Tips from a local: Edwina in Clapton, East London

Insider tips Clapton East London

Edwina Gieve grew up in London and has lived in Clapton (in East London) with her husband and three children for the past five years. She has three boys — Dashiell 6, Cosmo 4 and Esmond 11 months. Apart from being a stylish and super inspiring mama, she is also the co-founder of the beautiful vintage-inspired maternity label Clary & Peg. We were so thrilled when she agreed to share her local tips with us:

1. Best date night restaurant: P Franco is a wine bar that serves the most delicious food — all the more amazing because it is cooked on two hobs and there is no kitchen. There is one big table that everyone sits around which might not sound so romantic but it’s very intimate and you drink extraordinary wines by the glass, recommended by the guy who owns it. You can’t book though so you have to take a chance – especially tricky if you’re putting children to bed! Another great place is Legs, which has delicious seasonal fare in a lovely room, very friendly and relaxed but the food is outstanding. My Neighbours the Dumplings has the best dim sum and pudding – fried chocolate dumplings with salted caramel and vanilla ice cream.  A new cinema has opened down the road – they redeveloped a beautiful old building that used to house a cinema – it has huge comfy seats, seating only about 20 and it has a bar and serves food!

2. Favourite family-friendly dinner spot: For whole family meals pizza is our goto option as everyone loves it! Our favourites are Sweet Thursday which is a brilliant place for children – it’s spacious, has toys at the back, they do amazing brunch on the weekends and they do a children’s pizza in the shape of a rabbit! They also have ice cream cones, what more could you ask for. We have managed many a leisurely lunch/dinner there which is quite a feat with 3 kids! Sodo is another delicious pizza restaurant, they have high tables with high benches which the children love as you can clamber around underneath them although not so brilliant for the baby (they do have tables too.)

3. Cosiest local cafe (or best place to grab a take-away!):  119  is a great space with fantastic sandwiches and cakes (personal favourite is the banana bread) and a large floor-to-ceiling window so you can watch the world, buses and people pass by. Bernsteins on Chatsworth Road is great place with tables outside and near the market on a Sunday. I am eagerly anticipating the opening of new cafe Millfields at the end of our road, I mourned the closing of its predecessor Cooper & Wolf as it’s wonderful to have somewhere so close. Word on the street is that they are going to sell ice creams and do picnic boxes for children which with the park just next door, is a great idea.

4. Trusted children’s shop: Pages the local book shop has a wonderful array of children’s books and Hop is my go to place for presents for children’s birthday parties, I never know what I’m going to get but there’s always something lovely and age appropriate. What Mother Made has a stall on broadway market and has the best childrenswear: simple, traditional, unisex with classic shapes.

5. Favourite women’s shop: I love vintage clothes shops and spent lots of my childhood/teenage years foraging in my mother and grandmother’s wardrobes – luckily for me they were both hoarders who kept everything! So browsing in vintage shops reminds me of these early fashion experiences. Paper Dress in Hackney Central always has amazing pieces of clothing. I don’t really shop anywhere else as I live in our clothes so as soon as samples are out for next season I’m wearing them out and about – I find it’s the best advertising, I was in a playground with my youngest the other day and someone came up to me saying “I love your dungarees, I need them!” I was so thrilled and it was lovely to be able to say that they were Clary & Peg! My husband did get me a beautiful brightly coloured LF Markey dress for my birthday (their studio is local).

6. Coolest local playground: We live very near the Olympic park which has a number of brilliant playgrounds that suit all ages. Sandpits, treehouses, water features and they are surrounded by best scooting/biking terrain. In the summer there are water fountains to keep them cool too! It’s a great place to explore. Springfield park playground is also lovely, it’s very simple but on grass so great with a smaller crawling baby, it’s also by the river Lea so the walk there is wonderful past all the canal boats and river life.

7. Favourite food shop: My favourite food shop is Palm 2 which is at the top of our road by Clapton Pond (a good place to spot ducklings). I lived in New York for a year and it reminds me of the delis there. It has fruit and flowers outside and it sells coffee and has a few benches so is a good pit stop for tired children. It also sell everything – any random recipe component seems to be stocked there – they also have great cheeses, cured meats, bread, pastries and wine selection. I never can walk past with popping in!

8. Best shop for homewares, fun finds, or special gifts: Rooms of Clapton is a treasure trove of vintage furniture and accessories. It is brilliantly curated by Kentaro, a real labour of love, it’s a great place for presents but also just to browse and be inspired. We did one of our photoshoots here because we loved the interiors so much.

9. Local activity centre, museum or cultural spot: We have an equestrian centre nearby and it’s a great place to go with the children. You can wander round and say hello to the horses and watch the lessons. On a rainy day I often head to the Hackney Museum, it tells the history of the area and has some very child-friendly activities, it’s also small and so manageable and a good place for children to stretch their legs. It’s positioned below the main library – I love libraries as they remind me of my childhood and my children love the process of choosing and borrowing new books which they take very seriously! The William Morris Gallery  is slightly further afield but is a beautiful place celebrating his amazing patterns and it has a great cafe and playground to boot.

10. Favourite park or outdoor space: We are very lucky as we live near lots of green space – bizarrely it wasn’t something we even considered when we moved to the area with a 1 year old! Our goto exploring place is the filter beds, it’s where they used to filter North East London’s water and is a series of mysterious structures and pathways. It’s a great place for an adventure and in the past the stone formations have been reimagined as boats, planes, emergency vehicles! Hackney Marshes are also a great place to explore, you can wander around and see horses and cows and not feel like you are in London at all. I love that my children get to roam amongst lots of greenery even though they are having an essentially urban upbringing.


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