Mums about town: Family fun in south Essex, Aug 11-Aug 20

the Princess Emporium, priory park, essex

Find the fun: The Princess Emporium will be at Priory Park tomorrow

Play in the Park. Friday, August 11. 10am-12.30pm. Free. Suitable for all ages. 
There will be water play, playdough, songs time with instruments, some books and arts and crafts. Oh and bubbles. Find the fun at Priory Park (the green space behind the museum.) Bring sun hats, sun cream, snacks, water, blanket, activities/toys to share.

Caterpillar Club. Tuesday, August 15. 10am-12pm. £6 per child. Suitable for one to four-year-olds.
A fun morning of indoor and outdoor activities for pre schoolers at Langdon Visitor Centre and Nature Reserve, Lower Dunton Road, Basildon. Booking essential, call 01268 419103. Continue reading

Lux living style secrets

Farrow and Ball, Essex, #whatkatydidUK

Fabulous: Farrow & Ball

When it comes to interior design, sometimes it can feel a bit like a closed shop. Finding where those elusive but oh-so lovely paints or pottery are stocked can be a bit of a mission.

Here’s where you can find some of those high-end delights – right on your doorstep.

Happy decorating!

Farrow & Ball

Iconic British brand Farrow & Ball began in the Forties as a small firm specializing in paints made in the traditional way with traditional ingredients.

Used by royalty (Prince Harry decorated his living quarters last year with a gray-and-pink color scheme, according to a consultant for the company) it offers a distinctive palette of 132 paint colours and handcrafted wallpapers. Continue reading

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

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

My chat with… Depeche Mode’s ‘Fletch’

Depeche Mode, Fletch, Andrew Fletcher, by Katy Pearson #whatkatydid

Interview: My chat with Depeche Mode’s Fletch in the Echo newspaper

What is your earliest memory?

It’s in the place I grew up in – Basildon – and it’s me and my sister. We had a barrow load of sand and we tipped it accidently over someone’s lawn and the man was shouting at me. It’s hazy but That’s my earliest memory.

Where is your favourite place in Essex, and why?

I like Leigh-on-Sea. I’ve got lots of friends who like there now and I like all the pubs and restaurants, especially those by the front on old Leigh.

Are the Essex roots still quite strong?

My sister lives in Basildon. My niece lives in Basildon. My mum lives in Billericay. So yes I guess they are. Continue reading

By the sea we mustn’t forget to raise little swimmers

Katy Pearson, seaside, Sonny Jim, #whatkatydid, #mummyandsonny

Starting him young – I want Sonny Jim to be sea safe

What are the most important lessons we teach our children?

Don’t talk to strangers. Look both ways before you cross the road. Don’t tell lies.

How about learning to swim?

As the weather (finally!) starts warming up again, and Whit Monday and the summer holidays inch ever closer, we’re likely to be making the most of our beaches with our little ones.

And with all the fun to be had by the shore, it’s easy to forget just how dangerous it can be.

Drowning is the third highest cause of accidental death of children in the UK. More than 400 people accidentally drown in the UK every year – that’s one every 20 hours. Continue reading

Let’s talk about last night… networking with #CWCessex

#CWC, Connecting with Cocktails, business, Essex, Katy Pearson, #WhatKatyDid

Inspiring stuff: Just some of the cards belonging to #CWC business women

We’ve all heard the saying, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

And with the business world being a male dominated arena for decades, sometimes building a network can feel like trying to convince the older kids at school to let you play.

It should come as no surprise then, that south Essex business women are setting up their own groups and support systems.

Forget the Masons, with their stuffy ways and somewhat odd customs. For 21st century women here in Leigh it’s all about connecting over cocktails. Continue reading