EVERYONE hates journalists right? We’re right up there with politicians and car dealers.
Except…when something like this happens.
Emma Cox is one of my dearest friends. She’s godmother to my Sonny Jim.
And when she went to visit her baby boy Alfie’s grave at the weekend, only to discover it had been dug up and another baby buried there, my job (nowadays done from home and squeezed in around Sonny Jim) suddenly did all the things I hoped it would when, age 17, I decided being a journalist would be pretty cool.
It meant I could get (some) answers, when no one was getting back to her and her husband. It meant I could help her to make sure no one else would ever find themselves in the same god awful situation. It meant her voice was louder and reaching more people than it otherwise would. Continue reading
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
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
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
Dream job: Phil Gallagher as Mister Maker
Recognise this fella?
The mummies and daddies among you probably will.
Phil Gallagher has been on our children’s TV screens for almost 20 years. The past decade has seen him bringing arts and crafts to life, in his wonky waistcoat and bowtie, as CBeebies’ Mister Maker.
And Mister Maker – plus the Shapes – will be at the Towngate on Sunday, as part of a 44-theatre tour.
But as I chat to ever-enthusiastic presenter at his home in Kent, I have to ask, just where does Phil end and Mister Maker start? Continue reading
What is your earliest memory?
When we lived in Basildon, sitting in the laundry bucket which was filled with water, which was our take on a swimming pool, in the back garden. I must have been about two or something.
Funnily enough when my parents were thinking about their wills and we were asked what we wanted from the home, the one thing that I said was I want the laundry bucket.
I still have it indoors, this big yellow laundry bucket.
Where is your favourite place in Essex, and why?
It’s going to be Basildon because it’s where I grew and and because it’s where all my hopeful years were, those times where anything is possible. Continue reading
Working women – at the Essex Business Women’s Experience
An annual event to support women in business has just made it easier for working mums to get involved.
The Essex Business Women’s Experience is in its third year and will be held at the Park Inn Radisson, Southend on Friday.
The event includes 65 stands of Essex-based women-led businesses, networking events and workshops.
And now the founders, Beccy Mae-Rose and Rosemary Cunningham have teamed up with Pop Up Childcare Essex to make attending easier for mums with little ones. Continue reading