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Children in Need fundraiser at the park!

Children in Need 2014 poster It is that time of year again! Yes, it does come round quickly, and yes, you will need to dig out the following:

A onesie - your ticket to a free drink!* (only if you actually wear the thing to the park. None of this stuffing it in a carrier bag and trying to surreptitiously half-wear it. Be proud of your fleecy animal suit.)

*we donate the cost of your drink to Children in Need, so the more onesies the merrier!

Your estimating skills you'll need them for guessing the weight of the cake, (baked by the brilliant Karen of Karen's cakes and bakes) and the name of the teddy - the winning guessers get to take the cake and thee bear home!

As much cash as you can get your hands on. That is, afterall, the point. Children in Need is a brilliant cause to support with your children. This year the theme is about being a hero and raising as much money as you can.

Bring your capes. And possibly some lycra.

Be A Hero

The highlights of our morning:

At 9.45 the Theatre Train company are coming to run an excellent singing, drama and dance workshop for the under 5's.

There's lots more information about the wonderful Theatre Train workshops and classes here.

At 11.30 we've got more entertainment with Theatre Bugs who are hosting an interactive puppet show, complete with shakers, bubbles, singing and dancing.

The workshops cost just a £1 donation each, which all goes to Children in Need.

There will be special edition edible wands and Nikki's Gluten Free cupcakes for sale, and a coin Pudsey, which we'll be aiming to fill with as much change as we can. (Check your sofas, pockets and the coin jars! Raid the piggy banks!)

Pudsey

And to top it all off, we've got a colouring competition with the chance to win some great colouring goodies!

Oh, and don't let the weather worry you. If it rains, we'll put up a tent to keep the workshops dry, and we've got plenty of blankets and hot water bottles to keep fundraisers happy. That's essential.

Other fab things to do to raise some much-needed cash:
Download the official Children in Need single here
Have a look in the official Children in Need shop here
To get you in the mood, here's the video of the Children in Need song 2014: by Gareth Malone and an all-star choir, no less!
 [embed]http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ghScc6KDD0[/embed]

 

 

 

Theatre

Time to get cracking: plans for the Easter Holidays!

It's the school holidays. It's time to think up a million and one interesting things to do without breaking the bank, or indeed, your sanity. Well, we've got ten things to get you thinking. And if you need more thinking time, come and do it in the fresh air at the Kiosk, with a piece of cake and a restorative hot drink. That's the best way to think, we find.

1. Go to the swings: visit the new playground at Russell Park. It's ACE. And frankly, if a slide is good enough for Dave the Mayor, (yes, he really did!) it's good enough for all of us...

Slide

2. Go to the theatre: check out the great kids theatre that's on over the next few weeks at University of Bedfordshire Theatre - the programme includes a production of The Just So Stories by Red Table Theatre on Sunday 6th April, 

Tressabrooks500

3. Go on an Easter egg hunt! Eggsplore is a new Easter Egg hunt around Bedford town centre on 12th April  -start at the BedPop shop (the old Pizza Hut building on the High Street) anytime between 10am and 3pm. For more info, check out their Facebook page here. There is also a bunny hunt for little ones, the Circus of Illustration will be on hand for drawing-based fun, and you can collect discounts at independents along the hunt!

4. Get on your bikes! Take the section of route 51 between Priory Country Park and Willington to the Danish Camp and burn off the pre-Easter snack-fest. (This option has the added bonus of wearing the kids out. At least for a bit!)

5. Visit our little free library! If you are doing a spot of spring cleaning, why not sort the books you've read but would love other people to read too - and donate them! You can swap them for other reading adventures-in-waiting.

6. Run away to the circus - at Willington!  Frosts Garden Centre at Willington are hosting a circus! Between Tuesday 15th and Sunday 20th April , with performances at 10.30am, 12.30pm, 2.30pm & 4.30pm. Book tickets (£5.99 per person) here.

circus

7. Go to the movies!(for less.) The showings at Cineworld on Saturday mornings are just £1.50! And on Saturday 5th April, these include: Sherman and Mr Peabody, Frozen and Justin and the Knights of Valour! More info here, but we advise you book online to avoid disappointment and popcorn-grief.

8. Go to the Museum! The Higgins is a great day out anyway - but during the holidays they have loads of extra creative activities including workshops where you can try watercolour paintings (8th April) or build a (model) tractor, (11th April) or learn all about wool, (15th April) or find out which trees different wood comes from, (9th April) and then a chance to bring the foyer of the museum into bloom with by making paper daffodils and flowers. (16th April). All workshops are suitable for children over 3, and cost £2.20 per child. More details here.

9. Bake a cake! If you need any inspiration, why not check out one of our favourite websites they draw and cook.com. Beautifully illustrated recipes, and a great way of engaging kids.

10. Build something incredible from Lego.  Anyone who fancies building a tiny version of Kiosk in The Park is very welcome to try! Here are the treats ready for you...

cakes

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doodles at The Kiosk - for charity!

It's NATIONAL DOODLE DAY tomorrow! What a wonderful national celebration - all in aid of the Epilepsy Action  charity. Doodling is fab, because even if you're not the finest artist in the universe, you can still do a very brilliant doodle. And, it helps pass the time in life's less-interesting scenarios too. (Afterall, who HASN'T drawn a masterpiece or three whilst on hold on the phone to a Very Dull Call Centre?) national_doodle_day_logo

So we've decided to celebrate the day of the doodle too. All day at The Kiosk at the Park, there will be paper, pens, and space on the doodle doors. (That's just the regular door of the Kiosk, by the way.) If you, your child, your dog or your arty friend want to pop by and draw a doodle, we'll stick it to out doodle doors. We'll even pick a winner! If you do draw a doodle, we'll ask that you leave a doodle donation in the pot, which we'll send off to Epilepsy Action.

