Happy New Year! Essex Mums Newsletter January 2017
View this email in your browser
Skip to:
The Forum  *  Essex Mums Love...  *  Things to Do  *  Local Listings  *  We want to pay you for your ideas!  *   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
Google Plus
Google Plus
Happy New Year! I hope you and your family had a wonderful 2016 and that 2017 brings you even more happiness. It's been a great year here at Essex Mums and as the site has continued to grow I thought I would take this opportunity to go over the many different areas of the site - I hope that it will continue to be a useful resource for your family.

There are some big changes ahead on the site this year, so watch out for those!

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

You'll see results sooner than you think!

Effective tuition puts your child one step ahead. It helps them to develop and make progress – and improves their focus, motivation and creativity.
Our dedicated tutors are educational professionals who have an outstanding track record in helping children achieve better results.

Whether you’re looking to catch up or extend we have a group for you from age 5-18 years. Prepare for SATs, 11plus, GCSE or A Level in Maths, English or Science.

Call today to arrange your free consultation and trial lesson.
Southend        01702 680400
Benfleet        01268 833838
Basildon        01268 833330

The Forum
Over the years, the forum, has been a great place to make friends and chat - whether it's just day to day nattering or something more serious, so many of us have found it a great help. People may have moved on and children have grown up, but it's still a place we can go if we want to talk.  If you've never posted, please make it your new year's resolution to come and say hello; if you posted once but decided it wasn't for you, please give us another chance! You can dive into an existing threadcome and introduce yourself or arrange a meet-up! Don't feel daunted, it really is a friendly and welcoming group. The forum has been a little slower over the last year or so, and it would be nice to have some new faces (and of course the return of some older ones is always welcome too!)

If you're pregnant or already a parent and need some advice, there's always someone who has been there, done that. There's a section for Essex Dads, for those of you who fancy a bit of stardom, who fancy a debate or just want a rant; you can ask for opinions on medical issues, or on schools and nurseries. If you want something different for your child's birthday party you can find it on the forum, and likewise if you have a business opportunity you'd love to share, you can do so here too. There's even an area for buying and selling where you can list items free of charge! The Local Business Noticeboard is where you can post about and promote your business to our community. If you are interested in having your posts shared with our Facebook and Twitter followers too, email me on louise@essexmums.org about forum sponsorship at just £20 a year.

As well as that, you can get professional advice from one of our experts:

  • Ask the Baby Expert: Ask Lisa Clegg author of The Blissful Baby Expert any questions you have regarding dealing with everything baby-related. 
  • Ask the Business Expert: Ask our business expert Claire Conby any questions you have about starting up or running your own business.
  • Ask the Children's Physiotherapist: Ask our Children's Physiotherapist Chris Smith from Kidsphysio2u any physical development concerns you may have, or for general children's physiotherapy questions. 
  • Ask the Counsellor: Ask qualified counsellor Amanda Wilkins any questions you have about emotional wellbeing, particularly within the pre natal and post natal period.
  • Ask the Dentist: Have a question about tooth and mouth care? Ask Charl Chapman from Essex Dentist.
  • Ask the Midwife: Any questions about pregnancy, labour, birth or postnatal care? Then ask our experienced midwife for some advice.
  • Ask the Occupational Therapist: Ask our Occupational Therapist Abi Johnson for advice about your child's fine motor skills, handwriting, self-care or difficulty accessing leisure activities.
  • Ask the Solicitor: For legal advice and questions - ask the Solicitors from Leonard Gray LLP 
  • Ask the Speech and Language Therapist: Post your questions about any concerns you have about your child's speech or language development to the Therapists from C&D Independent Speech & Language Therapy
  • Ask the Teacher: Have a question about your child's education? We have a range of teachers from Early Years right up to Secondary ready to help and offer advice
  • Ask the Trainer: Put your health and fitness questions to our forum Personal Trainer Zoe Randall 
  • Ask the Working Mums Coach: Are you are working mum who needs some advice, or are you looking for help to get you back into work? Come and ask our Working Mums Coach from The Pickle Shed

