What?: Somewhere between a bookshop, events space, cafe and playroom, Pickled Pepper Books is a little piece of heaven for book-loving youngsters and their adults. The shop’s small but cute, red-benched cafe offers a wonderfully tranquil spot to peruse its well-presented, expertly chosen literary offer over a hot chocolate, and restless toddlers can cook up a storm in the dinky play kitchen while their adults shop or refuel. There is also a brilliant programme of weekday activities for preschoolers, including Monsieur Pouce’s (Mr. Thumb’s) French singalong; Amelia Boo’s interactive story groups (we have been to one of these and it was great, if a little too enthusiastic for this misanthropic mummy); and La Pájara Pinta sessions (I tried to translate this but I just got Panda Paints, which I’m sure can’t be right), where toddlers learn about Spanish cultural heritage through play. Pickled Pepper also hosts regular author visits.
Where?: Middle Lane, Crouch End, a 15-minute walk from Crouch Hill (Ginger) and Hornsey (mainline).
Price Range: Average book-shop prices and an infinitely nicer shopping experience than just loading up your Amazon cart.
Best Bits: We were met by Pickled Pepper’s absurdly lovely Director, Steven Pryse, who immediately bounded over to ask if we needed any help (in a non-annoying way) and was more than happy to let Bab stumble around his store like a bull in a china shop, emptying whole shelves onto the floor and generally destroying everything in her path.
Worst Bits: None. They have literally thought of everything.
Did We Buy?: We bought yet another Chris Haughton book, Goodnight Everyone, to add to our (almost complete) collection.
Would We Come Back?: It’s shops like this and the fabulous Niddle Noddle a few doors down that make me want to move to Crouch End.
Bab looks shady at Pickled Pepper Books, Crouch End