Clink! It’s the Muddy Awards drinks!
You did it, they did it, we all did it! We all voted for our favourite local businesses in Kent and after a fierce competition, it was time to celebrate. Pop the cork and cue the cocktails!
Our 2019 Kent Muddy Stilettos Awards winners gathered together for an evening of celebration at Chapel Down Winery this week. This venue is quite possibly one of my favourite places in Kent (and I have quite a long list) – it’s so stunning, has a really friendly vibe and is sort of central.
The stylish Tasting Room overlooks the vineyard, stretching out in front of you. All this topped off with (or keeping us topped up with) their world-class range of sparkling and still wines. Yup, that’s me pictured above (bottom left) after just the *cough* one glass.
If you haven’t visited Chapel Down Winery yet then you must. Think gorgeous vineyard to visit, food dishes to die for up in the restaurant, a stunning view over Kentish vineyards, lots of tasting, tour and wine experiences (perfect for gifts) and a brilliant Wine and Fine Food shop.
This is the third year it’s proved the perfect place for us to host our Award Winner Drinks. And this year we had pretty much a full attendance, which was wonderful. After spending the week checking the weather (constantly changing from rain to sun) and solid rain for two hours in the build up, the clouds suddenly parted – hallelujah!
A huge thank you to Gerry Avena in his Moretto’s Italian BBQ truck – who treated us all to his authentic Italian cooking. Jerry has 35 years experience as a chef and is now pouring all that talent and passion into his food truck venture, available for private party hire, festivals and events. His dishes include home-made spicy meatballs on rustico bread, marinated sirloin steak, parmesan and rocket Pugliese sandwiches and veggie options too.
And you can taste it for yourself if you’re in Tenterden on a Friday or Saturday evening – the street food truck pops-up at the entrance to Tenterden’s Market Square. The feedback was incredible from the winners – this food is unbelievably delicious.
This year we asked the winners to bring along anything they felt might best showcase what they do. No.6 Clinic (Best Beauty Salon) put together goodie bags for the other winners, Zuzu (Best Photographer) brought along some gorgeous postcards that were all snapped up (see above), The Small Holding (Best Restaurant) came laden down with some freshly foraged produce.
Fran (Best Fitness Instructor) came with her tiara (and insanely toned arms!) but best of all those friendly guys at The Common Rooms (Best Bar) travelled over in a Scooby-Doo-style fun bus, picking up all the other Tunbridge Wells winners en route. That brilliant gesture probably best sums up the spirit of these awards – and why their bar is such a success.
Frankly, the whole thing was a blast from beginning to end. Getting to meet interesting people and finding lovely local businesses is right at the heart of Muddy and we really do love it.
And these businesses should feel proud; the battle to reach the finals was insane so to then win is an incredible achievement, with hundreds and hundreds of businesses nominated from all corners of the county, from teeny-tiny villages, to our bigger towns.
But without you lovely readers there would be no party and no awards, so it’s a big heartfelt THANK YOU from me and the Muddy team for taking your time to vote and give your local favourites a pat on the back, you’ve really shown how in love with local you are.
It’s all over for another year, but we’ll see you in 2020 for the fifth year of the Awards. Until then, huge congrats to the Muddy Awards Winners 2019…
One final thank you to the brilliant photographer, Becca Haigh, who is so talented. Her Personal Brand Photography is exceptional – capturing the story of you and your business so well (take 1 min out to look at her website and you’ll see what I mean.) She gave up her time for free to photograph our awards which was incredible and she’s worked with some great local brands and influencers.
I just want to take the opportunity once more to say a massive CONGRATS to everyone who found themselves nominated, a finalist and eventually a winner. The warmth in the room really hit home to me how much talent, character and good-feeling there is here in Kent. I’m not sure my blithering speech did you justice, but the sentiment is definitely there!
Our wonderful winners:
THE MUDDY STILETTOS AWARDS WINNERS 2019
Best Art Gallery: Linden Hall Studio (Deal)
Best Bar: The Common Rooms (Tunbridge Wells)
Best Beauty Salon: No. 6 Clinic (Tunbridge Wells)
Best Bookshop: Harbour Books (Whitstable)
Best Boutique Stay: The Pig at Bridge (Canterbury)
Best Café: Juliets (Tunbridge Wells)
Best Children’s Business: Once Upon A Wish (Tunbridge Wells)
Best Day Spa: The Granary Spa (Great Chart, near Ashford)
Best Destination Pub: The Kentish Hare (Bidborough)
Best Family Attraction: Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest(Goudhurst)
Best Farmshop/Deli: Fuller’s Butcher’s & Farm Shop (Tunbridge Wells)
Best Fitness Instructor: Fran Flin, Flin’s Fitness (Orpington)
Best Local Food/Drink Producer: Cellar Head Brewing Company & Tap Room (Flimwell)
Best Florist: Flowers by Enchantment (Tonbridge)
Best Gift Shop: Made by Kent (Staplehurst)
Best Hair Salon: Leigh Roberts (Tunbridge Wells)
Best Interiors Store: Duck & Dog (Cranbrook)
Best Jewellery Store: Bella Jane Jewellery (Tunbridge Wells)
Best Photographer: Zuzu Valla Photography (Ashford)
Best Restaurant: The Small Holding (Kildown)
Best Theatre/Arts Venue: Trinity Theatre (Tunbridge Wells)
Best Women’s Store: The Beehive (Ashford)
Best Yoga/Pilates Instructor: Lucy Parker, Flow (Tunbridge Wells)
Best Newcomer: EveryDog (Snodland)
Photo credit: all images by Becca Haigh Personal Brand Photography