Let’s talk about last night… at the Oakleigh

porn star martini, Katy Pearson, the Oakleigh, #whatkatydidUK

Going down well: One of my porn star martinis

When your local bar has an extensive revamp, reopens with a new name, new look and promises “epic food, creative cocktails and great times” then it was only a matter of time before I’d be checking it out.

The Oakleigh, in London Road, Leigh-on-Sea, launched a couple of week ago and is offering a new restaurant, cocktail bar and evening bar.

It’s on the site of the former popular Bellini Bar and Brasserie, which closed a few months back – and is run by the same folk, namely the McManus Pub Company.

I’ve had a fair few girly nights at Bellini (pre-baby, its oh-so-moreish jam donut cocktail gave me possibly one of the worst hangovers I’ve ever had!) so when I was invited along for dinner and drinks at the Oakleigh, there was no way I would be saying no.

The husband and I headed up there last night, after our tot was tucked up in bed and the babysitter safely installed in front of Love Island. Continue reading

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#getthemgrowing (even in torrential rain!)

Sonny Jim, #gethemgrowing, Katy Pearson

Little gardener: Sonny Jim in the rain

I think it’s safe to say your toddler has been bitten by the gardening bug, when he demands to check on his “peeeeeasssss pot” in the garden – in the middle of a downpour.

Sonny Jim was sent a box of gardening goodies by Dobbies as part of its #getthemgrowing campaign during National Children’s Gardening Week (May 26-June 3.)

The aim of NCGW is to encourage parents across the UK to get their kids outside and growing.

It comes as new research conducted by Dobbies shows that 61 per cent of parents believe gardening is a good way for their children to learn more about the natural world around them while still having fun. But common gardening knowledge seems to be lacking.

One in seven children do not know that onions are vegetables, and similarly 14 per cent don’t recognise potatoes as vegetables either. Continue reading

New IVF clinic officially opens this week in Essex

Katy Pearson, Angela Leach

Bourn Hall Wickford: Me with fertility nurse specialist Angela Leach

A NEW multi-million pound IVF clinic officially opens in south Essex this week.

More than a thousand procedures, to help people struggling to conceive, will be carried our per year at the £5.2m Bourn Hall centre.

I was given a tour around the London Road clinic in Wickford ahead of the opening.

The purpose-built centre replaces a smaller, satellite clinic, which was in the same road, and is one of six Bourn Hall clinics in East Anglia.

Sarah Pallett, Bourn Hall’s business development director, said: “Our concern is people often go into denial about their fertility problems and put off getting advice through embarrassment. Continue reading

When infertility leaves you feeling useless, it’s good to have options

Katy Pearson, Sonny Jim, IVF, #whatkatydidUK, Bourn Hall

Thanks to IVF: My darling boy

I’ve written previously about how IVF on the NHS in Essex is fast becoming a thing of the past.

Until 2014, all the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in the East of England offered the same level of provision to all eligible patients, which was in line with the NICE recommendation of three full cycles of treatment.

Then things started to change all over the country… especially here in Essex.

By the end of last year lots of CCGs had ditched IVF completely – in a bid to save the NHS cash. Mid Essex now offers no IVF whatsoever, neither does North East Essex. Or Basildon and Brentwood. Castle Point still offers two cycles. And most recently, Southend (after an extensive consultation process) now offers just the one cycle – and only if you’re under 40.

Continue reading

IVF can be an isolating experience… but you’re not alone

Sonny Jim, Katy Pearson, #whatkatydidUK

Hope: My Sonny Jim

In an ideal world, having children would really be as simple as wanting to have children.

But it’s (increasingly) often, not that simple. And when you start negotiating your way through fertility treatments, you can begin to feel like you live in a bit of a will-I-ever-have-a-baby? bubble.

In all honesty, it’s not a particularly fun place to be. It can be lonely. Often it’s not something you really talk about with other people. And even the ones that you do talk to, most of the time don’t get it. They’re either full of well meaning, but a little bit patronising advice (“just get drunk and have a good night, it’ll happen”) or they tell you to “relax.” (Word to the wise, hearing this does not make you feel relaxed. At all.)

Throw in some added hormones once you start actually having treatment and it’s all too easy to lose yourself in a big swirl of longing, fear, envy and god know what else. Continue reading

New clinic set to make IVF easier for mamas-to-be in south Essex

Bourn Hall, Wickford, Essex, #whatkatydidUK

Opening soon: Bourn Hall’s new purpose-built IVF clinic in Wickford

Sonny Jim was conceived thanks to in vitro fertilisation (IVF) at Barts Hospital, in London.

We were living in Leigh-on-Sea (in Essex) while undergoing the process. And while I think I would have travelled to Scotland three times a week, if it meant the treatment would be a success, there is no doubt the commute to the clinic did take a bit of a toll.

Juggling a job on a regional newspaper, with the newsroom based in Basildon, but travelling into London to undergo internal scans (always a joy!) and blood tests and egg collection and embryo implantation was not exactly easy. A lot of the appointments were mere minutes long… but the round trip meant it was at least a 3-hour plus process. Which was not simple to slip in before work. It meant I had to tell my boss I was having IVF – and while he was very understanding and good about helping me work shifts around it, I would still have rather not have had to tell him. Continue reading

Let’s talk about last night… at Southend’s Big Bingo Bash

Katy Pearson, Big Bingo Bash, Southend

Big Bingo Bash: Mama *attempting* a night off

Okay, here’s a confession. I *did* go to Mecca’s first ever Big Bingo Bash (held in Southend) last night.

But I didn’t, sadly, stay that long. Sonny Jim is literally FULL of cold and the poorly little pickle’s can’t-sleep-coughing-too-much kinda of scuppered my mama’s night off plans.

HOWEVER. What I was there for, was tremendous. I drank Prosecco, scoffed a mini platter of naughty nibbles, bopped along in my seat to the band and dancers, laughed along with host Steve Walls and even played a bit of bingo too (though I didn’t win any prizes. Damn it. I’m not at all jealous of that person who won the 7-day sunshine holiday for two.) Continue reading