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

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

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

You need to be made of strong stuff at soft play!

Katy Pearson, Sonny Jim, soft play, the Fun Factory

Soft play Sonny Jim: safe from sharp edges and hard floors

Since Sonny Jim started crawling a couple of months ago I’ve been desperately trying to wear the little menace out so as he stops wanting to continually open and close doors, climb up everything in sight and use any part of my anatomy that’s in range as a bouncy castle.

So soft play it was. Our first venture into this weird world was the Fun Factory, on the Purdeys Industrial Estate, in Rochford. Sonny Jim adored the slide, was terrified by the ball pit and crawled around free from his mum’s usual fretting about sharp edges and hard floors. Since that first trip though, I’ve realised that whatever soft play place you go to, there are always these kids hanging about too… Continue reading

Today we’re loving… baby swimming lessons

s2s Swim School class, Katy Pearson

Sonny Jim and his buddies at his first s2s Swim School class

I grew up on an island. So for my parents it was super important that I learnt to swim as soon as possible. If you’re going to be surrounded water it’s best you know what to do if you find yourself in it!

The early lessons for me paid off – I’ve always loved the water. In fact, I probably spent the majority of my childhood splashing about some place or another.

And now I’ve got a little one of my own, I want the same for him. For him to be happy and confident as a child in water. For him never to be scared of the sea, or frightened when he sees an expanse of water.

I started looking for swimming classes for Sonny Jim when he was about eight weeks old. But my goodness what a mission! Most baby swim schools in Leigh-on-Sea and the near vicinity don’t take babies under six months – and those that do take them younger get booked up scary fast. Continue reading