The meaning of spring flowers…

There are few things that signal spring as sweetly as the seemingly overnight arrival daffodils in our gardens, by the roadside and in woods across the county.

daffodil katy pearson

Never give just one daffodil…it’s considered bad luck!

Known as Lent Lilies, daffodils (narcissi if we are to use their formal name) are the most popular flower for Easter decorations, flowering anytime from January through to April. So bedded in tradition are they that Prince Charles is paid the sum of one annual daffodil as a rent payment for the unattended lands of the Isles of Scilly.

But like most blooms there are plenty of myths attached to them. Did you know it’s is bad luck to bring in a single daffodil into your home? Doing so, it is said, will bring misfortune upon the house.

So always bring a bouquet, if you intend to give daffodils as a gift, as this will bring good fortune to the house.

And even before they’ve been picked, daffodils are rife with superstitions. It is said if you step, stomp, or trample on a bed of daffodils, bad luck will find you. However, if you make a great effort to avoid stepping on a daffodil, you will be rewarded good fortune (so keep that in mind when admiring them in their hundreds at Warley Place Nature Reserve, just south of Brentwood.) Continue reading

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My chat with Cleo Higgins

CLEOPATRA, coming at ya!

Hands up who remembers that pop refrain from the late Nineties?

Well, Cleo Higgins all grown-up at 33, is quite literally going to be coming at ya – as the lead female in Thriller – Live! at the Cliffs Pavilion this week.Cleo Higgins interview with Katy Pearson

The show – created to celebrate the career of the King of Pop – is now in its seventh year and has played over 3,000 shows globally, to 2.5 million fans and visited over 26 counties.

But musical theatre was not an avenue that Cleo had any real yearnings to explore.

Instead the ex-girl bander, who rocketed back into the public eye on TV show the Voice in 2013, was lured by the temptation to spend time belting out some of Jackson’s hits – including Can You Feel It, Off The Wall, The Way You Make Me Feel, Smooth Criminal and Beat It.

When we chatted her voice was super-husky – having been a bit under the weather – but enthusiasm for the show positively radiated down the phone line.

“I am a major, major Michael Jackson fan,” she says.

“Musical theatre isn’t really my thing… but Thriller – Live? Well, that’s not really musical theatre is it?

“The show’s just huge – it’s become a thing of its own. The music – Michael Jackson’s songs are just so strong. His fans just love it.” Continue reading

My chat with Westlife’s Shane Filan

WHEN ex-Westlife star Shane Filan was last in Southend for his first solo tour it was in the wake of something of a tough time.

After 14 years in Westlife and their forty-four million sales, just when he should have been set up for life, he found himself bankrupt and staring at a bleak future in 2014.Westlife's Shane Filan chats to Katy Pearson

A bad Irish property investment left him hugely exposed financially and he was making his first scary steps as a solo artist, on the road, alone.

But two years on, he’s back with a new album, a new tour and Shane – who along with Feehily and McFadden, was the lead singer in Westlife – is in fine form.

When we chat his Irish burr is unmistakeable and he’s clearly happy to be going back on tour.

“Southend had a great atmosphere last time around – and it’s a great venue,” he tells me, chuckling his way through the conversation.

“I actually brought my daughter with me to Southend – we had a bit of a daddy/daughter time. She was on stage for part on the show – on a couch in the middle of the acoustic section.

“Touring is best part – getting out there, seeing fans, performing. It’s just fun.”

Does he feel in a different place emotionally this time around? Continue reading

Today I’m loving… a bit of Orla Kiely

Blimey, Orla Kiely – that Irish contemporary designer known for her unique retro prints and designs – is a busy bird isn’t she?

Her instantly recognisable designs seem to get everywhere!

Her latest release is for specialist online retailer Binopolis – who have added two new stylish bins designed by Orla Kiely to its collection of high quality, functional and look-good freestanding bins.

Retro 30L bin by Orla Kiely, £135, Binopolis

Retro 30L bin by Orla Kiely, £125, Binopolis

Continue reading