Essex Mums Newsletter April 2015
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 Essex Mums Awards  *   Easter Events   *   Starting School   *   Are you Crafty?    *   Product Reviews   *   New on the Shopping Guide   *   Pregnancy & Parenting Articles   *   Recipes   *   Craft Ideas   *   Educational Activities   *   Special Offers   *   Blog   *   Events   *   New Groups & Classes   *   Ad Rates   *    Competitions
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Hello everyone, hope you are enjoying the generally milder weather and getting to enjoy some fun outdoor family time. For those of us with school-age children, a large part of April is going to be taken up with the Easter holidays - good job there is so much on! Let's hope the weather stays nice for the next few weeks!
If you have something you'd like to add to the site, please use one of these buttons to get you there quickly!
 
Welcome to  
 
..where you will find all things stylish for the little person in your life. Whether it be for your own little one, or you are looking for the perfect gift you are sure to find what you need here. From stylish & hip clothing & accessories, to cool & unique toys, dreamy décor & fabulous gift ideas…this is your one stop stylish shop.

We know just how busy your lives can be. Who has the time to go running around town, searching for that newborn gift, birthday gift or stylish new outfit for the little one? Our aim here at Eeny Meenie is to bring the best of the best right to you. 
 
Opening our new shop on 4th April 2015!
199-201 High Street, Ongar, Essex CM5 9JG
www.eenymeenie.co.uk

Essex Mums Awards
I am excited to announced that the 2015 Essex Mums are now underway! Nominations have been pouring in and at last count you had nominated more than 3000  people, places and things that make your life as a parent in Essex that bit easier or more fun! Nominations will stay open until June so you still have plenty of time to get yours in, just fill in the form here: http://www.essexmums.org/awardsnominations.html - the top nine companies with the most nominations will go through to the voting round, as well as last year's winner.

Local businesses, make sure you get the recognition you deserve by sharing the page with your customers and asking them to nominate you!

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, like the lovely businesses below, take a look at the packages on offer here.

The 2015 Essex Mums Awards are sponsored by:
Easter Events
Looking for spring fun, Easter egg hunts, arts and crafts or anything related to cute Easter bunnies and new baby chicks? Then check out our Easter Holidays events for the whole family across Essex. Hopefully you received our dedicated Easter newsletter last week but if not, you can see everything that's going on across the county on our Easter events page.

You can find out what's on for every school holiday and special occasion on our School Holidays page. Each holiday is fully updated in the month before but events can be submitted at any time
Starting School
Many Essex parents will be finding out which school our little ones are going to in the next week or two, although I'm sure you'll all agree they seem far too teeny to be starting school already! You might like to chat about it with other Mums in the same position in the Schools section of the forum. Whether it's wanting to share news of where your child is going, talk about what to do if you're unhappy wit the result or just chat about what happens next, it's always nice to speak to others who have been in your position.

If you have a question for a professional, check out our Ask the Teacher section.
Are you crafty?
We need some crafty folk to help us blog about activities to try with your kids for our Arts & Craft section. Whether you have a crafty business or are a parent who just loves glitter, we want to hear your ideas! You can submit your activities here, or if you are interested in becoming a regular contributor, get in touch. All posts will be fully credited with a bit about you (if you wish) and links to your website if appropriate.

“Giving every child such an amazing experience they can’t wait to come back!”
  • Superb Easter & summer camps at 34 locations!
  • Fantastic range of activities for 4.5-16 years
  • The best qualified staff:child ratios for any comparable provider
  • Extended hours from 8am-6pm
  • A Brilliant Childcare Option for Working Parents!
Barracudas, the UK’s No1 children’s activity camp offers peace of mind for working parents during the Easter & summer holidays. We’ve been rated ‘OUTSTANDING’ by Ofsted more times and more consistently than any other activity day camp provider and because we’re registered with Ofsted you have the added bonus of using your childcare vouchers as payment! 

www.barracudas.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 the product reviews added this month! 
Skibz Catcherz
In case you don’t want to read this review all the way through, let me summarise in 2 words: UTTERLY BRILLIANT!!! 

Skibz sent me a new Catcherz bib last week. They come in 3 funky designs blue or pink with spots or red with stars. We received a blue one.
Read Sarah's full review
Feather Grey Bumble Bee Party Goodies
These arrived very well packaged with a lovely Tiffany blue tissue paper gift wrapping them and sealed with a Feather Grey sticker which seemed very professional.

They are very good quality items. Firstly we opened the Bumble Bee thank you cards. They come in packs of six including envelopes...

Read Michelle's full review
Organix Goodies Chunky Fruit Bars
My 23 month old twins are big fans of most Organix products so when these arrived they seemed excited to try them. They come in packs of six and can be eaten whole or broken into segments for smaller children. They are 100% organic fruit which makes me happy. 

Read Michelle's full review
Learn the Alphabet with Sooty DVD
Our audience consisted of myself, my five year old daughter and 23 month old boy/girl twins.

The children were glued to the TV from start to finish. I found the DVD to be both educational and entertaining. 

Read Michelle's full review

For Children Who Love To Dance  


BALLET TAP MODERN
 
The school is a traditional classical ballet school with a friendly atmosphere welcoming children from 16 months to adult. A professional  and structured school following the renown I.S.T.D. syllabus. Tap and modern are also taught along with Disco Duck for pre-school children which is a fun class teaching children musicality and motor skills.

Classes are Saturday's and Tuesdays at South Hornchurch Community Hall, Nelson Road, RM13 8B  
Tel 01708 559275 / 07765836796
 
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! 

