Topsy Turvy Theatre’s Christopher Nibble

ChristopherNibbleIf you’ve already had your fill of fluffy bunnies and cute chicks this Easter then why not try to turn your children’s attention to guinea pigs instead?

Topsy Turvy Theatre are proudly presenting Christopher Nibble at the Terry O’Toole Theatre in North Hykeham on Saturday, April 15th, at 3pm.

The musical play for children aged 2-7 is adapted from the book by Charlotte Middleton and follows the story of the dandelion-loving cavy as he learns how to save the delicious delicacy from disappearing.

Add in energetic storytelling, handmade puppets and stunning scenery and Christopher Nibble’s tale of derring-do is sure to be as uplifting as any chocolate-fuelled sugar rush in your children’s Easter break.

Click here to find out more about the show. There is also a BEE A Garden Super Hero family workshop at the venue at 1pm celebrating National Garden Week.

Call the theatre on 01522 883311.

Sunday Sevens #4

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

1. Age appropriate behaviour

My eldest daughter is two.  We missed the terrible twos with Luke although he more than made up for it when he hit three.  Willow, however, started engaging in what our health visitor called “age-appropriate behaviour” before her second birthday and the bigger she gets the bigger her outbursts of “age-appropriate behaviour” get.  It’s been an interesting week…

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Look mum, no hands!

2. Beautiful behaviour

It pays to remember how much toddlers are taking in, developing and growing though and it’s lovely when it comes back out in more constructive ways.  Willow’s obviously been noticing me wearing Faith in recent weeks and wanted to try it out herself!

3. And just because

Icecream screamI love this photo!  My fairy-dress wearing, butterfly face-painted, ice cream loving daughter is, of course, amazing.

4. “Beyond my body and labels”

A friend read my Loving a designer label blog post about Faith’s Down’s Syndrome diagnosis and sent me this lovely quote from the book she was reading at the time.

I think it’s safe to say Haemin Sunim is far more eloquent than me: “I wish you could see my true nature.  Beyond my body and labels, there is a river of tenderness and vulnerability.  Beyond stereotypes and assumptions, there is a valley of openness and authenticity.  Beyond memory and ego, there is an ocean of awareness and compassion.”  The book title is The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down and it’s definitely going on my to read list.

5. With bated breath

Anyone else waiting for the decision on primary school places for this September?  Did the email sent out this week get your heart racing?  It was just confirming that we will find out after Easter.  It also stated that 94% of applicants have their first choice.  Which means they have already placed everyone so just tell us already!  (Really don’t want to be in the 6%…)

6. Holidays court ruling

Speaking of schools, this week’s Supreme Court ruling against the father who took his daughter on a term-time holiday has saddened me due to its wider implications.  We are very privileged to have a universal system of public education in the UK and we mustn’t forget that but family should very much come first.

7. They build you up… they knock you down…

Husband: “Hello sexy.”
Son, quite emphatically: “No! Not sexy! Mummy!”
Husband now has a new game…

SundaySevens

Tractors, tortoises and toe-tickling weather – Countryside Lincs 2017

Luke's photo of Willow
We have numerous photos of Luke and Willow sat on tractors taken throughout the day but this one, my favourite, was taken by Luke.

When you support an event from its original launch it’s lovely to see its success grow, guaranteeing it a place on your yearly calendar.

Countryside Lincs is still in its infancy.  We walked through its Lincolnshire Showground gates along with about 1,000 other visitors in 2015.  The event increased its offering in 2016 and obviously word had spread as we were joined on the day in 2016 by three times as many people.

So we were delighted to be guests of the event this year when, along with its growing reputation, the glorious weather is sure to have the Lincolnshire Agricultural Society team counting today’s visitor numbers for some time to come.

Whilst there were plenty of things to see at the event celebrating food, farming and the countryside, including a range of animals and a variety of ring displays, it’s the fact there was plenty of things to do too that really got our vote.

