Sarah Botting is a local mum and owner of Lucy Sparkles & Friends in Brockley, Forest Hill & Crystal Palace, running music, dance and drama classes for early years children. Sarah works part time across the area and spends the rest of her time looking after her two young children (who occasionally get to join in the classes…).

How long have you lived in the area?

I’ve lived here for 6 years.

What brought you here?

I’ve lived in London all my life, and having explored most of south London on foot in search of the right mix of convenience and cafes, we realised that Honor Oak would do the trick!

What has changed most during that time?

We are so fortunate to live in a little village bubble that’s still part of one of the greatest cities on Earth (not that I’m biased…). There have been lots of additions to the area since we moved in, but the atmosphere we loved when we first came here hasn’t changed.

What’s the one thing you couldn’t do without?

Fred’s – great coffee and a welcoming smile.

The most famous person you’ve seen or met?

I once saw Colin Firth walking down a street. Pretty much the high point of my life…

Describe your perfect weekend

My perfect weekend would start with the kids sleeping beyond 5.30am! Then after that we’d probably do something local like go cycling in the park or have a lazy brunch. But then my kids quite enjoy it when I’m doing party entertainment at the weekend as they like to watch me doing my face paint!!

What’s your favourite place for a night out?

We’re so lucky to have so many local places for a night out (by which I mean, an enjoyable drink or meal followed by walking home!) Le Querce and the Beer Dispensary are two of my favourites, though I miss Mr Lawrence’s!

Where are you likely to be found on Saturday?

Saturdays usually start with a swimming lesson for my little boy, followed by a giant snack! When I’m not doing party entertainment, if there’s time, we’ll take a trip into town or out to the countryside, or just catch up with friends locally.

What is your favourite place to eat?

Home! If I’ve had time to cook properly, you can’t beat a home cooked meal with a good glass of wine.

The best meal I’ve ever had…

Crème Brulee in a restaurant in Belgium. I was working for The Royal British Legion at the time and we were supposed to be laying a remembrance wreath at the Menin Gate at 8pm. When our dessert arrived, our group leader announced it was time to leave, but the crème brulee was so delicious a couple of us stayed behind and wolfed it down. After running to the memorial, it didn’t feel like such a good idea!

Where’s your favourite place to walk?

By the sea, listening to the waves. If that’s not possible, One Tree Hill is pretty good too!

What is your favourite shop?

Jumping Bean!

What was the last thing you bought there?

It’s usually an emergency birthday present for when I haven’t been 100% organized and need something in a hurry!

If money was no object…

I’d stop charging for my music, dance and drama lessons. It’s so valuable for children to experience music and have the chance to be creative from a young age. If I didn’t need to earn money, I think I’d continue doing everything in the same way, but as a free local resource.

The book I’m reading at the moment…

50 Ways to be Happy. I bought this wonderful books from Smallprint Books in Forest Hill, and it’s all about practical ways of feeling positive about life. I’m reading it with my son, who is 4. He’s a bit young for it to be honest, but I think this should be compulsory reading for children and parents alike! We are having so much fun being ‘kindness detectives’ and making ‘VIP badges’ for his friends. It’s rare that, as adults, we stop to take the time to think of the little kindnesses that make our day complete, but it really does help you to be happy!

My perfect holiday…

Sun, sea, good food, adventure, peace and quiet, and family fun. Just a short list!

Lucy Sparkles & Friends –

This article first appeared in the September 2018 issue of SE23 magazine