In a new regular feature we ask a local resident what they like about living in Chipping Barnet. Here we talk to Nicola Suckling, designer of distinctively stylish blue and white bone china.
I moved to Barnet two years ago from Welwyn Garden City. I wanted to be closer to London, on a tube line, but still be far enough out to have lots of green space.
Around the time of moving I was beginning to test trade new products: Nicola Suckling Fine Bone China. These are my own blue and white bone china creations which use a traditional design language with contemporary imagery. I’ve since turned this into my full time business with the help of the Prince’s Trust. It’s going well with one of my designs in the National Gallery gift shop, and several other stockists around the country. Having recently given up the day job I’m hoping for even bigger growth this year… I’m keeping everything crossed!
One of my first and favourite stockists is Number 89, Barnet’s beautiful lifestyle shop. It was a pleasure to be involved with the shop when it opened last September, and I’m thrilled it’s going to continue to thrive in it’s new location on Union Street.
I love that Barnet has a core community who really care about the local area and what’s happening here. It’s a place people seem to come to and stay for a long time, sometimes for generations, which is a strong recommendation. I felt at home here straight away.
The Old Courthouse Gardens are always topped up with flowers and it’s en route to my surrogate Grandad’s house on Fitzjohn Avenue so I enjoy a stroll through the trees and lawns, especially on a sunny day.
Of an evening The Mitre and The Black Horse pubs are high on the list. The first time I visited the Mitre a lovely barmaid explained to my friend and I some of the history of the pub, and its ghost stories, which was fascinating and made us feel very welcome.
I can’t wait for 24 hour tube at weekends! It’ll be such a relief not to worry about missing the last train home. Camden and Kings Cross are easy pickings from Barnet and you can often find me sipping sangria at Camino’s or Drink, Shop & Do close by. Candid Café near the Angel is perfect if you lean towards the bohemian lifestyle too.
At the moment London Wonderground is running at the Southbank so I love to head there and take a chance on a show. In the winter I drag anyone who’ll come with me to the BFI and watch whatever’s programmed – they always show the best.
Back in Barnet, having lived here for two years I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s on offer. There are all the usual chain restaurants and cafes, but so many independent places to try. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s recommended here and adding them to my ‘to-do’ list…