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

Mummies don’t need a TV ad to make them feel bad

Katy Pearson, Sonny Jim, #whatkatydid

Finding our own way – no thanks to Dove

“75 per cent say breastfeeding in public is fine. 25 per cent say put them away. What’s your way?”

Honestly, what WAS Dove thinking with its newest ad campaign?

The skincare brand – which in the past wonderfully celebrated women’s bodies in all their shapes, sizes, ages and nationalities – seems to have had something of a crisis.

Its new adverts, the premise of which is showing support for parents whatever their choices, couldn’t be any more misguided if it tried.

I didn’t breastfeed Sonny Jim. I planned to, wanted to, tried to, but he couldn’t. So we didn’t.

But I am vehemently supportive of the mamas who breastfeed. And mamas who choose to bottle feed. Fed is always best.

So Dove, here are a few things I think you need to know.

The equality act of 2010 means it is now discrimination to treat a woman unfavourably because she is breastfeeding. It’s ILLEGAL for anyone to ask a breastfeeding woman to leave a public place. So that 25 per cent you mention? Who CARES what they think.

Being a mum can be hard. Being a new mummy can be overwhelming. What a mama who is just getting to grips with motherhood, who has seen her body change beyond all recognition, who is just getting to know the baby they’ve spent months growing, absolutely doesn’t need is any more anxiety.

And that is what your advert has done, Dove. You’ve given credence to the cretines out there who like to judge mummies. You’ve given a voice to the narrow-minded numpties who with a thoughtless “put it away” comment can destroy a mum’s confidence. Can make her think twice about going out. Can make her question her mothering ability (even more than she already is. None of us think we’re doing “mummying” right anyway.)

Dove, go back to selling soap. Leave the actually parenting to us, hey?

This post was first published in the Echo newspaper on Friday, July 7, 2017: www.echo-news.co.uk

Happy Father’s Day from your boy… and me too

Gary Pearson, Sonny Jim, What Katy Did, #whatkatydid, Katy Pearson

Father’s Day fun: Playing through the puking

What did Sonny Jim get his dada for Father’s Day? Norovirus. That’s what.

After having spent two nights puking, the little pickle (now thankfully on the mend) thought it only fair to share with his daddy – and me!

So, it hasn’t quite been the Father’s Day I wanted for Gary, though it’s probably not one he’ll forget and am sure he will remind Sonny Jim of when he’s bigger.

But anyway. Here’s what I wrote before projectile vomit hit my little family. And it’s even more true now. There’s nothing that will make you feel more like a daddy than cleaning sick off the cot. And the sofa. And the floor. While your puke-covered missus gives your child his third bath of the night. It’s not glam. It’s not fun. But it is love. Continue reading

New life blossomed despite the lupus that shook mum’s world

Llydia Bannocks, Blossom Primrose, Lupus, #whatkatydid, Essex, Fiona Kennedy

‘That smile gets me through’ – Llydia Bannocks with partner Graham and Blossom Primrose
Picture by: www.fionakennedy.co.uk

Imagine having a condition that masquerades as several other illnesses.

For those living with Lupus – an incurable immune illness, mainly suffered by females – it’s a reality and part of the reason that diagnosis can take so long.

Hairdresser Llydia Bannocks, 37, of Ironwell Close, Rochford was diagnosed with Lupus in 2007, after two years of debilitating symptoms and misdiagnosis.

Llydia recalls: “I suffered everything from severe fatigue and hair loss to extreme pain in joints mimicking flu, an enlarged lymphatic system, intense rashing in the sun, corn beef looking pattern to the skin on my legs…

“I was extremely fit and active prior to my Lupus manifesting. I would go to the gym at least five times a week, work reasonably long hours without breaks and feel absolutely fine. Continue reading

Injections, sedation and tough chats… all in a bid to have our baby

Katy Pearson, Sonny Jim, IVF baby

A long time coming: Our little Sonny Jim

Two years ago, much of May was spent fretting about having a bit of an awkward conversation with my boss.

After almost a decade of trying for a baby, my husband and I were about to have IVF.

Six rounds of clomid and three rounds of IUI – despite there being nothing medically wrong with either of us – still hadn’t resulted in a baby, so we had finally been referred to Barts, St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London.

We were lucky. This was before the cut backs the NHS is now suffering. We were entitled to up to three rounds of IVF on the NHS. We didn’t have to face decisions like donating my eggs to fund our own fertility treatment. We just had to think about us. Continue reading

Gym to offer NAPPING classes? Er, yes please!

Napercise, What Katy Did, David Lloyd

Napercise classes? My kind of workout!

David Lloyd Clubs is set to become the first UK fitness brand to offer group napping classes – scientifically designed to reinvigorate the mind, improve moods and even burn the odd calorie.

“Napercise” is launching in the wake of research revealing a “tiredness epidemic” across the UK, with 86 per cent of parents admitting to suffer from fatigue (er, yes that’s me) and 26 per cent regularly getting less than 5 hours sleep a night (oh that’ll be me again.)

19 per cent of tired parents admit to having had a kip at work (only not me because I’m a WFH mum), 11 per cent have found themselves drifting off while driving (I don’t really drive – thankfully!) and 5 per cent have forgotten to pick up their child from school due to their tiredness (oh hello me in three years time!)

So in a bid to combat this, David Lloyd Clubs is launching “Napercise” – a new type of wellbeing class for exhausted parents that consists of nothing but climbing into a bed and having a sleep. Continue reading

13 things the first 13 months of motherhood has taught me

Sonny Jim, Katy Pearson, What Katy Did, motherhood

Sweet boy: Sonny Jim has taught me a lot

First things first. I’m not one of those mums who, when asked how old their child is, replies with something like 47 weeks, or 22 months.

My maths isn’t good enough for that. I stopped with the weeks things when I got muddled up at around 14 weeks (or was it 15 weeks?)

Anyway. Sonny Jim is one. BUT as I have 13 points, it kinda wraps things up nicely to tie that in with the fact he is almost 13 months.

Right. That’s that cleared up.

Here are the 13 things that motherhood has taught me so far: (Obviously there are a lot more than this – some big, some small – but these are the ones my damn-that-sleep-regression-or-is-it-teeth muddled brain can bring to mind right at this moment.) Continue reading