“Affordable glamour” – Marco’s in Brentwood
So, tonight is the big launch party for Essex’s first Marco Pierre White restaurant (at Holiday Inn Brentwood) and it’s set to be a bit of a bash.
Arg from TOWIE will be making a personal appearance and will be singing live, while Gemma Collins and others from TOWIE will also be attending to celebrate Arg’s birthday.
As well as being on the guest list tonight, I was lucky enough to be invited to give the restaurant a whirl earlier this week (I’m still full now!) And I got to chat to Marco himself.
So what’s it all about?
Well, Marco’s New York Italian is a dining concept ideal for dinner, light bites or cocktails (I gave a bottle of the Bottega Fragolino Rosso a go. Made from red wine grapes, it’s a slightly sparking wine that tastes rather like a Kir Royal!) Continue reading
Lest we forget: My boy and me
Sometimes the ways in which motherhood changes you as a person are big.
You give up sleeping. You don’t get to go to the loo on you own. Your jeans never fit in quite the same way again.
And sometimes the changes are slight, subtle, barely discernible, even to yourself.
I had one of those moments on Remembrance Sunday.
I took Sonny Jim over to the service at the Paddocks, Canvey. His grandma is one of the island’s reverends, it’s where I grew up and I sometimes feel the pull of home when certain occasions come around (Christingle is one. Mothering Sunday another.)
And as I sat (thank you to the lovely lady who saw me standing with my almost-3st-slightly-scared-of-crowds-tot in my arms!) I felt a chill that had absolutely nothing to do with the bright, sunny morning.
Pumpkin picking: My Sonny-Jim
Hands up if you’ve taken your child pumpkin picking this half-term?
I feel like everyone I know with a child under about 14 (and plenty without kids at all) has gone mad for this Halloween-themed past-time.
We certainly have. Sonny Jim had a blast with his little buddy Emily at Hurleys Farm Pumpkin Forest, in Battlesbridge.
We came home with three that are currently being pulled all over the house by tiny hands. And we’re likely to take another trip back before the big day on Wednesday.
But the arrival (and popularity) of pumpkin farms here (the Pumpkin Patch, in Wash Road, Basildon, is another) marks a real transition in attitudes to All Hallow’s Eve from just a generation ago.
I didn’t have my first jack o’-lantern till I was 21 (when my then-boyfriend made me one.) Admittedly, my mum is a priest, so Halloween was never really going to be a thing in our house. But I wasn’t alone in not having a childhood of carving pumpkins. Continue reading
New menu launch: At Las Iguanas
Las Iguanas, on the Boardwalk, intu Lakeside, has just launched its new winter menu
There’s 12 delicious new dishes alongside classic favourites like fajitas (which I can personally vouch are a little bit of heaven on a plate), enchiladas, and its award-winning burgers. And with 14 new cocktails on the drinks menu to try, it would be a pity not to make a little stop off there for a post-shop natter.
Which is exactly what me and one of my BFFs did last night – making the most of the two-for-one cocktails (all day, every day, FYI.)
But what’s the new menu all about? Continue reading
Fighter mum: Shelley Legge
FROM the moment that my little boy was placed into my arms, I knew I would do anything for him.
There was literally nothing I would not be prepared to do to keep him safe and well.
He was, and is, the most precious thing in the world to me.
Which is why I cannot even begin to imagine the heartache endured by mums with poorly little ones. It must be the most horribly helpless feeling.
Leigh-on-Sea’s Shelley Legge, 38, is living that nightmare. Her 15-year-old lad has two rare types of blood cancer and is in desperate need of a transplant.
I chatted to her last Sunday at the #SwabforCharlie drive in Old Leigh, organised by Southend charity Gold Geese.
I was one of hundreds that turned up to be swabbed and added to the bone marrow register, in the hope of being the match that could save a life.
Big step: Pre-school starts this week
This week Sonny Jim is going to start pre-school.
He’s almost two and a half, it’s only for two mornings a week and it’ll do my rather shy little lad the world of good.
But, however I dress it up, for me it’s a big HUGE (I’m channelling Julia Roberts here) thing.
It’s my boy’s first real steps of independence. Of venturing out into the world without mummy (or daddy) there to hold his hand. It basically marks the end of his babyhood.
And although I think he’s so ready for it – I’m not sure I am.
In this respect, I don’t think it makes any difference what age your little one first starts nursery/pre-school/school – it’s still a wrench.
Living the life: Sonny Jim at the Zach Willsher
I made a bit of a discovery last Saturday night.
My brother was celebrating his 30th birthday at the Zach Willsher in Benfleet.
And, as most of my family were going to be there, including rather a lot of my cousins we don’t get too see that often, I decided we’d head along too.
Nevermind that it’d be a late night for Sonny Jim and he’d probably be rather grouchy on the back of it come Sunday.
His daddy was out at the football, so we’d give an evening at a pub a whirl.
What I hadn’t accounted for though, was the brilliant little play area at the Zach.