Even the loos are lux: Ladies’ room selfie at Southend’s new Seven Hotel
Southend’s brand new boutique hotel opened its doors officially today, but I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch party last night.
The luxurious seafront Seven Hotel, in Clifton Terrace, offers 37 super lux bedrooms, a 70-person restaurant and a gin-centric cocktail bar, following a £4million project.
Last night I was among Seven’s first guests and enjoyed a decadent evening of sumptuous cocktails, in partnership with Tattinger Champagne and Copper Head Gin, as well as canapes from the new restaurant, Aurum.
The nibbles, prepared by head chef, Simon Webb, who has previously worked with the likes of the legendary Roux family, included monkfish cheek in black brioche buns, opulent oysters as well as carrot and orange ice cream (not a combo I’ve ever heard of before either!)
For one night, the tables in Seven’s plush restaurant were pushed aside to allow us to dance to tunes being played by DJ Shmia. Continue reading
Leigh-on-Sea’s Amy Kirkwood is one half of Beech House Property Renovation (www.beechhousedesign.co.uk.) She reveals why it’s important to get to know your home, how to speedily update your living space and reveals what inspires her…
Q How did you get into interior design and property renovation?
A I am first and foremost an artist and designer, with a passion for colour and pattern. But, I have always carried a flame for beautiful interiors, and more so after travelling extensively and owning my own properties that I have renovated as well. It seemed only natural, when the time was right, to revisit my love for interior design and fuse it, now, with my studio practice and our family property renovation business. I also make bespoke lampshades and create abstract paintings for interiors.
Q What’s the biggest project you’ve ever taken on?
A I have project managed a new build home, with Dave building it, where I worked with the client to design and style the interior. We are currently planning, designing and project managing the total overhaul of a Thirties’ bungalow on the coast of Essex into a two-storey beach house. Continue reading
Flo Promotions founder: Laura McBride
The work of hostesses has been thrust into the spotlight, after claims of groping at a controversial men-only charity gala at London’s Dorchester Hotel last week.
I chatted to mum-of-one LAURA MCBRIDE, founder of Flo Promotions, an Essex-based agency supplying promo models – including hostesses – to events across the country.
Here Laura, who still works as a promo model herself, reveals how insults usually come from other women, protective security teams and who a typical hostess actually is…
Q What work do your promo models actually do?
A Different roles. Models assist with store launches, corporate events such as waiting on guests, taking coats, grid girling at events such as BSB (British Superbikes), leafleting, ring card models at fight shows, hostessing at events, working on stands at exhibitions, food sampling, product sampling, entertainment acts such as stilt walkers, fire breathers, character lookalikes and appearances and more!
Q What has been your experience of working as a promo model?
A I have done it for about eight years now and I love it. It gave me a new-found confidence, especially after having my little girl. Some jobs are really well paid and the friends you make along the journey is amazing. Continue reading
From renovated sofas to bright colours on your wall, Leigh-based House of Lovely Stuff’s Jo Bolter tells why it pays to be bold when it comes to interior design…
Q How did House of Lovely Stuff come about?
A I grew up in a house sewing, designing, drawing, cooking, making and creating. But like most families I had no idea that normal people did this as a job, so I left school and started working in a local bank. I met my husband who was a graphic designer and art director and we’ve always enjoyed a shared interest in photography, going to the cinema, gigs, galleries and decorating (the designing bit) our home.
But the catalyst came one day when our youngest daughter came in from school moaning about her homework. It was Eighties week and she had to design an Eighties outfit. I happily explained to her that when I was her age (in the Eighties) I spent hours and hours designing clothes and occasionally making them for fun. My husband said, “Really? You designed and made your own clothes? Why did you stop?”
The answer was sad but simple. The school system/syllabus doesn’t value creativity so when it came to choosing my options I could only choose one creative subject. I loved cooking and I loved textiles. I chose home economics and then as I concentrated on passing my exams.
A couple of weeks later my mum decided to buy a new sewing machine. She asked if I wanted her old one, it was a bit tired but could do a job. I made a cushion. It went okay. I made another one. I started to match fabrics together, playing about with angles, prints and textures. I was happiest experimenting and making. Friends started to take notice. Then I was asked if my cushions were for sale. Sure, I said. And before I knew it a few more friends and friends of friends were interested. Continue reading
Bookalicious’ Llydia Bannocks with daughter Blossom Primrose (photo charlottegreenphotpgraphy.com)
When it comes to Christmas-themed books for children, Bookalicious‘ Llydia Bannocks knows exactly what she’s looking for.
“Pages that create those magical memories, nostalgia and evokes that emotion that stays with us for years to come,” she says.
“Babies will want to discover new and exciting textures, colours and sounds and start to experience those first special sensory memories that conjure up what makes it Christmas.
“Creative, interactive reads are a huge winner, captivating even the most reluctant of little readers. Bold and beautiful laser cut detail, elaborate pop-ups bring stories to life in a three dimensional way.
“But most importantly you want an awesome story that you just want to share for years to come with your friends, loved ones and future family yourself.
“It’s never about the most famous of authors or top sellers and its never about design over substance. When it comes to selecting the most beautiful jacketed books or detailed 3D reads, they must deliver that fabulous story too!” Continue reading
Vegan: From kitchens to salons
IN the past decade, the number of people who consider themselves vegan has rocketed from 150,00 in 2006 to 542,000, according to the Vegan Society and PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).
And it’s also becoming a growing trend among our celebrities, with the likes of comedian Russell Brand saying “I don’t see why someone should lose their life just so you can have a snack”. A vegetarian since the age of 14, he went vegan in 2011.
It’s no surprise then, that veganism is now stretching from our kitchen tables to our beauty regimes.
Superdrug’s budget B Beauty vegan range has just launched and the Body Shop, Odylique and Hourglass are just a few of the brands with entirely vegan make-up ranges.
Now Essex’s Beauty Shop is among a handful of the county’s businesses capitalising on the trend, by offering a unique vegan beauty treatment menu.
So how did the idea for the menu come about, I ask salon owner, 26-year-old Courtney Smith? Continue reading
Basildon hero: Max Whitlock
With eleven medals and four titles in Olympic and world championships, Max Whitlock, who trains in Basildon, is the UK’s most successful ever gymnast. He here chats marriage, burgers and BTECs…
Where’s your favourite place in Essex?
I can’t not pick the gym. Obviously I train in Basildon and I have done for 12 years. So it’s been a long time that I’ve been there [Basildon Sporting Village, Carnes Farm Road] and it’s literally like my second home. I love being in that gym with all my teammates because there’s a great atmosphere and it’s a very rare situation where you get two year olds and three year olds training alongside our elite group.
What is your earliest memory?
I remember doing a lot of handstand competitions in the gym! I was always literally walking on my hands everywhere. But the first competition, I think this really spurred me on and the one that really stands out to me, must have been when I was about nine years old–ish. I came back with seven medals and that really pushed me as a youngster to want some more. Continue reading