Saturday Story & Craft at Kensal Library

Shamrock faces for St Patrick's Day 2017 at Kensal LibraryAt our regular story and craft session we made these cute shamrock faces to celebrate St Patrick’s Day.

We started with a template of a shamrock printed onto green paper and drew on a face and added googly eyes.  Next we put a small amount of tissue paper and then stuck on the other side of the shamrock to make it puffy and finally tied a piece of ribbon around the stalk.

Hope you all had a great St Patrick’s Day!

Our next Story & Craft will be on Saturday 8 April.

[Natasha]

Dr Seuss Day at Kensal Library

We celebrated the wonderful world of Dr Seuss on Thursday 2 March which was also World Book Day so we had some children wearing great costumes in the library.  There was a ladybird from ‘What the ladybird heard’, Catwoman, Woody from Toy Story, a spy, Spiderman and later we were joined by The Woman in Black!

Our first craft was making a mini version of the Cat in the Hat’s hat.  Look at how cute they turned out!

Next we made The Lorax’s face from polystyrene balls cut in half which we coloured orange and stuck on eyebrows and a moustache made from yellow felt, googly eyes and a sweet mini pom pom nose.

Dr Seuss activity at Kensal Library, March 2017

Then everybody decorated and made some cool Cat in the Hat bookmarks.

Dr Seuss activity at Kensal Library, March 2017

Dr Seuss would have been 113 years old on the 2 March 2017! His books are still immensely popular and his quotes continue to inspire.

Below are a few of my favourite Dr Seuss quotes:

‘The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.’
I Can Read with My Eyes Shut

  “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
Oh, the Places You’ll Go

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
– The Lorax

Hope you all had a great World Book Day.

Natasha Chaoui, SCSA, Kensal Library

Chocolate event with Canela Fina! at Brompton library

Our old friends Canela Fina! delivered yet another great event for Brompton library with their chocolate event for children. We had a full house with everyone champing at the bit to get to the eating part of the event. Of course, that came at the end, so before that we had a history of where chocolate came from and how it’s made, all with graphics on our screen, and then the chocolate song with hand actions that was so fast in the end no-one could keep up with it… but had great fun trying!

Then came the part that everyone had been waiting for – tasting the white, brown and black chocolate before drawing pictures of the Aztec god of chocolate (I hadn’t known there was one!) and then, even better, being given two little doughnuts to decorate with chocolate sauce (white and brown) and sprinkles.

Well, you can’t go wrong with chocolate, can you?

[Stephanie]

Harry Potter Book Night at Brompton and Chelsea Libraries!

“Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts! Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J.K. Rowling

Who could resist Potter madness?

Brompton and Chelsea libraries certainly couldn’t and fully embraced the Harry Potter Book Night madness with magical craft sessions of their own.

We captured a few pictures from the events, take a look at the ‘mischief managed’!

Continue reading “Harry Potter Book Night at Brompton and Chelsea Libraries!”

Brompton gets down and dirty!

On a drizzly, wet afternoon after school last week Brompton Library was pleased to welcome our friend Matthew from the Ecology Centre who brightened everyone’s day with the promise of growth and renewal by the planting of a pea!

Plant Potters activity at Brompton LibraryMatthew was inundated with keen kids and their carers who were shown how to make an environmentally friendly plant pot with newspaper and a wooden press. They then added some compost and the seed and Hey Presto! – they had a seed to nurture at home.

In this part of the borough most of the housing is in flats, whether they’re in mansion blocks with their own garden squares or social housing with a local park, so many kids won’t be used to getting their hands stuck in to garden soil or watching their own plant grow from a seed to an edible vegetable.

Let’s hope that at least some survive (though I have my doubts!)

Many thanks to the Ecology Centre – the plant potters event is new to libraries this academic year and I hope it’s as well received at other libraries as it was here. See our latest events listing or ask in your nearest RBKC library for the next Plant Potters event.

Plant Potters activity at Brompton Library     Plant Potters activity at Brompton Library

[Stephanie Webb]

A Christmas Display at North Kensington Library

Merry Christmas and a Happy New 2017 Year !

