Essex Mums Newsletter June 2016
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Half-Term Events  *   Summer Holidays   *   New Local Listings Section  *   We want to pay you for your ideas!  *   Father's Day  *   Essex Mums Awards  *   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! Summer is here, and the sun is shining... well, it was last week any way! I'm sure those of you with school-age children are enjoying a lovely half-term and are wondering how on Earth we are so close to the summer holidays again!

As always, this newsletter is full of some of the great stuff that has been added to the site this month. Look out for a few cross-county events this month as Essex celebrates the beginning of its Summer of Art 2016, with Art Trails and festivals across the county, and get down on the farm for Open Farm Sunday on the 5th. Hope you enjoy the newsletter!

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

Barracudas

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

  • Superb Easter & summer camps at 35+ 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! 

Half-Term Events
Half-term is underway and there are lots of fun things to do - let's just hope the weather holds out.Take a look at our Summer Half-Term page to see what's on near you!

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.

If you would like to submit an event, click here and if you're interested in an ad on any of these pages, take a look at our school holidays packages.
Summer Holidays
It might seem a little soon, but I've already added lots of summer holidays activities and events and our summer holidays pages are starting to come together. Make sure you have sent your events over to me at louise@essexmums.org or submit them here.

If you are interested in booking an ad for your business or event on these pages, get in touch. Ads start at just £10 so are a great way of getting the word out! Book through our online bookings page in June and get the same again totally free so you can start your summer holidays ads now and have them run throughout June and July, or wait until July for full holidays coverage!
New Local Listings Section
Our fantastic new local listings section is now up and running. 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. Take a look here and see what you think: www.essexmums.org/listings - I'd appreciate any feedback, good or bad! If you see a business you've used or a place you've visited, why not leave a review?

We are working hard to move everything from those existing sections over to here and by the end of the month it should be able to take over from them. In the meantime, you are welcome 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 lifetime featured listing for just £20 if you want to make it stand out more, but there's no charge just to be listed.
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!
Father's Day
Looking for a Father's Day gift? Take a look at the Alternative Shopping Guide and Product Guide for some ideas and let us know if you find anything really great!
Have your own Exotic Cocktail Party this summer from £295!

Birthday, wedding, hen party approaching? 

Or just need a good excuse for a garden party with family & friends!

We serve expertly crafted cocktails made from the World's rarest fruits.

Please contact: 01277 809810 or bar@myexoticfruit.com to book our bar.

Our previous clients include Khloe Kardashian, Diesel Clothing, O2, The Vamps and Lauren Pope.

Sample menus, pictures & feedback on www.myexoticfruit.com/mobilecocktailbar
Beer and wine available for guests who don't drink cocktails
(Mocktail parties from £195, Cocktail Masterclasses £20 per head, or hire a bartender for the evening from £100)

Essex Mums Awards
Even more awards nominations have been coming in this month and at last count you had nominated more than 18000 people, places and things that make your life as a parent in Essex that bit easier or more fun! Nominations will stay open for another week or two 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 2016 Essex Mums Awards are sponsored by:

Come and learn Pilates in a very small group!
 
  • Experiencing back or neck discomfort?
  • Notice that your spine is not as flexible as it once was?
  • Recently had a baby and need to re-build your strength?
  • Not sure whether you're exercising safely & effectively?
  • Want to be highly supervised in a small group by a highly qualified and experienced professional?
Pilates is a series of slow and controlled body conditioning exercises which relieve stress, build core stability & strength & stamina, improve muscle elasticity & mobilise spinal joints.
 
Our classes & courses run from Monday - Thursday evenings, and Tuesday - Thursday mornings in Upminster & Cranham.  For further information or to book, go to www.upminstersportsmassage.co.uk or call Charlene on 07411 826721.


