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wonderful EGGS…

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Oeufs en Cocotte…Eggs and crème fraîche are all you need for this super-simple yet very tasty dish. You can also throw in almost anything savoury you find in your fridge. Try serving it with plenty of crusty bread. Here I’ve added chilli to the eggs and to follow some crispy pancetta & melon. Eggs take about 15minutes in the oven at 180

 

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Egg on toast with spinach and mushrooms… and that’s it pretty much, you can add cheese to your spinach or even marmite to your toast..

 

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Eggs with Aspargus soldiers… theres nothing much to it really, just make sure the asparagus isn’t overcooked and still has a crunch… Little O especially loved this.

 

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Poached egg on a bed of crispy kale with lardons… this is super tasty and really easy too… Steam your kale and fry your lardons, when they start to crisp up, season with black pepper, chilli and basil and then add your kale and wait for it to crisp up, about 10 minutes, it will turn a little darker too. I use a poacher for my egg here, its cheating i know, but just works out better… Enjoy!

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we all need ART in our lives…

It all started with a bumpy ride called pregnancy… a few months later and a few of Caroline Flint’s NCT classes wiser, I had made lots of new friends with other mums & dads-to-be. In those early days and in the lead up to your first birth this was just pure gold – having that wonderful support was not only amazing but really strengthened you with knowledge, which is so vital as a new mum. Caroline was also just brilliant, I will never forget our very first session… She has the confidence of years and years of experience and she really sets you up, gets you to believe that childbirth doesn’t have to be painful if you don’t let it but mostly guides you and teaches you to understand you and your body… You can read more on the wonderful Caroline here.

Moving on and moving into this blurry, tiring yet incredible time that was pregnancy –  I met Chloe (& her then bump) and over the course of a few months we became really good friends… Finding someone with that same zest for life was so good for me… Someone who makes life as colourful, fun, vibrant and creative as possible was brilliant, not forgetting that Chloe and her family live up the road, was fab too. It meant that I had a partner in crime, through those early motherhood months we sleepily embarked on our new adventure, taking our bubbas to every class we could manage to get us and them up and out, but I had someone to share my confusion or worry with. Not saying every day was hard, but finding someone in exactly the same position as you meant so much.

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picassos in the park team – Laura & chloe

… A few more months and well into early motherhood later, both Chloe and I got to thinking… together after many a latte at the wonderful Sally White’s or curled up sleepily at the Durning Library with her now Little D and my Little O decided that we would like to do some creative work together. Both having artistic backgrounds and an urge to do something more we set up Picassos in the Park. Our very own and very exciting Art Course for children here in Kennington!

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Our set up for Matisse Week… taking inspiration from leaves for the children to do their own Matisse Cut-Outs.

 

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Picasso week

 

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Classroom set up for Van Gogh week

 

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A sunflower in the making

 

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Using watercolour, tissue, sand, glue and pencil

 

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This is Naima’s sunflower… Naima is 6 years old

Classes run on Saturday mornings over a four week period and take place in the annex tent round the back of the Kennington Park Café. After the success of our first course in July we are now running another course that starts this Saturday 13th September, only a few days away! Which, when looking back, I actually can’t quite believe… How did all that just happen?

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Monet week. This is Maddy’s Monet inspired piece, she is 5 years old. I especially love her water lillies.

 

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Monet inspired waterlillies

Using the Masters of Art as our basis to inspire the children and find their own inner Picasso, we have successfully brought Matisse, Picasso, Van Gogh and more to the course using bright colours, an array of exciting artists materials and the fun imagination from the children and of course ideas from life all around.

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a happy georgina, age 8, with her Matisse inspired cut-out!

 

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taking inspiration from the park

For us mums it has proved to be not only popular but everything we anticipated it being and more. Holding the classes in the café has been great and we are very pleased with how the first course has been received, we are now working hard on ideas as to how we evolve the course and reach a wider audience. The children and parents alike have given only highly positive feedback and more than 50% of our students re-booked for the new course (starting 13th Sept) straight away. We are thrilled and what actually makes our Saturday’s even more special is watching the children take their very own Matisse collage or their Picasso portrait or Van Gogh sunflower away, it’s the realisation that with two minds that think alike we have managed to bring such an exciting new venture to life and have made each and everyone of these kids go away wanting more. Wanting to be more creative is just the starting point. Beautiful artwork has been created and we have had students come back. We cannot be happier with the outcome.

We would love to hear your thoughts, or if you would like more information or are interested in enrolling your child, then please get in touch by sending us an email at picassosinthepark@gmail.com.

I would like to thank Chloe (of course!) her little D, my little O for all the inspiration and to the Dads involved too, Merlin and Jon – who have both really supported us in this, and for all their help in clearing up after class too!

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The Kennington Park Café

A very special Thank You to Chris Michael at Kennington Park Café for letting us host our Art courses in the annex part and for helping us get our show on the road, not to mention the fab coffees and toasties too. Kennington Park has also recently been voted as Best Historic Park amongst 6 of the best Parks in Lambeth – read more here. The Park has also just been awarded another Green Flag – a nationally recognised standard of excellence for parks for the fourth successive year too!  We are pretty lucky here in Kennington.

Another special Thanks to all the parents and children for helping us make Picassos in the Park the success that it is!

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counting ANIMALS…

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This beautiful hand embroidered & educational cloth book was a special present for Little O from the lovely Michele. Although O is not counting yet, she loves all the animals and already know that they go ‘back’ in the book! A lovely gift for any child. Please visit fun 2 learn here to see what other lovely books and fun things they make for children and to find your nearest stockist.
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…It’s the MAGIC of La Forêt…

When I first visited the remarkable and stunning La Forêt for the very first time in 2009, little did I know that it would pull on my heart as much as it has. I knew pretty soon after my first encounter that I wanted to celebrate my wedding there, which we did in 2011. I also knew, deep down, that it would become a very very special place to me and my family and it will remain so, forever…

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IMG_2592We recently spent a week here with friends. We had this planned for over a year and for many of us it was a much needed break. For us, it was returning to a little part of France which we had the honour of calling home for 14 months between 2010-2011.

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It was so good to go back and especially good to bring Little O along with us. Plenty of relaxing by the pool in the glorious sunshine to eating fine dinners cooked by friends by candle light in the courtyard or terrace…


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  It was also our chance to take Little O and to show her ‘our’ special place…

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10583013_10153085487326091_2991486192315384296_o              10383632_10153085487476091_2434178770195046340_nIt wouldn’t be a week in Gascony without drinking the local Floc de Gascogne and plenty of fine wine. Local vineyards including Millet, Domaine du Joy, Pellehaut & Tariquet.  Armagnac too, of course! We visited the beautiful medieval village La Bastide d’Armagnac and took a day trip to beach at Hossegor.10577070_10153085485886091_3686805321728666075_n

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Credit to Chris Karageorgiou, who took some of the photos. 

 

 

 

Article

a PARADE of elephants…

… Is witnessed and captured in the breathtaking and stunning book ‘A Shadow Falls’ by wildlife photographer Nick Brandt. This is an astoundingly moving book that captures the wild like no other… To get your copy please visit here… visit Brandt’s website here and check him on facebook here

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Please help save the Elephants… get involved and learn more…

The Big Life Foundation & Save the Elephants… X