Hooray, the sun has finally come out, and just in time for half-term! Grab yourself a nice cold drink and sit down to read about what's going on this month.

Half Term and Jubilee Events
Schools will be enjoying half-term next week, and even working parents will get a little time off with the double bank holiday - woo! We've been working hard to get the half-term events added, and you can see a selection below, but there is still time to send them over if you haven't already! Send anything you want added to louise@essexmum.org. The same goes for summer holiday events and anything else: you can either post them on the forum yourself or just send them over to me. If you're looking for a local Jubilee street party or or events near you during half-term, make sure you check out the Things to Do section to see what's on.

Meeting Up
Are you interested in getting together with other parents? Whether it's a half-term get together with the kids in the park, or taking the babies to a toddler group, you're sure to find someone who wants to join you on the forum. Don't be shy, try posting 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.

Ask the Trainer
The Ask the Trainer section is now up and running - in here you can put your health and fitness questions to Personal Trainer Zoe Randall. If you're trying to get fit or lose weight yourself, you might also be interested in joining our Weight Loss Support Thread, or reading my getting fit journal on the blog.

Pregnancy and Parenting
The Pregnancy and Parenting has been filling up this month with articles written by some of our lovely Essex Mums. It's a work in progress and will take a while before we have everything on but I'm very excited that it's taking shape and am extremely grateful to everyone who has been working hard on it. If you're interested in contributing, take a look at the details here.

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: Jubilee Open Day At The Wick Community Centre
4thStreet Party & Diamond Jubilee Celebrations, Bowers Gifford
5th Big Bug Hunt, Langdon Visitor Centre
6th: Tatty Bumpkin Bendy Holiday Club, Little Burstead Village Hall
6th & 7thP.A.S.S. Soccer, Mayflower High School
7thBillericay Half Term Family Fun Day, Hannakins Farm
10th: Basildon Baby and Toddler Expo
29thAfter-School Disco, Second Steps Stay and Play
30thMinibeast Meander, Hanngingfield Reservoir
All month: Braintree Art Trail
2nd –  4thDay Out with Thomas, Colne Valley Railway
3rdJousting with The Knights of Royal England and Food & Craft Market, Hedingham Castle
4thJubilee Family Funday The Compasses at Pattiswick
7thTiny Mites on Tour, Mercury Theatre
8thSparks will Fly, Braintree Town Centre
10thOpen Day at Alderford Watermill
16thSing-along-a-Grease, Braintree Arts Centre
21st & 26thTeddy Bear’s Picnic, Colne Valley Railway
28thGreat Notley Stargazing Event, Great Notley

2nd - 10thDiamond Jubilee Celebration Trail at Weald Country Park
 Strawberry Jubilee Celebrations In Brentwood, Shenfield Common
6thSpy High at Thorndon Country Park
8thKids Laser Warfare Funday, Brentwood Karting
8thPirate and Princess Treasure Trail at Thorndon Country Park
10thPunch and Judy Show, Old MacDonald’s Farm
16th & 17thThe Weald Show at Weald Country Park
18th - 20th: Brentwood Art Trail
23rdNCT Brentwood Cheeky Monkeys Tea Party, Shenfield Parish Hall
24thHopefield Animal Sanctuary Horse Themed Open Day

Castle Point

Throughout May & June: Starting School Get-Together, Farmer Fred’s Playbarn
3rd & 17thIron Age Roundhouse Open Afternoon, Hadleigh Country Park
6thSurvival for Softies, Hadleigh Country Park
17thSparks Will Fly, Waterside Farm Show Ground
30th: Fete and Sport Festival, Kents Hill School

All month: Marconi and the Sea, Chelmsford Museum
2nd – 10th: Best of British, Tropical Wings
4th: A Royal Knees Up - Diamond Jubilee Beacon Lighting! Hylands Park
4th – 11th: Jesters Out of School Club, Bicknacre
5thSword in the Stone Workshop, Hylands House
6th: Queen of Hearts Tea Party, Just Imagine Story Centre
6th – 8thThe Danbury One Day Experience, Danbury Centre for Outdoor Learning
12th: Wam Bam Boomerang SEN Nights
14thFairy School Workshops, Chelmsford
24thFame! The Musical, Marconi Social Club
26th: Barnardos Big Toddle, Oaklands Park
27th & 28th0-5 Funday, Springfield Parish Centre


1stSeussical the Musical at CMPA Live
2nd & 3rdMersea Island Food & Drink Festival, Mersea Vineyard
2nd & 4th - 9th Castle Adventure, Colchester Castle
3rdDeeply Dippy, High Woods
4thVillage Fete, Layer Marney Tower
5thQueen’s Diamond Jubilee, Colchester Zoo
6th-8thDoublelingo French Holiday Club, Nayland
7th - 10th: Moscow State Circus
8thKeep Napoleon Out! Colchester Castle
16thDr Palfi and Minnie’s Not the Flying Tortoise Show, Colchester Arts Centre
26thRemember When… Holidays, Hollytrees Museum
28th: Autism Anglia Conference - 'Autism: Exploding the Myths'

30thSpecial Senses Day, Colchester Zoo

Epping Forest
All month: Peeler's Progress, Epping Forest Museum
3rdSteam Open Day at Ilford & West Essex Model Railway Club
4thKings and Queens: Crowns and Coronets, The Temple
5thDiamond Jubilee Donkey Rides, Foxburrows Farm
6thKings and Queen Bees, Epping Forest Field Centre
8thKings and Queens: Coats of Arms, Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge
16thRiver Life, Roding Valley Meadows
24thSparks Will Fly, Town Mead Park

