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Pavilion at the Park Bedford

Bedford Park

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

Filtering by Category: Park People

Branching out into Bedford Park

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Saturday 17th May is a very special day for the Kiosk at the Park team - we're officially opening up 'Window at the Park' at the side of the Pavilion in Bedford Park! Not to be confused with the cricket pavilion, this iconic building was built by Coleman and Fathers in 1888 and cost £400! When it first opened it was used as a public rest room, which also served refreshments through an open window. The building was used as a café until 1980. It was then restored and reopened in 1986, operating until 2003. After this, it was opened at weekends through the summer and local churches served afternoon tea to hungry park-goers until 2011. We are thrilled to have been awarded the contract to operate out of this stunning building and look forward to providing a focal point for Bedford's beautiful listed park. Pavillion logo

As part of our opening festivities, we've got LOADS of treats lined up for visitors - including:

BumbleBees Forest School, running nature themed art and crafts activities

The wonderful Kris from The Frog's Chorus singing and entertaining small people (so big people can enjoy coffee and cake in peace!)

Flynn the Bin Elf and the street rangers - on hand for litter-picking fun

Sensational Sophie and her fabulous face-painting factory

We'll be handing out mini Sweetlix party bags (while stocks last!)

pavillion party bags

And, of course, it goes without saying - there will be free cake!!  Designed and created by the marvellous Karen Bland!

We're also welcoming Bronwen, one of our superstar storytellers from Kiosk at the Park, who is going to be running a weekly tots activity session: Bronwen's Pavilion Playtime - which starts after half term.

Pavilion Playtime

We're really looking forward to our new adventures in Bedford Park - and can't wait to serve lots of new customers, as well as catching up with familiar faces from the Kiosk.  We are open to suggestions so please let us know your thoughts!  The success of the Kiosk at the Park stems from the community of people who have made it such a vibrant, buzzy place - and we're hoping that The Window will help enhance the Bedford Park community in the same way.  We look forward to serving great coffee, homemade cakes, giant cookies, great cups of tea, FROZEN YOGHURT (yes, really!) and delicious panini and sandwiches supplied by Roosters.  Lets hope the weather forecast is accurate - if so, the sun should definitely be shining!

'Window at The Park' will be officially opened by Mayor of Bedford Dave Hodgson at 10am.

You can find us on Facebook

And on Twitter

But most importantly, we're in the park, every day. From 8.30-6.00, (9.30 at weekends).

sign goes up

flowers at the pavillion


Microchipping at The Kiosk


The Kiosk at the Park is not only a haven for small children, parents, grandparents, walkers and runners, we're also a very friendly dog cafe (and by that, we don't mean that dogs are on the menu, obviously. Just to clear that up...).  We have a water bowl, a supply of dog-poo disposal bags and dog biscuits at the ready for your four-legged friends - the park is definitely a popular dog hangout!

And as if that wasn't enough, from 11am-3pm Wednesday 3rd March, the team from Dogs Trust will be coming along to The Kiosk to offer FREE microchipping for your dog!

There are loads of reasons to microchip your pet, but the main one is that if they wander off (as dogs do) they can be easily returned to you! For more benefits of microchipping your pet, have a look at this page from the RSPCA, or this from Dogs Trust.  Also take a look at the council's leaflet on Dog Control Orders for some more tips on how to reduce the chance of losing your dog.

This is a great opportunity to get your dog microchipped - and the perfect excuse to treat yourself to coffee and cake at the same time!  Microchipping will soon be compulsory in the UK, so make the most of this initiative and come down to the Kiosk and get it done for free!

dogs-21 (1)


Park People - Jo from Buggy Bootcamp

The Kiosk at the Park is delighted that there is now a Buggy Bootcamp fitness session running (literally!) in Russell Park. Just after Storytime on Mondays -Storytime starts at 9.30, and ends around 10.15 - we welcome Jo from Buggy Bootcamp Bedford to run a class that's based around the idea of a workout with kids! We love it because it means that you don't need an expensive creche or gym - just you, a buggy, and your baby comes along too! AND it's a fresh air, outdoors sort of workout. We asked Jo to write a little bit about the classes and her reasons for getting involved:

