This week in The Street Where You Live you're meeting Lucy Kenyon-Jones, PR girl, flogger of luxurious goods, and glamorous North London denizen, living in the cute and cool London neighborhood of Kentish Town.
In addition to being stomach achingly hilarious, smart as a whip, looking a bit like a much hipper K-Middy and cooking a mean steak, full disclosure, Lulu happens to be my oldest and dearest friend. We first met and fell in love on her first day of Year 8, where our alphabetically aligned last names meant we were assigned to sit next to each other, first in school then in life. Not much has changed since, apart from the chairs now having a big old ocean in between.
Lu has an amazing ability to fill everyday life with style, heart and soul, and her charming flat is my second home when I journey back to the motherland. Now scroll down and walk with her, on the street where she lives.
On her street, Leighton Road:
I love Leighton Road. It’s a real mix – we have beautiful Victorian houses painted in ice creamy colours (they sell for £1m+ a piece), council flats, an ace NHS doctor’s surgery and some trendy graphic-designery office spaces. It’s definitely a more beatnik community – lots of journalists, a few actors (Charles Dance lives 3 doors down from me!), heaps of people who look just like me and Adam (it’s freaky), a smattering of students and my gorgeous sister Beatrice (she lives a street away). It’s a classically beautiful North London street in my opinion. Glorious Victorian architecture, pretty trees and there’s the loveliest pub opposite my flat (The Rose and Crown). P.S. I always spot really hot beardy men in there on Friday nights…just sayin’.
On her favourite thing about her street:
There’s a fig tree in my neighbour’s front garden – at night, when I walk home from work, the smell it gives off reminds me of being on a Greek Island (how niche is that!?). There’s a great family-run corner shop opposite my front door – Susan’s Mini Market – I feel terrible because I call the man who runs it Susan. His name is clearly not Susan. People might assume that Kentish Town is just your average North London neighbourhood, but it’s a community with a very distinctive spirit, sense of pride and local love. We have our own paper, The Kentish Tower, we fight fiercely to protect local businesses and always refer to our hood at ‘KT’…mainly because we’re North London knobs.
Leighton Road in five words:
Quiet, leafy, fig-scented, anti-suburban, poopy
On one of the world’s most idyllic commutes:
I’m an Associate Director at a consultancy where we work with major companies, charities and brands to protect and grow their reputations. Yep, it sounds pretty corporate (it is), but it’s fascinating work and I absolutely love it. I sit on the digital team and work across a range of different industries – fashion, healthcare, charities, oil & gas to name a few. My office is in London Bridge in a bustling spot right next to the Shard, but I’ve managed to engineer a commute that partly involves a 20 minute walk along the Thames each morning. Come rain or shine, I stroll past the Tate Modern, St Paul’s Cathedral, The Globe Theatre and a Sir Francis Drake’s galleon (‘The Golden Hinde’) each day and it never gets old.
On trying lots of things while figuring out what you want to do:
I started out in fashion PR, much to the disappointment of my university tutor. I mean, he edited The Penguin Book of Renaissance Verse, so he was never going to be an easy one to please. Fashion didn’t totally float my boat, although working on a few London Fashion Weeks was fun, so I switched into luxury brand PR – think Rolls Royces, Swiss watches and cognac. From there I moved into working with big global brands and specialised in digital comms. I pitched doing a digital course to the board of my old agency, got them to cover the costs, did lectures, coursework and exams around a full-time job, and used those skills to leapfrog into a role working with some of the world’s most interesting brands. Specialising in a specific area really helped me push forward at work – having niche knowledge is always, always a useful asset.
On finding her apartment:
We live in a one bedroom, second floor flat. It’s mini but I adore it. The sun pours into our sitting room each morning, I can see the BT Tower from my window even when I’m sitting on my sofa and red London double decker buses trundle past our kitchen, but it still feels quiet and homely.
We only went to look at the flat because the estate agent showed us a floor plan for a place with an office. ‘Oh, how lovely, a home office!’ we thought. We got to the flat and quickly realised he’d fobbed us off with the wrong floor plan – a London estate agent classique move – but we kind of didn’t care. We moved in a few weeks later.
I love our flat because it’s full to the brim of beautiful ‘stuff’ – our mantelpiece is covered in momentos, our shelves are packed with books and our kitchen is brimming with bits and pieces. It’s not messy, it’s just filled with mine and Adam’s life together, and I love it that way. It makes a rented flat feel much more personal to me.
On her beloved room mate:
I live with Adam - he’s a debonair Canadian (what an oxymoron), a complete Anglophile and a mean Negroni-maker. We’ve been a couple for seven years, living together for six and married for one.
Adam is (luckily) the most easy-going, lovely person to live with. I’ve managed to bag a chap who cooks, makes glorious coffee at the weekend, Aperol Spritzes when I get home from work and hot water bottles when I’m under the weather. He also puts the toilet seat down – score! The only things I’ve had to make room for have been his four guitars (he sometimes holds them like babies), his huge Fender amp and ensuing flight case, his slightly queenie tendencies in the kitchen and an obsession with watching Rosemary’s Baby, The Shining and Don’t Look Know as often as possible. Make of that what you will!
On the joys of neighbours
Our downstairs neighbours’ bedroom is directly below ours, which means I am subjected to an eclectic mix of shrieky sex noises, video game rumblings and horrendous rows, depending on who’s living there at the time. We have a mouse, although I’ve grown fond of her. The street can be a bit dog poopy…so getting to the tube in the morning can sometimes be a bit like doing hopscotch
When you walk down your street, what do you feel in your heart?
I feel like I belong, but at the same time I feel a sense of mourning that I’ll never be able to buy a property on my street, which is sad.
On seeing London through new eyes
I’ve always been a fan of London, but in all truthfulness falling in love with a ‘foreigner’ seven years ago made me appreciate the city in new ways. Adam’s passion for London has made me fall deeply in love with the city all over again. He’s the one who has shown me the best dive bars, the secret passageways and the most glorious churches. He knows more about London than any Londoner, fact, and sometimes you need to remind yourself to love the city you live in rather than letting it grind you down. He’s also taught me to look up and appreciate the beauty of London’s hotch potch architecture, instead of always staring at the pavement. Give it a go – you’ll see the most amazing things.
On the perfect Sunday in Kentish Town
A run through of my ideal Sunday in Kentish Town goes a little like this – grab a coffee from Bean About Town, a cute coffee cart near the tube, and wander up to Hampstead Heath for heart-swelling views across London and glimpses at the coolest dogs being walked by their eclectic owners. From there, a pitstop Bloody Mary at the Bull & Last, one of the best pubs in London ever ever ever. Maybe a scotch egg too. If I’m feeling athletic, I’ll then walk down through Camden and Regent’s Park into a more central neighbourhood like Marylebone. If I’m lazy I’ll jump on a tube and be in Soho in 20 minutes. After mooching about and probably touching all the pretty things at Liberty, I’ll jump on a C2 bus and go for dinner with Adam at Pizza East, a Soho House-run gaff just round the corner from us. We might have a quick chaser at the Rose & Crown, and a nosey at the hot beardy men, and them home we’d go.
Thank you my darling Lu. I miss you so very much.
If you need more LKJ in your life, and who doesn't, you can follow her here on instagram.