Essex Mums Newsletter May 2015
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Essex Mums Awards  *   Half-Term Events   *   Ask the Trainer   *   Are you crafty?   *   Essex Mums Directory    *   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, a few of you have told me you didn't receive this when it was sent last Friday, so I'm hopinh this one reaches you!

I hope you are enjoying the generally milder weather and getting to enjoy some fun outdoor family time. For those of us with school-age children, a large part of April is going to be taken up with the Easter holidays - good job there is so much on! Let's hope the weather stays nice for the next few weeks!
If you have something you'd like to add to the site, please use one of these buttons to get you there quickly!
 

Night Nannies – specialists in overnight maternity care
 
MAYBE you are reading this through bleary eyes, feeling sleep deprived following the birth of your baby. Perhaps you or your partner needs a break from the endless night-time routine or would benefit from some advice on feeding, weaning and sleep patterns. If so, the answer could be just a click away at www.nightnannies.com 

Night Nannies can do any of the following: night feeds, nappy changes, winding and settling, preparing and sterilising bottles, offer help and advice on sleep routines, dress your baby in the morning – so you can wake refreshed, all ready for a new day!

For more information, call Hannah on 07518 018116
Essex Mums Awards
Nominations for the 2015 Essex Mums are still pouring in and at last count you had nominated more than 4000 people, places and things that make your life as a parent in Essex that bit easier or more fun! Nominations will stay open until June so you still have plenty of time to get yours in, just fill in the form here: http://www.essexmums.org/awardsnominations.html - the top nine companies with the most nominations will go through to the voting round, as well as last year's winner.

Local businesses, make sure you get the recognition you deserve by sharing the page with your customers and asking them to nominate you!

If you want to see what people voted for last year, take a look at the Essex Mums Loves... section and if you're a company interested in sponsoring the awards, like the lovely businesses below, take a look at the packages on offer here.

The 2015 Essex Mums Awards are sponsored by:
Half-Term Events
The summer half-term isn't until the end of the month but it's not too early to start planning fun things to do! As always there are loads of great events on - we have been starting to add them to our Summer Half-Term page so keep checking back as more is added throughout the month,

You can find out what's on for every school holiday and special occasion on our School Holidays page. Each holiday is fully updated in the month before but events can be submitted at any time.

If you would like to submit an event, click here and if you're interested in an ad on this page, take a look at our school holidays packages.
Ask the Trainer
Has Spring inspired you to get fitter and healthier? Why not pop over to our Ask the Trainer section of the forum where you can put your health and fitness questions to Personal Trainer Zoe Randall. If you're trying to get fit or lose weight yourself, you might also be interested in joining our Weight Loss Support Thread, or checking out our recipes section for some healthy ideas.
Are you crafty?
We still need some crafty folk to help us blog about activities to try with your kids for our Arts & Craft section. Whether you have a crafty business or are a parent who just loves glitter, we want to hear your ideas! You can submit your activities here, or if you are interested in becoming a regular contributor, get in touch. All posts will be fully credited with a bit about you (if you wish) and links to your website if appropriate.
Essex Mums Directory 
Calling all businesses! Are you listed on our Directory? It is your guide to local shops and services and features everything from classes for kids to car repairs. It's totally free to get a basic listing, just submit your details here. If you are interested in a more prominent spot, you can take out a premium or standard listing for a one-off price of £20 or £15 - this never needs renewing so once you are listed, that's it!

Book a directory listing this week and get a free ad in next month's newsletter! 

“Giving every child such an amazing experience they can’t wait to come back!”
  • Superb Easter & summer camps at 34 locations!
  • Fantastic range of activities for 4.5-16 years
  • The best qualified staff:child ratios for any comparable provider
  • Extended hours from 8am-6pm
  • A Brilliant Childcare Option for Working Parents!
Barracudas, the UK’s No1 children’s activity camp offers peace of mind for working parents during the Easter & summer holidays. We’ve been rated ‘OUTSTANDING’ by Ofsted more times and more consistently than any other activity day camp provider and because we’re registered with Ofsted you have the added bonus of using your childcare vouchers as payment! 

www.barracudas.co.uk
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! 
Adelaide by Menthe et Grenadine
Menthe et Grenadine is an online children’s shoe store that pledges to offer good quality, affordable shoes. I have been very lucky to have had the opportunity to try out a pair of shoes for my eight-year-old daughter Millie.

Read Helena's full review
Infacare Ultra Mild Baby Bath
The baby bath came in a large 750ml bottle, so lasted ages. It has a very pleasant fragrance, it made a change from the baby powder smell most baby bath products seem to have.

Read Tracy's full review
Primal Pantry Bars
I’ve heard a lot about the paleo diet so was intrigued to try these bars from Primal Pantry, which promise 100% natural grain-free energy and are suitable for allergy sufferers, vegetarians and vegans.

Read Nicola's full review
 
Fusion Performers trains students from 1 years old to adults, we teach all genres of dance, musical theatre, private singing and acting.
 
We have our own elite 'Musical Theatre Company' & 'The Fusion Dance Troupe Company' and have performed at many West-End Theatres.  We will be performing later this year at The IndigO2, and for the fourth year running with Pasha Kovalev, the winner of Strictly Come Dancing's tour.
 
We run a talent/casting agency 'Fusion Stars Agency' representing members in TV, film, modelling, and theatre. 
 
FREE trial lessons - join our award winning school! 
 
