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
From printmaking and classic cars to afternoon tea and outdoor cinema, here’s my pick of the best events in Essex this July.
Castaway… Northey Island
1 THE FLING FESTIVAL
Saturday, July 1. 12pm-11pm. £27.50
Hylands House, Hylands Park, London Road, Chelmsford
The annual Fling Festival is one of Essex’s top events exclusively for adults. The festival includes music, cabaret, theatre, comedy, immersive crafts, a silent disco, a fire garden, a punk poet, bars and plenty of food! This year the afternoon-into-night event, in the fabulous Hylands House and Estate surrounds, promises to be bigger and bolder than ever before.
For more information: www.flingfestival.com Continue reading
Play time: Sonny Jim in the garden at Bright Starts
Despite my mum, and my new sister-in-law both being priests, I haven’t actually spent that much time hanging around churches in recent years.
Yes, my little lad was Christened last year, but much to my poor reverend ma’s chagrin, we’re not exactly what you could call church regulars.
However, over the past couple of months there has been something of a change afoot.
The reason? Church playgroups.
Honestly, I can’t praise (sorry, couldn’t resist) them (yes, we go to more than one!) enough.
Entertaining little ones, especially once they start crawling and toddling about, can be expensive. Lots of mummy and baby classes require you to sign up and pay for a term in one hit. Of course, as soon as you do, your baby then decides the hour in which the class is held is now their new nap time. Continue reading
Salad: With three tomatoes
Here’s an odd thing. Until about two months ago, I didn’t like tomatoes.
I was that annoying person who would actually pick them out of sandwiches – and moan that they’d left tomato “gunk” in there.
Then my toddler started loving cheese and tomato on toast. And, I don’t know if it’s the repeated exposure to them, the eating them and saying “yuuuuuum” with enthusiasm, or what, but suddenly I’m loving tomatoes. I’m literally eating them by the handful.
So when the British Tomato Growers’ Association, in a bid to raise awareness of the British tomato industry, sent me these lurvely tomato-based recipes, I was more than a little interested.
The association wants to get us shoppers to specifically chose British toms when doing their weekly shop – and as it’s currently the height of British tomato season, there are a wide range of locally grown tomatoes in stores.
And to be honest, if these recipes don’t get the tastebuds tingling, I don’t know what will… Continue reading
Fabulous – the fruit feeder in action
Here’s a little confession. I’m a bit of a birder.
Ever since the hubby and I lived for eight years in a teeny-tiny old mill cottage in the middle of nowhere, I’ve loved looking out for the birds fluttering their way into our garden.
We had a pair of robins (one fat, one skinny) that seemed to come back every year and they were joined by an array of other breeds as the seasons unfolded.
Now by the seaside, we don’t seem to play host to quite as many different birds… but the ones that do visit I’m super keen to encourage to keep coming back! Continue reading
Forget boring this Father’s Day, here’s my pick of the most perfect presents…
Personalised wood blocks, from £10 (including p&P), Wood Prints by Jo
Matching boy gang T-shirts, adult £22; child, 15, Essex Mama
Reasons I love you Daddy embroidered frame, £20, Girl Friday
1 Personalised wood blocks, from £10 (including p&P), Wood Prints by Jo: www.facebook.com/woodprintsbyjo
Personalised words, quotes and photos decoupaged on to chunky standalone blocks of wood by Thundersley-based Jo Fitzmauric. She then sands them twice to give a smooth, chic and rustic look!
2 Matching boy gang T-shirts, adult £22; child, 15, Essex Mama: www.essexmama.co.uk
Essex Mama was started by a full-time mama from north Essex – all tops are made to order and designed to promote good vibes, togetherness and empowerment.
3 Reasons I love you Daddy embroidered frame, £20, Girl Friday: www.etsy.com/uk/shop/GirlFridayEmbroidery
This super cute 24cm X 24cm freehand embroidered picture frame by Hockley’s Dawn Friday, features your little one’s favourite thing about their daddy. 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