Meet co-founder of creative work space Paper Mill Studios and mega mama to Billy and Frankie – Sarah Tildesley. From food styling to leading the design team at Jamie Oliver, Sarah has always been firmly rooted in food and her passion for all things creative come into fruition this Christmas with the incredible Paper Mill Sessions. Teaming up with Sessions & Co and Help Refugees UK, Sarah is presenting the very first Paper Mill Sessions – a Christmas market designed to champion small businesses from the worlds of food, fashion and creative arts.
Split across two days, 31st November is a festive market filled with burgeoning talent from the likes of Anyware Kids, Ace & Jig, Been London, Nights by Wilder, Honey & Toast London and We A Family to name a few. Come 1st December, the kitchen at Paper Mill comes alive with a lunchtime feasting table by Anna Jones and a myriad of seasonal workshops including calligraphy, floristry, cake decorating, collaging and edible gift making lead by Bee’s Bakery, Georgina Hayden, Inq, Maddy Rix, Fox and Thorn, Megan Riera, Mark Hearld and Masha Karpushina. For more information and updates about Paper Mill Sessions be sure to follow @paper.mill.sessions over on Instagram.
Between two babes and planning Paper Mill Sessions, we caught a moment with Sarah to discover where she loves to take a bite with her family around North London…
1. I’d like a table for…
Three at Morito, outside, in the sunshine, with a small, cold beer (to make Sam drink so I can look at it) and constant stream of small sharing plates.
2. Early-birds catch the coffee at…
We are just around the corner from Popham’s Bakery and we are big big fans of the pastries, the coffee is spot on too! Every outing, no matter which direction we are supposed to be headed seems to go via their front door.
3. Best brunch with kids?
My two year old can only sit still for about 5 minutes and then he is off! The options at that point are serious bribery, a screen or tag teaming to chase him around. Chasing is the preference so now that the sun is finally shining, we always pick somewhere outdoors where he can be free-range. Pavillion Cafe or Caravan at Kings Cross are just perfect. It’s parkland or water fountains in whichever direction he bolts.
4. Children’s menu must-visits…
I’m a big fan off Jamie’s Italian. Yes, I know I work for him but that just means I know what hard work goes into the food and menu’s. There is always loads of room, everyone gets fed something they fancy, the kids menu’s are unbeaten for nutrition and you know it’s all ethical and beautifully sourced. They have also brilliant kids activity packs and it’s great value.
5. Where do you grab a bite with mums en masse?
We are back to Billy being a bolter! I have to be honest and say if are a big group with lots of children, I would do my best to persuade them to come round to mine or head to the park having raided the local deli. Everyone brings a bit and digs in.
A space free of temple height table corners, hot drinks, busy waiters and other diners, where the hooligans can run wild and we can crack on with enjoying the good chat. Our usual spots are Hamsptead Heath (the secret heath extension bit, so quiet), Golders Green park (tiny zoo and great ice-cream), Highbury Fields (brilliant playground and fenced in, family only spaces) and Clissold Park (goats, cute cafe and nice paddling pool).
6. Hidden gem for treating tiny ones?
It’s all about the ice-cream for our Billy. Udderlicious ice-cream is family run, homemade and DELICIOUS. That would certainly be his treat of choice.
7. Best piece of advice for dining out with kids?
Train them to nap at lunch time so you can make the most of them catching some Z’s. That’s all I’ve got I’m afraid. As I said, unless my boy is hypnotised by Sarah and Duck, you have got no chance of making it through a whole meal.
8. Date night – takeaway or take me out?
Oh lord, at this point, takeaway every time. Do you think Gymkhana will start deliveries soon… ha, could you imagine.
9. My earliest food memory…
A face full of spaghetti in tomato sauce. It’s still my favourite and I’m still probably as bad at eating it.
10. Five mums, one table – who’s joining you?
Imagine the opportunity to get some insight from these ladies – Emma Thompson, Helena Morrissey, Goldie Hawn and you would have to get the Queen there (or maybe I have been watching too much of The Crown?)…mind you, if all of those women were around a table I think i’d be too terrified to turn up. I’m missing a fifth because I might leave that to the last minute if I can please? This is because, when I meet someone who I think is really funny, clever, humble, hardworking or charming I always really want to meet their mum to see how they have influenced their child. Is it nature or nurture? Either way, being a mum is the most enormous responsibility and I’m always looking for all of the guidance I can get.
Photo credit: Sam Robinson