Coming up: Arundel Square ‘blanket’ sale

Each year, a blanket sale is held in Arundel Square to help to raise money for the fireworks party in November. Last year, there were some great baby bargains to be had, so it is worth checking out – or bring your own blanket and sell some of your old baby clothes and bric-a-brac. 

  

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Islington Family Card

What a fantastic idea this is! I can’t believe I have only just found out about it, so here I am, sharing it with all of you, too.

The Islington Family Card… 

  

It costs £10 per year from www.islingtonmums.co.uk and gives you great discounts at all sorts of places in Islington, Stoke Newington, Dalston and Clapton. I cannot wait to use this! 

Visit their website for full details (and lots of other useful information about what’s on in Islington), but to keep you going, here are just a few of my favourite places that accept the card:

  • After Noah
  • Full of Beans
  • Gymboree
  • Jojo Maman Bébé 
  • Tiny Tempo Parties
  • That Place on the Corner
  • Planet Organic

While I’m at it, did you know that Cook also do a discount card for new parents? 10% off until your baby is 6 months old – they literally kept us alive for the first couple of weeks after the bab was born!! See their website here

Morris Minors singing group

Every Thursday at 10am, a singing group takes place at Paradise Park children’s centre. Babies lie back and enjoy the music in the first session, and toddlers wiggle, sing and accompany in the second. This is fun if you enjoy a really good singalong – the music is folky and you will definitely learn some new songs. I really felt as if I was learning, particularly in the ’rounds’; I certainly threw in a few duff notes, but luckily it didn’t seem to matter too much!

Think of the more fun music lessons or assemblies you had at school, if you went to the cool sort of primary that had abandoned the old Come and Praise hymn book (picking the plastic off the front must have been a national past time for the under 11s in the 80s and 90s, right?!) in favour of songs from around the world with a great beat.

  • Time: Thursdays 10am (babies), 10.45 (toddlers)
  • Getting there: upstairs at Paradise Park childrens centre, which is ten minutes walk from High&I or Holloway Road tubes; or get any Holloway Rd bus to Liverpool Road; or the 153 to MacKenzie Road. If you get there early, there may be room to park your pushchair in the secure buggy park.
  • Cost: free! So go!
  • Website: click here
  • Contact: michellehepworth@hotmail.com

Kiss Chayce – lovely new baby boutique on Cally Road

 

 

The bab and I just paid a visit to a brand, spanking new baby boutique shop – Kiss Chayce – on the cally road. It turned out that we were in fact the first customers! Trailblazers… what else can I say? 

Their concept is to be eco friendly and money saving – all of the clothes are ‘pre-loved’, although in general you wouldn’t know it, as they all look pristine. We picked up a little spring wardrobe with labels like Next and Petit Bateau, and spent just £25. The clothes were then wrapped and bagged beautifully. The shop is little, but they have a really good range; often shops like these do better on the girls’ items, but there was a huge range for boys too – in fact I really lingered over some of the cute boys jumpers… You know… For one day just in case?!

The best part is that when your baby has grown out of the clothes, they will buy them back provided they are still in excellent condition. Winner.

Go and check it out!

  • Address: Kiss Chayce, 276 Caledonian Road, N1 1BA
  • Opening hours: Mon-Sat 9.30-5.00
  • Getting there: It’s a short walk south from Caledonian Road and Barnsbury overground station (step free for buggies), or take the 259, 91, 17 or 274 and get off by Cally Pool – the shop is almost opposite the pool. 
  • Contact: www.kisschayce.co.uk – 07951153428 – @kiss_chayce on Twitter and Instagram. 

… and if you can’t go out, eat in!

Okay so lunch out avec bébé might be do-able, but dinner is a lot more problematic. Between setting routines, cluster feeding and trying not to fall asleep in front of the TV, actually leaving the house in the evening seems like something we all did a long time ago!  

But, islington mamas and papas, your lovely borough has a plethora of delicious take away options! 

