Back to School! Essex Mums Newsletter October 2016
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Essex Mums Awards  *   Back to School  *  Classes and Groups from September  *  Introductions and Meet-Ups  *  We want to pay you for your ideas! *  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
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Hello everyone! Hopefully the kids are now nicely settled into school, pre-school, nursery or just some fun groups and classes and we're all getting back into some semblance of a routine. With half-term and Halloween coming up this month we have been adding lots of great things for you and your family to do this month! This time of year is always a lot of fun with fantastic seasonal events!

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

'The Face Painting Shop is your one stop shop for all your face painting supplies our friendly staff are on hand to offer support and expert advice. Look no further for your face / body painting and Special Effects supplies, we have everything you need for the beginner to professional face painter. We are an officially accredited training centre for face and body painting training, holding courses throughout the year.

Halloween Makeup appointments can be made by calling  01375 768773

Essex Mums Awards Winners
The parents of Essex have spoken! Come and find out what are your favourite things to do, places to go and businesses you love to use. Check out our new Essex Mums Love...section or just click on each category to find out more about what makes life in Essex fun. 

Groups and classes
Best Baby Group
Best Toddler GroupBest Group for Younger Children
Best Group for Older ChildrenBest Teen Group
Best Disability GroupBest Baby and Toddler GroupBest Independent GroupBest New Group
Best Support GroupBest Sport Group
Best Swim SchoolBest Camp
Outstanding Group Leader
Best place to eat
Best Day Out - Indoors
Best Day Out - Outdoors
Best Soft Play
Best Museum
Best Event
Best Event

Best Event
Best Christmas Event
Best Event


Best party entertainer
Best party entertainer
Best party entertainer
Best Photographer
Best Kids' Clothes Shop
Best Shop
Best Fitness Class
Best Nursery / Preschool
Best Product
Special Mention

The perfect Christmas Eve box for the whole family to enjoy!

With Christmas fast approaching, we've created something truly special that your entire family will love!

Our Personalised Luxury Wooden Christmas Eve Boxes have been made in the true spirit of what Christmas is all about- creating the magic, the excitement and bringing all the family together!

Your own Christmas box that will become a family tradition and heirloom.

To make sure your Christmas Eve Box is guaranteed for Christmas, simply reserve your box with a £25 deposit today. Reserved/ordered boxes prior to their 16th October will receive a FREE Christmas gift. 

Visit, telephone 01245 360317
or email headed RESERVE to order yours now

School Selection
For those of you who have children starting school next year, you'll now be thinking of filling in applications and choosing a school. It can be a daunting task - what is your local school like, will they like it, does it fit in with the other things we have to do and places we need to be? If you're looking for some advice, whether it's to do with getting feedback about local schools or asking if it's worth deploying tactics when filling out application forms, come and ask on the forum in our Educationsection. It can be a daunting time for your kids but also for you to be starting something completely new and it can definitely help to speak to people who have been there too, or are going through the same thing. You might also find it useful to quiz our lovely teachers with any concerns you have in theAsk the Teacher section.
Halloween and Half-Term
There are some spine-tingling sounding events across the county this month for Halloween. More will be added as the month progresses but we have been busy adding lots of fun things to do to our Halloween/Half-term page here.

If you have an event you would like added, please feel free to send it over to us at or add it here. If you would like to book an ad on the site, please get in touch to discuss or just book here
I know a lot of you don't want to hear it but Christmas isn't too far away. I'll keep it brief, but if you want to see what's on this Christmas, I am starting to compile everything in the Festive Fun section. If you organise events, make sure you send them over to me or add them to the Things to Do section, and if you're interested in some Christmas advertising, get in touch as spaces last year sold out quite early.
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 and I'll let you know if we can use your idea!

HARP, Southend’s homeless charity, is gearing up to welcome Autumn with an initiative designed to benefit some of the town’s most vulnerable people, whilst educating children and families about the important issue of homelessness.

