Visit Kensington & Fulham Open Studios this weekend

For all keen art collectors – on this coming weekend (10th to 12th October) and the next (17th to 19th October), Kensington & Fulham Open Studios will give you the chance to visit and purchase art works in the very spaces where they were created.

Now in its second year, five-five participants will be taking part in the 2014 edition of Kensington & Fulham Open Studios, with thirty unique spaces available to visit – including local attics, living rooms, cafes, galleries, food stores and even a houseboat! Many art forms will also be covered over the two weekends, from jewellers to milliners, potters and sculptors to painters, photographers to print-makers all taking part. The event aims to encourage people to explore unknown streets and get to know their neighbours whilst also providing them the unique opportunity to purchase from local creators in a relaxed setting.

A taster of all the art that will be on show in the area starts today (7th October) until the 19th October at the Chelsea Gallery on King’s Road. Sponsored by Paragon Design Construction, the show lets visitors see a sample of works from all the open studio artists in one place.

Kensington & Fulham Open Studios - Leigh Glover
Leigh Glover
Kensington & Fulham Open Studios - Isobel Hutchinson Cannon Street
Cannon Street – Isobel Hutchinson
Kensington & Fulham Open Studios - Camilla Shavig
Camilla Shavig

This year, Kensington & Fulham Open Studios will also include a number of exciting mini-events – including the Art for Youth fundraising exhibition at the Royal College of Art on 15th and 16th October; tours of the Royal Brompton Hospital art collection and pop-up studios at Kensington and Fulham Whole Foods stores.

Entry to all Kensington & Fulham Open Studios venues is free. Full information – including profiles of the artists taking part, maps and opening times – can be found at Do also look out for KFOS brochures at your local library or cultural centre.

Kensington & Chelsea Open Studios
10th – 12th October and 17th – 19th October 2014

Kensington Mums’ Social Events this August and September

If you’re a little down because summer’s almost over (and the weather seems to suggest that summer’s definitely over) then don’t fear – local parenting website Kensington Mums once again have a number of exciting events lined up to ease you into Autumn!

On Thursday 18th September, from 1pm to 3pm, Kensington Mums will be hosting a Beauty Masterclass at Whole Foods Kensington – join Whole Foods’ in-house healthy eating specialist Maura and learn how to make some amazing natural products…that you’ll also be able to take home! The products you’ll be taught how to make are an apple cider vinegar toner, a ‘Green Goddess’ face mask, and a coffee & coconut body scrub. The class costs £10 and little ones are welcome – learn how to make something new (and healthy!) as well as connecting with local, like-minded mums. Booking is essential, and can be done online – places are limited, so early booking is recommended! More details here.

Kensington Mums Fit Club

If you’re after something equal parts relaxing and social, there’s also the Kensington Mums and Bumps Coffee Morning taking place on Monday 22nd September from 10am to 12pm at the lovely Hotel Chocolat on Kensington High Street. For £5, you’ll receive a complimentary hot drink, be able to view a chocolate presentation by the resident chocolatier and also have an opportunity to try a small selection of chocolates. You’ll also be able to take advantage of a 10% discount on any purchases made at the cafe or shop. Tickets can be booked online – once again, book early to avoid disappointment! Children welcome; more details here.

And if you’re looking for something a little more energetic to get started with straight away, the Kensington Mums Fit Club is being held in Kensington Gardens every Saturday, 10.30am to 11.30am. This free club is hosted by actual Kensington mums Sabrina and Iram, and is open to all levels – and you can jog, run, bike or just walk during the session. More details here.

More on local mums, parents and kids’ news at the excellent Kensington Mums website:

Kensington and Chelsea College Open Days, 4th & 6th February 2014

Come down to the Kensington and Chelsea College Open Days this February when you can take advantage of their free 1-2-1 courses and careers advice from specialist tutors and careers advisors.

Taking place from 4pm to 7pm on Tuesday 4th and Thursday 6th February,  you’ll have the opportunity to try out a number of free taster sessions and activities, as well as learning more about a wide range of courses that are perfect for those looking to try something new for 2014. Some of the activities taking place on the Open Days include free manicures, French lessons, Anthropology debate and discussion, jewellery making master classes and studio tours, amongst many others.

Kensington and Chelsea College Open Days

The Open Days are a great chance to find out more about Kensington and Chelsea College’s short and part-time courses, as well as full-time courses that are starting in September 2014. As mentioned, there will also be plenty of careers advice available at the Open Days, so you can find out more about the opportunities these courses could lead to.

Kensington and Chelsea College leads the local learning agenda for adults and young adults in Art and Design, Health and Social Sciences and Management and Professional Development, and is also an associate member for The National Skills Academy for Creative & Cultural. Operating at two sites in the Borough – one near Kings Road, the other near Portobello Road – their courses offer a credible alternative route to university and recognised qualifications leading to employment. Their Apprenticeships and professional, bespoke training to businesses across London has led to strong partnerships with leading creative and cultural venues, including the V&A and Historic Royal Palaces.

