Christmas wish list
Christmas has rolled around once again and you may find yourself rolling out a lengthy shopping list, with a lot of different food tastes and specific gift wishes to fulfil. Luckily, Islington is bursting with a huge variety of independent businesses and markets that offer unique gifts and services to suit any budget. So, you need not go far. We asked local town centre officer and Islington resident, Imogen Tyndale, to take us on a local shopping tour of Islington
My local Christmas shopping journey begins at Chapel Market with a visit to Alexis Bike Repairs. I’ve decided to tackle my shopping route on two wheels, and the swift attention paid to the needs of my battered bike mean I’m back in the saddle in no time. When I can afford it, I intend to get a new lightweight bike from Freddie Grubb.
Any goodies or services from local shops, businesses and restaurants I can’t get my hands on in person can always be found and bought with a laptop from the comfort of my sofa and this online directory of Islington businesses.
Speaking of grub, if you are looking for some of the finest ingredients, meat cuts, baked goods or Islington has to offer, markets like the one in Chapel Street, Angel, are a safe bet to find them.
Cycling through Nag’s Head, I get a sensory overload from the abundance fresh foods, special treats and gifts available. As an added bonus, I’ve sorted the Christmas tree for collection at Mark’s outside .
A range of wines and ales available from outlets like Humble Grape, The Sampler and more are sure to get the festive party off to a raucous start, so I make some orders before settling in for a break at Salt the Radish in Finsbury Park. Wiping a coffee-flecked chin, I head to New Beacon Books and the Pretty Shiny Shop for some stocking fillers.
On the seemingly never-ending gift front, you can’t do much better than Upper Street and its offshoots to explore the high-quality artworks and homeware gifts available at all the fabulous shops there.
My Christmas to do list is getting there, but I haven’t scratched the surface of what Islington has to offer as a vibrant shopping destination. Any goodies or services from local shops, businesses and restaurants I can’t get my hands on in person can always be found and bought with a laptop from the comfort of my sofa and this online directory of Islington businesses.
Stopping off for some fish and chips at Kennedy’s Restaurant, in Clerkenwell, I reflect on the many restaurants, family experiences and free events we can embark on once the Christmas feast dust has settled. Times are tough, but when you consider what Islington has to offer, ‘tis still the season to be jolly.
Tips to help avoid festive debt
This is a time for celebration, whether it be Christmas, Channukah, Kwanza or seeing in the new year. However, the magic and wonder of the festivities also comes with a price tag and for many is unaffordable. Here are some tips to help manage finances:
Set a budget
Be realistic about how much you can afford to spend. Write everything down to keep yourself on track and include hidden costs, like food, decorations and travel.
Keep paying your monthly bills
Always include monthly bills, such as mortgage or rent, in your Christmas budget.
Shop around to make sure you get the best deal. There are also plenty of ways you can spend time with your friends and family for free.
You could find it easier to stick to your list and avoid impulse buys by shopping online. But remember to keep it local! Visit the My Virtual Neighbourhood directory for online Islington outlets.
Spend sensibly (and borrow responsibly)
Resist the urge to spend money unnecessarily – it’s much better to live within your means than head into the new year with financial difficulties. However, if you do need to borrow a little extra in the form of a loan, make sure you do it responsibly.
Speak to the London Capital Credit Union for advice on ethical savings and loans. Visit the Credit Union website, or contact the Archway-based credit union for more information: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call them on 0207 2561 1786.
Many independent businesses in Islington support the real living wage. This is a rate of pay that local businesses believe their staff deserve to meet everyday needs. You can see more about the living wage and which businesses are participating by visiting their website. For more reasons to shop local, check out our blog