To get involved with The Really Big South Essex Sleep Out, visit:, you can contact HARP’s Community Fundraiser, Lisa Walton on 01702 615000.
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 the product reviews added this month! 
Bamboo Swaddle by Bambini & Me
Firstly on receiving the baby Swaddle I was very impressed with the packaging.  It looked designer & expensive. I liked the simple instructions on the back of the box.
Click here to read Hazel's full review
Being a family who are always wanting to try something new, I was delighted when I received DRINKmaple to review. I was sceptical before tasting it, wondering what water made solely from a tree could possibly taste like but I was pleasantly surprised. My daughter was also happy to find such a great drink that was suitable for vegetarians! 
Click here to read Melissa's full review
Organix Punk’d
My kids have enjoyed most things from the Organix range as they’ve grown up but are getting a little old for a lot of the products now, so we were quite interested to try their new Punk’d range. Actually, I say that but the truth is that they still would happily eat a lot of the Organix Goodies products...
Click here to read Louise's full review
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. 
Mindfulness & Anxiety
Feeling anxious and being unable to manage how you feel can make every day life exhausting and affect your quality of life. Many tend to push through being anxious but is this wise? Anxiety can compromise your immune system, affect sleep quality along with your mental and physical health. That’s not good for you or your loved ones.

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
High Sports: Why is Climbing Great for Children?
Why do kids love climbing so much and why is climbing so good for children? Climbing is an all round sport, activity and form of exercise which uses every muscle in the body, and many, many parts of the brain! Climbing is awesome for children and kids love climbing, so you won’t have to drag them away from their computer game to get them to the Junior Rock Club.
Click here to read

BusyBox is all about creating fun activities for kids. We have a range of themed activity boxes available for ages 3+. We also have a great Christmas range including our ‘BusyElf’ box. This set is designed to bring magic and excitement on the build to Christmas. The Elf arrives on 1st December with a personalised letter. He brings with him some fantastic Christmas craft activities, including a countdown to Christmas kit. Included inside is also a Christmas Chocolate, pens and a goodbye letter for Christmas eve. These are just £18 + p&p and are available now on our

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! 

New this month:
  • My Little Boots: Adorable soft soled leather boots. Perfect for crawling and those all important first steps.
If you have a shop you would like to advertise on the Shopping Guide, please get in touch on
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
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
Veggie Baked Spaghetti
Colourful, veggie and really rather healthy!

Read the full recipe here
Roasted Aubergines and Fresh Tomato Pasta
This particular recipe is made with organic wholemeal pasta ( I used Biona) and has loads of vegetables. I used some tomatoes that were very ripe to be used for salads, while the aubergines can also be roasted in advance, which make this dish really convenient

Read the full recipe here

The Baby Cot Shop is an upmarket retailer of baby and children’s furniture and decor based in London. Clients include high profile celebrities and world leaders.

The company offers handcrafted furniture, linens and room accessories. Using our beautiful furniture and room accessories, you can convert your child’s bedroom or nursery into a haven of tranquility to be enjoyed for years to come. We also offer full interior design transforming bedrooms & nurseries into dream spaces.

The Baby Cot Shop has appeared in a number of high profile media including Vogue, The Telegraph & The Sunday Times. Shop online at

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!
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
Coffee Filter Spider Webs
A great spooky idea from The Artful Parent – and really easy to do! Your kids will love making some of these as Halloween decorations.
Read more 
Spiders Web
Another spooky Halloween craft, this time from Kiddy Craft.

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
Halloween Acrostic Poem
Acrostic poems are a great way of inspiring budding poets by getting them started with the first letter and a theme. If you haven’t come across them before, the idea is to write a poem where each line starts with subsequent letters from your chosen word.

Read more
Minecraft Challenges
Like many parents, I have a computer game obsessed 7 year old and worry constantly about him getting too much screen-time. It’s hard to find the balance between letting them do an activity they enjoy and one which can be creative, imaginative and stimulating, and them becoming pale, twitchy little creatures who have never kicked a football in their lives.

Read more

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
Special Offers
Special offers for Essex Mums added this month!
Up to 40% off at Boden
Visit the Boden Mid Season Sale to find this season’s treasures at reduced prices!
Read more
Save £50 on ELC Big City Wooden Rail Train Table!
With over 100 pieces the Wooden Train Table includes everything you need for your rail adventures. Let your trains and wagons explore, leave the engine shed, head towards the bridge and zoom through the station. 

