Saturday, 17 April 2010

London Mums: Uju of Babes About Town

This week's London Mums interview features Islington-based Uju, creator and author of the very hip and informative website, Babes about Town. As expected, Uju's a fountain of knowledge regarding kids and the city. Here she lets us in on her favourite outings, shops, restaurants and more...

Tell us a bit about yourself:
I'm a 30-something mama of two boys, aged 4 and 1, and also founder and 'Babe-in-chief' of Babes about Town, a city guide and social network for hip, smart parents of kids aged 0-5 in London and beyond.

What's your London neighbourhood like?
I live in Islington, north central London, which I like as it's got a cool vibe, a sense of community and is very baby-friendly.

You've got a lovely sunny day ahead for you and the kids. What on the agenda?
We'll head out to a local park with a mini picnic, a ball (my eldest is footie crazy already) and at least enough change for a large 99 Flake.

Your favourite neighbourhood spot?
Highbury Fields is lovely in the summer. We used to pretty much live at Borders book store in Angel and we were devastated when it closed down.

And if you're up for a trek across London, where might you go?
We used to live in Willesden, north west, which has Queens Park with it's excellent playground, Brillant Kids Cafe for activities and the Brent Museum at Willesden Green Library which is actually really entertaining for little ones.

The baby/kid product you've found indispensable?
Baby wipes are a no brainer. And I rarely leave the house without my Storksak Red Messenger bag, which is bursting with all the essentials plus extras.

An ideal day to yourself involves?
A whole day?! I'd go for a hula hooping class to burn calories and lift my mood. Then I'd do some shopping, catch up with friends over cocktails, maybe watch a movie or show and come home in time to cuddle my babies to sleep.

Your favourite places to shop for children's clothing?
Mamas & Papas on Regent Street is always inviting. Although sometimes I find their boys' outfits a bit 'together' for my tastes. Green Baby does super cute and comfy organic babygros. Our top choice is H&M Kids, affordable and funky. And my eldest has a great leather biker jacket from Zara Kids.

You're in need of a sugar pick-me-up. What's it gonna be?
I'm a candyholic so this one is tough, but if it involves a destination it's probably Euphorium Bakery on Upper Street for a raspberry cupcake with cream cheese icing. Yum.

Your child's favourite toy?
We are drowning in toys so it's hard to pick. Both boys like rocking out on the Plan Toys wooden drum kit I bought for my son's 4th birthday. It's very cool and not loud enough to upset the neighbours.

The best new baby gift you received?
A lovely sleeping bag for my youngest from The White Company. He's outgrown it, but I bought a couple larger sizes in different togs as they keep him snug and are more reliable than blankets.

Favourite family-friendly restaurant?
A pub lunch at The Albany, our local, which has good food, delicious puddings and a lovely garden for the kids to wander about.

Your favourite things about London?
I love the mix of it, the clash and colour of cultures, people and histories. The different worlds you can experience from one end of the tube line to another. I love being able to do something cool or cultural with the kids at the drop of a hat. It's a very family-friendly city, you just have to get out there.

Night out with your partner. Where do you two go?
Nights out are a distant memory, but we did enjoy a lovely anniversary dinner at Fig here in Islington. They serve tasty, quite adventurous dishes and it's got an intimate atmosphere that's suited to romance.

Favourite place to shop for yourself?
My favourite local shop has to be Oliver Bonas. They have unique, stylish fashion and accessories, cute kids' stuff, gorgeous homeware and furniture, books, jewellery, you name it.

And finally, your must read blog list?
How to narrow it down? I'm a member of SITS (Secret in the Sauce) blog community so that's a daily visit and leads me to many cool blogs. My personal favourites include Artistically Nuts as she's just hilarious, Babyccino Kids for a taste of Europe, Mommy Poppins (my New York inspiration), Cool Mom Picks for products and Celebrity Baby Blog for my guilty pleasure fix.
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