Essex Mums Newsletter March 2014
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Essex Mums Turns 6!   *   Special Offers section
Essex Mums Awards   *   National Offer Day
New Giveaways   *   Midwife Needed
The Directory   *   Ad Payments Page
Product Reviews  *  New on the Shopping Guide
Pregnancy & Parenting Articles   *   Recipes
Events   *   New Classes and Groups
March is here and could that be Spring poking its head around the corner? Seems a little too early to call it with some of the grim days we've been having but I'm sure that soon we will be able to get out and enjoy some activities that don't have to involve muddy puddles!

Thanks to everyone who liked us after my plea last month - we crashed through 10,000 likers and are now nearly at 12,000! I hope you enjoy getting updates about what's on via our social media pages, please do let me know if you ever have any feedback.
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Bonjour! NEW French classes for pre-schoolers to Year 2 pupils in Leigh-On-Sea.

Give your child a head start and a skill for life. La Petite Ecole classes follow the award winning La Jolie Ronde programme which is taught in some of the top schools in the UK and around the world.  
 
La Petite Ecole offers:
  • Small class sizes
  • Learn through fun songs, puppets, activities & games
  • Chance to make new friends
  • La Jolie Ronde quality activity book and CD
Want to know more? Please email sophie@petite-ecole.co.uk 

Timetable: http://www.petite-ecole.co.uk/Classes.html
Testimonials: http://www.petite-ecole.co.uk/Testimonials.html 


A bientôt!
Essex Mums Turns 6!
Well the big news this month is that we will be reaching the grand old age of 6! I know I tend to waffle on with the thanks every year but I really do appreciate every single one of you who has helped make the site as successful as it is - from those of you who post every day and make the forum such a lovely place to chat, to those who just pop in once in a while to see what's on. Thank you! I hope you know that for me, Essex Mums isn't just a business, it's been a labour of love, and something I hope will continue to thrive in the years to come.

I am hoping to get some sort of get-together sorted but as you can imagine, it's always pretty hectic around here (especially as baby Dexter will be turning one in the same week! Noooo...). Keep an eye out on the Meet Ups section of the forum for more info.
Special Offers section
We have a very exciting new section on the site offering fantastic offers for everyone using Essex Mums. Check it out here. I am still working through the many lovely offers we've received so keep looking to see what's new! 
Essex Mums Awards
I've been thinking it would be nice to give out some Essex Mums awards to local businesses that have been chosen and voted for by you - to let people know what Essex Mums love and want to recommend to others. Currently we're just in the prep stage and I'm looking for category suggestions here. Please come and suggest anything you think would be good and keep an eye out for future messages about voting!
National Offer Day
Are you nervously awaiting your child's secondary school offer? Come and chat about it here while you are waiting, and let us know how it went - did they get the place they wanted? If you have any questions about school, please visit our Ask the Teacher section where you can get advice and feedback from qualified teachers ranging from pre-school to secondary age.
New Giveaways
We've had a bit of an overhaul of a few pages this month - firstly our competitions page. It's a bit messy now as we move over to a new way of hosting, but the new competitions are easier to use and have the chance to enter more than once! Take a look and check back for new competitions being added all the time!

If you would like to run a competition on Essex Mums, just get in touch on louise@essexmums.org
Midwife Needed
Our lovely midwife Lorraine is very busy doing some fantastic and exciting work, and we have a vacancy on our Ask the Midwife section of the forum. Can anyone help or recommend someone who might be interested in answering questions from our mums to be?
The Directory
The Directory has also had a bit of a rework and should now be much clearer as it has been split into Activities, Shops, Services. Free basic listings now also include some text to describe what you do so are a great way to promote your business if you don't have much of a budget, while premium listings now have a longer description and are shared on our social media pages. You can't get much better value at a one-off cost of only £20 so list your business today! 
Ad Payments Page
And finally, the Online Ad Bookings page has been made clearer and easier to use, with a few new options such as ads on our Places to Go section, on the Directory homepage and on our Pregnancy and Parenting section. 

You can also now book ads on our popular seasonal events pages, which feature details of what's on during school holidays and can book up a number of 'ad credits' at a discount for use on future pages.

