pavilion

Relaxed - Remarkable - Refreshing

Pavilion at the Park Bedford

Bedford Park

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

Walk to Work Week (and the offer of free flapjack!)

This week, May 13th-17th is National Walk to Work Week! What a great thing. Walking to work is good for you in MANY ways. Not only are you getting some exercise, it is good for the environment, free, and a nice chunk of time to listen to music, or make long lists of stuff to do, construct Grand Plans or just have a good old daydream. All of which are very important. And just think of all the vitamin D you are absorbing on the way. In a way, walking to work is the ultimate way to multi-task.

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And one other bonus - all this week, you can claim a free flapjack with any hot drink  if you are walking to work past the Kiosk! Just come and see us. Our flapjacks are full of oaty goodness to power you on your way to work. Just what you need!

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Racing on the River

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It is not every town that boasts an embankment and river quite as stunning as the one here in Bedford. It's so easy to take the river for granted if you live nearby; rushing past it on your way to school and work all the time. But this weekend is one of the weekends when the river really comes into its own. This Saturday (11th May) Bedford will host the largest one-day regatta in the country; a regatta with a long and wonderful history. The Bedford Regatta celebrates its 149th birthday this year, with a race every two minutes between 8.15am and 7.30pm, and over 1,500 competitors from all over the country.

The 1200m course begins at County bridge, and crews race under the town bridge down to the finish line just by the Suspension Bridge; making it an excellent regatta to come and watch, and you can admire the wonderful display of tulips in the flowerbeds along the embankment at the same time!

If you'd like a closer look at some of the trophies on offer, you can walk along to the enclosure, just near the Suspension Bridge. For the price of a race programme (£1.50) you can come and wander around the enclosure, where there will also be a barbecue and fully licensed bar to enjoy! It's also a great chance to meet and chat to some of the competitors and get to know a bit more about the sport of rowing, and how you can get involved.

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Rowing used to be seen as a bit of an elitist sport - strictly the territory of public schools and Oxbridge. And whilst these institutions have a vibrant rowing history, the future of rowing is far more open to all. Bedford sports not one, but two rowing clubs, who come together to organize the regatta along with the Harpur Trust. Both Bedford Rowing Club and Star Rowing Club are open to any new members, from total beginners to seasoned professionals wanting to get back on the water. They also work with local state schools to get more children into the sport. Interested? Why not come along on Saturday to get a glimpse of what you could achieve with a little hard work, dedication and a LOT of flapjack!

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Bedford has a proud history of rowing alumni, including Tim Foster, Olympic gold medalist who trained at Bedford Modern and Star Club. You could be watching the next generation of Olympic rowers whilst sitting serenely on the embankment sipping your Kiosk Ethical Addictions coffee and munching on one of Barbara's flapjacks (endorsed by many a hungry rower.)

We picked the brains of David Dixon, President of Star Club for the crews to watch this year. He recommended trying to catch the Elite 8s race between Christ Church college Oxford and Kingston Rowing Club at 2.38pm. The Christ Church boat should contain 4 members of this years' victorious Oxford boat race crew - which basically makes it a rowing-celebrity boat. It should be a great race, and the final of the Elite mens' 8 category is the last race of the day, at 7.30pm. There's plenty of local interest too, as Bedford Rowing Club, Star Club, Bedford Modern, Bedford School and Bedford Girls School all have crews taking part, and there should be some good clashes to test local loyalties. Race commentary will be provided throughout the day, keeping you up to date with exactly who it is flying down the River Ouse.

Bedford Regatta 1851 c) Cecil Higgins Art Gallery; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

This painting is of a regatta on Bedford river in 1851, just a few years before the first official Bedford Regatta began. Maybe it will be hanging in the newly renovated Higgins? (opening June 21st - also very exciting!)

Playhouse at The Park

So we mentioned here that Alex Levene would be delivering some VERY exciting news about an event coming up in the Summer at The Kiosk....well, if you missed him at Storytime, I hope you are sitting comfortably now for some rather marvelous news. Kiosk at the Park is delighted to announce that The Oxford Playhouse will be visiting Russell Park on the 5th August with their Pop-Up Theatre, a travelling tent described as a theatrical discovery space - exciting for everyone!

