I went to Market Square this weekend to snap some photos for Manchester’s #30in30 post. I had no sooner stepped inside the store … when I spotted the most beautiful Steve Madden brown boot. Fringe on the side. Perfect heel (you know the one – not too short, not too tall). It was love at first sight.

And to be honest – I think I could say that about almost every shoe, boot and handbag in Cathy’s shop.

Take a peek below at some of my favourite picks for the Christmas season.

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To sweeten the Christmas shopping deal, or maybe to buy yourself a pair of winter boots (FYI, the selection of Sorel boots is drool worthy), Manchester Shoe Salon is offering 20% off your regular priced shoe, boot or handbag purchase from now until Christmas Eve!

*But note, size selection is decreasing all of the time so don’t delay!

And of course – what would #30in30 be without a giveaway??

Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

See you tomorrow!

#30in30 – Day #11 with Freak Lunchbox

***Cross-Posted here: Uptownsj.com/our-stories/

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You guys like candy, right?


I remember when Freak Lunchbox opened in Saint John a few years ago – I was jazzed. I would always visit their Halifax location and stock up on silly sour candies and Cadbury Flake bars.

In addition to their insane selection of candy, jelly beans and chocolate bars – they also have some really cute gifts. Large and stocking stuffer sized for literally anyone that you know. Between the eggplant emoji key chain (pictured below) and the howling wolf mask (also pictured below) – I feel like I could knock a few people off of my Christmas shopping list with a quick trip to Freak Lunchbox.

Take a peek below at the CANDY – my apologies for the trip you’re going to make this afternoon for a bag of jelly beans.

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candy candy candy candy candy candy – honestly all I can think about right now.

Click below – Enter to with a $30 gift certificate to Freak Lunchbox!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

See you tomorrow!

I’m baaaaack – Sort of

There was very obviously something missing from my Christmas season.

I approached Uptown Saint John in early November with the following –

“let’s bring #30in30 back”.

We’re here – we’re 10 days in and it’s a blast.

I decided to move things back to barbbarbbarb.com to keep you all in the loop. I appreciate that after 1.5 years – no one actually unsubscribed from my mailing list! Thank you!

You’ll see the #30in30 posts here and on Uptown Saint John’s web site under “Our Stories”. Don’y worry about your entry – whether you do it on their site or mine – it’s all the same.


Currently live on Uptown Saint John’s site –

Heroes’ Beacon

Win a family game night courtesy of Heroes Beacon – featuring Ticket to Ride!

Click here to enter

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Heartbreak Boutique

It’s Christmas Party season and Pam has a hookup for you – you can win any dress in store. Imagine I have added in the heart eyes emoji.

Click here to enter. 

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the Butcher’s Daughter

Enter to with a $50 gift certificate – enough for a mug (or two!)!

Click here to enter. 

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Backstreet Records

Gordie Tufts – nicest man in Saint John and recently written about on CBC by Julia Wright – is giving away a $30 gift certificate to spend on VINYL. I recommend Drake’s new album. or the Weeknd. I’m currently obsessed with both.

Click here to enter. 

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Christmas in a box is what I’ve dubbed this amazing give basket from LORDON. Basically a gift for every single girl on your Christmas list. Sunglasses, nail polish, a blanket – EVEN A CARD.

Click here to enter. 

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ICS Creative Agency

You like the Sea Dogs right? (We all do). Enjoy the game from the ICS Deck with 9 of your friends.

Click here to enter. 

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Market Square

Aaahh – I can think of a 100 things I’d like to buy with a gift certificate to Market Square. Or eat. Or DRINK.

Click through and enter to win one of 4 giveaways! 

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Paddington Station

The cutest kids clothing and toy store in Saint John – Clare has an amazing gift certificate up for grabs!

Click through to enter. 

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I’ll post these updates every few days to keep you in the loop. If you don’t want to wait for these posts – be sure to follow the #30in30 hashtag on Facebook or Twitter as well as Uptown Saint John and me (@barbbarbbarb!) on all social media channels.

See you soon!


