We love our local mums! Each month we feature a London mum who shares her favourite places in her community. This month we talked to Sara Jackson, a West Kensington mother of two and founder of SJ Health, a busy clinic she runs in her neighbourhood. Find out what she loves about her hood.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a naturopath, nutritionist and health writer and, more importantly, I’m mama to the two most adorable little people around—my 7-year-old daughter Milla and 2-year-old son Louis.
I’m a Sydneysider through and through. I only intended to stay in London for three months, but 16 years, an English husband, several houses, a dog and two kids later—I’m still here. I’ve fallen for London and although I miss Australia, I’m not going anywhere (sorry, Mum). I worked in fashion here for over 12 years, which was great fun, but I decided it was time for a shake up so I took myself back to university to retrain and I haven’t looked back since. I am extremely passionate about improving the quality of life and health of my clients through natural medicine and personalised nutrition.
Which area do you live in, and what do you love about it?
We moved over from East London ten years ago and discovered West Kensington about seven years ago. We live in a little pocket between Fulham and Olympia—smack bang in the middle of Wholefoods heaven with both the Fulham and the High Street Kensington branches within walking distance. So plenty of choice about where to spend all my money!
Where’s your favourite neighbourhood place to hang out as a family?
We’re completely spoilt with Brook Green and Holland Park a short walk away. So it would be rare to have a weekend without a visit to our little guys’ fave playgrounds—we just consider ourselves lucky if the playground requests start post 8am on a Sunday morning!
In summer, we hang out at Bishop’s Park a lot. They have a great farmers’ market (with gluten-free waffles to die for), really good playgrounds and a huge sandpit with fun water fountains that warm little bodies can cool off in. There’s a beautiful lake that always reminds me of a mini version of one in the Bois de Boulogne park in Paris.
Where’s your favourite place to escape in your area for a little ‘me’ time?
Definitely the Printworks Gym near Olympia. I discovered my ‘gym fix’ later in life but I’m totally hooked on the endorphin buzz from my spin, dance and barre classes. Our dance instructor, AJ O’Neil, makes sure we’re sweating and hurting in equal measures.
What local activities do you and your family take part in?
My husband and I are both into our food so we try to hit local food festivals and markets on the weekends. I have been known to drag my (willing!) daughter to all sorts of natural medicine and wellbeing events—there’s always something interesting on at the Olympia Exhibition Centre. I love learning something new and, like her mama, Milla’s usually up for sampling some new healthy foods and drinks.
We all adore Hyde Park around the Serpentine. We can spend hours exploring whatever amazing installation they’ve put on for the summer exhibition. The Duane Hanson sculptures there last summer had my kids totally entranced—huge, very lifelike and slightly creepy sculptures of ordinary people in ordinary situations. Feeding the ducks in the lake (while dodging the snappy swans) is also always a winner with my two. There are loads of good bike paths and enough quiet little picnic spots to keep everyone happy.
Is there a little hidden gem in your area you’d like to share?
It’s got to be the tiny park next to the river by Hammersmith Bridge. We’ve whiled away many a sunny afternoon down there enjoying the odd Pimms and picnics with friends. The littlies and our dog, Tilly, love it there. It’s where my husband proposed to me so it is full of happy memories.