Jo from Buggy Bootcamp

After the birth of my son Ollie two years ago, I started exercising with my buggy as soon as that long awaited 6 week check came around. I couldn't run with Ollie as he was too young (the recommended age to start running with baby is 6 months) so I just walked, parked up, ran to and from the buggy, did body-toning exercises with resistance bands and dumbells and just kept repeating it all. I have been a personal trainer for many years so I knew what I was doing. I had searched for an exercise class to do with babies but there was nothing suitable locally. Eventually I came across Buggy Bootcamp ( which was set up by Nicola Ostler in Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire about four and a half years ago. It has gone from strength to strength and is now a national franchise with Personal Trainers like myself joining so that they can bring Buggy Bootcamp to their home town.
Buggy Bootcamp is brilliant because it suits mums of all ages and all fitness abilities. Firstly because there is no running with the buggy you don't need an expensive pushchair. The usual format that I use is to park the buggies in a circle initially while we do the warm up. Then depending on what we’re doing that week the buggies may be parked in a line, a semi circle, or a circle or used to do walking leg exercises or parked at various cones where mums will be working - the possibilities are endless and I change things every week. The main part of the class may include some running to and from the buggy ( walking is always given as an option - runners go twice and walkers just once so everyone finishes at the same time) interspersed with either some body weight exercise like squat or sit ups or some resistance band work. Working in this way keeps things interesting!
You can join Buggy Bootcamp as soon as you have had the all-clear from your doctor after the birth of your child (6 weeks for a normal delivery and 12 for a c- section). You can join at any point in the month or term because the classes are different each week; they don't follow a prescribed course. I always give alternatives to make the exercises easier or more difficult so mums with different fitness levels can work alongside each other with no problems. You can join when your  baby is just 6 weeks old or when your child is much older. Having a toddler running around with you just adds to your workout and is no problem because we’re all in the same boat!
Your first class is free so just come and give it ago or just come along and watch. You’ll find us at The Kiosk on a Monday morning at 10.15 am (after 9.30 storytime). From there we will walk to an area in Russell Park where we’ll set up and get going, so if you miss us at The Kiosk at 10.15am we wont be far away. To view a class in action just go to
Buggy Bootcamp

Smarties Tubes, Tree Planting and Mountains.

We do so love a fundraising campaign that involves eating...and the very special project we're starting this week at the Kiosk involves eating smarties. Did you know that eating smarties can help plant trees on mountains? No? Well, we did say it was a really special project, not to mention a brilliant idea. We're teaming up with the wonderful people who supply our coffee, Ethical Addictions, to raise money for their indigenous tree planting project. The trees are going to be planted on Africa's tallest mountain, Kilimanjaro, helping to preserve the rainforest and protecting the local environment.

Nursery Trees

This is why Ethical Addictions is a special kind of coffee supplier:

The fundraising we're doing works like this:

Pick up a tube of Smarties from the Kiosk, or go and buy one (the hexagonal kind.)

Eat Smarties.

Fill the empty tube with 20p coins.

Bring the stash of 20ps in the tube to the Kiosk over the Easter weekend, and we will donate the money to Ethical Addictions Coffee.

EA Coffee will use the money to plant trees on a mountain!

smarties blog

You can read more about EA Coffee's environmental work here, and you can see a video of their tree planting project, which has been running from 2010, here.

Excitingly, once the trees have been planted, you'll be sent a GPS reference for the tree that has been planted with the donations you made! That's definitely worth saving up those 20ps for. You can get 60 20ps into a smarties tube: which is £12. Just £10 will pay for your tree to be planted. Well worth the saving/hunting behind sofas/pestering Dad...

 Kiosk 1

500 days of Summer: The Winners!

Well, they do say that good things come to those who wait... Summer seems a very, VERY long time ago now that it's getting colder, but we're going to take this opportunity to remind you of the very lovely summer of 2013 by (finally) announcing the winners of our 500 words of Summer story competition. Congratulations to:

Mia Collacott for her story 'The Tigers' Argument'.