If you can't make it to the Kiosk - you can still join in. There are forms available to download on the website here, which you can send off with a donation to be entered into the National Doodle Day competition! - You could even win your doodle made into a cuddly reality by Lucy Moose!

Image

And National Doodle Day is made even more delightful by the involvement of the legendary Lord Dodo,

The famous Dodo-Pad

manufacturer of the very finest Dodo Pads, eminently suitable for doodling!

If you need some inspiration, just look what local illustrator David Litchfield achieved when he did a drawing a day for a year.

Little Free Library at the Kiosk at the Park

Our very own little free library in situ at The Kiosk Those of you who follow us on Twitter and Facebook will know that we've had a book-themed plot up our sleeves for a while now - but if you've not heard the news - a Little Free Library is now in situ at Kiosk at the Park! Masterminded by local book enthusiast Rachael Rogan, it's a free community library - on a very small scale. We asked Rachael to tell us about the inspiration behind her idea of bringing the Little Free Library to Bedford, and what plans she had for it:

"When I first read about the Little Free Library movement I felt the surge of excitement normally reserved for the release of the latest Neil Gaiman novel. A friend, knowing of my love for all things book-like, pointed me to the growing number of over-sized birdhouses popping up across the US, housing books for locals to freely take, enjoy, return or exchange. As she said, “It seems like your kind of thing Rach…”. A dollhouse filled with books? What’s not to fall deeply in love with, begin obsessing over and make your latest mission?

On further reading I discovered that, not only was it deeply exciting, but it had a broader mission - to promote four of my favourite things: a sense of community, reading for children, literacy for adults, and libraries. By this stage I was hyperventilating and only dogs could hear me. Of course, the first step, ‘Build a library’, was fairly problematic, given that I have absolutely no skills in the rather necessary areas of carpentry, joinery, making things waterproof…

Luckily, an idea like this seems to attract the interest of other like-minded souls. And when one of those souls, local Handy Man Marc Simpson, happens to be something of a Grand Vizier of Craftsmanship, the result is a thing of beauty worthy of housing Bedford’s favourite books. A random text to local High Priestess of Horticulture (and Gardening Editor at The Guardian) Jane Perrone along the lines of “Oooh, wouldn’t it be cool if the Little Free Library had a green roof??” led to a Marc/Jane collaboration, which led to the creation of a living canopy. And a hesitant, “Do you think The Kiosk would like a Little Free Library..?” to Coffee Overlords Emma Garrett and Nansi Rose, provided it with a loving home.

In fact, from that first over-excited, optimistic moment, the Little Free Library has taken on a life of it’s own. As word has spread the book donations have flooded in – beloved favourites from locals, contributions from authors, even packages from publishers. However, it’s important that the library starts as it means to go on - something created by everyone, for everyone. So when the Library arrives at it’s new home after storytime at The Kiosk at The Park on Monday, it will be empty. We’re inviting you to fill the library with your favourite books in time for the big launch on Saturday 22nd February.

Do you have a book that you go back to again and again? Something you’d like to share with friends - and soon-to-be-friends? Spread the love – become part of the Little Free Library movement! "

http://vimeo.com/72957294

Another local bookworm, aged 8, has already got going on that last very important bit - filling the Little Free Library with great books - and has made a list of five of her all-time favourites:

Clever Polly and the Stupid Wolf by Catherine Storr

The Great Paper Caper by Oliver Jeffers

The Paper Dolls by Julia Donaldson

Atticus Claw Breaks the Law by Jennifer Gray

Alfie gets in First by Shirley Hughes

All time favourites of an 8 year old

We've found that all of these are available second-hand from Amazon Marketplace OR on Ebay, for the princely sum of between 1p and 50p, plus postage. Which is an excellent way to ensure that the Little Free Library stocks great recommendations, if you want to lend your favourite stories without having to donate your own copies.

The Grand Opening (including ceremonious cutting of the ribbon by exciting local Bedford book-celebrity!) of Bedford’s first Little Free Library will take place at 10:30 am on Saturday 22nd February.  Please join us for free 'Hungry Caterpillar' cake and try your hand at designing your own bookplate.

And, if you can't wait til the weekend, don't forget, The Library is now in place at The Kiosk at the Park (Russell Park) and the books are already flying in and off the shelves!

We've been collecting some beautiful pictures of Little Free Libraries on Pinterest - have a look at some amazing ones here! Please spread the word that the Little Free Library movement has come to Bedford - and share your books with us!

Owls at The Kiosk!

Tomorrow  at 10am, we welcome Ian from Forest Owl Forest School to The Kiosk at The Park! To get you in the mood, he's sent us a few owl-facts (via owl-post, obviously). Did you know that there are over 200 different species of Owls? (Wow!)

These include the rather festive sounding Cinnamon Screech Owl,

cinnamon_screech-owl_IMG_9904

The magnificent Snowy Owl:

Snowy Owl

And the teeny tiny Elf Owl!

ELF OWL

There are loads more owls, which you can look up here. We'd love to know what your favourite owl is! (We love the sound of an elf owl, although presumably they are busy this time of year, what with all that wrapping and packing of presents for Father Chrsitmas!)  Whichever one you like the sound of best, why not join us tomorrow at the Kiosk when we welcome Ian from Forest Owl Forest School - you can even make your very own toilet roll owl or even a festive toilet roll Robin.

Come along from 10am and bring some toilet roll inners (don't worry if you can't find any we will have some spares) and Ian from Forest Owl will show you how to make either an Owl or a festive Robin just like these handsome chaps:

 Owl toilet roll 1

 OWL TOILET ROLL2

Forest Owl, Forest School is a new Bedford based organisation that will be offering, alongside their work teaching curriculum based lessons at schools across Bedfordshire, some exciting birthday party ideas and curriculum based “subject booster” Saturday clubs from their new woodland base in Bromham starting in January 2014.

