Spot Light on….

My spotlight feature is back! Part of my job involves working in different areas of London  this gives me an ideal opportunity to visit areas. So my recent find is Highbury Barn, situated in Islington.  It is a short walk from Highbury and Islington Tube Station or Arsenal Tube. It has a village type atmosphere and a variety of independent shops and cafes.

Where to eat & drink in  

The Highbury Barn Pub this is a great Gastro style pub built around 1740, with a relaxed atmosphere, serving tasty home cooked food. I particularly like the Victorian style of this pub, it has gorgeous period features.

If you are planning a visit I would highly recommend the Steak Sandwich and Chips. The Chips are hand cut and are delicious and I really like the alternative brand of Ketchup they  serve Stokes I’m going to have to get hold of a supply of this.


Highness Cafe & Tea Room I absolutely love this family run cafe. It has a real old style original charm to it. Their home made cakes are to die for. I would recommend their peanut butter bread cake, the icing is just melt in the mouth. The coffee they serve is always made to a high standard.

If you are looking for an alternative to a sandwich for lunch The Highness offers lots of options such as the ham and potato cake, a variety of tasty salads and soups. Some items on the menu are also gluten free.



Where to shop

Mrs Lovell’s Greengrocers is a great local shop with a huge variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, plus a section of plants and cut flowers.



If you love high quality cheese then you can’t go wrong at La Fromagerie. Their branch in Highbury (they also have another shop in Marylebone) has a wonderful cold cheese room to explore, Charcuterie and a Cafe area. The business has been running since 2002 and the owners still source their cheeses from various parts of Europe. I can throughly recommend the chocolate brownies too.




If you are looking for an original gift why not pop into To Be Established? This independent shop sells a lovely range of cards, gifts and toys. It is well supported by the local community as I am told it has been in Highbury Barn for over twenty years.


A piece of green space

After all that shopping why not go for a walk in Highbury Fields? At twenty Nine acres it is the largest open space in the borough. Around the edges of the park you will find some interesting historic residential buildings.




Get your coffee Fix  

The mobile coffee van The Daily Grind in Highbury Fields won’t disappoint. High quality coffee served outdoors (with an under cover seated area).


A piece of history

Look out for the Victorian Clock Tower at Highbury Quadrant which was built for the celebration of Queen Victoria in 1897


I hope you have enjoyed reading my Spotlight feature? Let me know where you like to go in Highbury Barn? With area do you think I should feature next?

DSC_1319What comes to your mind when you think of Notting Hill? A hang out for the rich and famous. Home for excessively rich bankers. Setting of a very popular 90’s film. Portobello Road Market and The Notting Hill Carnival. Perhaps these are all phrases that would spring to your mind about this uber trendy area? But to me I think of my place of work and my lunch break hang out. That is because I work in this lovely area of London. I have spent many a happy hour exploring The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

Here I will take you on a whistle-stop tour of the best shops and boutiques to fulfil any parents shopping appetite. The nearest tube station is Notting Hill Gate and Portobello Road is just a short 10 minute walk away.

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My first stop has to be London Tree House, at 146 Portobello Road, W11 2DZ. A Children’s gift shop which specialises in traditional British characters, such as Paddington Bear amd Peter Rabbit to name but a few.

One of my great finds when I was in there recently was a hair accessories range by BowtiqueLondon. They make really cute handmade hair clips in a range of designs. My Daughter Amelia Loves wearing them in her ponytail!



You won’t want to miss my next find, just down Blenheim Crescent is Honeyjam Toy Shop, it is simply one of the most beautiful and original Toy Shops I have been to. The owners Jasmine Guinness and Honey Bowdery have made their shop into a real Aladdin’s cave of toys, games, art, activities and kids fashion. I especially love the pocket money table, where your child could choose something that doesn’t cost a small fortune.

I brought my Daughter a lovely cat necklace by Pop Cutie. This is a brand made in Denmark and it went down a treat with Amelia who is a big fan of cats and any sort of jewellery that she can squirrel away in one of her treasure boxes!

Next on my list is Pylones at 172 Portabella Road. It is  a French based company, which sells every day items in quirky brightly coloured designs. It appears to have a Japanese influence. Perfect for a quirky adult gift too.

A lovely boutique shop at 88 Portobello Road. The owner also a gift shop in Hampstead at 31 South End Road, NW3 2PY. The vintage inspired kids children’s night wear really got my attention it is by Powell Craft.

Next head down to the well healed area of Westbourne Grove and you will find Fara Kids Charity Shop . I have been going here for a number of years now, because I know this is the place to find excellent quality second hand bargins. If you are lucky you might find some designer labels and most likely brands such as Mini Boden, Joules and Little White Company to name but a few!

Some other shops you might like to go to in the Westbourne Grove area:


JoJo Maman Bebe

Marie Chantal

Petit Bateau


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Finally why not relax and take the weight off your feet after all that shopping, at one of my favorite Artisan Bakeries Gail’s, they are at 138 Portobello Road, W11 2DZ (they also have other branches throughout London). I would highly recommend their chicken and parmesan brioche roll and they make great coffee too.

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