I never meant to become a North London person. It just sort of happened. When I moved to the city after graduation up north, my mates Olly & Ahmed asked me to take the third room in their rented basement flat on Leighton Rd in Kentish Town.

It wasn’t really a room. But then for £55 a week I should have guessed that in advance. What I got was a part brick, part glass roofed conservatory built onto the side of the kitchen. Christ it was cold: tiled floor, whistling draughts, leaking roof.

But, continual incipient hypothermia aside, I felt comfortable in NW5 and, after six months with my ex-boyfriend off Brick Lane, a year in Archway with four girlfriends, and a stay in Notting Hill (an area I loathed, cldn’t even afford a coffee round there on a Condé Nast salary), my sister & I bought my first home together in NW5, in Gospel Oak.

And that’s when I really discovered Hampstead Heath, just a few minutes’ walk away. I grew up in the country and, much as I love metropolitan life, I need trees, open spaces and mud. The Heath has all that in abundance -plus a swimming pond and, after Posetta Baddog’s arrival in our family, care of Dachsie Rescue, we really started to explore the Heath. As did she. (Mainly because she believes tennis balls grow up there.)

miniature dachshund Hampstead Heath NY09/10

There’s a wonderful view up over London from Parliament Hill – although I only got half way up last Sunday as Posetta kept picking fights with Rottweilers and the like. Which shows optimism in a dog with legs only 3″ high.

Hampstead Heath NY09/10

But it’s the feeling of space

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and of light

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which is important to me. Yet we are just four miles from Oxford Circus – practically next door in London terms – and surrounded on all sides by the city.

These photographs were all taken last Sunday when Tara persuaded (ordered) me and Posetta up to Hampstead Heath for a morning constitutional.

Her husband artist Mo proved that you can still look handsome when wrapped up in the cold:

Maurice Citron

and whilst Baby C wore so many layers she cld barely raise a grin, my mate Little C proved that pulling faces can keep you warm:

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8 comments

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Ah yes isn't it funny how one settles in the north or south of London by chance. I'm a South Londoner (which at the time was due to my meagre Hachette salary – no one ever believes me that fashion doesn't pay without projects) and needed Clapham Common then, now it is Richmond Park and the Greater London/Surrey outskirts.

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Getting sight of some greenery is so important when you're living in London. I'm in Greenwich, but originally a Northern girl used to green grass and big trees. A stroll around Greenwich Park is all I need to lift my spirits when London is feeling too grey and grim.

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I love Hampstead Heath! I live in central London, but go to Hampstead as often as I can to get those delicious crepes from the crepe stand. Yum. If I planned to stay in London after my education or ever wanted to start a family, I would definitely want to live in Hampstead!

xx Leia

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Ahhh, Hampstead. I would love to live in Hampstead. We actually thought about moving to Hampstead. Tiny problem: we would need to downsize from a house to a flat. Not going to happen. Not with a baby. (Plus I am secretly getting broody again AND I want a puppy. Just don't tell anyone.) xx MM

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I love the Heath too and Primrose Hill and Regents park, great for dog walking. Great photos (as always, your photos are superb) xxx

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Can't agree more – and I have to boast that I actually live in a flat on Parliament Hill. I feel so fortunate to live where I do, I love Hampstead and it is a blessing to live so near the Heath 🙂

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How funny – my labrador thinks tennis balls grow up on the beach!

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Hello
I’ve been living in Tufnell Park for precisely six days. Have started running on the Heath and am loving it. I was always a Regent’s Park kinda girl but am starting to change my mind. The bit up by Kenwood is so pretty and tea and cakes there is now one of my favourite Sunday London things to do xx

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