Matt Carroll’s Cycling Escapes

This weekend The Big Feastival arrives on Clapham Common and LoveClapham wanted to let you know about  Matt Carroll a local travel writer and presenter who will be doing a reading from his latest book – Escape Routes, a selection of hand picked bike rides around England – with each route starting and finishing at a gorgeous B&B, counrty inn or independent hotel. The rides take you on scenic loops through the countryside, past farms, markets, historic houses and costal routes to hidden beaches. As well as a reading, Matt will be giving us a taste of what Escape Routes is all about with an enticing selection of specially created canapés and delicious wines from a local vineyard he discovered en route. Following this he’ll be giving a Q&A on what it takes to become a travel writer. Matt’s session takes place on Sunday 3rd at 3pm in the WI tent. For more information on Matt’s session and The Big Feastival click here.

Trinity Hospice Needs YOU!

Trinity Hospice, the Clapham-based charity which provides end of life care for the community in South West London, is recruiting a number of volunteers to assist staff with a variety of roles. Most of the positions will be based at the hospice itself or at one of its 22 shops. Commitment can be as little as three hours a week and there are lots of different roles to choose from.

Reception Assistant – This position involves working closely with the receptionist to welcome visitors to the hospice. The role will also include some administrative tasks.   Ebay Volunteer -A volunteer is needed to help the retail team to sell selected donated goods via the online auction, Ebay. Good computer and internet literacy is required as well as the ability to photograph items. The volunteer will need to be a good researcher in order to help price the goods. Duties would be during office hours. Breakfast Volunteer - This position involves working closely with the ward team to provide breakfast to patients once a week. The volunteer will help prepare and serve breakfast between the hours of 8:00 am -10:00 am. Applicants should be reliable and an ability to empathise with patients and their families. Mulberry Café Volunteer – This role is completely new with the opening of the hospice’s café area. The volunteer will work as part of team providing refreshments and snacks for patients and their families as well as for volunteers and other visitors to the hospice. Duties will include monitoring stock levels, welcoming visitors and basic food preparation. Shop Volunteer - The retail team are looking for more volunteers to help out in their 22 fashion and furniture shops across South West London. The volunteer will work closely with the shop manager helping customers, pricing the merchandise as well as operating the cash tills. The volunteer needs good customer service skills as well as being trustworthy. To volunteer or find out more information email Anne Marie on volunteering@trinityhospice.org.uk.

The Suburbians – A Night Not to be Missed!

On the 24th of June, The Suburbians play their biggest show in London to date. With an audience capacity of 1,250, The Clapham Grand is thought of as one of the UK’s most prestigious venues for touring artists and The Suburbians are ready bring the house down. The band burst on to the scene last year brimming with Essex charm and heaps of musical talent, these boys are aiming high and on a mission to ‘save good old fashioned anthemic and euphoric rock’! This show represents a big step forward for The Suburbians in 2011. Performing for steadily increasing crowds, and bigger and bigger venues, the Clapham Grand will be a night not to miss. Performing this Friday – for more information and tickets click here.

Fancy a dip on the Common?

Clapham finally gets its public swimming pool … well for the next month at least! As if by magic a pool area has been errected on the South side of the Common. The British Gas Big Dip is a swim festival featuring a 25m outdoor pool as well as a beach!   The event offers a fun day out for the whole family and those attending will be able to exercise and try water activities for all ages and abilitiy, including mini polo and coaching sessions. There is a kids club with activities and competitions for children, such as a water slide and trampolines as well as other activities throughout the day, including sand castle building  competitions and volley ball and yoga and pilates.  The beach area will also allow visitors to enjoy free time for playing in the sand. Speedo’s complete ‘Learn To Swim’ range (which includes swimwear and equipment created to help children gain confidence in the water) will be available to discover and purchase throughout the summer at the Speedo Shop. The pool will be open from 18th June to 17th July. For more information click here.

