2016. An extraordinary year.

Sonny Jim, Katy Pearson, mummy life

Sonny Jim: The reason 2016 was my best year ever

For many, 2016 hasn’t *exactly* been a great year. In fact, some are going as far as to dub it the worst year ever.

We had Brexit, the murder of MP Jo Cox, Trump and bombings in Brussels – along with tragedies in Nice and Berlin.

You could argue it was the year that music died, with Bowie, Prince, Glenn Frey, Leonard Cohen, Rick Parfitt and George Michael all passing away. And it wasn’t just in the music world that some of the brightest stars left us, acclaimed British actor Alan Rickman died of cancer, as did Terry Wogan, Victoria Wood and Carolina Aherne. Paul Daniels died of a brain tumour. Author Harper Lee died age 89, Ronnie Corbett died age 85, and Muhammad Ali died age 74 . Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds died only a day apart.

Doctors went on strike. A gorilla was shot dead. Brangelina split.

But amid all of this, as of March 22, this year became my best year ever. Continue reading

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Have yourself a crafty little Christmas

newspaper bauble, Katy Pearson

All wrapped up: a newspaper bauble

When it comes to homemade Christmas decorations, for some reason, it seems the more rustic they are the better.

Who can help a little nostalgic rush when, rather than just shop-bought perfection, the tree is trimmed with lovingly home-crafted displays?

Lacking inspiration and not got tons of time to get creative? These two mini projects are perfect for even the most cack-handed of us.

Newspaper glitter baubles

Got some old newspapers hanging about? Or magazines? There’s no better way to put them to use than to create these simple glittery newspaper baubles for your tree. Continue reading

Don’t let Christmas be the death of you… is your smoke alarm working?

When I was four years old, before I went to bed every night, I demanded my dad check the smoke alarm at the top of the stairs was working.

Thanks to this advert, I was petrified of a fire burning down my home while I slept.

TV adverts were a whole lot scarier in the Eighties. But it did its job. We most certainly had a working smoke alarm throughout my entire childhood and beyond.

And with Christmas now SO CLOSE, the scary truth is that people are 50 per cent more likely to die in a house fire over Christmas than at any other time of year. It’s not difficult to see why. Candles? Check. Roaring fires? Check. Fairy lights. Check. Lots of booze? Check.

Which is why you NEED TO CHECK YOUR SMOKE ALARM IS WORKING. And if you don’t have one, get one, for pity’s sake.

This leads me seamlessly into a service which, if you live in Essex, you would be totally mad not to take advantage of.

Continue reading

Top baby names of 2016 revealed!

popular baby namesThe most popular boys’ and girls’ baby names of 2016 in the UK have been revealed, with Oliver becoming the number one choice for boys and Olivia top for girls.

The research, conducted by global parenting site BabyCentre, showed Oliver had jumped a place to become the most popular name for boys, followed by Muhammed, Noah, Harry and Jack.

Lily (third most popular last year) was 2016’s second popular girls name, followed by Sophia, Emily, Amelia and new entry Ava.

Continue reading