Inside, the tent will be a haven of creativity - stuffed with activities for families, young children as well as older children and adults.

For the under-sixes there will be performances of Teatime, a wonderfully silly celebration of mealtimes in stories, song, music and dance; all inspired by games played around the kitchen table.

There will also be workshops, games, craft and other activities for families to join in with.

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For older children and adults, there will be a cryptic treasure hunt to puzzle over, as well as audio plays, poetry and many digital experiences.

And if the excitement of all that gets too much, you can kick back for a bit in the chill-out area with books to curl up with and read, and cosy armchairs to relax in. Reviving drinks and snacks will be on hand at the Kiosk.

If you'd like to find out more, you can see their blog describing their 2012 Pop Up Theatre tour here.

Now, how brilliant does that sound? Pretty darn brilliant is what we think. Pop the 5th August  down in your diary/phone/Summer Plans List, right now.

You have our solemn permission to do a celebratory dance of excitement now.

 

Storytime at The Kiosk

The latest in our line-up of SuperStar Storytellers at The Kiosk will be none other than Alex Levene, director of The Place Theatre. Alex has read at Storytime before, so is a seasoned professional. Do not be alarmed by his beard. Or his paper hat. Or, his expression in this photo. He is an actor, OK? Image

Storytime will be at The Kiosk at 9.30am, bank holiday Monday - 6th May. The weather forecast is great for once*- so kick off your Bank Holiday with a brilliant story session and a early energy burst for the kids in the park. Coffee, tea, cakes and cookies will be on hand, as well as milk and biscuits for the children. Dogs, bikes, scooters, mums, dads, brothers, sisters and grandparents all very welcome.

Alex will not only be reading a story, but also announcing some VERY special news about a brand new and very exciting project coming to The Kiosk this summer. Be the first to know the news. We are, quite frankly, GIDDY with excitement...

*That's our final word on the matter in case we accidentally jinx the good weather.

Photos at the Park

The area around Russell Park is a bit of a hotspot for local photographers and creative people. As well as Gemma Kirkham, who has taken so many of the great photographs you can see on our facebook page and on the blog, local photographer Graham Watson of We Can Creative often takes amazing photos on his way through the park in the early morning as he is on his way to the gym. Have a look at some of these magnificent shots: including very rare views of the empty playground!

Sunrise over the big swing

Anyone coming out to play?

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A snowy mini-golf course

Now that (hopefully) the snow is just a sparkling but distant memory, and Spring has finally sprung, it's a great time to come and enjoy spending some time outside. It's good for vitamin D levels,  as well as being great exercise and, as Kelly the natruopath said in her guest blog last week, it's highly recommended for your sense of happiness and wellbeing. Just yesterday the Kiosk welcomed loads of children enjoying a musical morning outdoors, thanks to Mark from Piccolo Music Club. He hopes to come back in a few weeks for some more musical fun. Keep an eye on the blog and our facebook page for dates.

Music st The Kiosk

Piccolos Music Club

In the meantime, why not come and take some photos of your own of  Russell Park and post them to our facebook page? We'd love to show off the work of all happy snappers! And there is the small issue of that empty playground that needs filling up...

The Anne Frank Tree

There are many lovely trees in Russell Park, some for climbing on, some for playing hide and seek behind; many for picnicking under. And then there is one, other tree. At the far end of the park there is a small horse chestnut tree, with a plaque next to it. This is the Anne Frank Tree. The plaque on the Anne Frank Tree

It was planted almost 15 years ago, on the 15th of May 2000, by the then mayor Carole Maxwell Elllis. It is, as the plaque says, a memorial to all children who died in war and conflict during the 2oth century.

In her diary, Anne mentions the horse chestnut tree that she can see from her attic window several times.  On the 23rd Febuary 1944, six months before her secret hideout was discovered:

"From my favourite spot on the floor, I look up and see the blue sky and bare chestnut tree on whose branches little raindrops shine, appearing like silver, and the seagulls and other birds as they glide on the wind. When I looked outside and into the depth of nature and God, I was happy, really happy."

