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There’s a tiger in South London!

Les Petits Tigres launch French language music sessions for babies & toddlers in South London.

A French teacher and musician, Jackie Colchester founded Les Petits Tigres after the birth of her son to support his language learning. She struggled to find French language activities for little ones in south London and wanted to share her love of French language and music with others.

With a growing Francophone community in South London and increased interest in Early Years language learning, Les Petits Tigres offers a fun and organic environment to learn French.

Sessions are engaging and interactive using puppets and props. Each class begins with a story told in simple French followed by songs with actions and movement to involve the children. They are appropriate for all levels, from beginners to French speakers. Classes are an ideal way to introduce children to the French language or to provide additional support for Francophone families.

Les Petits Tigres is the only provider of Early Years French in East Dulwich. You can find them as part of the excellent family friendly programme of classes at Punk Me Up on Mondays 11:30 am – noon. Classes start 5th September and run term time only. Visit for booking information.

“What a great find! We have been looking for a French-speaking baby group for some time and are so thrilled to find one right in our neighbourhood! Jackie’s gentle, patient approach provides a magical, whimsical venue which mesmerises the babies of all ages. We have found this a great support to our at-home learning and a fun social spot for mum and baby alike. Merci!” Erica (mum to Tressie)
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Horniman Museum and Gardens – September events

Horniman Butterfly House

10am-5pm September to October / 10am-4pm November to February. [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 (two adults and two children) £15

*includes voluntary 10% Gift Aid donation which supports the work of the Horniman.  

Indian Summer

Until Sunday 3 September 2017. The Horniman brings the sounds and spirit of South Asia to south east London with its vibrant Indian Summer season of events, performances and displays.

Horniman Mela: Sunday 3 September, 12–6pm

Our amazing Indian Summer draws to an end with a fun day of performances and activities inspired by popular South Asian festivals and celebratory traditions, and an arts and crafts market in partnership with Pexmas. The day will culminate with a spectacular gathering to recreate a Holi festival colour throw (it will be messy so please don’t wear or bring anything valuable or that stains easily. Plastic ponchos will be available).


Special Events

Open House Weekend: Saturday 16 September, 11am – 12pm, 12.30pm – 1.30pm, 2pm – 3pm

The Horniman moved into its current building with its landmark Clocktower in 1901. Since then the site has been expanded with a number of architecturally-significant developments, including green-roofed education space and library.

Tim Hopkins, Estates Manager, takes you around the Museum and gives a unique insight into the work required to successfully maintain the many buildings for visitors to enjoy.

Free, but booking essential.

Regular Events

Horniman Farmers’ Market: Every Saturday, 9am-1.30pm

Visit the Horniman Farmers’ Market every Saturday to pick-up your weekly essentials direct from independent and local producers. Located in our glorious Gardens you will find stalls selling seasonal fruit and veg, artisan bread, organic meat and delicious hot food. We also have regular guest traders specialising in treats such as luxury chocolates, homemade jams and irresistible cakes. 

Free entry

Library Open Day: First Sunday of each month, 10.30am–5.30pm

Browse our library collections and see some of the library treasures.

Free, drop in

Hear it Live!: Tuesday 26 September, 3.30-4pm

Join us in the Music Gallery for a live performance by Rosie Manford using our 1772 Jacob Kirckman harpsichord.


Regular Family Events

A World of Stories: Every Sunday (except 3 September), 2-2.45pm and 3.15-4pm

Enjoy stories from some of the best storytellers in London. Their stories bring the Museum’s varied collections to life and will whisk you away to faraway places and different times. Suitable for families with children aged 5+.


Art Makers: Every Saturday 1.30-2.15pm and 2.45-3.30pm
Have fun with different art techniques to create something fabulous to take home inspired by the Horniman’s collections or seasonal celebrations. Different themes each week. Suitable for families with children aged 3+. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Tickets: £3 Child

Busy Bees: Every Tuesday and Wednesday from 12 September

10-10.30am, 10.45-11.15am, 11.30am-12pm. Lively sessions for under-5s and their parents/carers during term-time. Activities include storytelling, art and craft and outdoor play (Muddy Bees on 26 September). These sessions are not suitable for nursery school groups.

Free, tickets available on the day

Hands on Base: Family Activities: Every Saturday 11am, 11.45am and 12.30pm

Discover the collections that make the Horniman special in our Hands on Base. Each week these fun family sessions will explore a different theme using objects from our Handling Collection, from African masks to sharks jaws. Suitable for families with children aged 3+.


Hands on Base – Open for All: Every Sunday (except 3 September), 11am–12.30pm

Touch and explore real Museum objects ranging from taxidermy to thumb pianos in our Hands on Base gallery. Everyone welcome.

