Half Term Family Fun and More! Essex Mums Newsletter February 2017
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Half Term Fun  *   Alternative Shopping Guide  *   Essex Mums Awards  *   We want to pay you for your ideas!  *   Local Listings   
*    Competitions  *   Product Reviews   *   New on the Shopping Guide   *   Pregnancy & Parenting Articles   *   Recipes   *   Craft Ideas   *   Educational Activities   *   Special Offers   *   Blog   *   Events   *   New Groups & Classes   *   Ad Rates
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The site overhaul is ticking along nicely and is taking much less time than expected. Most of the site is now looking pretty great,if I say so myself! If you have any feedback on the new look, I'd really appreciate it! Likewise, if something doesn't work the way it should, please let me know so that I can put it right!
March is here and could that be Spring poking its head around the corner? Seems a little too early to call it while it's still so chilly out but I'm sure that soon we will be able to get out and enjoy some activities that don't have to involve muddy puddles!
If you have something you'd like to add to the site, please use one of these buttons to get you there quickly!

If you have something you'd like to add to the site, please use one of these buttons to get you there quickly!

You'll see results sooner than you think!

Effective tuition puts your child one step ahead. It helps them to develop and make progress – and improves their focus, motivation and creativity.
Our dedicated tutors are educational professionals who have an outstanding track record in helping children achieve better results.

Whether you’re looking to catch up or extend we have a group for you from age 5-18 years. Prepare for SATs, 11plus, GCSE or A Level in Maths, English or Science.

Call today to arrange your free consultation and trial lesson.
Southend        01702 680400
Benfleet        01268 833838
Basildon        01268 833330

Essex Mums Turns 9!
The most exciting news this month is that we will be reaching the grand old age of 9 - nearly double figures! I know I tend to waffle on with the thanks every year but I really do appreciate every single one of you who has helped make the site as successful as it is - from those of you who post on the forum and have made it such a lovely place to chat, to those who just pop in once in a while to see what's on. Thank you! I hope you know that for me, Essex Mums isn't just a business, it's been a labour of love, and something I hope will continue to thrive in the years to come. 

Easter Events

We have been busy adding Easter events for this year and will get more on the site as the month goes on so make sure you have submitted yours here. You can take a look at the Easter page here - more is being added all the time so why not get in early and plan some fun spring activities with your family.

If you're interested in one of our Easter ad packages, check out what is on offer here.

Essex Mums Awards

In a few weeks the third Essex Mums awards will begin and I can't wait! Last year's was so exciting and saw more than 40,000 votes cast for your favourite people, places and things. The nominations will go on until June, so get thinking about what makes your life that bit easier or more fun!

If you want to see what people voted for last year, take a look at the Essex Mums Loves... section and if you're a company interested in sponsoring the awards, take a look at the packages on offer here. Check out some of the amazing companies sponsoring the awards this year below:
Alternative Shopping Guide
The Alternative Shopping Guide has had a big overhaul this month and is now looking just as lovely as the goodies our shops have to offer. Easy to browse and search, it is the perfect showcase for fantastic independent shops selling great gifts, fairtrade or handmade toys, clothes that are a bit different to what's on the High Street, and lovely bits and bobs to treat yourself, so make sure you take a look! Why not search the Product Guide if you are looking for something specific.

If you are a shop and are interested in getting listed, please email me for more information or just book here.
School Admissions
Are you one of the many parents across the county who has just found out their child's secondary school placement, or is waiting to find out which infant school their little ones are going to? Why not come and discuss how you feel about this in the forum. There's a special Schools section where you can chat about everything from the school itself to your fears about such a big change. It can be so useful to have support from other parents in your position and to hear the experiences of those who have been there before. If you have a question for a professional, check out our Ask the Teacher section.
We want to pay you for your ideas!
Can you come up with good recipes, craft ideas and fun educational activities? Send them over to us and get paid!
We always need new ideas for the website and can pay £5 for every one we use. Just email over instructions and a photograph to louise@essexmums.org and I'll let you know if we can use your idea!

