On Essex Mums this month
This March, Essex Mums turns three! I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has been a part of the site over these last few years and have made it the welcoming, friendly community that it is. While I try to make the site as informative, up-to-date and helpful as possible, it never would have become the place it is without such a lovely group of people on the forum. If you've never come to say hello, do so now!

Teen Dad

Third Birthday Party
To celebrate our third birthday, we're thinking of having another party - last year's was really good fun, with appearances from Jo Jingles, The Buttercup Club and. It would be lovely to have something just as great this year, and now that some of the regular forum user's kids have started school, we thought it might be nice to have it in the Easter Holidays so that they could join in too. Everything is still tbc, and you can give your opinion here  but it would be lovely to have as many people as possible along - both old and new faces!

If there is any way you can help out, please do get in touch - whether it's providing a venue, entertainment, anything, it would be much appreciated. Of course I would promote anyone who was involved in the party and could exhange your involvement for ads on the site if you would prefer, but anything that can be offered would be wonderful.

There are some great competitions on the site at the moment, including the last few days of a competition to win a family ticket to Peppa Pig's Party at the Cliffs Pavillion. Take a look at the Competitions page and get your entries in asap!

School Admissions
Are you one of the many parents across the county who has just found out their child's secondary school placement, or is waiting to find out which infant school their little ones are going to? Why not come and discuss how you feel about this in the forum. There's a special Schools section where you can chat about everything from the school itself to your fears about such a big change. It can be so useful to have support from other parents in your position and to hear the experiences of those who have been there before.

Want to be on TV?
Then take a look at the Media Requests section of the forum for shows needing people like you.

We're currently experiencing a bit of a baby boom on the site, so come and share your happy news with us! Post your due date, or just discuss how you're feeling with other Mums-to-be. You might also want to check out our newly reopened Ask the Midwife section, where you can ask Lorraine from Birth Affinity, a qualified Midwife, Natal Hypnotherapy practitioner, birth educator and mum of three any questions you have about your pregnancy.

Essex Dads
Are you or do you know a Dad who would like to chat or meet up with other Dads locally? Then take a look at the new Essex Dads section of the forum. Of course Dads are welcome to use the site and post anywhere they want to but might appreciate a section just for them!

Bumps, Babes and Kids 2011
Don't miss this year's Bumps Babes and Kids Show on the earlier dates of 21/22 May at Southend Tennis & Leisure Centre, Garon Park. There is something for everyone...shopping, information and advice for all your family needs and tons of entertainment. Watch an amazing show from Jimbo the Partyman, dance shows, let the kids play on the bouncy castles, have their face painted or meet their favourite character and relax with some scrummy food delights. Tickets will be on sale shortly, adults £2.50 and children £3.00 (advance booking discounts will be available). For any enquiries, please ky@bumpsbabesandkids.co.uk. Oh, and keep an eye out for the Essex Mums stand too!

Those of you with events, shops or services you would like to promote may be interested in the Rate Card for ads on the site. I'm currently offering 25% off ads for February to subscribers to the site as it's a shorter month than usual, and am also offering a free budget directory listing on all ad spends over £50 and free forum sponsorship on all ad spends over £100. Listing in the Directory is now a permanent thing, not an annual renewal, so £5 for a budget ad gets you on the Directoy forever, which is about as big a bargain as you can get!

  Buggy Boot Camp

New on the Shopping Guide
The new Shopping Guide is now up and running, with 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:

In Accessories:
  • Unique handcrafted jewellery for kids and adults from Evy Designs

  • In Baby:
  • Award winning Dribblebuster baby dribble bibs
  • Oliver's Babycare - the complete online baby store for car seats, prams, cots and pushchairs
  • Babies' bedding with a touch of mischief from Quick Brown Fox of Dulwich

  • In Clothes:
  • Ellovie Kids: Gorgeous girls' clothes made using 100% Irish linen
  • Some new bright, original and funky designer kids' clothes from Little Lollipop Kids
  • Monsters and Munchkins - unique children's gifts, clothings and lifestyle products

  • In Gifts:
  • Yummy handmade chocolate goodies from the Chocolate Truffle Company
  • Fab gift ideas for all ages from We Do Fab Gifts 4 U
  • Luxury baby casting, baby hand and foot impressions and silver fingerprint services from Precious Memories

  • In Holidays:
  • Kids Do Travel - Travel Gear for Young Explorers

  • In Home & Garden:
  • Bombarock - Interior Couture
  • Beautiful and functional furniture for kids of all ages from Children's Funky Furniture
  • High quality, handmade products and gifts for children and adults from Millie Mac

  • In Maternity:
  • Heavenly Bump: Stylish, affordable clothes designed and fitted by Mums for Mums-to-be

  • In Photography:
  • Photography for Little People operates a mobile photography studio from Essex covering the Essex region

  • In Toys & Puzzles:
  • Great wooden toys from Knot toys Magic Pumpkins and Faery Dust - Children's toys, clothes and textile accessories made from fair trade organic, reclaimed and vintage materials
  • Learning Made Fun! Brilliant kids' games from Orchard Toys
  • Pedal Pushers - where children's dreams come true
  • Weaving Hope - Fairtrade gifts for children that are unusual, beautiful and bright

  • Photo Fairytales

    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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