Get Loaded review & SW4

The heavens opened over Clapham Common for the majority of Sunday afternoon but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the poncho and welly clad crowd. Despite the working week looming just round the corner – beers were flowing and everyone seemed to be on fine form and ready to party. The music was never going to match that of The Isle of Wight or Download festivals which fell on the same weekend however British Sea Power, Patrick Wolf and the Noisettes particularly seemed to get people jumping up and down and enjoying themselves. Singer Shingai Shoniwa, bravely dressed in hot pants and feathers lead the crowd to a sing a long of Don’t Upset the Rhythm. One of the many highlights was French group Yelle who began by asking the crowd “Are you ready to shake your ass for real now?” followed by an enthusiastic set and energetic dancing. Golden Touch, In the Morning and America were fired out by headline act Razorlight sending revellers in to frenzied excitement, with Borrell at one point joining the crowd much to the delight of fans. But Get Loaded was just a taster of what is to come music wise to the Common this summer. August bank holiday weekend sees the return of SW4 Electronic Music Festival, with two packed days of bands and DJs such as Pendulum, Annie Mac, Pete Tong and Magnetic Man to name just a few – tickets are selling out fast – for more information and to book click here.

Feeling crafty Clapham?

There are some crafty goings on this summer south of the river and it’s time for you to get to know your local crafts heroes, the specialists who live near to you and can teach you something new. Launching this year in Tooting and Clapham, the SW Craft Club Pop-Up Events, have pulled together loads of local crafters under one roof to give you free tasters and experiences. Pop-Up Craft Events was created by Zoe Arch who comments, ‘we worked hard to create this unique type of event just for you and I’m actually quite excited about what we’ve achieved so far, there are some amazing companies taking part’.

The event is FREE to enter, all you need to do is sign up to their Facebook page which will enable you to attend both dates, the more the merrier! You can also take along your own projects, there will always be someone on hand to assist you if you are stuck or just get stuck in and soak up the atmosphere! Pop Up Craft Events take place in Tooting on the 24th July and Clapham on the 7th August from 12pm.

Best of Cornish … in Clapham

Cornish Grill at The Manor is a collaboration bringing the best of Cornish produce, cooked by the best of London’s sous-chefs at a relaxed location in the heart of Clapham. Matt Chatfield, the man behind the pop-up BBQ idea likes to call it affordable decadence – a classy, yet reasonably priced BBQ in the back gardens at The Manor, SW4.  There will be a Michelin Star chef guesting every week – So if you fancy some delicious food cooked to BBQ perfection in the heart of Clapham, then head to Manor throughout the summer on Saturday and Sunday afternoons and into the evening. The grill kicks off this Saturday the 4th of June, and prices start from £7.50. Hours:  Saturday – 4pm – 10pm Sunday – 3pm – 9pm

Get Loaded is back – NEXT WEEKEND!!

After a year out in 2010, Get Loaded in the Park is bouncing back to Clapham Common and is happening slightly earlier this year on Sunday 12th June – gates open Midday until 9pm. Razorlight are this years big headline act with Clapham being the first UK location to hear some of the new album material!  The Cribs, Noisettes, Darwin Deez, British Sea Power, Patrick Wolf, Johnny Flynn, Slow Club, Los Campesinos!, Yelle, O. Children, Alpines, Sound of Rum, Babeshadow, The Agitator, Beans on Toast, Dark Moon, and The Joker & The Thief, also confirmed. There will be a whole host of Europen food stalls on site to keep you dancing and jumping throughout the day – so if you haven’t already done so click here to purchase some of the last remaining tickets! Dorothy Perkins are running an online Facebook competition to WIN VIP TICKETS – to enter now follow this link.

The Big Feastival is coming to Clapham!

The Big Feastival is a sensational new three-day event on the festival calendar combining mouth-watering food from some of the country’s top chefs with a top drawer selection of the finest live music acts around, including The Charlatans, The Guillemots and The Mystery Jets. The Big Feastival takes place on Clapham Common on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd July, and is the first festival of its kind bringing the best things in life – friends, families, great food and drink and amazing live music – together in one place over one fantastic weekend.