Freddie Jordan for his story 'The Seal with No Home'

Martin Lindill for his story, which didn't have a title, but we'd like to call it 'The Treaty of the Apple.'

There is also a prize for the story Great Grandmother and the Magic Milkshake' - a joint effort by Charlotte Gorringe-Serrano and Scarlett Gavi-Gorringe.


The judges, chaired by Alex Levine, of The Place Theatre were really impressed with the standard of the entries, and had a hard time picking the eventual winners.  The stories are all brilliant, and we'll be celebrating with a special afternoon tea, where the winners will receive their signed books by local author Julia Jarman, and goody bags. 


We're going to compile a special book of stories to keep at the Kiosk - which all the entries we had will be included in. Anyone else who wants to contribute a 500-word(ish) story is welcome to - and you've got the rest of November to write one. So if all the fireworks have inspired your creativity, or of you fancy writing a Christmas story of your own - why not bring one down to The Kiosk at the Park? We'll put it in our book! Illustrations very welcome too!

And yes, it is getting colder. But one of these marshmallow hot chocolate mountains might be enough to lure you out to submit a work of literary genius...

hot choc mountain

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?


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





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

Hedgehogs AND illustrators at the Kiosk!

Kiosk at the Park is not only a meeting place for the local human community, it's a bit of a wildlife hangout too! It would be impossible to work in the park and not be aware of the local animal visitors, not only our friendly canine regulars, but lots of interesting birds - including a very friendly robin, lots of magpies and blackbirds - some squirrels, the odd cat - and a smallish hedgehog. Hedgehogs are fascinating creatures, with their long snuffling noses and spikes; the way they waddle about but can put on a sudden sprint if they see something interesting or threatening. We started to think about this animal community, and thought how nice it would be to imagine what they get up to when the human park people are sound asleep. So we've written about Russell (well, clearly the hedgehog of Russell park would need to be called Russell! Perhaps the park was named after him, in fact?) and some of his friends. And now we'd like you to get involved. What do you think Russell might look like? Is he a naughty hedgehog or is he well-behaved? What does he do at night when no one else is about? Tennis? Does he hang out in the playground? And what's his favourite Kiosk treat?

Local illustrator and soft toy maker Katy Dynes (Kitty Dinners) is going to help us out and will be running a 'design a Russell Hedgehog' workshop at the Kiosk on Wednesday 28th August at 10am-12.30pm . Come down and join in with some designing, collage making and illustrating! Tell us what you think Russell looks like, what he eats and where he likes to play. The final/winning design will become the Kiosk mascot and will be made into a real soft toy by Katy! There'll be more information on this event later in the week - we've got LOADS of hedgehog-related fun planned including a treasure hunt, face painting, cake decorating, and hopefully some VERY special guests! In the meantime, we asked Katy about her illustrating career and influences.

 Illustration by Kitty Dinners

How did you get into illustrating? Was it something you always wanted to do?
K: A little by accident! I've always loved books and drawing and thought I'd hopefully, do 'something in art' when I left School. When I was 19, I went off to do an Art Foundation Course at Bedford College and loved every minute of it- experimenting with a variety of different disciplines. I finally settled on 'Photography' but really, in my heart of hearts, wanting to learn animation. I had a FAB photography tutor, who said he would build me a lightbox, in the photography studio, if I was prepared to teach myself animation, but also learn photography. I bought myself a stop frame camera, a projector and some plasticine and I was off! I loved it so much, I managed to secure a place at the Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and Design to study 2D Animation.
However........... when I graduated, I realised sadly, it wasn't the 'moving image' that was my passion- it was the 'setting the scene/designing the characters and telling the story' that I really I swiftly sidestepped....... and a career in freelance illustration was born!

Which children's illustrators did you admire when you were growing up? Do you have a favourite now?

