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What We’re Growing And What Works Best For Us – Essentially Pop

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What’s your best gardening success story? Mine has to be strawberries. I want to say they’re practically foolproof but I have been known to kill some plants!

Saying that, once established, they are the gift that keeps on giving! When I planted my first garden at our house back in 2008 I planted some strawberry plants under my apple trees…and just left them. Every year however, until they were finally crowded out by the apples, and then blackberries, blackcurrants, and gooseberries, they gave as much as their little strawberry hearts could give. I think we got our final strawberry crop from this particular set in 2015.

At the start of the pandemic last year, I bought more strawberry plants, and they’ve been happily spreading across my garden, escaping their planters. I’m currently considering cutting some of the runners and potting them up for sale, there’s just so many of them!

I also love soft fruits, and started growing two different varieties of raspberry last year, the normal red sort, and a beautifully sweet golden type. Prolific growers, the golden ones especially produced fruit well into Autumn, and in fact, I was still picking them in November. Both varieties are back with a vengeance this year, and their location directly outside my office means that very few make it into the house…sad times.

Apples, gooseberries, blackcurrants, and also redcurrants are guaranteed prolific crops in our garden. But on the other hand, I’ve had blueberries for nearly as long, and have yet to get a single fruit from them. I’ve expanded my soft fruit empire this summer to include loganberries, jostaberries, tayberries, mulberries (black, and white), gojiberries…and probably a whole lot more I’ve planted and forgotten the names of already!

Here in South East London we have a mild climate, so I decided to try my hand at growing grapes last summer. My two vines surprised me by producing a very tiny bunch between them, before dying back. I’d given them them up for this year, but I’m grateful I didn’t dig them up, as both have burst into leaf this summer. Will they produce grapes again? That remains to be seen.

No piece about fruit and vegetable gardening can go past the old favourites – tomatoes, peppers, peas, beans, and the gift that keeps on giving, courgettes (zucchini). I had a mixed result with tomatoes last year; I grew far too many varieties and way too closely together, resulting in losing a lot of fruit to blight. This year I’m trying to trellis my tomatoes, so although I’m still growing just as many varieties, I’m letting them breathe, and I’m also practising good garden hygiene by cutting off all the lower leaves. Peppers on the other hand cropped continuously until November, as did my courgettes, meaning, if I could manage it, those two ingredients found their way into just about every meal. Like the tomatoes, I had mixed results with my peas and beans, but I think that came down to starting too late in the season. This year I started early and have set up bean teepees and the runners are finding their way to their top.

I’ve tried my hand at some new things this year, including globe artichokes, Jerusalem artichokes, and asparagus. I’ve even planted out some sweet potato slips, and I’m hoping that our summer will eventually kick in!

We’ve added some more fruit trees to our existing apples, cherry, damson, medlar, Kentish cobnuts, and pear: a Yuzu lemon, and an Australian citrus variety, the finger (or caviar) lime. Both of these have been planted in half barrels up the back corner of the garden, in order to take advantage of the all day full sun.

I’ve also planted three types of self-fertile fig trees in one of my garden beds, and hope to train them over an arch. Our cherry and damson trees have joined the apples in being heavy croppers; the medlar and Kentish cobnuts also seem to be giving it their very best at producing fruit. Only the pear tree doesn’t seem to be enjoying itself, and if it doesn’t get any bigger, we may have to move it for a year and see how it goes.

Do you grow your own fruit and/or vegetables? What’s been your greatest success, and why do you think that was? On the flipside, what have you grown and never want to grow again?



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Pitch Perfect Finds New Life On Peacock, But Is The Gang Getting Back Together?

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The Pitch Perfect franchise has found new life on the small screen thanks to streaming service Peacock. The series of films will be continued as a streaming show, with star Adam Levine headlining and Elizabeth Banks producing.

Unlike the movies, the new TV show won’t follow an all-female a capella group. Instead, the plot will see Levine’s character head to Germany to revive his music career after an old song of his becomes a hit overseas.

Devine will help run the show behind the scenes, serving as one of three showrunners alongside Megan Amram and Scott Neimeyer.

