Mike the Knight at Warwick Castle

Last Saturday my family and I travelled to Warwick Castle to meet Mike the Knight as part of a weekend organized to celebrate series two launching. The castle in conjunction with Hit Entertainment had arranged a selection of Mike themed activities. If you fancy crying ‘Be a Knight, do it Right’ Mike will be back at the castle again this coming weekend (6-7 July).

To say my children were excited would be an understatement, however my heart sank when I saw a queue at the castle ticket office (I imagined hours of waiting in line for each attraction).Thankfully this was not the case as everything was very well organized and only the Face Painting had a long queue.

The Mike the Knight area was set in little Medieval style tents and children were given booklets listing all the activities. As each activity was completed they were given a sticker and if they finished them all they received a prize (it’s a flag). The adults in charge of each event stayed in character throughout and seemed genuinely enthusiastic about the kids having fun!

My little knights started by taking a Wizard Workshop with Mike’s sister Evie. They watched as she pulled things out of a bag and helped her to cast magic spells and create something out of thin air.

Next they took to their (hobby) horses and galloped to victory in a race. The Knight in charge of this event had all the parents in stitches as he organised our kids; he had endless patience as they ran in the wrong direction, set off in twos or just generally caused chaos!

A little castle building, target shooting and face painting later we made an orderly queue and waited to meet Mike himself. He stood happily as each child came to meet him in front of the beautiful castle backdrop!

Everywhere we walked the Mike the Knight theme tune played through speakers concealed in bushes and trees 🙂 We finished by joining Sparke and Squirt’s Dragon Egg Hunt. This went all over the grounds and certainly gave the children some exercise (and the parents a chance to admire the views). We all had a fabulous time and if you have any Mike fans at home I thoroughly recommend going to meet him.

That wasn’t the end of our day though, we had the whole of Warwick Castle to explore! I have many childhood memories of visiting the castle and after reading some reviews online I wondered if I would still enjoy it. I did 🙂 The castle sometimes receives criticism for being part of the Merlin group and people accuse it of being more like a theme park than a historical monument. However I feel this couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes it is owned by Merlin, yes there are photos you can buy and gift shops to visit but the Castle is very much aware of it’s past and importance in British history.

There are little rooms all around the walls with wax figures dreaming on the eve of battle, or ghosts squealing down staircases. I suppose this might not be to everyones taste, but for a child this really brings the castle to life! There’s no standing around looking bored while Mum and Dad read a plaque on the wall, here they can watch the story unfold and get involved with the action.

We visited the Princess Tower, where my daughter was picked to test a stack of 7 mattresses to see if she could feel the pea (she could, she’s a princess! 🙂 ). We went through the Merlin Tower where my son was spoken to by a dragon and somehow they knew my daughter’s name and warned her to use her powers for good (she was astounded and promised faithfully that she would).

We saw bald eagles and owls flying between the battlements and knights teaching us why metal shields would never have worked before chopping apples held in someones hand! It was thoroughly educational and more importantly… it was alive!

For more information on Warwick Castle and the Mike the Knight event click here.

To find out more about Mike the Knight visit his website here.

Pattern Love: Modkid Boutique

Every so often I develop a serious case of Pattern Love. This is when I come across a pattern so wonderful that I can’t stop making it in various fabrics and combinations. The joy being that the more often you make it, the quicker and easier it becomes. So today I thought I would share with you my most recent case of obsession, The Kyoko Dress pattern by ModKid Boutique! I can’t remember how I first came across this pattern, but as soon as I saw it I knew I had to buy it. In fact this wasn’t as easy as it sounds, the only UK store selling it was out of stock and many US sellers were too. Then I had a thank-goodness-for-ebay moment when I found a lovely lady in the US willing to ship to me here 🙂

As soon as the pattern arrived I started searching for the perfect fabrics, as luck would have it my Mum had just bought a metre of Robert Kaufman Urban Zoologie so this became the starting point. I then bought some Owl & Apple fabric by Timeless Treasures. I’m really pleased with how it turned out and my daughter loves the dress.

Initially I hadn’t planned on making anymore dresses straight away, but on raiding my fabric stash I discovered a tiny bit of old Nani Iro fabric and realised there was just enough to make the dress bodice again. I also had some pink fabric that I had designed myself. You might recognise the fabric on the obi belt as some leftover from making pyjamas from a dyed sheet a few weeks ago. So here is the second dress , this time with short sleeves. Again my daughter loves it (and I’m secretly wondering if I can upscale it to make myself one!)

This pattern can also be made as a top, I haven’t completed one yet but you can probably guess what some of my future projects are.

Have any of you developed a case of pattern love recently?