Discover the latest trends in kids’ fashion

LFWBannerFashion-loving youngsters can be surprisingly choosy when it comes to what to wear – and it isn’t always what their mums and dads would prefer!

Thankfully, parents can look forward to getting ahead of the game during Lincoln Fashion Week (LFW), by enjoying a sneak preview of the latest looks.  Whether your child is crazy about T-shirts emblazoned with their favourite storybook or TV character or determined to arrive at their friend’s birthday bash in a dazzling “you can’t miss me” beach dress, there will be plenty of inspiration on offer.

During Lincoln Fashion Week, which runs from May 10 to 17, organiser Lincoln BIG is teaming-up with some great retailers who will be showcasing their children’s ranges in catwalk shows hosted by Debenhams at St Mark’s Retail Park on Sunday, May 12.  And there will be a chance to see more during LFW’s spectacular catwalk show in Lincoln Cathedral on Friday, May 17.

The minis took part in Lincoln Fashion Week 2018 modelling
clothes from Gap, Next, Mothercare and White Stuff.

Arts Consultant Sara Bullimore, who is working with Lincoln BIG, said: “Mini fashion shows, featuring clothes for babies to children aged 11 years old, will take place on the first floor in Debenhams from 11am on May 12.  These events are free.

“A range of retailers will also be showing off their new Summer season styles across the age ranges for children and mini models from the community will be taking to the red carpet catwalk.”

Parents who want to book tickets for our LFW Catwalk Finale in Lincoln Cathedral can do so by going online at

The Debenhams shows will feature garments from a range of retailers including Next, Mamas & Papas, Mothercare and exciting styles from new Lincoln on trend childrenswear boutique Cheeky Monkeys in Guildhall Street.  Look out for anything from cool designer dresses, playsuits and jumpsuits to edgy trousers and T-shirts and fun footwear.

The latest trends at Cheeky Monkeys in Lincoln.

Cheeky Monkeys owner Helen Tonge said: “We are a children’s boutique specialising in garments, shoes and accessories for boys and girls aged from newborn to 14.  We are an independent business and we offer payment plans, lay away schemes and loyalty card discounts.

“There isn’t anything like us in Lincoln.  We carry a range of Spanish and English clothes and we like to think our fashions are affordable, but different.  We say we offer parents a shopping experience.”

Find out more at


Countryside Lincs 2019

Countryside Lincs, April 2018 - 89Food, farming and the countryside will be celebrated at the fifth annual Countryside Lincs.

Held at the Lincolnshire Showground on Sunday, April 14th, the interactive family day out will have eight zones for children to explore including meeting large and small farmyard animals, learning how to make jam, willow weaving and creative activities.

“Children can enjoy a ride around our mini-tractor obstacle course and there is an exciting line-up planned in our Countryside ring – including entertaining ferret racing and an impressive falconry display!” says the Showground’s Gemma King.

“New for this year, we’ll be joined by local chefs who will be putting on children’s cookery demonstrations throughout the day.  Plus, the farmer’s market is a perfect opportunity for the grown-ups to get their hands on a selection of favourite local treats.

“You’re welcome to bring along a picnic for your day out at Countryside Lincs, but we also have plenty of hot and cold food on offer for our visitors, from locally produced burgers and sausages to warm cheese toasties, Belgian waffles and delicious milkshakes to traditional dairy ice cream.  Our indoor café will also be serving a selection of drinks and snacks all day long.

“With dozens of activities to get involved in across our indoor and outdoor zones, we promise a fun-filled day out for all of the family, whatever the weather.  Don’t forget to take a ride around the Showground on our popular tractor and trailer and get involved with our Easter egg hunt!”

Countryside Lincs is open from 10am to 4pm. Advanced tickets are £18 for a family of four, £7 per adult, £4 per child (aged 5 – 16) and under 5’s go free. Book your advanced tickets before Sunday 31st March for your chance of winning a free family ticket to the 2019 Lincolnshire Show.

For more information visit

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

Finding yourself in books makes reading powerful

WBDLogoEncouraging “children to explore the pleasures of books and reading by providing them with the opportunity to have a book of their own” is the main aim of World Book Day.