Little Teapots

Thinking about activities for 0-5s this January? Put a little Bang! in your week, with a 5-star baby and toddler percussion class!
Join us, and your little lovely will enjoy tambourines, shakey eggs, wristbells, jinglesticks, finger cymbals, castanets, flexatones, kokirikos, thunder drums, tambours..... and many more!
Have fun like you've never had before. Play along to your favourite songs, as well as classical, folk and latin music! Learn to tap out simple rhythms as a first step into phonics, but above all have 100% bash-crash-jangling FUN!
Benfleet (Mon), Leigh (Tues), Southend (Wed), Hockley (Fri) and Rayleigh (Fri)
Email: Joss@LittleTeapots.co.uk

Essex Mums Love...
A great success of this year was our third Essex Mums Awards! They were even more popular than last year, with tens of thousands of nominations and votes for the people, places and things that make life as a parent in Essex that bit better. Check out the wonderful Essex Mums Loves... section to find out who won and read a bit about them. 

The 2017 awards will start in early spring so get your thinking caps on about who you would like to nominate this year, and get in touch if you are a business ad are interested in sponsoring them.
Things to Do
Hopefully a section you're all familiar with! The Things to Do section is a fantastic listing of what's on for families across Essex. It's divided into different areas to make it easy as well as types -  one off eventsparent and toddler groups,classesgroups for older children and things for parents. I'm always on the hunt for new goings on so please do contact me if you have anything you would like listed here or just submit the event yourself using our online form. Every event links through to a forum post with more details, which means there is also the opportunity to discuss things you have been to yourself, and find out what others have to say about them. 

I'm eager to make sure that all classes, groups etc are as up to date as possible so please send over any new details if you run a class, or let me know if you see something that is no longer running or needs updating. Oh, and make sure you mention you read about it on Essex Mums if you do go along to something new!

If you're looking for some cheap but effective promotion, you can make your event 'Featured'on Essex Mums for just a pound a week. Once you have added your event you can choose the subscribe option below the 'Add Your Event' button to start the Featured ad running, or pay via the Online Ad Payments page. It's only a pound a week, with the amount being charged on a weekly basis, so there is no need to pay the full amount upfront, and you can run the listing for as long as you like. When you want it to finish, simply cancel your subscription. 
Local Listings
Local Listings is a brand new section this year. 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. You can search for a business buy its name or just see what's near you: www.essexmums.org/listings 

If you would like 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.

New fun outdoor activities for children aged 3-11 at Suntrap in Epping Forest

  • Suntrap Squirrels: woodland outdoor pre-school club based around nature, wildlife and the seasons for 2-5 year olds. Last Wednesday of each month starting 29/03/17.
  • Be Wild Forest Saturday Club: a wild adventure on the second Saturday of every month for children (8-11) who like playing in the woods come rain or shine! First session 11/03/17.
  • Suntrap Holiday Adventure Club: Half-term: 13th/14th/15th February (8-11 year olds); shelter building, meeting animals, wild art, animal tracking, campfire cooking and much more. Easter dates tbc.

Booking essential: suntrap.centre@walthamforest.gov.uk
More information: http://suntrapcentre.weebly.com/whats-on.html

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!
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 a few of the most read reviews from last year:
Father Christmas Experience at Marsh Farm
For us, the Father Christmas Experience at Marsh Farm has become an annual family tradition. This is the third year we’ve been and each year it gets better and better.
Click here to read Louise's full review
Leisure Island Fun Park Canvey
We decided to do something today and ended up at Leisure Island Canvey.

It was incredibly cheap at £5 for an all day wristband and adults free.
Click here to read Michelle's full review
Kids Kingdom Laser Tag Party
A word of warning: if you want to keep your sanity, do not invite 32 of your son’s nearest and dearest to celebrate his birthday by shooting each other with lasers on a friday afternoon, a week before the end of term, at a soft play centre. If you, like us, are a glutton for punishment, Kids Kingdom is a great place to do it.
Click here to read Louise's full review
Tropical Wings
We went to Tropical Wings with my three little ones yesterday for my twins’ 3rd birthday. On entering Tropical Wings we were led to an overspill car park. Even though there were lots of cars, the Zoo didn’t feel overly busy at any stage. 
Click here to read Michelle's full review

Little Scrummers
 was set up in 2009 to give a fun and exciting ‘tag-rugby experience’ sports class. With a talented team of handpicked coaches the club now runs across 3 counties (and growing!) With a total of 12 clubs & 750 children taking part each week.

