Christmas Gift Guide: Colour-In Norwich Lanes

Colour In Norwich Lanes2

With Christmas now less than a month away, we have found a superb stocking filler suitable for anyone who enjoys a little creativity and relaxation at the same time. Local illustrator, Beverley Gene Coraldean, has created a colouring book of Norwich Lanes called Colour-In Norwich Lanes. Iconic buildings such as Jarrolds and Stranger’s Hall, along with our fond streets in the Lanes are instantly recognisable in Bev’s illustrations. .

Bea checking out Colour-in Norwich LanesWith the current craze of colouring in, there are lots of books to chose from. We love the familiarity of the drawings in this book and it’s not an overwhelming size, like some of the books on the market. Our little one had fun exploring the book today, but at eleven months is a little too young to stick to colouring in between the lines!

JarroldsThe book is size A5, it has sixteen illustrations to colour in and costs just £5. It is also on a limited edition print run of 2000 copies, so grab a copy while you can! Colour-In Norwich Lanes can be purchased from Jarrolds (book store), Norwich Gift Emporium, Franks Bar, Norwich Arts Centre, Book Hive, Fabulous Frames, Flint, Birdcage and Maddermarket Kitchen.  

Bravo Bev, you’ve done a mighty fine job!


Christmas Gift Guide: The Book Hive

A true gem of Norwich Lanes, The Book Hive is a must for any literary purchase! As well as a wealth of wonderful books for grown ups, there is also a cute children’s room jam packed full of imaginative tales. The cuddly Moonmin was a hit with our little one too!

We caught up with Rory at The Book Hive to find out his gift / book recommendations for children and grown ups.

Younger Kids (picture books) 

Custom Fast Wheels by Joe Currie

Custom Fast Wheels is an exquisitely hand drawn and water-coloured book for children and adults alike, sure to excite and entertain those who love good storytelling, stunning art work and fast cars!

When a young boy (puppy!) finds an old poster advertising the big ‘Race Day’ his grandpa (an old dawg) is taken back to his heyday as one of the great drivers in the Custom Fast Wheels road race. Together they go back in time, with us the reader, and re-live the thrills and spills of the ultimate auto-adventure! Told with minimal text, this is a story which is brought to life purely through the electricity of the illustration – funny, exciting and cool beyond words…

How Big Is Big? How Far Is Far? by Jan Van Der Veken 

How fast is 120 kilometers per hour? How heavy are 4 tons? Units of measure are abstract—until, that is, they are contrasted with other quantities. The entertaining juxtapositions inHow Big Is Big? How Far Is Far? make dimensions and measurements more comprehensible for children.

The book features amusing comparisons that make units of length, distance, weight, speed and time easier to grasp. The Queen of England’s crown, for example, weighs more than 100 portions of cotton candy. It would take eight days of travel in an elevator through the Earth’s center to reach the other end. When the world’s oldest living tortoise was born, there were no electric lights, telephones, cars, or airplanes.

Fiction Age 6/7+

Secrets Of The Wild Wood by Tonke Dragt Pushkin Press

‘There’s no place you can lose your way as quickly as in the Wild Wood…’ One of the King’s knights has gone missing. Sent to explore the mysterious Wild Wood, which no-one dares visit and some say are enchanted, he has vanished in the snow. Tiuri – now Sir Tiuri after carrying out his last perilous mission – has to find him. With his best friend and squire, Piak, he must journey into the heart of a terrifying, secret forest realm, where danger is all around and every path leads you astray. It is a place of lost, overgrown cities and ancient curses; of robbers, princesses and strange Men in Green; of old friends and treacherous new enemies – and a secret plot that threatens to bring down the entire kingdom.

This gripping, spellbinding sequel to The Letter for the King sees a hero facing his greatest test, surrounded by darkness in a world where good and evil wear the same face, and the wrong move could cost his life – but where help comes from the unlikeliest of places.

The New Illustrated Harry Potter series!

Prepare to be spellbound by Jim Kay’s dazzling depiction of the wizarding world and much loved characters in these full-colour illustrated editions.