Forest Owl

For more information and for some great fun forest based ideas follow Forest Owl on Facebook here.

See you there! Milk, biscuits, Christmas snacks and more will be on sale as usual for hungry crafters and their owls!  We'll have special themed cupcakes and mulled wine  as well as some very yummy gluten-free mince pies.  Last but not least we are also launching the latest deliciousness from Malmesbury Syrups 'Bah Humbug' - deliciously minty in a hot chocolate or latte!

New - Bah Humbug Syrup

Halloween at The Kiosk

If you are in the mood for some spooky fun on Halloween (and let's face it, Halloween is the perfect time for spooky fun,) then look no further than the Kiosk, where the Circus of Illustration are hosting a spooky spectacular! Do go and check out the Circus of illustration's website - they are a friendly and extremely talented bunch of Bedford illustrators. The only people ever - probably - to have designed and made an illustrated fold-out doll of the Mayor of Bedford. (With or without beard.) Halloween

Off trick or treating? The Kiosk is the perfect place to stop off at on the way! We've got a fancy dress competition, AND a prize for the best-in-show pumpkin. There's also a spooky puppet workshop and scary facepainting.  And of course we do have our own rather marvellous range of treats: giant cookies, cupcakes, malteser squares, hot chocolate to warm your ghostly hands. What with that, plus The Circus of Illustration, who have plenty of tricks up their sleeves... we've got Halloween covered!

If you need a bit of home-made costume inspiration, why not try the suggestions here?

Photo: AllYou.com

And if you are hosting a ghoulish party of your own - be sure to check out one of our favourite bloggers' guides to Halloween fun. Single Slummy Mummy's blog of ghostly wisdom can be read here.

Last year the Circus hosted a spooky Drink and Draw session at The Kiosk. Here are a few artistic highlights...

pumpkin3 Pumpkin Pumpkin2 lantern 1

 

 

 

 

Hedgehog Art

It's been a few weeks since our sunny day of hedgehog creation in the park.  We thought that you might like to see the winning entries, chosen by illustrator Katy Dynes from a huge selection of inspired designs. Katy told us that it was 'really hard to choose - so many of the hedgehogs were amazing and showed so much imagination!' Russell the Hedgehog by Sarah

Russell the Hedgehog by Ella R.

Russell the Hedgehog by Ella

Russell the Hedgehog by Fenya

Russell the Hedgehog by Harry

Russell the Hedgehog by Isabelle

Russell the Hedgehog by Olivia

Russell the Hedgehog by Polly

As you can see we have a huge range of Russell designs, from the natural look - leaves and pinecones, to soft pink with a yellow nose; there are floral patterns and pom-pom accessories, plus the addition of a surfboard in one.  All of the ones that we picked showed a great deal of personality - essential for a cheeky hedgehog living near the Kiosk.  Katy took elements of all these winning designs for her final  soft toy of the Kiosk mascot Russell - to be unveiled VERY SOON! Much excitement! We've got some fab interviews with some of the winning artists coming up on the blog, as well as, obviously, the first photos of our very own mascot Russell. Paparazzi moment!

If you would like to collect your work of Russell-Art - perhaps to hang above your mantelpiece, they are all available for collection from the Kiosk. Thank you all for your imaginative entries.

Did you know that we are starting an e-newsletter to keep you in the loop about all the activities we run, and what exciting events are coming up? If you'd like to receive it, please email kioskatthepark@gmail.com with your details.

OXJAM at The Kiosk!

Sunday is going to be really special this week, because this Sunday we host OXJAM at the Kiosk! YEAH! Live music, a photo competition and face painting, all going towards raising money for a fantastic cause. And sunshine is promised too, just to make it tip-top and extra special. Image

We chatted to Oxjam's lovely Clare Sullivan about all things Oxjammy:

So. What is Oxjam?

Oxjam is a programme of events nationally, throughout October, all raising money for Oxfam. Since the first event in 2006, Oxjam has raised over £1.5m for Oxfam’s life-saving emergency responses and life-changing development work. That’s enough money to buy 13,000 emergency shelters, 60,000 goats or 900 classrooms.

Who are Oxjam Bedford?

Oxjam Bedford are a team of unpaid volunteers, working hard to bring some fantastic events to Bedford, whilst raising money for Oxfam.

What’s going on at Oxjam At The Kiosk?

12pm - 12.30pm: Mat Roberts leads a live jam session 12.30pm - 1pm: The Frogs' Chorus (children’s music, songs and dancing) 1pm - 1.30pm: Oh My (close harmony acoustic duo) 1.30pm - 2pm: Sean Morris (Americana acoustic) 2pm - 2.30pm: Liam Burke (English anti-folk) 2.30pm - 3pm: Kam Singh (acoustic balladry and winner of 2013 Bedford Battle of the Bands) 3pm - 3.30pm: Andrew R Hubbard of The Shtooks (popular acoustic covers and originals) 3.30pm - 4pm: Cicero Buck (everyone’s favourite Acoustic Rock/Folk/Pop/Blues duo, one half of whom co-wrote the smash hit ‘No More I Love Yous’)

There'll also be a tip-top tombola, games, face painting, as well as all the usual Kiosk fun including table tennis and mini golf.

Everyone is welcome to join the live jam session but please note that the event is completely unamplified so if you play electric bass, please bring a small amp and we can provide the power!

Clare said "We're delighted to be coming back to the Kiosk - we had a great time last year and hope for an even better day this year!"