From petting a giant tortoise to sitting on huge modern as well as smaller vintage tractors and riding on self-propelled mini ones, to decorating a biscuit to eat, balancing on bouncy balls and helping inject a toy dog back to health – the provision of hands-on activities had been given the highest priority.

Exploring the vintage fire engines that were lined up just past the entrance gate was very timely for Luke who enjoyed a visit from the modern day service earlier in the week at his nursery.  If we thought it took a while to get past these vehicles there was a row of vintage tractors waiting just to the side of them and we could still see the car park almost an hour after our arrival as we queued at the behest of the minis to sit on each one in turn.

And the setting lent itself to activities not strictly mentioned on the map too – the warm sunny day gave us pause to take off our shoes and socks and let the grass tickle our toes and a small grassy mound proved great for rolling down on when Luke and Willow (and lots of other younger visitors) were further procrastinating leaving at the end of the day.

Save the DateWe arrived at the Showground within the opening hour of the event and didn’t leave until after the clock struck closing time and we still had a lot more left to do if only we’d have had more hours to do it in – I guess we’ll just have to make sure it’s written in next year’s diary.

And the event’s parting gift – a daffodil plant – will hopefully give us a blooming good reminder to write 2018’s date down after we help it take root in our garden.

When in Sleaford…

The promise of free family-friendly outdoor art activities prompted us to make sure our snack bag was packed copiously full and hit the road to Sleaford this morning.

As part of the nationwide #getcreative weekend, ArtsNK were offering visitors to The Nettles the chance to try their hands at willow weaving and cyanotype printing.

Despite arriving in the Lincolnshire town early we almost didn’t make it to the green artspace in time.

That’s because we decided to just pop into the National Centre for Craft and Design (NCCD) to use up the time and ended up still being there more than two hours later.

Straight away Luke remembered visiting the NCCD before – we’d used it as a fun place to break up a journey to Boston Hospital in December ahead of his grommets operation – and he remembered that it was just him, mummy and daddy that came that time and was eager to take the lift to the top of the building again.

The lift wasn’t the only engaging attraction on either trip though.  Last time we spent time trying our hand at a threading activity alongside their tapestry exhibition.  This time the exhibits upstairs saw us darning socks and those downstairs exploring the art and science of 3D printing and designing our own funky glasses as well as hunting letters on an Easter trail over all floors.

After a quick pit stop in the NCCD’s lovely cafe (negotiating our way past the shop’s breakables and a little disagreement over sharing some toy wooden ice creams) we finally made it to The Nettles with minutes to spare and are very glad we did.

The cyanotype printing activity proved very engaging for both Luke and Willow.  Willow enjoyed collecting daisies and grass to create her picture with and continued to do so even after the picture was finished and dried.  Luke enjoyed the whole process of producing the image especially  when the paper was put into the water.  And mummy really liked the blue colour and how pretty all the finished pictures are.

Willow seemed to forget she’d just had lunch at that point and, while she helped herself to the snack bag, Luke had a go at weaving a willow fish.  He’d waited very patiently for his turn here, testament to both how intrigued he was to have a go and also to the activity’s outdoor setting (although he did also discover a use for a dock leaf today too).

The event was planned to celebrate the launch of the When in Sleaford… Arts & Heritage Trail Map which includes a children’s sticker trail.  Linking up the NCCD, Sleaford Museum, Cogglesford Mill and Navigation House, the trail takes you across the town finding a series of bronze roundels created by artist David Mackie that celebrate different aspects of Sleaford’s heritage.

IMG_3743The earlier excitement, gloriously warm weather and lack of buggy meant we didn’t quite make it round all of these with our mini walkers but they were keen to spot the roundels we did and it’s definitely planted the seeds of another trip back to the picturesque riverside place for our sticker fans.  Hopefully mother nature will smile on us as widely then too!

Click here to find out more about When in Sleaford

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 www.lincolnshireshowground.co.uk/countryside-lincs/ 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

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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

DillHallGMD

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

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.

FacePaintA

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.