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No – I don’t have a Vajazzle

20 Jul
I love ‘The Only Way is Essex’ and I cannot wait for it to return to our TV screens this autumn.  I know its car crash TV; I love it for that reason.  After a day of being mum and worrying about what would have become of the world by the time my children grow up, I like to unwind with something easy to watch.  However, having spent the best part of my adult life trying to prove that there is more to Essex girls than fake tans and aspirations to marry a footballer, I can’t help but feel that the show has set my quest back a few years.
I love where I live; Essex is the perfect combination of Urban and Rural, but if you don’t know the area well, a lot of press leads you to believe that Essex starts in Epping and finishes in Brentwood.  Well, I’m here to tell you there is a lot more on offer than that.
Growing up just outside Romford I too though Essex consisted of Brentwood, Loughton, Epping and not a lot else.  After meeting my husband I was dragged kicking and screaming along the A12 towards Chelmsford and settled in Great Baddow to begin family life – and I have honestly never looked back.  From this central point I have spread my wings and found so much more to Essex than the fake tans and hair extensions of my youth, I have found a wonderful villages and tiny hamlets linked by country lanes lined by more pubs with crackling open fires than I could ever drink in.
Essex has one of the largest coastlines of any county in England. With ports such as Harwich steeped in maritime history and nearby Mersea Island producing world famous oysters its more than just the ‘kiss me quick’ resorts of the 70’s and 80’s like Southend and Clacton that our shores should be known for. Moving inland Essex is a walker’s paradise. Woodland trails, country parks, farmland and coastal paths make up enough activities to keep even the out outward bound of visitors entertained.
It does also have its fair share of glamour.  Fine dining can be found all over the county and bars and clubs such as Sugarhut, Nu Bar and Faces are perfect for a spot of celeb spotting.  All of this charm also attracts the rich and famous to reside in this fine county. Rod Stuart, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Jamie Oliver to name but a few have all opted to have homes here.
With so much on offer I can honestly not see myself ever wanting to live anywhere else, I’m proud to be from Essex and would shout about it from the roof tops , but for the last time people please; No – I Don’t have a Vajazzle.

Business Mums Unite Conference and Exhibition

18 Jul

An exciting opportunity has occurred for this Essex wife today, a trip to Nottingham to be a guest blogger for a Business Mums Unite Event.  19th October 2011, Albert Hall Conference Centre, Nottingham will see the launch of the inaugural Business Mums Unite Conference and Exhibition and I’m going to be there.   Bringing together mums in business to network and share ideas and introducing those not yet set up  to people who can support them with information and guidance to take the plunge.

I’m so excited to be invited to what I’m sure will be an amazing event.  I am especially looking forward to hearing from speakers Elaine Hanzak and Naomi Timperley and attending the social media workshop as this is a subject close to my heart.
This is an event that all business women could benefit from, and with Essex having one of the highest business start up rates in the country, I am hoping to see an army of us Essex ladies up in Nottingham in October representing this fine county.
Delegate tickets are priced at £65 (including lunch and goodie bag). For more information or to book your place visit www.businessmumsunite.co.uk
Twitter ID – @scandc
Advertising packages are available for £30 and for £150 a trade stand package includes a delegate ticket and advertising.  There are also some sponsorship opportunities still available.
Roll on October 19th!!!



Chelmsford Beer Festival 2011

18 Jul
I love local produce, I love small producers and I love the personal touch.  Regular readers of my blog will already know I often frequent local festivals of food and drink to seek out the best of what this fine region has to offer.  The CAMRA Chelmsford beer festival is one such event that I look forward to year after year.  With over 350 real ales, 120 ciders and a large selection of local wines this year, all from independent brewery’s many from the Anglian region it fitted the bill for me perfectly.  Although At 6 months pregnant I was going to be unable to test out all the wonderful beverages on offer this year so I took along an army of willing taste testers to do my dirty work for me.



My Taste Testers
Rambo, Me, Mark and Mel

 The weather left a lot to be desired but we didn’t let it dampen out spirits.  My taste testers embraced their roles whole heartedly and were soon trying out all manner of weird and wonderful concoctions.   The bartenders were great, very knowledgeable and extremely helpful to us novices, and all volunteers.