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I am sure that now and then we all come across a new picture book in our libraries that bursts out with that special WOW! factor when your fingers and your heart just itch to make your own picture book, make illustrations just like those, retell the story to all the children in library, at home or in nursery.

Continue reading “A Christmas Display at North Kensington Library”

Kensington Mums celebrate their 5th blog anniversary & announce their second Kensington Christmas Fair

Find out more about one of Kensington and Chelsea’s community groups, Kensington Mums (who have blogged for us before), a support network for local mums and mums-to-be, and join them at their Family Christmas Fair on the 27th November. Over to our guest blogger, Dina…

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Award winning ‘Mummy group’ and parenting support network, Kensington Mums, has reached its 5th blog anniversary and to celebrate has announced its second Family Christmas Fair which will be taking place this month on 27th November 2016 at the stylish Kensington Close Hotel from 10am to 5pm in support of the charity Best Beginnings.

Throughout the fair there will be lots going on to keep little ones entertained: arts and crafts, face painting, hair braiding and nail stamping to name but a few of the day’s activities and surprises. Parents, in the meantime, can enjoy festive shopping, with various exhibitors at the fair, including Bambini and Me, Club Petit Pierrot, Hesper Fox and Finns of Chelsea. The exhibitors at the fair are also mums in business, and Kensington Mums use the fair as a way of supporting and financially empowering these entrepreneurial mothers.

How did Kensington Mums start?
Kensington Mums founder, Dina Maktabi, first created the group when she found herself living in Kensington as a new mum. She was two thousand miles from her Beirut homeland with just her husband for support and the challenge of new motherhood hit hard and she struggled in isolation for months with Post Natal Depression.

More than eight years ago, with her new born in her hands, she recalls grabbing handfuls of outfits in high-street stores in the pretence of shopping, and retreating to the changing rooms to breastfeed, as the high-street had yet to cater to mothers and babies effectively.

Thankfully there has been some progress in societal views around breastfeeding and its public acceptance, but the isolation which many new mothers experience remains, particularly for ex-pat mums who are without the support network of their own family to cushion them through the early stages of starting and raising a family.

Kensington Mums was birthed in 2011 out of Dina’s desire to reconnect with other women and create the support network she was missing, and has become a celebrated free support network open to mothers from all over London.

“The friends I began to make through the launch of Kensington Mums became my family and inspired my desire to reach and help other mothers who might be experiencing the same thing. It turned out that I was not the only one. In 2014 Nathalie Bernadotte came on board and now we are an unstoppable duo with a growing ‘family’” says Dina. Today the network command an audience of over 24,000 London based mothers, many of whom live outside of the Kensington area but tap into the community for its blend of events, advice and connectivity.

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The group has many awards under its belt: winning the Mumpreneur UK’s bronze award for Best Website; shortlisted for the Brilliance in Blogging Awards; and was listed as a Top 100 winner of the Mumsclub Business Mum Award. Kensington Mums has also garnered support from celebrity mums Tamara Beckwith, Tamara Ecclestone, Caprice Bourret and HRH Marie Chantal and their vision is to expand their offering and reach mummy communities internationally. In 2014 sister site Mums in Beirut  was launched in the Middle East, becoming an instant hit with mothers in the region, and is now viewed as Beirut’s answer to ‘Mumsnet’.

Keeping Mums in the loop with the latest trends and family outings, Kensington Mums provides everything from family friendly healthy and delicious recipes, to regular competitions giving families a chance to win prizes from a host of well-known brands. Kensington Mums has become a destination website for honest reviews of products and services for London families. The ‘mumthly’ events held in a host of desirable London venues, have ranged from inspiring mum get-togethers to nutrition coffee mornings with expert advice on the impact of diet on toddlers and expectant mothers. The brand’s online motherhood exhibition was included in New York’s Museum of Motherhood in 2013 after the success of their original exhibition in Chelsea.