Happy 6th Birthday!

Hey everyone!

Today is barbbarbbarb.com’s 6th BDay. Insane to me.

1107 blog posts, 160 interviews, 99 ‪#‎30in30‬ posts…

It’s been on my mind for awhile – but I guess there’s no better way to rip off the band-aid. I’m done! barbbarbbarb.com has truly been an enjoyable experience. A brand I’m pumped to have started. Saint John love I’m happy to have shared.

Thank you to everyone who has ever shared a post. Thank you to Jordan and Sean for keeping it afloat. Thank you to every business that has donated a prize. Thank you to every comedian, actor, artist, store owner, musician and community lover that has shared their story with me.

See you later!



Sweet Sassy Molassy is happening on the Market Square Boardwalk this coming weekend – July 10 & 11.

The five boardwalk restaurants (Lemongrass, Grannan’s, Saint John Ale House, Ryan Duffy’s and Cougars) will all feature a menu item made with molasses as well as a drink.


Crosby’s Molasses is a staple in my kitchen – in my baking, my energy ball preparation and (sometimes!) in my smoothies!

Do you think you’d like to attend? (you should)

Crosby’s is making it easier! Enter below for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to any restaurant on the boardwalk!

This is a quick giveaway – you have until Friday morning (first thing!) to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Saint John Love, Part 6

Saint John Love, Part 6. I could easily do a hundred of these and I’m positive the responses would be different (just wait until you read mine!). We’re lucky to have the selection that we do in our City for dining, entertaining, shopping… and laughing!

James Mullinger is still a relatively new resident of Saint John. I’m always so pleased to see how he has seamlessly fit in to our City.

James continues to be my favourite pal to meet for a coffee and catch up on the latest television crime drama.


Part 6: James Mullinger


Your go-to coffee shop (and ​your ​order):

Magnolia Café. I always go in for a latte. Then once I’m in there (normally meeting you Barb!) I remember how good their breakfast wraps are and I order one of those even though I’ve already had breakfast.  They are simply divine. And you can often catch world-class musicians performing there thanks to the work of music promoter and local legend Jeff Liberty. I am also in Java Moose in the Valley most days too. It’s my second office. I meet good friends like Cathy Coyle, Mark Leger, Lindsay Vautour and Alan England there at least once a week for a chat and a Speedball. The coffee Speedball, obviously.

The place in Saint John where you feel ​calm, cool and collected:

Well, compared to London – everywhere. But I am at my most happy shopping at Backstreet Records, SecondSpin or trawling for VHS tapes in Value Village or at yard sales. HMV Saint John is awesome thanks to the super cool staff in there and the fact that you can occasionally find Troma movies or Chuck Norris flicks. I also love working out with Jason Crouse at his awesome fitness studio and catching up with Keith and Nela in Nela’s Kitchen: Simply For Life in the valley. Believe it or not, I also feel very relaxed when catching up with the magnificent police offers at KV Police Station. I work with them occasionally on KV Outreach fundraisers and I always leave with a smile on my face because Steve Palmer and his team are such a lovely, hard working group of people. It is very calming to know that we have such decent and fun people looking after us. Everyone at that station does remarkable things.

The one-stop gift shop.:

Amazon UK. But for my wife, always Suite Serendipity on Water Street or Judith Mackin’s Tuck Studio.

The place you celebrate special occasions:

Shadow Lawn Inn. Not just one of the best places to eat, drink, stay or watch live comedy but also one of my favourite hotels in the world. Utterly unique, supremely special and the owners Jamie and Mary Ann are two of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet.

The place that is a solid date-night spot:

The Robertson at Shadow Lawn. East Coast Bistro. Port City Royal. En Sushi. World class establishments all of them. Csaba Domokos who runs Bell Aliant’s Community One channel introduced me to Splash, which is truly marvellous. As is Csaba himself. And of course at the date night shows I do at Dunham’s Run vineyard on the Kingston Peninsula are the perfect night out! You can catch awesome comedians like Geoff Hendry, Glen K Amo, Neal Mundle and Jimmy MacKinley there.