The Tree Anne could see from her window

The horse chestnut in Russell Park is a small reminder of all of the children who were unlucky enough to be caught up in the conflicts of the 2oth Century. It also provides a place to gather and reflect on Holocaust Remembrance Day, held once a year on the 27th January.

A place to reflect

It really is a remarkable tree.

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.

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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.

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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!

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* 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: info@kellythenaturopath.com

The Roundabout Garden

Not very far at all from Russell Park, there is a sort of secret garden. It is not ever so secret, because if you are local, you probably walk past it, or through it very regularly. It is easy to  forget it is there. But it is worth remembering  because as well as being a very pretty garden,and a small oasis of green set in the middle of a busy road junction; it is a very useful garden. It is a community herb garden.

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Two of the large flower beds on the roundabout which links Castle Road and Rothsay Road are set aside as a herb garden; organised and cared for by volunteers from the Zero Carbon Castle group. Under the leadership of local residents Lucy Bywater, and Anne Doody,  Zero Carbon Castle hold regular working parties to help maintain the garden, and the herbs are available for anyone local to pick and use.  The next working party, incidentally, is this Saturday: the 20th April, at 10 am. New volunteers are very welcome to come along! Tools are provided, just bring your own elbow grease...

Lots of herbs grow in the garden, including thyme, mint, rosemary, sage, lavendar and oregano. Anne explained that there is a mix of common herbs, along with some more unusual traditional varieties, such as dyers greenweed: which does exactly what it says it will, and has traditionally been used to dye cloth and wool yellow. Elecampne can be found here too, which is a herb that has been around since Roman times and used to be commonly used as both a medicine and a condiment.

The garden is also home to a selection of mint plants - they even have a chocolate mint (you really can  smell the chocolate on it - it's amazing!) Anne and her husband Graham, who were tending the garden when I visited listed some of the other varieties of mint that they are hoping to cultivate, including orange & lemon mint, and ginger mint. The chocolate mint is just starting to grow now, so in a few weeks, as the garden springs to life, you should be able to go and pick some - it's a great way to flavour your ice cream!

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The Garden won an award in 2012 -  for being the region's best drought/water tolerant garden. Despite the fact that 2012 was the year of rain, rain, and a LOT more rain, (as we at the Kiosk remember all too well... ) the two previous years had been incredibly dry. The herb garden proved very resilient to the dry weather, as the majority of the herbs here are from the Mediterranean, and used to the dry climate. They have also been the runner up twice in the Regional Community Garden awards.

If, like us, you'd like to know more about the herb garden - they are holding an open day on 18th May, from 10.30 until 3pm, with Jane Perrone, Gardening editor of The Guardian - as well as The Bedford Clanger-  organising a foraging walk. around the garden. Plants will be for sale on the day; Anne says that she is currently cultivating around 200 on her patio in preparation for the day. There will also be a bee keeper coming along, and representitatives from the Wildlife Trust offering advice on how to make your garden attractive to wildlife. The garden itself is home to several hedgehogs, and the volunteers leave bowls of water out for them, sunk into the flowerbeds. A local childrens' book club will be at the open day too, talking about their favourite wildlife stories. It sounds like a great day to come along and enjoy the garden, as well as taking the opportunity to learn about the work the volunteers do, and what herbs are on offer in the garden.  The herb garden is designed to be a community garden - so everybody  is welcome to come along and enjoy it!

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The herb garden receives no funding, and is entirely run by volunteers. All proceeds from the plant sale at the open day will be used to buy more plants, and to maintain the garden.

Herb of the month at the moment in the garden is chives. Chives are a wonderfully versatile ingredient,  and the information board at the herb garden gives you some great ideas for what you can do with them, including mixing them with soft cheese and chopping them into salads.  Here are a few other ideas of using chives to spice up some other everyday favourites:

chives-2 Chives-3Chives1chives7 Chives 6 chives 4

And on the subject of chives, savoury muffins are the next Big Thing due to rock up at The Kiosk. Have you got a favourite savoury muffin recipe? Do you fancy a bit of a Masterchef-style competition, with the winning recipe made up and served up at The Kiosk? If so, get in touch! We'd love to hear from you...more details to follow.