Join us for our award winning baby massage classes throughout Essex.
Baby massage is highly beneficial for both parent and baby. Studies have shown that baby massage can help to soothe and settle, promote sleep, boost the immune system, enhance both physical and brain development, combat and prevent colic, wind and congestion and help with weight gain. For parents it can encourage bonding, reduce stress, provide an activity to enjoy together from birth, and meet likeminded people in our relaxing, non-judgemental, ‘home from home’ environment.
We offer both individual and group classes including: Introduction to baby massage, Group baby massage course, More Massage for regulars, Colic Alleviation & Prevention and baby massage for Dads.
Experience the magic of massage  - find your nearest class - www.baskingbabies.co.uk


Local Listings
Have you browsed our Local Listings section? It's an amalgamation of the Places to Go section, the Directory and the Places to Eat section, making it so much easier for you to find shops, services, groups and wonderful places near to you. You can search for a business buy its name or just see what's near you: www.essexmums.org/listings 

If you would like to list your business there's a simple registration process, then you can add wording, images, social media links... whatever you want, and it's all completely FREE! You can choose to get a featured listing from just £2 if you want to make it stand out more, but there's no charge just to be listed.

New Featured listings this month:
PAWS: Animal Assisted Therapy
PAWS is an Essex based company providing Animal Assisted Therapy, with therapy dog Frank the Newfoundland. Being a Newfoundland, Frank is an exceptionally large dog with an extremely gentle nature
Click here to view listing
Photography Workshops for Kids
Photography workshops for kids is designed to nurture, encourage and expand your child’s knowledge of photography.
Through a private 1-2-1 class or group workshop with other kids, Kim Rix will teach children more about composition, the camera functions and of course, how to take a great photograph!
Click here to view listing
Justine Louise
Justine Louise is a luxury British brand selling beautiful knitted clothing and accessories made from 100% merino wool.
Justine Louise offers luxury knitted gifts that can be personalised.
Click here to view listing
Transform Your Face & Body Without Surgery
First Clinical Aesthetics provide free, no obligation consultations for all procedures.
It costs nothing to come along and see what could be achieved for you.
Click here to view listing

Easter and summer camps throughout Essex with 2 NEW locations in Ingatestone and Romford for summer 2017!

“Giving every child such an amazing experience they can’t wait to come back!”

·        Superb Easter & summer camps at 40 locations!
·        Fantastic range of activities for 4.5-14 years
·        The best qualified staff:child ratios for any comparable provider
·        Extended hours from 8am-6pm
·        A Brilliant Childcare Option for Working Parents! We even accept childcare vouchers!

Where will your child play? 
Easter and summer: Chelmsford, Chigwell, Hutton, Upminster and Woodford
Summer only: Harlow, Ingatestone and Romford


Fantastic things to win! Enter one of our great competitions or get in touch if you would like to run something yourself. New competitions are always being added so make sure you check the competitions page for new giveaways, and get in touch if you'd like to run a giveaway yourself.
Win a beautiful 100% brushed cotton blanket from Moba!
We are delighted to be giving away one of Moba’s stunning 100% cotton blankets. With their playful designs, and soft supple material, these generous blankets are the perfect accompaniment to keeping baby snug as a bug! .
Click here to enter
Win a pair of tickets to Noël & Gertie (two to give away)
Matthew Townshend Productions is bringing a superb adaptation of Sheridan Morley’s Noël & Gertie to the Towngate Theatre in Basildon on Wednesday 8 March @ 2.30pm & 7.30pm.
Click here to enter
Win three Treasure Trails – Colchester, Chelmsford & Maldon
If you’re looking for something new to do with the children this weekend – and want something to encourage them outdoors – then why not try a Treasure Trail; an imaginative and fun way to explore. 
Click here to enter
Win a four night Toddler Break at Hendra Holiday Park, Cornwall
Hendra is a family-run, award-winning family and couples holiday park situated in Newquay, ideally located to explore Cornwall. We are surrounded by beautiful countryside, only minutes from Newquay’s famous beaches, 14 miles from the Eden Project and within easy reach of hundreds of holiday attractions. 
Click here to enter
Win a Family Ticket to Marsh Farm’s Easter Eggstravaganza
Hop along to a fun packed itinerary of Easter activities Saturday 1st to Sunday 16th April at Marsh Farm Animal Adventure Park which includes Essex’s biggest Easter Egg Hunt!
Click here to enter
Win an Afternoon Tea for Two at any of the ‘Tiptree’ Tea Rooms
We invite you to join us at any of the ten ‘Tiptree’ tea rooms, located at Tiptree, Dedham, Heybridge Basin, Writtle, Saffron Walden, Finchingfield, Cressing Temple, Colchester, Barleylands and Osea Leisure Park.
Click here to enter
Win a Mother’s Day Lunch at The Essex Golf & Country Club
Win a Mother’s Day Lunch at The Essex Golf & Country Club. Spoil your Mum this Mother’s Day and stay in her good books for the rest of the year!
Click here to enter
Win a month’s Gold membership at Reward Fitness
Reward Fitness would like to offer one lucky winner the chance to win a FREE month’s Gold membership for April
Click here to enter
Win a beautiful aden + anais bundle
aden + anais the baby brand known for its iconic swaddles, bath and sleep time products has teamed up with Essex Mums to offer a very special prize bundle to keep your little ones snug as a bug this winter! 
Click here to enter
Win a £100 voucher for a Maternity Onesie from The All-in-One Company
The All-in-One Company maintain a presidential and unquestionable standard throughout the whole of the company, from our team, training, equipment, materials and finished product.
Click here to enter
Win a Dusky Pink Peep Baby Nursing Cover
The Peep Baby Nursing Cover is made out of 100% soft jersey cotton and is fully machine washable, making it an ideal alternative to fitted breastfeeding tops for mums and babies.
Click here to enter
Win a Smock Shirt from The Fableists
Our signature Smock Top is based on vintage work wear. It looks just as good on boys and girls and is made in 100% certified organic cotton chambray. Hard wearing but dresses up smart! This is a versatile and stylish top for any occasion.
Click here to enter
Win a Photo Wallet Card from Your Design (10 to give away)
Feeling the pinch after Christmas? We can’t add any money but we can brighten your purse or wallet with one of these lovely wallet photo card
Click here to enter
Discover a baby shop crammed with unique baby shower gifts, beautiful Spanish baby clothing and UK handmade items for baby and nursery.

