This beautiful warm weather is set to continue in to the Easter weekend and most of you will be wanting to spend it outside to lap up the beginning of summer! The common with a picnic rug and a jug of Pimms might be what we’re all thinking but if you’re spending the long weekend with little ones and fancy venturing a bit further a field then why not reignite some childhood excitement and take part in one of LoveClapham’s Top 3 Easter Egg hunts!
Battersea Park Zoo Kids can enjoy searching for eggs amongst the animal houses, whilst checking out all the exotic animals. Purchase a quiz sheet and use the clues to hunt for the Easter eggs to claim your prize. £1.50 + admission fee. 9th – 24th April
Ham House This National Trust property has teamed up with Cadburys to bring together an exciting weekend of egg hunting in its beautiful gardens. Kicking off at 11am over 4 days, its ideal for children of all ages … even you ‘big kids’! £3.00. 22nd – 25th April
Kew Gardens Kew has a whole host of Easter activities taking place this weekend for all the family to get involved in. There’s an egg hunt on the 24th from 9:30am, drop in chocolate workshops from 10:30am daily, a display of Easter themed chocolate sculptures and chocolate tasting sessions. Yum!!
Have an eggscellent weekend Clappers!
Flying Fantastic is a new concept in fitness. They’re based on a model tried and tested in Buenos Aires – where the Argentines get to work out on aerial silks, ropes, trapeze and hoop and have an absolute ball while they’re doing it – Now Clappers it’s your turn! Every Tuesday night at The Wilditch Centre on Culvert Road they offer two classes which are open to everybody – not for just the super athletic or for the gymnasts amongst us! As well as keeping you fit the classes are structured in a way that you learn new skills and have fun at the same time. The teachers specialise in taking every individual’s ability into account and making it as relaxed and as enjoyable as possible. Currently they’re offering weekly classes in aerial silks. In due course they hope to be opening the doors to lots more exciting activities like trapeze, rope, aerial harness and loads more fantastic stuff.
They compete in a small Sunday league competition on Clapham Common but on Monday Huracan FC found themselves taking up page 3 of the Metro! The team were champions after their 4-0 victory on Sunday, however this wasn’t the reason they were put in the spotlight. They’ve accumulated over 2500 fans…in Argentina! Incredibly this makes them the 70th best supported team in the UK. Their Facebook page is used as a discussion point for tactics, player selection and score updates – most of the posts being in Spanish. Player manager Henry May established the club after returning from time spent living in Buenos Aires in 2009, when he became a fan of top Argentinian team Club Atletico Huracan. Henry who lives in Brixton said that popularity grew at a rate of knots when the strip was given away as a prize and the team got a shout out on the radio. To find out more about the team click here
The 80s may be gone but are by no means forgotten, as ŒOur Friends Acoustic¹ returns for a one off show in aid of learning disability charity Mencap. On Thursday 12 May at The Grand in Clapham, Nik Kershaw hosts a night which will feature performances from; Rick Astley, Toyah, T¹Pau, Cutting Crew, Hazel O¹Connor, Katrina (former Katrina and the Waves), Jimmy Sommerville (Bronski Beat and The Communards), Limahl and Nik Kershaw himself. This spectacular event promises a night to remember, as each era defining artist performs unique, acoustic versions of their greatest hits. Tickets are on sale priced at just £25, with all proceeds going to learning disability charity Mencap www.ticketmaster.co.uk – don¹t miss out on a chance to re-visit the 80s in all their glory! Round up your friends for a night of fun, 80s classics and dancing!!
Walking across the Common I noticed that work had begun setting up the fairground for the Easter week. Part of me had that childhood desire to peak over the fence and see what rides there were; recalling the memories of begging my long suffering parents to give my school friends and I £10 for the fair and running off to enjoy smashing in to one another dodgems, being scared on the ghost train and being spun nauseatingly round and round on Waltzer – good times! However I don’t know what it is but there’s something a lot less appealing about it now. I’ve been trying to put my finger on it as to what it is about them that’s changed to make me like them less, sure the prices of the rides have gone up…quite steeply but hasn’t everything? It’s not that I’m particularly worried about safety – The Health and Safety Executive carried out a safety review of fairground rides and amusement parks after the death of three children and two adults in the UK in the summer of 2000. Figures show that fatalities have remained consistently below this level ever since and rides nowadays are generally much better managed and controlled than 20 years ago. And I don’t think I’m being a general scrooge about the whole thing (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong!) but it’s the atmosphere – it used to be more of an innocent outing with games stalls, candy floss and family fun but now appears to attract only those hungry for top speed rides that spin round to the point of feeling pretty sick, propel you in to the air or fling you violently about all set to a background of deafeningly thumping music….eek, no thanks! What do you think? – agree or am I just being a kill joy?!