If you'd like to find out more about the Zero Carbon Castle and the community herb garden, you can contact them via facebook, where they are called Abundance Bedford, or email Lucy at lucybywater@yahoo.co.uk

Mini Golf at the Kiosk

ImageRussell Park is full of interesting things to do: adventure playground, climbing trees, space for rugby, football, hide and seek, scooting, bike-riding, dog walking, tennis, table tennis and MINI GOLF. Also known as 'pitch and putt', there are different ways to describe it - but basically a mini 18-hole course, right here in the park!

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If you're looking for something to keep yourself or your offspring busy for an hour or so - why not try your luck on the course, just behind the kiosk!  All the equipment is available to hire from the Kiosk. It's cheap, fun, and outdoors - just think of all the vitamin D* you'll be soaking up whilst aiming for that hole in one! Or two, or three. Or, let's face it, these things take time to perfect.

Three (or 4, if you count a comedy shopping opportunity) reasons to play mini Golf in Russell Park:

Reason 1: We found this great review of the course on this blog here - written by Richard Gottfried, who is a British Minigolf Association (BMGA) Tour Pro, Great Britain International Minigolfer & a member of the 2008 BMGA British Club Champions – the Midlands Minigolf Club. So he knows his stuff. He says 'the course is in excellent condition with good equipment and scorecards. Last time out I scored a 48(+12), with a hole-in-one on the 15th hole and this time I scored a slightly better 46(+10) and an Ace on the 14th hole.'

So there's a score to beat!

Reason 2: The Mayor does it. As does 3 Counties Radio DJ Nick Coffer. It's basically a celebrity sport.

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Reason 3: You could introduce it as a lunchtime activity for your office or a group of colleagues. Think of the benefits of getting fresh air, some time out of the office AND the chance to fit in some always-welcome  team-building and socializing time. Oh, and the Kiosk just happens to be a great place for lunch...Here are the guys from Woods Hardwick at the Kiosk for a bit of lunchtime mini-golf. We'd love to see some more local firms following suit - we're planning to start a lunchtime league, just to give you that competitive edge to your lunchtime putting.  Give us a call on 01234 271877 to find out more.

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Reason 4: If you get good enough, you could buy yourself this t-shirt:

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*the Kiosk can guarantee you nice cakes and tea afterwards, but not sunshine. It's just not in our remit, OK?

 

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.

Ethical Addictions at The Kiosk: Great Coffee, Great Story.

Here at the Kiosk we serve a very special kind of coffee. If you've ever popped by for a cup of it, you really are part of something pretty amazing. We serve Ethical Addictions Coffee.

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Ethical Addictions Coffee is a remarkable story of a business setting out to do something very straightforward. Just something simple and fair, but something that is at the same time, completely extraordinary. The company is founded on the belief that ethical business does not have to compromise on quality, and doesn't have to be significantly more expensive for the consumer.

Inspired by a few years living on the West Coast of Canada, where there was an abundance of 'great coffee with great stories', founders Ian and Dave came up with the idea of setting up a coffee brand that dealt direct with the growers. No middle-men or complicated supply chains. Coffee, Ian told us, is the most traded commodity in the world after oil. Often there are 7 or 8 links in the supply chain, all adding to the cost of the products, but leaving many of the farmers in poverty.

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When you think about it, cutting out the supply chain makes perfect sense. The farmers get a fair wage for their work - far higher than they would otherwise - and consumers pay no more than they would for any other coffee. Ethical Addictions pay the farmers the same amount as they would pay coffee suppliers in the UK. The difference is, of course, that the farmer keeps the whole amount. This also means that Ethical Addictions is not a luxury brand, it's an affordable alternative to other coffee brands.

It is also not a Fair Trade coffee. For the villagers to register with the Fair Trade brand, they or the farm would have to put up about $1800, which, as Ian pointed out, is more than the average yearly wages of the villagers. In places like this, where the need is so great and the villages fall through the gaps of Fair Trade, Ethical Addictions is making a real difference. “Fair Trade made consumers think again twenty years ago,” says Ian “maybe it's time to think again now”.