Favorite place to order take-out:

I don’t really do much take out because my wife and I love cooking every night. But when we do have takeout it is always courtesy of her lovely parents who bring us House Of Chan. The restaurant looks beautiful, the food tastes beautiful and after I’ve consumed a lot of, it makes me feel beautiful!

The best under-the-radar bar:

The Saint John Ale House, The Barrel’s Head and Happinez are awesome but obviously are not a secret because everyone knows how bloody brilliant they are. I love taking the Gondola Point Ferry to go for a pint at Reed’s Point Pub. And I do a lot of comedy shows for Shane Ogden at the 3 Mile, which is highly underrated. I think a lot of people haven’t been for a while so they don’t realize how nice it is in there. I love sitting on their porch sipping a pint with my director John Borbely before a show.

My father in law Barry and I have a great friendship and we love going to Pete’s Pub in Brunswick Square. Pete has been there 35 years, the sign of a true local legend. When I used to visit here from England, Barry and I would always go to Pete’s for a pint and it’s a tradition we have kept up since moving here. Pete always has a story for you, a clientele of raconteurs, delicious Moosehead on tap and jumbo hot dogs. Like I say, legend.

In England there are very few local independent businesses like this left. And I doubt there is a single pub left in the whole of the UK that has been run by the same person who pulls the pints themselves for that length of time. They have all been bought up by big breweries. Same goes for record shops yet Gordy has been running Backstreet Records like a master for three decades. This to me is a sign of a thriving community. People like to complain in Saint John and I do understand that there are problems here but the fact is this: England seems to have a good economy on paper because of the 1% at the top having so much wealth and squeezing normal people like us out. The wealth poverty divide is far greater in London than it is here and there is a far higher proportion of people living in abject poverty in London than there are in Saint John. Nothing is perfect anywhere but things are a damn sight better in Saint John than they are in London.

The place you go for a little bit of culture:

So many places. Sarah Jones’ stunning art gallery. Peter Buckland’s Gallery. Obviously we are incredibly blessed to have a world-class theatre like the Imperial in our city bringing us the best in international culture. The fact that I can go see both Jim Jefferies and the Bubble Guppies there is proof alone that it is one of the best theatres in the world. It is also the most beautiful theatre I have ever played in. It is traditional and historical but unlike the crumbling London West End theatres, it is extremely well maintained. Impeccable, even. My show there last year was one of the most enjoyable gigs of my life and I can’t wait to return in October.

The great thing about the Imperial is that you can trust their booking policy. You might not think that you are in to ballet or opera but go book tickets for a ballet or opera show at the Imperial and you will be seeing the very best there is of that particular art form. You can trust their decision making implicitly. I cannot think of many venues you can say that about.

Obviously Saint John Theatre Company bring us incredible productions all the time and really I think the fact that we have such a thriving arts scene here is down to their hard work. I don’t think I would be able to do what I do here if they – along with people like Scott Thomas – hadn’t created this huge interest in performing arts over the past two decades. I salute Stephen Tobias and his awesome team.

The place you always take your out-of-town guests that wows:

Always the Alehouse first. Then Happinez, Thandi’s, East Coast Bistro, Port City Royal. I could go on. The list is endless in a great city like this.

There are so many beauty spots that impress my guests because this is the most beautiful place in the world. Reed’s Point Pub is a gorgeous spot for a pint and there is nowhere like it in England so that always wows. I took an award-winning British film director named Mark Murphy there a few weeks ago and he was amazed by the view. Take anyone to Tuck Studio and they will be blown away that we have one of the best interior design stores in the world in our city.

Where you shop for everyday basics:

Well, the liquor store obviously for Moose Light. Best beer in the world bar none. For chicken and banana bread – Cochran’s. The Irving gas station near my house where the staff are lovely and I consider them all good friends. Mostly though: probably Sobey’s.

