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A week in the life of a work experience student

valman

What a week… Last Monday was the day I finally started my work experience placement, in Valentines Park. I always dreaded work experience after my past experience and hearing stories about how I would just be sitting around waiting on staff and providing them with the occasional beverage; but how wrong I was.

Day 1

Day 1 began and I readied myself for a day sat inside a cramped office waiting on staff, with no real purpose or use. I was taken through the park with my work experience supervisor, and ended up at a mansion surrounded by the gardens of Valentines Park. We began to stop and I came to the realisation that this is where I would be spending some of my work experience placement time.

Window

As I entered, the staff couldn’t have been more welcoming; offering me drinks and biscuits, I even received my own desk! So day 1 officially started and I began with general office work which was good as it enabled me to gain a feeling for what I might encounter if I was to enter a similar work place, of which I want to take part in after my A levels. Eleven o’clock came and I was told to go downstairs and help out with a school trip coming to view the mansion. This was great, as it enabled me to not only interact with the public but also learn some facts about the 300 year old mansion I was spending my time in. Time flew by and before I knew it I was back in the office attending to folders and organising work for the staff, I really felt like I was part of a team.

 

 

Day 2

Day 2 came around and I continued with office work, even being given the responsibility to count out the money before the start of the day. Tuesday was open day and so I got to help out with showing people around the mansion. It also allowed me to use my knowledge about the mansion and provide them with facts which they may not have found in the leaflets.

Day 3

Day 3 is where it changed. I explored the other side of the park and worked closer with my work experience guide, down in Wash Lodge. I carried out more office work and was even given the responsibility of work specifically for the manager in that team.

2016meerkat

Day 4

Day 4 seemed to be another day, until my supervisor surprised me with a farm visit in one of the local parks which they help run and manage (Hainault Forest Country Park). This was great as it allowed me to relax from the office environment, whilst learning about one of the parks which they are looking to improve in the future. I was also able to see some animals which you wouldn’t normally expect to see so close by, for example the emus and meerkats; I’m surprised more people aren’t talking about this place!

Day 5

My final day of work experience came around so quickly but the fun wasn’t over yet. I went and worked with the final team (Parks operative team). This allowed a gentle end to the week whilst spending some time catching some sun.

I loved the variation which I was given whilst working there and I couldn’t have asked for a better team to work around. I know this will help me in any future jobs that I might have, and it’s nice to know that the people looking after our parks and open spaces care for what they are doing.

Guest Writer: Louis Machon

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The Mad Hatter: an iconic character in popular culture

mad hatter blog

The character Mad Hatter originated in Lewis Carroll’s 1865 novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The character, famous for wearing a large top hat and having an eccentric personality has appeared in media spanning more than a hundred years! Since the birth of the Mad Hatter as seen in Carroll’s novel, the character has appeared in movies, television shows, on stage and even video games!

The versatile personality of the character means that he has been cast as the leading man, funny sidekick or in some darker adaptations, a villain. Whether you love him or hate him, the Mad Hatter sure knows how to throw a memorable party! On Sunday 9 April, the Mad Hatter is coming to Redbridge to host one of his famous tea parties at Valentines Mansion. The day promises lots of activities for children, fun for the family and an afternoon to remember.

To find out more or to book, visit the Redbridge website.

Check out some memorable Mad Hatter performances below!

1. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (Novel, 1865)
Chapter Seven: A Mad Tea Party

Hatter opened his eyes very wide on hearing this; but all he SAID was, ‘Why is a raven like a writing-desk?’

‘Come, we shall have some fun now!’ thought Alice. ‘I’m glad they’ve begun asking riddles.–I believe I can guess that,’ she added aloud.

‘Do you mean that you think you can find out the answer to it?’ said the March Hare.

‘Exactly so,’ said Alice.

‘Then you should say what you mean,’ the March Hare went on.

‘I do,’ Alice hastily replied; ‘at least–at least I mean what I say–that’s the same thing, you know.’

‘Not the same thing a bit!’ said the Hatter. ‘You might just as well say that “I see what I eat” is the same thing as “I eat what I see”!’

‘You might just as well say,’ added the March Hare, ‘that “I like what I get” is the same thing as “I get what I like”!’

‘You might just as well say,’ added the Dormouse, who seemed to be talking in his sleep, ‘that “I breathe when I sleep” is the same thing as “I sleep when I breathe”!’

‘It IS the same thing with you,’ said the Hatter, and here the conversation dropped, and the party sat silent for a minute, while Alice thought over all she could remember about ravens and writing-desks, which wasn’t much.