By giving youngsters an introduction to a sport so young (classes start at 18 months - 6 years) the classes help improve fine and gross motor skills, encourage children to live a healthy and active lifestyle, all whilst being fun!

Why not book your child in today for a FREE TRIAL! www.littlescrummers.com
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. 

Here are a few of the most read reviews from last year:
Womentime: How to keep active in Winter
It’s only natural that we feel less motivated in winter because of the dark evening and the weather is wetter and colder. However, winter can do amazing things for your workouts, meaning you won’t find them such a chore!

Click here to read
Get a perfect butt! Just 10mins each day
Get a perfect butt! Just 10mins each day

 TV presenter Hannah Rees tells you how

Click here to read
RunFit Essex
RunFit Essex was established in 2014 by Jana and Richard who share the same passion for sport as a healthy way of life. We are both UK Athletics Qualified Running Coaches with over 30 years of running experience between us, and deliver a comprehensive variety of training sessions that support any fitness goal.
Click here to read
Grassroots Rugby
Article kindly provided by Little Scrummers Rugby. We are a family run business which started in 2009 and we are here to help bring the exciting game of non contact rugby to the younger children who deserve that opportunity to enjoy this fantastic sport. 
Click here to read
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! 

We are now looking for lovely new shops for our guide this year, so if you think you would be a good fit, please get in touch on louise@essexmums.org

A unique colourful large A1 size wall calendar with stickers to record all those special first time 'milestone moments'. Can be started any month.

Being on display (unlike baby books which are often forgotten) serves as a reminder to update and it only takes seconds. Just peel the occasion sticker off the sheet and stick on the calendar, Simple!

There are spaces for baby's personal details, first photo and first birthday photo. The calendar also features a ‘must have’ working thermometer to ensure baby's room is the correct temperature. Visit www.babysfirstcalendar.co.uk to view video & buy for only £14.95.

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.

Our pregnancy and parenting articles will be on hold for a month or two while the section has a facelift, but here are a couple of favourite articles from the past!
Quiz: Which Playground Mum are you?
The school playground can be a fun place to meet other parents and rediscover the social life you may have lost since having children, or it can be a nightmare of cliques and feeling out of place that might take you back to the worst parts of your own school days. We thought we would take a light-hearted look at the different types of Mums (and Dads!) you might encounter in the playground
Take the quiz here
Avoiding Gender-Sterotyping with Children's Books
Do you tweet? When we became parents, we found it a quick way to read about interesting parenting ideas, really briefly, because we didn’t actually have time to sit down and read much any more. At first we tweeted individually as ourselves, but then after reading the brilliant book by Marianne Grabrucker There’s a Good Girl: Gender Stereotyping in the First Three Years – A Diary, it inspired us to keep a micro diary of our own on Twitter about our then 3-year-old girl and 4-month-old boy.
Read more
Can you choose your baby’s sex?
Is it possible to choose the sex of your next baby using natural, DIY methods? Some people think that they can at least sway the odds, so for couples anxious to balance their families, it could certainly be worth a try. Sex selection using medical intervention is illegal in the UK, but there are many natural, non-invasive changes that couples can make themselves that are thought to tip the odds one way or the other.  
Read more
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

Here are a few of your most-loved recipes from last year:
Healthy breakfast egg muffins
These are great for breakfast but also for snacks. They keep well in the fridge for a couple of days and perfect to pop into a lunchbox or take along to a picnic.
Read the full recipe here
Cherry Pie Cookies
These easy to bake cookies are almost magical…their disappearing act is amazing.

Read the full recipe here
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
Spicy Tortilla Soup
This soup has quite a kick so might be a bit too spicy for a lot of kids but you can always cool down with some extra sour cream if they like a bit of heat!

Read the full recipe here

  • PregnancyBliss Stretch & Relax
  • MamaBliss Nurture & Relax
  • BabyBliss Massage & MamaChat
  • BabyBliss Yoga & MamaChill
  • ToddlerBliss Yoga & Massage

Motherhood is the most amazing journey so we have created a seamlessly integrated curriculum of classes to support you every step of the way. From Pregnancy to Mum - Baby to Toddler our classes have it covered. Our classes are also great for making new friends and supporting each other.
Using Yoga inspired postures combined with massage & relaxation techniques, you and your baby will be creating the best possible start in your journey together.


