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 Kirstie, a mum in Clapton and founder and editor of Sonshine magazine. Let’s meet her now and find out what her favourite spots are in this family-friendly North East London neighbourhood…
Please introduce yourself…
I’m Kirstie and I run Sonshine, a magazine about raising boys for a more equal world. It’s all about how we need to change the way we talk about and to our sons – it’s felt like one of the missing pieces of the puzzle to gain gender equality. I’ve got a daughter and a son, now aged 8 and 10, so I’ve been trying to work things out as a parent for a decade – with no answers, but lots of questions and conversations!
Read more about Sonshine magazine and why Kirstie started it in our small business profile HERE.
Which area of London do you live in and what do you love about it?
We live in Clapton, in Hackney. I love the fact that for Zone 2 of East London it has a slightly village-y vibe – we’re lucky to live on a street with loads of kids of similar age who all go to school together. We are 10 mins walk to Hackney Marshes, and a short bike ride to the Olympic Park, so it’s got open space amongst the city.
Where do you like to hang out with your kids?
It’s more like where they’ll hang out with me these days! We like to ride bikes along the canal to Springfield Park in Stamford Hill. On the way we still spot ducks and swans, and we have a few favourite barges that are painted really beautifully. The view from the top of the hill is really refreshing and now there’s a new cafe near the playground, all my wishes have come true!
What are your favourite local family-friendly eateries?
We have a soft spot for the Five Points Pembury Tavern. We lived nearby when the kids were tiny and it does great pizza and delicious beer. the kids always make a beeline for the board games and we have Connect 4 tournaments (always hurts when you’re beaten by an 8 year old). My daughter loves Stone Bros on Chatsworth Road – they do a delicious New York bagel that she frequently requests. Also down there is Dorée & Co, which has delicious bread and the best falafel wraps.
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What are your favourite local independent shops?
We’re lucky to have such a range of great indie shops nearby. Hidden Planet is a beautiful shop run by local illustrator Ben Rothery. He sells his books and products featuring his illustrations of endangered wildlife alongside a brilliant selection of plants and the kids are always delighted by it, especially when he’s there to explain why a particular animal is so interesting. We also have a brilliant independent bookshop – Pages of Hackney – with a great selection of new and second hand books and I always find something in there that sparks my interest (and my kids’).
What local activities do you and your family take part in?
Both my kids have enjoyed the dance classes run by Adrenaline Dance and Hackney Children’s Theatre in the Round Chapel. It’s run by Andrew Coombs and the kids have been going to classes with him and his dance teachers since they were toddlers. It’s got such a great ethos of dance being for everyone and they even have classes for adults now.
We’re incredibly lucky to have great facilities from the Olympic legacy buildings like the Aquatics Centre or the Lea Valley Velo Park. Not many kids get the chance to learn to ride a bike while world class athletes are practicing their time trials or BMX skills.
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Where’s your favourite place to escape in your area for a little solo time?
Because I often work by myself, I actually crave time with other people! I love a lunchtime walk across Millfields and through the Lea Valley nature reserve. I do also try to get to a yoga class at Yoga on the Lane when I can.
Where’s the best place for a night out with friends / date night?
There are plenty of great restaurants and bars, but honestly I love a spontaneous trip to the pub – now that the kids are old enough to get out without too much stress and we know local babysitters! the Spread Eagle is London’s first vegan pub – right down to the beers and wines and we have had some very fun nights there, embarrassing ourselves on the karaoke.
What’s the best hidden gem in your area?
It has to be London Borough of Jam. Lillie makes the best jam you have ever tasted in your life. And she’s so generous with her expertise and knowledge too – she once told me how to make a really amazing jelly from the grapes we’d found growing into my garden, and her recipe book is full of flavours you wouldn’t expect but a perfect together.