Queen of the reading castle

Have you been to Lincoln Central Library recently?

It’s not our local branch so we only pop in every now and then when we’re in the right area of the city at the right time.

But we were definitely rewarded in our latest visit when we wandered around the corner to the children’s area and discovered a castle!

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Wander around the castle itself and you’ll still be looking for an adult-sized entrance as it’s designed specifically for younger readers.

(Older readers just need to be able to crouch down otherwise, as one member of the library staff who told us it was only recently installed said, “It’s really good but it can be difficult to get them back out when it’s time to go!”)

If you do make it inside you can find shelves of books, DVDs and… dressing up clothes!

And, if it does take a while for your little sister to re-emerge from the wooden fortress, there are plenty of comfy cushions and colouring activities to use whilst you wait.

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Happy reading!

Lincoln Central Library is in Free School Lane, Lincon, LN2 1EZ.

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Quizzes, trails, crafts and more at Heritage Open Days festival

HeritageOpenDaysThe summer holidays may nearly be over but that doesn’t mean parents are not still looking for lots of ways to entertain their mini ones.

And, following a successful 23 years, Lincolnshire Heritage Open Days 2016 festival is sure to have something on offer for county explorers.

Running from September 8th to 11th, the festival is taking the theme of Natural Lincolnshire this year and will include more than 180 free events.

HeritageFaceIf the event or venue is offering “Special activities for children” then you’ll find a smiley face among the symbols in the brochure’s listings.

holbeach bunker (2)Events are predominantly organised and managed by volunteers and encompass heritage sites, buildings, towns and villages and, for the first time, all five National Trust properties will be open on at least one of the days.

Children’s activities will be on offer at Temple Bruer Knights Templar Tower, Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust reserves, Gainsborough Old Hall and many more venues.

in the trees2 web ready (2)Would you like “to experience school life in a bygone age”?  Then head to Wilderspin National School Museum in Barton upon Humber (on the Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 10am-4pm) to visit its garden playground.

Complete a children’s quiz at St Phillip’s Church, Brinkhill (Saturday and Sunday 2pm-5pm),  pit their wits against a cunning trail at Cranwell Aviation Heritage Centre (Sunday, 10.30am-3.30pm), take part in paper crafts and calligraphy in Lincoln Cathedral Library (Saturday, 10am-4pm) or enjoy a full day of family fun at Willow Tree Fen Nature Reserve in West Pinchbeck (Saturday, 10.30am-4pm) pond dipping, crafting and den building.

kings and queens web ready (2)Heritage Lincolnshire’s Cultural Events Officer Beverley Gormley says “Year after year, Lincolnshire’s Heritage Open Days prove a real winner with local people and visitors as they provide free, unique opportunities to go behind the scenes of heritage venues and discover the region’s hidden histories.

“The events are a wonderful way of bringing people together to learn about their local history, enabling our local heritage venues, nature reserves, organisations, towns and villages to develop a lasting relationship with people in the area.”

For more information visit www.heritagelincolnshire.org

And don’t forget to share your experience on social media using #LincsHODs – they’re looking forward to seeing your #LincsHODselfie!

How beautiful is this baby scan?!

Very!  That’s how much.

Firstly, it’s a baby scan and all baby scans are beautiful aren’t they?

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Secondly, it’s the 12-week scan of our friends who are expecting their first child in February – congratulations Navaz and Donna, our mini ones are very excited about meeting a new future playmate!

But thirdly – and you’re going to want to check the photo out again once you’ve read this – as their friend Cristina pointed out, “That picture looks like the baby is laid on someone’s hands and arms and the adult’s face is leaning in to kiss the baby.  It’s beautiful.”

Very beautiful indeed.

Mini ones enjoy Tiny Feet’s studio opening

The baby business is certainly booming for one Lincolnshire creative company which has expanded into new premises.

Hollie Vasey first started Tiny Feet Photography by Hollie from her own home whilst working as a nurse.  Soon she was able to go full time and move into a studio in Birchwood.  Now her ongoing success has meant she’s outgrown her old studio and expanded into a new one.

Yesterday saw the launch of her new studio in The Green, Nettleham, and the mini ones were very privileged to be invited along.

You know you’re in the home of an artist when their space is as pretty as the work they produce and, aided by lovely floral displays from Petal & Stalk, the new studio was delightful to step into and spend time in.

The mini ones definitely enjoyed the space playing between the background boards.

And, whilst Hollie was entertaining her special celebrity guest Kerry Katona who has previously had newborn photos of her youngest daughter taken by Hollie,

we had a sneaky peek at Hollie’s wonderful selection of props, scenery and clothing items.

Luke had photos taken at at Hollie’s home studio during tea party and Halloween themed days and joined Willow for some of her newborn photos at the Woodfield Avenue studio.  Now we can’t wait to find an excuse to book a session at her new Nettleham studio too!

Click here to visit Tiny Feet Photography by Hollie’s website
Click here to follow Tiny Feet on Facebook or on Twitter

Summery Sundays

I know I’ve complained about the weather a lot recently but I’ve also been very grateful for the last beautiful couple of Sundays.

During term time Sundays are usually our only family day without scheduled activities  so it’s nice to be able to get out and explore.

