What?: Ottie and the Bea is kind of like the Habitat of kids’ shops, with everything on sale being incredibly tasteful and useful, and presented in such a way that you would move into the store tomorrow if you could. Specialising in children’s books, toys and homeware, this stylish boutique is larger than most, enabling it to stock a broad selection of product and to host a varied programme of creative events in-store, from a ‘book and biscuits’ club to craft mornings and sewing sessions. Founder Julia Dyer hand-selects each and every product for its usability, design and value, resulting in a beautiful and eclectic edit that will delight kids big and small. Highlights include the comprehensive Maileg collection, complete with mouse house and furniture sets, Djeco’s super-stylish contemporary dolls’ house and a to-die-for selection of picture books.
Where?: Ottie and the Bea is on Old Dover Road in Blackheath, a 15-minute walk from Westcombe Park and 20 from Blackheath (both mainline stations).
Price Range: There are gifts to suit every budget, from little-person nail polishes and blind-box Sonny Angel cupie dolls for a few pounds up to triple figures for an exceptionally beautiful Maileg play house.
Best Bits: This spacious store is an absolute joy to browse and the staff were beyond lovely and not remotely precious about Bab knocking everything onto the floor. The events programme looks brilliant and is well worth checking out if you live in the area (see website for details).
Worst Bits: Only a small percentage of the store’s product is available on the website so you’ll need to visit the physical store to check out the full selection.
Did We Buy?: We bought a Meri Meri coin pouch in the hope that Bab might find it more interesting than Mummy’s purse. So far no such luck, but it’s adorable nonetheless.
Would We Come Back?: It’s in the opposite corner of London to where we live but we’d still totally come back for a browse.
Bab wants it all at Ottie and the Bea, Blackheath.