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

My chat with Jeremy Piven

As he reprises his role as the effervescent Mr Selfridge, Jeremy Piven talks to me about glamour, the Great War and self-destruction…

Jeremy Piven is not a man who gets lost in a crowd. Fiercely intense, the three-times Emmy-award-winning actor has undeniable presence. And this month he returns to our screens, playing Harry Selfridge, the brilliant but self-destructive American who founded London’s Selfridges department store.

I first met the 48-year-old on the set of the show. He was in the middle of filming three scenes – which will appear in Sunday night’s episode – and was in character, with the strident strides and the booming voice, which echoed off the walls, whether the cameras were rolling or not.

A few weeks later, however, I got more time to speak to Piven, and asked how he was getting on with his character, Harry, as he returned for a second series. ‘After studying him and putting on his shoes for a couple of years, I have great compassion for him,’ Piven says. ‘I feel very close to him, a little like a family member.’ Continue reading

My chat with Rachael Stirling

As The Bletchley Circle returns, Rachael Stirling tells me about her mother, Dame Diana Rigg, the ‘undignified’ cult of celebrity and lessons from the brave ladies of Bletchley…

Rachael Stirling is certainly no shrinking violet. On screen, the star of lesbian BBC drama Tipping The Velvet is positively luminous and in person her joie de vivre is tangible. When we met at the launch of the second series of ITV drama The Bletchley Circle, 36-year-old Rachael was on fabulous form, roaring with laughter and regularly dragging her fingers through her mane of hair.

The series, which returned to our television screens this month, follows four women who used to work as codebreakers at top-secret Bletchley Park during the Second World War: Jean (Julie Graham), Susan (Anna Maxwell Martin), Millie (Rachael Stirling) and Lucy (Sophie Rundle). Now working as civilians, the girls reunite to solve a series of murders.

The second series winds the clock forward to the year 1953, a year on from the first series, and the girls come together to crack a second case involving a former Bletchley Park colleague, Alice (Hattie Morahan), who is accused of murder. Continue reading