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We're all for shopping at local indies at Muddy and we know you are too - step away from Amazon and read on for how together we can turn this impulse into a bonafide movement. Get involved!

If you’re a regular Muddy reader you’ll already know that we love brilliant, unique, exciting independent businesses. In fact they’re our lifeblood – we squirrel out the gems, shout about them on the site because we know you’ll love them too, an in doing so also help the businesses to grow.

Unfortunately, over the last year we’ve all seen first-hand how hard it has been for so many of these plucky companies across Warwickshire, Coventry and the West Midlands. Business rates are rising, high street footfall is falling, companies are folding and shoppers have less money in their pockets. Plus we’re all so busy that unless we pause, think and reboot, a last minute dash to the computer to hit Amazon rather than a mooch around our local shops is almost inevitable, come 23 Dec.

Our editor-in-chief Hero has been thinking about what we can do to help – and come up with a #inlovewithlocal initiative to buy half of your Christmas goodies on your local high street. Start in your nearest village or town, and think laterally for everything gift and decorations to your festive food and drink.

And ‘half’ will help more than you know – it’ll help the indie shop-owners, the environment, the local economy, and the vibrancy of our communities. Or pop in to your local indie pub/restaurant/cafe for a Christmas drink or meal.

Post images of your favourite local indies or maybe what you’ve bought in store on Instagram @muddywarks or Facebook @muddywarks (or both!) and tag #inlovewithlocal and we can create a whirlwind of publicity for them.

Ready, steady, shop local!

To kick it off, let’s give these plucky local businesses some exposure right now, shall we? May we introduce you to some of our favourite local business owners over the next few weeks. We talked to them about running an indy biz, why we all need to get behind shopping local, and what they’re up to over Christmas…


Harriet Holland, The Beauty Rooms, Leamington Spa

I first opened my beauty business in Leamington Spa in 2009 within a local hotel, but it was always a desire of mine to have a place on the high street.
I opened my first salon in 2014 on Clarendon Avenue, and later my second salon a couple of doors down on Tavistock Street. As you can imagine Christmas is an extremely busy time of year for us, and all the team love to help our clients look and feel their best for the party season, from glittery nails to makeup, lashes and of course glowing skin treatments!
Leamington Spa is buzzing with independent businesses from coffee houses, bars right through to clothes shops and I’m so pleased that I am able to contribute and be one of them.
It’s so easy to forget indie shop and to purchase online or from big chain stores, but I feel things are changing and people are getting behind the hard working independent businesses and I think social media such as Instagram has really help this. I couldn’t be more grateful for my lovely team and for all the support I get from my regular clients.

Harriet and her team out-and-about in Leamington Spa supporting another local indie, Hart & Co – see below…



Louise Hart, Hart & Co Bar + Kitchen, Leamington Spa

Busy first year…Louise (centre) taking part in a culinary tour of Leamington in aid of Parkinson’s Research with Linda John (Rotary Club), and Stephanie Green (AC Lloyd) earlier in 2019.

I just LOVE Christmas. The festive period is all about family and friends coming together. By working over the Christmas period at my restaurant I am able to create a space where families and friends can do just that. Oh, and obviously the constant smells of mulled wine, roast beef and mum’s gravy wafting in the air along with the dulcet tones of Christmas songs echoing all day is just magical.

Mum’s roast comes alive at Christmas! Mum is a full-time accountant so when she finally gets a day off, she obviously has to come and help her daughters out at Hart & Co. Her roast dinner is second to none. Every Sunday morning, she’s in the kitchen from 6am basting the turkey, slow cooking her now infamous beef and of course making that insane gravy. As everything is to share for two people here you pick your joint – beef, chicken, turkey or nut roast which you carve yourself at the table. We provide you with all the trimmings, including our foot long pigs in blankets and then keep topping you up with food until you can’t possible fit anymore in. Diets don’t count at Christmas, right?

I went to uni in Kent and studied Media and Politics in order to become a journalist. I realised it just wasn’t for me but I LOVED my part-time job at a local restaurant and thought why not just do this for myself. I’ve been self-employed now for over a year.

We set up Hart & Co in a derelict building with no previous business inside and no footfall to the area. No idea what I was thinking! We have now evolved into a very pink kitchen and bar whose main target audience is women. We have helped in the development in Cloud Femme, the ultimate local girl squad.

The Mum Club Breakfast Club at Hart & Co

Seeing my name on signage, our uniforms and all of our merchandise is a massive pinch me moment. Saturdays and Sundays are my fave shifts of the week as there is often a queue of people who have heard about us and want to try us or returning customers who come back every week. It’s total madness. It may sound cringe but every time a customer walks through ours or another local businesses’ door we are just filled with gratefulness. Often indie businesses are run by one or two people and people don’t understand what goes on in the background to deliver the service we deliver. It’s a community which is just growing stronger and stronger.

This Christmas day we are opening our pink front doors to the public for festive drinks (from 11am until 3pm). Those booked in to dine with us will dine with the Hart family. We will be serving up mummy Hart’s traditional no frills Xmas dinner and the whole family are super excited to be welcoming lots of other families into our family this year!



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