Are you wondering what to do with your weekend? Why not spend it relaxing and enjoy what's on your doorstep, Bedford really has so much to offer and it might not be until you look a little closer that you discover it! Our shop & studio has been here for nearly 3 years and it's so wonderful to see new independents opening up all the time, adding more and more life to our bustling town! Here are a few of my favourites and how I like to spend a sunny Saturday when I'm not welcoming you lovely people at épanoui!
Essential first pit stop to start the day - coffee and pain au chocolate at Délices to either sit in and admire their Parisian decor or stroll and eat while you're exploring! Owners, Geraldine & Diana are both highly skilled pastry chefs trained in Paris, so their delicious offering really is next level. Norbert also makes a cracking latte! Now that you're fuelled up...
Got a Summery event coming up? Boutique Planet have an amazing range of dresses and outfits fit for all occasions, from weddings, garden parties and days at the beach. Tom & Jess the owners have an eye for style so can help put together the perfect outfit for you.
While you're in the historic Bedford Arcade two of my other favourites are Arcadia Sweet Shop, an old school emporium full of your favourite sweet treats and for vinyl lovers - Slide Record Shop which is a real coo for our town!
Something for the little ones? Rogans Books is a treasure trove of children's books and what owner Rachel doesn't know about books really isn't worth knowing! She is a ray of light and her shop is the perfect place to while away a little time with kids. Also next to Rogans is Baby and Play a brilliant little kids toy shop - great for gifts for nieces, nephews, cousins...they have helped me out of a tight spot or 2!
One for the boys! Getting married? The Vintage Suit Hire Company has an impressive array of suits & accessories to cater for the sharpest of grooms and their ushers. Get an appointment though as these guys get booked up way in advance!
Is it lunchtime yet? A new addition last year and brilliantly close to épanoui is Vanilla Tree! This independent cafe offers amazing breakfasts, lunches & cakes including their now infamous sourdough bagels & Portuguese tarts (what a combination) they also have a great gluten free & vegan offering.
In need of a little R&R? Lords & Ladies is heaven on earth! Nestled on St.Cuthbert's Street, Helen & Amy welcome you into their sanctuary of calm. They offer a wide range of beauty & Wellbeing treatments and will even send you off with a delicious herbal tea to extend your zen for a little while longer! Book in some 'me time' with these ladies and you won't regret it.
Not to be missed and what I'd say is Bedford's crowning glory - The Embankment. A walk along our beautiful river on a sunny day does wonders for the soul. It also plays host to some cracking events, last week was Taste Bedford a local street food festival run by BedPop our local events legends. Then on the 14th & 15th July this year it will welcome the bi-annual River Festival, the second biggest free festival in the country after Notting Hill carnival!
Time to stroll home and get ready for the evening...
Staying in? The Blue Glass houses an array of alcoholic tipples from all over the worldand John will be able to recommend the perfect drink for whatever the theme of your evening.
Going out? Herd and Bears & Tales are a dream duo and perfectly located only a few doors down from each other. Start off at Herd with a choice of top notch burgers made with their signature home made patties and accompanied with rosemary chips. Then head to Bears & Tales where you will be welcomed by Tom, cocktail maker extraordinaire!! Their undeniably cool interior & intimate vibe make it the perfect place to spend the rest of your evening catching up with friends or for a romantic date night setting.
They also run cocktail making evenings too!
The independent shops, bars, cafes and restaurants that I have chosen today really are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what our awesome town has to offer!
However you choose to spend your weekend, you can go to bed with a smile on your face knowing that you've had a good one with some of our best independents and the fact that you have shopped with us has made many an indie shop owner do a little happy dance.
See you soon,
Hannah, owner of épanoui (we do a pretty good selection of jewellery, homewares & gifts incase you were curious too!)