 The Big Feastival is a festival with a heart, raising funds for The Prince’s Trust and The Jamie Oliver Foundation to help change the lives of disadvantaged young people. Proving food is the new rock ‘n’ roll The Big Feastival combines London’s finest gourmet experience with the look of an urban village fete and a music festival vibe, creating an extra special big day out for the entire family with food included in the standard ticket price and best of all kids can go free! To purchase tickets, get early bird rates and to find out more information click here or call 0844 888 9991.

Blind Tiger

The Blind Tiger claims to ‘envelop diners in decadence of a by gone era, taking them on a luxurious journey through an enhanced culinary experience’ at the hands of its highly regarded Head Chef Marek Novac. Brimming with anticipation and a hint of childlike excitement, my partner and I walked up to the restaurants rather unassuming black gated entrance, where we were greeted and taken back to 1920s prohibition America. The rich red walls, dark wood floors, contrasting crisp white table cloths and candlelight was reminiscent of an upper class speakeasy, which was enhanced by a live jazz singer filling the room with  the essence and romanticism of this heart racing era. Along with a generous wine and ales list, we were handed a golden envelope containing ‘prescriptions’ for forgotten cocktails. We sampled the Blood & Sand cocktail which was whiskey based, infused with cherry brandy and vermouth –   it was smooth and went down deliciously well. And we sipped a crisp Sauvignon Blanc Echervveris from large wine glasses, continually topped up by the inconspicuous yet attentive waiting staff. We started with a crispy duck salad and smoked salmon fillet. The duck was extremely flavoursome with a creative accompaniment of walnuts, blueberries and rocket, whist the salmon was delicately seasoned and mouth-wateringly tender.  The pork loin wrapped in pancetta main, came neatly arranged with a nest of runner beans and new potatoes. Salty, succulent and definitely one for the meat lovers. My partner described the lamb with warm asparagus salad and a side of spiced new potatoes as ‘wowzers!’ which can only be a positive nod in the direction of very tasty! Whilst our Strawberry Eton Mess and Lavender Infused Chocolate Fondant amply satisfied our sweet teeth, the desserts didn’t offer any real sense of adventure. However there was an exciting list of dessert wines, beers and cocktails for those wanting to sit back, relax and enjoy some more of the enticingly seductive ambiance. The Blind Tiger ‘s 1920s theme is an charming concept, it offers a varied and hearty a la carte menu with a dazzling choice of drinks, all with the added bonus of live music creating a perfect venue for a romantic date, a celebration dinner or just a quirky and entertaining evening out in the Clapham area. For more information or to book a table click here.

Clapham Quiz for Charity’s 100th Birthday

A group of volunteers is appealing for teams to enter a charity quiz to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support in celebration of its centennial year. Taking place on Friday 13 May at St Mary’s Hall, Clapham Common, the evening promises to be fun for all. Guests will also have the opportunity to buy raffle tickets to win yet more goodies, kindly donated by local businesses as well as some of London’s top attractions. Entry costs £10 per person and includes a selection of alcoholic beverages and nibbles for the table. Guests are also welcome to consume their own food on the premises. Macmillan fundraising manager for South London, Richard Scott commented: “The help we provide people with cancer is absolutely essential and we want to be able to give support to everyone who needs it. Supporting fundraising events like this is a great way of doing so and fun too!”. To book a table email southbankmacmillan@gmail.com.

Or for more information contact Nicola on 07809121015 or nikforsyth@hotmail.co.uk. Takes place this Friday 13 May at 7pm.

Battersea Pump House brought to Life

Ghosts walking dogs and other weird and wonderful sights will take over Battersea’s Pump House Gallery as its 150-year history is brought to life in a new live theatre show by artists from the People Show theatre company, accompanied by students from Roehampton  University. The production has been created using memories and stories of local residents and visitors will be taken on a journey in and around the Pump House, watching performances and listening to tales from the actors. The building was originally created to pump water to the fountains, but never really worked properly and people blame the ghosts, who they claim have always haunted the area. The cast very much play on this idea with all sorts of spooky and funny appearences popping up throughout the performance.

A fun event for all ages: People Show, 122 The Pump House Project, Pump House Gallery, Battersea Park. May 11 – 14. 6pm – 8pm.