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Archive for October, 2011

Children learn ‘Petite Etiquette’ at The Kensington Hotel

The Kensington Hotel is a smart hotel, but one known to be child-friendly which is a great bonus when taking kids out. And what better than after a session at the Science Museum or ice skating at the Natural History Museum than to have a nice cosy afternoon tea at the Kensington Hotel, in the knowledge that your kids will know how, and indeed, will, behave.

So no more squirming with embarrassment whilst little Jonny plays merry havoc. If you are having little success teaching your own kids, then why not hand them over to Jean Broke-Smith (of Ladette to Lady TV fame) who, for an hour, will teach your children everything they will need to know (certainly until they get to adult hood). The courses, run at the Kensington Hotel, are designed to be fun and helpful to children. To know what it appropriate behaviour in a 5* hotel, and what isn’t. Of course an additional benefit is that (in theory at least) these new found skills can be transferred back at home.

So what does Jean teach children between 5 and 10? Well the basics such as how to sit at the table, not to have elbows on the table, how to say please and thank you, how not to speak with your mouthful or wave the cutlery around. How to hold a tea cup (full of hot chocolate with a tempting marshmallow in the bottom which was a little too much of a temptation for some of the kids trying out this session). Don’t get up from the table for a little wander around and don’t play with your games/phone at the table. All this sounds a lot for some of the really tiny ones there – for India (aged 5) some of this might have been a bit over her head – but she certainly knows how to hold a cup of hot chocolate! The sessions are free and are being held at the Kensington Hotel, SW7 on Saturday 12 and 19th November, followed by some more in April.

At the end of the session the children were asked if they had any questions. One bright spark (aged about 6) asked how you said thank you if you were in France and you did not speak French. “You could ask Mummy” was one response from the older sister – another response from the teacher herself, was not to worry, generally most people understood the word ‘thank you’ in whatever country you were in. The children were then shown how to leave a napkin on a seat when going to the loo, and how to leave it on the table once they had finished. So the departing scene was of 5 children very seriously folding up their napkins placing them neatly back on the table. They had finished. The hot chocolate, the sandwiches, the scones and the cakes. They might have finished and the food disappeared. But the manners will stay with them for life.

For more information on ‘Petite Etiquette’ call 020 7589 6300

Images: Copyright Lucy Elliott/The Kensington Magazine

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Piers, Marco and The Hansom Cab

Kensington has always attracted celebs – with its nice houses, good shopping and cultural advantage. But now the stakes are raised with the relaunch of The Hansom Cab in the Earls Court Road. A Victorian hostelry very much in the 21st Century. Co-owned by Piers Morgan and Tarquin Gorst (also co-owner of The Punchbowl in Mayfair, the Rainbow Inn in Lewes), Rupert Morgan (brother of) will be running it. If the re-launch party was anything to go by, those who love star spotting will be in their element. Centrally placed in a residential area, this is bound to become home to many local well known faces. Last night was more a case of spot the non-celeb…. so for those of you who want to know – drinking champagne or trying out The Governor’s Beer with nibbles prepared by Marco Pierre White from the Oyster Bar or the Rib Room, were former Sun Editor, Kelvin MacKenzie, and his brother Craig, Frank Lampard and his girlfriend Christine Bleakley, Mylene Klass, Peter Jones the Dragon, Emily Maitlis, Kelly Hoppen and Nancy Dell’Olio. There were others but this is for starters….

Image: Piers Morgan and Marco Pierre White

Image: Copyright Lucy Elliott/The Kensington Magazine
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The Launch of ‘The Second Half Of Your Life Foundation’

The Mayor of Kensington & Chelsea Councillor Mrs Julie Mills, together with Ruby Wax, Judith Owen and ex investment banker, Jill Shaw Ruddock launched ‘The Second Half of Your Life Foundation’ at the Town Hall.  The event was surprisingly relaxed but with a serious message. More older people than ever are living longer, but alone.  Loneliness and social isolation in the UK is at an all time high with some 300,000 pensioners not speaking to family or neighbours in a month.  This is nothing short of appalling. On the strength of her recent international best seller ‘The Second Half of Your Life’ and recognising that the over 50s should be entering the best phase of their lives, Jill decided to launch The Second Half Of Your Life Foundation.  The centre will be housed within St Charles NHS H0spital in North Kensington.  Mayor Julie Mills has selected this as one of her charities and has created a bursary programme from private donations throughout the borough to ensure the underprivileged can attend either a full morning or afternoon of activities, plus a meal for a nominal fee of £2.00. The centre is appropriately sited in North Kensington, which has the unfortunate stigma of being one of the most deprived areas in London.  Loneliness is not class based, and the purpose of the Foundation is to provide a place for all over 50s whatever their background, to come together – share a hobby, connect socially, learn new skills, and become psychologically and physically healthier. Workshops will be available on diverse subjects such as: how to set up your own business, jewellery making, Bridge, current affairs, art for fun and learning, computers (emailing, internet and social networking) and a book club.  Physical exercise, diet and mental health will also be addressed by way of lecture series and excise classes.

For a long time now I have been concerned with the lack of social integration provided in the area and The Second Half of Your Life Foundation really addresses this.  In addition to funding ( for example £50 will enable one person to enjoy 2 activities and one meal everyday for one week), they are also looking for Patrons and volunteers to help give professional advise and assistance on the workshops.  The centre will be available for men and women and once established, it is hoped to replicate this throughout other boroughs in the UK.  If the energy from those who attended the launch was anything to go by, there is little doubt this centre will not be a success and in years to come we will wonder why it took so long to simply provide something like this for our ‘older’ members of the community who still have to much to offer, and who, should be entering the best second half of their lives.

As Ruddock says, “Of course we have to age, but we do not have to grow old.  How we grow old, we can control”.

If you are interested in any of the above, please contact Jill Shaw Ruddock on jill@secondhalffoundation.com

Image:  Ruby Wax and Jill Shaw Ruddock in conversation

Image by kind courtesy: David Tett

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