December 20 2014 Latest news:


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East or West, the fish is the best

Famous for its fishing heritage, Mersea Island owes so much to the sea that surrounds it. Petra Hornsby looks at the special features that have made Mersea what it is today and still provide its unique character

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Home is where the heart is...

Every day, the RSPCA Danahar Animal Home in Weathersfield is looking to find caring homes for animals in need of care and attention Essex Life showcases one of these animals each month in the hope that our readers can find it in their heart to give these animals a home...

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Chris White

Home truths

Chris White of Zoe Napier Country & Equestrian helps you find your country idylll

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Little Burstead

Blow away the cobwebs in Little Burstead

Enjoy a winter walk with lots of variety around the quiet village of Little Burstead, near Billericay. Words and Pictures by Laurie Page of the Public 
Rights of Way team at Essex County Council

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Steam Engine

How the railway transformed Essex?

From fun at the seaside to fast-paced changes in industry, the shape of the railways has helped to transform Essex, writes Stephen Roberts

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The Taste of Essex

Tastes of the county

Ron Mullenger, author of the recent publication, The Taste of Essex, takes us on a tasting tour of the county in search of some seasonal produce special to Essex

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Tom Roddis

Five minutes with Tom Roddis

Holly Eells talks to 13-year-old Saffron Walden singing sensation Tom Roddis about his passion for singing, playing guitar, writing songs and busking in Essex

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Fireplace decorated by Essence

Have yourself a very homemade Christmas

Whether you are a skilled crafter or you just want to create something unique for your festive celebrations, the trend for a homemade Christmas is white hot right now. Christine Penhall meets four Essex experts offering some excellent inspiration

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Helen Mirren. Courtesy of Phil Stafford/

Helen at home

Leigh on Sea’s Dame Helen Mirren has amassed a tidy collection of accolades — an Academy Award, four BAFTAs, and three Golden Globes among them —

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Breast of pheasant with root vegetable croquette, apple fondant and braised Savoy cabbage

Breast of pheasant with root vegetable croquette, apple fondant and braised Savoy cabbage

Michael McMullen is head chef at the Kings Head and is originally from Glasgow. ‘I moved to England for work although my first job here was with a team of Scottish kitchen staff, funnily enough.’ Michael’s now been at the King’s Head near East Bergholt for six years after working at Sibton in Suffolk. The most popular dish at the Kings Head is the rolled Red Poll sirloin of beef with horseradish rarebit, fondant potato and spinach served with a star anise jus. Here Michael shares another of his popular recipes

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Abberton Reservoir. Courtesy of Essex & Suffolk Water

Capturing the story of Abberton

Budding photographers have been invited to enter a photography competition to celebrate the recent completion of construction of the Abberton Scheme at Abberton Reservoir, south of Colchester

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Sybilla Hart

Completing the Essex exodus

Sybilla Hart reflects on her new life in the Essex countryside. This month she discusses how she is organising the run up to Christmas

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The River Stort lightly dusted in frost

Festive footsteps

Author and rambler Phoebe Taplin shares five winter walks along the Harcamlow Way, perfect for a bracing Boxing Day stride out

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Arrival at Llangoed Hall

Country House Charm

In need of some peace and quiet, Sybilla Hart heads to Llangoed Hall in Brecon, Wales, to enjoy country house chic the Laura Ashley way

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Reading at Christmas

Reading at Christmas

Jane Lambert shares her book reviews and author interviews as she turns the pages of the local literary world

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Lion Ark

Award-winning screening exclusive to Colchester

Animal Defenders International Films will be hosting an award-winning action-documentary, Lion Ark, at Colchester Arts Centre. On December 9, for one evening only, the exclusive special screening will provide a rare opportunity to see an action adventure compared to a traditional documentary. Holly Eells tells us more.

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Coastal view with boat wreckage in foreground, Wallasea Island RSPB reserve, Essex, England, January 2012

The wonders of Wallasea Island

Andrew Fallan shares his expertise in Essex wildlife with us, revealing top locations to find special species as well as the unusual animals you can discover in your own backgarden

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Brilliant red stems on dogwoood, Cornus, at Marks Hall Arboretum

The twelve plants of Christmas

Winter is considered a quiet time in the garden, but Philippa Pearson challenges this with a choice of plants to brighten up the twelve days of Christmas and beyond

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Top trends for you home this December

The festive season can provide a perfect opportunity to spruce up your home and impress guests. Sarah Hammill explores some of Christmas 2014’s top trends

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Jimmy with farm shop box

Win one of ten Jimmy’s Farm festive food boxes

Essex Life magazine has teamed up with Jimmy’s Farm to offer readers the chance to win one of ten fabulous festive food boxes full of Jimmy’s Farm goodies

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Essex Food and Drink awards