Well the sun is shining and the summer holidays are nearly upon us. As many of you will be thinking of ways to keep the kids happy over the coming six week break, I thought I would use the next two newsletters to focus on fun things to do! This newsletter will feature some events as normal, as well as some other summer holidays ideas, and August's will be devoted almost entirely to all the amazing things that are on. 

Summer Holidays Events
We're working hard to get all the fantastic things going on across Essex added to the Things to Do section and want to make Essex Mums the best resource for parents in Essex there is. Keep checking back as new events are added to this section all the time: everything from school fetes to summer holiday clubs, and events for all ages. There is so much to do, so try searching by area, or asking in the forum for some ideas if you're not sure what to do with your little (or big) ones. If you are an event organiser and haven't sent over your summer holiday events, please do send them to louise@essexmums.org

Summer Holidays Meet Ups
Would you like to meet up with other mums this summer? It's a great way of entertaining the kids and having a nice time yourself too. If the sun is shining, why not organise a picnic in the park, visit to a country park or walk in the woods? Come and suggest something fun in the Meet-Ups section of the forum, and if you want to suggest an event, I can add it to the Facebook Group too, to spread the word. You're bound to find someone local who is also at a loose end. Keep an eye out on this section for events organised by others too and don't be afraid to join in!

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!

Places to Go
If you're looking for some ideas for a great day out, try our Places to Go section, which has ideas for all sorts of days out: castles, play centres, parks, wildlife and much more! This section is still a work in progress, with new places being added all the time. Make sure you come back and comment about your day afterwards so that others can hear what a lovely time you had!

New Things to Do ads
Do you have a local business? How would you like your logo to appear every time someone looks for events in your area? Well, now it can happen! I'm now offering ads in the Things to Do section. You can get ads on the Things to Do page itself, on a main area page, such as this one, on an area subpage, or even have full run of the whole section. I'm offering them at a low introductory rate so see the rate card for details and snap them up while they're still available!

Forum Sponsors
Want an ad but don't have much of a budget? I'm looking for some new forum sponsors - this is just £20 a year so a really cheap way of promoting your business. Let me know if you're interested!

Lots going on this month! You can find full listings on the Things to Do section but hopefully this will give you a few ideas about what's on near you for half-term and beyond.

3rd – 5th: Alice in Wonderland, Towngate Theatre
6th: The Olympic Torch Relay come to Basildon
7th & 8th: Superstars Competition, Basildon Sporting Village
12th: Almost End of Term Charity Bash, Partyman World of Play
14th: St.Margarets C. of E. Primary School Summer Fete
21st-27th: Creepy Crawly Week, Wat Tyler Country Park
22nd: Family fun day and Performance in the Park, Langdon Hills
23rd-27th: A Passion for Food, Mayflower School
23rd onwards: Summer Holiday Fun at Barleylands
24th & 25th: P.A.S.S. Soccer School, Hannikins Farm
25th: Family Nature Day, Langdon Lake
29th: Minibeast Safari, Nevendon Bushes
30th: Lee Chapel North Holiday Club 
7th: Fete On The Green, All Saints Church
7th: Music In The Park, Town Park, Halstead
8th: Colne Valley at War, Colne Valley Railway
8th: The Selfish Crocodile, Braintree Arts Centre
14th – 9th Sep: The Original Great Maize Maze, Blake House
14th: Witham Carnival Day
21st: Great Notley Stargazing Event
23rd – 17th Aug: SuperCamps Multi-Activity, St Margaret’s Prep School
23rd – 2nd Aug: School Holiday Club, Rayne Village Hall
24th: Activity Tuesday, Hedingham Castle
26th & 27th: P.A.S.S. Soccer, Lyons Hall Primary School
27th:Cheeky Chimps Summer Holiday Musical Picnic, Stambourne Village Hall
28th: Summer Fun for Kids at Halstead Town Centre
31st: Teddy Bears Picnic, Hedingham Castle

3rd: Get Ready for Pre-school/Scho
ol Free Trial Session, Knights Way Centre
4th: Penny’s Pre-School Playtime, Thorndon North
6th: Olympic Torch Relay In Herongate And Brentwood
8th: Come and Meet Rastamouse, Old MacDonalds Farm
14th & 15th: Old Mac’s Treasure Trail, Old MacDonald’s Farm
23rd- 28th: Mad Science Holiday Camps, Sawyers Hall Tech College
23rd: Summer Children's Explorer Trek at Weald Country Park
24th onwards: Activity Days for 5 - 11 year olds, Zinc Arts
27th: Fairies and Wizards Trail, Thorndon South
27th: Free Family Fun Days at King George's Playing Fields
28th: Woodland Adventure Play, Lexden Gathering Ground
30th & 31st: CoachingAces Football Camps
31st: The Sky is the Limit, Thorndon North