Alongside the alcohol there were food stalls selling an array of food such as hog roast, BBQ, Thai and Italian.  For the children (and the big kids amongst us) there was also face painting and a couple of rides.
Live music was performed throughout the day; I especially enjoyed the Jazz in the beer tent.  Coldplace, a Coldplay tribute act, were the main event of the evening and they did well to get the crowd going right till the end!
All in all, despite the rain, it was a great day – and there were many sore heads the next morning as a testament to that.  I would strongly recommend a visit to a CAMRA beer festival this summer; a top day out and a good way to support small producers and CAMRA’s campaign for Real Ale. For details of up coming CAMRA events in your area visit www.camra.org.uk  

Essex Food Festival

13 Jul

If you are looking for the best food the UK has to offer then I’m pretty sure you could fulfil most of your desires within Essex and Suffolk.  I know I may be bias but we have so much to offer;  Tiptree Jam, Maldon Salt, Kelly Bronze Turkeys,  Essex Pigs and Mersea Oysters, Rossi’s Icecream, Adnams Ales, Marriages flour,  Aspalls Cider and Copella fruit Juices to name but a few of the more famous brands on offer.  Then there are all the local stand alone providers selling their wares at all the wonderful farmers markets these fine counties host on a daily basis.  It’s not surprising with all of these culinary delights on the doorstep that we have also given birth to some of the countries top chefs.

So when talk of an Essex Food Festival began I could barely contain my excitement and the day itself did not disappoint.  The weather was great, which is always a bonus, and when we arrived at Cressing Temple Barns the place was buzzing.  As soon we paid our very reasonable £6 entry fee we were immersed into a foodie heaven.  With so much to try, do and buy we really didn’t know where to start.  We got stuck in to sampling many of the wonderful produce on offer and even with my high views of Essex food I wasn’t disappointed.   All the exhibiters were so lovely and helpful, and they clearly all believed in their products which is so refreshing to see.  I can highly recommend The Giggly Pig Company for truly unique sausages, especially their Lemon and Fennel creation which were divine and The Suffolk Pate Company for wonderfully scrumptious pates, their chickpea and coriander was my personal favourite, such a flavoursome dish with a real kick to it.

After sampling many foodie delights my attention was grabbed by a very interesting lady from Food Safari UK, an inspirational company that goes beyond your usual cookery lessons to give you a real food experience.  Whether you’ve always fancied mushroom foraging, butchery lessons, artisan bread making or a boat trip to catch your fish and learn how to cook it these people have the day for you.  I want to take part in every single one of their 10 experiences on offer; I just don’t know where to start.

Finally on our way to grab some lunch and listen to the live music we got chatting to a very informative, and I must say lovely lady, from Visit Essex.  Her wealth of information on things to do in the Essex area was astounding and I left armed with bundles of leaflets to read when I got home and with many ideas for days out and.  Just once again proving to me how very wonderful this fine county is.

Well done to the whole of the Essex Food Festival team, you put on one hell of a show; I cannot wait till next year.

 

http://www.gigglypig.co.uk/markets/

http://www.thesuffolkpatecompany.co.uk/

http://www.foodsafari.co.uk/

Fun in the sun

7 Jul

There is so much fun to be had in Essex this month I’m not sure how I am going to fit it all in.

 I very thrilled to be attending the inaugural Essex Food Festival at Cressing Temple Barns this weekend coming (9th/10th July) for a showcase Essex’s finest producers, chefs, vineyards, farmers markets and food vendors.  Having visited Clapham Common last weekend for Jamie Oliver’s ‘Feastival’ and filling my belly with scrummy food all day I am so excited to replicate this enjoyment with truly local, Essex made products – the only way is Essex after all!

The following weekend sees the return of the CAMRA Chelmsford Beer Festival – in my eyes the best summer festival Chelmsford has to offer (Sorry V!).  This year will be a tame visit as I’m pregnant so no beer for me, however there will be plenty of food and live entertainment for me to enjoy and I never tire of watching my friends get drunk and then reminding them of their daftness the next day.

Finally I’m taking the husband to Jimmys Farm on the 31st July for their Beer and Sausage festival as his birthday treat – with sausage making demos, sausage eating competitions, live music, kids entertainment, rodeo pig and free access to the nature trail including the butterfly house it looks like its shaping up to be a great day out for out whole family.

 

I do love Essex, I never struggle to find things to do or for places to go.  I just hope we get some sunshine to accompany our summer fun. I’ll be back soon to let you know how we get on.