The north London child’s starter pack
- Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
In Finland they hand new parents a box full of essentials for their new arrival. We reimagine the tradition for north London children. Here is our pick of the necessities for a Hampstead or Highgate childhood.
Property play date
They’re never too young to learn about the benefits of a property portfolio.
Ok so maybe it’s too early for ‘my first mortgage,’ but a dolls house is the perfect primer on the importance of a south-facing aspect. Those miniature Farrow & Ball sample pots will finally come in handy when it comes to sprucing up the dolls’ abode.
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Hampstead and Highgate children’s feet barely touch the ground. Not because we’re floating on rarefied are up here, but because nowhere has the two wheeled craze been more embraced than the N postcodes. Maybe it’s the quiet leaf side streets that make for prime scooting conditions, or maybe it’s because they make the school run just that much more fun (or fast).
Either way, we’re convinced that two wheels is the way to go. For traditional types the scooter will always be king, but there’s no denying that the ubiquitous hoverboard is now the number one toy on every wishlist.
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Is baby yoga a bougie bridge to far? No, we cry. It’s simple, see. They’re still flexible enough to achieve the perfect downward dog, whilst we can enjoy the peace and quiet of savasana.
This pint-sized yoga mat is made from 100 per cent recycled and sustainable materials and has a fun animal print, so children can learn to love the planet whilst they find inner peace. Parenting goals.
Dress to frill
Designer babygros might be the rage in flashier parts of the capital, but north London tots know that whilst fashion is fleeting, style is forever before they’re even out of nappies.
Luxury children’s boutique La Coqueta on Heath Street stocks quality Spanish made clothes that put a modern twist on romantic styles. Their smocked dresses and Liberty prints are flying off the hangers as chic parents scoop them up for their well heeled mini mes.
We’re not born coffee snobs, we simply learn at the knee. There’s no shame in ordering a babyccino to go round here. This rather lovely wooden coffee machine from John Lewis is surely pride of place in many a playroom.
Train them young enough and soon they’ll be up to the task when Mummy has a headache after that extra glass of merlot last night. Repeat after me, ‘e’ is for ‘espresso...’
Have we reached peak food intolerance? With packed lunches and birthday cakes becoming gluten-, dairy- and sugar- free minefields it almost makes us yearn for the days of Capri sun pouches and blue smarties. Almost.
At least that childhood staple juice is safe from the clean eating brigade. That is, as long as it contains three portions of veggies, two superfoods and was whizzed up in a Nutribullet to keep the all-important fibre. Juice too mainstream now that every man and their Starbucks is sipping on it? Echinacea lollipops are the trendy playground snack du jour in Primrose Hill.
Nowhere in London has a richer literary heritage, making this the perfect breeding ground for budding bookworms. You can keep your Peppa Pig, north London children are reading the classics before they reach double figures. Of course, there’s a little bit of healthy competition; the story of a mother who peeked inside another child’s book bag during a play date to keep tabs on their reading level rivalry is something of an urban legend in these parts.
For the ultimate bedroom bookshelf this fantastic replica library stack (complete with ladder) is pure imagination fuel. Pickled Pepper Books in Crouch End runs a range of events and activities for children that are fun and engaging, whilst helping improve literacy. For the ultimate bedroom bookshelf this fantastic replica library stack (complete with ladder) is pure imagination fuel.
Fresh air and exercise, those traditional childhood cure-alls. Even though garden space might be at a premium, we have the Heath on hand for long tramps to the Ponds to feed the ducks.
Don’t forget your wellies, though. Muddy footprints might cut it in the countryside, but not on the antique kilim.
It’s never too soon to get your children into Danish design.
Crouch End Children’s boutique Niddle Noddle stock popular Danish brand Plus-Plus and their creative alternative to Lego. Their simple snap-together shapes can produce a multitude of 2D and 3D masterpieces by budding architects.
Toy sushi is for amateurs, proper north London children are weaned on the real deal – even those who aren’t part of the large north west London Japanese diaspora – and it’s served in all the best independent school canteens.
Hampstead kids are probably too sophisticated for training chopsticks but the panda is removable.
Into the woods
Children’s rooms don’t need to be childish in their execution. Hampstead boutique Maison Auguste stocks a range of tasteful decor for baby boudoirs.
The Bambi stool means your child will always have a furry friend to hand with none of the attendant mess of a traditional pet. Don’t worry children, no Bambis or their mother’s were harmed in the making of this chair.