 
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! 
litecup
The litecup is a great little invention – a sippy cup that lights up! Sounds simple but it’s certainly something I haven’t seen before and is a really useful idea. We tried one out with my three year old Dexter. Dexter likes to sleep in the dark so it can disturb him (and therefore us) if he wakes in the night wanting a drink, as he will scrabble around trying to find the sippy cup by his bed. 
Click here to read Louise's full review
Chatham Deck Shoes  
My son Felix is, to put it kindly, a bit of a scruff. He would happily stay in his pyjamas all day, has school shoes that are battered beyond belief and generally lives in a pair of tiger print canvas shoes he’s had for a year or so and have seen better days. Basically, he doesn’t do smart.  
Click here to read Louise's 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. 
 
Julia Hubbard’s 30 min workout
Here is the third of three great at home workouts, shared with Essex Mums by ILU

Click here to see the workout
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! 

New 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.
Weaning: Introducing Solid Foods
Mums have many questions about how to start their baby on solid food as it’s a really important step in their development.  for aisha,(www.foraisha.com) a leading baby food company, has produced a guide that supports you as you explore new flavours and textures together.
Read more
A Mum's Experience: Playing With Your Toddler
When my son, Little B was a baby playing was easy. I would just have to wave something shiny above him and he would be fascinated for ages. I’d sing “Twinkle Twinkle” a few hundred times  and he would coo and giggle at every word. Even just learning to roll over was an wonderful  game to him. There were even times my presence was not required for baby play time. 
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
Grilled Mexican Chicken with Cumin Lime Vinaigrette
A delicious and heart-friendly meal. Kids will love how colourful it is and parents will love how easy and healthy it is! Great for lunch but could also be a light summer main meal.

Read the full recipe here
Super Fruity Milkshake Lollies
Fed up with sugar-laden ice lollies? Then why not make your own? Use Shaken Udder milkshake as the base for these calcium-packed fruity ice pops. Better still, get the kids to make them with you!

Read the full recipe here
Cabbage, Bacon and Potato Skillet
A hearty meal that manages to combine some Irish favourites with  interesting Indian spices.
Read the full recipe here


Have you heard about the new trend sweeping the nation?

“An escape room?” and a blank look is a common response when mentioning the term to somebody.  This will start to change though as it’s a new activity you can book that is sweeping the nation and providing joyful entertainment for couples, families, friends and colleagues across UK, Europe, America and Asia.  It’s perfect for birthdays.  

So I won’t leave you in the dark – an escape room is simply put where you get a bunch of people, you go into a room - you are locked inside and there are clues and puzzles and you all have to work together to figure your way out of the room.  The time flies and it’s great fun and suitable from 10 to 90. 

http://www.cluehqbrentwood.co.uk/book
 
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
Glow In The Dark Glitter Jars
Something fun for the bedroom (how cool would these be for a space-themed room?) or even to take camping with you now the weather is getting better, we love these glow in the dark glitter jars from ‘The Connections We Make’. They’re easy to make and look fantastic!
Read more 
Homemade Moondough
Moondough is fun, mouldable sand; here’s how to make your own at a fraction of the shop bought prices. Thanks to Clair Thienel for the great idea!
Read more 
Upcycled Crayons
I love this! Thanks to Clair for another fantastic idea!

Fed up of finding bits and pieces of broken crayon about the place that end up getting thrown out?
Read more 
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
Reading Bookworm
This idea from chickenbabies.com was originally aimed at getting kids to read throughout the summer holidays, but I think it could be a great idea all year round for rewarding unenthusiastic readers. Of course we all know that eventually reading is its own reward but even for a good reader it can be a bit of a slow-starter, so a little incentive doesn’t hurt. 

Read more

MotorFest
Fathers Day Sunday 19th June 2016
Marsh Farm Animal Adventure Park

Marsh Farm presents this unmissable Custom/Classic Car & Bike Show this Fathers Day!

CUSTOM CARS, HOT RODS, CLASSIC CARS & BIKES, CUSTOM BIKES, BOBBERS, CHOPPERS, SCOOTERS, TRIKES, STREET-FIGHTERS, VINTAGE CARS AND BIKES!

Bring the whole family and enjoy children’s entertainment, balloon modelling, face-painting, a HUGE INFLATABLE VILLAGE and free admission to Marsh Farm Animal Adventure Park including all the usual fun on the farm!