2. Alice in Wonderland (Film, 1951)
Mad Hatter voiced by Ed Wynn

Most people associate the Mad Hatter with this eccentric animation and extremely distinct voice. This version was based off early illustration work and was hand drawn, frame by frame.

3. Alice (Mini Series, 2009)
Hatter portrayed by Andrew Lee Potts

This unique portrayal of the character depicts the Hatter as a sophisticated and smart (black market) businessman who ultimately becomes the hero and falls in love with Alice.

4. Alice in Wonderland (Film, 2010)
Mad Hatter portrayed by Johnny Depp

One of the most widely known portrayals, Johnny Depp takes this interpretation to a new level – with incredible makeup and special effects that astound!

5. Once Upon a Time (TV Series, 2012)
Jefferson/The Mad Hatter portrayed by Sebastian Stan

This version of the character possesses a magical hat that allows him to travel through portals, but gets trapped in a world with no magic and no way back home.

6. Gotham (TV Series, 2016)
Jervis Tetch portrayed by Benedict Samuel

This quirky version of the Mad Hatter is an infamous Batman villain, one not many know! In this series he arrives in Gotham in search of his sister Alice.

So which version of the Mad Hatter is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below!

Don’t forget to book your tickets to our very own Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Visit the Redbridge website for more information.

Post Author: Nida Hussain


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Top 5 things to do in Redbridge this half term!

LB of Redbridge Half-Term Events, Redbridge, London, United Kingdom - 26 Oct 2016

With New Year’s feeling like a million years ago, the kids have been impatiently waiting to finish school and finally start their half term holidays! For many of them, this is a time to relax, go out with friends or stay at home playing video games. Whatever the plans are this half term, don’t let the kids miss out of some great thing happening on their door step! Here’s our list of top 5 things to do in Redbridge during February Half Term!

  1. Cycling courses at Redbridge Cycling Centre

cyclingKeep the kids active this break with a range of cycling courses from novice go-ride for the little ones just starting out all the way to road racing, for the riders with more confidence. For an incredible price of £12.50 for three hour sessions, your kids are bound to have an amazing time.

For more information on courses and how to book visit the Redbridge Cycling Centre website.

 

  1. Make:VR – a virtual reality workshop

vr-workshopIf your child is an avid gamer, then this workshop is perfect for them. Creating and using their own virtual reality viewer, the workshop encourages children to really get involved and take a fantastic journey to faraway places!

There are two sessions taking place on Thursday 16 February.
Book at Wanstead Library via Eventbrite.
Book at Fullwell Cross Library via Eventbrite.

 

  1. Marvellous Magic Show

magic-showThe holidays are always a great time to visit the historic Mansion situated in the beautiful surroundings of Valentines Park. This half term, Valentines Mansion are running some great activities for children including an Arts & Crafts session, and an exciting magic show! Mrs Back to Front has delightful magic tricks up her sleeve that you won’t want to miss.

Tickets are selling fast, so book quickly! To find out more visit the Valentines Mansion website.

 

  1. Poké-huntpokehunt

The popular gaming app that took the world by storm last summer is still enjoyed by many people. A fantastic way to get kids out of the house and get active, Redbridge Central Library is holding a Pokémon hunt around Ilford Town Centre this half term. An activity that can be enjoyed by the whole family, this is a fantastic way to see the sights and catch every Pokémon along the way!

The hunt takes place from 11am on Thursday 16 February. Please book in advance at Redbridge Central Library.

 

  1. Club Lollipop at Redbridge Drama Centre

girl-dancingCalling all boppers, boppettes, dudes and divas! Let your kids loose and enjoy an afternoon of games, dancing and lots of fun on Saturday 18 February. With a Disco Boutique which offers tattoos, face paint, temporary hair colours and sparkle the kids are bound to have an unforgettable time. Leave your kids with us (over 5s only) while you run those errands that have been piling up!

Book now at the Redbridge Drama Centre website.

For more activities taking place during half term, visit the Children’s Activities page on the Redbridge website.

Post Author: Nida Hussain


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Creative play with glass

I had been promising myself for ages that I would make time and book myself on a creative workshop at Valentines Mansion, and I am so pleased that I did and to add to the pleasure,  I had talked one of my old school friends into joining me so it gave us time to have a catch up too!

So we spent an enjoyable morning yesterday under the guidance of Amanda Seljubac on her Fused Glass Workshop, me creating my very own glass design on a coaster and my friend Tracey making both a window hanger and a coaster.

