Each month we talk to a local mum to find out what they love about their corner of London. This month we chat to Emily Lawler, a nurse, mum and Mama Needs a Mimosa founder who lives in Croydon. We asked her what’s great about her ’hood.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m Emily and I’m on maternity leave from my work as a sexual health and HIV nurse. After my son was born, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever be able to leave the house again. Walking from the hospital to the car was the furthest I’d travelled on foot in a week. I pushed hard for the earliest discharge possible after my emergency section because my husband and I couldn’t sleep on the ward—we felt like we were being tortured.
I wasn’t really ready to leave the hospital and at first the prospect of shuffling ten minutes down the road to Costa seemed impossible but eventually we did it. Then I began to wonder where else we could go. Restaurants seemed laughable. They had always been the greatest source of celebration and joy and reward before I had my baby and I started to feel angry that perhaps I wasn’t allowed into any for the next ten years of my life. So I started Mama Needs a Mimosa, a restaurant review site for parents. And my son and I started eating out every chance we could.
Which area do you live in, and what do you love about it?
I live in Croydon, the fictional home of the sitcom Peep Show and an area that David Bowie used to use as an insult, e.g., ‘That is so Croydon’. Historically Croydon has been considered pretty rubbish but the house prices are reasonable by London standards, there’s loads of shopping and you’re only an hour from Brighton (and central London) on the train. I love Croydon because it is full of potential. It has also allowed me to start a family, something I could not have afforded to do elsewhere in London.
Where’s your favourite neighbourhood place to hang out as a family?
Boxpark, without question. I’m a foodie and there’s 38 different traders, space for buggies, it’s all undercover, there’s baby change and there’s even regular Baby Loves Disco events where you can have a drink and a dance with your kid in tow. It’s a godsend.
Where’s your favourite place to escape in your area for a little ‘me’ time?
Lol. Me time? Me time is having a shower and blogging! Before I had my son my favourite thing to do to pamper myself was to get a mani pedi. Shiny Nails on Wellesley Road do a great job and they’re reasonably priced. I hope to get back there at some point before my son is in high school.
What local activities do you and your family take part in?
I know that first-time mums are meant to book up all their time with classes but that’s not really me. I started organising meet-ups for foodie parents at street food markets across London and that along with the reviews keeps my son and me quite busy, but we love Babes in Arms cinema events at the David Lean Cinema, which is based in the Croydon Clock tower learning and cultural complex.
Is there a little hidden gem in your area you’d like to share?
If you spend any time on Instagram amongst the mummy bloggers then you will have seen them all frolicking amongst lavender fields this summer. It turns out the nicest one is like 10 minutes’ drive from Croydon—Mayfield lavender.
Croydon also has loads of really great street art, which is all mapped here, and during September Croydon is hosting a festival to celebrate Andy Warhol, with walking tours, exhibitions and events for kids.