Driving from our Worthing Head Office of Callaways Estate & Letting Agents, I always have a frisson of anticipation as I turn into New Church Road, Hove, and make my way past my grandmother's old home, through to the 20MPH zone of Church Road.
Hove emanates a sophisticated air with its wide avenues, independent shops, restaurants and cafes, all urging you to spend your time rather frivolously, and drink in the atmosphere.
Hove offers residents and visitors alike a surprising and welcome choice of bars, bistros and boutiques - and of course, its brightly coloured beach huts on the prom. Big red buses, taxis, bikes and pedestrians create a cacophony of sound, along with those of the seagulls! On a warm spring or summer day, people spill out onto the pavements to take a drink and snack on the pavement, and watch the world go by.
I admit to having some favourite places for entertaining, pleasure and leisure. Top of my list is Coast Chiropractic which has recently moved from premises in Church Road to Langford Hotel in Third Avenue, and which I attend rather regularly. I've played sports since childhood, encouraged by supportive and enthusiastic parents and teachers at Varndean School for Girls which I attended from 1966 - 1977. Sport played a huge role in my school days with athletics, tennis, rounders, netball, hockey and lacrosse among my favourites.
I took up golf about 20 years ago, and with the twisting and turning, plus desk work at a computer during the day, and often working on an iPad at night, two frozen shoulders, and countless pulled calf muscles - my body has taken a beating. Anne French of Coast Chiropractic has provided the solution to my aches and pains over several years now - and I love her new premises, which exude calm. I always walk out of Anne's clinic feeling 6 inches taller than my 5'3".
For coffee, I only have to pop round the corner into Wilbury Road to Small Batch Coffee Company to feel a million miles away from the office. With seating inside and out, the aroma of coffees and the temptation of pastries and snacks to eat in or take-away is enough to get the pulse racing. I'm a 'cup of tea' girl at heart, but occasionally indulge in coffee for a change to my taste-buds. I generally stick with an Americano, but can be persuaded to try coffees from around the world ...
Velvet Store at 66-68 Church Road awakens all the senses. I love browsing for gifts, homeware and wardrobe fillers for all the family. Even window shopping is a pleasure! Mesmerised by the chandeliers, and always wishing I was a few sizes smaller and a few years younger to wear their fashions, 'Velvet' is an Aladdin's cave of magical goods.
A literal feast for the eyes, is Canham & Sons , one of my favourite places for grabbing a sandwich at lunch-time (and I know my sales and lettings teams often call in for a tasty sausage roll for elevenses!). You know that feeling when you're looking in a sweetie shop window, well that's exactly the same frisson I get when I look at their ready to go sandwiches, brownies (my mum says they're the best she's ever tasted), scotch eggs, cheese straws ...
Their sandwiches don't scrimp on fillings, and if they've run out of your favourite one, they'll offer to make it fresh. The meat counter is well stocked and the products are not all supermarket-clingfilm wrapped (I'm thinking environment). I've been known on more than a few occasions to grab one of the delicious pies on offer - steak and guiness, chicken and mushroom - when time for preparing supper is short. Wonderful customer service, and just across the road from our office in Church Road, to stretch the legs.
So take a stroll along through central Hove - share with me your favourite places!