Read more
Get 25% off of EVERY Personal training session booked for an entire month!
'Fitness2Fit Personal Training' is a mobile Personal Training company that offers you 1-2-1 sessions at the location of your choice. Work out in the park, the garden or in your living room or conservatory.
Read more
10% off at FireStar Toys
FireStar Toys is the world’s largest LEGO minifigure online store. We sell thousands of LEGO sets, minifigures and parts including a huge selection of all the best custom designs brands from around the world.
Read more
10% off at PastelPrint
PastelPrint is a leading UK fingerprint jewellery company and prides itself in providing top customer service and excellent quality of personalised items, as endorsed by the Guild of Master Craftsmen and many of our returning customers.
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!
The Really Big South Essex Sleep Out
HARP, Southend’s homeless charity, is gearing up to welcome Autumn with an initiative designed to benefit some of the town’s most vulnerable people, whilst educating children and families about the important issue of homelessness.
Read more
The Starlight Birthday Cake Bake: Join us to help seriously and terminally ill children
This year is a big year for Starlight Children’s Foundation; it’s our 30th birthday. To celebrate 30 years of brightening the lives of seriously ill children and to raise funds to reach even more children, we’re asking people to hold a Starlight Birthday Cake Bake during 10-17th October.
Read more Roadshow
The roadshow is setting off around the country to raise the profile for the need for foster carers across the country. Children First are proud to be part of and support this campaign!
Read more
Jump Street’s Senior dodgeball tournament winners announced
Jump Street, Colchester’s popular trampoline park, held a senior dodgeball tournament on Friday 16th September in partnership with Winger Sports Academy Limited.  The winning team, Ultimate Dodge, from Newmarket showed off their skills, walking away with the £250 cash prize.
Read more
How to find the perfect holiday home when travelling with young children
Choosing the best accommodation for your next family holiday can be a daunting task, especially when taking young children away with you. Not only is it important to try to make their holiday is a special and happy one, but also to make it a safe one. With so much to consider and balance there is always the worry that you may have overlooked something or made a mistake.
Read more
Maternity Care Failing Some Disabled Women Says Human Rights in Childbirth Charity Birthrights
Research published today (15/09/16) by Bournemouth University and commissioned by Birthrights (the human rights in childbirth charity) highlights how maternity care may not be meeting the needs of some pregnant disabled women. 
Read more
THE BABY WHISPERER: Your First Steps into Parenthood
The first days of becoming a new parent are filled with both immense joy and nervousness. So we’ve caught up with mother, award winning newborn photographer and baby whisperer, Jo Bradley, who shares her top tips on how new parents can make the most out of the special first few weeks with their newborn.
Read more

Just off the A127, Rayleigh Karting Stadium offers youngsters 10-16 years with a minimum height of 135cms the chance to experience all the thrills of karting

Exciting Birthday Parties with exclusive track use can be booked.

The ever-popular kart training morning for 10-16 year olds @ £38 per driver, is a full morning (9.30am – 12pm) of intensive training run by NKA Race Directors.
October half-term date: Tuesday 25th October.  Places must be booked. 

Arrive and Drive karting practice sessions are available most days (please always check for availability)

For full details visit the website or phone 01268 777765

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!

October half term holiday courses available at Felsted School for 6 to 14 year olds. 

Felsted offers a fresh variation of courses to keep your child busy and stimulated in the holidays. All staff are DBS checked and hold relevant qualifications for the activities they teach. 

Hockey from £90 @ 10:00-16:00 - 24th-28th October 2016.
Rugby £85 @ 10:00-16:00 - 31st October - 2nd November 2016
Squash from £60 @ 10:00-12:00 or 13:00-15:30 - 24th-26th October 2016

Book now on 01371 822 633 or for further information please visit our website


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
Children's Centres
Groups for Older Children

Structured baby swimming classes such as Puddle Ducks, teach children to be safe in water by teaching them key life-saving skills in a fun way, appropriate to the age of the children. Puddle Ducks classes, which last 30 minutes, will teach activities including swimming, submersion, floating, songs and games.  Although fun is at their heart, Puddle Ducks classes are about much more than this. The classes revolve around bonding and play where children don’t realise they’re learning to swim and are acquiring skills that could save their lives. Find out more about our classes held at various locations at  or call 01473 356222.

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 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. 


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