Castle Point

All month: Canvey Miniature Railway
13th: South Benfleet Primary School Summer Fete
14th: William Read Primary School Fete
20th: Glow by Night, Hadleigh Country Park
31st: Mushroom Theatre Company Summer Holiday Workshops: One Direction Day

All month: Marconi and the Sea, Chelmsford Museum
1st, 23rd, 25th & 30th: Horse and Carriage Rides at Hylands House
6th & 7th: Olympic Torch Relay
7th: Meet the Olympic Mascots Wenlock & Mandeville at the Meadows Shopping Centre
10th: Tuesday Toddle Teddy Bears' Picnic, Hylands House
14th  & 15th: Teddy Bear’s Games, Marsh Farm
16th – 4th Sep: Jester's Out of School and Holiday Club
20th  & 27th: Wild Night Out, Hanningfield Reservoir
21st: Fairy School Workshops
21st – 2nd Sep: Summer Fun at the Zoo , Tropical Wings
23rd – 26th: Mad Science Holiday Camps, Baddow Hall Infant School
23rd – 27th: Sports Xtra Activity Days, Riverside Ice and Leisure
23rd – 27th: A Passion for Dance, New Hall School
23rd – 8th August: Bounce into Summer at Marsh Farm
25th  & 30th: Peppa Pig Visits Creepy Crawlies
25th: Detective Trail, Essex Police Museum


6th: Animal Games, Natural History Museum
7th: Activity Day, Marks Hall
8th: Family Orienteering Event and picnic, Tiptree Heath
15th: Family Day: Flying The Flag, Colchester Arts Centre
17th: Mothing Night at Cudmore Grove
21st: Family Forest Schools, High Woods
21st: Roman Games and Entertainment, St Boltoph’s
23rd onwards: Summer Activities at Colchester Leisure Centres
23rd - 31st Aug: Summer Holidays: Pick Up Art Station
24th: Buzzy Bees Wildlife Discovery Day, Fingringhoe Wick
24th – 27th: The Chinese Ghost, Colchester Castle Museum
25th: Watery Wonderland, High Woods
25th &  26th: Green Screen Film Exp - Learn to fly at Fogfarts, Headgate Theatre
27th: Free Kids Craft Table, Slack Space, Colchester
28th: Summer Late Night Openings, Colchester Zoo
30th  - 3rd Aug: Theatricool Summer School 2012, Colchester Institute

Epping Forest
7th: Teddy Bear and Friends, St Mary's Church
8th & 9th: Family Fun Weekend at Royal Gunpowder Mills
14th: The Epping Festival 2012

14th: Fire Station Open Days, Epping and Loughton
23rd – 3rd Aug: Theatrebugs Summer Holiday Workshop 2012: The Animal Games
23rd – 2nd Sep: Summer Science, Royal Gunpowder Mills
23rd – 27th: Star Track, Lee Valley
25th - 27th: 'Super Heroes' holiday club, Waltham Abbey Baptist Church
30th – 24th Aug: Barracudas Activity Camps, Chigwell
30th – 10th Aug: Natures Games, WaterWorks Nature Reserve

Sundays: Sunday Funday, Science Alive
7th: The Great McDonald's Mascotathon

28th: Olympic Themed Cooking Workshops, Harlow Friends Meeting House

Until 14th: Peter Pan, Queens Theatre
4th: The Mad Hatter, Queens Theatre
7th: Harold Wood Primary School Summer Fayre
14th: Charity Family Fun Day and Dog Show, Romford & Gidea Park Rugby Club
14th: Wykeham Primary School Summer Fete
21st: Barking and Dagenham Town Show, Wellgate Farm
21st: Mad Hatter Tea Party Event, Stewart Avenue Allotments
23rd onwards: Activities at Stubbers Adventure Centre
23rd – 10th Aug: SuperCamps Multi-Activity, Oakfields Montessori
23rd – 17th Aug : Barracudas Activity Camps, Coopers’ Co. & Coborn School
26th: Magical Meadows, Bedfords Park
28th: Beauties and the Beasts, Chafford Gorge
31st: Wildlife Discovery Holiday Club, Bedfords Park


Saturdays: Junior Funfair, Maldon Promenade Park
3rd – 7th: Ten Years of Shakespeare in the Park, St. Peters Tower
7th: Junior Rangers Overnight Camping (Age 8+), Mersea
7th: Cold Norton Pre-School Fun Day
26th: Essex Outdoors School Holiday Activities at Bradwell
26th: Soldier School 2012, Combined Miltary Services Museum
27th: Canoe Days at Bradwell
28th: Fire Station Open Days, Tillingham


All month:Artist in Residence 2012 Exhibition – Phenomena, Valentine’s Mansion
All month: Eastbury Manor House Heritage Day
Every Saturday: Razzamatazz Roller Skating Disco, Redbridge Sports and Leisure
7th: Fairlop Fair, Hainault Country Park
22nd: Haven House Summer Fayre, The White House
23rd – 17th Aug: Barracudas Activity Camps, Woodford County High School
24th: Family Gardening, Valentine’s Mansion


