Essex Mums Newsletter September 2015
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Essex Mums Awards Winners  *   Back to School  *   Classes and Groups from September  *   Introductions and Meet-Ups  *   Can you help us?  *   Getting Active  *   Would you like to write for us?  *   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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Back to school again! I don't know about you but this summer has flown by for us and I can't believe we're another school year on! I do hope you all had an enjoyable Summer and found lots of great things to do. Why not stop by the forum and tell us what you really enjoyed, or if you're interested in writing up some reviews about places you visited, get in touch!
 
If you have something you'd like to add to the site, please use one of these buttons to get you there quickly!
 
Theatretrain Performing Arts Leigh & Southend on Sea opens this September!

We are a Saturday Stage Stage school for kids aged 4-18.  We teach our kids how to dance, act and sing creating outstanding opportunities for our pupils to perform on stage in local, regional and famous West End Venues.  In July 2013 Every Theatretrain School performed at the O2!  Next year our students will be performing at The Royal Albert Hall!

We are delighted to have the support of several famous and talented patrons,Sir Derek Jacobi , Catherine Tate, Lucy Davis & Alfred Molina.

No experience required just enthuasim & commitment.  Build confidence; make new friends whilst having fun and having professional training in the arts! Contact us for a trial session".

Our contact details are:-
www.theatretrain.co.uk
www.facebook.com/TheatretrainLeighandSouthend
E: leigh@theatretrain.co.uk
Twitter: @TTLeighSouthend
Tel:  07585 707855

Essex Mums Awards Winners

The parents of Essex have spoken! Come and find out what are your favourite things to do, places to go and businesses you love to use. Check out our new Essex Mums Love... section or just click on each category to find out more about what makes life in Essex fun. 

Groups and classes
Best Baby Group
Best Toddler GroupBest Group for Younger Children
Best Group for Older ChildrenBest Teen Group
Best Disability GroupBest Baby and Toddler GroupBest Independent GroupBest New Group
Best Support GroupBest Sport Group
Best Swim SchoolBest Camp
Outstanding Group Leader
 
 
hearts
Events

 
Back to School
Whether your kids are starting nursery, infants, juniors, senior school or even university, you can come and chat about it on the forum and are sure to find other parents experiencing the same thing. Come and chat about what's going on with you in our 'What's happening this year?' thread or if you have a specific issue you would like to discuss, please feel free to start your own topic in our Education section. It can be a daunting time for your kids but also for you to be starting something completely new and it can definitely help to speak to people who have been there too, or are going through the same thing.

If you want some professional advice about school, you can post in our 'Ask the Teacher' section where we have a range of teachers from nursery up to secondary who are happy to give their advice and opinion about any educational issues that are bothering you.

A lot of schools now have facebook pages and groups for parents to communicate with one another and I have been starting to get a list together here. If your school does this I would really appreciate you letting me know the link so that I can add it to our list and make it easy for parents to find the relevant group for them. If your school doesn't have a group you are welcome to post on the forum to find out if anyone else knows where one is, or start one on there yourself!

If you're looking for a bit of back to school shopping, check out the 'School' section of the Shopping Guide for some fantastic shops or if you're looking for a bargain, check out the School Uniform Shop where you can buy and sell used uniform.
Classes and Groups from September
Those of you with pre-school children may well be looking for something fun to do, and will be pleased to know that all the term-time classes and groups will be starting up again. There is such an amazing range of activities for little ones, and you can find listings of them all in our Things to Do section. Within each area you can find sections for Parent and Toddler Groups, Classes, Sports and more. The Activities section of the Directory also has some great information about a few of the classes. If you're overwhelmed by the choice and would like some ideas as to what is worth giving a go, make sure you come and ask on the forum as you'll get some great feedback from other parents who have already tried them.

I am currently updating these so if you run a group yourself that needs some changes made, please let me know on louise@essexmums.org. Likewise, if you would like one of our review panel to attend one of your classes and write a review, do let me know!
Make a difference with this flexible business opportunity!
  • Would you like to run your own business?
  • Would you like an opportunity that’s flexible enough to fit around family commitments?
  • Would you like to make a difference in your local community?
If you have answered YES, read on…

Business & Community Charter Awards 
We have launched Business and Community Charter (BCC) Awards in Southend and are now looking for franchisees across Essex who would like to administer the Awards in their local authority area. 