Free, drop-in


The Robot Zoo: Until Sunday 29 October

How do chameleons change colour? What makes grasshoppers leap so high? Is a giant squid jet-propelled? Answer these questions and more at The Robot Zoo, where amazing animals are recreated in robot form to reveal their inner workings.

These larger-than-life robots and hands-on interactives – including a platypus, a giraffe and a 10-foot-wide house fly – show the animals’ anatomy as a host of familiar machine parts and gadgets such as shock absorbers, springs and pumps, which demonstrate how animal bodies work.

Enter this amazing world of robotic creatures, see inside them and even control some of them – and discover mind-boggling facts about animals that share our world.

Ticket prices: Child £4.40; Adult £7.70: Family (2 adults, 2 children) £18.70. Prices include voluntary 10% Gift Aid donation.

See for more information.

Horniman Members enjoy free, unlimited visits to the exhibition.


Garden Talk: Get into grasses

Ornamental grasses are at their best now. Their faded buttery seedheads look wonderful swaying amongst late summer perennials, purple asters, pink anemones, and yellow helenium. Most like sun and free draining soil (though some are fine in shade) and look amazing in big drifts. But they also work well dotted around smaller gardens linking plants and adding a naturalism, movement and texture to planting. They don’t need feeding or watering when established and add autumn and winter interest. Here are some to try:


Miscanthus sinensis ‘Ferner Osten’ is a popular variety of this striking statement grass with arching leaves and a fountain of burgundy pink flowers in August. Great for late season interest with its coppery autumn leaves. (1.6 m). Starlight is a smaller version.

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Kleine Silberspinne’ is more compact at 1.2m with burgundy plumes fading to a shimmery silver, so nice where it catches the winter light. It looking great with Anemone x hybrida ‘September Charm.’

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’. A delicate variety that rarely flowers but is grown for the fine cream edged leaves that flatter silvery plants, deep red sedums or dark purples such as Penstemon ‘Raven’.


Stipa tenuissima is a small compact grass with soft feathery seedheads in summer. Good mingling with (but not overcrowded by) perennials such as salvia nemerosa ‘Caradonna’. Likes full sun and well-drained soil. Comb out tatty bits or cut right down in spring for a fresh flush of green.

Stipa gigantieum. This is another statement grass, best in an open spot where the sun can shine through the tall oaty seedheads turning them golden. Takes a while but can get big (2.5m).Needs full sun and good drainage.

Anemanthele lessioniana, (previously Stipa arundinacea) is a very useful mid height evergreen grass that is shade tolerant and turns orange and red in autumn and winter. Self seeds, so pull up unwanted baby plants.


Calamacutifolia x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’. This is a fab grass with a very upright habit. Fresh green spring leaves turn to fluffy purple flowers and finally long straw-coloured seedheads in summer that sway on their tall stems and looks amazing with pinky purple Verbena bonariensis flowers. (1.8m). Likes sun or part shade.

Calamagrostis brachytricha has similar pale fluffy flower heads turning straw coloured but with a more relaxed arching habit. (1m). Best in full sun as it flops more in shade.

Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Overdam’ is a pretty, smaller, (1.2m), version of Karl Foerster with a similar upright habit and cream-striped leaves. Likes sun or part-shade.


Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Goldtau’ is a smaller mound forming evergreen grass with tiny silvery purple flowers in the summer, maturing to a cloud of delicate golden seedheads. Sun or part shade, moist but well drained soil. (75m)

Molinia caerulea subsp. arundinacea. Good for wetter soils with delicate flower heads and lovely autumn colour, ideal for viewing other plants through. (1.5m)

Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Hameln’

A good variety of this pretty grass with pink fluffy rabbit tail flowers throughout the summer months. Looks good with purple perennials and pink sedums. Full sun, well drained soil. (61-90cm)

Grass care: Cut deciduous grasses right back in late winter, before the new growth appears. Remove seedsheads from evergreen varieties and comb out any tatty bits.

Gardens with grasses near London:

The Olympic Park: prairie style planting from designer Piet Oudolf in the Pleasure Gardens.

Wisley: the Glasshouse Borders and Glasshouse Landscape designed by Piet Oudolf and Tom Stuart -Smith.

The Beth Chatto Gardens, Essex: the grasses in the gravel gardens are perfect in September.

Follow Janine on instagram @janinewinlaw

This article first appeared in the September 2017 issue of SE22 magazine.



The Last Word – Karen Wood and Kathy Daniel, The Chair Sanctuary

We’re Karen Wood and Kathy Daniel, we live in East Dulwich from where we run our upholstery and furniture renovation company, The Chair Sanctuary.

How long have you lived in the area?

Both of us have lived in East Dulwich for over 20 years, we’ve had workshops across south London during that time but we’re very pleased that for the last few years both work and home have been in East Dulwich.

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

We live in a rather secret road, it’s a cul-de-sac with a really rural feel, full of trees and birds and loads of blackberries in the summer – our home-made jam cannot be beaten!

