Family-friendly Halloween has us under its spell

pumpkin picking, Sonny Jim

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

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Why have I not realised the boon of family pubs?

Zach Willsher, Benfleet, Essex, Katy Pearson, Sonny Jim

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.

Continue reading

Why I’ll be holding my baby extra close tomorrow

Katy Pearson, Sonny Jim, lucky, Mothers Day

So lucky: My wonderful baby boy

Tomorrow will be my first Mother’s Day as a mama. I am beyond thrilled to be able to type that.

But as wonderfully special as the day will be for me, there are so many, many women for whom the day is the hardest of the year.

Before Sonny Jim, even though I’m lucky enough to still have my wonderful ma, I disliked this day. I waited nine years for my baby. Spent more than five of those years under various hospitals, undergoing tests and procedures, being stabbed with hundreds of needles, pumped full of different hormones and then constantly disappointed. Mothering Sunday became a day when scrolling through my Facebook feed felt a bit like death by a thousand papercuts. All those gorgeous babies snuggled up to their mamas. All those cute kids with their homemade creations. It hurt. More than I can explain. Continue reading

To my baby, to be read on your 18th

Katy Pearson, Sonny Jim, motherhood, What Katy Did

My heart: I love you, Sonny Jim

My sweet boy,

I’m writing this a couple of weeks before your first birthday. You’re having a little nap in your cot. Your daddy is on your Uncle Sam’s stag weekend. I have a horrid cold, which I imagine you will pick up any day now. There are a million things I should be doing, but I’m writing you this letter to open on your 18th birthday.

We’ve asked all your family and our friends to write you a letter for your first birthday – we’re going to keep them in a box. Your daddy and I figured it would be a fun thing to open in 17 years time. Well, I hope it’s fun. And interesting. And a little window in 2034 into a world long past.

I can’t imagine you at 18, my little Sonny Jim. Right now, you’ve just mastered crawling. You have one tooth (that you won’t show anyone) and the *best* giggle. You’ve just started saying mama – and you say it a lot. To everything. And everyone. And every time it makes my heart do a little squeeze (even if it’s at 3am. We need to work on your sleeping. I bet you sleep past 5.30am now though!) Continue reading