On Essex Mums this month
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Big apologies if you received this at the weekend but it seems there was a problem and a lot of people didn't get the newsletter. I hope you don't mind it being sent again so that it can be read by everyone!

Starting to feel festive? Well if not, it's time to start. Lots of lovely Christmas events happening this month across the county - the countdown to Christmas really has begun. Although, if you have young children, their countdown probably started on the 26th of December 2011! 

Christmas Shopping Guide
Over the last month I've been lucky enough to add some absolutely gorgous products and shops to the Christmas Gift GuideWhether you still have all your pressies to buy or are just loking for a few last minute stocking fillers, take a look at our fantastic range of shops selling interesting, original and somewhat different ideas and save yourself a trip to the High Street! You can search by category or look through a full list of all our lovely shops here. If you want some product ideas then take a look at the Product Guide which has a range of gorgeous goodies for you to browse or search by category. Keep an eye on the homepage for some of my product picks for different ages which change every few days, or just click the catgeories below to get started:

Something for Babies
Something for Toddlers
Something for Little Kids
Something for Big Kids
Something for Tweens
Something for Teens
Something for Adults

If you're interested in a listing for your shop or product, get in touch at louise@essexmums.org - listings start at just a pound!

Music BugsMusic Bugs Calling Essex

Music Bugs provide play based, interactive music and singing classes throughout the UK for children aged newborn to 4 years and we are looking for people who would like to launch our classes and run their own business in Essex. Experience with children, (even just your own), a pleasant singing voice, a warm and friendly personality and the desire to work with local families are the main criteria we are looking for. If you are on the lookout for a ridiculously fun part-time job that will fit in around your existing commitments, we would love to hear from you. For further details, please visit our Franchise section at: www.musicbugs.co.uk or email us at info@musicbugs.co.uk

What's On this Christmas
As always, we've been searching high and low for months now to bring you the widest range of Christmas events in Essex available on the internet, and I think I can safely say we're pretty much there! There is absolutely loads to do this December, whether you're looking for a place to meet Father Christmas (for the kids, obviously, I'm sure you don't make a habit of sitting on strange men's knees. Ahem.), some wintery outdoor fun or somewhere to shop, you can find it all here. We've made it even easier to find out what's on by listing all the events by type and by area in the following pages. On the off chance you know of an event that isn't here, please email me with details on louise@essexmums.org. Thank you! 

Fun Days
Light Ups
Everything else

Bish Bash Birthdays

Run your own children's party entertainer business
Bish Bash Birthdays has created the perfect party format and business is booming!  The North Essex franchise is already up and running and the South Essex branch is now up for grabs. If you love kids and have a natural sense of fun then this could be the ideal opportunity for the new year. Bish Bash Birthdays provide themed parties for children aged 3-8 years old. The franchise is designed to be run part-time from home with weekend party bookings in your local area. 

Contact Deborah to request a copy of the franchise brochure 
Telephone: 020 8346 5432       
E-mail: deborah@bishbashbirthdays.co.uk

As always there is lots more going on this month! Below is a selection of the fantastic festive things going on but you can find full listings on the Things to Do section.

