The storytellers

by ParkLifeEditor on September 19, 2014

Wondering if you should be capturing and documenting your family’s life stories from ageing loved ones, before it’s too late? It’s hard to know where to start or how to do it. A locally launched innovative new service is here to help immortalise those tales…

Love Your Stories
, a Kensal Rise-based start-up, has assembled a crack team of award-winning radio journalists to give families and individuals the chance to document a loved one’s life stories with the same skill, compassion and professionalism that would be applied to the latest item on the national media agenda.

With experience making documentaries and producing high-profile radio shows for the BBC – and with eight major radio awards between its members – this team of journalists conducts the interviews and records those precious memories and then edits it all into broadcast-quality audio features. These are hosted alongside photographs on an interactive web page to share with your nearest and dearest. Have a listen to some of Martin Levey’s stories.

rowan“Passing on the life stories and learnings of those closest to us is a  hugely important and enriching legacy for family, friends and future generations. While we’re constantly bombarded with stories about the lives of others, often the stories of our own family, friends and our ageing loved ones, remain untold and undocumented. So we’re excited to provide people with the best radio journalists to document these stories that matter so much,” says Kensal Rise-based founder, Rowan Wilkinson.

For every set of memories documented, Love Your Stories will donate a memory-aid product – such as memory-stimulating puzzles and games, as well as memorabilia packs, art books and music CDs – to a local dementia centre to help a sufferer who is struggling with memory loss.

“The importance of memory is central to Love Your Stories. Sadly the number of people with dementia is steadily increasing in the UK. We want to help improve the quality of life for those affected by those experiencing the loss of the ability to think and reason

clearly, and we hope to help the work at some of the brilliant care centres in and around London.

Check out the site here: and follow them on Twitter @lvyrstories.



In Queen’s Park Design District during London Design Festival, Charlotte will be showing her lights at 9 Lonsdale Road NW6…

silver birch with glass moss close up on grouns

Charlotte Pack Ham YardLighting designer Charlotte Packe lives in Queens Park and and runs her lighting studio here. Her long-term collaborations are with our favourite stylish places to stay, Firmdale Hotels has seen her designing and fabricating custom lights for their hotels or over 12 years. For The Ham Yard Hotel, opened this summer in Piccadilly, Charlotte worked with acrylic rods and designed couplers and joints, essentially moving into jewellery in their refinement and detail. Pictured: Vortex Tripod Lamp.

There was also a recent commission for a Levante restaurant, bar and retail area in a railway arch in Borough Market, which opened July 2014. Designing custom fittings and fabricating them from her Queens Park workshop is her speciality – from chandeliers hung with laser-cut annodised aluminium in brushed golds and burnished brass to wall lights which pivot 180 degrees promising urban elegance. Pictured top: lighting from her exciting new collection, Glass Moss on Silver Birch.

“Light is one of the most magical forces, it is the most important element in our world and therefore within our home. I am inspired and in awe by light and to be able to work with such a magical force and then to select materials which control, capture, direct and enhance – it is the best part of the world we live in.” – Charlotte Packe.

There will be a sale and exhibition in October in Queens Park: for more info, follow @cpstudiolight on Twitter or like on Facebook or email


With its arty lights and peanut-butter (!) popcorn, we didn’t think our local cinema could get much better. But the innovations of architect Laura Clark and artist Jesse Wolpert have spruced up our spellbinding, social-enterprising Lexi into a gallery, library and bar too…

film art-tippi hedron-lexi-jessewolpert

Laura specialises in creativity within small spaces as well as sustainable building practice, exemplified by converting her south London flat out of an underground toilet. ‘Laura Toilets’, as she delightfully became known (‘Laura Loos’ would be even better?), came to visit the Lexi wanting to open her own cinema, having dreamt of being a 50s-style popcorn girl. She was offered the chance to redesign the Lexi to maximise minimal side-return space and a year later, a transformed bar and gallery alley has been born.

The revamped bar, Josh on the Rocks (fittingly polished off by Josh of the rocks himself, Lexi founder Sally’s son) is now open daily from 5pm till late. Tis a tenacious truth that cocktails for charity taste better – such good drunken deeds we’ll be providing. Now next time you’re early for a film, you can curl up with a G&T in the glorious new library and delve into the history of cinema. As the Lexi’s Carin says, ‘Come early, stay late.  Maybe catch a fine film while you’re here…’.