K: My wonderful Gran had a fantastic selection of children's books for me to read when I was growing up and I loved anything with bright colourful illustrations, but always something drawn with a 'twist' or a 'hidden element'. I had a huge and wild imagination, so I was (and still am!) a great believer in make believe, fairies and magic. Richard Scarry was a favourite Illustrator, as was Arthur Rackham, Cicely M Barker, Ernest Shepherd and Beatrix Potter.
Now, I have many favourites: Arthur Rackham is joined by Dave McKean, Oliver Jeffers, Lauren Child, Lizbeth Zwerger and Jane Simmons.

What are your favourite animals to draw? Do you find any particularly tricky?
K: I love drawing any animals- I find it fascinating to try and work out the best way to capture their personalities and incorporate that in my illustrations. Elephants, dogs, cats and horses are favourites.
However, ask me to illustrate a dolphin...........I might just manage to draw a 'nose' popping out of the water!!! I find them soooooooo difficult!!!
So save the date: Wednesday 28th August is HEDGEHOG DAY! Come down to the Kiosk to meet Katy, help design a Russell mascot for us and get involved in lots of hedgehog-themed fun! We'll leave you with some inspiring work by Katy - just to get you thinking about how you might illustrate a certain young hedgehog...

Painted Illustration from Lawrence the Lion Seeks Work by Miller Caldwell, illustated by Katy Dynes

Image from 'home' by Katy Dynes

Painted Illustration by Katy Dynes

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.)

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.


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.

Picc line

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:

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.


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.


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!


Birthday Party in the Park


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...



Red Nose Day Fun








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...

Pinterest: Get on board !

If you've got a creative project on the go and want somewhere to brainstorm and collect all of your ideas, look no further than  online scrapbook Pinterest.  If you've never used it, or are not sure how on earth you would use online scrapbooking; don't worry - pinning-help is at hand. We're very lucky to have a guest blog today from local journalist Sally Brown, who explains how to get the best out of Pinterest. Bunting


Get on board for happiness!

Back in the day, making a moodboard meant two or three hours grappling with a pile of magazines and a Pritt stick. Not any more – now you can throw together a mood board in an instant, thanks to virtual pinboard sites like Pinterest. But there’s more to online moodboarding than collecting pretty pictures. Use it right, and it will motivate and inspire you to achieve your goals.

Creating a virtual board is a great way of ‘pinning down’ fleeting thoughts, dreams and ideas that would otherwise get lost in day-to-day life. ‘A mood or visionboard creates a bridge from daydreams to reality,’ says lifecoach Dr Nicola Bunting. ‘Being able to look at something and say, ‘That’s what I want’ takes you a giant step nearer to achieving it.’

Images are processed by a different part of the brain than words, one that taps directly into our emotional state, says social media psychologist Dr Pamela Rutledge from Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP). ‘We get information faster through images and we understand it in a more intuitive way - it bypasses thinking and taps straight at emotions. That’s what makes visualisation so powerful – it creates change at a subconscious level.’

And because you choose images with the feeling part of your brain rather than the thinking side, they reflect the authentic you – so it’s a great way to get in touch with your deepest values and passions. ‘It’s hard to be dishonest on Pinterest if you trust your gut instinct and pin what immediately appeals to you. It’s a great way of exploring your passions,’ says Pamela.

Choosing and collecting images that represent your future goals and aspirations is like setting a ‘filter’ on your brain’s search engine - your brain naturally starts to home in on relevant information and opportunities that take you closer to your goal but that may otherwise have passed by unnoticed.

The Kiosk’s Emma Garrett used Pinterest to fuel her creative thinking when she was setting up the project: ‘In the three years it took to negotiate with the local council to get the go-ahead, I was feeding my imagination and enthusiasm by creating Pinterest boards full of images of any great cafe I came dream real and achievable.’

Feel inspired to try? Simply sign up at and create a user name. Then click on and name a board you’d like to work on. You build boards either by re-pinning images from other people’s boards (put a topic into the search button), pinning images you like from web pages (by installing a ‘Pin It’ button your bookmarks bar – Google ‘Pinterest button for Chrome’ to find a good selection), or pinning images directly from your phone.

A longer version of this article appears in the June issue of Zest magazine. By Kiosk regular and journalist Sally Brown.

Kiosk at The Park have our own boards on the website which you can look at here

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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