1. Homeburger This is the new kid on the block on the lower end of Holloway Road (which now seems to be known as LoHo). They are a little pricey – they charge what you would expect to pay if you ate out – but oh my  are they worth it!! The burgers are flippin’ delicious, in brioche buns that magically don’t get soggy in the time it takes to be delivered to your door. Yummy extras like Mac n Cheese and their own Homeslaw can be added, and if you can’t fit ’em in, have them for lunch the next day like this mama (!). Recommended dish: BBQ Beach Hut burger; Website: www.homeburger.co.uk

2. Firezza This isn’t your ordinary pizza take out, and you do need to be hungry to make the most of it. Firezza sell pizzas by the quarter metre (I know, right?!) with sophisticated toppings made from fresh ingredients – think artichokes, buffalo mozzarella, Parma ham, fresh herbs… Their side dishes and desserts are pretty good too, and not your usual dubious chicken wings and pot of overpriced ice cream, no, no! Lovely tiramisu, focaccia and puy lentils are just a few of the choices on offer. Recommended dish: 4 stagione; Website: www.firezza.com

3. Tootoomoo With a great reputation for fresh, healthy pan Asian food, Tootoomoo has recently expanded so that they are now at both ends of Holloway Road. They say that they offer all the joy of a take away with none of the guilt, which can only be a good thing, especially if you have a newborn and have survived on nothing but biscuits for the past week and a half. Recommended dish: chicken rendang; Website: www.tootoomoo.co.uk

4. Deliveroo If in doubt, Deliveroo is for you. Not a restaurant itself, they pick up your order from a huge selection of Islington eateries, and deliver it to your door. From Leon to Pho to Piebury Corner, a browse of the website shows some unexpected locations, one of which is sure to take your fancy. Website: www.deliveroo.co.uk

Do you have your own recommendation? Comment below to share with others. 

Eating out with the baby in Islington… 5 lovely spots reviewed with a baby friendly rating. 

In no particular order, five lovely spots to eat out in Islington, each with a mark out of 5 for baby-friendliness. They all do a great line in food for grown ups, but you will need to bring your own baby food!

* Romeo’s gluten free bakery, Upper Street, 020 7354 8945 Romeo’s may cater towards those who don’t eat gluten, but this really is food for everyone. Great all day breakfasts, cakes to die for and a good cup of coffee at sturdy wooden tables make this a good place to meet up with other Islington mamas. None of that cardboardy gluten free bread that you might get at the supermarket! There is enough space for a couple of buggies and a nice corner table with a bench if you’d like a little privacy to feed. They do have high chairs, the sort in which your baby will need to be able to sit independently.  The changing table is good: in easy reach of the sink and with a large windowsill directly behind, which is useful for the changing bag!

Babyfriendly rating: 4/5

* The Pig and Butcher, Liverpool Road, 020 7226 8304 As the name suggests, this pub-style restaurant serves up excellent meaty fare and craft beer, with meat and game sourced from Kentish farms, and fish from Cornwall. Their Sunday lunches are delicious – superbly cooked meat, enormous Yorkshire puddings and yummy veg to share. There is an option to have a whole roast chicken for the table. The high chairs are your typical wooden restaurant high chair, so your little one will need to be able to sit up independently, and on busy days it can be quite cramped with a pushchair. There is a changing table in the ladies’, but strangely is about 4 feet high so can be… challenging!

Babyfriendly rating: 3/5

* The Blue Legume, Upper Street, 020 7226 5858 The Blue Legume in Islington is one of three (the others are in Stoke Newington and Crouch End) and does a particularly good brunch, with a varied menu including the usual brunchy dishes plus some good extras, such as their incredible fruit platter (although this is strangely advertised as ‘waffles’ on the menu… Waffle scoffers may be disappointed…). There are a few high chairs, and plenty of room in the space towards the back for buggies, with a couple of larger tables making it a good place to meet friends. A decent changing area adds to the babyfriendliness!

Babyfriendly rating 4/5

* The Crown, Cloudesley Road, 020 7837 7107 This pub actually do a mothers and babies lunch on Tuesdays, and you can’t get more baby friendly than that! With a £10 menu, plenty of room for buggies and a designated baby area with mats and toys, The Crown is a perfect place to meet Islington mama and Islington papa friends for lunch.

Babyfriendly rating: 5/5

* Sunday, Hemingford Road, 020 7607 3868 Tucked away from the main Islington thoroughfares, Sunday is a real find. Think Ottolenghi meets Caravan with breakfast, lunch and dinner, and excellent teas and coffees to have in or take away. The place is pretty tiny, so ideally you leave the buggy outside, or bring baby in a carrier. They do have a high chair for independent sitters and the staff are all lovely with babies and small children. In the summer, there is the bonus of the back garden, although the narrow steps down are not overly baby friendly. Prepare to queue at weekend brunch time, but it is much quieter during the week. Be aware – there are no changing facilities.

Baby friendliness 2/5, but the delicious food and warm atmosphere almost make up for it!

Do you know a great place in Islington to meet and eat, with baby in tow? Comment below to share your experiences!