Carefully selected for newborn - 18 months to suit a range of budgets.

Be confident that your purchase is original compared to what is found in the big brand stores! Truly special gifts from cleverly packaged cupcakes to thoughtful personalised gifts.

Find our shop within the White Elm Garden Centre, near Chelmsford. With free parking, farm shop, tea rooms, specialist shops and a fantastic petting farm and play barn, it's well worth a trip!

Mail order also available at www.babychicgiftboutique.co.uk

Product Reviews
Want to find out what's worth buying and what's worth missing out on? Where is good to go and where to avoid? Then consult our crack team of Essex Mums product reviewers before making your purchase! Click on each reviewer on the Product Reviews page to see all of their reviews, or click here to browse the reviews or search by categories such as age range and type of product.

Here are a few of the most read reviews from last year:
Jump Street
Last Sunday morning we trooped off to Chelmsford to try out the new Jump Street Trampoline Park that opened there a few weeks ago. We went to an early ‘sibling session’ so that Dexter could come along too as often these places are for four and up. 
Click here to read Louises full review
Getting Active
Find out how other Essex Mums and their families are getting fit and fabulous in our Getting Active section! Get some ideas for things to try, read their wonderful reviews and follow in their footsteps on your own healthy journey. 

Here are a few of the most read reviews from last year:
Guide to Gestational Diabetes and Keeping Healthy
As a soon-to-be-mum you may have heard about gestational diabetes, or even have been diagnosed yourself. This easy-to-understand guide will explain all you need to know about the condition, plus how to reduce the risks for yourself and your baby.
Click here to read
Heavy Weight
For some people exercise means going for that morning jog, jumping on the bicycle and going for a ride or your evening Zumba class. While cardiovascular exercise is important and plays a role in a healthy lifestyle, don’t forget about the all important strength exercises.

Click here to read
New on the Shopping Guide
Looking for great gifts, fairtrade or handmade toys, clothes that are a bit different to what's on the High Street, or just something to treat yourself? You'll find it all and more on the Essex Mums Alternative Shopping Guide! Browse shops on the guide by category, or search the product guide for that perfect buy! 

We are now looking for lovely new shops for our guide this year, so if you think you would be a good fit, please get in touch on louise@essexmums.org

New shops this month:
  • Babyspoke: Bespoke handcrafted nursery textiles made in Derbyshire.
  • Blue Brontide: Organic baby accessories in gender neutral colours made with premium sustainable fabrics & ethically sourced wooden baby/kids tableware to make mealtimes fun!
  • Figleaves: Our years of insider knowledge and expertise means that we know what it takes to create the perfect fit. And we deliver just that every time.
  • Glossybox: Our global experts curate the latest trends and products to bring you reusable and stylish boxes full of beauty essentials.
  • Mister Maker Craft Box: Join the Mister Maker Club and receive an exciting new art project every two weeks. 
  • Toucan Box: Welcome to a new way of engaging your little ones in imaginative play.
  • Urbanara: URBANARA provides the world with beautiful, high-quality homewares without the sky-high price tag.