He describes the business as “a passion; part business, part social enterprise. We're not doing anything amazing, we're just doing the right thing. We can't change the world, but we can change things for families in a couple of villages.” And yet, depressingly, even now the business model sounds quite revolutionary.

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On their website, Ethical Addictions tell the stories of their coffees. This is the one about Mountain Top Coffee, and Bente. Bente is the manager of Machare Farm, who they credit with the vision, as well as helping forge the relationships with growers that has given Ethical Addictions the chance to make a difference. Bente introduced them to two small villages high up the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro in East Africa who had no route to market for their high-quality coffee, and just had to sell to any supplier who happened to come along; meaning that they were getting an insultingly low price for the coffee they had worked so hard to produce.

With some investment from Marchare Farm, Ethical Addictions, and other funding, the villagers were able to produce their own coffee. Now, a few years later, those same villagers have been able to put their children through school for the first time. They've been able to save to repair their houses, and buy livestock. They are producing exceptional Arabicancoffee: 'Dark and smooth with a velvety cocoa and caramel finish.'

Some of Ian's favourite Ethical Addictions moments come from the trip he made to Machare Farm back in December 2011. “Four or five years of supporting the farms and workers has made such a tangible difference,” he explains. “There were people who said 'the wage that we're earning means our children have been able to go to school,' or 'we've been able to have a new roof put on our hut'. These are real peoples' lives that we're helping to change, long-term, for the better."

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This is Desiana Pauli, talking about how Ethical Addictions has changed things for her and her family: "Before, we used to all sleep in the same room on the same bed. Now, I could build a bedroom for my five children so that they have more space. I could also pay the school fees for all the five children, including the uniforms and the books, etc."

And you are helping those same families too, just by drinking our coffee at the Kiosk. Great coffee, great story. 

And The Winner Is......

Dogs (2) March 2013 saw Best in Show at Crufts being won by Jilly, the Basset Griffon Vendeen who beat more than 20,000 dogs over the four-day competition to take the coveted title.

Meanwhile, in a quiet corner of a little park by the Great River Ouse in Bedford, Lorraine Lotan from Happy Dog Training in Clapham was deliberating over a very different ‘Best in Show’.  She had kindly agreed to judge The Kiosk’s inaugural ‘Canines At The Kiosk’ competition and taking a break from her work with the charity Canine Partners, she headed to Russell Park to focus on her judging.  While our photographic contest didn’t attract the same sort of numbers that entered Crufts, Lorraine’s task of picking winners for the six categories was nonetheless a difficult one!

“Thank you for asking me to judge – all the photos were great and all the dogs were winners” said Lorraine – but we managed to pin her down and after plenty of Lattes and a few of our signature Malteser Squares,  she narrowed it down and has come up with the very deserving winners!

And, much as they do at other high profile awards ceremonies, we’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who took the time to email images and upload them onto facebook, we had a lot of fun and we hope you did too.

Congratulations if you are a winner, and commiserations if you haven't won a prize this time, but fear not, there will be other competitions to enter and other opportunities to win.

We’d also like to thank all those that have donated prizes – Pets at Home, Aspera Pet Services, Acorn House Vets Practice, Adrian Bullers Photography and KJ Photography. You can see the winning entries below, and all the others on our facebook page!

Look-A-Like: Gracie - Two Lambs in Honour of Easter, entered by Sara Gilbert

Gracie

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie: Our Alfie with Bailey, entered by Karen Chamberlain

Alfie and Bailey

Man's Best Friend: Harley & Noodle in boat, entered by Kimberley Boreham

Man's Best Friend

Top Dog & Best in Show: Yassko & Cerys, entered by Wendy Halling

Yassko and Cerys

In the Dog House: Baxter, entered by Alexandra Ward

Baxter - well and truly in the doghouse

Puppy Power: Heidi Trampolining, entered by Fiona Swift

heidi trampoline

Comic Relief in the Park

'Do something funny for money' was the instruction from Comic Relief this year. Not needing much encouragement to don a Onesie or two in aid of a very good cause - the Kiosk team made preparations for a day of fun AND fundraising. Offering free drinks to all who came down to the Kiosk dressed in their Onesies - with the price of the drink instead donated to Comic Relief - we also enlisted the help of resident photographer Gemma Kirkham to come and record the day for posterity and a few more donations!

