In print: How my chat with Jeff Brazier appeared in the Echo newspaper
He grew up all over Essex, became a pro footballer and TV presenter, had two children with reality TV star Jade Goody, then after her death, became a life coach. While juggling all this Jeff Brazier managed to take the time to chat to me about grief, Canvey FC and secret vices…
Where is your favourite place in Essex, and why?
I have great memories of living in Matching Green, it’s a bit of a hidden gem. It’s beautiful. It’s probably about five miles from where I live now so it’s very accessible and it’s got a wonderful pub called the Chequers that we have the most incredible meals at. To be honest I love going back there to just collect my thoughts. I sit by the cricket pitch or walk around there. It’s my kind of home from home really.
What’s your favourite Essex memory?
I played at Canvey and it was good because we were a very good team. I think we won the Ryman One that first year. I was a 19-year-old lad amongst a load of retired ex-pros. I learned a lot and not just about football, let’s put it that way! 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
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
Why pay £80 when you can pay £7? A charity shop find
A year into this parenting malarkey and while I’m still figuring A LOT of stuff out, one thing I know without question is that babies are expensive. Silly expensive.
Even when you take out the big expenses – the pram, the buggy, the car seat, the crib, the cot – the cost of clothes and toys do really add up.
So I’ve been trying to save money wherever I can – without feeling like a total Scrooge. And these have really helped…
- Ruby & Willow, Leigh Road, Leigh: Sells pre-loved designer baby clothes. Pick up some lovely clothes for a fraction of the price they are new (my fave was a pair of Blade & Rose rocket leggings which cost a mere £4!) Which, when your baby grows out of *all* his clothes about every ten weeks, is a huge help. Plus you can take in your baby’s gear and they’ll sell it for you on a 50/50 basis. So you can get some cash BACK on the clothes the baby wore the whole of once before they grew out of. Groovy Baby, a few doors down, also sells the most FABULOUS pre-owned baby clothes.
Life in Leigh-on-Sea…the UK’s happiest place to live
So the little Essex seaside resort that I call home has recently been named as the happiest place in Britain to live.
Leigh-on Sea (it’s just up the road to Southend for those of you that aren’t Essex-based folk) gained the accolade from Rightmove, after scoring highly on a range of stand-out features, including community spirit and a strong sense of belonging.
The hubby and I moved to Leigh-on-Sea two years ago. I’d grown up not far from the fishing village (on Canvey Island) and missed the seaside after eight years of living inland (in the TOWIE mecca that is Brentwood) so dragged my London-bred mister closer to the estuary side.
We’re super fond of Leigh-on-Sea so were not surprised that it was ranked so highly by the property website. But we fell in love all over again when we decided not to head abroad this summer and instead holiday at home with our baby boy. Continue reading