“When the opportunity to team up with Dina came in 2014, I didn’t think about it twice. I wanted to help and be part of the community that once helped me so much.  Not having family close by and being the first to have a baby within my close circle of friends, I often didn’t know who to talk to – about my labour and birth fears or who to ask advice and share tips on breastfeeding, burps and naps. I felt very lucky to have found Kensington Mums which brought me amazing friendships and helped me gain confidence in being a mother every day” says Nathalie.

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In 2014 Kensington Mums launched a (free to download) KM App, meaning modern mums have instant access to the online magazine’s resources. The App is available on ITunes and GooglePlay.

Boasting an increasing group of ex-pat mothers who connect with the network before they have even made their move to London, the need for support and shared experience by like minds is evident. In an age where networking has become increasingly digital, Kensington Mums are successfully illustrating that the online landscape can be a fantastic resource for creating relationships, which cross over into ‘real’ life.

Look here for further information on Kensington Mums Christmas Fair on 27th November 2016, and here for  Beirut Mums.

Dina Maktabi, Kenisngton Mums

Have a look here for our A-Z directory of other community groups and services.

North Kensington Children’s Library celebrates in fancy dress!

Our special Halloween session took place at the usual Baby Rhyme Time hours – 10.45am till 11.15am. The turnout was brilliant with no space left for a single extra pumpkin or bat suit, with 40 children and 36 adults jammed in our under 5’s section of the library.

Many children and two members of staff (including yours truly!)  were fancy dressed for the occasion. The children in all colours and shapes – gorgeous smiley pumpkins, a bumblebee, a batboy, princesses and even a tiny beautiful vampire dressed to kill. The staff dressed in black, with hats and all, offered a striking contrast to the colourful surroundings in the Children’s library. Our Halloween displays, prepared in the weeks leading to the event, benefited from the drawings and colouring contributions of customers as seen below!

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Apart from our usual selection of songs, we also sang a few tunes suggested by parents and nannies. However, the cherry on the top of the Halloween cake was to sing a special Halloween song for the 1st time together at North Ken’s Baby Rhyme Time: the Halloween version of one of our most popular and requested classic, “The (Spooky) Wheels on the Bus”, by Elizabeth Mills.

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We finished off by handing out one small bag to each child filled with some goodies to nibble at. There were smiley faces all around. We all had a party! Watch this space for more parties – it’s that time of year already!

Silvia Sousa, North Kensington Library

Brompton DigiLab electronics workshop

I love these electronics workshops! This is the second time we’ve had one to replace Code Club over a half term and the kids just love them. They usually have an understanding of how the various pieces of kit work and can’t wait to get hands-on while the parents love it and generally have no idea how the things work!

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Today the kids were able to learn how to play a tune on bananas (!), race cars round a race track on the floor controlling them with iPads, 3-D print rings to take away (4 minutes printing time) and, the one that produced most squeals from the boys as well as the girls, experiencing Virtual Reality. They could choose between swimming with dolphins, being in a shark cage, a roller coaster ride and several others but they were the most popular. I also saw a Raspberry pi and one attendee playing Tetris with a post-it note instead of a smart phone.

We were lucky enough to have a DigiLab session at four of our libraries over half term so around 45 – 50 kids would have benefitted from them and I was also able to drum up some more joiners for our regular Code Club.

If these sessions do nothing more than enthuse the kids and stimulate their curiosity then I’m satisfied it’s a job well done. I hope they’ll have learned and experienced new things that will sow a seed for later in life, whether that’s in their secondary school or beyond.

Keep your eyes open for the next half term electronics workshop in our next events brochure, our website, mobile app, Twitter and Facebook – there’s no excuse for missing it!

Steph Webb

Internet of Things

Over half term, to replace our usual Code Club, Brompton Library took up the offer of an Internet of Things workshop offered to us by SamLabs via Brainiac. This turned out to be a great success all round! I was expecting our usual Code Club kids (usually about 10) minus a few who’d gone away but 20 turned up, which was challenging for our 2 facilitators, Sasha and Rosemary, but they rose to the challenge admirably! Continue reading “Internet of Things”