Susan Rover, chairman of entertainment content and NBCUniversal Television and Streaming beamed, “When we saw the opportunity to create a series for Pitch Perfect with Elizabeth Banks, Max Handelman and Paul Brooks plus more earworm classics for super fans to enjoy, we jumped at it. And to top it off, we are so fortunate that Adam Devine is headlining the series and bringing fans the quirky, laugh-out-loud sensibility they loved in the film franchise.”





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Blac Chyna Guests On The Season 4 Premiere Of The Simonetta Lein Show On SLTV – Essentially Pop

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The Simonetta Lein Show is back and better than ever debuting its 4th Season with an amazing line-up, waiting to be shared with you all! As the show begins its new season and we all continue to navigate the changing world before us, Simonetta is determined to keep searching for the questions that truly matter and push forward with her fans to connect through love and authenticity, as she strives to bring out the realness in each of her guests. With no frills and no filters, this season of The Simonetta Lein Show will continue to empower women, encourage entrepreneurship, and create genuine human connections.

For their premiere episode, the show welcomes American pop culture icon, model, socialite, and serial entrepreneur, Miss Angela White, known better by the public all as Blac Chyna! She rose to fame in 2010 as the stunt double for Nicki Minaj, in the music video for Kanye West’s ‘Monster’ and gained wider media attention after being name-dropped in the song, ‘Miss Me’ by Drake the same year, while also leading in multiple national magazines. In 2014, Chyna launched her own beauty brand, ‘Lashed by Blac Chyna’, and has made a number of media appearances, including her own reality shows, ‘Rob & Chyna’, which she shared with Robert Kardashian, and ‘The Real Blac Chyna’. Now, she continues her spree of successes as a musical artist that is taking the world by storm! In the season kick-off, Simonetta sits down with Chyna to discuss what it’s really like to fight for a spot in Hollywood, the hardships behind the glamour, balancing relationships, and what her goals are as a mother and a friend, not just a pop culture icon. This will be a season you truly will not want to miss.

The Simonetta Lein Show is hosted by Celebrity TV Host and Top Woman Influencer Simonetta Lein. The show brings entrepreneurs, influencers, celebrities, and top executives to inspire and entertain audiences worldwide.

Simonetta’s prominent profile on Instagram has earned her more than five million followers, and she continues to grow her following by demonstrating her commitment to making a difference in her adopted city of Philadelphia and all around the world.

Originally from the north of Italy, Simonetta modelled for Vogue Italia, Vanity Fair Italy and Cosmopolitan while building a career as a renowned fashion influencer and spokesperson. She’s been a contributor for Vanity Fair Italy, La Repubblica, and La Voce Di New York, Forbes, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post. Her Book, “Everything Is Possible: A Novel About the Power of Dreams,” is a testament to her unwavering commitment to empowering her peers and herself.

Watch Blac Chyna on The Simonetta Lein Show on SLTV here.

The Simonetta Lein Show may be found on IMDB here.

Thank you to the amazing team behind The Simonetta Lein Show!

🎞Executive Producer: Raphael Amabile
🎥Production Manager: Kate Massih @klmassih
📞Booking Producer: James Clark @clark_public_relations
💆🏼‍♀‍Hair & 💄MUA: Leann Magrone @beautyfx_byleann





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Kris James Is Returning… – Essentially Pop

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5th November, people. Kris James is returning, and this time it’s with a full-length album.

Yes, you read that correctly, the pop maestro is back with a whole album full of brand new pop belters detailing his life over the past few years. And it promises to be an absolutely wild ride.

“When I pick up an album, I want to love the whole thing, not just tracks one, four and eight. My mindset whilst writing was that if this proves to be the last thing I ever release, I want it to be a definitive statement; to be the best it can be.” says James, whose debut single ‘Eyes Open’ shot straight into the top 25 of the iTunes charts. 

With support ranging from the style magazines such as 1883, to the tastemakers at Music Week, Kris James’ debut solo album is surely one to watch out for.

You can pre-save it here.



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