Good Old Fashioned Entertainment with Crazy DJ Nadge and the Foxy Rock Dancers

Dads go FREE with a full-paying admission when you book online, online tickets £9.99 (£11.50 on the door), under 2s go FREE. No dogs allowed.

www.marshfarm.co.uk

Special Offers
Special offers for Essex Mums added this month!
£40 off at Clue HQ Brentwood
Clue HQ Brentwood has had over 300 positive reviews and is the #1 activity in fun and game across all of Essex on Tripadvisor.  They are offering EssexMums readers up to £40 off for May half term.
Read more
10% off at Rusks and Rebels
Rusks & Rebels began with the simple idea of creating cool and funky t-shirts for my two rebels Dylan and Cameron. After sketching out a few ideas for them we soon realised we had the potential to create a seriously killer collection of kids and babies clothing. 
Read more
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Ticket Offer
Get £67.50 tickets to See Roald Dahl’s CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY the new musical for £39.50 or £49.50 tickets for £29.50 in celebration of the it entering it’s fourth and final year at Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Read more
15% off at Carddies
Carddies are Award winning British colouring sets encouraging creativity, pretend play, imagination and story-telling… 

Read more
10% off at Beautylashus
For all Essex Mums  we would like to offer you a 10% discount on all treatments. If you ‘like’ both pages you can get this offer just pm Beautylashus for more info and booking availability.
Read more
10% off at Little Herbs
A baby’s delicate skin needs the utmost care to ensure it is protected and nurtured safely. Expectant mums need just the same. Little Herbs believes only the best will do, especially as we know that at least 60% of whatever is put on our skin sinks into our bodies. -  
Read more
10% off Micro Scooters at Cuthberts Toys
The Mini Micro Scooter is the perfect 'first' scooter for your children to learn on and they'll be zipping around in no time.  The scooter has 3 wheels, with two at the front for stability, a sturdy brake at the back to slow them down and a low robust deck.  The 'lean and tilt' steering makes it easy to navigate around obstacles.  The scooter is lightweight, easy to carry and the T-bar handle pops out for compact storage.
Read more
£10 off at Girl Meets Golf
Get £10 off all events with the code ‘Essexmums’

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!
Celebrate the Queen’s 90th Birthday with Essex Air Ambulance!
Essex Air Ambulance is inviting everyone from across the county, looking to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday, to host a Royal Afternoon Tea in her honour and help raise vital funds for their local Air Ambulance. 
Read more
LUXURY SPA RETREAT FOR PARENTS WITH FREE CHILDCARE!
There is no tougher job than being a parent but finding time to relax and rejuvenate can often seem impossible. Our Petit Pampering - Mummy & Me Retreats enable expectant mothers and parents to enjoy a luxury yoga & spa retreat while their babies and children are being cared for on-site by our team of professional nannies and children's entertainers.

Held at the stunning 5* Hanbury Manor Marriott Hotel & Country Club in Ware. We have a range of packages including Pregnancy/Couples/Golf and Spa and Mummy & Me starting from £99.  You can enjoy health and wellbeing classes, deluxe beauty treatments, time in the first class spa facilities and delicious afternoon tea, all while your children are being lovingly cared for and entertained reassuringly close to hand.

Our next retreat will take place on the 21st May with dates in June, July and August also available so please contact us for more information or to book a place. erin@petitpa.co.uk and feel free to like us on FB - Petit PA 

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!

CLASSES IN BENFLEET, HADLEIGH & RAYLEIGH
At Mini Professors we introduce toddlers and pre-school children to the wondrous world of science.  Our motto is ‘science is all around us’ - we show children how science is related to everyday objects and everything we do using fun, interactive experiments, singing and storytelling.

Exciting topics this term include fossils, microscopic creatures, digestion, machines, rainforests and mirrors.

We aim to inspire a generation...come along and help nurture a passion for exploration and scientific adventure.

Visit our Facebook page (facebook.com/miniprofessorsbenfleet) to find out more & take advantage of our 3 classes for £12 launch offer.
 

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
Children's Centres
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. 
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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