East London Mornings

Katya Katkova has spent much of the last decade documenting her London life, here she shares her favourite spots and what makes the city she calls home so special.

I moved countries twice before settling in London 15 years ago. It was supposed to be an extended visit for a couple of months but ended up being my (I hope) forever home. I moved to London on my own, and once I started to explore hidden gems in East London back in 2008, I instantly felt the urge to share my beautiful findings. Since I didn’t have many friends at that point, I started my blog to introduce a wider audience to East London and all that it had to offer. I worked in marketing and had never considered myself a photographer, but I can now confidently say that London inspired me to take a creative path. This city truly is a unique place, combining the grandeur of a capital city with the charm of a cozy local community. The diversity of London takes the experience of living here to a whole new level, making every day an exciting adventure.

Every part of London has its own distinct feel. My home borough of Hackney has undergone a beautiful transformation over the last decade, evolving from shabby grey to warm beige, thanks to stylish interiors of local cafes, interior shops, and slow fashion boutiques. London is a constant source of inspiration for me, regardless of the weather or season. Winter is all about cozying up in small coffee shops or old atmospheric pubs. The UK climate is mild, so we don’t experience extreme winter weather. My winter routine involves a lot of cycling around the city, exploring new neighbourhoods, and staying in tune with the capital’s restaurant scene. I’m no different from most Londoners and start getting into the Christmas spirit as early as November. I eagerly anticipate the Christmas break and, once it’s over, I start counting the days until spring!

A perfect day in my city would start no earlier than 9 am with a leisurely coffee in bed, followed by a late morning catch-up with a friend over coffee on Broadway Market. Later, I’d cycle to central London for a stroll and try a new exciting restaurant for lunch. Then, I’d head back to East London to pick up my little one from nursery and enjoy a walk, exploring our favourite playgrounds in the neighbourhood. I’d shop for some fantastic produce at my local De Beauvoir Deli and savour cooking it together with the whole family.

Katya's Winter Picks

My London foodie tip is... always choose a window seat like this one (above) at Firebird in Soho. 

For a dose of nature.. I visit Hackney/Walthamstow Marshes and cycle up the River Lea. It’s only 15 minutes away but feels like miles and miles away from the city.

To escape London... I love a staycation and seek out cosy seats by the fireplaces and gorgeous bathtubs. A weekend in Coworth Park is an ideal escape. Did I mention that hotel breakfasts are the best? Padstow Townhouse in Cornwall certainly knows how to make it a bit more special! One of the cosiest escapes in the Cotswolds is the Double Red Duke.

To seek out treasures and objects... I like to go to Columbia Road. People come here to buy flowers but you can also come across some really cool finds in little shops like Mason & Painter.

To while away an evening with friends... I’d go to Bella Vita on Broadway Market. It’s my local Italian restaurant where we’ve been hanging out since 2010. It’s nothing fancy, but every time feels like coming back home.

In Winter... I make my favourite winter dish, simply roasted whole chicken, so delicious and feels so special every time! I also love exploring my neighbourhood, De Beauvoir Town. I moved to the area from London fields two years ago and just can’t get enough of all the beauty that surrounds me every day! Simply the best place to live in London. 

Discover Katya’s London adventures @eastlondonmornings

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