Why church playgroups are a real godsend

Sonny Jim, playgroup, Katy Pearson, #whatkatydid

Play time: Sonny Jim in the garden at Bright Starts

Despite my mum, and my new sister-in-law both being priests, I haven’t actually spent that much time hanging around churches in recent years.

Yes, my little lad was Christened last year, but much to my poor reverend ma’s chagrin, we’re not exactly what you could call church regulars.

However, over the past couple of months there has been something of a change afoot.

The reason? Church playgroups.

Honestly, I can’t praise (sorry, couldn’t resist) them (yes, we go to more than one!) enough.

Entertaining little ones, especially once they start crawling and toddling about, can be expensive. Lots of mummy and baby classes require you to sign up and pay for a term in one hit. Of course, as soon as you do, your baby then decides the hour in which the class is held is now their new nap time. Continue reading

Baby-friendly places to eat: Leigh-on-Sea

Sonny Jim, Birdwood, Leigh-on-Sea

Little lunch date: Sonny Jim at Birdwood

Heading to Leigh-on-Sea with a little one in tow? These places will make stopping for a bite to eat worth your while!

  • TruLeigh Scrumptious, Broadway West. We held Sonny Jim’s post-Christening bash here. Which should give you some indication of how lovely I think it is. There is baby changing. High chairs. Friendly staff. Fizz to drink. And the tea room decor is just pretty lovely too.
  • Piggy Went To Market, Elm Road, has plenty of room to get the pram in and to park it next to the table while still leaving room for others to get by. And plenty of high chairs. It has an alcohol licence too. And a stash of daily newspapers. And staff who are friendly and have no interest in rushing you out. Which is always good. Downside? No changing facilities on-site (but the community centre is just a couple of doors away…)
  • Speaking of the community centre… Lorna and Lotties Cafe, on the ground floor of the centre, Elm Road. Soooo family friendly. And sooo reasonably priced. Me and Sonny Jim stop here for a hot chocolate (me) and milk (the boy) before our baby yoga class.

Continue reading

A staycation in the UK’s happiest place to live… Leigh-on-Sea

Life in Leigh-on-Sea...the UK's happiest place to live

Life in Leigh-on-Sea…the UK’s happiest place to live

So the little Essex seaside resort that I call home has recently been named as the happiest place in Britain to live.

Leigh-on Sea (it’s just up the road to Southend for those of you that aren’t Essex-based folk) gained the accolade from Rightmove, after scoring highly on a range of stand-out features, including community spirit and a strong sense of belonging.

The hubby and I moved to Leigh-on-Sea two years ago. I’d grown up not far from the fishing village (on Canvey Island) and missed the seaside after eight years of living inland (in the TOWIE mecca that is Brentwood) so dragged my London-bred mister closer to the estuary side.

We’re super fond of Leigh-on-Sea so were not surprised that it was ranked so highly by the property website. But we fell in love all over again when we decided not to head abroad this summer and instead holiday at home with our baby boy. Continue reading

Restaurant review: Rak Chang, Leigh-on-Sea

By the husband (Gary Pearson)

Rak Chang, Leigh-on-Sea, Broadway

Rak Chang for our first date night since Sonny’s birth

It was Friday night ,”date night”, for my wife and I.

Our first outing since the birth of our little lad Sonny. He’s our first child and aged a tender ten-and-a-half weeks old we felt (just about) ready to venture out in the big wide world again…

So for our first apres-baby date we were thinking nothing too fancy, nothing too fussy, something we could trust and know we were going to enjoy. A safe bet.

We chose Rak Chang, on the Broadway, as we had been there a few times before and had always enjoyed a good, dependable meal with ample variety. After all, you don’t want to go too wild on your reintroduction to the real world do you!? Continue reading

Hero places (and people) for new mums

Katy Pearson and Sonny

Getting out and about with Sonny

Leaving the house with your new little one can be epically daunting (I’m sure it’ll wear off eventually, but still) and little things that people and places do – or don’t do – can be the difference between a great day for you and bubba and a I-want-to-cry-I’m-so-useless day (that’s for you – not the baby, they cry however great their day has been.) There should a baby friendly sticker scheme or something.

Until then though, having now had a few weeks of venturing out with Sonny in tow, here’s my – and my NCT mummy chums’ – hero places (and people) for new mums in Leigh-on-Sea (and nearby.) Continue reading

Restaurant review: Nuvo, Leigh-on-Sea

By the husband (Gary Pearson)

NUVO, now I’m not sure what that means, but one thing’s for sure this place is fancy, really fancy.

It’s one of a new breed of kids on the Broadway block, and it’s sure making a statement.

Nuvo Leigh-on-Sea

Nuvo

The menu has a real air of class about it, but is it any good?

First up for me was “crispy duck”. It came with watermelon salad and some spiced, honey drizzled cashew nuts.

I’ve highlighted crispy duck, because it actually wasn’t that crispy at all. However, it was a very tasty start and the sweet, fresh combination worked surprisingly well. Although I’d like the duck crispy next time please!

My wife Katy went for English scallops, priced by the way, at a princely £11.95… It came with cauliflower puree, quince jam, crispy chorizo and a helping of cherry confit. All very upmarket. Continue reading