We'll be running a photo competition on the day, so if you'd like to be in with a chance of winning a delicious hamper of Kiosk goodies, bring your camera/phone down on Sunday and get snapping! The prize goes to the photo we think best sums up the day.

The event is free to attend but all donations will be very welcome and will support Oxfam's life-saving emergency responses and life-changing development work.

On the day there'll be a chance to enter the Oxjam raffle - the prize being £1,000 in cash! Well worth a ticket or two...

OK, I’m in, what about other Oxjam stuff….. What’s this ‘Oxjam Bedford Takeover’?

The highlight of the Oxjam Bedford events programme is the Oxjam Bedford Takeover, ‘taking over’ Bedford’s best live music venues on Saturday 19 October. The Takeover is a one-day multi-venue music festival, featuring the best of Bedford’s local music talent. One wristband will give you access to the Takeover venues, featuring over 60 great bands, performers, and DJs, all coming together to support one fantastic cause.

Who is playing the Oxjam Bedford Takeover?

You can catch The Scruff, The Jebs, The Bedford Arts Choir, Midnight Taxi, Danni Nicholls, Buzzard Lope, Sunsinger, Jonny Mudd, Tucky Tulloch, Sean Morris, Liam Burke, The Doghouse Roses, Near Moments, Healyum, The Metatrons, Kinkaid, Credit to the Nation, Kerry-Jo Hodgkin, Paul Hegley Band, Cicero Buck, Frogs Chorus, Electric Uke Orchestra, Robed In Desire, Council Tax Band and many more!

Sounds good – where can I get tickets?

Tickets are on sale now for the advance price of £8 at Danny’s Bar (Esquires), Luscious Juice Bar, The Cheese Kitchen, The Bear, The Bedford Arms, Kiosk At The Park and The Music Centre. You can also buy online – go to www.oxjambedfordtakeover.co.uk for more information.

How else could I get involved?

  • Performers – we’ve been overwhelmed with performer requests this year and are currently at capacity for performers. However, things can and no doubt will change in terms of the line-up so if you’d like to be considered for a slot, please email Clare Sullivan at oxjam.bedfortakeover@gmail.com
  • Volunteers – we’d love to hear from brilliant bucket shakers, and magnificent marketers, as well as anyone with any sound or live music production.
  • Sponsors – a range of great value sponsorship packages are available to local businesses who’d like to support a great event and a trusted charity brand. Email oxjam.bedfordtakeover@gmail.com for more information.

Thank you Clare! A combination of live music, Kiosk snacks, sunshine and tombola-ing is music to our ears!

Last years' winning Oxjam photo by Gemma Rogers

A festival of Hedgehogs!

Did you know that the collective noun for hedgehogs is 'a prickle of hedgehogs' ? Neither did we!  If you want to look up more delightful collective nouns for animals, take a peek at this list. We especially love 'a sleuth of bears' and 'an ambush of tigers' . Anyway, last Wednesday, a rather large prickle of hedgehogs started to appear on the grass by The Kiosk - all designed by local Kiosk Kids. Part of our Hedgehog Mania event was the task we set children to design Russell the hedgehog, which could be made into a soft toy mascot for The Kiosk by local illustrator and designer Katy Dynes. Never ones to shirk from a good designing task, the kids unleashed their creative sides and this rather good-looking prickle of hedgehogs appeared:

What a good looking bunch!

Katy offers some design advice

HedgehogBlog4

Everyone did really well, and we were amazed to see the creativity of the Kiosk Kids - no two Russells were the same - we had multi-coloured ones, collage hedgehogs, Russells with acorns and leaves and pinecones, fluffy pom-pom noses, hedgehogs on surfboards, pink hedgehogs, green ones...

Katy and Jo, who organised the craft activities, are currently looking at a selection of the entries, which Katy will then use to create the final mascot. Well done to everyone who contributed - Russell will be a really special hedgehog, made up of your ideas!

As well as the craft, we also had a VIP guest - Honey the African Pygmy Hedgehog! She was visiting us with the team from Shepreth Hedgehog Hospital. who talked to everybody about hedgehogs and how we can help them. Honey was a bit of a hit to be honest. We fully expect that diva-like behaviour may follow very soon.

Honey the Hedgehog wows the crowds

We were then treated to a really special storytime with Jane Lambourne from Wassledine. Jane is a storyteller who creates tales that are based on the nature around us. She also carries and exciting trunk of fairytale objects - including the apple that poisoned Snow White; the children were completely spellbound, we have it on good authority that several of them are still speaking in hushed tones about the glass slipper they saw and the hedgehog adventures...

As well as all of this, we had (hedgehog) biscuit decoration, guess the weight of the (hedgehog) cake, and some really rather fabulous face-painting thanks to local students Sophie and Millie. We raised money for the Hedgehog Hospital, and had a brilliant time while we were at it. What a great morning. Watch this (hedgehog shaped) space for the first glimpse of new-look Russell, created by you, coming soon!

It was all summed up very nicely by a lovely customer who left this feedback on our facebook page:

"My girls had a fab time at the hedgehog activity today, my folks took them and raved about it. The lady who ran it -Katie- was fab and really great with the kids and Emma thought it was so cute the way Honey kept trying to hide in the ladies' cardigan! My girls came back very happy and with beautifully painted faces - thank you!"

This kind of event really emphasises how it is you - the local community - who make The Kiosk a really special place to come. Thank you for your support and your enthusiasm. Thank you for bringing your imaginative children along to take part in our events and to enjoy them! Massive thank-yous also go to Jane from Wassledine who generously gave us her time, to the team from Shepreth, to Karen Bland for her incredible hedgehog cake and to Jo Midgely and Katy Dynes for their work organsing the event and help with the craft.

Decorate a biscuit...

Guess the weight of the hedgehog cake

Hedghog face paint

Hedgehog Mania!

