The baby legging brand loved by celebs… and made in an Essex shed

Fred & Noah, Fearne Cotton, Katy Pearson, #whatkatydidUK

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

Why church playgroups are a real godsend

Sonny Jim, playgroup, Katy Pearson, #whatkatydid

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

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

By the sea we mustn’t forget to raise little swimmers

Katy Pearson, seaside, Sonny Jim, #whatkatydid, #mummyandsonny

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

Let’s talk about last night… networking with #CWCessex

#CWC, Connecting with Cocktails, business, Essex, Katy Pearson, #WhatKatyDid

Inspiring stuff: Just some of the cards belonging to #CWC business women

We’ve all heard the saying, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

And with the business world being a male dominated arena for decades, sometimes building a network can feel like trying to convince the older kids at school to let you play.

It should come as no surprise then, that south Essex business women are setting up their own groups and support systems.

Forget the Masons, with their stuffy ways and somewhat odd customs. For 21st century women here in Leigh it’s all about connecting over cocktails. 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

They’re small but babies are a big expense!

Charity shop buy, toy, Katy Pearson, Children's Society, Sonny Jim

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.

Continue reading