‘We’re waiting to help those suffering from domestic abuse’

Bridgette Smith, Vicky Harrington, by Katy Pearson, #whatkatydidUK

Here to help: Bridgette Smith and Vicky Harrington

TWO women who each escaped an abusive partner – and have gone on to help others like them – are speaking out for domestic violence awareness week.

Bridgette Smith and Vicky Harrington are both counsellors at Billericay’s Wolf Urban, and will be offering free advice for women at their drop-in service in the town for the week – which started yesterday, November 20.

The pair have both worked in Essex’s refuges and are passionate about helping the thousands of women – and men – living in an abusive relationship.

Mum-of-one, Vicky, who now lives in Westcliff, said: “We are both survivors of domestic abuse which is the driving force behind our passion to support, inspire and empower women and children to live free from fear and violence. Continue reading

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Saltwater Beach Cafe is a healthy haven for all the family

Saltwater beach cafe, Essex, Chalkwell

Just beachy: Chalkwell’s Saltwater Cafe

For more than 100 years, beach goers in Chalkwell have stopped off for a bite to eat or a cuppa at a cafe perched on the edge of the sands.

The pit stop, in Chalkwell Esplanade, even predates the railway station, whose bridge it is nestled beneath.

Now, in its newest incarnation as Saltwater Beach Café, it’s fast becoming the town’s most cherished beach-side bistro, loved by celebs like Essex’s Lee Mead, thanks to the Carr family.

The family took over the café in February, and after a complete renovation, opened their (bi-folding glass) doors in time for the first bank holiday in April. Continue reading

My chat with… Scouting for Girls’ Pete Ellard

Scouting for Girls, #whatkatydidUK, Katy Pearson

Nicest guys in rock? Scouting for Girls (c) Danny North

BEFORE heading on stage at Southend’s Cliff Pavilion later this month, Scouting for Girls will partake in their usual pre-gig ritual.

But it turns out when it comes to this little ceremony, the lads, who have been at the top of their game for ten years now, are not exactly rock and roll.

“I should probably say that we work out, that we do some jogging and do some bench pressing and all that…” laughs drummer Pete Ellard, when we caught up ahead of their new tour. Continue reading

A me&i moment…

me and i, police, #whatkatydidUK

Nee-naws: My Sonny Jim in one of his terrific me&i T-shirts

When I was about 18, Ann Summers parties were a big thing. Cocktails and smutty chatter were the main thrust of the night. I actually know a girl who bought THREE rampant rabbits.

Fast-forward a decade, a few of us had our own mortgaged places, a few were married, a few even had a baby or two, and Jamie Oliver bashes were the way to spend an evening, a glass of wine in hand. I once spent an RIDIKULOUS amount of money on a squirrel-shaped nutcracker – that broke the first time I attempted to crack a nut with it.

Now a mama to the most darling of little lads, I think I truly realised that I’d entered another era when I threw my own me&i party. It was a lunchtime affair. With tea and coffee and cakes. And babies crawling around our feet. And the most LOVELY clothes for little ones (and, er, mums.) Continue reading

My chat with… OMD’s Andy McCluskey

OMD, Mark McNulty, Katy Pearson interview

Coming to Southend: OMD (c) Mark McNulty

OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) have more than been around the music block.

With their 13th album just out, the Synth-pop pioneers have been at it since 1978 – with seven top 10 hits to show for it – and too many tours to mention.

Now back in the road again – and heading to Southend’s Cliffs Pavilion on November 1 – the band’s singer and bass guitarist Andy McCluskey was on bitingly good form and feeling a little philosophical when we chatted.

“Regrets? Oh God, yeh I’ve got regrets,” he groaned. “How long have you got? Listen we did everything we did for what appeared to be the right reason at the time. We made an album called Dazzle Ships which now is heralded as our masterpiece, a slightly fracture piece of genius music, but it destroyed our career. Continue reading

Halloween outfits for your little monsters

Katy Pearson, Sonny Jim, pumpkin, Look What Panda Made

Pumpkin picking: Sonny Jim in his monster leggings

Admittedly, as the daughter of a priest I probably shouldn’t get so excited about Halloween.

But I love any excuse to dress my little man up in a cute costume. And for those of you who are a bit like me in that respect, here are some of my favourite outfits for little ones this All Hallow’s Eve…

PS Here’s Sonny Jim totally rocking his monster trousers by Look What Panda Made when we went pumpkin picking in Battlesbridge, Essex, yesterday. And despite the many attempts made by him to pick up all the biggest ones, we managed to make it home with mud-free knees. So they’re totally going in the wash right now so as they’ll be dry again before all the spooky fun is over for another year… Continue reading

Is it possible not to pass on our faults? I’m doing my best…

Sonny Jim, Katy Pearson, #whatkatydidUK, essex

Fear free – Sonny Jim runs along the esplanade

There’s a rather famous poem by Philip Larkin, which opens with the line “they f*** you up, your mum and dad.”

It was a somewhat outrageous read when I was 14 and studying for my English Literature GCSE – but the sentiment stuck in my mind.

Now almost two decades on, a mummy myself, I find myself pondering the truth of his lines,
“They fill you with faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.”

I am a worrier. I can’t remember a time when I haven’t had anxiety over something gnawing away at my gut, prickling just at the edge of my consciousness. In a weird way it has probably spurred me on in life. I might as well put myself out of my comfort zone, take the big leap, I’ll worry it about it, whatever I do. Continue reading