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Bedford Park

locally produced, seasonal food. We cook simple and imaginative dishes and high quality British cuisine.

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The Women's Tour races in to town!

In the UK, cycling is one of the fastest growing sports. This is helped, clearly, by the fact that we are really quite good at it (as a nation, that is; we're not trying to pretend that the Kiosk at the Park team are a finely-tuned racing squad. Yet.) So this week, Bedford really is lucky. We host day two of the Women's Tour 2014. On Thursday, May 8th, the best female cyclists in the world are going to hurtle down Kimbolton Road, along Park Avenue, up DeParys Avenue, down the High Street and the finishing straight is along the Embankment. Here's a taster of the action:

You can download the map of stage two, and find out the best places for watching the action of the Hinkley-Bedford race here.

The racing will be fantastic, as the standard of the competitors will be world-class. If the thought of the Tour coming to town has inspired to get on your bike then get down to the Cycle Marketplace at St Paul's square, organised by Bedford Sustrans, which will run from 10am until 4pm. It will include everything you need to get you up and pedalling, safely:  free checks of your bike to make sure it is road-worthy, free NHS health checks, copies of the new walking and cycling map of Bedford and Kempston and details of the free Adult Cycling Confidence Course that Sustrans run.

There will also be representatives from several local cycling clubs and a triathlon club, as well as Bedford's cycling campaign group that you can talk to about their activities, rides and memberships, as well as refurbished bikes for sale.

And the ultimate incentive to pedal just that little bit faster: the chance to have a go on the cycle-powered smoothie bike!

Smoothie bike



We've been pinning some lovely stylish cycling-themed stuff to our online pinboard here - follow Kiosk at the Park on Pinterest for more!

And if you fancy getting into the Tour spirit and making some flags to wave on the finishing straight - we've found a tutorial to make some racing ones here!


Look out for Tuesday and Wednesday's cycling themed blogs here too - we've got loads of good things to inspire you to get on your bike!

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 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
  • 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 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

épanoui - Jewellery design at the Kiosk

You know when you meet someone who you just know is going to go far: incredibly talented and with a great business idea? Well, Hannah, who works part time here at the Kiosk, is one of those people. And making the perfect latte is just one of her talents. She also makes beautiful, high quality jewellery under the name épanoui. We caught up with Hannah in between jewellery-making and coffee-making to chat about her business, her inspiration and what exactly the word épanoui means  (you'll love it!)

So Hannah, tell us a little about the jewellery you make.

épanoui is a line of  high-quality hand-made jewellery. I only use the finest precious metals and gemstones to make  my products, which include bracelets, necklaces and earrings.  I sell online, (you can see the lovely website here)  and also through a few shops across Beds, Bucks, Suffolk - with more stockists in the pipeline.

What inspired you to set up your own business?

I've always been creative, and it's something I've always wanted to do, I just needed the right moment! After I graduated from Nottingham Trent (Fashion Marketing and Communications), I went on to do a short course in jewellery making at Central St Martins. I knew that was the direction I wanted to go in, but with little experience and no money behind me, it would have been hard to just set up on my own. So I went and worked in entertainment PR in London, ending up working for Disney. It was great experience, and gave me a really good grounding in branding and promotion, but after a few years I wanted to do something more creative. So in February 2012 I moved to Bedford, and in June 2012, I  left Disney, ready to set up on my own. I took a long creating the brand and website; I really wanted to get it right first time.

Where did the unusual name come from?

I first heard the word épanoui (pronounced e-pan-wee) a few years ago – long before I had decided to set up my own business. It's a French word, and I first heard it used to describe a garden that was flourishing. There is no direct translation into English, but it basically means something that has reached its full potential – to blossom, to grow, to be in full bloom. It must have really struck a chord with me, because I remembered it when I was setting the business up, and it just seemed to be a perfect fit with the brand I was creating: natural, fresh, connected. People did warn me against using a name that people might not be able to pronounce or spell, but the word sums up perfectly what I do, so I stuck with it, and I still love it!

What's been your best moment so far?

 Winning the Bedford Business Women (link) Young Achiever award in my first year of business was incredible. I was so excited just to be nominated amongst all these women doing such amazing work; to actually win was unbelievable. And it was at their Silver Ball, celebrating their 25th Anniversary, so I got to dress up and go to a beautiful ball, which was great as well! The award is in pride of place on my mantelpiece, I'm still so pleased to have won!

