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ROSIE MILLARD’S 10 ISLINGTON FESTIVE LOVES

Christmas has begun, particularly if adverts on TV are anything to go. However, here’s ten reasons why Islington doesn’t get into the festive spirit – it’s just not stressful enough, writes Rosie Millard

And so it came to be that your correspondent felt that Christmas in Islington had become just too pleasant. It’s not quite stressful enough. The shops on Upper Street aren’t sufficiently crowded. The restaurants aren’t grossly overflowing with hideously loud office parties and drunken 20 somethings. The queue for turkey and goose at Elliott’s on Essex Road isn’t long enough, the buses aren’t packed enough and the Christmas lights won’t win any prizes for tackiness. It’s all quite lovely.

Quite clearly, a challenge was in order. Which is why I signed up to take part in a Christmas Concert at Kings Place on York Way. Involving yours truly playing a short piece written by Tchaikovsky on a Steinway Grand, on stage, in front of a paying audience. Alongside people like Katie Derham, who is about Grade 9.

Rosie Millard's ten Islington festive loves

The scene at Kings Place that awaits Rosie

Why put myself through such torment? Because living in Islington doesn’t put one out of one’s comfort zone any more. Alright, I was mugged outside my house, and the policeman who rescued me did say that lovely N1 comes second only to Manchester in terms of phone grabs, but let’s face it, Islington has come some distance from the grimy urban jungle of yore.  Why, when our dog Disney went wandering out of the house the other day, he was picked up by Islington’s Animal Rescue Unit and personally returned under the arm of the Animal Rescuer. ‘I have Disney here,’ said the kind Samaritan, having read the chip on the animal, and calling me on my mobile. ‘I think he was locked out of your house.’

‘I am so sorry,’ I said. ‘We obviously couldn’t hear him barking, because every Tuesday night we have a string quartet practising here, and the music was too loud.’ Which other London borough could you have such a) a conversation, and b) such a nice facility for lost Border Terriers? Quite.

If you can’t be doing with the challenging things (and why should you, quite honestly?), here are some of my favourite things to do during the festive season.

Rosie Millard's ten Islington festive loves

Tallulah, lingerie experts and first on Rosie’s list

Rosie’s Top Ten Christmas Treats (to be sung to a vague rendition of Jingle Bells)

‘Underwear, underwear. Bought from Ta-llulah.

While you are on Cross Street, don’t miss Wild Swans

Sampler, Sampler, have a glass from there.

No more meals, just visit Kiehl’s, if you love your hair.

Dashing from Euphorium, mince pie in your hand

Presents found in Gill Wing

Books from Waterstones

Brora, Brora, how I love your scarves

Dinny Hall will please all

But if you really want to score, er, just get me an Arsenal shirt (featuring Sanchez) from Sports Direct in Chapel Market…’

Rosie Millard's ten Islington festive loves

Euphorium’s mince pies win Rosie’s vote

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