Thoughtless drivers in parent-and-child bays SHOULD be fined

Sonny Jim, Katy Pearson, #whatkatydidUK, car seat

Struggle – it’s not easy getting Sonny Jim in and out of this

Nabbing a parent-and-child parking space isn’t illegal, but using one without a child in your car could soon land you with a £25 fine.

Hoo-blooming-rah! About time too.

It comes as a new survey reveals that one in ten people now park in a parent-and-child bay even when they don’t have a child in the car because they’re not scared of getting punished.

As a mummy, let me tell you, it feels like more than one in ten. The chances of ever getting one of these spaces is always pretty slim.

And it’s not until you are actually faced with the logistics of getting a baby out of a car seat, and into a buggy or trolley, without scrapping the cars next to you, putting your back out or bashing your tot’s head on the door that you realise how much you really, really need the extra space. Continue reading

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My chat with… Gareth Gates

Gareth Gates, Katy Pearson, Footloose, #whatkatydidUK

Footloose – Gareth Gates as Willard (c) Matt Martin

WHEN I chat to Gareth Gates – star of Footloose – the Musical coming to Basildon’s Towngate Theatre on August 21 – he is fulsome in his praise of our county.

“I love Essex,” he confesses. “It’s a great place, fun. My best friend in the world, Matt, he lives in Essex. He lives in Southend, so I’ll be staying with him probably while I’m performing.”

In fact, it transpires he even owns a house here.

Six students at Rayleigh’s Masters Performing Arts College actually have the Pop Idol’s runner-up as their landlord.

“I own a house in Leigh-on-Sea – a student house,” he explains.

“Matt [Plummer] is the principle of Masters – the performing arts college – and I bought a house literally down the road from there in Leigh for the students.

“I’ve got six students living there.”

So, he’s no stranger to Southend or even Basildon – where he has performed before. 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

Let’s talk about last night… at Lower Barn Farm

Everhot, Katy Pearson, Lower Barn Farm, launch

A new yearn: The Everhot

An Aga has always been something I’ve sort of unconsciously aspired to having. Y’know, along with a beach-fronted home, cashmere loungewear and hair that just falls right when I wake up.

Agas epitomise cosy kitchens. They conjure up warming night-time chatters, toasty toes and chubby-legged toddlers running across the kitchen floor.

So, at last night’s launch of Lower Barn Farm’s design studio (in London Road, Rayleigh) while there was SO MUCH lovely kitchen stuff to see up close and being used (thanks wonderful chefs!) there was one stand out for me.

The Everhot. It’s basically an Aga for the 21st century. A classic country kitchen look is combined with an energy-efficient heat storage range. Continue reading