What's been hard about going it alone?

 The financial change of going from a well-paid job with a regular income to being self-employed with initially very little income was a challenge! Luckily my boyfriend has been very supportive – he's self-employed too, so he's been really encouraging, and supported me thorough that transition. It's also quite hard to adjust from working in a busy office surrounded by people all the time, to working by yourself, for yourself, and being on your own a lot more. That's why I got a job at The Kiosk, it gets me out and talking to people, as well as being a bit of regular income. Through working here I've been able to meet loads of people, get to know the community and make new friends. Nansi and Emma have been so supportive and are really flexible, so it's been possible to work here alongside growing my own business.

What has a year of running your own business taught you?

 Well I've learnt a lot about myself! And I have learnt a lot about my customers and my market. But mostly I have just learnt to stick to my guns – lots of people will offer you advice about altering the way you do things to make it easier to sell, or to appeal to a wider audience, but I think you have to stay true to your principles and brand ethos, and figure out what works for you. If you don't compromise on your brand, it will grow in the way you want it to.

What is next up from épanoui? Any exciting new products to tell us about?

 One of our most exciting new additions to the brand is personalised bespoke pieces. We are now offering designs engraved with special initials & dates for the ultimate thoughtful gift. I love to work closely with each individual customer to create the perfect design be it for a loved one or even a treat for themselves the beauty is that each piece is completely unique and comes beautifully giftwrapped.

You can feast your eyes on some of Hannah's beautiful designs below. Clearly a rising star of the jewellery world, our advice would be to stock up while you can on this locally-made loveliness. A selection of  épanoui jewellery is available locally at Pensieri in Castle Quay, or you can see the full list of stockists here.

Smokey quartz studs

Image 6.


We would also like to remind you that Hannah's creative skills extend to beautifully made coffee, and as such are on show at the Kiosk - the home of artisan lattes. (A bold statement, but we'll go with it.)

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.

Higgins 1


higgins 2

Higgins 3

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!

higgins 6

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.


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.


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 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.


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.


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!


Guest Blog: Kelly the Naturopath

We're very excited about this guest blog from one of out lovely local customers, Kelly. Kelly is a naturopath practicing in Bedford. Here's her story of how she has worked hard to pursue her dream job; with a few handy tips for healthy living too! I grew up in Bedford but moved to London when I was 19 to pursue a career in media. After making copious cups of tea and running so many errands that I knew the West End as well as any black cabbie, I bagged my first job as Beauty Assistant on the coming-of-age teen title Sugar Magazine, and within a few years I’d worked my way up to be the youngest Beauty & Wellbeing Editor on the block. I had a contacts book stuffed with the numbers of London’s top hairstylists, facialists, make-up artists and wellness experts, a bathroom over-flowing with more products than your average branch of Boots and my new-found passion for natural health and beauty started to grow.

Teen Magazine Sugar

A school-girl pact that my best friend wouldn’t let me forget saw me swap lipstick launches for LonelyPlanet itineraries and sealed the fate of my Ford Fiesta as it was exchanged for a round-the-world ticket from STA Travel. The sights, the sounds and oh the smells of  the wider world were more mind-blowing than I could have ever possibly imagined but what really resonated with me were the tastes. Mmmmm how we ate, and more often than not it was locally grown or reared, seasonal and fresh. I also couldn’t help notice that this simpler, stress-free, outdoors way of life was itself food for the soul.

As flight BA10 from Bangkok returned us home with a bump, new-found dreams of returning to Australia to study naturopathy were put on the back-burner as I started work as a PR Director for an agency specialising in natural wellbeing. In March 2004 my Dad died suddenly and with life’s fragility thrust in my face I enrolled at the College of Naturopathic Medicine in London to start a five-year course studying Naturopathy and Nutritional Therapy. At the same time I signed up for a diploma in Reflexology at The London School of Reflexology.


Working full-time, getting married and having two children made studying far from easy but I was fascinated by all that I was learning and I graduated two weeks after my second son was born. We’d made the decision to leave London when I fell pregnant the second time,  and with a pros and cons list Kirsty herself would be proud of, we embarked on the relocation challenge and after a long search, headed back to Bedford!