We headed to the coast for the last day of the SO Festival in Skegness  on July 3rd.  We watched circus acts and dance shows and listened to live music all as part of the outdoor arts festival but definitely the hit of the day had to be Pif-Paf Theatre’s Flycycle and Submercycle.

Luke was lucky enough to have a ride in the Submercycle – first being introduced to maps of the proposed route and getting dressed for the occasion whilst waiting his turn in the Departure Lounge and then belting up for his “underwater” trip up and down the street with Captain Calypso at the helm before being set back down with us and a beaming smile.

The following Sunday we took advantage of both the sun and a family ticket we won in a Christmas raffle to visit Doddington Hall and Gardens.  The Elizabethan mansion is also home to a lovely farm shop, interiors store and clothing store and we started our visit with a stop at the Giant Store bike shop.

Thanks to store assistant Katie we finally managed to buy a cycle helmet to fit Willow.  (Our minis are definitely mini – Willow is 19 months old but wears predominantly 9-12 month clothing at the moment).

Preparing for their Brave, Bold and Strong sculpture exhibition (July 30-September 11), we were greeted by an impressive dragon on the front lawn which they enjoyed running through.

Inside the hall the tent room was definitely a hit:

And outside in the gardens there were puddles and pillars to play with and sheep sculptures to “feed” and swirly ones to curl up by and emulate.

We finished the afternoon with a stop off at Blackmoor Farm for a spot of strawberry picking.  We managed to get a few red ones among the enthusiastically picked green ones and – after we finally managed to get them to stop -we picked up some cream on the way home to go with them.

7 things I learnt from #30DaysWild: #StayWild

30DAYSWILD_ID2 lightgreen#30DaysWild was a challenge from The Wildlife Trusts to find a small (or large) part of every day in June to bring a little bit of nature into your life.

We had a great time visiting places such as Whisby Natural World Centre, spotting unusual sights, kicking through piles of leaves, splashing through puddles, sharing stories, exploring parks, playing in the garden, visiting Uncle Henry’s on Open Farm Sunday, listening to bird song, feeling the grass between our toes and lots more.

We learnt a lot (including that we have a lot more to learn!) and are determined to #staywild along with the wonderful community of fellow #30DayWilders we connected with during the challenge.   Here are just seven points I want to remember:

  1. My children have waterproofs and wellies but I definitely need some too!
  2. Hay fever sucks.  And it especially sucks when you’re a mini person.
  3. Once I’ve invested in some waterproofs, a new camera phone might be next on the list.  Many other wilders took some very impressive close up shots of mini creatures with just their camera phones.  Samsungs seemed to be the most lauded but I think there’s further research to be done.
  4. Trying to plan extra specific activities and blog everyday when you have two mini ones and several jobs is difficult.
  5. “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans”.  If we planned it, it rained on it, we never made it to the seaside or went camping in June as I’d hoped, the colour charts I picked up inspired by other wilders’ activities didn’t make it out of the car for another week, the strawberry fields were all picked out by the time we got there and the hoop cereals bought to be made into bird feeders were actually destined to be dumped over the kitchen floor by a briefly unsupervised one-year-old…
  6. Modern life really does seem to disconnect us from nature.  Despite spending a lot of the month quite wet, I still feel lucky to walk most places rather than sit in a vehicle transporting me from one building to another every day.  But even with that in mind, when preparing for #30DaysWild my first ports of call were a visit to the bookshop, the library and several Google searches – perhaps I should have just started by stepping outside?
  7. And connecting with nature really does have mental and physical health benefits.  We use natural imagery decoratively inside our buildings or on the exteriors of eyesore industrial factories but making at least 10 minutes a day to directly experience it could provide us with a welcome breath of fresh air and a calming change of pace as well as opening our eyes to the world around us and its greater importance.

Here’s to staying wild and being #365dayswild!

Day 29 and 30 #30DaysWild: Peregrines, a park and poo

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_29Mummy had a play date all of her own on Wednesday with two of Willow’s godmothers so day 29 of #30DaysWild was going to be brought to me from my friend’s garden.

It, of course, was raining.

We did manage a quick mini tour of her own patch of green in between downpours though and were very impressed with her fruit and vegetable as well as flower growing skills.  Hopefully she’ll save us some strawberries from her next crop.

And my other friend also reminded me of the peregrines that nest at Lincoln Cathedral.  Lincoln RSPB volunteers are currently holding the 10th annual watchpoint on weekends until July 31st.  Another stunning sight our city provides.

 

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_30Sun!  Quick!  To the park!

Lincoln’s city park the Arboretum was originally designed by Edward Milner between 1870 and 1872 and had £3 million worth of restoration work carried out in 2003.  It has achieved green flag status.

And it’s popular with the squirrels and ducks.  And, as a particular fan of mazes, Luke too.

Large-Nature-Lodge-AWe also had the chance to pop in to Aldi earlier in the day to pick up a Nature Lodge insect house we’d learnt were on sale via the #30DaysWild Facebook group.

And we littlemolefinished the day with a reading of The Story of the Little Mole who knew it was none of his business.  Described as “A scatological masterpiece”, what better way is there to interest your children in nature than through the power of poo!

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