Friday daytimes are usually spent setting up The Richmond, above (316 Queensbridge Road, London, E8 3NH, 0207 241 1638,) for the big weekend rush... At 6pm, our £1 oyster happy hour kicks of, with lots of friends coming for our specially sourced British oysters.
After we've slurped more oysters than should be legal, we head to Herald Street Gallery, below (2 Herald St, London E2 6JT, 044 20 7168 2566) to check out their new installation. Herald Street is a contemporary gallery that represents exciting artists like Martin Connors and Ida Ekblad. Their openings are always really fun and with great after-parties.
My friends from Real Gold have just launched a new bar on the strip called Pamela's, below (428 Kingsland Road, London E8 4AA, 020 8765 8863) so we'll often pop in to say 'hi' to the gang. The cocktail list is full of fun drinks with names like Beetdown and Pineapple Anderson, but I love the Banana Blonde, naturally.
If we're up for a really wild night, we head up to Rowans Tenpin Bowl (10 Stroud Green Road, London N4 2DF, 020 8800 1950) in Finsbury Park. It's a trek from Hackney but always worth it as its open till 3am. I'm terrible at bowling so I generally occupy myself in the karaoke rooms or on one of the arcade games. Rowan's is a really mixed crowd and gets pretty bumpin' on the dancefloor. The last time I was there someone accidentally put a bowling ball through the ceiling, so watch your heads.
On Saturday mornings I'll pick up a round of coffees for the Richmond chefs. The best coffee in Broadway Market is Terrone Coffee Roasters (Netil Market). Then I'll go just around the corner to a new breakfast place that's opened called Hash, above (170 Dalston Lane, London E8 1NG, 0207 254 0322). They have so many delicious breakfast choices, ranging from kale and beetroot hash to eggs benedict topped with pork belly. I can never decide what to have, so I just go for a benedict with absolutely everything. And I can famously never resist a slice of banana cake from Violets, below (47 Wilton Way, E8 3ED, London, 020 7275 8360) for a mid-morning dessert.
Living in Hackney I'm surrounded by amazing junk shops and vintage stores, but for a real treat I'll drag friends to Alfie's Antiques, below (13-25 Church Street, London NW8 8DT, 020 7723 6066). There are more than 60 dealers for furniture, lighting, clothes, textiles, jewellery or whatever your heart desires. I always end up buying rugs (the shaggier and more colourful the better - they double as wall hangings) and bizarre lamps.
My favourite shopping street isn't what you might expect. I love an afternoon spent in Cecil Court, a tiny alley off St Martin’s Lane full of rare book shops specialising in antiquarian books or modern first editions. Most of the shop fronts haven't been altered for more than a century, so it all looks really mystical. There is even an 'esoteric' bookshop called Watkins, below (19-21 Cecil Court, London WC2N 4EZ, 020 7836 2182), complete with tarot readings in the window. So it makes sense that Cecil Court is actually the place that inspired Dragon Alley from Harry Potter.
November Books, below (7 Cecil Court, London, WC2N 4EZ), run by Paul Lawrence, is my favourite bookshop. Paul always has a rare 90's Versace catalogue or Larry Clark print kicking around, so is really worth a look. His shop is usually by appointment only, so I have to plan ahead if I want to see him, but Paul never disappoints. He has a knack for showing you incredible photography, art and sub-culture books you never knew you needed.
For dinner I'll meet friends for Dim Sum at Bright Courtyard (43-45 Baker Street, London, W1U 8EW, 020 7486 6998), a hilarious swanky Chinese restaurant. Their xiao long bao - the little pork dumplings filled with soup that burst in your mouth - are the best in London. The funniest thing about Bright Courtyard is the rainbow LED- lit bar that changes colours like a sunset. Make sure you get a table with prime viewing potential.
Saturday night is spent at Corsica Studios, above (4/5 Elephant Road, London, SE17 1LB, 020 7703 4760) with NTS Radio for one of their epic parties. Corsica has an amazing sound system, which makes for lots of rather spirited dance moves. The DJs never disappoint. An NTS party will normally end at 6am, but there is often a queue of people outside waiting for the next party to kick off at 7am! Sadly I don't have the stamina... but I imagine it would be quite a thrilling experience, to say the least.
Sundays are best spent walking in Hackney Marshes and Lee Valley Nature Reserve (Lea Bridge Road, Leyton, London, E10 7QL, 08456 770 600), a fail-safe hangover cure. I take my long-legged Staffie, Pluto, above, for an epic walk where he can run around in the tall grass to his heart’s content. The marshes are so big we are always discovering new trails to follow. We once found loads of bird hides overlooking a pond but have never been able to find them since.
We'll often meet dog trainer extraordinaire Louise Glazebrook, aka Darling Dog Company (07778 393 797), for a session, which makes Pluto super-happy. Louise is one of my heroes and has transformed my relationship with Pluto by teaching me to think like a dog. She is a trainer and behaviourist to the likes of Grimmy and Lara Stone, but also promotes responsible dog-ownership to disadvantaged youths on inner city estates. Pluto and I have been Louise's clients for four years now, and even though he is fully grown, and has all the training basics covered, a session with Louise is still overwhelmingly beneficial!
By this time I'll be absolutely starving and will have to go straight to the Richmond for a house-baked crab muffin and some more oysters (another great hangover cure). We really put our wood-fired grill to use on Sunday and serve the highest-quality rare breed roasts. Our terrace has just opened, where we all sit outside, surrounded by flower,s drinking from the Bloody Mary menu we're developing - classic with horseradish, or even a carrot blend with Jamaican rum. I'll finish all of this off with a slice of our signature banana tart (I really like bananas).
If my friend Alex Brownsell is in London, I'll stop in to her salon for a touch up. She owns Bleach, above (420 Kingsland Road, London, E8 4AA, 0207 2759 500), whose team are well-known for rainbow hair skills, but they are incredible at doing natural colour as well.
On my way home I'll grab a bottle of red wine from Bottle Apostle, above (95 Lauriston Road, London, E9 7HJ, 020 8985 1549). The staff in this wine shop are super helpful and not the least bit intimidating. Friends usually come over for Netflix nights on Sundays. We start with an action or gangster film and end on something like a classic Disney. And to counteract this weekend of (mostly banana-based) indulgence, I'll swiftly be booking myself in for an early Monday morning class at Tempo Pilates (Studio 204, Netil House, 1-7 Westgate Street, London, E8 3RL).
28 year old Margaret Crow is from Texas, but she’s lived in Hackney for over a decade. Originally a stylist and fashion consultant (i-D, Love,Vogue Russia), she's known for her unique style and outlook. Food was her first love, and she had aspirations of becoming a food writer; interning on the Observer Food Monthly. She recently launched The Richmond with Australian chef Brett Redman.
It has become a fashion crowd favourite already, with Jonathan Saunders and Christopher Kane dining there most weekends, and Erdem, Henry Holland, Susie Bubble, Richard Nicoll, Simone Rocha, Roksanda Ilincic and Jack Guinness all regular customers. M.I.A, The XX and Alex Turner (The Arctic Monkey’s) have all been spotted there.
The oyster menu features six different types of oysters, with an oyster happy hour Monday – Friday 6-7pm and Saturday 5pm-6pm, with oysters at £1.00. The restaurant has a raw bar with rotating ceviche, tartare and sashimi. The main courses feature more comfort food options like the Nduja spiced seafood stew with pasta shells and aioli.
The Richmond, 316 Queensbridge Road, London E8 3NH, 020 7241 1638