Six of the best… barbecues!

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.)

Continue reading

My chat with… Depeche Mode’s ‘Fletch’

Depeche Mode, Fletch, Andrew Fletcher, by Katy Pearson #whatkatydid

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

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

My chat with… author Sue Wilsher

Sue Wilsher, When My Ship Come In, Essex, by Katy Pearson

In print: How this feature first appeared

LONG before Thurrock became known for Lakeside, East Tilbury was already somewhat famous for Bata shoe factory.

Founded in 1932 (it closed in 2005) its company town set-up was unique in Britain, offering its thousands of workers housing, schools, entertainment – and even its own newspaper.

And it was this Bata way of life that provided the inspiration for Linford born and bred Sue Wilsher’s debut novel, When My Ship Comes In, now out in paperback. Continue reading

My chat with… Kierston Wareing

Kierston Wareing, Katy Pearson, Essex, the Echo

Interview: My chat with Kierston in the Echo

What is your earliest memory?
I remember when I was about five years old, making my younger brother dress up as a horse, using my dad’s belt and he would say gidiup gidiup. We would laugh and run around our house in Leigh for hours.

Where is your favourite place in Essex, and why?
I love taking walks on the beach in Leigh. I also love Rollacity when I am in the mood to roller skate!

Are you often in the mood to roller skate then?!
Always! When I’m down here that’s what I do. I’ve properly roller skated from when I was a kid. When I was 14, I used to roller skate everywhere – all down the seafront – and every time I’m back down here I do! It’s great here. You’ve got this roller skating rink right on your doorstep in Rochford. And now you’ve got the trampolining open next door, so it’s perfect.I go and see my dad and then I go roller skating and then trampolining! Continue reading

We’re loving… Childs Farm baby range

Childs Farm, Sonny Jim, Katy Pearson, eczema, bathime

Soothing: Sonny Jim’s eczema isn’t aggravated by Childs Farm’s baby bedtime bubbles

Before having Sonny Jim, I had no idea that one in five under fives suffered from eczema.

To be fair, even after having Sonny Jim, I still didn’t. It was only when a viral infection (that lasted five weeks and saw three trips to the doctors and one to A&E) triggered severe eczema all over my now ten-month-old baby, that eczema was everywhere in our little world.

Out of nowhere, Sonny Jim suddenly had a rash all over his poor little face, back, tummy and it had started spreading to his arms and legs. It was so much, and so sudden I was utterly CONVINCED he had measles. Or slapped cheek. Or maybe German measles. (I knew it wasn’t meningitis as I had been doing the glass test. A lot.)

It wasn’t any of those things though. It was *just* eczema. And so we entered a land of lotions and potions, of creams and oils. And bubbles at bathtime became a source of much consideration. Continue reading

A cheesy (and super quick!) Valentine’s Day recipe

heart quesidillas, recipe, Valentine's Day

Fuss free and lovely looking: Heart Quesidillas

With Sonny Jim keeping me rather busy (his bum-shuffling is getting super speedy!) there’s not that much time for getting creative in the kitchen at the moment.

But these heart-shaped Quesadillas made me smile, so I felt I just had to share the recipe. They’re fast to make, fuss free and don’t they look lush? I might even try and find a spare few minutes to whip them up for the hubby this Valentine’s Day!

Quesadillas filled with Primula Cheese, bacon and apple Continue reading