Many of you will know I love nothing more than to shop with Independents. I have so many amazing sites online that I head to first to make my gift purchases or even clothes for the kiddies.
What I love even more than buying Indie, is buying from local Indie shops, so imagine my excitement when I found out that Park Mall in Ashford, Kent now houses many Indie shops. I was invited along last month to see all the shops, complete some little projects and share with you so that more people will know they are there.
Now I am a little obsessed with going to Coffee Houses and Tea Rooms. They are one of my guilty pleasures for me time. I could sit in one eating cakes and drinking hot drinks all day, just people watching and reading a book.
Stag Coffee is a local independent coffee shop with an incredible line of delicious handmade food, served all day you can enjoy breakfast and lunch or just a tasty pastry.
They also use locally sourced coffee beans and food products. I was lucky enough to try a cup of tea and a brownie both of which were delicious.
What I loved most was the atmosphere, amazing decor, great position on the high street to people watch and very friendly staff.
Snap Jewellery is amazing, I am actually going to have to do a whole blog post on their products as I really loved so many and purchased quite a few.
But very simply Snap Jewellery is a new style of interchangeable jewellery that features fashion snaps, button-like charms you snap in and out of stylish bracelets, necklaces and more.
They have more charms than I can even describe and products for all ages and genders. Run by a couple who were very kind and truly loved their products it was a pleasure to shop with them and hear their enthusiasm. I have a couple of pieces I bought and have shared on Instagram and I urge you to check out their online shop.
Emporia Fabric and Craft
I loved going to every shop on the day but Emporia was my favourite. If I was to ever own a shop Emporia would be how I would want it.
Predominately a Fabric and Craft shop it also rents out space to local Artisans to sell their amazing wares. When I arrived I literally walked around for over half hour just soaking it all up. They have everything from amazing jewellery, upcycled retro furniture to handmade blankets and tees.
There is no escaping though that Emporia have one of the largest collections of amazing fabric I have ever seen. I was blown away by the quality and choice and can’t wait to take Ashley back to choose some for one of my next upcycle projects.
Whilst we were there I found out that Emporia also offer classes and courses to help beginners right through to the more talented crafters in the art of Sewing and Knitting. I was luckily enough to complete a little sewing brooch project whilst there and really did enjoy taking my hand to crafting again.
*They actually blogged about the day which can be read here*
The Little Teapot
It was then lunch time so I walked across the mall to The Little Teapot. A family run tea rooms I was quite excited as you know I already said I do love a tea rooms.
Instantly I loved the decor, very quintessential British, we a varied menu I went for Baguette and Hot Chocolate.
As I had already indulged in a cake earlier on I was a good girl and did not order one of the homemade treats but there were many to choose from.
My biggest pro for The Little Teapot was their welcoming attitude towards families with children, they even have a dedicated children’s menu and table area, which i can not wait to take the kids to enjoy.
Made In Ashford
I was excited to check out Made in Ashford as I was sure it maybe similar to a shop in my local town that had shut down the year before.
Indeed it was, Made In Ashford are a collaborative of changing local designer/makers & creatives. I love these shops, as a Jewellery Maker many years ago I could never have afforded the costs involved with having a brick-built shop but this allows people like me the ability to do that.
I met one of the creatives there whilst looking round, they tend to man the shop in different amounts depending on the size of the area they sell from.
The shop offers so much choice all from talented people who make their products to the highest quality just for you.
I purchased a few little gifts, including a new head scarf for myself which I love.
If you do get the chance to go to Ashford before Xmas this is the place to pick up many handmade gifts for friends and family, that something a little extra special. What more some things you can even see being made.
Happy & Glorious
Last but by no means least on my day was Happy & Glorious, run by the lovely Kate who arranged the Bloggers Day.
Happy and Glorious is a gift and interiors delight, I walked in and my wish list became quite long.
The best bit, all the products for sale in H&G are all from the UK supporting local manufacturing.
I find H & G to be the place you can go to find that perfect gift for a friend, with homemade candles, potted succulents, frames, china ware and so much more it is a real treasure trove.
Kate even now has a line of her own products. The best bit if you are not local to Ashford you can still get all these treats online, so do go get some Christmas gifts sorted.
To summarise if you are local to Kent please do take the time to head down to Ashford and spend a few hours enjoying some Indie shops that will provide you with items a little better than that of the hight street, I was lucky enough to pick up some wonderful Christmas gifts which I can not wait to hand out as I know my family will feel extra special receiving them.
*NB – The Record Store is also based in Park Mall and has one of the largest collection of Vinyl I have ever seen, my husband as a collector is particularly excited about heading over to see this, they also told me they can literally source any record you maybe on the hunt for so do check the out.