The morning started with us all arriving and introducing ourselves, it was a nice small friendly group of 9, all keen to get started. We were given books to look through for inspiration and then shown examples of other people’s work to help us focus on what we wanted to create.  Amanda talked us through the various materials that would be available for us to use and passed them around for us to familiarise ourselves with.

My goodness, that was an eye opener, so many different forms of glass; frits and powders, stringers, confetti, millefiori and glassline pens plus other materials which we could incorporate such as copper, glassline paper and tinned copper wire.

First things first, we had to come up with our design idea, I plumped for a phoenix type bird from one of the books that we had looked at, perhaps a bit ambitious but hey ho, in for a penny, in for a pound! Amanda recommended that I draw around my coaster and then sketch my design freehand into the space which I did.  Then the fun began, I used different coloured glassline pens for the outline of my bird, then frits to infill the body and confetti on the wings with stringers for the tail feathers. I used a very thin paint brush and tweezers to help me, I kept adding more and more to my bird as I strived for the look I wanted. Each tiny piece of glass had to be glued onto the glass and boy was it fiddly! But the experience gripped me with a passion. The final piece to my puzzle was to add some copper wire into the tail feathers as it changes colour during firing, but Amanda told us that it was unpredictable, so I wanted to see what would happen.

My friend Tracey managed to create a lovely glass hanger commemorating the birth of her first granddaughter using tiny copper feet and yellow powders with millefiori flowers either end. But bitten by the bug, she also decided to do an abstract coaster using larger pieces of coloured glass and stringers!

One other lady on the workshop had been to numerous classes before and had made two items, one a beautiful abstract coaster for which she had cut the glass into curves and fitted different colours together. Susan who sat opposite me had made a beautiful Kingfisher on the water’s edge whilst another lady made a window hanging gift for her mother’s 80th birthday.

IMG_1173 (2)

All of us are eager to see our final creations which will be ready to collect at the weekend and agreed that we thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and would like to do it again.

Afterwards, we enjoyed the sunshine by having lunch in the grounds of the mansion at the Gardeners Cottage Café, talking about the workshop and catching up on old times. The perfect end to a perfect day.

Amanda is one of the resident artists’ that have a permanent studio on the top floor of the mansion, which, in a past life, had been the servant’s quarters. To find out more about her work visit her website:

www.amandaseljubac.com

Amanda specialises in stained glass, pottery and stone carving. If you fancy taking a peek at her studio or any of the other artists in residence, you can do so on one of the regular Open studio days. For details of the next one or to discover what other events are coming up visit the Valentines Mansion website:

www.valentinesmansion.com/whatson.php

Post Author: Cathy Pace


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Can you make a difference to Valentines Mansion?

Valentines Mansion & Gardens in Ilford is looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help us to create a truly memorable experience for visitors on our open days.  Working within this wonderful Georgian Mansion, dating back to 1696, you will be surrounded by many stories and an ever-changing architectural gem.  This would suit anyone with an interest in heritage and art, providing a wonderful chance for you to share our stories with visitors.

Perhaps you enjoy talking to people about history and art, and you are keen to support the future offering of a regency building?  Might you, then, be interested in Georgian architecture and be keen to provide an exciting visitor service at Valentines Mansion?  You could even be keen to develop your experience of retail, developing events and exciting learning experiences for all ages.  We have many exciting opportunities for you to get involved in, so get in touch!

Valentines Mansion

Valentines Mansion is grade II* listed country house with a growing profile: over 73,000 visitors have visited since we reopened to the public in 2009 and the Mansion now operates as a multi-functional cultural facility with public events, exhibitions, artists’ studios, education and hire operations.   We rely on the dedication of our volunteers to welcome visitors to open days and events so everyone can take time to enjoy the stunning setting, nestled in Valentines Park.

You will ensure our visitors enjoy our exhibitions, special events and creative workshops, step back in time and explore the recreated Victorian kitchen and Georgian rooms – there’s so much to do at Valentines, you’ll be surprised!

Valentines mansion is offering the following volunteer roles:

  • Front of House and Open Days (Event) Assistants
  • Tour and Interpretation Guides
  • Storyteller & Drama Practitioners
  • Art Workshop Leaders

Sound interesting?  Then come along and meet us on our next Volunteer Open Day on Sunday 12 October we are a very friendly, enthusiastic and dedicated team and would love to share with you our experiences of working within this much loved building.

On the 12 October, you are invited to join staff and volunteers for a complimentary tour of the mansion & gardens, apply for these roles and chat about the value of this experience.  If you are interested in volunteering, drop in between 1pm-3pm or book a place on the tour at 1pm, by e-mailing Amy.mountney@visionrcl.org.uk or call 020 8708 8100.