James added these ones….​

Favourite vineyard:

Dunham’s Run on the Kingston Peninsula where I am doing a series of shows over the summer. They are just the most perfect shows – outdoors in the most beautiful part of Canada, in a gorgeous vineyard with sun, laughter and fine wine. We shot the very first episode of my TV show for Bell Aliant Blimey! An Englishman In Atlantic Canada there. Take a look then book tickets!

Favourite place to feel special:

When I moved here I didn’t think I would be able to get my favourite Hermes aftershave or Chanel face cream in Saint John but thanks to Laura in Perfumes Plus at Brunswick Square I don’t need to go back to London to get them. And Chris at Rothesay Hair Studio always makes my dreams come true!


Catch James’ brand new stand up show brought to you by Lexus Of Saint John being filmed for TV and recorded for a live concert album at the Imperial Theatre on October 8th

Saint John Love, Part 5

Katie is the Executive Director of ArtsLink NB, former Telegraph Journal journalist, current friend.

Katie loves Saint John and can be found taking in the arts & culture community through studio tours, gallery openings, shoe sales and wine of the month selections.


Part 5 – Katie Wallace

katewallace_credit kelly lawson(PRINT)
Photo: Kelly Lawson

Your go-to coffee shop (and ​your ​order):

Second Cup, medium medium roast with milk.

The place in ​Saint John where you feel ​calm, cool and collected:

My office in the Creative Soup Building

The one-stop gift shop:

Feel good store.

The place you celebrate special occasions​:

Port City Royal (planning my 40th birthday there in the spring!)

The place that is a solid date night spot:

happinez (canoodling in the dark back corners)

Favorite place to order take-out:


The best under-the-radar bar:

Big Tide is making some really good beers.

The place you go for a little bit of culture:

Peter Buckland Gallery.

The place you always take your out-of-town guests that wows:

Irving Nature Park.

Where you shop for everyday basics:

City Market


Thanks Katie!

Saint John Love, Part 4

Here is Part 4!

I can’t believe the positive response I’m getting with this series. Wait – YES I CAN! Saint John-ers love Saint John.

Aaron McFarlane is a relatively new resident of the City. He moved to Saint John and started the Sistema program for Elementary Youths in our area. You’ve probably seen him at an event or two with his back to the crowd, grinning ear to ear conducting the kids.

I met Aaron when he just moved here. Typical Barb – I messaged him out of the blue on Facebook (oh yeah, I creeped him) and invited him out for coffee. He’s become a great friend :)


Part 4 – Aaron McFarlane


*Note: This is not in Saint John ;)

Your go-to coffee shop (and ​your ​order):

Java Moose in City Market.  Decaf Coffee, black.

The place in ​Saint John where you feel ​calm, cool and collected:

Any of the nearby beaches.  Black Beach near Musquash is my favourite, but not technically “in Saint John.” Closer to home is the beach near Irving Nature Park.

The One-stop gift shop:


The place you celebrate special occasions​:

East Coast Bistro.  Hands down my favourite restaurant in the city.

The place that is a solid date night spot:

A picnic with wine on any of the beautiful lookouts on Rockwood Park’s MacKay Skyway trail.  I love these views of the city that blend the skyline with industry.

Favorite place to order take-out:

Asia’s Best Cuisine!  Cheap, tasty, and an easy walk.

The best under-the-radar bar​

None that aren’t pretty well-known, I think.

The place you go for a little bit of culture:

The Imperial Theatre is a gem.  Saint John is so lucky to have it in the city.  Acoustically it’s a terrific place to hear an orchestra.  I also really appreciate the little theatre Saint John Theatre Company has on Princess – the shows I’ve gone to there are so intimate.  For live music I don’t think you can beat Interaction Theatre – I’ve seen a few really terrific shows there.

The place you always take your out-of-town guests that wows:

Partridge Island.  Everyone is astonished that it isn’t a developed heritage site.  People also really like the Kingston Peninsula market – it’s fun to take the ferry and the atmosphere is really welcoming.

Where you shop for everyday basics:

City Market on Saturdays, Superstore on weekdays.

Saint John Love, Part 3

You guys… here is Part 3 in my favourite series that I’ve ever done.

