Lest we forget: What to do with your poppy

Poppy, Remembrance Sunday, what to do with your poppy, #WhatKatyDidUK

Not just for November 11: Putting your poppy on your tree will keep our armed forces in your thoughts over Christmas too

So, Remembrance Sunday has been and gone. Armistice Day commemorations have been marked with a two-minute silence at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

I imagine your poppy is still pinned to your lapel, your coat, or your bag… but as the week closes, what will you do with it? Keep it there, until battered by the elements, it falls off? Will you throw it away? Or stick it in a drawer, forgotten about in the muddle of pens and receipts and long-ago-written notes?

Well, if you’re keen to do something more, here’s a custom I started more than a decade ago, when my poppy fell to the floor of our little cottage.

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My chat with… Scouting for Girls’ Pete Ellard

Scouting for Girls, #whatkatydidUK, Katy Pearson

Nicest guys in rock? Scouting for Girls (c) Danny North

BEFORE heading on stage at Southend’s Cliff Pavilion later this month, Scouting for Girls will partake in their usual pre-gig ritual.

But it turns out when it comes to this little ceremony, the lads, who have been at the top of their game for ten years now, are not exactly rock and roll.

“I should probably say that we work out, that we do some jogging and do some bench pressing and all that…” laughs drummer Pete Ellard, when we caught up ahead of their new tour. Continue reading

My chat with… OMD’s Andy McCluskey

OMD, Mark McNulty, Katy Pearson interview

Coming to Southend: OMD (c) Mark McNulty

OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) have more than been around the music block.

With their 13th album just out, the Synth-pop pioneers have been at it since 1978 – with seven top 10 hits to show for it – and too many tours to mention.

Now back in the road again – and heading to Southend’s Cliffs Pavilion on November 1 – the band’s singer and bass guitarist Andy McCluskey was on bitingly good form and feeling a little philosophical when we chatted.

“Regrets? Oh God, yeh I’ve got regrets,” he groaned. “How long have you got? Listen we did everything we did for what appeared to be the right reason at the time. We made an album called Dazzle Ships which now is heralded as our masterpiece, a slightly fracture piece of genius music, but it destroyed our career. Continue reading

My chat with… Martina Cole

Martina Cole, Katy Pearson, #whatkatydiduk, Essex girl

Essex girl: Bestselling author, Martina Cole (c) Charlotte Murphy

She has been writing bestsellers for 25 years and has achieved sales of over fourteen million in the UK alone. Here Martina Cole chats Essex girls, cockle sheds and loving bad boys…

WHAT IS YOUR SECRET VICE?

Emmerdale! On my life I have to watch Emmerdale, because of Cain Dingle. I’m trying to get up an online petition that he has to take his shirt off in every episode. Whether it will happen we don’t know but we can only hope. My other secret vice is I go to Leigh cockle sheds some times. When my daughter was very little I used to take her down the cockle sheds – she was six months old when she had her first jellied eel. And I still love it down there.

WHEN ARE YOU AT YOUR HAPPIEST?

I think when I’m with my grandchildren probably now, coz I’m getting on a bit. I do travel extensively though.

WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE IN ESSEX?

There’s so many to choose from, but one of my favourite places is the Boatyard in Leigh. It’s beautiful. Great food. I used to live on Benfleet Road. It was beautiful. It was like a footballer’s wife’s house. Had an indoor swimming pool, the lot. I loved it. When I moved over to Kent my daughter thought we’d gone poor. She said to me, Mummy have we gone poor, and I said not really, no! Continue reading

My chat with… Jai McDowall

Jai McDowall, #whatkatydidUK

A journey through musicals: Jai McDowall

Since winning Britain’s Got Talent in 2011, Jai McDowall has more than kept himself busy.

Performing for royalty at the Queen’s Jubilee, releasing an album, headlining his own tour and travelling the world singing on cruise ships are just some of the things this Scottish lad has been up to.

Now he’s staring in Mad About Musicals with musical theatre’s Michael Courtney. The show, which comes to the Towngate Theatre tonight takes audiences on a whistlestop tour from the heart of London’s theatreland to the glitz of Broadway.

But what can we expect from Jai?

“There’s honestly something for everyone,” the 31-year-old singer says. Continue reading

My chat with… Tom Gates author Liz Pichon PLUS your chance to win a signed copy of the new book

Liz Pichon, Tom Gates, Katy Pearson #whatkatydidUK

Bestseller: Tom Gates author Liz Pichon

Author Liz Pichon is something of a superstar in the world of children’s books.

More than three million copies of her bestselling Tom Gates series have sold in the UK alone, with all the books being no 1 bestsellers and all translated into more than 50 languages.

Her latest Tom Gates book, Epic Adventure (kind of) is out TODAY and to celebrate mum-of-three Liz, 54, is bringing her Tom Gates Brilliant Bands and Doodle Tour to Southend later this month.

Click here for your chance to win a signed copy of Tom Gates Epic Adventures (kind of) by Liz Pichon

But being an author is the last thing that Liz, who is dyslexic, ever thought she would be.

Just how have her struggles with dyslexia impacted on her life, I wonder? Continue reading

My chat with… Storage Hunters’ Sean Kelly

Storage Hunters, Sean Kelly, #whatkatydidUK, Katy Pearson

Star of Storage Hunters: Sean Kelly

SEAN Kelly is not a man easily missed.

The ever-smiling, ever-shouting auctioneer off hit TV show Storage Hunters isn’t acting when he’s on our screens – he really is that larger than life.

We caught up ahead of his night of stand-up and charity auction at the Palace Theatre next week.

So just what are we going to get from this big, bald American’s show I ask?

“The biggest challenge we’ve been having, is trying to communicate is that me, Green Mile and T-Money, have been stand-up comedians for 19 years and that we started off in comedy at the comedy store in California,” he explains.

“People don’t realise Storage Hunters came much later. I got in the auction business about seven years after I started doing stand-up, and when I learnt how to make money at the storage auctions that’s when I taught T-Money how to come and make money. Continue reading