Barking and Dagenham
All month: Cinderella, The Broadway
1st: Christmas Craft Fair, Eastbury Manor House
2nd: Santathon, Dagenham & Redbridge FC
7th: Xmas Bazaar, William Bellamy Primary School
11th: Santas' Visit, Valance Library
15th: A 16th Century Christmas, Eastbury Manor House
19th – 21st: The Jolly Jungle Christmas Party, Becontree Heath Leisure Centre
All month: Santa’s Grotto, Eastgate
All month: Santa at Altons
Every weekend: Barleylands Christmas Experience
1st: Celebrate a Family Christmas, Wat Tyler
2nd: Charity Christmas Fayre, Pitsea
5th onwards: Peter Pan, Towngate Theatre
6th: Pamper/Xmas Shopping Evening, Laindon Park School
8th & 9th: Christmas Tree Festival, All Saints Church
9th: Yummy Mummy’s World Disney Disco
10th: The St. Luke’s Hospice Schools Christmas Carol Concerts, Eastgate Shopping Centre
11th: Hilltop Infant School Christmas Fair
16th: Buy Preloved Market, Hannakins Farm
17th: Diddi Dance Christmas Party, Laindon
22nd – 31st: Christmas Crafts, Langdon Hills Visitor Centre
23rd: Santa at the Haven, Langdon Hills Visitor Centre
24th – 31st: Basildon Sporting Village Holiday Camp
All month: Christmas at Baytree Garden Centre
1st – 6th: Cinderella, Dunmow Arts Centre
1st: Halstead Christmas Fayre
2nd: How to Catch at Star, Braintree Arts Centre
5th: Halstead’s Torchlight Procession and Carol Service
7th: Christmas Fair, Gosfield School
8th & 15th: Father Christmas at the Museum, Braintree Museum
8th & 9th: Cressing Unwrapped, Cressing Temple
9th 15th, 16th, 22nd, 23rd: Steam with Santa, Colne Valley Railway
12th: Traditional Carol Service, Witham
13th: Santa’s Workshop, Great Notley
20th – 26th: Cinderella, Bocking Arts Theatre
20th – 24th: Aladdin and the Sultan of Inzybar, Witham
23rd: Carols by Candlelight, Witham
29th: Blow Away the Cobwebs, Marks Hall
Castle Point
1st: Jack and the Beanstalk Charity Puppet Show, Thundersley
2nd: Christmas Charity Bake-Off, Benfleet
5th: Christmas Shopping and Pamper Evenings, Shipwrights Drive
6th: Christmas Bazaar, Thundersley
7th: Christmas Fair, The Appleton School
8th: Christmas Winter Wonderland, The Paddocks
9th: Little Havens Christmas Market and Santa Run, Thundersley
16th: Santa’s Celebrations: Reindeer Games, Hadleigh Country Park
17th: Diddi Dance Christmas Party, Benfleet
18th: Diddi Dance Christmas Party, Canvey
All month: Father Christmas and Snowman Story Experience, Just Imagine Story Centre
All month: Winter Santa Land, Marsh Farm
1st & 2nd: Children’s Magic of Christmas, RHS Hyde Hall
2nd: Hylands Christmas Fair
4th: Mog’s Christmas, Just Imagine Story Centre
5th onwards: Dick Whittington, Civic and Cramphorn Theatres
8th: Fairy School Workshops
9th: Santa Fun Run for Farleigh Hospice, Central Park
12th – 16th: Aladdin on Ice, Riverside Ice and Leisure
14th: Free Christmas Winter Wonderland, Kiddi Caru Nursery
15th: Town Carol Service, South Woodham Ferrers
16th: Christmas Magic Shows, Hylands House
18th & 19th: Talking Tots Christmas Sessions
19th: A Christmas Journey, Just Imagine Story Centre
22nd: Crafty Christmas Creations, Hanningfield Reservoir
23rd: Snow White, South Woodham Ferrers
28th: Come and Try Ice Skating, Riverside Ice and Leisure
Various Dates: The Magic of Christmas, Colchester Zoo
1st: Coggeshall Christmas Fayre
2nd, 8th & 9th: Mother Christmas Grotto Days, Colchester Zoo
3rd: It’s Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Christmas, Jungle Adventure
5th – 8th: A Christmas Cracker, Headgate Theatre
6th,  12th: Santa’s Grotto, Jungle Adventure
7th onwards: Jack and the Beanstalk, Mercury Theatre
8th: A Celebration of Christmas, Wivenhoe
9th: Tree Dressing and Winter Woodland Crafts, High Woods Country Park
10th: A Christmas Carol, Headgate Theatre
11th – 23rd: Colchester’s Grand Christmas Fair
12th: Christmas Opening Evening and Market, Colchester Castle Museum
15th: Little Red Riding Hood, Colchester Arts Centre
24th: Christmas Party! Leisure World Colchester
Epping Forest
1st & 2nd: Seasonal Celebration Drop-in at Epping Forest
2nd: Wild in the Woods, Hainault Forest
5th: Carol Singing at The Owl Pub
6th: Christmas Shopping Evening, Buckhurst Hill
Weekends from the 8th: Santa Specials, Epping Ongar Railway
9th: Green Christmas Decorations, The Temple
12th – 15th: Boing! Stratford Circus
