Invest in hard-to-find handmade children’s gifts at Hampstead’s Maison Auguste

Maison Auguste is now permanently closed.

What?: Dinky boutique selling unusual nursery decor and accessories for newborns to toddlers and beyond. Owner Elisabeth Ravel’s French roots have a huge influence on the items she stocks, with many of them from French brands and the majority unavailable elsewhere in the UK. Everything is beautiful and quirky and most products are handmade, from Chloe&Claude’s ballerina cat dolls to the brilliantly nuts framed Playmobil wall art. If you’re looking for something a bit more avant-garde than The Very Hungry Caterpillar or Sofie La Girafe, this is where you’ll find it.

Where?: Heath Street, Hampstead. A one-minute walk from Hampstead (Northern), 15 minutes from Finchley Road (Jubilee & Metropolitan), and about 10 minutes each from Hampstead Heath and Finchley Road & Frognal (Ginger).

Best Bits: I hate going into a tiny boutique and being silently watched while I browse, but there’s none of that here. I’ve never been when the owner is around but the super-stylish lady who works there during the week is so lovely and chatty. She even distracted Bab for me while I took her photo and didn’t seem to mind when she tried to massacre the Easter Bunny window display.

Worst Bits: Obviously this shop isn’t exactly bargain basement, but I don’t think any rational person is expecting that from a nursery boutique in Hampstead. Most of what’s on sale is unique, hard to find and ethically made, so really you are getting what you pay for.

Price Range: From a few quid for a hair clip up to £239 for Takeshi Sawada for Elements Optimal’s amazing Bambi chair, complete with antler handles. I’ve told Bab she can have a hair clip if she’s really good and promises not to eat it.

Did We Buy?: Our purchases include one of Lapin & Me’s awesomely kitsch woodland dolls that is basically for me and an Elks & Angels flatout bear that I justified shelling out on by convincing myself that it was too soft and cute not to become Bab’s favourite comfort toy. Of course she’s not even remotely interested in it and would rather play with my dirty knickers than £40 worth of adorable bear-shaped Australian sheepskin.

Would We Come Back?: It’s 10 minutes from our flat and opposite our local Tesco. So yeah.

Bab reluctantly poses with Heico’s Bambi Fawn Lamp at Maison Auguste