Christmas wish list

Islington is blessed with a host of independent businesses. With the festive season approaching, now’s the time to show your support and appreciation by shopping local – not only will it boost the economy, but you’ll be sure to find something truly special. To give you a helping hand, we asked local business owners and workers to recommend their favourite Christmas crackers

… for fresh fruit and veg
“I go to Chapel Fruit and Veg on Chapel Market for produce. I love to cook and this place is great because there are a broad range of herbs, spices, everything you could want. They have great produce and ingredients you wouldn’t normally get in a supermarket, and the prices are good. Last week I stopped by and found some smoked garlic. I’d never cooked with it before and it was great. Plus, there’s no plastic packaging!” – Catherine McClen, BuddyHub

… for the perfect party outfit
“Archway has terrific charity shops. Crisis is a riot of colourful clothes, beautifully displayed, and Second Chance does a great job of saving stock for Christmas all year round so that pretty frocks and sparkles are plentiful. You can always find hidden gems and surprises, for not very much money” – Stephanie Smith, Archway Market

Adam at the Crisis shop in Archway

…. for a meal out
La Petite Auberge on Upper Street is a favourite of mine. It’s a proper neighbourhood restaurant that’s been there for decades. I’ve had so many happy times with friends and family there. I used to take a book and sit there reading with a glass of wine. The atmosphere is so lovely. I’ve never had a bad meal there, and the staff are so friendly” – Catherine McClen, BuddyHub

… for a unique gift
SoFab London on Caledonian Road launched their Fab Boxes last year. You can pick and choose beauty items such as hand balm, body scrubs and face masks to make up your own personalised box of goodies. The packaging is recyclable so not only is it a good way to help support this small business, it’s environmentally-friendly too” – Christian Schenal, Aperi Deli

… for a new hairdo
“All the independent shops around my café are an important part of the community. I use many of them, from London Helmets motorcycle clothing store to Treasure Land, which remind me of home with its many Moroccan rugs and gifts. For a haircut I go to Slim’s Barbers or Mario’s Barbers London, both of which are traditional local barbers on Holloway Road” – Mohamed Sajir, Fez Kitchen

Mario of Mario's Barbers London

… for relaxing and socialising with friends
“Even when it’s a bit chilly, my favourite place for a gathering of friends is Il Mio Mosaic garden on Junction Road. The food is great and the staff are so friendly. It’s like being on holiday” – Stephanie Smith

… for a bottle of good wine
“I love the idea of the Aperi Deli, an Italian shop in the Cally. They offer regular wine tastings, held by sommeliers and experts. We needed something like this in the area. They are bringing Italian culture to our diverse community. How good is that!” – Eleni Lasheen, SoFab London

… for homeware
“For household goods and gifts, I like Selbys, the department store on Holloway Road. I have been in the area for 32 years and Selbys has been over the road for even longer – it’s part of local life and has a good range of goods, from clothes to furniture and toys” – Mohammad Sakim, Volare Pizzeria

Aperi Deli

For more inspiration on where to shop this Christmas – and beyond! – be sure to check out Islington Council’s online directory

Simply search for your area to discover a range of independent businesses local to you.

Please note, these images were taken when mask-wearing was not mandatory.

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