A lovely surprise fell though my letter box a few week ago, an invite to a bloggers’ day at Park Mall Shopping Centre in Ashford (TN24 8RY).
I had heard good things about Ashford. My good friend Alix Leeds from The Little Red Hen Jewellery has just finished showcasing her work in one of the independent shops, Made in Ashford and I had meant to visit.
Although I only live a 15 minute train ride away, I hadn’t been, and so this invite was the perfect incentive to go. In fact, I hadn’t even been to Ashford town centre before so I went with no expectations and an inquisitive mind.
The event was on a Friday, so my littlest daughter was very excited to come to work with me. She went on her scooter and armed with her own camera was made to feel very welcome in all of the shops – yes even the ones with breakables!
I want to try and tempt you to visit Ashford and support all the independent business that make it so special!
So, today I am going to give you a taster of the five shops who participated in the day (and the brilliant new coffee shop). Keep reading to get some brilliant vouchers too.
A small, Kent based family run company. They sell beautiful British made gifts and homewares. Everything is made to support British manufacturing, celebrate British talent and keeps the carbon footprint low. In addition all the designers and makers are paid a fair wage – so important as we makers have a tendency to not charge enough.
Check out their website or visit them. Here are some voucher codes which can be used in store or online!
£5 of £25 voucher
BLOG525 (Valid until 31st May 2016)
15% off voucher
BD2016 (Valid until 31st May 2016)
A little treasure trove of exquisite crafts – such a high standard and so much variety.
They are a collaborative of changing local designer/makers & creatives. They man the shop too so you get an opportunity to meet the makers – and talk to them.
The Made In Ashford store is special as it allows local people to test their products on the high street for short, flexible tenancies. This means that the stock is always changing and there is always something new to see.
Wow! This shop took my breath away. Why didn’t I know that this was here? Anyone who loves making needs to go. Beautiful and inspiring window displays first caught my eye and when I entered the shop the stock more than lived up to expectations. Enticing fabrics, natural materials, high quality yarns and a wide variety of haberdashery got my creative juices following.
But this wasn’t all. There is a section in the shop dedicated to local designer/makers as an opportunity to showcase their work and to inspire. These designer/makers also run workshops to enable you to had a go at learning a wide variety of skills including:
- Beginners Patchwork
- Beginner’s Knitting
- Make a Girl’s Reversible Dress
- Pyjama Workshop
- Beginner’s Sewing Session
- and many more!
I enjoyed my double espresso and fresh croissant here. Stag Coffee is a brand new independant coffee shop, right in the middle of Ashford opposite M&S. It had only been open two days and already was buzzing. Highly recommend you make a stop here to refuel!
This gallery offers local artists a space to exhibit work, with some wonderful works of art on show, as well as photographs by the Ashford Photographic Society. There is a range of prints and cards on offer too so pop in and support your local artists.
A little booth with a wide range bags, accessories and gifts – something for every taste here. I didn’t get long to look as by now my daughter was flagging and had enough but this little bird pot caught my eye!
Hope I’ve inspired you to visit Park Mall Shopping Centre. Over the next few weeks I am going to go into more detail on particular shops and artisans that I particularly admired and enjoyed. Have you been to Park Mall? What did you like best?