Mark Leger is a Saint John lover, like me! I’ve known Mark for years, but really just “met” him while working on a Placemaking Committee through the True Growth project.


PART 3 – Mark Leger


Your go-to coffee shop (and ​your ​order):

I’m a stay-at-home dad so I spend most of my time with the kids, their grandparents, and other parents with kids. As a result, I don’t have nearly enough “grownup” conversations. When I go out for coffee, I pick places that have a lot of pedestrian traffic and people I know who go there. I can catch up on their lives and talk about “grownup” stuff like city affairs, local gossip (often one in the same). Though I like Java Moose in the City Market and on Prince William, and Second Cup on King, my favourite place to go is Starbucks in Brunswick Square. I can sit there on my own to read or do some work, and several people will wander by and stop for a quick chat. I also spend a lot of time in Rothesay visiting family or taking Ella to her pre-school. I’ll often spend an hour or two at the Java Moose out there, and bump into my “Valley” friends I don’t see very often. My coffee tastes are simple. At each place, I order a small-size dark roast.

The place in ​Saint John where you feel ​calm, cool and collected:

I’m a marathon runner, so I’d have to say the open road. I run through all parts of the city, but favourite route these days is the Red Head Road toward Canaport and Mispec. The views are spectacular and the traffic is light on weekends. One of things I love about Saint John is that the more rural parts of the city aren’t far from the urban core. They’re within running distance!

The one-stop gift shop:

I don’t shop at one place in particular. When I buy gifts, I try to support local potters, painters, and jewellers. I also buy tickets to Imperial Theatre shows or Uptown restaurants.

The place you celebrate special occasions​:

Well…as I’ve already pointed out, I’m the father of two young children, so I hate to admit this but special occasions seem to revolve around children’s birthday parties these days. Bowlarama seems to top the list! When my wife and I celebrate a birthday or anniversary, our favourite spot seems to be Sense of Tokyo on Waterloo Street.

The place that is a solid date night spot:

Again, Sense of Tokyo on Waterloo Street.

Favorite place to order take-out:

Shwarma Hut in the City Market. I order the falafel almost every time. Special ingredient: French Fries! The regular sized one is so large it takes me an hour to eat it!

The best under-the-radar bar​:

Another question you’re asking a father of two young children. I’m lucky to have a favourite bar, let alone a “a best kept secret” one. I’ll have one of those when they’re teenagers. I have to say “happinez” even though I know this is one of the most popular places in the city. And I’ll actually drink wine there now. I used to joke with the owner, Peter Smit, that I was the guy that went to the wine bar to drink beer.

The place you go for a little bit of culture:

I’d highlight the Saint John Theatre Company, especially with the sheer volume of great shows they’ve started doing, and events they’re hosting, at their own space on Princess Street and at Imperial Theatre. In March, I attended a sold-out, hilarious comedy show featuring James Mullinger and other comics at the Princess Street space. That month, I also went to the theatre company production, “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour”, at the Imperial Theatre. Last year, I started attending – and sometimes participating in – some of the Improv shows staged by Scott Thomas and crew at the Princess Street space. They’re incredibly entertaining and creative events that include local musicians, artists and storytellers. They’ve got another one of their monthly shows coming up in May. There’s just a lot going on there, be they theatre company productions or other arts and culture groups taking advantage of a great space to host shows and events. I’m part of a group hosting an event there May 7th called Ignite SJ, an evening of inspiring five-minute talks on a range of subjects by local people, including James Mullinger. Your readers can learn more about that event on our web site: http://www.ignitesj.ca

The place you always take your out-of-town guests that wows:

Happinez, Sense of Tokyo, Suwanna restaurant on the West Side.

Where you shop for everyday basics:

I shop mostly at the small grocers around the city. I like to support local businesses with a friendly small-store atmosphere, but I also find their prices generally better for fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and meats. My favourites? Dean’s Meats and Balemans in the City Market. Olsen’s on the West Side. Cochrane’s in Rothesay.


There are more <3

See you tomorrow!

Saint John Love, Part 2

You guys… here is Part 2 in my favourite series that I’ve ever done.