BCC Awards are robust, rolling awards that acknowledge and celebrate businesses of any size and type that support the local community. 

If you would like more information, give Jill Poet a call on 01702 468387 or e-mail: jill@orbuk.org.


Introductions and Meet-Ups
Want to get to know other parents in your area? Come and say hello in our introductions and meet-ups section. It is now divided by area so you can say hello or arrange a get-together with other parents close to where you live. Take a look and see who is near you! If you're not sure which area you're in, let me know!
Can you help us?
We all know Essex Mums is full of great ideas, wonderful people and all-round good advice, but the truth is, it needs an overhaul. Until now I have built the site myself but with three kids and a business to run, I just can't redo the whole thing myself and need to get outside help for the rebuild.

I have started a Go Fund Me page to see if I can raise some of the money needed to do this, and as much as I hate to beg, if you can you spare a few pounds to help us, it would be much appreciated. It will make the site better, faster and more responsive so hopefully will help you too!

If you can support us at all, please donate here: http://www.gofundme.com/ynxzr8 
Getting Active
Over the next few months I will be putting together a brand new section of the site, all about getting you and your children fit and active.

We will be putting various products and activites to the test and thoroughly reviewing the pros and cons of each, to give our community the best advice and ideas to get them in shape.

If you are involved in any of the following businesses and are confident that your product or service can help with weightloss, fitness or general good health, please get in touch!
  • Exercise classes for Mums
  • Sports and exercise sessions for children
  • Weight-loss products
  • Nutritionists/Healthy Eating
  • Personal trainers
Would you like to write for us?
Are you a blogger or would you like to be one? I would like to have a few regular contributors to our blog so if you are interested, please get in touch. It can just be about every day life with kids but it would also be great to have some that are a bit more specific such as larger families, families dealing with additional needs etc. 

We want to hear your stories!
Baby Massage in Hornchurch
Come and learn the wonderful skill of baby massage in a lovely relaxed and welcoming environment. Massaging your baby provides a wonderful opportunity for expressing your love and affection for your baby. Baby massage is also known to help soothe and ease colic, reflux and constipation. I run classes in the Hornchurch area and can also offer 1:1 home sessions or group sessions which are great for friends. For more information and to book your place on my next 5 week hourly course please contact Emma at emmampaton.ep@gmail.com. Come and meet new friends, enjoy a wonderful bonding time with your baby and learn a lifelong skill.
 
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! 
Nutty Putty
Nutty Putty is a very unique kind of non-toxic silicone which is completely safe for children to use.  It is used in the production of baby products including bottles and teethers and has an antibacterial agent added to it to ensure that it is hygienically clean
Click here to read Jenny's full review
Tree Fu Tom Live
The show was fantastic. Enough to hold my 5 year old daughter’s and two year old twins’ attention for the entire show. There was a lot of audience participation involved, joining in spells and magic and dancing which my children loved. 

Read Michelle's full review
KidsFest
We entered the farm, no problems and staff were very friendly and helpful, interacting with my three little ones a lot. We were given the wristbands straight away with no queue along with a timetable and map.
Click here to read Michelle's full review
Drynites Pyjama Pants
My son is struggling with daytime potty training and so we have not even thought about night-time training and I don’t think we will for a little while yet. We have been using a cheap brand of pull-up nappy at night time although after trying Drynites Pyjama Pants we won’t be buying any more of the cheap nappies. 
Click here to read Jenny's full review
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! 

If you have a shop you would like to advertise on the Shopping Guide, please get in touch on louise@essexmums.org
Experienced & Friendly Piano/Theory Teacher
Playing the piano from age 4 I trained at Royal College of Music after being a young Trinity scholar. Teaching for over 35 years I am often asked what is best age to start? Answer - anytime - realistically children need to have mastered reading basics & have a concentration span of 15 mins +.

I teach all age groups & standards preparing for exams or purely for pleasure teaching in your home or mine whichever suits your schedule - total flexibility is the key to relaxed & pleasurable learning for all my pupils. Trial lesson available.

