Kim Ovel picks her five favourite Essex things

PUBLISHED: 08:46 19 May 2014 | UPDATED: 08:46 19 May 2014



Robert Brook

In profile

Kim Ovel

Kim Ovel, 39, joined forces with her friend Clare Farrow, 37, back in 2010. After both having worked for investment banks in the city, the duo now run Your Virtual Office, a business which started in a spare room at home. Kim explains: ‘We realised that a lot of business people are really good at what they do – like our husbands – but struggle with the admin.

My favourite Essex memory

World Cup glory

For me the best memory I have of Billericay is when my husband and I moved here in 2003. It was at the time of the Rugby World Cup and the anticipation was at boiling point. My husband and I got up early and walked to what was then Stewarts Bar in the High Street first thing in the morning and were greeted by the then owner before we watched the amazing game unfold. Jonny Wilkinson and the famous kick with seconds to spare was an amazing day for myself and my hubbie. New to the area we were welcomed with open arms.

My favourite Essex pub

The Bakers Arms in Stock

The food is amazing and there is a very welcoming atmosphere – I would definitely recommend it to all. The pub is a very chilled out and a social place to go. There’s no trouble and everyone is friendly. My husband and I have been eating there regularly at the moment as we are making improvements to our property so we do not have to move houses. My favourite dish is the crab linguine with tiger prawns. The pub allow the chef to have full control of the kitchen and he clearly buys great produce and I know this because I have only ever had nice dining experiences there. The family that run it have built it over many years and they have done the most amazing job of making their customers feel welcome.

My favourite Essex restaurant

Alec’s Restaurant in Navestock

We and all of our friends have had the most amazing meals out at Alec’s Restaurant in Navestock. We went with a group of eight people and the service was brilliant. Our friends had not dined there before, so the pressure was on us for the night to go with a bang. The food and ambience was second to none. I had the lobster thermador and how my taste buds sang. It’s brilliant for special occasions. We all had a very pleasant evening and we are proud of Essex for offering such an amazing place to go and dine in such style.

My favourite place to visit

to Hopefield Animal Sanctuary in Brentwood

Myself and my children went to Hopefield Animal Sanctuary in Brentwood for a Christmas Fair in 2012. I feel that my children have gained vital knowledge and compassion for the care of abandoned and unwanted animals. The sanctuary relies on donations and to the untrained eye it may look a bit run down, however it does its best to feed and keep warm and safe as many horses and ponies as possible. The day we visited, Leona Lewis, who supports the sanctuary, was there to raise awareness and much-needed funds to help them survive. She put on a concert for all that went that day and she took the time to have photos with the children.

My Favourite Essex Walk

Lake Meadows in Billericay

Lake Meadows in Billericay is a gorgeous place to go in all seasons. It has something for everyone whether you want to walk the dog, take the children to feed the ducks, play tennis or even a round of mini golf. We all love to go over there and enjoy hot chocolate, carrot cake or ice cream in the café. The lake is full of well stocked wildlife offering fishing facilities, nice walks and views.


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