Events coming up
- Late night shopping on Tuesdays in December with musical entertainments, mulled wine and special promotions. 6th, 13th and 20th December until 9pm.
- Saturday crafty workshops from 2pm throughout December including Christmas cards & Christmas stockings (£15 - booking essential) & Christmas decs (£5) with Makers Boutique Studio Shop. Drop in jewellery workshops with Lucy Kemp jewellery.
- Sunday 11th Dec we will be open as part of the Hayle Christmas Market festivities with drop in Christmas workshops and other activities throughout the day.
- Fizzy Fridays throughout December where Pretty Useful & Ula offer a glass of Fizz with shopping between 5-7pm.
- Tues 6th December - 4pm - 6pm Wreath Making workshops run by Twigs and Greens Florist.
- Our Mrs Christmas Storytelling experience will be £6 for a 25 minute storytelling & musical experience (special gift included) - 3rd, 10th, 17th & 24th December. Book online.
- Christmas Gifts Blitz. On the 24th December we will be open from 7.30am for those last minute Christmas gifts. Perfect for those who leave it to the very last moment. (We all know one of those!)
- Pretty Useful and Ula offer out of hours Personal Shopping experiences, book via their individual Facebook page.
For this post we are taking a closer look at Duckies cafe. Michael Watton, known to his regulars as Mike, took over Duckies in 2015. Since then Duckies have received the kind of trip advisor reviews that might cause this modest chap from Wolverhampton to blush with pride. With a wide variety of food on offer including sandwiches, fish and of course a cream tea, even the fussiest customer is guaranteed to leave full and with a smile on their face. (It also won’t break the bank). We sat down with Michael to find out what fires his burners!
How long have you been a chef?
About seven years ago I trained as a chef. I was living in Edinburgh managing the front of house in restaurants, when I decided I wanted to be the other side of the counter. I somehow persuaded a gastro-pub in Leith to take me on for a week’s trial and three years later I left there to start my first business. That business, a gluten free bakery, was a fantastic experience. But the Farmer’s Markets in Edinburgh are a bit chillier than down here, and the wind and rain made selling soggy bread a bit of a challenge! Luckily for me, warmer climates called, and when I moved down to Cornwall I knew it was the kind of place I’d love to have my own café. After a year of working and saving, the opportunity to open Duckies came about. With a lot of hard work, late nights, help from loved ones and the change from down the back of the sofa – we’ve got where we are today.
What is Duckies like?
When I opened Duckies I wanted it to be about two things: great food and great service. We are 18 months in, and I feel that we’re achieving that. I feel part of the
local community, which is wonderful, and a lot of my customers are regulars. We have plenty of tourists visit and this summer have had people returning who came last year. That makes me feel we’re doing good things!
Everything we make is cooked fresh to order, and we use Cornish produce wherever we can. Our brunches and lunches are very popular. The Duckies’ Rarebit is probably
our most ordered dish! We try and have options for all budgets: our soups and sandwiches are under a fiver, but then I like to go to town with Newlyn lobster, or a joint of local beef, and those dishes are a little bit more. I want Duckies to be a place where people can come, feel at home, and enjoy a coffee or freshly cooked food that goes beyond their expectations. It doesn’t come naturally to sing my own praises, my family had a saying about not being a billy-bighead! But the feedback and reviews we get make me think we’re doing something right.
When not at work, what do you enjoy doing?
I try and get to the beach whenever possible, we have an amazing coast on our doorstep, so I go for an hour after work or on my precious Sunday off! I play 5-a-side football and badminton to keep active, and for my sins support Aston Villa, although I’m not sure you can describe watching that as enjoyable. As my regulars know, I do love a quiz, ( we have an impromptu quiz in the cafe!) so I try and get to the local pub quiz every now and then to test the brain matter.
Do you prefer sweet or savoury?
Savoury. I love a good, well made-sandwich. It’s all about the bread to meat to salad to condiment ratio.
What is your favourite thing to make?
If I had to choose – I’d say it’s when I get fresh fish and lobster. It’s been caught that morning and I like the fact that I’m cooking the best fish in the world in my little café. I like the challenge of making a dish that does credit to such amazing ingredients.