Check out some of the gorgeous new shops added to the Alternative Shopping Guide this month:
If you have a shop you would like to advertise on the Shopping Guide, please get in touch on louise@essexmums.org
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. This section is a work in progress so check back regularly for new topics.
Kids' Party Games
Struggling to choose the appropriate kids party games for your event? Let us give you a hand! The games you choose to entertain a children’s party will be great part of its success, and the giggles and laughs you will get after each one are priceless!
Read more
Preparing Your Child for School Entrance Exams
11+ Prep Made Easy!
Trying to get your child into their school of choice? VAKS gives you a guide to helping your child get ready for school entrance exams. 
Read more
Pregnancy - Telling your Employer
You are required to tell your employer that you are pregnant by the 15th week before your baby is due if you are hoping to take advantage of maternity leave and other maternity rights. 
Read more
Recipes
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
Holly Bell’s Roasting Tray Ragu
Holly says: “I wish I’d thought of this before. How many hours of my life have I devoted to stirring ragu sauce for my children? Too many! This is a roasted alternative to the usual hob cooked version and is all the better for it. The meat and vegetables are just that little bit sweeter for having been allowed to roast in the oven.”
Read Holly Bell's full recipe
Mild Thai Curry
Introduce your children to Thai tastes with a mild curry. Very versatile – add extra ingredients if you wish! We suggest peas, sweet or new potatoes, mangetout, baby corn and chickpeas. You could also leave out the chicken and make it a veggie dish.

Read Emma's full recipe here
Chicken Bruschetta
Try our yummy chicken bruschetta...a very easy and healthy dinner (grain free and dairy free)

Read the full recipe from Foodie Woodie
Craft Ideas
Our Craft Ideas section features arts and crafts for children of all ages. Just click on the image to find out how to make it! If you have any ideas, or would like to write a regular feature for this section, please get in touch! louise@essexmums.org
Chuck Close Style Self Portrait
Chuck Close is one of my favourite artists and my kids find his painting fascinating too so when I saw this on Pinterest I was struck by what a simple and effective idea it is. 

Read more 
Homemade bath paints
Easy peasy bath paints: combine shaving foam with food dyes. Add paintbrushes (or little fingers) and you can watch them get clean, then colourful, then clean again!
Read more 
At The Cake Pop and Biscuit Stop we create custom made treats to match the theme of your event. From biscuits in the shape of hearts, rockets, dresses and shoes to brightly coloured cake pops beautifully decorated. Cake pops and Biscuits look great out on the table at a party and also make a fantastic party favour to take home. Every item can come individually wrapped with a ribbon and tag with words of your choosing.

Please like The Cake Pop and Biscuit Stop on Facebook to keep up to date with our tasty treats or phone 07949274204 for enquiries.


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
Story Sticks
A simple but fun idea for helping children come up with story ideas. Start with coloured lollipop sticks, or paint them yourself – ideally around 20 each of four colours. Each colour represents a different aspect of the story.

Read more
Spelling Menu
Many schools give out a list of spelling words for children to learn each week. If your child struggles with a more traditional approach to learning them and wants something a little more inspiring, why not try one of these fun ideas for a twist on a fairly mundane task. 

Read more
Special Offers
Special offers for Essex Mums added this month!
Easter Mum & Baby Sassy Bloom Box
A wonderful present for you and your baby or someone you really care about. Box usually costs £107.00 but use the code ESSEXMUMS for a massive £72 discount!

Read more
Smiggle
20% off school goodies, gifts and fun stuff from Smiggle. 

 
Lebebe
Free delivery on their amazing range of stylish, BPA free teething accessories.

Read more
Blog
The blog features posts from me as well as from guest bloggers, so if you have something you would like to write, please get in touch!
Domestic Appliances – Top tips for toddler proofing your home
With Easter fast approaching, the holidays can be a tricky time for toddlers who want to explore and get their fingers into everything. 

Read more
The Sugar Maze
Guide to healthy hydration

Read more
Baby changing in the Gents loo – The time is now
Mums (and some dads) back celebrity calls for more baby facilities

British parents are backing actor Ashton Kutcher’s call for more baby changing facilities in men’s public toilets.

Read more
6 ways to keep your kids entertained this Easter
Easter is fast approaching, so it’s time we got to thinking of cost-effective ways to keep our kids entertained. Whenever school holidays arrive, parents all over the country wonder what to do with their little darlings – and how to keep it cheap.

Read more
Planning your toddlers birthday party
So, that time of year has rolled around much quicker than you expected and soon you’ll be watching your child attempt to blow out the candles on a birthday cake. That means that a party is on the horizon and planning for the ages of one to three can be more than distracting. 
Read more
We are a fast growing Theatre dance school that specialises in Ballet, Tap, Modern, Theatrecraft, Street Dance, Acrobatic dance and Little Bear Feet Mother and Babies classes.  All teachers are IDTA, IDA trained and CRB checked.

Starting in 2005 with only 8 students the Academy has grown from strength to strength and now boasts its new dance studios in Rochford.  

Please call 07868 648308 for more information or to book your FREE TRIAL or visit our website www.harringtondanceacademy.com or Facebook page to have a look at what we have been doing lately.

Events
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!

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.

Classes
Parent and Toddler Groups 
Updated Children's Centres Timetables 
Sport
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. Coming this month: THREE FOR TWO ON ADS AND MAY HALF TERM PACKAGES!
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
Louise
Competitions
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. 
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