Once we’d been back here almost a year, and the re-plastering dust had finally settled  and wiped away, I felt ready to start thinking about how I was going to turn five years of hard study and into a new career. I decided on calling my business 'Kelly the Naturopath' because I thought it had a friendly, local feel to it and because a Naturopath is a health practitioner who applies a number of natural therapies, which encompasses what I do. My specialist area  is Nutritional Therapy, which means  using food to optimise wellbeing, but I also look at my client’s lifestyles, sleep patterns and emotional wellbeing. In addition to dietary and lifestyle changes I might recommend nutritional supplements, tissue salts, flower essences, herbs or a touch therapy like reflexology.

Everyone has their own reason for seeing a Naturopath, for some it may be to get support if they’re trying to conceive, for other’s if they’re suffering from an illness. Some people want help with weight management whilst others simply want to learn how they might maximise their long-term wellness or reduce the feelings of anxiety and stress. For each client I put together a personalised treatment plan to meet their individual needs and then support them whilst they achieve their health goals.

Wellbeing 3

I’ve now been practising for a year and work most Thursday’s and the first Sunday of the month with the lovely Lord sisters at Lords & Ladies on St Cuthbert’s Street. Skype and at-home consultations and treatments are both available upon request based on the needs and circumstances of individuals. Any Mum will know juggling work and kids is never simple but I feel very privileged that I’m able to work around my family doing a job that I am passionate about and find hugely rewarding.

Kelly's Local Health and Wellbeing Tips

* Go for a walk outside – sunlight increases serotonin production to create more positive moods and helps to trigger vitamin D synthesis in the skin which is needed for calcium metabolism and neuromuscular and immune system functioning. Just choose a green space and go!


* Eat a Mediterranean Diet – rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, olive oil and wholegrains, using herbs and spices instead of salt and limiting red meat to a few times a month whilst enjoying fresh fish a couple of times a week, with the odd glass of red wine if you choose; the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet are well documented. The secret ingredient… eat leisurely with friends and family. Try local delicatessens Foods of Italy and Andaluz.

* Eat cake if you want to – just maybe not every day, and make sure it’s freshly baked and therefore not bulked out with preservatives. Depriving yourself of a little bit of what you fancy isn't good for the mind or soul (see below). Personally I can’t get enough of The Kiosk’s Super-Seedy-Flapjack.

Flapjack at the Kiosk- as recommended by Kelly!

* Be happy - being healthy is more than just eating the right food. In studies looking at people who live the longest there is a common trait, happiness. Think about what would help you have a more fulfilled life and do it.

If you'd like to get in touch with Kelly (and she comes highly recommended, one other Kiosk customer described her as having magic hands!) - you can visit her website, or email her:

Kiosk at the Park's Guide to enjoying a Cheep Easter!

The thought of two weeks of arctic condition Easter holidays is enough to strike fear into any parent - but if you are feeling like this - perhaps we can help. We've picked the brains of some of our customers who are also the proud owners of school-age children for their top tips for holiday entertainment on a budget. 1. Wrap up warm and go for a nature hunt in the park. Once the children have collected their treasure they could have a go at making some stuff with it. For a start, lots of feathers and twigs are good for an Indian headdress when combined with card or fabric to tie round your head. Or you could make a nature mobile using strong thread or string. And there's always leaf printing with poster paints on paper or fabric paint on cloth.

Make a nature-mobile

2. Dad tip #1:  Make a home cinema. For an authentic cinematic experience on the cheep, get a dvd the kids haven't seen before (Bedford Central Library have a good selection you can hire for a week for just £1.40, or Blockbusters in Kempston is a good place to look for newer titles you can hire,) draw the curtains and get the popcorn in! Invite friends and add beanbags for a really great (easy) afternoons' entertainment.

3. Enter the Kiosk at the Park drawing competition! All you have to do is draw and colour your very own Easter Picture using felt tips, crayons or colouring pencils on a sheet of A4 paper. Write your name, age, email address and a contact number on the back. Hand it in at The Kiosk before April 12th, and you will be in with the chance of winning a hamper of Easter goodies. The winner will be announced on April 14th, and will be judged by members of the Circus of Illustration!  There will be paper and colouring pencils available at The Kiosk throughout the holiday - so come and do Colouring at the Kiosk!

Get colouring in!

