Trolley tot: Sonny Jim
EARLIER this week, I think I was in the same queue in the supermarket as the midwife who delivered Sonny Jim.
She had paid and was gathering up her bags as I wheeled my trolley with toddler aboard into line, so I only caught a glimpse. But it looked like her.
And it was the strangest thing.
For a moment, I was about to rush up to her. To show her how lovely the little boy who she guided into the world was growing up to be. To tell her all about him. To get him to give her one of his high-fives and waving hands.
And then I realised that she would probably have absolutely no idea who we were.
Mum-of-two and secondary school teacher CHLOE SPILLETT launched Chloe Gets Creative last year, breathing new life into tired interiors and putting the fun into nurseries across Essex. Here she chats indoor swings, instant updates and design mistakes.
Q What sparked your interest in interior design?
A Since I can remember, I’ve loved interiors. I come from a very creative/arty family and grew up in a beautiful house – my mum also has a great eye for home styling and I guess the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree! I designed my first interior at 17 (my own bedroom at home) and I still love the way that room looked!
Q How can people/companies book you if they’d like you do work on a project for them?
A Just get in touch! Anyone can send me an email or message via my website (www.chloegetscreative.com)or social media accounts (www.instagram.com/chloegetscreative / www.facebook.com/chloegetscreative.) I’m always looking to take on new projects and collaborations
Q Where do you get your inspiration from?
A Everywhere! I live and breathe interior design. It’s just on my mind 24/7 so everything I see and do gives me ideas for projects big and small. Continue reading
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
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
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