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Watford finds Hertfordshire

We chatted with @Watford_finds over the gram for a while and loved all they were doing and decided we needed to find out a little more about the story behind the feed.

Tiff of @watford_finds answered our questions about the gram, what made her bring it together and how being at ‘Home’ this year has been for her.  Finding out Tiff was also in the Interior design world was another bonus and why the feed looks so incredibly beautiful!

Read to find out more about @watford_finds and follow them for some great ideas for post lockdown going out out.

 

Hi Tiff, what a great resource you have created with @watford_finds  It is relatively new but such a prompt for all our pocket of Hertfordshire and the surrounding areas has to offer.  What made you start it up?

Thanks so much!

I was on maternity leave and frustrated that there didn’t seem to be any resources that collated the type of venue I liked to visit. When I started it was a tool for myself and as people started to get in touch and recommending their favourites it became something that got me really excited about the place we live. I hope the site has spread a bit of that!

Obviously the pandemic was happening throughout and it felt like the perfect time to be championing and advertising great local businesses.

You are right that in the past it has seemed hard to find more design led places and yet your feed shows there are plenty for WD postcode inhabitants to enjoy.  Did you know of most of the finds you are uncovering or are they new to you also?

There were a good handful that I knew of and love that I felt needed sharing (some of my favourites @flourishbakery @fred_and_ginger_coffee @bakehouseapsley @creativejuicesbrewingcompany )

A LOT of time spent with a napping baby on me helped me to find new ones, not to mention people’s great recommendations.

You were lucky it was a napping baby then ;-)  Not a screaming one (looking at no one in particular in my home!)  How are you finding new places with the lockdown and pandemic challenges?

Current restrictions obviously make going to them more impossible, but I’m still coming across more on Instagram. I thought 130-odd posts later I might be slowing but there’s still loads out there!

We have all been bundled up in our homes for the majority of the past year but despite this do you think there has been a stronger attachment to our local areas and businesses and why do you think this actually is?

Absolutely. I think there’s been a bit of a fear of going into London for a lot of people but I think (and hope) this time has taught us all to appreciate what’s on our doorstep that bit more. Knowing the struggle businesses must be going through has made me feel more loyal and in awe of their work ethic!

Agree with that - the reality that the coffee and lunch you buy makes a very real difference to a family living near you is quite an awakening.  You are living in Watford but before your maternity leave your career was in London - how as that been affected by the pandemic?

My maternity leave finishes this month so I haven’t been affected by it yet. When I’m back, I will be working from home for the foreseeable and learning to work and create as a team over zoom calls.

Ah the business saving but challenging work Zooms!  Good luck with your little one in tow, mute will become your ally.  Did you grow up in Watford or have your moved here recently?

My husband grew up in Watford so it made an easy choice to buy here back in 2016.  Having met at Uni in Brighton and both lived in London we've been on the lookout for creative, fun places (and good pubs!) around here since we moved in.

I won’t ask if your husband is a Hornet or Seagull fan then for fear of offending anyone.  It was a treat to find out after we made contact about @watford_finds that your career as a Retail Interior Designer is on trend with our mission to uncover what it is that makes a Home.  Have you found a greater connection with your home in the past year and will it change how you ‘Home’ in the future?

Maternity leave was always going to mean lots more time at home so I feel very lucky that hunkering down with my little one was always the plan. We’ve learnt to slow down and enjoy the outside as well as the in.

Home is my happy place but I think it’d be fair to say that we’ve all had a tumultuous relationship with it this year!

I think your space often dictates the way you live in it. We gravitate towards the natural light in the day and the cosy corners at night. Our open-plan layout is great for entertaining but less suitable for working from home (not hugely ‘2020’). It has however, encouraged togetherness (for better or for worse!) which is what a home is all about.

 

What an honest and relatable answer!  It’s not all roses is it, but there are lots of good things about ‘Home’ that we are all discovering.  When the Lockdown ends where is the first place you will go:

For a drink?

For a meal?

For a hotel stay?

For a special event?

 Hertfordshire Restaurant

The FIRST place will be to my Mum and Dads for a home cooked meal with my sisters and the dog!

We owe my in laws a special birthday meal @bricklayers_arms ...

Two places I’ve been desperate to go to are @birchcommunity and @nomadicdinners ...

We had an anniversary meal booked @circolopopolare ...

On a plane .. somewhere, anywhere ...

And I hope to go for my regular NCT girls lunch @theartichokeotg to celebrate our babies belated 1st birthdays together!

You sound so lovely…What great plans.

Despite all the terrific places you are unearthing for all of us living nearby, what is the one cuisine, hospitality venue or venture in general, you think our corner of Hertfordshire could still do with?

Hertfordshire cafeSpoilt for pubs when we were in Brighton, we’d always love more chilled design led pubs. And we love East London’s BYOB Vietnamese restaurant setup. I’d also love to see more on the canal like @mollysfloatingcafe - book shop barges, ice cream boats?

It’s so hard to choose one or two because despite all the amazing places, they’re still very diluted. I’d love to see the rise of independent ‘makers’ and creative spaces in some of the sadly now empty retail units. Or places like @wework that extend the current working from home situation but get people together again! Places like @unit9kl and @_amanartis_ have started to blend workspace and retail already so I hope they’re successful.

So if we could have a little byob @bunldn on a canal boat at Croxley Moor lock (midway Watford:Ricky!) hosting free second hand book exchanges and discounts for NCT groups with a few pop up creative studios for your stroll home, that could make a start?

How would you like @Watford_finds to develop in the future?

I hope to stay up to date with new local openings / offers / events and to live in a world where we can actually enjoy them!

Thanks so much Tiff - we will keep avidly watching your gram and enjoying the highlights you give to our growing local hospitality offerings.  We will use it to get our own list together of the places we want to rush out and embrace as soon as this enforced paralysis ends.

A huge well done to Tiff for @Watford_finds and a shout out to all the struggling hospitality businesses out there.  We really do want to flood you with custom as soon as we can.

 

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