4. Take a well-wrapped-up walk around Mowsbury Woods, which are just behind Mowsbury Park It's perfect boy-and-stick territory, and if you take wellies and a jam jar, you can wade about in the stream, and bring home some interesting stream-life. (Or some precious pond weed.)

5. Dad-tip #2: Visit Priory Marina. Ideal for slightly older children, the new(ish) adventure playgound near the car park features a flying fox! Other attractions at Priory include a labyrinth, a walk around the finger lakes, and the best stone-skimming destination in all of Bedford.

6. Dye some eggs. Well, it is Easter, after all.  For a simple approach, dip boiled eggs into bowls of food colouring for a beautiful coloured effect. Accessorize with soldiers! For more advanced egg decorating, see here.

Egg dying - simple, but beautiful.

7. Go egg rolling. You're in good company if you do - it's the Easter day activity at The White House, no less. For this, you just need hard boiled eggs, and a hill. You may also need chalk for marking out the points that your contestants' eggs reach. Refereeing skills are preferable.

Egg Rolling

8. Do some baking. Let's face it, any cake looks better with the addition of some decorative chicks/mini eggs/foil-wrapped bunnies. If you want to make an Easter Victoria sponge, have a look at the tips here from one of our awesome baking team, Karen.

Easter Nest Cakes

9. Take a day trip to Watergate Farm near Leighton Buzzard to see some newborn lambs! Admission really is cheep - £3.50 for adults, £2.50 for kids, and you can  also take a tractor ride, see baby pigs, or have a pony ride. Wellies are a good idea.

10. Come to Russell Park, grab a warming drink and some sustaining snacks from The Kiosk. You are bound to run into other owners of small children. As well as our colouring competition, we will have Face Painting duo Sophie & Millie on hand to create artworks like this:

Face Art

At least the kids might sit still for ten minutes!

We'd love to hear any of your ideas for keeping kids busy over the holidays! Comment on the blog, or leave a post on our Facebook page.

The Good Life in Bedford


Imagine the situation – a family of Londoners (plus sundry pets) with two months to find and successfully offer on a house in Bedford, which is near amenities, school and the station. We knew no-one in the area. “A tall ask”, I hear you say? Well, that was us last Autumn.

After walking down the High Street and other sundry areas, I had come to the conclusion that moving out of London was a very bad idea indeed and schools be damned, I was staying put. Fortunately for us, Purdey, our much-loved cocker spaniel (tri-colour no less!) needed a walk and we stumbled across Russell Park and The Kiosk and lovely Nansi. I know it sounds bizarre but an autumnal Russell Park, sitting on hay bales, drinking tea with husband’s grumps brought to an end by the first decent cappuccino of the day (at last!) and no whingeing from the boys as they were too busy with their Marshmallow Mountains (and all served with a friendly smile and some excellent advice on the local area), I felt the first flush of the Good Life outside London.

Marshmallow Mountain

Six months on, we live next to Russell Park. I can see the Kiosk from my house. It’s very apt after all. Without it, we’d still be in London and all the madness that entails. And it doesn’t stop there. I have been prompted to create my own personal Good Life through seeing the entrepreneurial spirit at The Kiosk. Who needs that hellish daily commute to London? Who needs that faceless boss and lack of creativity? Well, for a while I still do but I’ve also started something for me - Monster Yarns, with a new logo and everything!

monster yarns

It’s a yarn e-shop, blog and I’ve become a knitting coach. How much more of a Good Life can there be for a knitting fanatic and yarn bore? Thanks to all at The Kiosk for helping us to see the Good Life in Bedford!



Breakfast in a Bun

Image We do this thing on a Sunday.  Its rather good, even if we do say so ourselves.  We can't take the credit for it - that goes to the rather wonderful Xanthe Clay - no-nonsense cookery columnist for the weekend section of the Daily Telegraph.  She came up with it last Christmas as a one-stop-breakfast option and we love it! Breakfast in a Bun is our take on her recipe and you can find them on sale at The Kiosk every Sunday from about 11am. Bacon, mushrooms, egg and tomato all neatly packaged in a crispy roll. Perfect for those Sunday mornings when you feel slightly jaded, in need of some fresh air and a bit of delicious breakfast incentive to get you out of bed. We're working on the vegetarian version now.