I loved my career in buying, but when my family came along, the long hours and demands of the role didn't fit with the family life I craved.

2 years ago I was shown a way I could be a mummy at the school gates and earn an income I wanted. I have built a flexible home based business which has changed our lives.

I now help mums like me achieve amazing things from an extra £200 to £400pm, more time with their children to career changes. If you are self-motivated, have a great work ethic and ready to make a change get in touch for more information.


Pregnancy & Parenting Articles
The Pregnancy and Parenting section features fantastic information about different aspects of pregnancy and parenting written by our very own Essex Mums: everything from trying for a baby to raising teenagers. 
Childcare: for any parent, it’s a minefield! Nursery, nanny, childminder, babysitter: the list seems endless, getting it right isn’t easy and that’s without considering the cost, which unfortunately, is often phenomenal. In this article we’ll consider all of the options available and the pros and cons of each one.
Read more
Homebirth Supply List
Choosing to have a homebirth is becoming an increasingly popular option, and isn’t the messy affair that you might imagine! In fact, far from it. You’ll need a list of simple essentials and a few other bits of your own choosing – here are the basics and a few added extras to ensure that your homebirth plan goes as easily as possible.
Read more
Making Babies: Miscarriage/ Spontaneous Abortion
Both terms are used to describe the spontaneous termination of a pregnancy before the 24th week, the loss of a foetus before it is able to survive.
Read more
So you’re pregnant, and of course, you’ve probably read every website, magazine and book available about pregnancy, what to do, how to do it, what you should be doing, the list is endless … but at what point did you think about the birth? 
Read more
Take a look at our recipes section for some tried-and-tested family-friendly feeds! Do you have something you would like to add to this section? If so, please share it here. If anyone is interested in becoming a regular contributor please get in touch

Here are a few of your most-loved recipes from last year:
Gooey chocolate sauce (raw)
With all that is going on in the world at the moment, you might feel the need for some comforting food. And whilst I don’t encourage comfort eating a little treat once in a while is welcome.
Read the full recipe here
Mini Fish Pies
These mini beauties are full of it – protein, carb, veg and dairy! You can use butter instead of oil and leek instead of spring onions, different fish or add frozen peas.. whatever it is it’s yum!!
Read the full recipe here
Healthy and fresh risotto, perfect for spring or summer.
Healthy and fresh risotto, perfect for spring or summer.
Read the full recipe here

  • PregnancyBliss Stretch & Relax
  • MamaBliss Nurture & Relax
  • BabyBliss Massage & MamaChat
  • BabyBliss Yoga & MamaChill
  • ToddlerBliss Yoga & Massage

Motherhood is the most amazing journey so we have created a seamlessly integrated curriculum of classes to support you every step of the way. From Pregnancy to Mum - Baby to Toddler our classes have it covered. Our classes are also great for making new friends and supporting each other.
Using Yoga inspired postures combined with massage & relaxation techniques, you and your baby will be creating the best possible start in your journey together.


Educational Activities
Our Educational Activities section features ideas to get your kids learning and help them with their homework. We really need some contributors for this section who can come up with some simple ideas, so if you would like to become a contributor or just have a few suggestions, please post them - anything is welcome, no matter how simple

Here are a few of your top activities from last year:
Water Mark Making
Takes seconds to set up but provides hours of fun
Read more
Angel Delight Pigs Mud
A fun activity for children aged 1-4.

Read more

Special Offers
Special offers for Essex Mums added this month!
10% at Anne Fontenoy
Anne Fontenoy designs and makes hand sewn frocks and gowns which she designs and makes the patterns for from a home-based studio, especially from silks, lace and natural fibres which she orders from a large range of trade suppliers.
Read more
50% off everything at Platypus Australia!
End of year sale
Read more
World Book Day Offer at Wordery
Buy one Children’s book, save 10% off all other Children’s books
Read more
15% off at Figleaves
Figleaves are offering 15% off site wide 
Read more
£25 off pool parties at Riverside Ice and Leisure
With up to 80 children you’re little one and all their friends can challenge each other on the exciting ‘Yeti’ inflatable or on the five metre high ‘Devil’s Drop’ slide!
Read more
10% off at Little Scrummers
If you book in for a FREE TRIAL with us and enrol we will give you 10% off of your first terms fees and membership fee!