Clappers! Don’t forget Mothers Day this Sunday 3rd April! There are plenty of things locally to treat you mums to even if you don’t have a lot of cash to splash. Why not have a full organic breakfast from Bread Etcetera on Clapham High Street, followed by experiencing the new phenomenon of the Gara Ruffa fish treatment at the Anesis Spa on The Pavement and then on to picking up a delicious ice cream from The Macaron Patisserie just a few doors up. If the weathers not the sunny day we’d all hoped for you could head to the Picture House for a cheeky afternoon drink whilst watching a film but if the sun comes out you could head to the Common with a picnic rug and bottle of plonk! If vintage is your thing head down to Clapham North to Secondo where you can browse the retro items and potentially bag yourself a bargain. There are lots of places in and around Clapham for a classy dinner but loveclapham can personally recommend Brasserie James, The Bollingbroke, Numero Uno, The Goat and The Pavement Café for great tasting food and a relaxed atmosphere. Whether you are or aren’t seeing your mum this weekend don’t forget to send card and flowers – whatever any woman says … they always love receiving flowers!
Anesis Spa is one of the largest of its type and is based right in the heart of Clapham, but it’s far from your typical waxing, plucking and tanning salon – in fact is full to the brim of nothing but….. FISH - Garra Rufa fish to be exact. They act as cleaners removing dead scales from larger fish and at Anesis they nibble away at your feet or hands and release an enzyme called diathanol which is said to improve the skin regeneration process. I was thinking exactly what you are … gross and a little bit scary! But apparently not – according to clients, the sensation is nothing more than a slight bubbling and it leaves your skin feeling soft and smooth. The treatment is becoming ever popular with Garra Rufa fish tanks popping up at all sorts of venues such as festivals, cafés and airports. With celebrities swearing by it and members of the public booking in for regular appointments, it has become something of a phenomenon. It has only recently hit Britain in the last year but in countries such as Turkey, Syria and Iran it has been a popular treatment for many years. This weekend Anesis is offering a deluxe Mother’s Day package for £50 and your treatment will be free. For more details please click here.
Looking for something a bit arty to do in Clapham? Why not pop down to Studio Voltaire on Nelsons Row, just a short walk from the Common and visit Laura Aldridge’s first solo exhibition.
Aldridge’s visual and sculptural language engages with femininity with its use of homely and sometime folksy constructions and use of pastel colours. The work can be understood as following a tradition of a number of artists engaging with the decorative and seemingly sentimental work, particularly Ree Morton and Lily van der Stokker.
The exhibition runs from 31st March to the 14th April, open 12pm – 6pm Weds-Sat.
Zumba has taken the country by storm and literally EVERYONES talking about it! So last night I decided to bite the bullet, take a class and see what all the fuss is about. I’d heard that a popular one was Lindsay-Jay’s class at Wessex House in Clapham Junction, so along with a friend I arrived at 6:30 donning some light trousers and a strappy top because word is you get HOT HOT HOT! I was absolutely amazed to see how many people had turned up and rather relieved to see that not everyone was beautifully toned dancers – in fact there were all ages, shapes and sizes! Having found a space, almost at the front (eek!) the Latino pop music started pumping and Lindsay bounded on to a platform and began performing some simple dance steps encouraging us to follow. The pace was roughly that of an aerobics class but the moves were a lot more dance focused and rhythmical. There was a great deal of booty shaking, quick salsa inspired steps, punching the air and jumping around – it was indeed VERY hot 20 minutes in! The best thing I felt about the class was that it didn’t matter how good you were or whether you were keeping up, everyone just let themselves go and really got in to the spirit of it. Lindsay-Jay kept up a good pace throughout the class making sure you felt like you had a good work out but at the same time enjoyed yourself. She’s extremely inspiring and says ‘I’m so passionate about what Zumba does for people, especially those that wouldn’t normally exercise. It’s so much fun and its effective – it truly is exercise in disguise!’. She runs classes throughout the week, click here for further information. At the end I felt like I’d had a good hour of cardio exercise but more importantly I’d had fun – I will definitely be going back for more next week!
