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.

Making monsters & more with Jessica Spanyol

Creativity was in abundance at an event in Kensington Central Children’s Library  last Friday, when author and illustrator Jessica Spanyol visited to inspire some eager young artists. Jessica began by reading some of her picture books and talking about how characters take shape in her imagination. She introduced us to Clive, the hero of her new series of colourful books, and also read us the story of Carlos the giraffe’s exciting first ever visit to the library – a story she said she first wrote and illustrated when she was six, proving it’s never too early to start!

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Next, sheets of paper with abstract shapes printed on them in different colours provided an amazingly fruitful starting point for the budding illustrators. Have you ever played the game where someone does a random scribble or doodle, and someone else has to make it into a recognisable thing? Or looked up at the clouds and seen the shapes of animals? This worked in the same way, and it didn’t take long before seemingly random shapes had become a range of amazing creatures. These newly-invented characters were embellished with collage made from lots of coloured paper, stick-on googly eyes and enthusiastic colouring-in. It was amazing how different people could transform the same shape in completely different ways.

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Jessica gave some great advice about creating characters for stories, which should come in useful for all aspiring authors: try starting with a picture, and building the words around it, instead of the other way around – and think of a name for your character (which might be based on someone you know in real life – Jessica confided that “Moshi cat” in the Clive books is named after her own cat, Moshi)!

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All in all this was a really enjoyable event and I was so impressed with the beautiful creatures – and some quite scary monsters! – the children produced.

We’ve got some more crafty events coming up soon with Eithne Farry: take a look at the libraries website for dates and times.

Claudia Jessop

Christmas at Notting Hill Gate Library

Laila and SantaDuring this Christmas festive season, we wanted to celebrate the occasion in a way that it has never been done at the library. We had a very special visitor from the North Pole. Can you guess who it is? You’ve guessed right, it was Santa! The afternoon brought both children and parents together to listen to Santa’s extraordinary story.

Reading at Christmas
Reading at Christmas

The story was so inspirational that it got us into the Christmas spirit, so we started to make Christmas cards for our friends and family. The library looked like we were in Santa’s house because the children got so excited with the glitter and it ended up everywhere. But never mind that, we all had such a fantastic time.

Making Christmas Cards
Making Christmas Cards

 

Olaf the Snowman, Book tower
Olaf the Snowman, Book tower

To mark the end of the activity, Santa brought us early presents. They were cupcakes, cupcakes that were generously donated to us by The Hummingbird Bakery. They were scrumptiously tasty! As one of the little ones put it, ‘They were the best cupcakes ever!’

 

Christmas Cupcakes from the Humming Bird Bakery
Christmas Cupcakes from the Humming Bird Bakery

Humming Bird Bakery

 

As 2015 has ended, we would like to thank everyone who has supported us. We look forward to entering 2016 with a prosperous year and to begin we will have a New Year storytelling with Sarah Deco on Saturday 16th January 2016, 2:30 to 4pm.

Donated Christmas trees by The Friends of Notting Hill Gate
Donated Christmas trees by The Friends of Notting Hill Gate

Notting Hill Gate Library welcomes all readers, existing or new so don’t forget to pop in and be a part of this exciting experience!
By Laila El-Boukilli
Senior Customer Services Assistant at Notting Hill Gate Library.

Christmas has arrived at Brompton Library!

Steph, Librarian at Brompton Library, writes: 

Brompton has now swung into full Christmas mode! We had our first Christmas craft session last Saturday and the youngsters decorated little card Christmas trees with glitter and all manner of sticky things. Their parents and carers were delighted!

Glue, sequins, paper...Christmas fun!
Glue, sequins, paper…Christmas fun!

Elisabeth has created an Advent Christmas tree and adds a new box to it every day for the children to decorate (I don’t know where she gets all her great ideas for the kids!)

Advent tree
Advent tree

For the grown-ups we have our terribly tasteful Christmas tree complete with presents (library stock) underneath for the taking plus our hand-picked display of Christmassy books, CDs and films.

Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas!

 

Christmas music, books and more!
Christmas music, books and more!

For the rest of this month we have another Christmas craft session for children this Friday– please join us!

From Monday 15th December onwards the staff will be initiating the public who may be giving or receiving tablets and e-book readers into how to download our new, improved collection.