Do you know your neighbours?

We live in a really creative corner and it’s the friendliest road we’ve ever lived in. We’re really lucky to know our neighbours one of whom knocked on our door to present us with a home grown marrow the day we moved in – and we knew we’d found the right spot for us.

The most famous person you’ve seen or met?

We’re lucky enough to have a number of well-known people as regular clients, including Mark Rylance and Claire van Kampen who have an amazing array of antique furniture which is always a treat to work on.

Where are you likely to be found on Saturday?

Kathy will be playing badminton, Karen gardening then we’ll be either at an exhibition, a garden centre or a tea shop. Preferably all three.

What is your favourite place to eat?

Yama Momo on Lordship Lane is amazing – for both food and cocktails…. Miss Tapas in Peckham is great and (after extensive research) Kathy swears the carrot cake from Gail’s in Dulwich village is the best there is.

Coffee or tea? Where?

The French House is a great place for a coffee and an Earl Grey tea, but if you want a veggie breakfast on the side then Boulangerie Jade is hard to beat.

The best meal I’ve ever had…

We love Eritrean food and ordered a huge takeaway for Kathy’s last birthday party from Adulis restaurant in Brixton and enjoyed the leftovers all weekend. Perhaps the most peculiar was when Karen inadvertently ordered snails in garlic and white wine alongside a cappuccino, she really should improve her German language skills….

What’s your favourite place for a night out?

We love hanging out at our friends’ house locally, playing table tennis in the garden and eating curry – washed down with plenty of gin and tonic.

What is your favourite shop?

There are plenty to choose from but we love Really Maria on Lordship Lane which has a colourful array of dress making fabrics, useful haberdashery and lots of crafty bits and pieces.

The book I’m reading at the moment

We’re furniture and design fanatics so we always have a number of those on the go – Karen is always reading a classic, Kathy is finally getting round to A Suitable Boy and for comedy genius we love David Sedaris.

Our perfect holiday…

We love Africa and it’s hard to choose a favourite moment between sleeping under the stars on a house-boat on Lake Kariba, Zambia, admiring the incredible rock-hewn churches in Ethiopia or camping (a bit too closely!) to lions in the Maasai Mara.


5 reasons why cold showers are good for your health (and keep you cool during a heatwave)

I was persuaded to try cold showers having listened to a podcast where the guest, (the renowned Dr Joseph Mercola) was discussing their benefits, specifically, cold thermogenesis. It seemed to me that the benefits of subjecting yourself to cold temperatures were too many and too compelling to ignore. Here are my top 5 reasons why cold showers are good for your health, and why you should start experimenting with cold therapy now.

Brown fat activation

Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is a type of fat that is typically found around the collar bones, sternum, neck and upper back. It’s a unique type of fat that generates heat by burning the white fat on the stomach, rump, hips and legs. One study found that cold therapy increases the activation of BAT by up to 15 times. Individuals who are frequently exposed to bouts of cold temperatures tend to have more BAT, which can also cause metabolic up-regulation and an increased production of heat in skeletal muscle, which means you’ll be burning more calories as you go about your daily business.

Improved immune function

Cold exposure can increase your levels of immune system cells that fight disease and infection. Researchers believe that shivering, or just subjecting the body to cold, increases the body’s metabolic rate and that has the effect of activating the immune system. Cold exposure has also been found to increase testosterone, which has an energy-boosting effect for both men and women.

Improved mood and increased resilience

When the cold receptors under the skin feel the cold from a shower for example, electrical impulses are sent to the brain via the peripheral nervous system which causes a boost in mood (according to a 2007 study). You’ll become more resilient because you will be used to putting your body under a form or stress, and learning to endure it. Mentally, you’ll be tougher.

Improves recovery from exercise sessions

Moving between hot and cold water for 30 seconds each for the duration of your shower has the effect of contracting and expanding the blood vessels which helps to pump out inflammation. This means potentially less inflammation, reduced effect of DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness) and faster recovery.

Stimulates the vagus nerve

The vagus nerve is part of the parasympathetic nervous system and part of the autonomic nervous system state responsible for the rest and digests functions. The vagus nerve literally affects every part of the body and has an impact on our mental health. Stimulating the vagus nerve with cold water is an easy and effective way to wake up these organs.

If you’re tempted by cold exposure therapy, here are a few suggestions on how you can go about it:

  • Start by having a glass of cold water in the mornings
  • Next, start your day by splashing cold water on your face
  • Next time you take a shower, turn the tap on cold for the last 30 seconds
  • Now graduate to alternating between hot and cold for 30 seconds each
  • Gradually increase the amount of cold over hot
  • Step into a hot shower but immediately turn on the cold
  • The full-on 5 minute cold shower

leanne spencer

Leanne Spencer

This article first appeared in the September 2017 issue of SE22 magazine.

Photo by Seth Doyle on Unsplash