It’s true! The Royal Wedding is coming to Clapham!…Well almost. On the weekend of the Royal nuptials, Clapham Common is set to be transformed into celebratory campsite where the event will be shown on an enormous screen and there will be prizes for the most excitingly decorated and elaborate tent. The organisers have buddied up with National Express and Yorkshire Tea who are providing camping packages along free tea – woo! Melanie Oxley, the chairman of the Friends of Clapham Common has expressed her concern over the large amount of people descending on the area over the three days. She commented ‘if we have bad weather its going to end up looking like Glastonbury did’. Organisers are hoping for a sunny bank holiday weekend so the ground remains firm and people can enjoy the ceremony sunglasses and deck chair style with cup of tea and Union Jack in hand! The site will have its own security, toilets and hot water and will be open from April 28 to May 1 at £75pp
On Saturday I was fortunate enough to meet with Kathryn Mewes, Clapham’s very own Bespoke Nanny. With 16 years experience working with a variety of children and teenagers both in the UK and Australia, she spoke passionately about her work and recent case studies.
On first impressions Kathryn appears smiley, gentile and delightful to be in the presence of, it was immediately apparent that she could put anyone, children or adults, at their ease. She explained to me with great enthusiasm, how the Bespoke Nanny business idea came about. Kathryn graduated from the Norland College back in 1996 and has been a Nanny for a broad range of children ever since. Temper tantrums, fussy eaters, non sleepers, non speakers, twins, triplets, sibling rivalry – she’s seen everything and taken it all in her stride. She has now set up her new business focusing on spending a smaller amount of time with a larger number of families, with the intention of working together with the parents to break down and sort out problem areas and difficulties that have arisen with their children.
Parents will approach Kathryn with all sorts of issues, but nothing that seems to have ever fazed her. As a first step she will sit down with the parents for a 90 minute consultation and chat through their concerns, worries and difficulties surrounding their child and they will then devise a plan of action that will be carried out over the next few days. She will then observe the child in a daily routine and by the second day Kathryn begins to work her magic. Using games, creative activities, encouragement and reward systems and a whole host of other exciting techniques, Kathryn immerses herself in the child’s life, becoming a friend, someone they can trust and temporarily part of the family. Through these techniques and using her wealth of childcare experience she unravels sleep problems, funny eating habits, potty fears, playing and social skill difficulties and many more challenges, making sure the parents are involved and in full support every step of the way. Depending on the issue, Kathryn will be with a family for between 3 and 4 days with weekly follow up phone calls to check on progress for a month afterwards.
We are lucky enough to have Kathryn living on our doorstep in Clapham, an area that she feels ‘has a real sense of community’ and she hopes that the majority of the families she helps will be local.
Further details about Kathryn and the Bespoke Nanny service can be found at www.bespokenanny.com and Kathryn can be contacted directly at Kathryn@bespokenanny.com
Back in 2005 when Ran Avidan and Tom Molnar created GAIL’s, finding good artisan bread in London was not easy. GAIL’s decided to change the way people feel and think about bread and make good bread accessible to Londoners by putting their shops in residential neighbourhoods that had a sense of community spirit.
GAIL’s have decided that they want to create a bread revolution and change the way people think about, feel about and consume bread. They believe that ‘truly ‘good’ bread you only need flour, water, salt and yeast. You don’t need preservatives, artificial colourings, flavourings and all that jazz so GAIL’s doesn’t use them, preferring to use fresh, natural, healthy ingredients.’
Good bread has character and GAIL’s loaves are all handmade with their own special recipe. GAIL’s breads are seriously ‘slow-dough’, the most important tool in their bakery is the hands of the bakers. Each baker hand kneads the dough and looks after it while it proves for 48 hours (industrial bread takes less than an hour to prove). Like their bread, each GAIL’s shop is handcrafted to be unique and fit into its local environment. Although GAIL’s does have a number of stores, they are against the “chain” mentality where each store looks exactly the same and the people are robots. They want their customers to relax and enjoy their shops and through this connection feel a sense of community.
AS PART OF THEIR BREAD REVOLUTION CAMPAIGN GAIL’S WILL BE GIVING OUT A FREE LOAF OF BREAD WITH EVERY PURCHASE MADE IN THEIR BATTERSEA SHOP ON NORTHCOTE ROAD ON 20TH MARCH