On Essex Mums this month
Hello, hope this chilly weather isn't stopping you from enjoying time with your families and that 2011 is treating you well so far! Apologies for there being no newsletter in January - I can only blame being too busy, which I'm sure most of you can empathise with! Hopefully this one will make up for it and provide you with some good info, or at the very least a small diversion!


2000 Forum Members
A couple of weeks ago our 2000th member Stokesie joined the forum section of the site. While we've had nearly 50 more join since then, 2000 was an exciting number to see come up on the log in page! When I started the site nearly three years ago and it was just a small forum, I never would have dreamed it would get this big, have so many lovely regulars as well as the people who just like to pop in every now and then. Great friendships have been formed, support and advice given where needed and so much more. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been a part of it, and to of course invite anyone who uses the site but has always been hestitant to post in the forum to come and say hello. It really has become a wonderful, welcoming place.

Half-term Events
Check out the Things to Do section for loads of ideas for the family this half-term. Even if it's still chilly out, there's lots on. I'll be adding more events this week so check back regularly to make sure you don't miss anything, and make sure to email me if you would like something listed yourself.

Sure Start Centres
There are more than 140 Sure Start centres across Essex, a valuable resource for many parents, especially those with children under 5. I'm currently in the process of adding all the groups and classes to the Things to Do section so that it's easy for parents in Essex to find out about all the amazing (and normally free) things they have on. Take a look at the listings near you to find out what's on at your local centre. If you don't know where your nearest centre is, check out the map and enter your postcode.

Meeting Up
A new thread has been started on the forum listing the meet-ups this year as they happen. We currently have a few coffee mornings coming up but new things will be added as they are created. If you would like to meet other Mums in your area, feel free to suggest something to see if you get some interest and I will add it to this thread and also make it into a facebook event if you would like me to.

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!

If anyone is able to put up an Essex Mums poster in a nursery, school, club... anywhere really, please let me know and I'll email one over to you.

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.

Coming this year...
Lots of exciting things planned for this year on the site, including a naming section, a pregnanct week by week guide and more... watch this space for more info, and if you fancy lending a helping hand, just give me a shout!


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.

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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