As part of its 22nd event it has also introduced a Reading is Power Manifesto created “for and by young people” – it highlights the benefits of 1. Growth, 2. Choice, 3. Power and 4. Knowledge and challenges you to add or write your own. 

The explanation of point number one Growth: “When we find good books, we find ourselves” I find a particularly interesting one.  What if you can’t find yourself?

Children’s authors Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo conducted bookcase experiment The Ugly Truth of Children’s Books highlighting under-representation of female characters.  And last year the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) published their Reflecting Realities report a “study of ethnic representation in children’s literature” which found that only 4% of the children’s books published in the UK in 2017 featured BAME characters and only 1% had a BAME main character.

But what about children with disabilities, are they represented too?  Oscar-winner Rachel Shenton and The Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson are just two people who this year are calling for more diversity in this area too.

And, whilst many of us can probably name a few titles that feature a disabled character giving a chance for all to gain greater understanding and/or a “this is me” moment for those with the same condition, how many titles are there simply featuring the adventures of children where one or two just happen to have a disability rather than it being central to the narrative?

The illustrations in the early Bookstart books are one place to look but another local author who’s proved herself forward thinking is Lesley Berrington.


Following attending a course about the Disability Discrimination Act in 2004, the NNEB qualified former nurseries and kids’ clubs owner then began searching for story books featuring disability to use in her nurseries.

“It was very difficult to find any,” she writes.  “The ones that I did find used the story to explain the disability, which was not what I wanted.  I wanted the character with a disability to be part of the story, to introduce the disability to other children, but not draw attention to it.  After some further research I decided to create my own books to meet the growing demand for inclusive resources.

“Hattie and friends was born in 2005 with the first title A Day at the Zoo on sale from January 2006.”

Since then another three titles have been added to the series and more than 8,000 books have been sold.


“Disability is part of everyday life and I believe children, from a young age, should see characters with disabilities in their story books,” says Berrington.

“Inclusion means accepting everyone and the differences we have, therefore the character’s disability should be entirely incidental, in my opinion.  I didn’t want my characters to be special, have magic powers or appear different.

“If young children see positive images of disability and receive a consistent message of tolerance and acceptance I believe this would have many benefits to society.  Unfortunately people with disabilities face daily struggles with disrespectful attitudes towards them.  We can improve these attitudes, which have been developed over many years, be addressing how we present disability to our children.

“I regularly visit primary school to talk about my books and I don’t mention the disability aspect, intentionally, until the end.  When I ask the children if they can see anything different about my characters they often can’t see any differences which is exactly the point!

“The important message is that all children can be friends and have fun, abilities are not important.  All young children accept differences, their curiosity will raise questions and they develop attitudes from the answers they receive.

“We must show, through our attitudes and actions, that we value all children equally.”

Hattie and friends are celebrating World Book Day this year by showing off their newly released second editions which have an improved layout aiming to be even more inclusive – the text is now on a separate page to the illustration so it is very clear and easy to read for everyone.

Usually priced at £6.99 each or £24 for the set of four, to celebrate their new editions the set of four is available for £20 throughout March.  Email to enquire about ordering.

Click here to find out more about World Book Day or here to find out more about Hattie and Friends.

To the moon and back again

Ever have to promise the moon and stars to your children in the mornings just to make them get dressed and out of the door vaguely on time?  Well now you can follow through on your pledges by simply visiting The Collection in Lincoln.


The city centre museum is currently hosting UK artist Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon.  In the 50th anniversary year of the first man to walk on the moon, the display of the six-metre diameter moon featuring 120 dpi detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface will be accompanied by a programme of events including late night multi-arts experiences and afternoon film screenings.

At an approximate scale of 1:600,000, each centimetre of the internally lit spherical sculpture represents 6km of the moon’s surface and it’s on display until April 28th.

