Karen Croxford moved to England from Australia with her family about six years ago when her husband got a job in the UK. “I miss the sunshine a bit” she says, “but the countryside round here is absolutely beautiful. My drive back to Horsham is gorgeous, especially in the autumn when the colours are stunning.”

Colour is something Karen knows something about. She works in Reigate at Moda In Pelle which sells high-end leather goods sourced from Portugal, Brazil and Italy where, Karen says, “the really high quality comes from, and the colour dyes are better with more depth.” The shop is only a couple of years old but already has a loyal group of customers for its footwear, bags and scarves, and is growing its following every day. “Our top sellers are usually our leather upper/ memory foam footbed trainers: very on trend. In autumn everyone comes to update their boots: right now knee-high is the look.”

“I live in Horsham,” Karen says “and there’s definitely a bit of a younger crowd in Reigate: more under 40s; young families; yummy mummies and dogs who’ve been out running with them… Reigate’s a very sporty place. On Saturdays everyone’s in their Sweaty Bettys after a stint at the gym or run in the park.”

Alongside healthy living, Reigate draws people in for its retail therapy. “There’s a lot of high end shops here. We’re one of many which makes it such a shopping hub. All the businesses chat to each other; it’s a friendly place and doesn’t take long to get to know people. And there’s Priory Park to escape to if you need a quiet moment. You can always find somewhere beautiful to sit, even though it’s in the middle of town!”

Karen’s other favourite haven is the new cafe Canakin, where the owner “makes his coffee like it’s an art form” and buys in a special artisanal blend. “I need it when it gets busy!” she jokes, but is a people person at heart with many years spent as a midwife back in her native Oz. “It’s definitely a transferrable skill,” she says ” and people do get stressed when shopping, even if the stakes aren’t quite so high!”

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