ComicRelief11

Preparing for the big (red) day, we stocked up on lots of maltesers - a key ingredient of our ever-popular malteser squares. Maltesers were donating 5p to comic relief for every pack sold, so essentially we were baking and eating to raise money, never something to be sniffed at. We also had special red nose cookies supplied by our biscuit guru Karen Bland - all money from sales of those going straight to Comic Relief.

Our friend Jacquelyn Cooper from Halcyon Yoga came and painted our nails red and gave her time for the cause (realising her secret desire to be a beauty therapist at the same time), and Alison Godwin popped down with her Olympic Torch metaphorically, if not literally, lighting up our day!

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With so many charities competing for our donations, all year round, it's easy to forget what an impact Comic Relief has. The wonderful thing about the charity is that it supports vulnerable families all over the world - from children in the very poorest of countries, to families in the UK who are struggling to feed their children. It really does change lives in a very meaningful way.

We raised £100 for Comic Relief today. £100 could mean the world to so many people. Here's a few things that £100 can do:

It could provide life-saving anti-malarial drugs for 80 children - quite literally changing their lives.

It could vaccinate twenty children against deadly diseases like tetanus, meningitis and pneumonia.

It could pay for 20 mosquito nets to protect sleeping children and their mothers from potentially fatal malaria.

It could fund more than 30 people living in the slums of Sierra Leone with long term access to clean water.

It could fund access to advice and support for ten families in the UK living with dementia.

Or it could provide 100 meals for UK families struggling to feed their children.

Here are some photos of us enjoying our FUNdraising efforts. Enjoy. If you can, donate more money to Comic Relief here.

We can't think of any better ways to spend £100. Thank you so much to all of our customers, friends and the many local people who just popped by to show their support.

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Carers at The Park

One of the many lovely things about working at The Kiosk at the park is meeting lots of groups of people having a great time together, and enjoying being outside in the fresh air - even when the air has that ever-so-slightly-arctic feel about it. Recently we had a group from Carers in Bedfordshire arrive at the Kiosk for an essential warm drink interlude. A quick chat with them revealed that this walking group is just a part of the vibrant support network that the charity provides for the ever increasing numbers of people who become carers for aging or ill relatives. We were so impressed by the support that the walking group provided, we went to meet Linda, adult care support worker and one-woman dynamo to find out more about the work that Carers in Bedofrdshire do. Linda is one of those people who is so utterly passionate about her job that her enthusiasm and kindness is infectious.

Carers 1

Carers in Bedfordshire offers support for all kinds of carers - people who are elderly or sick themselves but still looking after a disabled husband or wife; parents who care for disabled or terminally ill children, even the siblings of disabled children, whose own needs can often feel neglected. The charity's strap line is 'working to prevent the carers of today becoming the carers of tomorrow.'  Linda explained how many carers, especially those who are elderly themselves see caring for their loved one as a responsibility that they must fulfill whatever the effects on their own health. 'It's like taking on another full-time, new career when they are well in to their own retirement,' she said. 'And often these people are very close to breaking point, because it's such a physical job, with all the lifting and moving it involves, as well as the huge emotional strain. When dementure is involved, it's a kind of grief the carers are dealing with on an every day basis, often for years at a time.'

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Founded by Yvonne Clark, herself a carer and nurse, the charity which also receives some local authority funding, provides a lifeline to hundreds of cares in the Bedford area. The walking group that we'd met at the Kiosk is one of their organised activities, and Linda was particularly enthusiastic about the benefits of the group meeting outside, and having a reinvigorating stroll in the fresh air, whilst having a natter and of course a restorative cup of tea. 'Many of the walking group have been going for a long time now, and it's become like a family. We keep carers registered for as long as they feel they need, even after the person they've cared for has passed away. There are even groups for ex-carers,' explains Linda.