So we told you that we were planning a hedgehog-themed event. Missed that? Catch up with hedgehog news AND an exclusive interview with local illustrator Kitty Dinners here. Well, we got rather carried away, and made it an even MORE exciting event! If you've got school-age kids, it's that point in the holidays where the children are getting a bit...restless (have we put that politely enough?). So we've put together a programme of events to suit all kinds of wriggly children (and hedgehogs.) The date to remember is Wednesday 28th August! Hedgehog in the wild!

The emphasis of HedgehogMania is on creating a mascot for the Kiosk: Russell the Hedgehog. We want your input! What does Russell look like? What are his favourite Kiosk snacks? And who does he hang out with? Katy Dynes (aka Kitty Dinners) will be on hand from 10am for drawing, collage-making and colouring. We've got handy hedgehog templates for less-confident artists, and lots of paper, pens and sparkly stuff to decorate your creations.

At 10.30 we have our guests of honour: visitors from Shepreth Hedgehog Hospital, with an African Pygmy Hedgehog called Honey! They'll be showing off the tiny hedgehog, as well as giving advice on what to do if you find an injured or orphaned hedgehog, and what to feed any spiky visitors to your garden on to keep them healthy.

We'll have a brief pause about 10.50 for drinks and snacks, as you'll need to be sitting comfortably for 11am when we are VERY lucky to be welcoming storyteller Jane Lambourne. Jane specialises in nature-based storytelling, and believes that 'every place has a story to tell' - so she's the perfect person to help us shape some stories and ideas about the wildlife around the Kiosk. This should be one very special storytime at the Kiosk!

Baby African Pygmy Hedgehog

From 11.30 until 12.30 there'll be more opportunities to create your own version of Russell - the winning design will be made into an actual soft toy mascot by Katy - so it's worth having a go - you could be designing a really special hedgehog! As well as craft, there will be facepainting (free!), hedgehog biscuit* decoration (small charge per biscuit). All profits and any other donations from HedgehogMania will go to the Shepreth Hedgehogs - wristbands will also be available for pocket-money prices.

If this has tickled your fancy for all things hedgehog - this is a good place for finding out more 'hog-info.

Oh, and if you've got any soft toys or books that need a change of scene (hedgehog themed or otherwise), bring them along on Wednesday for The Great Kiosk Cuddly Toy & Book Swap - a great way to rejuvenate the playroom!

Sometimes it is wrong to resist pictures of hedgehogs in knitted hats. This is one of those times.

Also on Wednesday is a public consultaion about the exciting new play equipment that will replace the old timber-frame multi-play units in the playground area. The organisers want your ideas, and your childrens' design for a 'signature piece' - designed to the specification of the many young children who play in this part of the playground. The meeting will be held from 12-3 in the play area - please pop along and help shape the future of our park!

See you on Wednesday!

*that's a biscuit in the shape of a hedgehog, rather than a biscuit for a hedgehog, in case you were wondering!

Paper Dolls at The Kiosk

The Paper Dolls As well as all the other super holiday things we have planned (don't forget our Playhouse at the Park next Monday, and our 500 words of summer story competition!) we are also taking part in a WORLD RECORD ATTEMPT! It doesn't involve daring deeds or baked beans, instead we are helping to make the worlds' longest paper doll chain! To celebrate the brilliant Paper Dolls book by Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb, (if you haven't read it - read it now! It's an amazing book!) publishers Pan Macmillan are organising the record attempt - trying to get a chain of dolls 3km long!

That is 60 lengths of an Olympic swimming pool. Or 270 London buses... and about 11,500 of their paper doll templates!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYoVq1LfDIs

The paper doll templates are available to download from the website, and you can choose the one to colour in, or the one where you can design your own dolls. You could try superhero dolls, or fairytale-themed dolls, or space man dolls...

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYoVq1LfDIs]

And for every paper dolls chain we send in,  Pan Macmillan will donate 10p to Save the Children.

Work started last Monday at our storywriting workshop, and we've got a few templates for you to collect and colour in at the Kiosk. Alternatively, you can download and print the template here. You can send in your entry online, or by post- all the details are on the website. You can also hand in your dolls at the Kiosk and we will send them all off together. We've got a good collection already - but remember that for every set sent in, another 10p is raised for Save the Children - so the more of you that get creative, the more money we can raise for charity!

We have until 31st August 2013 to complete the record - so get colouring and designing, folding and cutting! You can check the doll-o-meter on the website to see how the record attempt is going. If you'd like to hand your dolls in at the Kiosk, please do so by Monday 26th August so we can send them in on time to be part of the 11,500 sets of dolls!

500 Words of Summer

Ever dreamed of writing your own book? Do you secretly dream of being an author like Julia Donaldson or JK Rowling? Would you like to wrote a short story, just to get started? Well, if so, we have marvellous news for you. The Kiosk at the Park is delighted to announce that we will be running a storywriting competition over the summer holidays! We're teaming up with local authors and book enthusiasts to get the children (and grown ups!) of Bedford writing stories. There are no set themes or rules about what you have to write about - it just needs to be 500 words or under. There will be EXCELLENT prizes for the winning story plus two runners up in each category. Winners will be decided by a panel of expert judges. There are four age categories:

Up to 9 years (If your 9th birthday is after the 26th August 2013, that's the one for you.)

9-13 years (for those with 13th birthdays after the 26th August)

13-18 years (for those with 18th birthdays after the 26th August)

18 years plus (you know who you are.)

Just one entry per person please, and you'll need to hand your stories in to the Kiosk before 6pm on the 26th August. We'll have some forms for you to fill in your contact details.

