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).

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.


Sunday Sevens #1

I’ve recently discovered the #SundaySevens series started by Natalie of Threads & Bobbins.  Designed to give space to the little things in the week that don’t necessarily warrant a full blog post but that you still want to record for yourself or share with others (click here to find out more), it seems a very fitting series for a blog about mini adventurers to join in with – so here’s my first one!

  1. Appointments and supermarkets 

I think one of the reasons this blog series caught my eye this week in particular is because it’s been a week of one medical appointment after another – four for Faith and one for Luke.  Obviously we’re incredibly grateful to be being looked after so well but it’s also been important to look for the fun moments in between all the logistical considerations and other such fun tasks as supermarket shopping.  The good news is Luke has been signed off from the ophthalmologist and Faith had her first trolley ride – much to the delight of Luke and Willow who were eager to take turns in sitting next to her which made this mummy’s heart smile.


2. Pirate week

It’s been pirate week at Luke’s nursery this week and, inspired by the book Funky Lunch: Happy Food for Happy Children by Mark Northeast, I discovered I had most of the ingredients to make him a pirate ship sandwich for lunch to help him set sail for an afternoon of adventure on the high seas.


3. Going on a Bear Hunt

Michael Rosen’s We’re Going on a Bear Hunt has always been part of the mini ones’ library and is currently Luke’s bedtime reading of choice.   Whilst we were waiting to be picked up from one appointment he prompted a lovely ten minutes of reenacting the ursine tale of not going under it, not going over it but having to go through the obstacles in our path.  Hopefully the shoppers passing by us understood the cultural reference rather than just thinking us slightly crazy…


4. Dreaming of ditching the rat race

What happens when you ditch the rat race and go rogue?  That’s the question my friend and former colleague Sarah Holt is asking herself in her new blog Backpacks & Yoga Mats.  A recent diagnosis with of a rare autoimmune disease caused Sarah to reevaluate how she was spending her time and she’s inviting us to share in her journey through her blog.  Whether you’re looking for inspiration to change your own path “and attempt to make a living from the things in life that make your skin tingle” before “you run out of diems to carpe” or are simply looking for a good read, it’s sure to be worth a click.


5. #Impvasion

Lincoln City FC have been hitting the headlines of the back pages for their impressive FA Cup run – Arsenal may have put an end to such dreams but not before daddy had the chance to convert the mini ones into ardent supporters too.

6. #BuffySlays20

Realising it’s been 20 years since Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer series premiered has made me feel just a little bit old this week but the show’s enduring popularity may mean I’ll be able to share it with my mini Scoobies one day without being too uncool a mum.


7. Real tennis

CBeebies’s Footy Pups played tennis one day this week so obviously that meant we had to too.  Cue toy saucepans for rackets, cardboard boxes and bubble wrap for a net and a cardboard ring for a sweatband and it turns out we might be raising the next Serena or Andy.




Loving a designer label

I hate labels.

I think they’re limiting and potentially misleading at best and downright insulting and dehumanising at worst.  They often lessen or exaggerate because they deal with a generic stereotype rather than a specific individual.

It’s one of the reasons we didn’t find out the gender of any of our children during pregnancy (although I mainly loved the idea of the surprise).

But each of my children has taught me to see the world anew in many different ways and Faith is no exception.  She may have saved the label “girl” to surprise us with postnatally but “Down’s Syndrome” and “heart AVSD” were ones that were given to her antenatally.

It made for a stressful pregnancy.  If you’ve ever attended the maternity unit at Lincoln County Hospital you may not have even noticed the Quiet Room that’s located in between the two waiting areas and I hope you haven’t found yourself in it at your 12-week scan trying to take in the all sorts of possibilities that certain indicators may or may not mean.

I’m glad we were able to find out in advance even if at first it was hard to see past the label of the diagnosis to go back to picturing an individual child and all the myriad of characteristics they may or may not embody as they grow.

And I’ve also come to accept that the label can be helpful.

