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Mum in the Hood: Natalie Harris, Willesden Green

Our Mum in the Hood series features London mums telling us what they loves about their hood. Here we speak with Natalie Harris, a children’s fashion designer and founder of a line of cycle safety clothing. She fills us in on what she and her family enjoy most about their local area:

Tell us a little about yourself…

Hi, I’m Natalie, mum of two boys, Otto and Rocco (4 and 2). I love my day job as a girlswear designer for Debenhams. As mother and avid commuter cyclist, I was inspired to set up my passion project – a cycle safety clothing brand aimed to humanize cyclists.

#NOTJUSTACYCLIST launched in November 2018, it is still very much in its infancy! The idea behind it began when I continued cycling to work whilst pregnant with my first son, back in 2014.  Although I’m a confident cyclist, I suddenly felt more vulnerable on the road, knowing I was now carrying our child. This prompted me to have a BABY ON BOARD hi-vis vest printed. My aim was to make other road users aware of me being pregnant, hoping they would take a little extra care when passing me. I certainly noticed motorists allowing me more room on the roads, giving me the thumbs up, and responding positively to my situation.  With both my boys, I cycled to work most days, up until I left work for maternity leave! I now always cycle in one of my #NOTJUSTACYCLIST Mum products.

 

Which area do you live in, and what do you love about it?

We’ve been living in North West London for the last 9 years, and most recently moved to Willesden Green.  I love the family feel of the area, the amount of green space, and that I am still close enough to cycle into town for work.

Where do you like to hang out with your kids?

We have a huge dog, so we spend a lot of time outdoors.  We are so lucky to have Gladstone Park on our doorstep. It’s fantastic for the boys who love running, cycling, scooting, around, exploring the woods and ending up at the Stables Café for the most delicious hot chocolates and cakes.

 

 

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What are your favourite family-friendly eateries?

Our kids absolutely love Bobs Café in Queens Park.  Another favourite is Parlour in Kensal Green.  The food is exceptional, we particularly love the brunch, the garden is the perfect spot to enjoy a sunny morning.  Both are dog friendly too!

 

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What local activities do you and your family take part in?

The boys are really active.  On a good weather day, we head to a park, if not Gladstone, then Queens Park or Paddington Rec. Flipout in Staples Corner is perfect for rainy days and Arts Depot is brilliant for kids theatre shows.

 

 

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Where’s your favourite place to escape in your area for a little solo time?

If I get some free time, I try to take an exercise class, my favourite place recently closed, but I’ve discovered some great classes at Willesden Sports centre. My go to treat is a manicure at Bombshell in Queens park.

Where’s the best place for a night out with friends / date night?

My out and out favourite is The Swing on Mill Lane.  The menu is unique and the dishes never fail. I love the relaxed atmosphere.  It’s perfect for date nights, or dinner with friends.

 

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What’s the best hidden gem in your area?

Within Willesden green I would say, Lily King on the street is perfect for picking up a great gift. A trip to the Stables Café is a must, the cakes are seriously good!

I love venturing to Clifton Nurseries, in Warwick Avenue. The staff are so knowledgeable, I nearly always leave with a plant! Their café has a great selection of treats too.

Find out more about Not Just A Cyclist at notjustacyclist.shop

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