london addresses

10 cool things to do in London like a local

December 15, 2015

Weekend in London, things to do, things to seeSteve and I have been travelled back and forth between London and France for a few months now while Mila is at school in France but it felt really good to be all back at the same time in our home in London.
Catching up with friends, brunch, playdate, sleepover, pub, shopping, museum, we did it all and here are 10 things you can do in London like a local in one weekend (with kids!).

1/Have diner at the pub
As you may know, we (French) take young children to restaurants kids, which is not very common in England, but as a result, she has learnt from a very young age to behave in a restaurant or public place.
As a foodie, I think there is no better feeling than hanging out with our friends and their children in a warm pub in Winter, having a roast when it’s cold outside.
Friday night, we went to The Duke of Sussex in Chiswick (10 min bus ride, great food & customer service!) but there are a few other nice gastro pubs in West London, all walking distance from our home: The Havelock (great outdoor space from Spring), the Princess Victoria on Uxbridge road (superb features inside) or the Anglesea Arms (maybe a bit pricey but the food is good) near Ravenscourt Park.

2/ Have breakfast in a café
One of my me-time guilty pleasure at weekends when we are not making pancakes or pikelets, is having breakfast in a café, eating Egg Benedict, sipping Earl Grey and catching up on all the weekend newspapers.
The Brackenbury wine rooms opens at 7.30am and has kids menu for £3. I also love cycling to High Road House in Chiswick or Granger and Co in Notting Hill.

3/Take the children to see a movie
We often go to the cinema on Saturday or Sunday morning. If you go to the Kids AM cinema, it’s only £1.99 per child and adult. 10 things to do in London in one weekend like a local10 things to do in London in one weekend like a local10 things to do in London in one weekend like a local10 things to do in London in one weekend like a local10 things to do in London in one weekend like a local10 things to do in London in one weekend like a local10 things to do in London in one weekend like a local4/Head to a Farmers market
London has some fantastic Farmers markets to get fresh, organic veggies from the Farmers’ allotment. The Brook Green Market is small but family-friendly and has always wine tastings or cooking classes on. If you get up early, I highly recommend Marylebone’s Farmers marketBorough market (a visual feast!) and Columbia Road Flower market.

4/Go for a walk
There are so many beautiful parks in London besides the obvious Hyde Park and Regent’s Park. Near our home, Brook Green and Ravenscourt Park are very good for children. The latter is especially good for running too and there is also a lovely café in the Garden Centre. I also love a good walk/run along Hammersmith river to escape the noises from the city.

5/ Take photomaton pictures
Each time I travel to Paris with Mila, we try to get our photos taken chez Bonton to build happy memories. In London, you can get photomaton pictures at Urban Outfitters in Westfields (8 min walk from home).

6/ Shop in Westfields
If it’s your first time in London, you will likely want to go to Oxford street, Carnaby street in the centre of town, which are insanely busy. After nineteen years in London, I’d rather go to Westfields (where Net-a-Porter head offices are) to shop from MajeTopshop, Ugg Australia, L.K. Bennett, Ted Baker, The Kooples and have sushis.

7/ Pamper yourself
Malika is the place I head to, when I want a manicure and get my eyebrows done. It’s in Westfields too so very convenient and while I think threading is flipping painful, the girls know what they are doing and will do your eyebrows in 8 min (bookings often required at weekends).

8/ See an exhibition or a museum
Over the weekend, I was trying to explain to my daughter how important it was to make an effort to go to museums and see various exhibitions so that they would fuel her creativity and open her mind.
London is great for this and has many amazing museums with free entrance like the British Museum, Tate Modern and National Portrait Gallery to name a few and there is always some great exhibitions on. This time, we went to see the Charles and Ray Eames exhibition at The Barbican which we loved and then walked through the city to Liverpool street to pop in Anthropologie.

9/Spend the afternoon in Bricklane
Make sure you give yourself enough time to hang out around Spitafields market and Bricklane. The place is really vibrant, creative and there is a lot of nice, little shops to discover and street food to try. When it comes to a great example of various cultures living/thriving together, I can’t think of  a better example than Bricklane.

10/ Have a pizza in Story Deli
One of my favourite places in London (which may close as the owners have the opportunity to run a gastro pub in Buckinghamshire), Story Deli is my little haven of inspiration and the pizzas are really nice (see previous post).

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May 7, 2015

Inspiring place to eat in London: Story Deli Read on www.karinecandicekong.comMy favourite place to eat pizza in London is Story Deli because visually, I think it’s one of the most inspiring places to be. As a lover of white interiors, textures and vintage, Story Deli feels like a second home to me. Over the years, the Deli has moved around East London and is now located at the end of Bricklane on Bethnal Green Road. The new Story Deli is a lot more pared down than it used to be, like a more balanced, grown-up version, yet still so beautiful (you can glimpse the old one here). It has less tables than it used to have, the distressed white floorboards at the old location have been replaced by a concrete floor, the space has still heigh ceilings and as today was a nice day, I particularly enjoyed the natural light flooding from two large sky windows.


Columbia Road Flower market

October 7, 2010

Karine Candice Köng in TIME OUT magazineLast month, I mentioned a photoshoot in Columbia Road Flower market for a feature Time Out was doing on creative people shopping at London’s best street markets. The article came out yesterday so I picked up a copy on my way to a business meeting and ending up smiling like an idiot in the train stopping myself from saying to complete strangers in the tube “Look! c’est moi la… on the page!”

A big thank you to the lovely Maggie, Shopping & Style Editor at Time Out who is also behind Chic Little Baby. Here is the article and below a few photos I took at Campania.
Yours, Karine, Design Expert (so they say :-)
For botanists Columbia Road Flower Market
Our market insider: Karine Candice Kong, design expert
(I swear I didn’t tell them to put this but I LIKE it!)When should you visit Columbia Road Flower Market?
“The Market starts at 8am every Sunday and it’s best to get there as early as possible. It gets very busy if the weather is quite nice. It winds down about 3pm.”
What do you head for?
“One of my favourite shops is Vintage Heaven at no 82 – it’s the perfect place to snap up vintage treasures. The Yard on Ezra street is a mini fleamarket that has some great things and is always worth a look. Rob Ryan makes intricate and delicate paper-cut and we have some of his work in our BODIE and FOU online store. His shop is called Ryantown. Campania at no 95 is a little greasy spoon cafe a l’italienne, full of charm and inspiration. Ben Southgate at no 4 The Courtyard on Ezra street is a great shop for industrial furniture and old school maps.”
What should you avoid?
“Don’t buy plants and flowers from the first stall you see. walk around and check out a few stalls before buying to compare prices and quality. If you buy bulk quantities don’t hesitate to bargain. Columbia Road is a great place to go if you are doing a garden up.”
Top tips…
“Don’t forget to take your camera and don’t rush. Columbia Road is a unique place with a very special atmosphere, so take your time. There are a lot of interesting characters and it’s a very creative place to hang out.”