Anna is a Danish mum of two boys living in East London. She founded the wonderful online children’s boutique MamaOwl after struggling to find quality wool clothing in the UK when her first son was born. Anna and her family live in Hackney overlooking the beautiful Regents canal — how dreamy! We are lucky to have MamaOwl joining us at the East London ShopUp and who better to share some tips about the surrounding area than a true local. We are so happy that she’s agreed to let us in on some of her favourite haunts. Thank you Anna.
1. Best date night restaurant: Morito on Hackney Road is delicious and my new favourite. It serves tapas inspired from the Middle East, North Africa and Spain.
2.Favourite family-friendly dinner spot: The Bike Shed is pretty special for kids and Dads alike. Huge, full of motorbikes and retro decor and with games for kids. Poppies fish and chips in Shoreditch is delicious. Italian Frizzante at Hackney City Farm is perfect for child friendly brunch or lunch where no one minds if they are noisy and you can have a look at all the animals after lunch.
3.Cosiest local cafe: There are so many great cafes around here. Dalston Eastern Curve Garden is very special and a place I go to all the time with my kids, it was built and is maintained by volunteers on unused land right in the centre of Dalston. Perfect to go with the kids, you can have tea and cake and they can play with the eclectic collection of broken bikes and buggies and among the trees at the bottom of the garden. Another favourite is Japanese Toconoco in the Kingsland Basin on Regents canal, they have a great toy corner, noodles and amazing macha cheese cake. A walk along the Canal is a must in any case in this area. Walk East and you come past broadway market and Victoria Park.
4.Trusted children’s shop: My favourite shop for toys and much more is SCP, an amazing design shop that has a nice quirky selection of kids presents.
5.Favourite women’s shop: The Ally Capellino shop in Shoreiditch for the amazing bags. The streets around there have lots of interesting little shops. Hub on Broadway Market always has a nice selection and Broadway market also has a great market on Saturdays.
6.Coolest local playground: Victoria Park is huge and has two great playgrounds, the one on the east side is my kid’s favourite, it has several giant slides. The west side one is next to Pavillion cafe and a lake where you can rent rowing boats.
7.Favourite food shop: E5 Bakehouse just off London Fields and not far from Broadway Market. Delicious cakes and I am addicted to their multigrain sourdough.
8.Best shop for homewares, fun finds, or special gifts: SCP as mentioned above on Curtain road is an all time favourite shop of mine, two floors of lovely designer finds, around the corner is Elemental with a unique selection of retro furniture. Thursday mornings in Spitalfields market is another place for nice vintage/retro furniture. Also Broadway market on a Saturday and the little shops around Columbia Road Flower market on a Sunday are great places to browse for special finds.
9.Local activity center or museum: The Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green, is perfect for rainy days. There is always something going on and little play areas are dotted through out, it gets busy so worth going early. Geffrye museum of the home is a favourite of mine, it has displays of interior design over the decades, an area with kids books, at the weekend there are drawings and activity packs, a lovely garden and a cafe that serves cream teas!
10.Favourite park or outdoor space: I love Spitafields City Farm, just behind Brick Lane, it’s small and quirky and has a tree house, a yurt and lots of animals. We love renting the yurt for birthday parties. Also London Fields has two great playgrounds, a paddling pool and Lido, and has lots of great shopping and eating places surrounding it, such as Broadway market.