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
Why pay £80 when you can pay £7? A charity shop find
A year into this parenting malarkey and while I’m still figuring A LOT of stuff out, one thing I know without question is that babies are expensive. Silly expensive.
Even when you take out the big expenses – the pram, the buggy, the car seat, the crib, the cot – the cost of clothes and toys do really add up.
So I’ve been trying to save money wherever I can – without feeling like a total Scrooge. And these have really helped…
- Ruby & Willow, Leigh Road, Leigh: Sells pre-loved designer baby clothes. Pick up some lovely clothes for a fraction of the price they are new (my fave was a pair of Blade & Rose rocket leggings which cost a mere £4!) Which, when your baby grows out of *all* his clothes about every ten weeks, is a huge help. Plus you can take in your baby’s gear and they’ll sell it for you on a 50/50 basis. So you can get some cash BACK on the clothes the baby wore the whole of once before they grew out of. Groovy Baby, a few doors down, also sells the most FABULOUS pre-owned baby clothes.
Little lunch date: Sonny Jim at Birdwood
Heading to Leigh-on-Sea with a little one in tow? These places will make stopping for a bite to eat worth your while!
- TruLeigh Scrumptious, Broadway West. We held Sonny Jim’s post-Christening bash here. Which should give you some indication of how lovely I think it is. There is baby changing. High chairs. Friendly staff. Fizz to drink. And the tea room decor is just pretty lovely too.
- Piggy Went To Market, Elm Road, has plenty of room to get the pram in and to park it next to the table while still leaving room for others to get by. And plenty of high chairs. It has an alcohol licence too. And a stash of daily newspapers. And staff who are friendly and have no interest in rushing you out. Which is always good. Downside? No changing facilities on-site (but the community centre is just a couple of doors away…)
- Speaking of the community centre… Lorna and Lotties Cafe, on the ground floor of the centre, Elm Road. Soooo family friendly. And sooo reasonably priced. Me and Sonny Jim stop here for a hot chocolate (me) and milk (the boy) before our baby yoga class.
My perfect post-pregnancy outfit
When one of your husband’s best friends is getting married just seven weeks after you’ve given birth, figuring out what to wear is something of a challenge.
It’s not like it’s worth buying something while you’re still pregnant because, let’s face it, you’ve got no idea what your post-baby figure is going to look like. And yes, you’ve got loads of nice frocks in your closet, but who wants the spectre of your pre-pregnancy size eight clothes looming that large that soon after a little person has vacated your being. Why put yourself in that I-can’t-get-it-over-my-bum-let-alone-zip-it-up hell any sooner than you need to? Which leaves you shopping for something new. With a newborn. And your baby belly still very much in evidence. Which is *not* the kind of thing shopping trip dreams are made of. Continue reading
By the husband (Gary Pearson)
9 months pregnant and loving these dishes!
Subtly tucked away amid the quirky row of niche shops in Leigh is an absolutely charming little French restaurant.
La Belle Epoque is delightfully authentic and when you step inside you could be excused for thinking you had just stepped in from a bustling Parisian side street, rather than lively Leigh Road, such is the make-up of the place.
So much thought has gone into the decoration creating a lovely intimate atmosphere, perfect for a romantic evening.
And the welcome is something special too. Owner Benoit has bags of charisma and is so friendly, informative without being at all irritating. He knows when to have a chat and when to leave you alone to enjoy your food.
Benoit, who hails from Marseille, proudly tells us how he does his fair share of cooking, while running the place with his cousin and employs two top quality chefs and often is front of house too.
By the husband (Gary Pearson)
If you are after a laidback evening and some decent food, then it’s worth giving the Regatta a whirl.
The Regatta, Leigh-on-Sea
It’s one of the latest restaurants to open in the ever-improving Leigh Road, Leigh.
The staff are extremely friendly and informative, and the decor simple, but effective – light pastel blues giving the place the nautical feel it’s clearly coveting. The food choice is excellent.
It calls itself a modern British restaurant and offers many old favourites, steak and kidney pudding, for example, plus a varied, if not slightly pricey, selection of fish.
For starters, I went for the baby back pork ribs, which came up honey-glazed. They were a little too fatty for my liking, but theymade for a enjoyable start nonetheless. My wife Katy enjoyed her sample mind, and I was quite taken by the soup of the day she ordered, namely butternut squash – her favourite. Continue reading