Love defined by Emmanuel School pupils

What is love?

This has occupied many great minds through the ages, from Stendhal to, erm, Haddaway. It even topped the list of Google searches a couple of years ago.

Now, pupils at Emmanuel School in West Hampstead have tackled the question, and published a book of their thoughts on the subject. Definitions vary, but range from “Love is kissing and smiling and hugging” (by Conor L, 7) to Rohan’s thoughtful “Love is something that makes you remember people that have passed away”.


Called 31 Ways To Define Love, it’s the work of the Topaz class at Emmanuel, all of whom are aged 6 or 7.

what is love extract

The idea for the book came from Sarah Trueman, whose son Arthur is in the class. As the school has expanded in recent years, it needs more books for its growing library, and Sarah hit upon the idea of creating a book with the children as a perfect way to raise extra funds.

Along the way, the children have learned what is involved in the process of writing, illustrating and publishing a book, and  also had a lot of fun. Sarah spent a day with the class and found the children enthusiastic about the project and “lovely to work with”.

Sarah praised her son’s class teacher Miss Willis, as well as Emmanuel headteacher Miss Fitzsimmons, who she described as “super-engaged with the process” and extremely encouraging of the children’s creativity and literacy.

The book is available for £2.99 from West End Lane Books, and all proceeds will go to the Emmanuel School Big Read Quest. The bookshop is open until 7pm tonight, so this could be the ideal extra Valentine’s gift to pick up on your way home.

Caught in a whamp romance: 7 Valentine’s ideas

Valentine’s Day is happening (again!), and it’s happening this Friday. It’ll be pretty much unavoidable, so why not just embrace it. Once you’ve chosen the perfect card – I rather like the Pingu ones from West End Lane Books – what next? Here’s a by no means exhaustive list of some Valentine’s events in West Hampstead.

1. Cute and cosy


Bakeaboo, on Mill Lane, isn’t just about afternoon tea. It’s hosting a special Valentine’s supper club – this will be the perfect low-key romantic setting with candles and fairy lights. There’s a supper club communal table, or a few tables for two if you’re after something a bit more conventional. Make sure to book in advance for this (020 7435 1666).

2. Hot and spicy


If your date loves Mexican food, Mamacita has a special 5-course menu for £28 per person, featuring dishes such as an “Oyster and Bloody Maria shot”, and churros and chocolate sauce to share. Add £20 per person for unlimited Prosecco, and the conversation is bound to flow. Booking on 0203 602 0862.

3. Chilled and single


Mamacita hasn’t forgotten about you lovely singletons either. Downstairs at Frida’s Bar it’s hosting a “Single & Mingle” night. It’s billed as a relaxed evening for people who want to meet other locals. The cash-only bar will be serving £5 cocktails all night.

4. Pampered and groomed

Macs valentine

Over in Kilburn, Macs salon is holding a free “pamper party” on Wednesday the 12th from 12-3pm with free champagne, treatments, and a “hair tutorial” so you can look your best on Valentine’s Day. Call 020 7328 9777 to book your place.

5. Classy and sophisticated


As you’d expect, The Wet Fish Café has a rather sexy Valentine’s menu, and it’s available all weekend. If you can hold out until Sunday, there’s also live music from Enchanted Strings – a string quartet playing movie themes and pop tunes. Three courses plus entertainment is just £24.50. Booking is essential (020 7443 9222)

6. Creative and arty


Fancy something a bit different? Creative café Art 4 Fun on West End Lane is holding a special Valentine’s evening on Friday. Bring a bottle of wine and settle in to paint ceramics with your date. Sounds like it could be really romantic, like Ghost (except hopefully without any murder or supernatural activity). Booking is recommended (020 7794 0800)

7. Public and passionate

Remon Valentines window

Finally, a lovely idea from Remon, the new-ish café and bakery on Finchley Road. It’s transformed its window into a Love Board where customers can stick messages for their loved ones. Buy your beau one of Remon’s cannoli (delicious Italian pastries) while you’re in there, and you’re sure to win their heart!