Based in Leigh on Sea

Contact Verina on verinaweaver@gmail.com or 07919 043190

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.
Lice - How to deal with it
Head lice are tiny insects that live among hairs. They feed on tiny amounts of blood drawn from the scalp. Lice are very common in children, and most common in children between the age of 4-11. They are highly contagious and can be very hard to get rid of. 
Read more
Quiz: Which Playground Mum are you?
The playground can be a fascinating microcosm of society, full of different characters and personalities. But what sort of playground Mum are you?

Find out here
Bedding for Baby – Sheets and Blankets
A large number of parents choose to use the traditional cotton sheets and cotton or acrylic cellular blankets when putting their new-born baby down to sleep. 
Read more
Creative Blast Performing Arts Academy
Creative Blast Performing Arts Academy teaches all round skills in singing, dancing and acting for children and young people who want to have fun, build confidence, make friends and develop skills. We cater for all ages and provide opportunities to gain certified qualifications! Recent success includes CBPA students in the West End and touring productions of The Bodyguard Musical, the West End Cast of Thriller Live, National Youth Theatre and NYMT.   Our new studio in Grays is now open! Contact us for a free trial. Look out for our upcoming school holiday workshops. Call 01375 386247 or visit www.cbacademy.co.uk

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
Organix Cherry Almond Loaf
This delicious loaf is very cake-like in texture, but is not as sweet as a cake, so is perfect served with a sweet topping for breakfast instead of regular bread. 

Read the full recipe here
Fish Pie for under a Fiver
If you want an easy, budget meal to make in the slow cooker, this fish pie is a good option! The recipe suggests using frozen veg for convenience and cost but you can, of course, use fresh if you prefer.
Read the full recipe from Lizzy’s Lazy but Fabulous Slow Cooker Recipes
Leek, carrot, broccoli and torn chicken soup
Very tasty! Good for lunches, dinners and for freezing! 

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
Lion painting with Footprints and Forks
A fun, simple idea from Emma Owl! Create a friendly lion face with a memento of how tiny your child's feet once were.
Read more 
Gloop
Messy, fun, homemade gloop! Pour some cornflour from the box into a bowl and then add water. Mix until all the powder has disappeared. Children can then play with the mixture.
Read more
My Football Journal

Parents
: This Journal has been developed for children who play football to keep a record of their football season, which they love to do. The pages are full of different areas to fill in throughout their season. Matches played, what the score was and a question about their best memory to encourage a positive outcome to every game.
 
Children: This is a great Football journal just for you with no rules. You can fill out your football journal throughout the year and add your own notes, photos and drawings. keep a record of all your match results and your best memories from every game.  

Book will be available to buy from 15th of September 2015 - follow our facebook page for updates

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
Back Garden Cooking
Before the summer is completely over (though some might say it already is!), why not try this activity with your pre-schooler. With your child, gather together as many different materials and items as you can find: leaves, shells, sand, grass, straw, herbs, even some mud if you dare! 

Read more
365 Facts of the Day Calendar
This amazing interactive resource from www.projectbritain.com is like an advent calendar with an educational twist for each day of the year. Every day of the year has a picture and when you click on it it reveals facts and information about a special event, famous person or celebration related to that day. 
Read more
Special Offers
Special offers for Essex Mums added this month!
Skids for Kids
Avoid the rush and queues at Clarks! Try SKIDS School Shoes recently launched in the UK. Offering stylish designs for Girls & Boys from Reception to Year Six – Sizes available from UK9 to UK6.
Read more
Just Kidding Chorus
Love singing? Looking after a little one? The Just Kidding Chorus (based in South Woodford) is a feel-good daytime choir for parents/carers with a little one in tow. If you’ve had enough of Wheels on the Bus and want to get back to singing great music for adults, come join us! 
Read more
Carver’s Cupcakes
As a Thank You for voting Carver’s Cupcakes the Best Cakes/Cupcakes in Essex in the Essex Mums Awards, quote ‘EssexMums’ when placing your order to save 10% 

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!
Remus Veggie Cook Book 2015 sponsored by Essex Mums – Recipe Submission
This is a new fundraising initiative for Remus Horse Sanctuary and we need your help please! Our all new vegetarian cook book will be available for sale later this year, making the perfect Christmas gift! 
Read more
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
Groups for Older Children 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. Offers this month: SUMMER HOLIDAYS 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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