Six of the best… picnic picks

School’s out for summer and these will have your picnic game on point (if the sun ever comes out again that is…)

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The baby legging brand loved by celebs… and made in an Essex shed

Fred & Noah, Fearne Cotton, Katy Pearson, #whatkatydidUK

Fred & Noah fan: Fearne Cotton

YOU kind of know you’ve made it in the fashion stakes when Fearne Cotton posts a picture of herself on Instagram on Christmas Eve in one of your creations.

And then shortly after that posts another of her little girl Honey in one of your designs too.

Such is the rise of baby legging brand Fred & Noah – an empire run from a shed in a mum-of-two’s garden in Rochford.

Natalie Reynolds, 34, started making trousers for 0-4-year-olds while on maternity leave with her second son, Freddie.

Natalie was a lecturer in fashion design at South Essex College, running the fashion course, and initially making the leggings was just about her getting back into her hobbies.

But it very quickly turned itself into a serious income.

Natalie, who is an ex Thorpe Bay High School pupil, recalls: “It was exactly a year after starting the business that I was handing in my notice to the college and taking the leap to work full time on Fred & Noah at home with my husband. Continue reading

Old Father’s Day cards show how daddies have changed

Father's Day, What Katy Did. Katy Pearson, #whatkatydid, Clintons

Papas of the past: How Father’s Day cards used to look

Archive analysis of Father’s Day cards by Clintons ahead of Sunday has shown how dads’ roles have shifted in the past 50 years.

Depictions of dads as aloof, pipe-smoking, newspaper-reading, besuited men “enthroned” by the fireplace have disappeared from all cards (with the exception of parody cards!) and have been replaced by casually-dressed, soft-in-the-middle, sofa-dwelling figures, often likened to Darth Vader.

Clintons looked at thousands of depictions of dads on Father’s Day cards since the Fifties and found:

• Dads appear to have put on 10-15 kilos
• Dads have dressed down
• Dads’ leisure time preferences have shifted from reading the paper in slippers to barbecuing or watching the football on the sofa with a drink
• Dads have a much stronger emotional connection with their kids are often the subject of affectionate jokes Continue reading

Recipes to make the most of the season’s tomatoes

Three tomato salad, Katy Pearson, recipe, #whatkatydid

Salad: With three tomatoes

Here’s an odd thing. Until about two months ago, I didn’t like tomatoes.

I was that annoying person who would actually pick them out of sandwiches – and moan that they’d left tomato “gunk” in there.

Then my toddler started loving cheese and tomato on toast. And, I don’t know if it’s the repeated exposure to them, the eating them and saying “yuuuuuum” with enthusiasm, or what, but suddenly I’m loving tomatoes. I’m literally eating them by the handful.

So when the British Tomato Growers’ Association, in a bid to raise awareness of the British tomato industry, sent me these lurvely tomato-based recipes, I was more than a little interested.

The association wants to get us shoppers to specifically chose British toms when doing their weekly shop – and as it’s currently the height of British tomato season, there are a wide range of locally grown tomatoes in stores.

And to be honest, if these recipes don’t get the tastebuds tingling, I don’t know what will… Continue reading

Review: Boxwild’s Bird Feeder Gift Box

fruit feeder, Boxwild, Katy Pearson #whatkatydid

Fabulous – the fruit feeder in action

Here’s a little confession. I’m a bit of a birder.

Ever since the hubby and I lived for eight years in a teeny-tiny old mill cottage in the middle of nowhere, I’ve loved looking out for the birds fluttering their way into our garden.

We had a pair of robins (one fat, one skinny) that seemed to come back every year and they were joined by an array of other breeds as the seasons unfolded.

Now by the seaside, we don’t seem to play host to quite as many different birds… but the ones that do visit I’m super keen to encourage to keep coming back! Continue reading

Six of the best… Father’s Day gifts

Forget boring this Father’s Day, here’s my pick of the most perfect presents…

1 Personalised wood blocks, from £10 (including p&P), Wood Prints by Jo: www.facebook.com/woodprintsbyjo

Personalised words, quotes and photos decoupaged on to chunky standalone blocks of wood by Thundersley-based Jo Fitzmauric. She then sands them twice to give a smooth, chic and rustic look!

2 Matching boy gang T-shirts, adult £22; child, 15, Essex Mama: www.essexmama.co.uk

Essex Mama was started by a full-time mama from north Essex – all tops are made to order and designed to promote good vibes, togetherness and empowerment.

3 Reasons I love you Daddy embroidered frame, £20, Girl Friday: www.etsy.com/uk/shop/GirlFridayEmbroidery

This super cute 24cm X 24cm freehand embroidered picture frame by Hockley’s Dawn Friday, features your little one’s favourite thing about their daddy. Continue reading

Six of the best… barbecues!

Oh hello Sunday. Nice to see you sunshine!

Now, hands up whose barbecue has seen better days? Yep, that’ll be most of us.

Before you take yourself off to the garden centre and lose hours of your life heatedly debating with your other half the pros and cons of literally every single BBQ there, here’s my pick of the six best ones, whatever your budget… (for those of you wondering, we went for the Weber Kettle one. It’s fab.)

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