All month: Rayleigh Market
Olympic Torch visits Rayleigh
7th: Wild Woods Day – The Giants are Coming! Hockley Woods
14th: Fire Station Open Days, Rochford
18th: Special Needs Fun House Activity, Rayleigh Megazone
23rd onwards: Holiday Clubs 2012, Belchamps
24th: Clay Club, The Clay Cottage


All month: Thames Titanics - Wrecks from the Estuary, Southend Museum
2nd, 6th & 11th: Tatty Bumpkin FREE Taster Sessions, Leigh & Thorpe Bay
5th: Your Money or Your Life, Blenheim Children’s Centre
6th: Olympic Torch Relay at Southend Town Centre
7th & 8th Robin Hood Game And Country Show, Garon Park
7th & 8th: Art on the Railings - Free Childrens Art workshops, Southend
14th: Polish Arts Festival, Southend Pier
19th – 22nd: Angelina Ballerina - The Mousical, Cliffs Pavilion
21st & 22nd: Circus Weekend, Adventure Island
21st & 22nd: The Enormous Turnip, Palace Theatre
24th – 28th Aug: Performing Arts Holiday Club, Blenheim School
29th: Family Fun Day, Len Forge Centre
30th – 3rd Aug: Mad Science Holiday Camps, Leigh

Every Saturday and Sunday: Go Bounce, Clacton Factory Outlet
7th: Sidney’s Party Days (starring Peppa Pig), Clacton Pier
7th & 8th: Brightlingsea Boat Show & Regatta

14th: Tendring Hundred Show, Lawford House Park
14th: Fire Station Open Days
22nd: Rotary Harich Sea Festival
24th – 3rd Aug: Mersea Centre for Outdoor Learning Holiday Activity Days
24th, 25th, 31st: Summer Fun with the Dream 100 Roadrunners
28th: The Main Event Fireworks, Clacton Pier
28th: Fossil Hunts at the Naze
29th: The Little Big Club, Princes Theatre

1st – 6th: Literary Arts Festival 2012, Ellis Theatre
7th: Summer Fete, Grays, Busy Bees Nursery
8th: Summer Fun Cupcake Class, Hobbycraft
8th: Cup of care fayre Margeretting Village Hall
14th: Wildlife Explorers Club at RSPBRainham Marshes
22nd: Family fun day and Performance in the Park, Westley Heights
23rd – 27th: Summer Holiday Workshop, Thameside Theatre
27th: School Holiday Marine Messy Bugs, Chafford Gorge

5th, 6th, 9th & 10th: Rugby Camp, Felsted School
7th: Olympic Torch Fun Day, Saffron Walden Common
7th & 8th, 14th & 15th, 21st & 22nd: Bringing Audley End to Life
14th: Fire Station Open Days
23rd – 27th: Time Travellers Go… WWII, Audley  End
23rd – 17th Aug: SuperCamps Multi-Activity Camps, Dame Bradbury’s School
23rd – 17th Aug: Detective Camp, Dunmow St Mary’s Primary School
30th – 4th Aug: Musical Theatre, Dance & Drama Workshop, Felsted School

Focus on... 
Each month we will focus on some of the clubs, groups and classes in different towns across the county. This month we're looking at Doddinghurst, a small village just north of Brentwood.
Whilst there is no Sure Start centre in Doddinghurst itself, parents can use the nearby Larchwood Gardens Centre, which has a range of groups and activities for families.
There are also several parent and toddler groups and classes, including:
If you’re looking for something for older kids, you might like to try one of the following:
And for something more energetic, try the following dance and sports clubs:
Please phone to check before attending a group or class!

Doddinghurst has two preschools: Doddinghurst Pre-School and St. Margaret's Pre-School Playgroup and a Community Creche, and two primary schools: Doddinghurst Infant School and Doddinghurst CofE  Junior School. The closest secondary schools are Shenfield High School and Sawyers Hall College. It has a few shops and playing fields, including a playground for local children.

Things to win! Check out the great competitions we currently have running. If you would like to run a competition yourself please let me know - it's a great way to advertise for free and also give something lovely to parents in Essex!

Special Offers for Essex Mums
Some of our generous advertisers have some very special offers for you all this month!

Product Reviews

Here's a list of what's been added this month! You can see a bit about each of our reviewers here, or can go straight to the reviews here.

New on the Shopping Guide
The Shopping Guide features both a shop listing and a product listing to help you find that perfect gift, whether it's for someone else, or for yourself! The guide features lots of lovely products that are a bit different to what you'll find on the High Street, and new products are being added all the time. Take a look! If you are interested in being featured, please let me know. 

New additions this month:

On the forum this month

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. 

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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