KCC’s two venues will be hosting different subjects on the two different Open Days, so please see to find out which subjects will be hosted where.

For other courses and training opportunities, please see or call 020 7573 5333 to receive a copy of the latest prospectus.

Kensington and Chelsea Open Days
4pm – 7pm, Tuesday 4th February 2014
Kensington Centre
Wornington Road
W10 5QQ


4pm – 7pm, Thursday 6th February 2014
Chelsea Centre
Hortensia Road
SW10 0QS

Kensington Mums’ upcoming events, including the Motherhood Exhibition and 2nd Birthday celebration!

Kensington Mums – the fantastic mums’ support network website for the local area – has a busy few months ahead with the unveiling of a number of fab events that will be of interest to all mums (and parents) in the neighbourhood. And they’ve also got some very exciting news of their own to share!

Today saw the first instalment of their Motherhood Exhibition, which is a monthly event celebrating and supporting mums from all backgrounds and cultures in Kensington. The exhibition will see mums sharing their own stories about and depictions of motherhood using their personal pictures, and will also prove to be a great opportunity to meet and network with other mums. Held in a different children’s centre location in the Borough each time, some sessions will also have creche facilities available, as well as playtime opportunities. For more details, see and contact Kensington Mums if you’d like to take part in one of the upcoming events.


On the 14th November, the website will be celebrating its second birthday – which means it’s great chance to glam up for an evening and join in with the fun! Dinner and drinks will be held at at surprise location in the area, and partners are welcome. Email with the subject “Happy Birthday” for more details.

For more Kensington Mums’ events – including plenty for you to enjoy with your little one(s) such as the Baby and Toddler Meetups – see their Events page, and do also subscribe to the the KM newsletter to be informed of other goings on in the area that are surely of interest to all parents.

Mumpreneur Parent Blogger

As we’ve mentioned, Kensington Mums also have some exciting news of their own to share. After having been nominated in the Best Parent Blogger category at the 2013 Mumpreneur Awards, Dina Maktabi, the lady behind the site, is now a finalist! This particular category celebrates businesses that physically work and interact closely with clients, and the Mumpreneur Awards as a whole reward parents who juggle the demands of running businesses with family life. About being one of the finalists, Dina says:

“I am delighted to have been recognised for all the hard work I put into running Kensington Mums. It would be such a privilege and honour to win the best parent blogger. What a great way to celebrate Kensington Mums second birthday!” 

Kensington Mums has also been nominated in the The Inspirational Business Mum Award, an award for the mum that’s judged to be an inspiration to all women in business. We wish Dina and Kensington Mums the best of luck at the awards and will be keeping our fingers crossed.

Check out more about Kensington Mums at their wonderful website at

Kensal Voices presents the Kensal Voices Magazine at North Kensington Library, Saturday 8th June

A few months ago on The Guide to Kensington & Chelsea, we wrote about an interesting local community project taking place in Kensal Rise called Kensal Voices. Started by the S.P.I.D. Theatre Company – an award winning youth organisation – this multi-strand, multimedia project aims to rediscover and share the history of Kensal House, the historic, Grade II* listed council estate designed by Modernist architect Maxwell Fry in 1936.

This Saturday, 8th June, one of the first elements of Kensal Voices will be officially presented to the public. Kensal Voices Magazine will be launched at North Kensington Library in front of the local community, and friends and family – a magazine that’s the result of two months of hard work by the young researchers involved in Kensal Voices.

Since the Kensal Voices project was launched in April, the scheme’s young participants have undertaken research and practical workshops to discover more about Kensal House’s fascinating history. They have attended sessions on modernist architecture at the V&A; met with local historians and residents to learn more on life in and around the building throughout the decades; built models of their dream houses; created a soundtrack inspired by the building; and conducted in-depth research at Central Library.

Workshops leaders that have taken part in Kensal Voices so far include architect Gurmeet Sian of Office Sian; composer, producer and DJ Theo Krish; designer Ekaterina Solomeina; Filipa Alvesde Sousa (V&A); and Eva Branscome, expert on modern architecture (Twentieth Century Society).

Kensal Voices Magazine


Anuli Changa (14), Kensal Voices participant and elected Kensal Voices Ambassador, said about the project:

“I am proud to be an Ambassador for Kensal Voices, run by SPID Theatre Company … I am a voracious reader and I love to learn, so when I heard that SPID were working with the V&A (one of my favourite museums) I was really excited and curious to see what was happening … Saturdays aren’t right without Kensal Voices!”

