Curled up safe – as horror unfolded in Manchester
My sweet boy,
As the bomb at Manchester Arena detonated on Monday night, you had just woken up.
As I shushed you and cuddled you, other mothers were finding themselves in a living nightmare.
As you eventually went back to sleep, tucked up in bed with me, news of the deaths of little ones, just a few years older than you was starting to spread.
When we woke it was to the horror that 22 people were dead – that a pop concert, that was packed with youngsters, had been targeted by terrorists.
I’ve been cuddling you just a touch tighter ever since. Continue reading
Oh hello Sunday. Nice to see you sunshine!
Now, hands up whose barbecue has seen better days? Yep, that’ll be most of us.
Before you take yourself off to the garden centre and lose hours of your life heatedly debating with your other half the pros and cons of literally every single BBQ there, here’s my pick of the six best ones, whatever your budget… (for those of you wondering, we went for the Weber Kettle one. It’s fab.)
Weber 47CM Charcoal Kettle, £99.99, Argos
Sapphire 3 Burner With Cover, £269, Wyevale Garden Centres
Kembla charcoal barbecue, £20, B&Q
Laguna 2 burner gas barbecue, £90, B&Q
Uuni 3 Wood-Fired Oven with Stone Baking Board, £199, Cuckooland.co.uk
Dancook 1501 kettle barbecue, £500, Debenhams
Prosecco and a newborn: And I deserved every sip
This week, so-called “slummy mummies” have come in for a bit of a lambasting.
Authors of books such as Hurrah for Gin and the Unmumsy Mum (who I adore) have been decried by a national newspaper for sharing their exploits of feeding their toddlers frozen fish fingers, swigging gin from baby cups and potty mouthed ranting about their kids online.
Which, as a mama and coming hot on the heels of mental health awareness week, rather makes my blood boil.
Being a mum is hard. Don’t get me wrong, I ADORE being a mother. Sonny Jim is truly all my oh-so-long awaited dreams come true. But I’m not superwoman – try as I may. Continue reading
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
‘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
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
Craft creator: Claire Mackaness
IN recent years, TV shows like the Great British Bake Off, the British Sewing Bee and the Great Pottery Throwdown have helped fuel something of a craft boom in the UK.
Indeed, the craft market in the UK is now worth a massive £3bn (and growing!) and traditional skills such as crocheting, knitting and sewing have seen a real resurgence.
Claire Mackaness, 38, of Gooseberry Green, Billericay, has seen first-hand just how popular crocheting has become. She runs workshops in sewing, dressmaking and crochet at her studio in Brentwood – and now offers classes online.
But why does she think crocheting has become so popular again? Continue reading