What do you like about shopping locally?
We have some of the best food and drink right here in Cornwall. We try and use local companies to supply the café not just to support local businesses but because it’s fantastic stuff! Cornwall has a thriving network of independent shops. I love the variety and personal service. We should all support it, it keeps money in the local economy and means it’ll still be here in ten years time.
Duckies is based in The Old Foundry Chapel in Hayle – an emporium of wonderful local shops – so we really are spoiled for choice right on our doorstep.
They say that good things come to those who wait but, my word, we’re chuffed to bits. We’ve hardly waited any time at all (just 10 months in fact) and already the Old Foundry Chapel has been voted as Cornwall’s best Emporium! What a tremendous achievement, how fantastic! AND as if our victory wasn’t enough, we are super pleased that our bestie neighbours, Lucy Kemp Jewellery also came out on top, winning the Muddy Stilettos ‘Best Jewellery Store’ award. We couldn’t be more proud of Lucy and everyone here at the Old Foundry Chapel and we’re so pleased to have had our hard work recognized and rewarded.
It has been such an exciting year. From the moment we finished splashing the fresh paint and hanging the new signage last May, there has been an ever-growing buzz. We are incredibly lucky to house such a wide selection of shops! With antiques, crafts, food, fashion and beauty, it’s a delicious and fabulous family to be a part of! And there’s still room for a couple more shops to join in on the fun! You have to be happy, positive types with great products and an attitude to match – but do get in touch if you want to be a part of our winning formula. OK so maybe an eccentric type or two would fit in here too!
So what is Muddy Stilettos all about ? It began in 2011 and is an honest guide of where to find all of the wonderful and hidden gems our British countryside has to offer. It is thanks to Lou (Cornwall’s muddy guru) that our often over-looked Cornish businesses are getting the recognition they deserve. And what a fine selection of talent to be a part of. From bars to books and fitness to flowers Cornwall really does have something to sing about (but don’t worry, we wont) It is truly an honour to be nominated in our first year of revamp and something really special to have won! The awards ceremony was quirky and cute with stiletto shaped biscuits, Prosecco and a backdrop of the Plaza cinema, it felt like we’d really made it. Congratulations to all of the nominees and winners, it was a pleasure to meet so many passionate people at the ceremony and we look forward to ongoing collaborations with as many of you as is feasible.
A huge thanks to Lou, big thanks to all of the nominees and a super duper enormous thanks to all who voted! What’s next for the Old Foundry? Who can say, but if you want to be part of our success please do get in touch via the websites contact page.
Many thanks from all of us at the OFC
Well now, my dears, I’ve been asked to write a message to you all, for the lovely people at Foundry Chapel to put on their blog.
They wanted me to tell everyone how much fun we had on Saturday at my storytelling sessions. And we did have a lot of fun, didn’t we!
I had my own little grotto to meet you all in – it was almost like my home at the North Pole, but a lot warmer, and there were fewer of those naughty elves here too. I rather liked it – I’m certain I’ll be back next Saturday, and the Saturday after!
I thought I would explain to the grown ups what we did, to make sure they understand. So, what did we do children?
Well, I told some stories, and we all sang some Christmas songs. It was lovely to sing and play my guitar with such wonderful singers to join in! Then all you children were given a little wooden reindeer to take home specially made for me in Restronguet in Cornwall. All of you were given some delicious chocolate from Chocali, to take home with you, and a little package of magic Oofle Dust. I know some grownups haven’t heard of Oofle Dust, so I should probably explain – it’s shimmery magic dust, to help the reindeer find their way. A bit like sat-nav, but a lot more reliable!
So, all in all, we laughed a lot, and had a lot of fun!
Bookings are being taken for Storytelling with Mrs Christmas on Saturday 12th & Saturday 19th December. Sessions run for half an hour from 10am, every half hour until 3.30, and cost £6 per child. Adults and babies under 1 are free. Places are limited to six children per session and some sessions are booked already, so please be flexible. Please book by messaging us on email@example.com or phoning us on 01736 755543