Streets worth seeking out.

Cross Street is, as you might expect, a street that crosses between two other streets – in this case Upper Street and Essex Road, the two main roads that intersect the borough of Islington. This part of London is not short on quaint side alleys and café-lined passageways, but Cross Street’s assortment of boutiques, salons and coffee shops make it a particularly good Saturday afternoon-type of destination. Bypass the psychotic queues outside nearby Ottolenghi and pay a visit to one or a combination of the places below….

Aesop
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Not an independent shop but a very nice one to have in the neighbourhood nonetheless, Aesop is an Australian brand which peddles high quality plant-based products that actually work. With its elegant, glass-bottled selection of face creams, serums and moisturisers starting at around £20, this is not the kind of place you go to restock your bathroom cabinet. But it is an excellent shopping destination if you want to treat your skin, or someone else’s.

Etoile
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In an area that reaches Bugaboo buggie gridlock on Saturday mornings, it was never going to be long before someone opened an upmarket kids clothing store. That person was former Yohji Yamamoto employee Laetitia Lefebvre, whose boutique Etoile is painfully chic and surprisingly serene. With its tasteful selection of kids’ clothing by bougie brands including Bonton, April Showers, Bobo Choses, and Apolline å Paris, Etoile makes a really good place to pick up a gift for a particularly ‘discerning’ new parent.

Tallulah Lingerie
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The only – to my knowledge – lingerie store in Islington, and a very pretty one, too. This place is purple lacquered on the outside, and frothing with jewel-coloured lace, silk and cashmere on the inside. It houses a small but carefully curated selection of lingerie, gowns and pajamas in a plush and intimate setting, with labels including Princess Tam Tam, Aubade, and Chantelle. A good place to lose a couple of hours, and a couple of hundred pounds.

Angel Delicatessen
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This colourful little café/shop is lined with authentic pasta, sauces, cured meats and cheeses, and run by the most exuberant Italian family you could hope to encounter behind a deli counter. Or indeed anywhere. As well as serving a good selection of panini, pasta, and antipasti, this deli makes the best cappuccino in Islington - an area curiously devoid of good coffee shops, despite housing what is surely the nation’s highest quota of coffee snobs. Myself included.

Sano Hair
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Being the type of bore who usually requests a pathetic one-inch trim, I tend to find hair salon visits a fairly anticlimactic experience. Thankfully, the excellent cuts and meticulous blowdrys at Sano mean I always leave feeling like my hair has been properly ‘done’, and done for a reasonable price. As well as offering excellent cuts and service, Sano boasts a chic, minimal interior, Bumble & Bumble products, and a fully-stocked carousel of Chupa Chups to choose from on your way out the door. It’s the little things.