SPID (Specially Produced Innovatively Directed) Theatre Company is itself based the Community Rooms on the Kensal House estate. The company won the First Light Award for Best Animation 2013 for short film High Above the Sky and received a four-star review for its most recent production iAM.

Kensal Voices Magazine Presentation
3.30pm, 8th June 2013
North Kensington Library
108 Ladbroke Grove
W11 1PZ

Join the SPID Theatre Company and take part in Kensal Voices!

Young local residents may be very interested to hear about an exciting local community project that’s calling for participants to take part in taster sessions next week! Kensal Voices will see 20 young participants based in and around Kensal House take part in an exciting multimedia project that will focus on the heritage of this historic, Grade II* listed council estate, designed by Modernist architect Maxwell Fry in 1937.

Whilst working on Kensal Voices, participants will take part in a number of interesting stages, each of which will help them learn and develop particular techniques and skills, as well as working in conjunction with a number of organisations. These include analysing source materials and learning about researching and archiving whilst they attend workshops on modernist architecture and design run by the Victoria & Albert Museum, then creating a booklet about the estate’s history; being trained to create oral history testimonies and learning about interview techniques with the Oral History Society before conducting their own interviews with the older residents of the estate; and developing and conducting architectural tours of Kensal House, after undertaking their own tour with The 20th Century Society.

The final stage of Kensal Voices will allow participants to decide which material they would like to explore further – which they will then develop into an estate-based performance, that will be free for the public to attend. This final stage will see the participants forming their own company  and working alongside professionals to create the performance – offering them a sense of ownership of both the project and the heritage of their estate.

Kensal Voices

Kensal Voices has been started by the S.P.I.D. (Specially Produced Innovatively Direct) Theatre Group who are themselves based in the community rooms of Kensal House. They create adventurous and immersive theatrical work in non-traditional spaces, and their promenade performances in neglected community spaces have won prizes nationally. Helena Thompson founded S.P.I.D. in 1999 and has been working with director Rachel Grunwald since 2003, aiming to attract audiences, especially young ones, that are otherwise alienated by traditionally-staged theatre. In 2005, they based their Edinburgh Fringe show ‘Open House’ in the neglected community rooms of Kensal House, and it was then that children and young people from the estate asked to get involved – prompting the start of their youth theatre group. Only recently SPID members aged 5-25 won an award for ‘Best Animation’ for their short film ‘High Above The Sky’ at the First Light Awards at the Odeon in Leicester Square.

In the last seven years, the S.P.I.D. Theatre Company has done much to renovate its home in Kensal House, cleaning and renovating the community rooms that now house a fully equipped lighting and tech rig with state-of-the-art operating equipment. The company now curates the space as a ‘Community Hub’ for residents.

Taster sessions for Kensal Voices will be taking place on Wednesday 3rd April (4.30pm – 6.30pm) and on Saturday 6th April (1pm – 3pm) – you can also sign-up at either session. Free workshops will also be held every Saturday (11am – 5pm) from the 13th April to 5th June – limited spaces are available.

For more details (and also to sign up!) check out, or call Ann on 020 8968 2961/07903 861 674 or email

Kensington Mums events in November!

If you’re a local resident and a local mum (and especially if you’re very active on the web!) I’m sure you must have come across the excellent local blog Kensington Mums! The voluntary online support network provides invaluable advice on being a mum, parent or carer in the area, as well as providing plenty of news on events and other items of interest, and a great platform for discussion via their Twitter and Facebook pages. Best of all, Kensington Mums’ incredibly detailed weekly newsletter provides a great round-up of much of this information, so make sure you subscribe!

Kensington Mums

The site has also recently been nominated as “The Super Blogger” for the MumsClub Award 2012, placing in the top 100 winners, and is also a MumsClub London Ambassador.

Kensington Mums are hosting a couple of great events this month, that will certainly be of interest to mums and parents out there.

Kensington Mums 1st BirthdayFirst up,  Kensington Mums are celebrating their first birthday on Thursday 15th November! At a surprise location, the evening will include dinner, bubbly and a fun atmosphere – plus a great way of meeting local, like-minded mums. Tickets cost £30 – see for more details.

On Friday 23rd November, the Kensington Mums Baby/Toddler Outing to the Saatchi Gallery returns by popular demand! The visit will include a tour of ‘Gaiety is the Most Outstanding Feature of the Soviet Union: Art from Russia’, the first exhibition of contemporary Russian art at the Saatchi Gallery. More details at

Kensington Mums would love to see at the above events!

The Olympic Torch in Kensington & Chelsea

On the penultimate day of the Olympic torch relay – the day before the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games – the torch passed through many central London areas, including our very own Kensington & Chelsea! Entering the Royal Borough at around 1.30pm, on the north side of the Thames by Chelsea Bridge, the torch wound its way down King’s Road, up and along Fulham Road (meaning a brief detour in Hammersmith and Fulham) before heading up to Hammersmith Road and back along to Kensington High Street.

The torch was scheduled to reach Holland Park at 2.30pm and was to to travel up the main path in the park, before passing in front of the Opera Holland Park (to be greeted by a choral fanfare!) and then head out onto Abbotsbury Road to continue its journey.

I headed to Holland Park at around 1.30pm to soak up the atmosphere and also see some of the fun and games on the main sports field in the park, as well listening in on the choir practising on the steps of Opera Holland Park. There was a superb vibe in the park and it was great to see so many local residents (and workers in their suits!) come down to the park to see the flame. Many had decided to make an occasion of it, coming down with full picnic spreads, champagne to toast the flame, rugs to sit on and much more. There really did also seem to be people of all ages – including a great many babies, who I am sure will be told in a few years that they “saw” the Olympic flame in 2012!

The torch turned up around ten to fifteen minutes late (which, given its importance, I will allow) and seemed to pass through the park very quickly – blink and you miss it kind of stuff! Because, no doubt, of the limitations and narrowness of the park route, the torch was accompanied by any vehicles, just by the Olympics runners and some police men and women. But it was truly great to see the flame in person, and it was – quite rightly – greeted with cheers and applause.

Holland Park

Arriving at around 1.30pm, plenty of people already there to get a good viewing spot

Holland Park

Fun and games for kids on the park’s sports field

Holland Park

Watching the choir practise on the steps of the Opera Holland Park entrance

Holland Park

The crowd develops as the torch is almost upon us

Holland Park

People on bikes, scooters (and also on foot!) alerting us that it’s “five minutes to the flame”

Holland Park

Here it is!

Holland Park

And there it goes – so quick!

Holland Park

The choir singing, post-flame

InTRANSIT Performance Arts Festival returns this July

The 6th edition of the performing arts festival InTRANSIT returns to the wonderful streets, unusual hidden spaces and leafy parks of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea this July. Since its launch in 2006 with a programme of artist-led walking tours around the area, InTRANSIT has grown year on year and next month over 25 arts events will take place during the Festival’s run (13th to 27th July), with almost all events FREE to attend.

2012’s InTRANSIT will see a number of wonderful performances and events take place. These include the Portobello Road Arts Day on 14th July, when this iconic and famous West London road will be transformed into a celebration of street theatre that will include puppet shows, cabaret, dance performances and story-tellers…not to mention unusual circuses and dragons! Famous 3D street artist Edgar Mueller will also have been on site from 9th July, transforming Portobello Square and Tavistock Road, with his creations being unveiled on 14th July as well.

Sandpit at Holland Park on 15th July will be an afternoon of new games (for adults and families alike) – based around the ideas of spectacle and movement – that have been designed by artists musicians, writers and more.

If you’ve ever wanted to experiencer Parkour in the area, try RBKC Parkour on 21st July at the Portobello Pop-Up Cinema on Acklam Road, W10. This film art installation will be an interactive first-person game that features film material shot over the rooftops of Kensington and Chelsea by freerunner Karen Palmer.

I’ve mentioned before on this blog Bikeminded’s Summer Cycling Tour Programme, and their Alice in Wonderland-themed tour (18th – 22nd July), for which they’ve teamed up with the Exquisite Folly Theatre.

Councillor Nick Paget-Brown, Cabinet  Member with responsibility for the arts, said:

“This year’s InTRANSIT Festival provides fresh experiences and encounters with some of the Royal Borough’s most recognised and hidden spaces through the work of local and international artists and performers.  The Festival is an integral part of the Borough’s on-going culture service programme and our commitment to the role arts and culture have to play in making Kensington & Chelsea one of the best places to live, work and visit.”

The Festival is programmed by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, in association with leading arts organisations such as Chelsea Theatre, Hide&Seek and ReThinking Cities.

The full line-up of InTRANSIT and details of how to register for tickets (where required) can be found on the official website at

Jubilee Weekend celebrations and street parties!

There’s no way that it can have escaped your notice that next weekend (2nd – 5th June 2012) is Jubilee Weekend, which celebrates The Queen’s sixty year reign. Over the four-day weekend (thank you, your Majesty, for the extra bank holiday!) there will be all sorts of events taking place across London, both official and unofficial. Full details of official events can be found at – I personally can’t wait for The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant, when up to 1,000 boats will take to the River Thames.

If you’re in the W8 area, you may like to know that there’s a Diamond Jubilee Street Party taking place on Abingdon Road on Friday, 1st June from 6pm to 9pm. The party will feature music, magic, face painting, a raffle and tombola, a children’s fancy dress competition, and a hog roast – fun for all ages!

Check out the Street Party’s Facebook group – – for more details and information on how to purchase tickets.

Whatever you plan on doing during the Jubilee Weekend, I hope you have a great time celebrating!