Essex Mums Newsletter July 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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With only the occasional sunny day, it's hard to believe but the summer holidays are just around the corner. As many of you will be thinking of ways to keep the kids happy over the coming six week break, this newsletter will feature a lot of info about finding things to do as well as interesting new features from across the site.

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

Mum2mum market is getting a boost in Essex thanks to it’s appearance on BBC2’s Dragon’s Den. 

Mum2mum markets are nearly new sales of great quality maternity, baby and children’s goods - prams, toys, clothes, equipment, furniture etc...
The sales are already proving popular in Billericay, Chelmsford, Dagenham and are now coming to Thurrock, Southend, Basildon, Canvey , & Colchester

SELLERS book a stall online and get help every step of the way with our great tips and keep 100% of the profits. 
BUYERS can come along and pick up bargains at up to 90% off retail prices.

Visit our Facebook page for all the latest dates, information  and offers  


 
Essex Mums Awards
The nominations have been counted and the voting has started! Come and vote for the people, places and things that make your life as a parent in Essex that bit easier! 

http://www.essexmums.org/awardsvoting.html

Voting will close on September 6th so there's plenty of time to vote, share with your friends or customers (or both!) and generally say thanks to all those wonderful people who bring so much joy and fun to our families. Last year it was so amazing to be able to show how much we appreciate them and I am looking forward to doing the same again this year. 

Thank you to everyone who has already voted; we have already received more than 35,000 votes, which is just amazing and already outstrips the number received last year by miles!

The 2016 Essex Mums Awards are sponsored by:

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! 

Summer Holidays
Just a few more weeks until those long summer holidays - have you worked out how you are going to keep the kids entertained? We have everything you could possibly need to know here at Essex Mums. From days out in the woods to bouncy castle craziness; from a hour's entertainment to a full week's worth of summer camp. Check out our Summer Fun section for full listings!

We're working hard to get all the fantastic things going on across Essex added and want to keep Essex Mums the best resource for parents in Essex there is. Keep checking back as new events are added. If you are an event organiser, 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 to get another ad free! Anyone spending £50 or more also gets an ad on the main summer page totally free of charge!
Summer Holidays Planner
Keep track of all the fun things you have planned with our handy Summer Holidays Planner. Make time for days out, meeting friends, family time, games and play, rest times, meals in and out as well as all those boring chores that unfortunately still need to be done. If you want some ideas for places to eat out, try the Family-Friendly Eats section, and be sure to review places you've been yourself!
Presents for Teachers
Looking for a little something to show your gratitude to your child's teacher? Why not look for something a bit different in the Alternative Shopping Guide? You could browse the lovely shops in the Gifts for Adults section, or look at some of the wonderful products in the Product Guide, where you can search by price, category or specific tags. You're sure to find something, whether it's a cheap and cheerful pocket money gift, or something a little more extravagant.
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!

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! 
Carddies
Carddies are little card people who live in a box. They are one of those simple ideas that work really well and and my children love them. Actually, I think I might love them as much as my children! Basically, Carddies are little sets of  people for your child to colour and play with. 
Click here to read Louise's full review
Simply Pure Laundry Tablets
We trialled both the Simply Pure Allergen and Fragrance Free Laundry Soft-tabs as well as the Simply Sensitive Non-Bio Laundry Soft-tabs. I didn’t find that there was a big difference between both products that we tried. Both seemed to work well (as good as my normal brand) and managed to wash the stains out of my son’s clothes 
Click here to read Melissa'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. 
 
Get in shape with your own, Online Personal Trainer!
Fitness Angels (www.f-angels.com), an innovative new service that lets mums exercise with a personal trainer live via webcam! We understand how difficult it is for mums to stay fit while looking after their kids and that’s why we created this service specifically for you Mums.

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.
Finger Food Ideas
Here are some of our favourite finger food ideas for babies and toddlers.
Read more
A Mum's Experience: Books for Toddlers
My son, Small B has had books thrust upon him from birth. Being a child named after a literary character my husband and I hoped he would take to books with the same ferocious hunger that we did. Of course as much as we would have loved him to start with Harry Potter we soon discovered around one year old that it would take practice to get there. 
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
Lamb Kebab with Onion Potato Wedges
Serve with a nice Greek salad for a more family-friendly version of the takeaway meal!

Read the full recipe here
Crockpot Hearty Minestrone Soup
The recipe's creator, Teresa, says "Childhood memories are stirred up whenever I cook up a batch of soup. Nothing was better than the smell of a big pot of simmering soup and homemade bread."

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
Pretty beaded bubble wands
Another great idea from Clair Thienel: We made this super cute bubble wands about two years ago; they always come out when we have garden parties with toddlers attending and they are very popular! You can even make them as party favours and put ribbons on the end. 

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



See the Sugarcraft Classes Facebook page for more info.
Special Offers
Special offers for Essex Mums added this month!
10% off at Sticker Holic
We are based in Chelmsford selling personalised stick-on name labels, iron-on name labels and name tags for children.

Read more
£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

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

Every day this Summer Holidays

Be sure to bring your little ones down to Marsh Farm during the 6 week holidays for our Summer Spectacular, taking place every day. Prepare yourself for Magic Shows, Animal Displays and Milking Demonstrations. Play in our extensive indoor and outdoor play areas and run wild in our enormous inflatable village – all included with your entrance ticket!

Why not head into Chicken Coop Crafts and get messy & creative with our arty fun? There are hours of fun to be had at Marsh Farm, with bouncy pillows, sand-pit, tractor town, tractor and trailer rides, den building, pony grooming and much more!

NEW attractions!

The whole family will love getting lost inside our massive Maize Maze! Spanning across 4 acres, this labyrinth crop field will leave even the most expert puzzle professionals scratching their heads! Can you find the middle? Those lucky enough to crack the maze will discover a tasty treasure in the center – then you just need to find your way out…

If your kiddies love to explore then get ready for the enormous NEW Outdoor Adventure! Boasting 3 towers, rope bridges, tunnels, climbing nets and slides, this giant jaw-dropping play frame is hours of fun for children of all ages (come rain or shine)!

Tickets are just £11.50 on the day or £9.99 online, under 2s go free and no dogs allowed.

www.marshfarm.co.uk

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!

Special diets cookery classes

Billericay Saturday 23rd July
Come along for 4 hours of fun and watch me make meals and dishes that are gluten, dairy and/or sugar free to help take the mystery out of
cooking these foods. Â£45 per person. All ingredients, recipe sheets and supplier details included

Watch me make all your favourite foods including:
  • Bread with carrot and coriander soup.
  • Carbonara Pasta or Vegetable Canneloni with
  • side salad.
  • Apple Crumble with coconut cream
  • Followed by coffee and sugar free, dairy free chocolate fudge and ginger biscuits.
Try all the foods over lunch and  have some sweets and treats to take home.

For more information visit my facebook page or call Clare on 7717281604

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. 

beach cafe

smiggle.co.uk

New & Exclusive Summer Designs

TOMS (UK)

Kickers

Notonthehighstreet.com

Accessorize

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