Sundays: Sunday Funday, Science Alive
5thThe Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Harlow Playhouse
6thThe KidZ Concert, Harlow Playhouse

All month: Peter Pan, Queens Theatre
2ndJubilee Day Picnic, Upminster Windmill
6th: Chelsea FC Foundation Whitsun Mini Kickers
4th – 8thAdventure Week, Stubbers Adventure Centre
16thCollier Row Carnival
16thTeddy Bear’s Challenge, Chafford Gorge
27thPreschool Caterpillar Club, Bedford Park


Saturdays: Junior Funfair, Maldon Promenade Park
3rdMiniature Railway Running, Museum of Power
6thEssex Outdoors Holiday Events at Bradwell
8thCanoe Days at Bradwell
16thSparks Will Fly, Town Centre
22nd: Moth Evening
24thBlackwater Country Show, Heybridge


All month: Razzamatazz Roller Skating Disco, Redbridge Sports and Leisure Centre
Mondays: Sing and Strum for Under Fives, Woodford Green Library
2ndEastbury Manor House Family Day
3rdFamily Sunday – Green Fingers, Valentine’s Mansion

4th: Redbridge Green Fair, Valentine's Park
6thOlympic Drawing, Valentine’s Mansion
7th: The Gruffalo Story Time, Hainault Library
22ndCrafternoon! Creative Biscuit Cafe
24th: PFWCH's Summer Fair, Woodford


All month: Rayleigh Market
2ndWild Wood Day, Hockley Woods
3rdStambridge Jubilee Big Lunch, Stambridge Memorial Hall and Ground
4thFamily Fun Day, The Marlborough Head
6th- 8thHoliday Clubs, Belchamps
7thBouncy Castle Fun, Rayleigh Leisure Centre
8thFamily Roller Disco, Clements Hall Leisure Centre
9thThe Giants are Coming, Hockley Library


1st – 5thAtlantis Tall Ship Sailings & Open Ship at Southend Pier
2ndJubilee Family Fun Day, Heycroft School
3rdAndy and Mike’s Big Box of Bananas, Cliffs Pavilion
4thDiamond Jubilee Party, Shoeburyness
7thJubilee Activities, Central Museum
9thMulti-Sensory Storytelling, Southend Library
10thFireman Sam, Cliffs Pavilion
16thArt Workshops for Children with Autism, Blenheim Children’s Centre
23rdSparks Will Fly, Southend Seafront
23rd: Southend Carnival

29th: Village Green, Chalkwell Park

Every Saturday & Sunday: Go Bounce, Clacton Family Outlet
2ndTeddy Bear’s Picnic, Walton-on-the-Naze
2nd & 3rd: T-Fest, Grays Beach

3rdDiamond Jubilee Poppy Picnic, Clacton
4thLittle Clacton Carnival
4th: Jubilee Fun Day, Brightlingsea Community Centre
6th – 8thHoliday Activity Days, Mersea Centre for Outdoor Learning
7thAncient Skills 1, Fingringhoe Wick
14thFootloose, Princes Theatre

3rdSparks Will Fly, Grays Beach
4th & 5th: Lakeside's Free Family Event For The Diamond Jubilee
6thTeddy’s Sports Day, Thameside Theatre
7thAct Up,Thameside Theatre
9thWildlife Explorers Club, Rainham Marshes
23rd & 24th: 
Horndon on the hill feast and fayre
25th onwards: Literary Arts Festival 2012, Grays

All month: Sporting Heroes, Saffron Walden Museum
1st & 30thMedieval Combat Weekend, Mountfitchet Castle
2nd – 10thHalf-term Specials, Audley End Railway
6th & 7th: Crowns and Emblems, Saffron Walden Museum
6th & 7th: Sport Xtra, Saffron Walden
17thFather’s Day, Audley End Railway
30th: Music in the Park, Stansted

Focus on... Witham
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 Witham, in the district of Braintree.
For parents of babies and todders, there is a range of groups and activities at one of the three Sure Start Centres accessible to Witham parents: Harlequin Children’s Centre on Spa Road, Roundabout Children’s Centre at Templars School and Silver End Children’s Centre in Silver End. There are also several parent and toddler groups, 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!

Witham has nine primary schools:  Templars, Holy Family, Howbridge, Powers Hall, Chipping Hill, Rivenhall CoE, Elm Hall Primary, Southview and Silver End Primary and two secondary schools: Maltings Academy and The New Rickstones Academy. Other things to do in the Laindon area include Witham’s Big Sing, Rock Choir, Witham Library, Benton Hall Golf and Country Club and Bramston Sports Centre which includes three swimming pools.

June ad discounts
As we're so far through the year, I'm offering ads on the Shopping Guide ad a vastly reduced price of just £25 for the rest of 2012 or £45 for 2012 and 2013. If this is something you're interested in, send me an email and I'll let you know what I'll need from you. Your listing would include an ad in the main Shopping Guide (in one or two categories of your choice and in five subcategories) and five products listed in the Product Guide as well as a place on the Christmas Guide which is more heavily promoted and allows a couple of extra products to be added for that period.

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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