I’ve become much more of a ‘local’ since being on mat leave. Not in the sense of engraved tankard and the usual down pub (although I did find out pubs in the daytime can be great places to take babies – lots of room, not so crowded, good changing facilities etc.) No, I mean I’ve really enjoyed discovering – and rediscovering – local life. Something I never thought I’d say in London.
I’ve always been a fan of our local corner shop, but the last nine months have actually meant I’ve had time to stop and chat to the nice owners rather than dashing in and out on a milk run just before the 7pm closing. My postman and I now know each other well, which is lucky because he’s seen me at my worst; in my dressing gown, hair everywhere, balancing a small baby mid-change. And as for the Amazon delivery man – he’s almost on the Christmas card list.
Then there are my local shops and cafes in the Askewniverse (aka Askew Road) and Chiswick, run by some lovely people who always ask after Scrip. The mat leave coffee drinking does come with the territory – but in my defence socialising with other mums is really important when you’re struggling with a new baby, and strong caffeine is an essential. So, after careful ‘research’, here are my top five places to be a west-London local:
Laveli on Askew Road – no website to speak of but a smart new makeover means my favourite cafe-cum-bakery is now as stylish as it is lovely. Delicious food, great service and a good atmosphere. Scrip will be sampling her first Babycino here, no doubt.
Louche on Askew Road – passed the Mother-in-Law test (and that’s saying something). Great for a well-priced lunch or good Sunday brunch complete with a warm welcome.
Blueberry on Chiswick High Road – delicious, hearty salads for taking away or eating in. Very friendly – would benefit from a baby changing area but definitely worth a try.
Brackenburys on Askew Road – a new contender – opened this summer in time to sell the best iced coffees this side of the Thames. Tasty food and nice staff – but could do with some pictures up as it still feels a little stark inside.
Gail’s on Chiswick High Road – delicious food and my pick of Chiswick High Road’s coffee offerings. You need to be a little creative if you have a large buggy but the big table at the back is usually a good bet.