Find out more at and

#ToyLikeMe campaign celebrates success

Seeing yourself represented in the world cements the feeling of your own place within it and signals to others that it’s rightful place.  That’s why it was lovely to receive this press release from the #ToyLikeMe Campaign

The team behind the worldwide ToyLikeMe campaign are celebrating a win after Mattel announce the creation of a wheelchair using doll and prosthetic limb Barbie, becoming the latest brand to answer the campaign call of journalist Rebecca Atkinson and play consultant Karen Newell who established the viral ToyLikeMe campaign in 2015.


Atkinson began making over mainstream toys to give them disabilities and posting images online which went viral. The ToyLikeMe campaign called for toy box representation for 150 million disabled children worldwide after the pair noticed there were scant representations of disability in toys.

Atkinson has since seen her creations influence brands including Lottie dolls, Playmobil, HotWheelz and now the iconic Barbie.

“We’re turning triple dipple somersaulty backflips of happiness to see these products from a huge brand like Barbie,” says Rebecca Atkinson, the UK journalist and creative consultant behind #ToyLikeMe.  “This is huge news for 150 million disabled children worldwide who need positive toy box representation.  But it should also be noted that toys like these have the power to grow open minds in non-disabled children too.”

ToyLikeMe works closely with Dr Sian Jones from the University of Edinburgh who has found that playing with disabled toys affect the friendship intentions of non-disabled children. After playing with a wheelchair using doll for just three minutes, non-disabled children are more likely to make friends with a disabled child when they meet one in real life.

Find out more at 

Toddle, wiggle and waddle your way to a fundraising finish line

We all want to make the world a better place for our children to grow up in but why not let them have a go at making it better themselves too?  Here are just some of the charitable initiatives that are encouraging their younger supporters to put the fun in fundraising too…

RedNoseDayRed Nose Day 2019
March 15th, 2019
“Schools and nurseries helped raise over £5 million last Red Nose Day.  Join in the fun in 2019 and help us bake, dance splay and sing our way to an even bigger total…  Comic Relief spends the money raised by Red Nose Day to help people living tough lives across the UK and internationally.”

Skellingthorpe May Day 3K
May 5th, 2019
“Run, jog, toddle, crawl or even be pushed in a pram!”  An opportunity to raise money for a charity that’s close to your heart.

Peppa15Peppa Pig’s Muddy Puddle Walk for Save the Children
May 13th-19th, 2019
Peppa Pig is celebrating her 15th anniversary this year which is quite a huge milestone for a 4-year-old porcine pre-schooler but doesn’t quite match the centenary that 2019 marks for young people’s rights campaigner Save the Children.  They’ll both happy to celebrate together in May however when there will be much jumping in muddy puddles in aid of the international charity’s aim to “protect wiggle2children, give them a healthy start and the chance to learn”.

The Giant Wiggle for Action for Children
May 2019
Despite the seemingly endless source of energy the owners of little legs have, they can often tire quickly when walking.  Dancing, twirling and jumping, however, are different things entirely.  If your mini mover can always be persuaded to get a wiggle on then Action for Children’s charitable collaboration with the Very Hungry Caterpillar is the event for them.  And this year, in honour of the many-legged literary insect’s  50th birthday, the first 50 fundraisers to raise more than £200 will win a special gold copy of the Eric Carle classic.

PyjamaramaPyjamarama for Book Trust
Friday, June 7
Book Trust is teaming up with well-loved characters Matilda, Ben and Holly, Horrid Henry and Tracy Beaker to ask children to wear pyjamas for a day and help make sure that no child misses out on a bedtime story.

WearItWildWear it Wild for WWF
Friday, June 7
The world’s leading independent conservation organisation is asking people in workplaces, schools and homes across the country to wear an item of animal-inspired clothing in order to raise money to help protect our incredible world.  “Get fierce for your world.”

BigToddleThe Big Toddle for Barnardo’s
June 24th-30th, 2019
A sponsored walk for little people raising money to transform the lives of vulnerable children.  Warm-up with the Teletubbies and maybe even have a Teletubby picnic after your toddle to replenish your energy.

