Laura Swann & Natalie Mcilveen are the founders of Mum’s the Word. Here, they tell us why they love where they live…
Where do you live?
LAURA: I live in Rusthall.
NATALIE: I live in Southborough.
How long have you lived there and what made you decide to move there?
LAURA: I’ve lived in Rusthall on and off since 2000 (with a brief spell of three years in TW centre). I originally moved here after university and loved its village feel but close proximity to town. Three houses, a husband and two children later, I’m still here and still love the community feel, village shops but also the fact you can walk into town easily.
NATALIE: I moved to Southborough, from London, two years ago because we were looking for a family home and wanted to be closer to my family. Me and my husband immediately fell in love with the house that we found in Southborough, it is a ‘project house’ with lots of potential and only a two minute walk to the local school (which makes the school run a lot less stressful!)
What’s your favourite shop locally?
LAURA: I love interiors and we’re just doing our house up at the moment, so I spend a lot of time browsing Mink Interiors on Nevill Street. I love the Scandi look and there’s so many things on my wish list!
NATALIE: My favourite shop is Love Inc on Tunbridge Wells High Street, which has a gorgeous mix of vintage pieces, neon lighting, beautiful candles and gifts. You cannot go in there without buying something – which is dangerous…but also brilliant because they donate 10% of their profits to Hospice in the Weald.
Where’s the best place to go for a Sunday stroll?
LAURA: We love a walk around Dunorlan, the kids tend to scoot or cycle especially when promised an ice cream or hot chocolate from the café for good behaviour!
NATALIE: We like walking down past the Rocks on Tunbridge Wells Common, through the woods and ending up in the Pantiles for a much-needed coffee and stroll through the market.
What’s the night life like where you live?
LAURA: We tend to go into Tunbridge Wells town centre to go out and love the gin bar in Chapel Place. There’s some great new bars opening in the town which is good!
NATALIE: The pubs down in The Pantiles are always good, especially in the summer – The Sussex, Ragged Trousers or the Duke of York. Or for live music The Forum is definitely worth checking out.
Where’s your favourite place to eat locally?
LAURA: I’ve recently discovered The Townhouse in Calverley Road – I love tapas and the food there is excellent.
NATALIE: For a special occasion The Twenty Six on Southborough Common is amazing, the food and cocktails are incredible.
Are there any nice views nearby?
LAURA: Happy Valley in Rusthall has amazing views over Tunbridge Wells or if you walk through the woods and fields to Speldhurst there are some pretty spectacular views across to Bidborough and beyond!
NATALIE: I always love the view from Bidborough Ridge, I went to primary school there so it brings back lots of good memories!
Why do you love where you live?
LAURA: There is just so much to do and see – from great cafes and restaurants to parks and places of interest. I only wish I had some more time to visit them all!
NATALIE: It has so much to offer, you have the countryside on your doorstep but London & the coast are just a short train journey away. Tunbridge Wells has an amazing mix of cafes, bars, restaurants, theatres and a real community feel.