Countryside Lincs 2017

DSC_1832Fun-filled family event Countryside Lincs is set to return to the Lincolnshire Showground on Sunday (April 9th) with hands-on learning experiences about food, crafts, farming and the importance of the countryside.

Families will be able to interact with farmyard animals big and small, bake tasty treats and meet Lincolnshire producers and farmers who will demonstrate farming methods and the origins of our favourite foods.

Rosie Crust, Education and Development Officer for the Lincolnshire Agricultural Society, said “Last year we had a huge turnout of 3,000 people attending tripling visitor numbers from the previous year.  Countryside Lincs is designed with fun activities in mind and it is great to be able to offer an event with an agricultural aspect, exclusively for children.

“This year we will have seven different zones to explore, all with different things to see, make and do, plus a packed timetable of entertainment in our Countryside Ring.  New for this year, we’ll have interactive storytelling from the popular Rhubarb Theatre.  And we’re bringing back tractor and trailer rides around the Showground, which was a highlight last year, and an Easter hunt for everyone to get involved in too.”

Visitors will also be able to experience the Dog and Sheep Show, The Sheep Roadshow, a pedal tractor obstacle course, sausage making, wool spinning, seed planting, fishing and more.

Rosie added: “We are really passionate to help children learn about food, farming and the countryside and we strive to inspire and educate children wherever possible.  With so much to see and do at Countryside Lincs, it really is a great action-packed day out.”

Find out more at and join in the conversation using #CountrysideLincs17


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


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


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

6. Stargazing


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…


Made up with my make up

I’m a mum of three under 5s.  It’s not surprising that my “beauty regime” usually consists of cleaning my face with one of the numerous wipes my 2 year old discards as she pretends to blow her nose on each separate one in the pack.


If I manage five minutes alone in a room that’s “me time”.

And, if I do get any colour applied to my face, it’s usually courtesy of said two year old’s face painting box – her current technique errs on the side of more is more.

So when I saw makeup artist Zoe Moore’s pre-Christmas post in the Facebook group Lincoln Mummies xx offering free makeovers to local parents in order to enhance her portfolio I thought it was a lovely idea.

“We’re too focused on everyone else this time of year so this is a treat for you,” she wrote.  “I can come to you or vice versa, but I will have a two year old in tow so kids welcome”.

And I have to admit it was her credentials as a fellow mum that clinched the deal for me.  Most mums know not to expect another mum’s house to be of show home pristineness and that you’re very unlikely to complete a conversation let alone activity without numerous and varied interruptions.

As Zoe updated the Facebook group at a later date “I’ve been having lots of fun doing free makeovers for stressed mummies! We’ve had screaming children, lots of mess and breastfeeding to work around but it didn’t stop us   It’s been really rewarding making you all feel a bit better, if only for a day.”

The first thing Zoe and I had to work around was busy schedules.  We finally agreed on a date and then had to pick another one due to a changed medical appointment for my eldest.  Then my youngest decided to put in an early appearance and we were in hospital on that day so we had to rearrange again.

When our stars finally aligned, our two year olds enjoyed a romp through our toy collection together whilst Zoe transformed my usual sleep-deprived look into a more glamorous countenance.

Working with the Body Shop products she is a consultant for, which appeal to my ethical leanings, she explained every step and described each product as she applied it and discussed different looks and techniques that would be suitable for varied occasions.

Being pampered for even just a short time with the usual chaos continuing around me was lovely.  Zoe didn’t know when she came that I’d received two very sad piece of news the day before and that her and her daughter’s visit was a very much needed light point in an otherwise upsetting week.

We were both interested in what daddy Malpi’s reaction was going to be when he came home from work.  He said “have you had your eyes painted? It’s pretty. It reminds me of how pretty you always are.” And then spent the next few minutes trying to say it was nice but not that I don’t look nice normally which was amusingly sweet!

Now I just need to find the time to look through the catalogue she left me.  The cleanser she used along with the eye shadow palette are definitely on my want list – hopefully they’ll inspire me to find a few more minutes to devote to making myself feel better in the future and help to hide the suitcases under my eyes that have taken up residence following more than four years of disturbed night times.

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.

Sunday Sevens #2

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

  1. PuddleometerMaking a Splash

We found these wellie boots for Willow secondhand when she was attracted to the monkeys on the side and have only just noticed the rather fabulous puddleometer on the backs.

Stocking.jpg2. Christmas is coming

I’ve had several conversations with Luke about Christmas recently. Because, you know, it’s March, you’ve got to be prepared.  His main concern, prompted by finding this mini stocking, seems to be that Faith needs a stocking too which is really sweet so I’ll let him off.  But I’ll also make sure we do a better job of clearing every single last piece of Christmas paraphernalia away properly this year.

3. New reading material


We finally had time to spend our World Book Day tokens this week, popping into Lindum Books in the Bailgate in Lincoln quickly whilst on our way to a playdate.  Luke chose Peppa Loves World Book Day, Willow’s choice was Everyone Loves Underpants and we decided to get the Where’s Wally title too for daddy to share with Faith.

SarahDuckHotelWe were also given a copy of Sarah & Duck Stay at the Duck Hotel by one of Willow’s godmums.  After reading this several times in quick succession, Luke was so determined to visit the Duck Hotel himself he and Willow started packing their Trunkis in preparation.  Who wouldn’t want to stay in a hotel where there’s a slide directly connection your room to the swimming pool?

4. #BookEngland

I took part in a Twitter # hour hosted by Brit Mums and Visit England this week focusing on the literary holidays the country has to offer to staycationers.  #BookEngland was a delightful conversation with fellow reading enthusiasts and reminded me of places I’d already been pre-minis that I’d like to go back to with them, as well as suggesting new places to go.  Seven Stories in Newcastle, The World of Beatrix Potter, Swallows and Amazons locations were just a few.  Through the tweets I also discovered that Lincolnshire’s Belton House is hosting a Moondial exhibition this year in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the publication of Helen Cresswell’s novel.  And now, through a friend’s Facebook page, I’ve also discovered there’s The Story Museum in Oxford which looks fab and is another one to add to the list!

5. Viral interview

I don’t believe anyone can have failed to see the BBC interview where South Korea expert Professor Robert Kelly was upstaged by his family antics.  If you’ve been living under the proverbial rock this week then Google it – it’s hilarious and endearing.  But also make sure to check out some of their follow up interviews as they highlight what such a lovely family they seem to be in slightly less panicked circumstances.  Isn’t it nice that the chaos of ordinary family life has stolen the headlines at least for a few days?  And I’m sure a few of us know a lot more about the situation in Korea than we otherwise would have…

6. Road signs 

roundaboutLuke’s nursery asked us to take photos of road signs when we’re out and about as his group expressed an interest in what they mean whilst they were taking part in another activity.  This was two or three weeks ago.  We’re still taking photos of road signs now.  It’s nice that he’s taking his homework seriously but our March 2017 family photo albums are going to look a little weird…

7. The Mini Malpi blog on tour


Many thanks to Sarah Hogan who is in the process of launching The Mummy’s Movement for featuring my blog Loving a designer label as a guest blog on her website.

“Being a busy Mum can be a bit isolating sometimes and we don’t want you to feel like that anymore.  Join The Mummy’s Movement” she writes on the Facebook group – and you’re all welcome to join too!

And don’t forget World Down’s Syndrome Day is on Tuesday!





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.