees Nicola.  “I hate having to get the boys out when all I need is milk!!”

Do you love them or hate them?  If you have another genius idea for one then let us know below!

Just one more minute…


Those sobering statistics are the reason that Child Bereavement UK has developed a campaign featuring bereaved families and celebrity supporters who have experienced the death of a family member.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of the needs of bereaved children and families and the benefits of support.

The national charity’s film shows a series of contributors talking about what they would say if they had one more minute with their special person who has died and includes celebrity friends of the charity such as Rio Ferdinand and patrons Mary Berry and Jason Watkins.


The charity’s chief executive Ann Chalmers said “The idea behind the One More minute campaign taps into a human truth that will help people to understand the impact of bereavement, which is exactly what Child Bereavement UK endeavours to help grieving families to face as they begin to rebuild their lives.  The film touches on the yearning that many bereaved families tell us they have, to be able to have more time with the person who has died.  In our 23 years’ experience of supporting children, young people and families, this is something that is commonly expressed and that many people will relate to.

“Child Bereavement UK deals with a subject that many people find too unbearable to contemplate, the untimely deaths of parents and children, but every year, child bereavement is experienced by thousands of families in the UK.  Our vision is for all families to have access to the support they need when a child grieves and when a child dies, and our One More Minute campaign gives us the opportunity to spread the word so that the families are aware that bereavement support is available through organisations like ours.  We also need to reach new audiences to provide vital funding to help us plug the gaps in bereavement support across the UK; we know from Child Bereavement UK’s YouGov survey that 1 in 5 British adults who were bereaved of a close family member said they wish they had more support.”

Watch the films, find out how to seek bereavement support or make a donation to the charity’s work at

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.

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.


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.


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.


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!)

Feeding Tube Awareness Week 2017

Did you know it is the seventh annual Feeding Tube Awareness Week this week (February 6th to 10th, 2017)?


Created by the Feeding Tube Awareness Foundation to increase awareness of feeding tubes and enteral feeding, we’re certainly more aware of the need for such intervention after Faith spent a week in Lincoln County Hospital’s Nocton Ward building up her strength before coming home.

Faith was lucky to leave the tube behind her at the hospital but many children and adults continue to be reliant on such help after they’re discharged – find out more at