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

Here are a few of your most-loved activities from last year:
No-Sew Sock Snowman Craft
How cute are these? If you’re looking for a really simple Christmas decoration or even a fun gift from your kids, this idea from Easy Peasy and Fun is perfect! It’s also great for using up some of those stray odd socks we all have.

Read more
Homemade Blackboard Frames
Another lovely idea from Claire! How to make a blackboard frame.
Read more 
Sensory Balloons
A great idea from Naomi Claxton. Naomi likes to set her toddler ‘invitations to play’, we think these are wonderful ideas! This is a little fiddly to set up, but once made they will last for months. Great for exploring textures without getting messy!
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

Here are a few of your top activities from last year:
Me in My World
Do your kids know where they fit into the world? This is a fun activity to help them understand where they live and what lies beyond. You could even take things further and look at the Solar System, the Galaxy etc.! As suitable for EYFS as it is for KS2 children, though older children might be expected to do more research themselves!
Read more
Your Own 12 Days of Christmas
A  fun and simple idea that the whole family can do together. We all know the 12 days of Christmas song? Well, why not write your own! Sit down with the kids and have them write their own versions based on things they like, things they would like for Christmas or even just things they think are funny. It’s sure to get everyone laughing and may even give you some ideas for Christmas presents!

Read more
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.
Read more

Special Offers
Special offers for Essex Mums added this month!
25% off at Behind the Magic Door
Behind the Magic Door’s ‘Letter Adventure’ is no ordinary personalised book – it is so much more! This is the first book from the team at Behind the Magic Door and they have deliberately set the benchmark stratospherically high for this one!
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 Little Magpies
Safe for Baby........Stylish for Mum. Little Magpies is the home of mum treats.
Read more
15% off at Angela Warwick Jewellery
Angela Warwick Jewellery is handmade with quality semi-precious Gemstones, Pearls and glass beads.

Read more
10% off at Sgt. Smith
For more than a decade now, deep in the heart of Yorkshire, England we have been producing the finest garments for young and old everywhere. 

Read more
10% off at Kenzo Crafts
We specialise in personalised gifts for all occasions including personalised wedding horseshoes, new baby keepsakes, friendship plaques, ceramic mugs, giant letters, cotton shoppers with your own wording and plaques for the home.

Read more

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!
Jump Street Chelmsford is open!
Jump Street, the new trampoline park on the Dukes Park estate in Chelmsford triumphantly opened to the public on Saturday 17th December.
Read more

High quality, fun and functional children’s clothes.

From organic newborn outfits to smart children's coats that cleverly adapt to any weather. Polarn O. Pyret of Sweden have been making smart, functional and colourful clothes for babies and children since 1976.

Letting children be children is our philosophy - so look out for the kids clothes that can handle a stain busting hot wash, baby clothes that expand or roll down for growing room and durable clothes in distinctive prints and patterns that can be handed down from brother to sister.

Up to 50% off bundles of PO.P goodies. Smart kids tops, organic babygrows and stylish trousers. This is a great time to stock up on fantastic quality childrenswear. But be quick and get Free Delivery on all orders over £30 plus Free Returns before it's all gone! 

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!

The family friendly Brentwood Festival returns from 14-16 July with a great line up including Status Quo, Go West, Heaven 17, Ultravox’s Midge Ure, Jocelyn Brown, The Real Thing, Missing Andy and over two dozen supporting bands on two stages.
Children under 10 attend for FREE throughout the weekend, adult passes start from £25.
The festival also includes fun kid’s activities organised by Brentwood Borough Council, Nuclear Races taster sessions, fairground rides, street food, market stalls, posh loos and overnight camping.
Held in aid of the British Heart Foundation, tickets are available via www.brentwoodfestival.co.uk

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.

Parent and Toddler Groups
Groups for Older Children

The LEGOLAND® Castle Hotel — opening 1st July 2017

Every brick is bursting with LEGO® magic at the LEGOLAND Castle Hotel! A hero’s welcome awaits you in the ultimate Knight’s room, and enchantment awaits all Wizard apprentices in the Wizard’s room.

Bookable now - opening 1st July. Click here for more information

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


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. 

Copyright © 2017 Essex Mums, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp