My London: Julia Grinham in Highbury

Julia Grinham, co founder of Upper Street shoes revealsher favourite Highbury haunts

How long have you livedin Highbury?
I’ve lived here with my husband Andrew, and now two children James (six) and Madeleine (four), for 11 years now.

Why did you decide to buy here?
We loved the fact that there is so much on our doorstep. And the charm of the Victorian terraces was very alluring.

Describe your area in five words?
Metropolitan, leafy, buzzy, creative, villagey

What are your favourite eateries?
I love Café Vintage, it serves amazing coffee and homemade toasted bread, and also sells some really quirky vintage fashion, too. It has wireless, so I can get an hour’s peaceful work done in there when I need to get away from the studio.

The House on Canonbury Road is my favourite gastro-pub, with a real fire, warming comfort food and gorgeous wines, I could while away many hours there. In fact, it was here that my sister Katy and I came up with the idea for Upper Street, so it holds special memories.

I’ve also just discovered Water Line, a converted warehouse overlooking the canal in De Beauvoir, it has a simple but delicious menu and is a little off the beaten track.

Where do you like to shop locally?
I love poking about in the vintage and independent shops on Islington High Street; you can always find something unique. There are some cute boutiques on Cross Street, and Diverse on Upper Street always carries a great edit of designer brands. Dress For Less on St. John’s Street has pre-loved designer wear, perfect for picking up accessories and trinkets.

Describe your perfect Saturday/Sunday?
My dream weekend would start with a family walk up the old railway line from Finsbury Park to Highgate Woods. In the afternoon, a couple of hours to myself would be an indulgence; if I’m feeling active, a run around Clissold Park, or if not a massage at Fresh on Upper Street. Saturday night would be dinner with friends at Morgan M, then drinks and dancing at Shoreditch House.

Sunday I’d stay in bed all morning with hubby, kids, cat, a bacon sarnie and the papers all brought to me! A boozy roast at The Albion can’t be beaten, followed by a late afternoon snooze in front of a family movie like Indiana Jones.

Tell us what’s new with Upper Street shoes this season.
We’ve just launched customisable ballet flats, perfect for both daywear, and something more fun for the weekend. They can be designed in our 3D Shoe Designer at For the forthcoming season we’ll be offering some beautiful limited edition two-tone snakeskin in subtle shades of olive, salmon and yellow. And we have more new luxe materials including metallic suede and iridescent fish skin available at our new studio in Highbury, where customers can book an appointment for a personal design consultation.

To book your personal appointment call 0845 680 9365, or email