Socialising In The Saints
On the 8th of May, a group of friends was drawn at random from the Waterfront Life/The Saints Facebook competition entries - as winners of an afternoon/evening socialising in The Saints. Angela, Kelly & Vicki could not have been better company, as our editor shadowed them during their time shopping, wining & dining. This is the story of how very satisfying it is to socialise in the Saints…
With the Facebook competition in full swing, one of the first tasks ahead of the day was to source a local business sponsor, who would be willing to support our feature in return for some valuable print & digital editorial. Step up….Barefoot & Gilles Architects:-
Business-people Roger and Liz had been living in a converted Church Hall in St Peter’s Street for nearly ten years before they decided to relocate their business to Cromwell Court, just behind their home. It wasn’t just the convenient location that swayed their decision however, it was also the friendly atmosphere and general ‘buzz’ of the place.
“The ‘Street’ positively hums with activity and there’s just about everything you need on your doorstep. As a place to live it has the best-run bar in the region (we’ve carried out extensive research on this!) a good selection of restaurants and retail offers; ranging from artisan butchers through to style shops” enthused Roger.
As an architectural practice the footfall along the street isn’t very important to the entrepreneurs, but the general atmosphere of their workplace certainly is.
“Our staff here appreciate the convenience of this location, we’re 10 minutes from the station, 5 minutes from the town centre (this helps with recruitment) and for a business lunch – see above!” continued Roger.
“The Waterfront is fast gaining recognition as a ‘go to’ destination in the region as more shops and restaurants open and I’m pleased to be able to say that some of these have been the work of our practice. We have further projects ‘on the drawing boards’ here and we look forward to completing them and giving ‘The Saints’ even more ‘buzz’!” concluded Roger.
Grateful thanks from the editorial team go to Roger and Liz, without whose support, this feature would not have been the roaring success that it was.
The Ladies’ day started with lunch at ‘K Bar & Grill’ and gave me my first opportunity to meet the group that I would be sharing my Saturday afternoon and early evening with. We had a quick chat before I left the ladies to enjoy lunch. Afterwards, they enthused about their various choices of meze, breads, steak & chicken…adding that the venue was “quaint” & “lovely” with “excellent 5-star service”.
I set about the task of ensuring that this wouldn’t be a one-off visit to The Saints by starting the retail therapy at ‘Maud’s Attic’. Owner and long-standing inhabitant of the street - Wendy - greeted my newest friends with a genuine smile and offered them an uninterrupted wander around what would later be described by the ladies as a “beautiful” shop with “lovely jewellery” and “full of treasures”. Necklace purchases in hand, it was off to Wendy’s son John’s home from home ‘The House in Town’.
John has been a guest writer in our publication since day 1 and is a huge advocate for the artisan shopping area. His three-storey town house was described as “a really unique space”, with “such a lovely vibe, that feels just like being at home”. The collections within each of the rooms were greeted with much admiration by the group, with the added comment of the shop being “a well thought out mix & match that just works”. Weatherproof unicorn statue and Jedi meerkat ornament bagged (yes, you can pretty much buy anything for the home in John & his family’s shops!!), we moved on to ‘Jenny Wren’s Yarns’.
Hundreds of balls of wool don’t tell half the story here, with all things ‘make-yourself’ available to buy and expert advice on hand. The ladies commented on the “colourful layout” and how surprised they all were with just how much fun they had contemplating a hobby that hadn’t previously been on their radar. “Your brain starts to wonder what you might be capable of!”. Lois offers regular knitting & crocheting classes and we left with a date firmly in the diary. A quick traffic check and we cross back over the road to meet up with Cathy, at her unique gift shop ‘Loveone’.
The ladies loved “the unusual bits” on offer in the shop, commenting further that they “loved Loveone!”. Cathy obviously personifies the independent nature of the streets, as the group went on to say that “Cathy was inspiring” and was a “true advocate of the area”. A noted stock range was that of gifts for children and with that in mind, an illustrated book and stuffed bunny went through the till, before it was on to ‘Cake & Catwalk’.
Owner Lynn was fully prepared to greet her latest guests and poured some fizz, as the group meandered around her fashion boutique. The ladies commented that it was a real “experience” seeing all of the different items on offer and what a “treat” it was to speak to such a passionate business owner. “Unique & affordable” were also used to describe the visit. A bag & some jewellery better off and glasses ‘chinked’, we set on our way to our penultimate stop ‘The Italian Shirt Shop’.
Owner Antonio Bellini oozes Italian flair and with his mixture of knowledge and the shop’s authentic background music, the ladies found themselves treating their other halves to items from “the wide choice of very reasonably priced stock”. Having expected true Italian designer wear to be expensive, the group were astounded that their purchases had price tags less than those found in ‘chain high street’ stores. With “ray of sunshine” Antonio handing out the receipts, we waved bye bye to our last shopkeeper and made our way to “TraveLQuest”.
Our final afternoon stop, this independent travel agent is one of the newer neighbours in St Nicholas Street. A small & knowledgeable team run by manager Mary was on hand to quote for the ladies’ dream break to the big apple. The group were invited to peruse some New York brochures, with the added benefit of Prosecco and nibbles. The “lovely, friendly and really welcoming” staff “took the time to ask questions” and the ladies ended up with a very enticing quote, much lower than they were anticipating. “A fabulous end to the shopping spree”.
So, with items bought and with a holiday nearly booked, it was home for an outfit change before meeting up again for pre-dinner drinks at ‘The Thomas Wolsey’, where “a friendly welcome awaited”. There was just enough time to drink to the success of the day, before taking the short walk to the final venue ‘Kwan Thai’.
The highly-rated Thai restaurant expertly maitre d’d by Lesley was lively and the ladies were treated to “a faultless service”. My recommendation of ‘weeping tiger’ – a “succulent steak dish marinated to perfection” went down a treat, along with excellent wine from an “extensive wine list”. Despite being busy, the group received starters and mains in good time and the staff were friendly. “The meal was exceptionally good and it was a fabulous night out. We will all be returning again; both with friends and our husbands.”
“Thank you Waterfront Life & The Saints for a fabulous day. We all enjoyed ourselves so much and have enjoyed telling people all about our day out. We may be booking a trip to New York too!”.