After the success of our Winter Wonderland, we caught up with creator Kate Attmere
To celebrate the turning on of Chislehurst’s Christmas lights, Ada & Albert opened especially on Sunday 25thNovember, hosting a spectacular winter wonderland grotto for children to explore in the Hub and Courtyard behind our boutique.
Designed to look like an enchanted forest, complete with fairy lights, Santa’s grotto and some extra special magical guests, the Winter Wonderland was the creation of Kate Attmere, a local resident and friend of the charity’s founders, Michaela Mir and Amy Pullen.
Kate has a reputation for creating some beautiful landscapes for children to play in and explore, having regularly designed seasonal displays for local school Babington House. In recent years, her creations have been inspired by Alice in Wonderland and Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, so when Ada & Albert asked her to design their first ever Christmas Grotto, she wasn’t short of ideas.
“I asked myself what I would have wanted to see as a child, and I loved the idea of creating an enchanted grotto outside for the children to explore. I wanted it to feel magical, but to offer something new and different as well,” Kate explains.
Kate was keen for the grotto to look natural, and as much as possible to be made from natural materials so it would be sustainable and kind to the environment, to fit in with Ada & Albert’s own policy of finding new homes for preloved fashion.
When she had some trees cut down at her home over the summer, Kate saved the branches and used those as the base of the Winter Wonderland theme. She joined all the branches together to form tunnels that the children could explore on their way to the grotto, with fairy lights wound through the leaves to give it a Christmassy feel.
There were naughty elves playing in birdhouses hidden in the grotto for children to find as they explored, with old Halloween decorations repurposed as ‘Furry Tree Triggets’, as well as little green men made out of clay.
To fit the wild, enchanted garden theme, once the children reached the cosy, warm grotto itself, they could play, make reindeer food for Christmas Eve. Again, the grotto had a natural theme, with decorations made of dried apples and oranges covered with cinnamon.
The Winter Wonderland was a huge success, and plans are already in place for Kate to create new magical kingdoms in the Hub and Courtyard for 2019.
Kate said: “It was so nice to get involved with Ada & Albert. It’s a lovely charity that helps kids, and to be able to help a local charity is so important. The national charities are wonderful, but it’s the local charities that need the support more than anyone, because they don’t have the big advertising budgets and campaigns to get the money in.“And it makes such a difference when it’s on your doorstep and you can physically see that the work that they are putting in is making a difference to children in this area, and we all benefit from that. So, it’s a nice project to be involved with, and I also got my little boys to help me as well, because I want them to recognise that it’s important to help the community – it’s a nice all round thing to do.”