I was recently contacted by Ballymoney Chamber of Commerce and asked if I would like to go around some of the shops in Ballymoney on a Saturday to see what they have to offer for Christmas and to see what all the little town has to offer to everyone.
I have lived in Ballymoney all my life so I had a good idea of most of the shops. However like most towns shops come and shops go so there is always that new shop you haven't been in before.
I try to shop local as much as I can as it is soo important to support the little family run business' that have been here for years. It is such a competitive world we live in today so I'm guessing it can be hard for them to stay afloat.
I was told that me and the lovely Louise would be going round the shops and then there would be a Santa parade in the town at 1pm. I was soo grateful to have been asked to cover this.
So my first stop of the day was John Laverty Optician. On arrival I was greeted by Michelle who asked me to go over to a little desk and we talked threw how my eyesight had been and if I was looking for a change of glasses etc. We then had a look at some of the frames and I was pleasantly surprised at just how many big brand names they stock, such as ray ban, lacoste, Chloe, joop. The frames are all laid out beautifully its so easy to see them and they are not all cluttered.
I tried on loads but settled on 5 different ones I liked. I have had the same glasses as 1 year so I'm thinking about a little change. Michelle was super helpful and really knew what styles suited my face shape. She made the experience really relaxing.
Lorna the optician then called me for my eye examination. I was led into a spacious little room where I sat on the seat and the eye test began. Michelle is so down to earth and we had brilliant wee chats which put me at ease and made the experience much more enjoyable.
There was a slight change in my eyes, so I'm glad I got the eye test :) When I came out of the room Jonnie from fUSe fm and Louise were waiting. I showed them the glasses I had picked out and got there opinion. We narrowed it down to two frames and I'm still deciding which one I like best.
The staff in John Laverty Opticians could not have been nicer from the minute I walked in the door to the second I left I was really taken care off. They all are soo knowledgeable and nothing is too much bother for them.
After that we went for a little bite to eat in Ground. It is soo nice in it, nice and spacious with lovely decorations. The smell of coffee as soon as you open the door just hits you. Then my eye found the buns and cakes... oh my goodness they are soo appealing I didn't know what to choose. I finally decided on a snickers slice and a smoothie. Again the staff are all so pleasant and all had a smile on their face, which makes for a better experience.
The food was soo tasty and the manager even came over with complimentary Christmas goodies for us to try... I left with a full belly and a happy girl.
Next up we went into The Candy Store to see what goodies they sell. I was literally like a kid in a sweet shop! They have everything you could EVER need .. all the old fashioned hard boiled sweets, the jelly sweets, chewy sweets, American candy ... I didn't know you could get so many different sweets. They also have gluten free candy which I thought was a brilliant idea.
I also didn't know that The Candy Store make up hampers to suit your budget, so you basically tell them how much you want to spend, what you like/don't like and they make up a lovely hamper for you. Perfect for that hard to buy for person at Christmas time.
Across the street now to Bumble and Bee. It is a child's clothes shop and I had never actually been into it, so I was thrilled to open the door and see so many nice bits and bobs. They have so many different brands and clothes to fit children from premature to older babies. They also stock tights, hats, gloves, welly boots, Christmas outfits and much more. If you want that something different for a child this Christmas then I would definitely recommend going into Bumble and Bee.
The next stop on my tour of Ballymoney was the lovely Bella Mia, a jewellery and gift store. I have been in here numerous times but didn't realise they had an upstairs to the shop. Its maybe a good job I didn't know that though as when I went upstairs the sparkles and bling had me wanting everything. My Christmas list has now doubled in size lol. They have loads of different brands on offer and have something to suit everyone.
Not only do they have a huge selection of jewellery they also have hangbags, scarfs, gift cards. It is such a brilliant shop with very pleasant and helpful staff. I was made to feel very welcome and the girls were soo nice asking if I needed any help etc.
The store itself is soo modern and fancy inside. Really well laid out with glass shelving and accessible tables all the products are easy to see and you are not afraid of knocking something over.
After all of these lovely shops it was down main street to Top Ten Hairdressers, where I was greeted by Aaron. He really knows his stuff, he has such a brilliant knowledge of the products and of the shop itself. He told us that Top Ten have been in business for 47 years. I think that in itself says soo much about the shop.
Aaron then showed me some of the new products they have in store and when I asked him about their GHD range he was able to tell me soo much information on the product. You could just tell how passionate he is about his job and his love for the customers. I will definitely be going in to Top Ten to get my hair done in the future.
If you are ever hungry and want something that is tasty and wont break the bank then A Bite Above is definitely high on my list of places to go.
I had such a fantastic day in Ballymoney. I walked away with a really happy heart knowing that I live in such a beautiful and pleasant little town. The staff in all the shops were so passionate and knowledgably that it wasn't just going shopping it was a truly special experience.
I would really ask all off you lovely people to try and shop local as much as possible not only now at Christmas but the whole year round. Yes its easy to order of the internet and have it delivered to your door, but the buzz and feeling you get from shopping local is one I want you all to feel.
Lastly I want to say a massive thank you to Ballymoney Chamber Of Commerce and all the staff from all the shops I visited. You made me a very happy girl this Christmas.
I really hope you enjoyed reading this little post, it was one very close to my heart as Ballymoney is and always will be my hometown... If you want to know anymore about anything mentioned above you can find me over on facebook, twitter or Instagram
Lots Of Love...