It made sure there was a plan in place for her care from the moment she was born – we already can’t say thank you enough to the maternity and paediatric teams who have looked after Faith in her first seven weeks so I know we will always be in the debt of such caring, skilled and dedicated professionals as she grows.

And it also means we’ve been able to find a welcoming community of families who are travelling a similar path and who are dedicated to not only supporting each other but also to celebrating life and simply having fun in numerous and diverse ways.

At seven weeks old Faith is already a “girl”, a “little sister”, “daughter”, “granddaughter”, “niece”, a “baby with Down’s Syndrome”, a “third child” and “blonde” and some of her labels have already changed too – the ones inside her clothes now read “newborn” instead of “tiny baby” as her weight chart now reads “7lb 1oz” instead of 5lb 8oz”.

And she’s proving to be a strong lass so far so, whichever paths she chooses to follow as she grows, she’s sure to be rocking her “designer genes” as she chases after her brother and sister on the odd occasions they’re not colluding to go in three different directions at once just to really keep their mummy on her toes.

World Down Syndrome Day takes place on March 21st.


Little pigs, Mr Men and a ladybird – it must be World Book Day 2017!

wbdlogoI love books.  I always have.  I learned to read before I went to school thanks to my mum, my degree is in literature, I’ve both attended and organised literary events and I wrote a books column in our local newspaper for the best part of eight years.

So the joy of World Book Day is a no brainer for me.  For years I’ve been looking at other people’s costume photos and thinking what fun it seemed.

The difference this year?  I actually had to do something about it myself!

Luke’s nursery was taking part and initially this was very exciting but as I’m currently juggling three under 5s including a newborn with numerous medical appointments and the dresser-up himself is coping with speech delay it didn’t make it easy.

lukepigI not only wanted Luke to take part if he wanted to but I wanted the character to be as much his choice as possible.  Fortunately in recent weeks the cardboard box daddy and I thought we had transformed into a rocket has actually been doubling as one of the three little pigs’ houses.  Luke likes me to knock and ask to come in – do all mums end up as the big bad wolf?  Just me? – and he loves to say “not by the hairs on my chinny, chin, chin” before I threaten to huff and puff and the cardboard box ends up pushed over on the floor.

This game (which fortunately didn’t take me too long to work out what he was saying despite I was sure we’d built a rocket) made me fairly sure Luke would like to be one of the piggies and sure enough this was the costume he chose to wear on the day.  Although when he’s asked he always seems to pick the house of sticks as his grand design so I’m not sure he’s understood the moral of the story yet…

willowpaintingObviously we left it all to the last minute and, unsure of whether the furry pink outfit we’d ordered would turn up in time, we took to Google for inspiration on easy to make costumes just in case.

Willow certainly enjoyed helping me paint the cardboard in preparation, quickly forgoing a brush in favour of the spreading it around with your hands technique.  Great fun apparently.

carboardAnd soon our kitchen floor was entirely taken over by paint drying.  We didn’t need to eat, did we?  We were on a diet of books!  (Daddy didn’t share this opinion when he came home apparently).

Can you guess what it is yet?

mrmissMr Strong and Little Miss Sunshine!

And this photo is probably about the closest we got to taking a picture of Luke and Willow wearing them at the same time despite Daddy getting up early the following morning to expertly if rather grumpily add all the details…  Maybe we can store them in the loft and try again next year?

We’ll definitely need a new outfit for Faith though as she’s sure to have outgrown her What the Ladybird Heard costume by then!


Sleep for the camera!

Faith had a newborn professional photo shoot recently and this is the gorgeous first preview shot of the session that we’ve been sent.


Due to her early arrival, little stay in the hospital post birth and us adjusting to life with three following her homecoming, we didn’t have the chance to book a session in the time period normally suggested for newborns but Faith behaved impeccably on the day never taking too long to settle – something I’m sure she’ll make up for another time!

Rebecca of Milestones Photography was lovely both with Faith and also her older siblings despite, after initially joining in, them then deciding to quickly take apart her children’s play area next to her home studio.

I can’t wait to see the full set of photos!

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!)