Describe your area in three words: Village within a city (does that count as three words?!).
Favourite park or green space: The lovely Clissold Park. Both pre- and post-baby, we’ve spent so much time here. It’s perfect for a stroll, jog or duck feed, with two no-dog children’s areas (one with its own cafe), a large paddling pool for summer and a super-fun play park. Clissold House, located inside the park, is home to one of my favourite baby classes, Tiny Time Music, as well as yoga and lots more. While the cafe doesn’t have the most interesting menu, comfort food such as jacket potatoes and shepherd’s pie go down well with tired parents and toddlers, as does the seemingly infinite number of high chairs and the buggy park. Woodberry Wetlands is also great for a stroll and a chat with the ducks.
Coolest coffee spot: Church Street is full of independent cafes and coffee shops. However, the majority are fairly small and your average Bugaboo won’t fit inside without knocking out a few tables. Curators Coffee Kitchen in Newington Green (confusingly previously known as both Dandy and Newington Table) is spacious and has lots of high chairs, baby-change facilities and – most importantly – delicious coffee. If you need a sugar fix or some fresh air afterwards, head to Lizzy’s on the Green for the most incredible caramel brownies and alfresco dining.
Best family-friendly restaurant: Mid-week, take advantage of the lack of queues at The Good Egg. The baby-change facilities, number of available high chairs and friendly staff are good but the food is exquisite. The Green Room has a lovely garden that’s perfect for toddler exploration and its entrance – through a florist – always makes me feel happy. Yummy Yummy in My Tummy children’s cafe offers a full timetable of classes and the cafe upstairs serves tasty food. However, it always feels slightly manic and the toys don’t appear to be the cleanest.
Best local museum or gallery: Sadly the area doesn’t have many baby-friendly museums or galleries so we have to travel to get our fix. On a rainy day we can happily spend a few hours in Stoke Newington Library with its large children’s book corner and indoor tunnels.
Coolest kids’ shops: I spend far too much money on children’s clothes and the gorgeous Olive Loves Alfie sells the best outfits. Stoke Newington Toys and Books stocks a large range of items, from beautiful wooden toys to under-£5 essentials. The Discount Store next door offers everything you need for a sensory basket and children’s crafts.
Favourite under-5s class/activity: My maternity leave (RIP) was filled with a happy mix of Tiny Time Music with its lively mix of novel and recognisable songs, baby yoga classes with the lovely Karen James, and our local sports centre for its affordable swimming lessons, delicious cafe and brilliant soft play.
What makes your area great? It’s charming, friendly, interesting and independent.
What’s the best thing about living in London?: It doesn’t matter what stage in your life you’re at, there’s always something to do.
And the worst?: The pollution and knowing that my daughter may never be able to afford her own home.
Photo credit: Bryony Lester