If you'd like some help getting started, there will be a drop-in storywriting workshop (with a bit of storytime for the younger ones) on Thursday 25th July at the Kiosk from 10-12. Keep checking the blog and our facebook page for more details - and make sure you tell all of your friends!

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An afternoon at The Higgins

Are you excited about the re-opening of The Higgins ? We were! So on a very sunny Sunday, we went to have a nose around. The new look museum and gallery is light, airy and beautifully laid out. The courtyard entrance, decorated with brightly coloured bunting and which hosts a lovely cafe, is the perfect welcome. It was great to see some community art projects alongside beautiful works by Edward Burne-Jones, Rosetti and William Burges. The 'A Sense of Place' exhibition was curated by artists Alex Julyan and Lucy Wilson and brings together works by ten different community groups, all exploring their sense of 'place.'  It is part of The Higgins’ Audience Development Project, which is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. All of the groups have all had a relationship with The Higgins for some time and include family carers, from Carers in Bedford, (read more about the group here) adults with learning disabilities, first-generation Italian migrants, members of the Polish British Integration Centre and people in new housing area, Wixhams.

You can see more work by Carers in Bedfordshire at the Tourist Information Office from 21st May 2013 until the 25th July 2013 and then at Borough Hall from 25th July 2013 until 1st October 2013.

Here are a few highlights of a lovely day out in Bedford's Cultural Quarter.

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If you are worried about whether it is wise to take children to a museum, then take a look at this 'colouring station' - loads of sheets to colour so that your offspring can 'redesign' some of the artwork without being evicted from the premesis. A good range of well-sharpened colouring pencils too: no blunt crayons here!

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There is also a brilliant afternoon tea section with lovely tea sets and cake stands for the kids to play with whilst you learn about the local origins of this great British tradition, and a dressing up box full of bonnets, top hats and long gloves for children to try on.

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The exhibition of William Burges' painted furniture; his Sleeping Beauty bed and Narcissus mirror were a particular highlight, as was the Edward Bawden exhibition, and The Great Bedfordians section. And there is a great history of the British Afternoon Tea ritual (of which we are known to be partial to at The Kiosk.) Oh, and a porcelain cauliflower. You don't see many of those. The gift shop has got some lovely items, and enough pocket-money buys to keep the smaller visitors satisfied. It is also worth noting that The Higgins offers rooms and gallery space to hire out for events;  it would make the perfect venue for meetings, workshops and other events - there are concessionary rates for charities. See here for details.

All in all, The Higgins is a triumph, and a credit to Bedford. We can't wait to go back for more!

Summer Holiday Plans

Parents of small and not so small children throughout Britain are currently preparing themselves for the onslaught of the Summer Holidays. Yes, it is a lovely school-free time to spend hanging out with your offspring, but with unpredictable summer weather and squeezed family budgets, it can be a somewhat testing time for many.

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Fear not! We have compiled a list of seven of the best summer holiday activities, all local, all brilliant, many recommended by friends of the Kiosk. (Other mums are such a valuable source of information when it comes to things like this.) So, grab a pencil and pen and a cup of tea, put your feet up and plan some summer holiday fun.

In at number one, it has to be the VERY recently re-oped Higgins gallery in Castle Quay's summer activities. View the full list here, but our pick of the lot would have to be the Who Stole the Ducks? event on Tuesday 30th July.

“You’re the detective: solve the clues, find the evidence, interview the witnesses and present your case to the Justice, during this fun family day on Victorian crime.” Join in Wednesdays and Fridays (11-1, 2-4pm 31st July - 28th August) sound pretty good as well – just £2 to join in and make, free play for the under 3's.

Next up: Tennis! We've gone tennis mad here at the Kiosk recently, and if you would like your kids to do the same, why not sign them up for one of Riverside Tennis Club's holiday camps?

There is a massive range of tennis courses, plus football for the under 12s. They take children from 3 years at Tennis nippers, right up to 11-18 year olds at their RAW Tennis Camp. Have a look at their information here, or contact them on doc@riversidetennis.co.uk or 01234 352726

The Bunyan Meeting church, which incidentally, is one of Bedford's most interesting historical buildings, will be running their popular holiday club from 13-15 August, 10-12.30. A mix of fancy dress, games and craft, the sessions are open to children 4 and over. For more information, call the office on 01234 213722

Kidsize activity camps are highly recommended by lots of Kiosk regulars. Based this summer at Biddenham Upper, Redbourne Upper and Cranfield University sports centre, they offer a multitude of sport and other activities, including cooking, nature, construction and performing arts. They offer an early bird session from 8-10am, and a late stay from 4-6pm, as well as the core 10-4pm session; a great thing for working parents! Have a read of their extensive programme here.

Bedford Modern School offer a amazing range of activities from athletics to debating, jewellery making to swimming. All sessions are for half days, from 9.30-12.30 or from 1.30-4.30, with early bird and late flyer sessions available. You can browse their summer 2013 brochure and use their online booking form here.

Bedfringe has put on an excellent programme for children this year, including the rather marvellous-looking 'Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus'  in the Harpur Suite from Sunday 28th-Tuesday 30th July. You can look at the Childrens' Theatre programme here, but don't forget to check out the rest of the Bedfringe events, there are a great range of free events as well as the ticketed ones.

We can't resist a plug for our own theatre event of the summer: The Playhouse at the Park event in Russell Park on August the 5th WHEN the Oxford  Playhouse will be bringing a pop-up theatre to the park - and it looks like it will be BRILLIANT.

Remember, if all else fails (as sometimes it does,) just come along to the Kiosk. We will be here in all summery types of weather, from welly to flip-flop. We have Duplo and colouring, coffee and sanity. There are always plenty of children and similarly vexed parents to sympathise with. We do offer lunchboxes as well now, so if you have run out of picnic food, you can give them lunch at the Kiosk. As well as the playground, we have tennis, mini golf and table tennis to offer. Storytime sessions continue throughout the summer, where we'll be welcoming a team of Superstar Storytellers for stories, songs, milk and biscuits on Monday mornings. Keep checking the blog and facebook page for updates and more information.