CiNChildren in Need
BBC’s Children in Need has raised more than £950 million to change the lives of disadvantaged children and mascot Pudsey Bear fronts the annual telethon which features the stories of both those who benefit from the fundraiser as well as the young people who help to raise the funds.
Lincoln Santa Fun Run and Walk
December 15th, 2019
2,500 Santas will set out on a 3.5km two lap fun run or walk around the historic Bailgate area of Lincoln raising money for local charities.  Organised by the Rotary Club of Lincoln Colonia.

BlissLittleHeroesBliss Little Heroes
Any date, any time
The superhero walk raising money for the 100,000 babies born needing hospital care each year is calling for families, schools and clubs across the country to don their masks and capes and walk in celebration of a little hero.

Toddle Waddle againsttoddlewaddle Meningitis 
Anywhere, anytime
“Small steps make a big difference!  All children can take part, whether they are in a pushchair, a wheelchair, crawling, waddling or walking!  There’s no minimum distance, so go as long or as short as you like.”

dendayDen Day for Save the Children
A date that suits you
“It’s easy – build dens together at school or take part at home, on a date that suits you, and raise money to change children’s lives.  The money your den-builders raise will help make sure more children around the world have a safe place to sleep and play.

Do you know of any other fundraising challenge specifically designed for little ones to take part in?  Let us know in the comments below.

Use express service to make a personal art gallery

The advent of digital photography has meant many of us are more than snap happy with thousands of pictures taking up storage space on our smartphones but often very few of those make it past their virtual existence anymore.

We’re certainly guilty of this, frequently talking about doing something more with the lovely photos we’re lucky to have taken of our three minis that are stored somewhere on a device, backed up on an external hard drive box or floating in the cloud.

We’ve become better at ordering prints in recent months and the minis love going through them and talking about who is in them and what we were getting up to but, whilst these are suitable for photo albums or scrapbooks, our walls are in sore need of updating as our children age much quicker than the artwork representing them is updated.

So when Tesco got in touch asking us to try out their Same Day Canvas Express Service I jumped at the chance – “Order your gifts in the morning and collect after 3pm the same day!”


We chose one of the pictures Merika Green took of all three minis back in April in Moot Hall near Market Rasen (photos taken on a modern smartphone will be fine too) and did a quick bit of measuring to see what sort of size would fit one of our walls.

“Our gallery canvas prints are printed on Poly-Mix canvas material. To ensure you get the best quality, we use non- fading inks and hand stretch every canvas over a handcrafted wooden frame.”

The online ordering system is very easy to use and offers a range of sizes and shapes from 10×8″ (£28) up to 60×40″ (from £115).

After you choose your size you click on the Personalise button and upload your photograph.   You can then zoom in or out, rotate the image and move it about to sit exactly how you’d like it in the frame.  You can change the orientation of the canvas and choose from four different styles for the edging.  You can even add text in different fonts and colours before clicking on the Add to basket button to order your finalised artwork.

“When you order by noon, canvases including 12×10″, 16×12″, 20×10″, 20×16″, 20×20” and 30×20″ can be collected from store after 3pm! Larger canvas prints or orders shipped to home take approximately 8 days.”

The longest part of the process for us was choosing the photo and size but if you are more decisive than us (which wouldn’t be particularly difficult) then it will be even quicker for you.  But if you absolutely can’t decide on just one photo, then you could always make a collage or use the heart shape template designs instead.  And I love the store’s suggestion of scanning in your child’s own artwork to display in proper art gallery style.


To find out if there’s a photo store near you pop your postcode in here:  Photo store locator

Sadly there isn’t one in Lincoln so we opted for delivery instead which is also quite speedy – an estimated two to three days, longer over weekends and Bank Holidays, I ordered over a weekend and received our 20×16″ in four days.

If you are as pleased with the quality of your final product as we are then you might want to consider not trying to get your little ones to pose with it for the sake of another photo.  Fortunately the canvas is quite sturdy and survived the experience but you’re probably all more sensible than that anyway…

Now the only thing stopping the photo taking “pride of place” in our home is Daddy Malpi getting his tool box out!

Click here to find out more about Tesco’s canvas printing.