14th: A Vintage Christmas Chilming Special, North Weald Airfield
15th & 16th: Father Christmas in the Forest, Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge
19th: Follow the Star, Chigwell
21st: Children’s Christmas Chilming Special
23rd: Carols by Candlelight, Waltham Abbey
All month: Jack and the Beanstalk, Harlow Playhouse
1st: Christmas Mosaic, Harlow Museum
8th: Hairy Harry Snowmen, Science Alive
13th & 20th: Christmas Multi-Activities, Harlow Leisurezone
15th: Peg Dolly Angels, Harlow Museum
21st: Free Christmas Winter Wonderland at Kiddi Caru Day Nursery
22nd: Christmas Disco Pool Party, Harlow Leisurezone
24th: Aqua Jets, Harlow Leisurezone
All month: Jack and the Beanstalk, Queens Theatre
1st: Tutus and Tiaras Winter Princess Ball, Romford
2nd: Multi-Faith Light Up a Life Event, St Francis Hospice
6th: Light Up Harold Hill
7th: Messy Play, Gidea Park Library
8th & 9th : Santa’s Grotto and Christmas Market, Wellgate Community Farm
8th & 20th: Mother Christmas and the Wishing Tree, Havering Museum
9th: Christmas Celebration, Thames Chase
15th: A Christmas Celebration – New and Traditional Carols, Lexden
17th: Xmas Bazaar, St Laurence Church
22nd: Christmas Craft, Bedfords Park
24th: Christmas Eve Crafts, Bedfords Park
All day: Maldon Santa on his Sleigh
1st: Tolleshunt Darcy Xmas Fayre
4th: Light up a Life, All Saints Church
7th: Big Sing Christmas Concert, Maldon
8th, 9th, 15th & 16th: Santa Special at Mangapps Railway Museum
8th: Queen’s Christmas Stocking Fayre, Maldon
9th: Santa Special, Museum of Power
18th: Songs for Christmas, Tollesbury
21st: Talking Tots Christmas Sessions
Weekends in December: Santa’s Grotto, Valentine’s Mansion
1st: Claybury Park Winter Walk
2nd: Woodford Christmas Roller Disco
8th: Joy to the World, Ilford
9th: Christmas Decorations, The Temple
15th onwards: Cinderella, Kenneth More Theatre
18th: Scrumptious Pumpkin Children's Cookery School Christmas Classes for 3-11 year olds
21st – 22nd: Snowman Trail, Redbridge Museum
All month: Dream Sweeties Santa’s Grotto, Rawreth
1st: Christmas Bazaar & Decorating the Church, Hockley
5th: Monkey Bizzness Christmas Shopping Event
6th – 8th: Red Riding Hood, The Mill Arts and Events Centre
8th & 9th: A Christmas Night of Magic, Rochford
18th - 21st: Diddi Dance Christmas Parties
22nd: Visit Santa at Belchamps
31st: Monkey Bizzness New Years Eve Party
All month: Adventure Wonderland, Adventure Island
Weekends in December: Santa on Southend Pier
Until 15th: Christmas Cracker, Beecroft Gallery
1st: Festive Fun Day, Southend High Street
3rd: Top of the Tots and Tiny Talk Time Christmas Specials! Summercourt Children’s Centre
8th: Kingsdown School Xmas Bazaar
9th: White Christmas, Palace Theatre
15th: Carols on Strand Wharf
16th: Christmas Films at the Palace Theatre
17th -21st: Diddi Dance Christmas Parties
20th onwards: Pinokeyo! Clifftown Theatre
21st onwards: Cinderella, Cliffs Pavilion
21st: Dragon Kids’ Club Christmas Disco with AJ
22nd: Family Craft and Christingle, Crowstone Christian Centre
23rd: Carol Service: A Star is Born, Salvation Army, Leigh
All month: Christmas in Clacton Town Square
1st, 8th & 15th: Santa’s Grotto, Clacton Town Square
2nd: Meet Postman Pat and Jess the Cat, Clacton Factory Outlet
7th: Christmas Craft Fair, Brightlingsea
8th: Christmas Panto Cast Meet and Greet, Clacton Town Square
9th: Winter Wonders, Fingringhoe Wick
13th: Gymkins Christmas Fun, Clacton Leisure Centre
15th onwards: Cinderella, Princes Theatre
16th & 19th: Free entry to Robbie Rascal Party And Play Centre
17th: Foundry Festive Fayre
30th: Meet Mike the Knight, Clacton Factory Outlet
All month: Santa’s Grotto, Lakeside
Weekends: Visit Santa at IKEA
1st: Buy Preloved Market, South Ockendon
8th: Winter Wonderland, Purfleet
9th: Cinderella, Thameside Theatre
14th: Shaw Primary Christmas Bazaar!
15th: CBA @ Christmas: A Christmas Carol, South Ockendon
16th: Christmas Celebration Event, Chaffords Gorge
20th: Christmas Party at Partyman World Lakeside
21st: Christmas Concert, Grays
Various Dates: Christmas Specials, Audley End Railway
1st & 2nd: A Victorian Christmas, Audley End
5th: The Very Snowy Christmas at Felsted School's Hunt Theatre
9th: In the Bleak Midwinter at St John's Church
15th onwards: Cinderella, Rhodes
16th: Carols by Candlelight at Thaxted Parish Church