I'm still offering 'buy one get one free' on all ads booked through this section so it's a great time to advertise! Just quote 'BOGOF' when you book.
BRAND NEW TUMBLE TOTS CLASSES starting in BASILDON after Easter! 
Help your child develop the vital physical skills and confidence needed for life with Tumble Tots, Britain's leading active physical play programme. Week by week it develops not only agility, balance, climbing and co-ordination skills, but also essential listening and language skills so useful in school and later life. I also have existing classes in Corringham, Chafford Hundred and Upminster. I have spaces in Gymbabes (6 months to walking), Walking to 2s, 2 to 3s and 3 to school age. Please go to www.tumbletots.com/grays for further information and to book your child's place.
Product Reviews
Product reviews added this month! You can see a bit about each of our reviewers here, or can go straight to the reviews here.
Orgran Gluten Free Foods
Ogran produce a range of  foods that are healthy and gluten free. No-one in our family is gluten intolerant but that doesn’t mean we aren’t able to try new things and see how they compare to what we usually have! We like food and are always happy to test new things!
Click here to read more
Galt Baby Bath Set
The Baby Bath Set from Galt is a really simple but very sweet bath-time toy. It has three animals: a fish, frog and duck that sit on a floating lily pad – sounds very basic but was a real hit with my little one. Dexter is 11 months and absolutely loves this.
Click here to read more
Mike the Knight, Do It Right!
My kids are big fans of C-beebies and anything related to it always goes down well.  So when we got the Mike the Knight DVD my daughter was so excited. They usually watch DVDs in the car as we travel a lot between Essex and Newcastle, so it’s nice to have two quiet children happily engrossed in a film.  Mike the Knight did not disappoint!
Click here to read more
Anita Nursing Bra with Underwire
I recently realised that since November 2006 there have only been  12 months when I haven’t been either pregnant or breastfeeding – that makes nearly six and a half years of maternity and nursing bras. Phew!
Click here to read more
Little Yums by Plum – Organic nibbly wafers
There are many brand of baby food on the market but Plum has always been one that stood out to me.  Their packaging is clear and simple.  
Click here to read more
New on the Shopping Guide
Check out some of the gorgeous new shops added to the Alternative Shopping Guide 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
Some great articles added by our writers this month - take a look! To see all the articles we have on the site, visit the Pregnancy and Parenting section.
Low Amniotic Fluid
Your baby is surrounded by amniotic fluid inside the amniotic sac and this fluid protects your baby and helps him to grow and develop properly.

The amount of fluid which surrounds your baby can vary on a day to day basis as your baby swallows fluid and passes urine into it daily.
Click here to read more


 
Membrane Sweep
If you are overdue, your midwife or doctor may carry out a membrane sweep in order to start your labour. A membrane sweep is the first method of induction that your midwife will try. A membrane sweep may also be referred to as a stretch and sweep.

If this is your first pregnancy, your midwife will perform a membrane sweep during your antenatal appointment at 40 weeks and then again at 41 weeks.
Click here to read more

 
Oedema
Oedema is the term given when women experience gradual swelling of their ankles, feet and fingers during pregnancy. 
Click here to read more

 
Mucus Plug
During the early stages of pregnancy a thick mucus plug is formed on your cervix to help stop any bacteria getting into your uterus and causing harm to your baby.
Click here to 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. We have a couple of exciting new contributers that will be added over the next week.

Here are a few ideas to try:
Sweet Potato Soup with Garlic Croutons by The Lunchbox Doctor
This soup is smooth, creamy, really flavoursome and it has quite a sweet taste which I think is what appeals to some children so well. 
Click here for recipe
Basic Vanilla Cupcakes by Lindsay Self
Easy to make and yummy to eat. Kids love making them too!
Click here for recipe
Does your baby have a flat head?
It could be a condition called Positional Plagiocephaly. Until 4-5 months of age repositioning and tummy time techniques may be enough to encourage natural correction of head shape. 

If repositioning techniques have not brought about sufficient improvement, then Cranial Remoulding Therapy is an option. This is a pain-free 
and non-invasive treatment.

If you would like more advice the London Orthotic Consultancy’s clinics in Romford and Harley Street offer an initial, no obligation FREE consultation at which your baby’s head shape will be assessed, measured and treatment options discussed.

Contact: 020 8974 9989 or info@londonorthotics.co.uk
www.londonorthotics.co.uk
Events
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 and across the county. I have added a few extra half-term events, but there are lots more listed on the website, so 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 Kids Activity Expo
is a one day event where you can come along and visit a range of activity clubs, such as dance, drama, tuition, fitness and adventure. Watch performances, and take part in taster sessions! A great way to encourage your kids to be active and healthy. 

It is taking place on Sunday 18th May at Havering College, Ardleigh Green Road, Hornchurch, RM11 2LL

To find out more or to book your FREE on-line ticket (limited availability) go to www.KidsActivityExpo.com 

If you would like to exhibit, please email info@kidsactivityexpo.com



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  
Updated Children's Centres Timetables 
Sport
Groups for Parents and Parents-to-Be

Mothering Matters
is focused on maternal wellbeing, creating a space for mothers to come together and discuss their unique journey though all stages of motherhood. We meet every Friday in term time from 10am-12pm at Leigh Community Centre, Elm Road, Leigh-on-Sea n Room 3. The group is for all mothers of all ages, to talk in a safe and friendly environment. Refreshments provided. Babies and toddlers are welcome. Suggested donation for unwaged mothers: £3 and for waged mothers: £5 For more information go to www.motheringmatters.co.uk or email lynsey@motheringmatters.co.uk
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
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