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: www.kensingtonmums.co.uk.

The Grand Opening of the Statoil Tennis Masters on 4th December

On 4th December, the Royal Albert Hall will be hosting a very special fundraising evening – The Grand Opening of the Statoil Tennis Masters, in support of the charity Best Beginnings. Tennis legends Tim Henman, Pat Rafter, Greg Rusedski, Mark Philippoussis and Mansour Bahrami will participate in this special charity event, all playing in either singles or doubles matches.

The Grand Opening of the Statoil Tennis Masters

Best Beginnings is a small national charity that aims to give every baby in the UK a better, healthier start in life, and to change the inequality that exists for babies born in different parts of the UK. For example, a baby born in Harrow is one and a half times more likely to die before the age of one than a baby born in Kensington and Chelsea, or two and a half times more likely to die before the age of one than a baby born in Bromley. A baby born in Bradford is six times more likely to die before the age of one than a baby born in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. The charity provides families with information and support to help them improve their child’s health, wellbeing and future life chances. They also work with health professionals, supporting their work with disadvantaged parents and improving the quality of services available to all families in the UK.

Alison Baum, Best Beginnings CEO said:

“Best Beginnings is thrilled to have been chosen as this year’s charity for the Statoil Masters Tennis.  The money and profile raised on the night will help us to support more families across the UK and help them give their babies the best possible start.”

Four-time Wimbledon semi-finalist and former world number four, Tim Henman – who will be playing on the night – said:

“I’m thrilled to be playing at the Royal Albert Hall again with my old rivals and to support Best Beginnings – as a father of three I know how important it is to give children the best start in life possible.”

The Grand Opening of the Statoil Tennis Masters

The evening is the start of the Statoil Masters Tennis tournament, one of the ATP Champions Tour events which sees former world number ones, Grand Slam singles finalists and Davis Cup winners participate. These events are owned and operated by the global sports, fashion and media company IMG; Managing Director of IMG Sponsorship Charlie Grave said:

“We are delighted to announce Best Beginnings as our charity for 2013, and to stage an opening night with so many big tennis names. Rafter, Henman, Rusedski, Philippoussis and Bahrami are hugely popular, and their presence will help us to raise money for a very important cause.”

A portion of ticket sales from the tournament will also be going to Best Beginnings.

VIP packages for The Grand Opening include a champagne reception that will be attended by tennis legends and celebrities, as well as a gourmet dinner and the two matches that will take place that evening. These can be booked by calling IMG on 020 8233 5854 (please quote Best Beginnings).

Tickets for the matches only cost from £12.50 to £99.50 – you can book these by calling the Royal Albert Hall box office on 020 7070 4404 (quote code 13890 to donate to Best Beginnings) or by booking online at www.royalalberthall.com.

More details on the The Grand Opening evening can be found at www.statoilmasterstennis.com/BestBeginnings.html.

The Grand Opening of The Statoil Tennis Masters
4th December 2013
Royal Albert Hall
Kensington Gore,
SW7 2AP

Puppy Tennis – tennis classes for children – comes to Holland Park

Starting next week, there’s a new set of tennis classes for children that are being held in Holland Park – Puppy Tennis! Suitable for boys and girls aged from 18 months to five years – otherwise known as ‘pups’! – the classes will not only teach your child to play tennis, but will also serve as a way of improving coordination and taking on other key learning skills, all in a safe and fun environment.

Tennis classes for children - Puppy Tennis

Group coaching classes last 45 minutes per session, with six and twelve week bookings available from 5th November 2013; children can begin their sessions any week from then. The classes cost £72 for a six week session, or £144 for a twelve week one; there is a maximum of eight children per class.

Classes take place on a mini court, using mini rackets and sponge balls. As well as fun movement drills and hitting the sponge balls across the mini net at targets, the youngsters will be taught the basics of tennis with regards to the court, tennis scoring, different shots and simple tennis techniques. There will also be match play and imaginative tennis throughout! Week by week specifics can be found at the Puppy Tennis Course Guide.

All tennis equipment and rackets will be provided; the tennis pups just need to bring their own trainers and a water bottle to join in.

As well as classes on the tennis courts in Holland Park, there are also sessions available at Bishops Park Tennis Centre in Fulham SW6. It’s also possible to book Puppy Tennis as a kids’ party, or to book individual coaching sessions.

Puppy Tennis was founded by Katharine Brown, who has coached tennis for nine years and grew up as a national junior tennis player. She’s also a fully qualified British LTA coach, is CRB checked and First Aid trained.

For full details on Puppy Tennis, please see www.puppytennis.com.

Chelsea AutoLegends at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, Sunday 2nd September

The third annual Chelsea AutoLegends  – a unique celebration of the automotive and motorsport worlds – is returning to the Royal Hospital Chelsea on Sunday 2nd September 2012.

More than 15,000 people are expected to enjoy the collections of cars and motorcycles, as well as coming down to celebrate all types of automotive endeavour. This year’s themes include Stars’ Cars; 70s cool; and tributes to Le Mans and Formula 1. There will also be a Fast Ladies area – featuring the successes of ladies in motorsport – whilst Restoration Corner and Techno Park will show off the past and future of the automotive world.

Chelsea AutoLegends

Chelsea AutoLegends is a great day out for the whole family – featuring what must be the biggest collection of cars in London –  and is sure to be fantastic fun.

Advance tickets (available up until 31st August) cost £20 for adults and £10 for children aged 12 to 16 years. (Children under 12 go free.)

More information on the event – and to book advance tickets – at www.chelseaautolegends.com.

Chelsea AutoLegends
Sunday, 2nd September 2012
The Royal Hospital Gardens
Royal Hospital Road
Chelsea
SW3 4SR

Women’s Olympic Cycling Road Race

It can’t be just my personal opinion that the Olympics have got off to a cracking start since the opening ceremony on Friday – despite some miserable weather for part of yesterday, the excitement in London is wonderful and it seems that even the most die-hard anti-Games people have changed their minds! (Even the predicted public transport “chaos” hasn’t really materialised…but let’s not mention the empty seats issue, despite the fact that I’m sure I’m not the only one who is desperate to get their hands on more tickets!)

This past weekend saw both the men’s and women’s cycling road race take part on an wonderfully scenic course through London and down to Surrey, and back again. Starting and ending on The Mall, cyclists rode a course past Green Park, through Knightsbridge, down Old Brompton Road and Fulham Road and on to Putney and beyond towards Box Hill in Surrey where they did several laps (differing amounts for the men’s and women’s races) before returning back to London.

Whilst the men’s race on Saturday took place in brilliant weather – drawing around 1 million spectators – yesterday’s women’s race was undertaken in terribly rainy conditions for a large part of the race. (Having listened to the cyclists’ interviews post-race, this wasn’t much of a hindrance!) There was still a great atmosphere amongst all those watching the race, and it was great to see the crowds really getting behind the cyclists and cheering them on.

Many congratulations to British cyclist Lizzie Armitstead for her silver medal – and Britain’s first medal of the Olympics. What a performance!

Here are some photographs of the event from the Brompton Cross area of Fulham Road. (Many thanks to the excellent photographer – not me! – for donating the photographs for this website. He/she wanted to remain anonymous, but if you have any photos of the event you’d like to share, either post a comment below or email me at webmaster@kensington-chelsea.com – would be very happy to receive and post them!)

Women's Cycle Road Race
At Brompton Cross - the 3km to go mark
Women's Cycle Road Race
Crowds at Brompton Cross
Women's Cycle Road Race
Here come the cyclists!
Women's Cycle Road Race
The cyclists go by
Women's Cycle Road Race
Accompanying Olympics road race vehicles
Women's Cycle Road Race
The closing stages of the race - the leading trio of Olga Zabelinskaya (RUS), Lizzie Armitstead (GBR) and Marianne Voss (NED)
Women's Cycle Road Race
The chasing pack

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

Are you ready for the Olympic torch?

I can barely contain my excitement over the Olympic Games starting in London this Friday 27th July – but there’s something very exciting happening in our borough just the day before!

After having wound its way through much of the country (coming close to 95% of everyone in the UK) on a 70-day route, day 69 will see the Olympic torch travel through several areas of central London, including Kensington and Chelsea.

The torch should reach the Royal Borough at around 1.30pm, having crossed over the River Thames on Chelsea Bridge. After travelling along King’s Road and part of Fulham Road, by Brompton Cemetery, the torch will then enter Hammersmith & Fulham to pass by Fulham Broadway and go up North End Road.

At Hammersmith Road, the relay route will head towards Kensington to reach Holland Park at around 2.30pm which it will travel through (to be greeted by a truly wonderful-sounding choral fanfare!) before heading up Abbotsbury Road to Holland Park Avenue.

At this point, the torch departs to the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham once again, before returning to Holland Park Avenue at just after 4pm and travelling down it towards Notting Hill Gate, and then on to Bayswater Road, travelling along past Kensington Gardens. It then makes it way through the heart of London (Oxford Street, Regent Street, Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square and Westminster) before heading towards the evening’s celebrations in Hyde Park.

Holland Park will also be hosting a number of sports-related activities on Thursday, so there’s plenty to keep you (and any younger audience members!) occupied before the torch arrives.

See the full street map of where the torch will be going on Thursday – including the torchbearers on the route – on the official London 2012 Torch Relay website.

There’s also a very helpful page from the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea council website detailing the day’s festivities, plus any possible disruptions to the area: Olympic Torch Relay.

100 Days to the Olympics!

Today, 18th April 2012, marks 100 days until the opening of the 2012 Olympics Games that are – of course – to be held in London! We here at The Guide to Kensington and Chelsea are certainly very excited about this amazing event being held in our very own city and can’t wait to get caught up in all the fun during the Games (held from 27th July to 12th August). Yes, okay, we hear that London’s supposedly going to be super-crowded (although we’ve been told by plenty of Londoners that they’re planning on getting out of the city during the duration of the Olympics) and “transport’s going to be a nightmare” and all that but…we think it’ll be a once-in-a-lifetime experience! (I somehow think that, come the Games, the city really won’t be as congested as many people claim it will be and anyway, we’re Londoners! Surely we always take everything in our stride?!)

Olympic Velodrome

The spectacular Olympic Velodrome (picture at a London Prepares test event)

Kensington and Chelsea is participating in the Olympics as one of the venues (Earls Court Exhibition Centre) is located here, and there’s also some events taking place in Hyde Park, just outside the area. The Olympic Torch Relay will also visit the area on 26th July, the day before the Olympics opens.

We’ve written up a little guide to Kensington and Chelsea and The Olympics – take a look!

See you at The Olympics!*

* Not literally, of course. I’m not participating!