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Editors Message

I am not a native Londoner. My foray into the capital started back in the mid-90s when work brought me down on a regular basis. I progressed from weekly jaunts to being down here for a couple of days a week. Then I landed a job in the heart of the City which required me to move down on a semi-permanent basis. My career progressed from UBS to Reynolds Porter Chamberlain and then to a boutique firm.

Muswell Hill seemed the natural place for me to live when I moved as I had a friend there and it was easily accessible from Birmingham where I spent weekends. But the plus side it was (and still it is) Muswell Hill represented the antithesis of any other place I had lived or worked. It seduced me with the smell of roast coffee from W Martyn, the art deco cinema built by Oscar Deutsch and its edgy, unique shops that weren’t dominated by High Street names.

That makes it sound like it was a breeze to up sticks and move down. But it wasn’t; without a close circle of friends it was daunting so in addition to my main job I also worked a couple of nights in Ha!Ha! Bar & Canteen (the soon-to-be Waitrose) to


widen the net and made a number of new chums. One of whom I married and set up home and then along came Archie.

Now, I would imagine by now you are wondering why I am giving you this bit of life history. Well, it’s to try and set in context how I came about producing the magazines and about Independent Retailer Month which takes place in July. Bear with me while I put a bit more flesh on the bones.

When Archie arrived I suddenly realised that I didn’t want to carry on being the City career girl. Even if I did, there was no way the law world would have provided the flexibility that is needed in caring for a small child. However, having worked for over two decades I also knew I would find it extremely difficult not to work. I needed a compromise.

I took a long, hard look at what I could, couldn’t or wouldn’t do after which there seemed very few options left. But then my mum told me about a new magazine she had delivered to her home in Brum. It was a small A5 publication that just had local businesses advertising their products and services.

To advertise please telephone 020 8275 5307 or email:

“That’s something you could do down there”, she sagely remarked.

It was, to coin a phrase, a no- brainer. I was living amongst some of the most gorgeous, independent businesses you could wish for. I was buying goods and services from passionate, erudite business people who believed in what they were doing and wanted to provide local residents with the very best they could offer. I decided I wanted to produce a magazine that reached as many local residents as possible and alerted them to the wonderful businesses that fronted the area. I also wanted to provide a forum for those equally wonderful businesses that don’t have a shop front – the independent trades: carpenters, mobile beauticians, electricians, builders, nanny agencies, photographers – the list is endless. And so that’s how I launched into what you may loosely term a “publishing career”.


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