Beautiful Books for everyone!

Historium by Richard Wilkinson and Jo Nelson

Welcome to the museum! Here you will find a collection of objects from ancient civilisations. Objects of beauty, functionality, war, life, death and burial. As you wander from room to room, explore the magnificence of what civilisations have left behind over thousands of years of human history!

If you are still unsure and need more gift ideas, well how about A Book Hive Year? The Book Hive will hand pick one book every month for a year and post it to the lucky recipient. Children who join will also get a card from us on their birthday, designed by one of a few well-known illustrators especially for The Book Hive. A Book Hive Year has all kinds of categories, in Children’s there is the paperback fiction, hardback fiction and babies/toddlers board or picture books ranging from £100 – £150. You can also purchase a package for teenagers and adults too. What a wonderful gift to receive throughout the year!

The Fire Pit Camp welcomes winter with festive celebrations.

The Fire Pit Christmas Event

On Saturday 28th November the Fire Pit celebrate the festive season with a festive market, Christmas Grotto and Rattle Baby Disco party popping-up in their urban style warehouse space.

The unique campsite in Wendling has been overwhelmed by the response to the venue, which was selected to make the Cool Camping Guide Book, as well as being chosen by The Independent as one of The Big Six Best UK Campsites and making The Guardian’s Top Ten of the Best Places to Pitch a Tent.

The Festive Market & Party will be opened at 11am by local choir RockaVox from JDT Music and all adult ticket holders will be welcomed with a complimentary glass of mulled wine whilst children will get the chance to meet and feed real reindeers Comet & Dancer.

The Fire Pit Christmas EventRachel Hughes-Green from The Fire Pit said “we are incredibly proud of the Fire pit and are thrilled to have had it recognised so much this year. After a successful camping season this summer, which also included our first weddings and the Forgotten Foods Festival we decided we wanted to hold a festive event, giving families the opportunity to come and visit The Fire pit for the day ”

The event features a wonderful line up of local stall-holders selling gifts, furniture, jewellery and crafts including Mosaic artist Carolyn Ash, Flora Fairweather Crochet and Knitted Clothing, Little Fleurie bespoke handmade dolls,  Stubenhocker designer furniture, Mary Maxey Miller Vintage, Taylors Smokery, Fabulous Monsters Jewellery, Seaside Neil Art, Wild Stems Floristry of Thetford, and more.  There will also be food, coffee bar and cocktails available.

The Fire Pit Christmas EventIn addition to the market & party, The Wren’s Nest is being transformed into a unique, magical grotto, those booking for this will be welcomed with a warming hot chocolate in china tea cups with cream, marshmallows and cookies, before having a story with Father Christmas by the fire, plus making their own magic reindeer oats to take home before joining the Present Elf on the wooden mezzanine to receive a gift.

More information about the event and The Fire Pit can be found at

Entrance for the market and Party £3. Grotto bookings £15 (price is for one adult and one child)

Christmas Gift Guide: Jacanda Handicrafts

In the lead up to Christmas we will be featuring some of our favourite independent businesses, highlighting some alternative Christmas gift suggestions for the family.

This week we caught up with Annie Woodman at Jacanda Handicrafts to find out what handmade goods would make ideal presents for little ones and grown ups. If you haven’t heard of Jacanda Handicrafts, well their wares are quite simply beautiful. Bright, intricate and all handmade in India, Annie’s stall at Unit 36, row A of Norwich Market is a true treasure trove.

Quilts £65
Bed sheets with pillow cases £35
Bed sheets with pillow cases £35

Whether it’s stocking fillers or larger items, there are toys, clothes, jewellery, quilts and much more. Among Annie’s recommendations are the bed sheets with matching pillow cases, which double up as a perfect play mat. The block printed fabrics are from Sanganer in Rajasthan and Jacanda Handicrafts work with Buzzaria Boutique in Delhi the make the range of pyjamas, make up bags and boxer shorts, which are then bought back to the UK. The straw and woven fabric animals went down a storm with our little one. We bought a woven crocodile a while back, which goes everywhere with us and makes a great teething toy! The toys are made by women at Dastkar International in Ranthambhore, an organisation that empower women through developing their skills, and in turn becoming financially independent.

