We love our local London mums! In our Mum in the Hood series we speak with mums around the greater London area to find out what they love about where they live. This week we spoke with Bettina, a mum in Clapton and founder of Plastic-Free Hackney. Let’s meet her now and find out what her favourite spots are in this family-friendly North East London neighbourhood…
Please tell us a little about yourself…
I’m Bettina Maidment, I have two boys; Dominic 9 and Dexter 6 and am the founder of Plastic-Free Hackney which I run alongside the wonderful Daisy Hutchison. The aim of PFH is to educate and raise awareness of the issue of plastic pollution not just at the end of its life, but just how polluting and damaging it really is throughout its lifecycle. We run workshops and awareness events, give talks to schools, business and organisations and run monthly pollution picks here in Hackney with the aim to educate and share how we can all live less wasteful, more sustainable lives in a way that is accessible to all.
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Which area do you live in, and what do you love about it?
I live in Clapton, in the north of Hackney. I love that we’re slightly out of the thick of the main hustle and bustle of the busier parts of Hackney but actually only a 20 minute cycle to Shoreditch. On the flip side of that we have so many parks and green spaces on our doorstep I really do feel that we have the best of both worlds. I also love the feeling that were in a little village at times, you cant pop to the shops without bumping into at least one person you know! Its this sense of community which I think I love the most.
Where do you like to hang out with your kids?
My eldest has got really into skateboarding so we’re spending a lot of time at the Bumps in Daubeney Fields, for the last couple of years a brilliant team of local volunteers took it upon themselves to restore and expand upon what was already there. They have also starting putting on events as well as lessons and have just created a really wonderful and inclusive space in what was effectively a derelict and unloved area. It also has a playground next to it where Dexter runs off to to make friends and generally hoon around the place!
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What are your favourite local family-friendly eateries?
I guess our habits have changed since lockdown so were still not eating out that much and getting more take-aways instead… luckily we’re well catered for! Not an actual restaurant but Clapton based Dabba Drop does the most incredible plastic-free Indian takeaways. Casey’s on Lower Clapton Road is an amazing bakery and bakes the most delicious cinnamon buns and toasties. Hai Cafe is an incredible Vietnamese restaurant working from the smallest of spaces but consistently producing the most delicious food with the biggest flavours. I think the kids would say their favorite places to eat are Dom’s Place and Yard Sale Pizza, which I wouldn’t disagree with.
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What are your favourite local independent shops?
Conservatory Archives is a plant shop on Lower Clapton Road, the owners have transformed a bland furniture shop into the most amazing jungle like space; with plants crammed into every space and the most spectacular huge cactuses. I can spend hours in there pondering which plant to get with the least chance of me killing.
I like to buy books as gifts for the numerous kids parties we seem to have and Pages is my go to book shop. I’m not really a big wine drinker so instead I like to go to Clapton Craft for a fancy beer! I really like sours which they always have a great range of.
FRMD are a great framers who do a really beautiful job every time. Gotta shout out to Star Discount Store on Chatsworth Road, no matter how random they will definitely sell it!
What local activities do you and your family take part in?
I feel super lucky to have so much on my doorstep, especially with two really active boys. The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is a 20 minute cycle along the canal where we can swim at the Olympic pool, they run the best Aquasplash sessions too. Dominic is also a keen cyclist and so we’ve now started going to the velodrome. Its also perfect for a day out, you can spend hours wandering through the park with plenty of playgrounds and open space for he kids to run around.
Where’s your favourite place to escape in your area for a little solo time?
I love to run along the Old River Lea and through the old filter beds, you can feel totally alone and enjoy the sound of the trees and birds in what is otherwise quite an urban environment.
Where’s the best place for a night out with friends / date night?
I recently went for dinner with a friend at Lucky & Joy. The food was great and I really loved the vibe in the restaurant. I’ve been to a few great parties at Behind This Wall as well as Jim’s Cafe.
My Neighbours the Dumplings is also a firm favourite which I go back time and again. Aside from the great food the actual restaurant is just so beautifully done, I love the room at the back, it feel like you’re a world away from the busy Lower Clapton Road.
What’s the best hidden gem in your area?
The Waterworks Nature Reserve still feels slightly hidden, you can sit among the long grass in summer and fell like your in the country side but knowing that all the joys of city life are only a short walk away.
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