A copy of the role descriptions can also be requested through the Volunteer Centre Redbridge by  e-mailing volunteeringbroker@redbridgecvs.net or calling 0208 514 9624.  Alternatively, please contact Amy Mountney by e-mailing Amy.mountney@visionrcl.org.uk or call her on 020 8708 8100.

Roles may require you to undertake a DBS check, and all roles will require professional references.

We look forward to welcoming you!

Post author: Hardip Sohal


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The Gardens Of Valentines Mansion Inspires Children To Design Their Own Crockery

From the small to the tall, from the greens to the blues and the buzzing of the bees and crawling of all kinds of bugs, the magical gardens of Valentines Mansion is home to many beautiful creatures and plants. I went along to the mansion’s creative crockery session to see how the children were going to use what they could find in the gardens to decorate their very own cup and saucer.

The elegant drawing room had been transformed into an artist’s workshop with cups and saucers all ready to be painted on. But first, everyone needed some inspiration and there’s no better place for it than the wonderful walled gardens. As children learnt that they would be spending the first part of the session outside they were bursting with glee – especially at the thought of being able to see butterflies! So, the children eagerly led their parents through the array of bright pink flowers to large green leaved plants, constantly sketching anything and everything that caught their eye. While the children carefully inspected each and everything they came across, I chatted to a few of the mums who gushed over the beauty of the mansion and the gardens and how lovely it is to come and visit.

When the time came to head back to the mansion, the children were already admiring each other’s drawings – all desperate to share what they found. Cries of delight and excitement followed the young artists all the way back into the drawing room. There were example cups and saucers all decorated in a typical victorian fashion for more inspiration and as the session leader Alison explained, victorians were known for decorating the inside of their cups too! So there certainly was a lot to think about and before going straight for the porcelain pens to design the crockery, all designs were first drawn on templates.

When it was time to start unleashing the pens onto the crockery, a burst of colour began to make its way onto the previously plain old white cups and saucers. Some children wanted to write their names on their cups and some wanted to dedicate it to their mums or dads! Either way it was clear that every creation was unique with each child’s own personality and imagination being expressed through the various designs and colours. There were small pink hearts that bordered plates, small little bees that buzzed around the cups and all kinds of flowers and plants that made these cups and saucers extremely special indeed.

The finished products needed to be set down to dry and as they filled up the table, crowds began to form to admire how beautiful they all looked. The items looked so picturesque that they could have easily been part of a window display in any victorian crockery shop! The children and parents were a little bit heartbroken at the thought of having to leave their creations behind at the mansion so that they could dry properly, but they were equally full of excitement to come back and collect them so that they can begin to use them and have them as the best piece of crockery in the house!

If you would like to participate in future workshops at Valentines Mansion:

Post Author: Raeesa Mukhtar


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The Hunters Grimm – immerse yourself into a world of fantasy!

I didn’t know what I was letting myself in for when I joined the audience of The Hunters Grimm promenade performance in Valentines Park today, but boy was it fun, I didn’t stop smiling (even when I should have been sad!!)

Our hosts, Dot and the Brothers Grimm wanted us to help them in their quest to find stories… stories with a happy ending as one of the brothers was very sad and needed cheering up!

Introductions

The cast greet the audience

As we were led off around the Mansions walled gardens we became part of lots of little stories, firstly bumping into a seemingly harmless wolf lying on the ground; he chatted to us while moving menacingly ever nearer. Then we heard a cry for help and it was a young woman wanting help to fit into the shoe of her dreams!! Next we were serenaded by a band of animals who taught us a dance. Completely bonkers but a lot of fun on a lovely sunny day!! Finally we met a prince who had fallen on hard times searching for the woman of his dreams… would this be our happy ending? You simply must bring the family along to find out.

Animal band

The animal musicians of Breman

This show has universal appeal to old and young alike and can’t help but engage you as the cast draw you into their fantasy world. Children will simply adore this show as you can completely immerse yourself in it and become as involved as you want which makes it feel very personal.

The cast of Teatro Vivo were amazing and incorporated The Community Chorus, regular people like you or I that had signed up as supporting cast members and they blended in perfectly.

With only one day left to run, I urge you to go along on Saturday 2 August. There are 2 performances to choose from; 3pm or 6pm. I promise you, you won’t be sorry!

You can either buy your tickets online at Teatro Vivo or on the day at the box office to the rear of the Gardener’s Cottage Café.  Car parking available.

More information on the Redbridge-i website

Post Author: Cathy Pace