Turtle £5 Small elephant £5 Crocodile £8
Turtle £5 Small elephant £5 Crocodile £8
Soaps £3, Incense £5.50, Wash Bags £15
Soaps £3, Incense £5.50, Wash Bags £15

Jacanda Handicrafts is open Tuesday to Saturdays, 11am – 5pm. They have a changing room, if you need to try on anything and they will also be at the Norwich Global Village Christmas Market at the Forum on the 4th and 5th December at The Forum. You can also order online and postage and packaging is free!

Lunchtime in a Castle Keep

Bea in the Castle Keep

Today we made a lunchtime trip to Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery, taking advantage of the £2 admission charge from 12 noon until 1pm (under 4s get in for free). This was a leisurely visit, rather than to see a particular exhibition.

We found our way up to the Castle Keep, which is such an amazing space. The high vaulted ceiling and vast space is spectacular. The first thing which caught my attention was the large colourful rug, which Bea was more than happy to sit on and practice crawling, just like on her play mat!

Bea and the dragonCastle Keep Play Area





The dragon certainly got Bea extremely excited, almost to the level of when she sees our cat walk into a room. We then discovered a Castle play area for under 5s. This was a lovely space to let our little one play with the puppets and foam building blocks. We actually didn’t get much further than this. She was content to play and explore the play area and bright rug for a good 40 minutes.

Castle Keep Play Area

The Mayor's Dragon in the Castle KeepThere is also a large table with colouring crayons for older children to use, not to mention the collection of metal armour and silver.

The Castle Keep was a great space for Bea (now ten months) to enjoy, and at the same time I could admire such an spectacular space. We highly recommend taking a trip here with your little ones.

The Fairyland Trust’s Real Halloween


Bonkers conkers, eye boules, den building, a whole host of fairies and so much more was to be found at Holt Hall yesterday. Real Halloween is the magical creation of The Fairyland Trust. Now in its fifth year, families truly get into the spirit of this day festival.

Addison's Uncle

As we entered the site families were taking part in Animal Hospital with cuddly Wildlife and Fairyland Vets, as well as decorating jam jar lanterns ready for the dusk lantern parade for £2. Around the great Oak tree was the performance tent, with
live music by Addison’s Uncle and The Good Elf pub and Cafe providing a more grown up feel to the festival.

Fairy Banquet2We walked a few minutes from the main site and found families busily building tiny houses and big banquets for fairies. Further on there was fun a plenty to be had at the Witch and Wizard Training workshops. Walking through the woods was truly magical in the Autumn sunshine.

Families could certainly spend a tidy sum on this day out. In addition to the ticket entry at £10 per adult, £8.50 per child (under 3s get free entry), there is the £2 car park charge and the range of workshops on offer cost up to £5. With a large range of free workshops on offer too though, there is certainly something on offer for everyone’s pocket.

Cloud NineThe food stalls catered for a range of tastes – scrummy looking pizzas, wild boar or halloumi burgers, the popular Hotdogs as well as tea and cake. There was some covered seating available, and plenty of families made the most of the glorious weather and bought along a picnic and blanket to sit on.

Taking the baby carrier was a good decision, as the ground underfoot was really muddy and our city buggy certainly wouldn’t have coped.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to stay for the Lantern Parade, which from the photographs looks like a beautifully magical end to the day.

Family making jam jar lanternsThis has become a regular date in the calendar for families, who visit year after year. We met one family who had been going for the past five years and we got a real sense that they had grown with along with the festival. It was lovely to see that not only the children got dressed up for the Fairy Banquetoccasion, parents and grandparents showcase their finest Halloween outfits too.

Looking at the effort that families go to and the popularity of the workshops, the Fairyland Trust have created something quite unique and magical for families in Norfolk at Halloween. We’ll certainly be back to check out the Spring Fairy Fair event next May.