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The Last Word: Nic Kemp, co-founder of Oomami

Nic Kemp is the co-founder of Oomami, a consultancy for film, video & broadcast companies to help them expand and streamline their creative processes through technology and innovation. She also runs a gluten free blog Eggainst The Grain which is full of nutritional child friendly recipes and advice. She lives with with her partner, Matt, and their two young daughters.

How long have you lived in the area?

About 13 years.

What brought you here?

We had the opportunity to rent a friends 3 bedroom house in Ladywell for the same price as I was paying for a room in Shoreditch. We then had kids and decided to stay and settle in Honor Oak.

What has changed most during that time?

Places to eat and drink! When we first arrived, we never really hung out locally as there wasn’t much here. The Ladywell Tavern was the only pub really near us and was pretty dire then, though we did love the old Mr Lawrence’s. I remember when Jam Circus and The Orchard opened – it was very exciting! Though I still get excited when new places open up.

What do you most value about the area/street you live in?

I live on a terrace of 13 houses, and it’s an amazing community with open gardens at the back – quite unique.

What one thing would you change?

Night train all the way through to HOP

Do you know your neighbours?

Yes, we all hang out.

Do you belong to any groups?

I helped set up and run SELSEP (South East London Self Employed Parents group) which is a community group and Facebook forum who have regular meetups and workshops. It was a fundamental group for me to set up my business.

Describe your perfect weekend

Going to some galleries, walking along the Southbank, and ending with a drink on top of the Queen Elizabeth Hall gardens with a G&T.

What is your favourite place to eat?

My favourite place is still probably Moro in Exmouth Market. It is tricky to eat out locally with the kids with their coeliac disease, so we often eat at places in town that are certified by Coeliac UK such as Pho, Leon, Wagamamas, Carluccios and Pizza Express. I’d love to see more local and independent restaurant and cafes certified.

Where’s your favourite place to walk?  

Blythe Hill Fields is opposite me so I often take a breather from working from home and go for a quick run or walk to the top of the hill to see the amazing view. I recently drove the family to run down the hills at the Seven Sisters in East Sussex, probably my favourite walk in the UK.

Best bargain you’ve ever landed…

all my furniture mainly from East Dulwich Forum.

My secret ambition… (not so secret) is to open a gluten free cafe.




Brockwell Lido hosts The Modern Movement, a festival of 20th century design 

Back again this year, The Modern Movement, south London’s prestigious, free festival celebrating 20th century design, is taking place on 5th – 6th May at Brockwell Lido, Herne Hill, London from 10am to 4.30pm.

A range of specially selected dealers and architects, including Retro Barn,Dad Design, GP Lights & More, Da Silva Interiors and ID for London will be selling a stunning range of classic vintage furniture, jewellery and object d’art set against the back drop of the art deco Grade II listed lido building.

The Modern Movement was started in May 2008 to bring together 20th century vintage furniture dealers to display interesting furniture in architectural surroundings. The main organiser of The Modern Movement is Moses Otunla, owner of the vintage furniture showroom, Bleu. Moses sources his stock from around the world and recent finds have included designs by Merrow& Associates, Saarinen, Alvar Alto, Finn Juhl, Fritz Hansen, Han Wegner, Charles & Ray Eames

Pets Corner- teaching a dog to settle

Getting the right balance between activity and rest is a tough call for many dog and puppy owners. Attempting to burn off energy by increasing exercise and activity only adds to the problem, creating an adrenalin junkie pet. What every dog and owner needs is an ‘off switch’ and one way is by teaching the dog to settle on cue.

There are two phases to teaching settle. In the first part we use a mat to teach the dog to move to a specific place. In the second we teach the dog to lie down and relax while he is in that place, slowly increasing the duration.

Teach your dog to settle in a specific place using a mat (always put the mat away after training).

  1. Put the mat down on the floor away from distractions. Now put a treat onto it and allow your dog to investigate the treat. As soon as he puts his paws on the mat say ‘yes’ give another, better treat. Now pick up the mat.
  2. Repeat, putting the mat somewhere else in the room. When your dog steps on the mat, say ‘yes’ and give a treat, then remove the mat. Repeat all over the room, until your dog is whizzing over to the mat every time you put it down.
  3. Next, point to the mat and say ‘settle’ before your dog steps on it. Reward and start to introduce a release command (‘OK’) before you remove the mat and your dog steps off it.
  4. Wait for your dog to have all his feet on the mat before you reward and release. Now increase the contact time before reward and release.
  5. Your goal is for your dog to go to his mat without hesitation when you point and say ‘settle’ and that he stays on it for a minimum of 20 seconds in any position without prompting from you. Once you achieve this go to step 2.

Learning to relax. (Put your dog on a lead).

  1. Find a comfortable chair and something to occupy yourself. Put the training mat by your chair.
  2. When your dog goes to check the mat, praise him and drop some treats onto it. At the same time put your foot on the lead, just so your dog has enough leeway to stand on the mat. You need to be positioned so you can keep a foot on the lead while you are seated in your chair.
  3. Ignore your dog until he lies down on the mat, if he does say ‘settle, good settle’, put some more treats between his paws and then ignore him. If he stays in position for a few seconds, praise, reward and release (‘OK’)
  4. Waiting until your dog chooses to lie down is crucial. Some dogs will lie down within minutes, others will take half an hour, and some may buck, rear and pull to get away. Whatever your dog does, just calmly wait for him to lie down and follow the steps in 8. With persistence and practice you will find your dog starts to lie down more quickly each time.
  5. The magic moment occurs when as soon as your dog sees the mat he goes to it and lies down. When this happens stop the session, remove the mat and play a game your dog loves.
  6. Now start to randomise reward at each training session. Sometimes your dog gets a treat, other times he doesn’t; occasionally he gets a large piece of something he loves (jackpot).
  7. Once your dog goes to the mat and settles whenever you tell him to, start to increase the time he stays on the mat. Sometimes reward and release him immediately; other times ask for a bit longer. Aim for a minute before you reward.
  8. Again, if your dog starts to resist just keep your foot on the lead and wait for him to lie down; reward and release. Your dog will begin to understand that only calm behaviour gets rewarded.
  9. Start to use other areas of the house to practise ‘settle’ and build duration. The final stage is to go out of sight. Put the mat on the other side of the door of a small space, like a toilet and build duration.