Jesse – the Lexi’s artist in residence – is an interactive triumph! Her playful installations walk you through the building and when you hear the shrieks and squeals coming from those peeping into the doll house, you’ll be scrambling for spare change to take a look yourself. Even going to the loo at the Lexi has become a cinematic experience. Try not cooing as you go to dry your hands and find Bambi skating over your fingers (see photo in case you think I’ve had too many of those charity-funding cocktails)…

Lexi-Upgrade-Gallery-Jesse Wolpert Art

Trust us, just go and play for yourself…

What’s going on at the other end?

As I’m sure you’re all aware by now, all the cinema’s profits go to The Sustainability Institute in Stellenbosch, South Africa, where we hear spring has arrived. Courses are popular and filled, tackling issues of ecology, ethics and equity, with many students sponsored to study. The junior clubhouse teach a Humane Education class and is a place for children to be children – something kids don’t get to do in their everyday lives. They’re granted freedom while inner discipline is cultivated through football, drama, music and karate. Meanwhile, the crèche is a heart-warming delight: £125 of our movie going and wine slurping educates a child at the crèche and gives them a meal every school day for a year. Keep watching those films, folks.

What else, what else?

The Lexi is now offering joint memberships at £65 (£55 students/seniors) for two people living at the same address. Single memberships are also available for only £35 (£30 students/seniors). Perks of membership include three free tickets, £2 ticket discounts and 10% off every order made at the bar.

Screening at the moment is Pride, the uplifting story of young gay activists demonstrating solidarity with the strikers of a remote Welsh mining village, and the entailing relationships this brings. So head down to the lovely Lexi for an enriching evening all round…


Queens Park Design District in #LDF14

September 5, 2014

This year’s London Design Festival (15–20 September) sees the spotlight on Queen’s Park Design District… Thanks to a collection of local creatives and designers led by Bill Amberg, a district has been created within the London Design Festival right on our home turf. Those in the know recognise the area as a long-established hub of creativity, but now [...]

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September 4, 2014

It’s always seemed slightly surreal that Mark Twain, America’s greatest literary figure, should have taken time out of his busy schedule knocking off classics such as Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn to cut the ribbon on little Kensal Rise Library in 1900. But he did, and now, in a sense, the unofficial patron saint of the library is [...]

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Road trip in Queen’s Park, Saturday night!

September 3, 2014

Not swarming off to Bestival this weekend? Kids back to school this week? Tan beginning to fade? STOP PRESS: it’s all going to be OK… The September sun has come back for us – and so has Lewis the Camel. How better to beat autumn anguish than under the stars with Susan Sarandon this Saturday night? Popping up [...]

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Local hero gets so much love on Facebook!

August 18, 2014

We saluted a local hero, Andrews at Kensal Green train station, on our Facebook page after being inspired by Alex Pawlowska’s Instagram account, and it’s elicited so much LOVE… Have a look. It’s incredibly touching.  “Meet Andrews. He is 51 and smiles all the time. He gives people a smile that comes from his heart. Andrews [...]

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Casual sexual harassment: your thoughts?

August 3, 2014

Hello Park Life readers… I am a 22-year-old female who has lived in the area all their life. A few days ago, I passed the local primary school on the corner of Okehampton and Chamberlayne Road. It was just after midday and a group of builders working on the school were sitting in the playground, [...]

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New mums – your chance to win 10 free personal-training sessions

August 1, 2014

Locomotive personal training is inviting one local mum with a baby to win 10 free personal-trainer sessions. Maciej has a play pen in his studio in the Tay Building which you can pop junior in while you train… To enter, send us a photo of you with a sentence on why you most deserve and need to [...]

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T-Rex to Tarantino: the Nomad comes home!

July 29, 2014

Lewis the Camel has been roaming London this summer, hoisting with him The Lexi’s wandering, pop-up sister, The Nomad Cinema… Lewis will be sauntering back to his own back yard in Queen’s Park, with four distinctively timeless classics. We’ll swap the park farm’s goats and chickens for dinos with Jurassic Park on 16 August; take off with above selfie taking Sarandon in Thelma and Louise on [...]

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