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Eco-friendly designer Nanou on her favourite family-friendly things to do in Shanghai

The founder of local eco-brand Baluchon on her perfect weekend with the family

Photograph: Anderson Benjamin
Looking for a little weekend inspiration? Founder of local eco-brand Baluchon and full-time environmental engineer Nanou shares her favourite places to hang out with her family in Shanghai.

As a family of four, our weekend usually starts with breakfast at home. My husband and our three-and-a-half-year-old daughter go to the corner for freshly baked croissants and pain au chocolat from Pain Chaud on Jianguo Xi Lu, while my one-year-old son and I (okay, mostly just me) prepare a home-brewed coffee from the excellent Jonas Emil.

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We go for a stroll and end up at Xiangyang Park, where ayis dance and kids run around and play on the slide. The area’s changed a lot in the past ten years, but the park hasn’t lost its uniqueness and identity.

To the West Bund! This is still one of the only large open-air areas in Shanghai where we can bring our rescue dog, Dagou, who’s been part of the family for ten years. Like the rest of us, he needs some well-deserved off-leash time.

Photograph: Yang Xiaozhe (Natural History Museum)

I was trained as a geologist, and my daughter is a huge fan of dinosaurs, so for a weekend afternoon the Shanghai Natural History Museum in Jingan always hits the spot for us as a family. It is beautifully articulated and modern, with explainers in both English and Chinese. Their insect collection is simply stunning. If the weather is great, we’ll head to Jiashan Market between Jiashan Lu and Shaanxi Nan Lu. This weekend market has been around for years and doesn’t disappoint: cool vibes, local food stalls, crafts and lifestyle vendors... It’s dog and family friendly which makes for a nice afternoon out with our crew.

Photograph: Anderson Benjamin

We head back home and leave the kids with Ayi for a long-overdue parent treat: Huangmen Hotpot. One of our favourite places in Shanghai, this Chongqing spicy hotpot on Jiashan and Zhaojiabang Lus is not for the faint-hearted. It’s everything we love in the same pot of boiling red oil: tofu skin, bamboo shoots, baijiu-infused pork belly, beef slices, mixed veggies – with a cold draft beer, of course.

Follow 'Baluhcon' on WeChat for more from Nanou.

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