Read more
Toddler Mad Classes- 10% discount for Essex Mums!
Toddler Mad (Massage and Dance) classes are designed for parents with children from 18 months – 3 years. Classes are lots of fun and give children the opportunity to express themselves through singing, dancing and age appropriate art activities.

Read more

Our fun, structured play sessions take children on a journey of sporting imagination with engaging and energetic coaches supporting them every step of the way whilst teaching how to catch, pass, kick, run with the ball and play as part of a team.

Blog & News
The blog features posts from us as well as from guest bloggers, as well as local and parenting news. If you have something you would like to write, please get in touch!
Libraries looking for Summer Reading Challenge Volunteers
Libraries in Southend are once again looking for volunteers aged 14 and above to help children keep reading in the summer holidays during the Summer Reading Challenge.
Read more
How Lenderhand can help children living in poverty
In the UK, more than one in three families with children have less than the required amount to live a socially acceptable standard of living. In Essex alone, there are more than 40,000 children living in poverty. .
Read more
Hylands Springs Into Life
Hylands Estate will be offering great family events again this spring with special walks for toddlers, artisan farmer’s markets and a stunning flower show.
Read more
Children granted opportunity to improve libraries
Children have the chance to influence changes and improvements at the county’s libraries.
Read more
Naturelly Brilliant Chief Imagination Officer Wanted
Calling all budding entrepreneurs, we are recruiting for a Chief Imagination Officer (must be under 9 years old)….
Read more
Maldon Carnival set to be rebranded after volunteers step in to save it
MALDON Carnival has been saved after a dozen volunteers stepped up days after its future was plunged into doubt.
Read more
Does your wardrobe need an overhaul?
Have you lost your fashion confidence? Struggling to find a style that’s right for you? Would you like creative advice and an expert’s help to revamp your wardrobe?
Read more
Does your Five Year Old have a Big Personality?
We are looking for 5-year-old children with big personalities to take part in the filming. We are also considering siblings that are around this age (eg 4 and 6). 
Read more

Nominations are now open as we search for the next set of go-getters who really stop at nothing to achieve their goals. 
We are looking for:
  • Working Mum of the Year
  • Working Dad of the Year
  • PA of the Year
  • Boss of the Year
  • Entrepreneur of the Year
  • Inspirational Achiever of the Year
Nominate now at: www.pitmansuperachievers.com

Lots going on this month! You can find full listings on the Things to Do section or search by area using the links below. Make sure you take a look to find fun things to do for your family, and let us know when you try something good. Oh, and remember to say you saw it on Essex Mums!

The family friendly Brentwood Festival returns from 14-16 July with a great line up including Status Quo, Go West, Heaven 17, Ultravox’s Midge Ure, Jocelyn Brown, The Real Thing, Missing Andy and over two dozen supporting bands on two stages.
Children under 10 attend for FREE throughout the weekend, adult passes start from £25.
The festival also includes fun kid’s activities organised by Brentwood Borough Council, Nuclear Races taster sessions, fairground rides, street food, market stalls, posh loos and overnight camping.
Held in aid of the British Heart Foundation, tickets are available via www.brentwoodfestival.co.uk

New Classes and Groups

A selection of new information about classes and groups added this month.  Some are brand new to the site, some just have updates about new venues, details etc. Take a look at the Things to Do section for complete listings.

Parent and Toddler Groups Children's Centres
Groups for Older Children

01277 264644

Worried what to do with your children during the holidays & INSET days, do your children have so much energy you need a break?

We are running a Holiday Club during Febuary half term in our superb purpose built club.

The club will be open 8-5.30pm every day during all school holidays and on Long Ridings inset days.

Send your children to us for an action packed day with fully qualified staff for £27.50 including breakfast, lunch and tea.

Check out our website for more information or call us for further details.

Email now to secure your places, everyone is welcome

Ad Rates
If you'd like to consider advertising on the site, take a look at the Ad Rates page. There is a range of ads to suit all budgets, and if you want to hear how advertising on Essex Mums has worked for others, take a look at the Testimonials page. I am always happy to put together packages that suit you and are normally discounted so get in touch if you have a few ideas about where you'd like to be on the site and we can work together to find something that suits you. If you would like help putting an ad together, we can provide this service free of charge.

If you are interested in being informed of special ad offers, let me know. 
Everything else
As always, please send any events, feedback, ideas etc. to me at louise@essexmums.org. I love hearing how people use the site and ways I can improve it. The normal newsletter will be back next month - I hope you've enjoyed this overview of the website!

I hope you have a lovely month and that I'll get to see you at a meet-up soon.

Kind regards

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