New friends

All of the groups the charity run are along a similar theme - treating carers as the individuals that they are, giving them a much needed break from the intense work that they do, or just offering a space to share worries and experiences with others in similar situations. 'Carers Cafes' are a service that the charity offer on a regular basis - these are regular drop in sessions across Bedfordshire where carers, and the people they care for can relax in a safe and friendly environment.

Hairdressing, manicures and chiropody appointments are amongst the services available at these cafes, as well as talks by guest speakers, arts and crafts and the benefits of having a good chat over a cup of tea and a slice of cake, and meeting new friends. Talking about the success of the cafes, Linda says 'they work because there are no age or gender boundaries. It's so inclusive, and we get such a variety of people who come. ' Offering services like hairdressing can be vital to full time carers. 'I knew of one lady who almost never got her hair done, because it just involved so much work and was so expensive - she had to arrange for a specialist sitter to come and look after her husband, arrange transport to and from town - and it was just very expensive. She can come to one of our Carers Cafes now, and her husband is looked after while she gets her hair done, just in the next room. And then they can have a cup of tea together afterwards.'

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There are also specialist  groups for people who care for those with mental health problems, for carers of disabled children, young carers and siblings of cared-for children. The charity offer advice on benefits and other services open to carers and hold regular fundraising events. Linda was instrumental in organizing the most recent - an Elvis night with a disco, bar and a special guest appearance by the man himself! She also organizes shipments of handmade teddies and hand puppets to be sent to children in hospitals and orphanages in places such as Burma. Often these are made by carers, or people who are cared for. 'The feeling that they are helping children who have very little,' says Linda, 'means a lot. They love feeling like they are helping someone else.'

If you, or someone you know is a carer, and would like some support, you can register as a carer on the Carers in Bedfordshire website here. And equally, if you'd like to donate to the charity, you can do that on the same page. We think the carers do a wonderful job, and can't wait to have a cup of tea and a cake or two with the walking group on their next outing!

Guest Blog: Gemma Kirkham

We're really lucky to have loads of brilliantly creative people living in and around Russell Park. Here, mum and photographer Gemma Kirkham talks about her kind of park life.

I feel so lucky to live so close to Russell Park - I’ve always loved to spend time outside and with two active boys to run around after it’s lovely to be able to release the kids into the Park to blow off a bit of steam!

Since The Kiosk opened, it’s changed our experience of the park because it really adds to the sense of community and has become a real hub and place to meet! There is always someone there to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee with…and the kids can’t walk past without begging for a giant cookie or slice of cake! It’s the first stop on any visit to the park and I love coming around the corner to see Nansi, Emma, Charlotte, Hannah or any of the other lovely staff.

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As I am also a photographer, I like to hold my photo shoots outside come rain or shine- so Russell Park is the perfect location! All of my summer mini sessions were held in and around the Park which made for beautiful and natural photographs for all of the families I worked with! We did have to shelter at The Kiosk with a cup of tea one morning to wait for the rain to pass but when it did – the wellies and umbrellas combined with puddles made for lots of fun and great shots! On those cold winter sessions a pit stop at The Kiosk to warm up has become part of the routine. I find that shooting outside is much more fun for the children and for the parents – everyone is able to relax and enjoy the experience which really is the secret to creating the most natural photos!

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Gemma Kirkham Photography

Call me: 07771664532

Email me: gemma@gemmakirkhamphotography.co.uk Visit me: www.gemmakirkhamphotography.co.uk Join me: www.facebook.com/gemmakirkhamphotography

Follow me: @GemKPhotography

The Good Life in Bedford

OUR FIRST GUEST BLOG POST COMES FROM BEDFORD NEWBIE JUDIT - MANY THANKS JUDIT FOR YOUR KIND WORDS AND WELCOME TO BEDFORD! The Good Life in Bedford starts at The Kiosk

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!

TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MONSTER YARNS, READ JUDIT''S BLOG.  YOU CAN ALSO LIKE HER FACEBOOK PAGE.  SHE IS ON TWITTER TOO.

IF YOU'D LIKE TO WRITE A GUEST POST FOR THE KIOSK PARK LIFE BLOG, JUST EMAIL US AT KIOSKATTHEPARK@GMAIL.COM, WE'D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU.

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?

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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