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Bedford Girls join the Race For Life

The Race for Life is speeding through Bedford on Sunday - and this year, the pink-tastic charity race has got, well, a bit arsey. Race for Life 1

That's the official slogan of the race, which sums it all up perfectly. Women all over the country are being encouraged to 'gang up' on cancer and come out and walk or run in support of friends, family and loved ones who have had, or are currently fighting cancer. Race for Life is a really important fundraiser for research into the treatment for all kind of Cancers. It is the UK's only female-only fundraising event, and since it began in 1994, an incredible six million participants have helped to raise over £493 million - all of which has gone towards funding research into cancer treatment which will save lives.

A group of enthusiastic Kiosk customers (we must refrain from ever calling them Kustomers) and friends are running a very special Race for Life this year. We are celebrating the great and very lovely Hattie, who successfully and with great dignity fought cancer last year.  We are also supporting another dear friend, Rachael, who  is currently kicking all kinds of hell out of her Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Rachael was diagnosed with an aggressive form of the disease earlier this year, and this is her story.

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Despite having to contend with the realities of living with cancer alongside being a mum to Jack and Libby and proud co-owner of two incredibly enthusiastic rescue dogs, Rachael is not one to take her diagnosis lying down.  Instead, she has launched herself into several fundraising projects for the Lymphoma Society,  is learning how to make superfood snacks a way of life, and has been modelling a very stylish Picc line (the line through which the chemotherapy drugs are delivered) cover made specially for her by a friend. Although she is on an intensive form of chemotherapy (escalated BEACOPP), Rachael has made the choice to face her diagnosis head-on, and has risen to the challenge with an astonishingly positive attitude and an enviable sense of humour.

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Rachael has been joined in her fundraising efforts by her rather wonderful sister Rebecca - who, when learning that Rachael's treatment would mean the loss of her lovely long brown hair, decided that she would shave her own (also gorgeous and long) hair off in an act of sisterly solidarity. You can see the beautiful photos and story of the Bald Chick Challenge here:

http://www.davegreaves.co.uk/bald-chick-challenge-lymphoma/

Both Rachael and Rebecca donated their hair to the Little Princess Trust, which makes real-hair wigs for children who have lost their hair due to cancer treatment. The huge amount of money raised from the bald chick challenge has gone to the Lymphoma Society.

So, this Sunday, Hattie, Rachael and friends - including Kiosk at the Park photo supremo Gemma Kirkham, who is 36 weeks pregnant no less, will be running/walking/waddling in the Race for Life wearing pink tutus, massive smiles and some very special T-shirts, the logo on which has been created by Australian designer Danielle Tiedeman whose sister also successfully fought Hodgkin's Lymphoma.  Look out for them - they'll be easy to spot!

The profits from the T-shirts that have been sold are also going to The Lymphoma Society.

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The word 'inspirational' is used so much these days, to the extent that it almost seems like an understatement to use it here. But Rachael, and Hattie, and the courage, humour and determination with which they have faced this horrid disease head-on and fought it, are truly inspirational. There are many other stories like theirs, of young people who continue to live their lives around their treatment, who refuse to let cancer take over.  In fact, nearly everybody has a cancer story. If it isn't a story about you, perhaps you have a sister, a brother; a mum or a dad or a friend who has battled with cancer. Or perhaps you are one of the millions of angry people who don't want to live in fear of one day having your own cancer story, and want to fight back now.

Rachael, Hattie and the 'Fighting for Friends' team of Bedford girls running the Race for Life this weekend are hoping to raise £1,500.  We think they deserve far more than that. If you are able to sponsor them, have a look at their page here. It doesn't need to be much, just the cost of a cup of coffee (or two) will make a difference.

All the money that the participants in the Race for Life raise will go towards trying to write happy endings for stories like Rachael's.  Please spare whatever you can  and sponsor Bedford's very own ridiculously-clad pink tutu-ed ladies as they run, walk and waddle the 5K  course around Bedford's beautiful Embankment in solidarity with all those thousands of cancer victims who need happy endings to their stories, never forgetting those whose endings weren't happy.

Piccolo's Music Club at The Kiosk

On Monday, at 9.30, the Kiosk at The Park is delighted to welcome one of our favourite Superstar Storytellers back to Storytime: Mark, from Piccolo's Music Club. Inspired by his enthusiasm and great songs, we tracked him down and had a chat with him about his music club, his favourite floor-fillers and being a stay at home dad who fits his work around his children: Image

Mark started his Piccolos Music Club two years ago, but says that it is something he has always wanted to do. After deciding to take on a stay-at-home Dad role, he needed something that would fit around looking after his daughter. Having been along to other music groups for children, he decided that there was room for a group that was more interactive, and was all about getting the children to participate, rather than just be sung to. He started holding informal music groups at his house, inviting friends with children to join him and his daughter. When his daughter was old enough to go to preschool, he would bring his guitar in and hold sessions there.

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These days there are weekly groups at The Harrold Centre, and fortnightly groups at Buskers in Bletchley. (For more info, have a look at his Facebook Page.) The very exciting news for Bedford people is that in September he will be starting a new group at The Place Theatre in Bradgate Road! The sessions are pay-as-you-go, so you can turn up and see if it is the kind of thing you're looking for without having to pay for a whole term of classes. And we have a feeling that this group might be pretty popular with the under 5's of Bedford...