If you are lucky enough to live in Bedford, its easy to head to Russell Park, with three shiny gold coins in your pocket - call it Elevenses, call it Brunch - call it what you will,  whatever you call it, we don't think you'll be disappointed.Image

The Kiosk, Russell Park, The Embankment, Bedford.  Open every weekday 8.30am to 5.00pm and at weekends 9.30am to 5.00pm.  Call 01234 271877 if you want to know more!

Meet the Maker: Karen Bland

Next up in our profiles of the multi-talented team of home-bakers who make treats for The Kiosk, we introduce Karen Bland. Creator of the much-loved cookie wands, gingerbread people and other firm Kiosk favourites; Karen is a biscuit guru with a burgeoning cookie-cutter collection. She likes to have a range of the more unusual cutters, so that her biscuits stand out from the crowd. As well as being perfectly formed, they are beautifully wrapped in cellophane and tied with gold ribbon; making them the ideal gift or a take-home-from-the-park treat. Karen always rises to the challenge of topical cookie-making, and in the past has supplied The Kiosk with Pudsey Cookies for Children in Need, Coffee mug-shaped biscuits for Macmillan Cancer Care's biggest coffee morning, and teddy bears wearing medals for Rainbow pre-school children taking part in a charity walk around the park.

Karen explains that she has always enjoyed cooking, and even remembers the first thing she made at primary school : Raspberry Buns (which sound rather tasty and quite ambitious for a first cooking lesson, clearly Karen has always aimed high!) These days, Karen cooks and bakes pretty much full-time; and says that she loves to make all kinds of things; savoury, sweet and anything that needs decorating – hence the edible artworks at The Kiosk. “The decorating part is quite time-consuming,” she says, “but luckily, I really enjoy that bit. That's why I'm always on the lookout for unusual cutters!”

As well as her masterpieces for The Kiosk, Karen supplies the renowned sandwich-capital of Bedford, Roosters, with cakey treats. She is also part of the talented team of home-bakers who supply a home-made goods stall for the regular Country Market Stall on Wednesdays in town centre. Karen is a keen jam and chutney maker, and also makes a mean Victoria Sponge. Keen to pick up good home-baking advice from reliable sources wherever possible, The Kiosk grilled her for some top tips for successful sponges:

  • Your grandma was right; weigh your eggs, and make sure the weight of the flour, sugar and fat match the weight of your eggs. For further advice on this, see the article here
  • Try using an electric hand whisk to whisk in the eggs. Karen thinks this is a crucial stage in the cake-making process. She uses her Kenwood hand-whisk to get the lightest results.
  • Get your oven nice and hot before the cake goes in.

The proof of the pudding is, of course, in the eating. So in the name of balanced scientific research, why not head down to The Kiosk and try out some Victoria Sponge for yourself. Or even a cookie wand. They really are hard to resist; often vanishing in minutes after delivery. Perhaps they really are magic?

Chapter 2: Russell and the mystery of the lost tennis ball

What's all the noise, Swans?” Russell shouted over the squealing and kerfuffle.
"We've lost our ball!” called one of the swans. It might have been Sydney, it might have been Sam. It was always very difficult to tell the swans apart.
Sophie Squirrel put down her yoga mat and rested her paws on her hips. “You definitely can't play tennis without a ball. Why don't you go and look for it? Perhaps we could all have a bit of peace then.”
I'll go!” shouted Russell (as loud as hedgehogs can shout, which is actually not very loud. It's more like a loud-ish whisper).  Russell thought that it would probably take the swans ages to find the ball. They were not very good at getting underneath the sort of places a ball might roll, and sometimes they got their necks tangled up trying to look very quickly in all directions.
He had a poke about under a few bushes, but couldn't see it. He put his snuffly nose into the three nearest tree trunks, but there was no ball. As quickly as his little legs (very little legs, actually) could go, he scuttled under the big weeping willow tree and towards the Malmsbury Ginger Baker's Gingerbread House. Russell loved the gingerbread house, it smelled delicious. But after the last time (or the pink marshmallow sofa fiasco, as he like to call it), Russell remembered that he definitely must NOT nibble at the furniture. He stood up as high as he could on his back legs and pressed the Smartie doorbell.
'Ding dong' it rang, and Russell heard gingerbread footsteps running towards the door...


Summer opening times

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

last food orders 3:30pm

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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