If you haven’t read this story, do it. Saint John is full of people that love it as much as I do.

Part 2 – Trent Seely


Your go-to coffee shop (and ​your order)

Java Moose, Prince William Street (gotta support local). Moose-size Authentic, black.

The place in ​Saint John where you feel ​calm, cool and collected

The boardwalk deck near Market Square and the harbour slip. At all times of year, I enjoy looking out at the waves and glancing at port’s large cranes and tankers. Not sure why this place chills me out, but I like the way the harbour hugs the Saint John River.

The one-stop gift shop:

Feel Good Store. I love the Feel Good Store. It isn’t just that the location is charming and the staff is friendly, it is that the products available are so unique and diverse. There are natural remedies, teas and tea holders, spa treatment products, natural toiletries, yoga equipment, spiritual items, baby-friendly products, and more. Plus, Anne is a sweetheart.

The place you celebrate special occasions

The Saint John Ale House, usually. Saint John is lucky to have a number of excellent restaurants, but I tend to gravitate towards the Ale House for the celebration of most special occasions. The food is great, the bar selection is inexpensive, and I really appreciate the relaxed atmosphere. It’s a more adult vibe, and I think that’s what I’m looking for now.

The place that is a solid date night spot:

King Square during a warm summer night. Seriously. Just because you don’t have to pay to be there, doesn’t mean it is any less romantic. The bandstand is usually well-lit and the fountain is constantly running. In addition, strings of lights decorate the center of the square providing just enough mood lighting for a night-time coffee or picnic. Small tables now surround the bandstand in the summer, making the space better for conversations and dining. Try using this spot next summer for a low-key, but romantic outing.

Favorite place to order take-out:

Our taste in take-out food shifts based on what mood we’re in, but Ta-Ke Sushi on King Street is a regular haunt for us. Take-out items are usually well priced and Ta-Ke doesn’t skimp on food. If you’re in the mood for Sushi, but also want to watch Netflix I would advise calling ahead and dropping by.

The best under-the-radar bar

I can’t say that Big Tide is under-the-radar, but it certainly is underrated. Outside of having an extremely affordable food menu, Big Tide has delicious brews made in-house that you can even grab in a take-home 1.89L growler for $10. They also have a points program for every dollar you spend, larger beer mugs that you can lease for a year, a nice gluten-free menu, and regular trivia nights. Like I said, I can’t say they are the best kept secret, but I can say that not enough people check it out.

The place you go for a little bit of culture:

Trinity Royal. You know, because I’m one of those weird people who likes walking around the City and glancing at incredibly old buildings. One of the biggest strengths that Saint John boasts as Canada’s original city is its architectural design. Buildings in the uptown core have a unique vibe to them, and it isn’t uncommon to see somewhat unorthodox designs paired with beautifully intricate wood- and brick-work. Buildings also tend to sport incredibly old and faded product advertisements for tobacco or cola. That characteristic has turned a few of the buildings into living relics, and in some cases the innards have been completely refreshed and modernized to juxtapose the outward appearance. It’s a nice mesh of new and old, and I would argue that is representative of the city itself.

The place you always take your out-of-town guests that wows:

I like to take guests to the City Market. It can be argued that there are more important landmarks in the city, but market’s atmosphere is unique and comforting. It’s always a busy place, and I dig the variety of products. More than that though, this place has a history you can sink your teeth into. It’s the oldest farmer’s market in Canada, has a roof that resembles an inverted ship’s keel, and the floor sloops with the natural grade of the hill it stands on. They say it was built by unemployed ship builders, and even if that isn’t true I like that story and how it ties into Saint John’s ship building heritage.

Where you shop for everyday basics:

Giant Tiger. Say what you will about the shitty kitty, there are name-brand products available and prices that are usually half that of major grocery chains. The place was renovated not that long ago making the shopping experience much cleaner and more organized. I still buy all of my produce elsewhere, but when it comes to picking up basic toiletries or condiments I only go to the GT.


There are more <3

See you tomorrow!

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