Each month at Piccolos has a theme: Africa for example, or Hip Hop, or The Beatles. The sessions are a mix of songs and dancing games that everyone knows and some that are written by Mark (a CD is available to buy of his songs, so you can learn them off by heart and sing along in the car/bath/at dinner parties, etc.) Introducing children to things like rapping nursery rhymes, hip-hop dancing and Indian dance make this a music class with a difference. The Goodbye Song which Mark sings at the end is made up from anecdotes the parents write about each child during the session and includes a personal goodbye to each attendee, with an additional bit of information such as 'will be having fish fingers for tea', or 'is wearing her favourite fairy dress'. During the sessions, kids get the chance to win 'piccolo points' for good joining in, enthusiastic dancing and suchlike. At the end of the session points can be exchanged for biscuits. (You can imagine the excitement.)

Mark reckons his favourite Toddler Floor filler is his self-penned punk-classic 'No peas, no pudding' - an intereactive song about the age-old battle of wills over vegetables and the reward of a good pudding where he gets the kids to shout the names of their favourite puddings out, to be included in the song. He also has a song called Peas and Green Lentils, and says that he hopes eventually to have enough pea-themed songs to create an L-Pea...

Mark also does his Piccolo sessions as musical entertainment for childrens' parties, which might be worth bearing in mind if a room full of excited three year olds waiting to be entertained is not really your cup of tea; we bet it would be a popular choice!

If you want a flavour (it's pea, obviously,) of Piccolo's Music Club, have a look at some of the videos on facebook, there are lots of great ones but this Robot one is our favourite.

So please come down and support Mark at Storytime on Monday at 9.30. As ever, there is milk and biscuits for the little ones, and of course tea, coffee, cold drinks and cake are available for the grown ups. We can't wait for some Piccolo themed Marvellous Monday Musical Mayhem at the Kiosk!

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Anyone for Tennis ?

If, like us, you failed to qualify for the French Open, and will instead be watching the final on TV on Sunday - perhaps you could do with a spot of expert tennis coaching. There has never been a better time to dust off your sweatbands and steam clean your tennis whites; for tennis-mania has come to Bedford. Tennis ball stuck in fence

Excitingly, the Kiosk has teamed up with Riverside Tennis Club to help you get the most out of the tennis courts at Russell Park. We've got a new and exciting programme of events to get everyone involved, whatever your tennis playing skills are like.

On Monday, a new fitness class called Cardio Tennis  hit Russell Park, with Claire Norman leading a fast-paced tennis based workout to motivating music. No tennis skills required for this one - but you'll probably pick some up along the way. Cardio Tennis is on from 9.15 to 10.15 on Mondays until 15th July. You can see some of the first session here:

 [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYbOVPdFwDE]

Wednesdays from 10.00-11.30 is Tennis Morning - come down for expert coaching from Rob Stean, with some match-play time to put those tips into practice.

And on Sundays from 11.30-1pm we've got Tennis X-Press, with group coaching available from Claire Norman. A great way to improve your game AND meet new players.

You can pay per session, but all block bookings of sessions include a free drink afterwards every week at the Kiosk - so you can have a post-match-natter/debate/full-blown-argument about the finer points of the game over a nice drink. Although anyone who continuously shouts 'you CANNOT be serious!' in a terrible American accent will be removed from the premises.

To book any of these sessions, or for any more information, email Neil Frankel on doc@riversidetennis.co.uk

And as a final point, we should draw your attention to the new website tennisinbedford.com, for all your Bedford Tennis needs. It really couldn't be easier to get into tennis this summer!

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Oh, and just for a bit of inspiration, we'll be showing the French Open final at the Kiosk on Sunday - come down to watch it if you want to create a bit of a Parisian atmosphere, although we do draw the line at strings of onions round necks...

Birthday Party in the Park

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So: this weekend marks our very first birthday! What a year it has been. Weather-wise, we've had it all; from torrential rain to snowman-quality snow, from baking sunshine to frosty sleet. And through it all we have served coffee cake and sandwiches to you - our wonderfully loyal and enthusiastic customers;  whether you've sheltered under blankets with hot water bottles or you've come seeking some shade and a cool drink. You've come for stories and songs, a chat and a catch up, a lazy afternoon tea and a morning coffee. You've made the Kiosk into the heart of Russell Park.

Thank you.

Here are just a few of our highlights of a brilliant first year:

And so it begins...

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Red Nose Day Fun

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Peppa Pig and Friends

We would love to see you all for a mini birthday party in the park on Sunday to celebrate a fantastic year! Birthday cake to be served between 5 and 6pm.  And after a year of this Kiosk lark, we have learned one or two things about good cake...

Bedford Annual Kite Festival

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jx9dIUFNq8 We found this lovely video of the annual Kite Festival in Russell Park on Youtube, by the very talented Lez Marwick (we always approve of the ad-hoc use of a 'z' in names.)

We were tickled by his description of the event;

"This is an annual event held in Russell Park. The venue is far from ideal for kite flyers, as it is surrounded by trees, but it is in an excellent location for spectators... It was a very dull day, with a constant threat of rain, but at least we had some wind."

2012 was not kind to the Kite Festival. There may have been cases of Trench Foot. Let's hope this year is a bit more kite flier and spectator-friendly.

See you in Russell Park for more kite-excitement, at the 2013 Kite Festival this weekend! Remember you can always refuel and refresh at The Kiosk...

Let's go fly a kite...

Summer opening times

pavilion open 9-5pm
the window stays open until 6pm

last food orders 4:15pm

Autumn opening times
as of October 1st

pavilion open 9-4pm
the window stays open until 5pm

last food orders 3:15pm

Mondays: Café opens at 10am

we are open 7 days a week and dogs are welcome on our heated veranda during the winter months

We occasionally close early for private bookings. Please always call us to book a table & avoid being disappointed!

01234 351104

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