Local Parents

Local parent: Hannah in Forest Hill

Hannah Mearns is a hypnobirthing teacher and is studying to be a nutritional therapist. She has lived in Forest Hill on and off for 25 years and is mum to Zoe, 18 months.

Describe your area in three words: Green, friendly, small-town feeling.

Coolest coffee spot: Any of the Brown & Green cafes – they are popping up all over the place and we couldn’t be happier. They are super kid-friendly and they do all kinds of food for vegan, gluten-free etc.-type people (like me).

Best family-friendly restaurant: Any of the pizza places. We are really lucky to have some very good sourdough pizza restaurants that do kids’ menus. Bona, in Forest Hill, Mamma Dough in Honor Oak Park, Franco Manca in East Dulwich… and probably loads more we’ve yet to visit. Also, I have to big up our local cafe, BB and Friends, a local institution that does great breakfasts, omelettes and beans on toast.

Favourite park or green space: We are spoilt for choice. I can (and usually do) visit a different park each day and all of them have a good cafe and good toilets. Horniman‘s Gardens, Mayow Park, Dulwich Park, Peckham Rye Park and Crystal Palace Park.

Best local museum or gallery: The legendary Horniman Museum and Gardens. It has a butterfly house, an aquarium, a slightly creepy stuffed-animal collection, musical instruments, free play and storytelling sessions on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, a play park, a cafe and a giant stuffed walrus. What more could you need?!

Coolest kids’ shops: We have two excellent ones now: Smallprint, selling amazingly beautiful kids books that you don’t mind reading 10 times in a row; and Bunka, which is the first stop for very tasteful gifts and toys.

Favourite under-5s class/activity: Little Folk Nursery Rhymes sessions with the amazing Cat – we try to go to the Mayow Park one at 10.15 but she has loads of times through the week.

What makes your area great? I would genuinely feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t have kids round here as there are so many of us now. There’s so much going on, and plenty of provision for kids. Having said that, we’re still proud to be a really diverse, un-gentrified neighbourhood. You can still afford to buy a coffee when you need one.

What’s the best thing about living in London?: The variation. Being able to go somewhere great for the day out if you’d like to, or just stay near home and still have as much fun.

And the worst?: The pollution I think! Even here in our little corner of green we feel the effects of the South Circular.

Follow Hannah at @hannahmearns

Photo credit: Hannah Mearns

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