Listen to a Londoner is a weekly interview with a Londoner – someone who lives in this city, born here or elsewhere. If you want to be interviewed, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Always looking for new volunteers.
Janine Clements is a freelance journalist, travel expert and mummy blogger who has been living in London for 12 years. She has lived in Holloway, Maida Vale, Westminster and now Fulham, where she has lived for four years with her husband and 2-year-old daughter.
LLO: Living in London for 12 years, what are the best and worst changes you’ve seen in the city?
JC: The increase in gun and knife crime and scary dogs, but better transport facilities and better shopping with the arrival of Westfield. All the attractions have definitely become much better at catering for young children.
LLO: Top three favourite things about living in Fulham?
JC: Lots to do for children (e.g. Fulham Palace, Coffee and Crayons, Gambados, various parks). It’s got great pubs such as The White Horse and The Sands End. There are lots of families around so there is a real community feel.
LLO: Tell us a bit about your blog http://21stcenturymummy.com.
JC: My inspiration from my blog came from the fact I love writing. I decided to set up a blog that was an account of my take on life as a modern-day mum, as my daughter, who is two, grows up (and I grow older!). I also wanted to help other mums by providing useful information, advice and opinions, reviews and an insight into parenthood for other people to read. My blog covers everything from news and reviews of the latest products to family travel.
LLO: Do you think London is a child-friendly city and why (or if not, what would make it more so)?
JC: London is an exciting and vibrant city, and yes, I think most parts are very child-friendly, there’s so much to do for all age groups.
LLO: If I had one day in London and wanted to explore the bits that don’t show up in the guidebooks, where would you recommend?
JC: The parks are all fabulous. I love Holland Park, St. James Park and Kensington Palace Gardens. Battersea Park Zoo is fun for younger kids.
LLO: As a travel enthusiast, have you found a place in London you can go to feel like you’ve travelled without actually having left the city?
JC: I’ve always been a big fan of Little Venice and its waterways and canal boats. It is so peaceful and very different from inner London. Or further out is Richmond Park, acres upon acres of parkland and loads of deer.
LLO: What’s your favourite kid-friendly restaurant in London and another one you love when you’ve got a child-free night out?
JC: Konnigans in Wandsworth is great for brunch. It’s got a relaxed atmosphere, good food and great kid’s menu. For the two of us it would be Tsunami, a fabulous Japanese restaurant. There’s one near Tottenham Court Road and another in Clapham.
LLO: Do you have any advice for travelling mums about to pop over to London for a week with the kids?
JC: There are so many things for kids. Popular things to do include Buckingham Palace, the London Aquarium, and the Science Museum. Depending on the age of your kids, a West End show is a great idea. Hamleys or the toy shop at Harrods is also fun. When it’s sunny, the parks are fabulous too.
LLO: Favourite London discovery or a place you’ve heard is really cool but haven’t had a chance to check it out yet?
JC: I’ve heard the Victoria and Albert Museum is great for kids, but I haven’t been yet.
LLO: Describe your perfect Spring Saturday in London.
JC: Head outdoors if it’s sunny, so my 2-year-old can run around and burn off some energy. Somewhere like Fulham Palace or Cannzaro House (in Wimbledon) or Pembroke Lodge in Richmond Park. Each has a nice cafe to grab lunch at too.
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