Dance DecodedDance Decoded

Dance Decoded is a Brentwood based dance organisation for adults and children of all abilities who want to dance and exercise in a fun and friendly environment. Weekly STOTT Pilates matwork exercise classes are available for adults from January 2013. Pilates helps develop strength, flexibility, endurance and teach good posture, without building bulk or stressing your joints. Try the latest techniques using equipment in a Pre-Christmas Pilates Circuits Class on Tuesday 18th December 6.30pm to 7.30pm for only £8.00 at Knights Way Centre, 32A Knights Way, Brentwood, CM13 2AZ. For details and to book your place contact Emmeline Harris on 07534 09962, email info@dancedecoded.co.uk or visit www.DanceDecoded.co.uk

Things to win! Check out the great competitions we currently have running - lots of goodies for kids and Mums alike!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!

New in the Alternative Shopping Guide
Take a look at the lovely new shops that have joined us this last month!

  • Luxury baby changing bags from Babybeau 
  • The Beady Gecko: home of unusual, original and affordable jewellery and treasures
  • Bramley by Mail: Traditional clothing, toys and gifts for little people 
  • Burnt Rock: Not Perfect Just Different
  • Content and Calm: Essential Children's Travel Solutions 
  • Devon Daisy: Don't Get Lost in the Crowd 
  • Edusentials: Focused on your classroom needs 
  • Ella James Living: Gifts and Decorative Home Accessories 
  • Fairy Bits: Creations for little tots 
  • Fairy Dresses UK: a great range of Fairy Dresses, Wings, & Accessories for the little girl 
  • Funky Monkeyz: Bespoke funky bandana bibs for babies, toddlers, individuals with special needs and pets
  • Gracious Gifts: Beautiful Handmade Dried Fruit Wreaths, Decorations and Gifts 
  • Grand Baby: Ethically made and top quality products, original designs, traditional materials, classic themes and vintage prints.  
  • Handlebar Heroes: Fancy dress for your Bikes and Scooters 
  • Happy Cactus : Fun unusual gifts for all ages
  • Huddle and Bliss: premium British baby clothes, gifts and maternity essentials 
  • Ingenious Designs: Make your space look great with high quality, easy-to-apply, removable art decal stickers
  • Marmalade and Mash: Quintessential ‘Britishness’, comfort, nostalgia, quirkiness, fun and timelessness
  • My Sister Mabel: Children's clothing and accessories 
  • Oliver Hayden: Stylish and fabulous home and garden furnishings, accessories and giftware 

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.

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. Happy Christmas!

Kind regards


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