Christmas overload already?

Escape the tinsel, mince pies and mulled wine madness with a good book- tell the family you’re off to wrap some presents, disappear into the spare room with a cup of tea (or g&t) for a couple of hours, and let them get on with Christmas  while you lose yourself in a bit of reading…

Yes, we have got the odd Christmas Romance

 

And some familiar faces

 

But if you want to get away from the whole yuletide thing, try something different

 

Or how about learning a few words of Japanese, Greek or Italian to wow everyone over the turkey?

 

We’ve got plenty of eBooks if that’s your thing!

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Classics are always a comfort in times of stress

 

And if all else fails –

You can always go it alone

Merry Christmas everyone!

 

Winter Blog

It might not quite feel like winter yet with the warm weather but the great drifts of brown leaves on the surrounding steps and the library packed with good natured East European revellers writing postcards home tells us it’s time to strap on our red noses and pass round the Winter Warmer.

We try and keep the good cheer on tap all year around with the Chelsea coffee morning where a group of twenty plus regulars meet every Wednesday at 10.30am to share homemade cake, traditionally prepared Croatian sausage and gossip about the human condition.  Among them an expert Musicologist, a financial whizz investing in a new post-Brexit currency, QuikCoin, and a mysterious lady who hands out fortune cookies  in the lending library.

In November we had busy craft events using some of those huge yellow leaves that look so much like abandoned kippers. They were turned by Diane into bushy squirrel tails. The mini-beasts were back in the children’s library- the slinky black millipede made a break for the air conditioning vent but the quick thinking of new staff member Atlas, using an old copy of Biffer and Chips, prevented  the escapee making  the children’s library his permanent home.

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beaumontOne of our recommended reads this month is Charles Beaumont’s Perchance to Dream, the collected stories from the Twilight Zone scriptwriter and spinner of fantastic tales. Beaumont is great at unpicking the dreams and fears of 1950s America, the killers and the recurring dreams of a beautiful unchaperoned woman on a rollercoaster .

 

 

 

 

 

Daniel

 

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

Half-term Diary: Kensington Central Library

It was half-term last week and we made the most of it!

With an exciting program to keep our youngest patrons entertained, there was something for everyone and much fun to be had.

Take a look at what we got up to!

Continue reading “Half-term Diary: Kensington Central Library”

#MondayMotivation – Learning Online

Your library membership is access to a world of information.

We are encouraging you to get the most from your local libraries, by making use of our great range of free online learning courses. Getting access to quality training materials can be expensive – but you can get them for free from us and once registered, you can have access to these materials whenever and wherever you want.

Let me introduce you to Learning Nexus, Universal Class, Go Citizen, and Driving Theory Test Pro!

Continue reading “#MondayMotivation – Learning Online”

Eid Party at Kensal Library

After Kensal Library’s first Eid party being a great success, we decided to have a second one. The turnout was fantastic and brought the Golborne community together. We were expecting only 15 people but we had a whooping number of over 30! Continue reading “Eid Party at Kensal Library”

Goodbye Summer Reading Challenge 2016: Big Friendly Party at Brompton

Last Saturday saw Brompton Library put this year’s Summer Reading Challenge to bed with our annual finishers’ party. The Roald Dahl theme this year was massively popular with the kids and many of them hoovered up the few titles they hadn’t already read. We supplemented his novels with joke books, revolting rhymes, biographies and autobiographies.

In the end an impressive 89 children completed the challenge, and the party was well attended! They had a great time – Katie lead the party, ably assisted by our long-standing friend and volunteer Lisa and they were treated to some great games and free juice and nibbles to keep them going as they played some very energetic games such as Duck, Goose (new to me) and musical chairs and statues (old favourites).

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They also reviewed the books they’d read and enjoyed and talked about the craft events they’d come to at the library. Katie got some great feedback after the party and the kids and their parents agreed that the party was a great idea to round off the summer. Well done to everyone who took part and roll on the Summer Reading Challenge 2017- I wonder what it will be?

Steph Webb

 

Party time at Chelsea Library!

 


Last Friday we hosted the Chelsea Library Summer Reading Challenge party. We had over seventy completers and one hundred parents and children turned up to dance to Diane’s Latin American compilation and find Willy Wonka’s golden fridge magnet—the winner is yet to come forward! Please if you find the golden ticket nestling between packets of shrimp shaped haribos and some savoury crackers contact Chelsea children’s library! Continue reading “Party time at Chelsea Library!”