Leonie St Clair: www.londondogstraining

Image: Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

Horniman Museum and Gardens – April events

Eye for Colour Exhibition at World Museum Liverpool.
Images by Gareth Jones


Colour: The Rainbow Revealed
10 February-28 October

Colour: The Rainbow Revealed is an award-winning exhibition exploring the endless ways in which colour shapes our world.

Be dazzled by how colours are made and perceived, discover how animals use colour to attract and hide, and look into how different colours mean many different things for people across the planet.

The exhibition is also full of family-friendly displays and interactive games including an Art Machine for you to create your own vibrant masterpiece, a Mood Room with multi-coloured lights, and a Colour Café to learn why only certain colours tempt our taste buds.

Ticket prices: Child £4.40; Adult £7.70: Family (2 adults, 2 children) £18.70. Prices include voluntary 10% Gift Aid donation. Standard prices also available. Horniman Members and Benefactors enjoy free, unlimited visits to the exhibition. For more information and to book tickets go to

Horniman Butterfly House

10am-5pm March to October

Last admission 30 minutes before closing. See the website for seasonal opening times.

Get up close with hundreds of beautiful butterflies in a tropical indoor garden. The specially-planted habitat is the perfect place to experience free-flying butterflies and discover amazing facts about the life-cycle and behaviour of these fascinating creatures.

Tickets: Adult £6, Child £6, Family (2 adults and 2 children) £15

[includes voluntary 10% Gift Aid donation which supports the work of the Horniman. Standard prices also available.]

Book at or in person at the Museum.

Horniman Members and Benefactors enjoy free, unlimited visits. Advance booking recommended.


Coral: Fabric of the Reef
Until Sunday 9 September

Inspired by the Horniman’s Aquarium and Natural History collection, artist Karen Dodd uses woollen fabric – dyed and sculpted, and intricately bound and stitched – to draw attention to coral and coral reefs, simultaneously celebrating their beauty and raising awareness of their vulnerability in the face of increasing environmental change.

Special Events

Welly Walk on the Nature Trail: Signs of Spring
Saturday 28 April, 1.45-3.30pm.

Get your wellies on and join us on the Horniman Nature Trail to explore the animals, insects and plants that thrive there in spring. Have a go at sweep-netting, tree-beating and identifying what you discover.
Suitable for ages 5+.
Tickets: Child £3, Adult £5

Please go to for information on our regular family events.

The Last Word: Matt & Ubie

We are West Dulwich residents, Matt and Ubie. Matt moved to Dulwich back in 2001. We had a whirlwind romance having met in Hong Kong. We got married in 2017 and Ubie moved over permanently then. Matt has worked in investment in London for many years. Ubie is an artist and teacher. We have been really enjoying getting our different skills together and launching our art class business in the local area!

What brought you here?

We don’t have roots here, but Matt has worked in London for many years. So, it was all about getting on the housing ladder! Believe it or not, back in 2001, West Dulwich seemed very good value for money. It probably still is, albeit relatively speaking, compared to other London suburbs of course!

How long have you lived in the area?

Over 15 years. When I bought my home here I didn’t foresee living here quite this long! But, Dulwich surroundings are so great, with proximity to London and all its attractions, but also a sense of leafiness and calm too! We are very happy here!

What has changed most during that time?

I am not sure too much has massively changed overall, in West Dulwich anyway. It seems to go in waves with new businesses replacing older ones, but overall the vibe stays similar which is fine by us. We do like being near to East Dulwich and Crystal Palace though, with East Dulwich definitely having developed massively since Matt moved nearby.

What do you most value about the area/street you live in?

We live in a great quiet road with some lovely grown up trees and shrubs so it feels spacious, green and safe which we love. There is also a great community feel and a caring residents’ association.

Where are you likely to be found on Saturday?

Matt is a keen cyclist, so out and about pounding the pedals especially out in the Kent hills not that far from Dulwich. Ubie loves all things creative so will typically be drawing or crafting in some shape or form.

The best kept secret…

Well, not sure they are too ‘secret’! But two great venues locally where we run our courses are the Paxton Centre in Crystal Palace and Fifty Seven by Suzanne James in East Dulwich. Both really nice warm environments managed by inspiring local businesswomen.

Where’s your favourite place to walk?

Dulwich Park! Absolutely beautiful, well managed and we love how it changes with the seasons. It’s a real local oasis. The woods opposite Sydenham Hill train station are also great for a short stroll.

The book I’m reading at the moment…

Matt is reading The Art of Happiness which sets out some of the Dalai Lama’s suggestions for living a full and happy life. Some great tips in there! Ubie is engrossed in all things Zentangle at the moment and designing a new course for later this year.

Our perfect holiday…

Travel is a passion for both of us! I would say something very similar to a recent trip to Sri Lanka and the Maldives. A great adventure travelling around Sri Lanka, experiencing new places, people, wildlife and flavours and a couple of days of luxury basking in the Maldives to top it off!

Our secret ambition…

We are really enjoying building our art class, UbieDesign. We have got off to a great start, but we would love to build it up, teach at more venues and maybe even franchise our teaching methods one day!

This article first appeared in the April 2018 issue of SE21 magazine.