'My Gym', Radford Way, Billericay
fusionperformerbookings@live.com 
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! 

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
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.
What will happen at my child's speech & language assessment? 
Your child may have been referred to Speech and Language Therapy because there are concerns about his speech, language or communication skills. It can be a very worrying time.

Read more
Famous Kids’ Bedrooms you’ll fall in love with, including one of a future King
If MTV has taught us anything, it’s that a) Spring Break rules and b) we’re all a little bit obsessed with the contents of celebrities’ “cribs”. 
Read more
Eczema
If your child suffers from eczema, like many other people across the globe, then they may be looking forward to summer more than most. It is reported that most people with atopic eczema find that their symptoms improve during the summer and get worse in winter. 
Read more
Stopping Contraception 
You have decided to try for a baby and the next step is to stop your current method of contraception. It is important to think about the type of contraception that you using and stopping it correctly. Some methods of contraception can also have an impact on how easy it may be to conceive.
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
Coconut Berry Ice Lollies
These are really quick and easy to make when the sun is shining, and they are ideal for all the family. The ingredients are natural, and the lollies do not contain any processed sugar. Agave nectar comes from a cactus, and it is a healthier alternative to sugar – it can be found in most supermarkets nowadays.
Read kate's Kitchen's full recipe
Holly Bell’s Garlicky Roasted Squash, Sweet Potato and Carrot Puree
This is a great puree for starting babies off on. It’s naturally a little sweet and has a lovely soft texture. You can add less water when blending and use it as a dip with flatbreads or simply spread on toast. Don’t forget to reserve a couple of cooked, cooled vegetable batons for your baby to hold and gnaw on.
Read Holly Bell's full recipe here
Guilt-free Chocolate and Peanut Butter Fudge
Only 5 ingredients….these bite size squares of heaven are an easy and super tasty healthy treat. A must try! 

Read the full recipe from Foodie Woodie
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
Meshon Maps
I love this idea, found on questartists.blogspot.co.uk and inspired by the illustrator Aaron Meshon. Meshon designs maps, children’s products and editorial illustrations that are quirky, brightly coloured and fun to look at, full of imaginary creatures and hidden details.

Read more 
Homemade bath paints
Easy peasy bath paints: combine shaving foam with food dyes. Add paintbrushes (or little fingers) and you can watch them get clean, then colourful, then clean again!
Read more 
Time For You is one of the longest established and most respected domestic cleaning companies in the UK and have been featured on the BBC “Working Lunch” and supplied cleaners to channel 5 “Cowboy Builders” and channel 4 “Hollywood Me” I have personally been operating in the Essex area for 5 years and have a vast database of professional police checked cleaners who can clean and care for your home. All our cleaners are carefully selected and thoroughly vetted so you can rest assured that your home is totally safe at all times, we are also fully insured for all accidental damage.

Please feel free to check out the testimonials on my website www.timeforyou.co.uk/home-cleaning/southend or call for a free no obligation home consultation to discuss your requirements.

For more information please call Trevor on 01245-426382 or text to 07585001362, e-mail southend@timeforyou.co.uk


 
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
Story Sticks
A simple but fun idea for helping children come up with story ideas. Start with coloured lollipop sticks, or paint them yourself – ideally around 20 each of four colours. Each colour represents a different aspect of the story.

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
Special Offers
Special offers for Essex Mums added this month!
Maison Munford Photography
Baby/children photographer based in Colchester, Essex. Available for studio sitting or on location (home visit etc.). Book your newborn session today and get 10% off.

Read more
Stamptastic
A fast new way of naming all your belongings! A personalised stamp usable on fabric, metal, wood and some plastics. No more sewing or ironing on labels. Plus 18% off!
Read more
Sassy Bloom
Every parent naturally wants the very best for their child. There are currently over 3,000 new pregnancy, baby and child related products being launched every month! Some are amazing, others a complete waste of time and money! 
Read more
Blog
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!
School Reviewer Launches A New Website
School Reviewer offers a wealth of up to date information on 41,826 pre-schools, primary, secondary and further education establishments across the UK. The majority of listings include a minimum of three year’s worth of Ofsted Ratings and academic data which helps enforce quality and repute across the board.

Read more
How can mums connect with their teenage sons?
Once boys reach their teenage years, it can become a difficult period for parents, especially mums. They can start to feel detached from their son and unsure of how to connect with him. 
Read more
Raising money for good causes is a long-term family investment 
Few undertakings are as rewarding as the act of giving, particularly if you’re making a donation to a local organisation, national support network, or a charity close to your family’s heart.
Read more
Research Reveals Young Parents Have Forgotten Mother Nature 
Britain’s knowledge of nature is dwindling to worrying new levels with younger generations now less clued up than ever, according to a shocking new study.
Read more
Moosical Fun for your Little One
Moo Music is a great fun and interactive music session for 0-5 year olds.

Music is an essential part of every child’s development and the original Moo Music songs are positive, uplifting, fun and educational. Moo Music is based around very catchy songs with clever tunes and simple yet effective lyrics.

The interactive sessions will help your child gain confidence and develop memory, language and coordination skills in an exciting, enjoyable and multi-sensory way. It's also great for learning simple directions and commands.

We sing! We Moove! We play! We Learn! We Have Fun!
Classes across Essex - log onto www.moo-music.co.uk to find your nearest session!

Events
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!

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
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. Offers this month: MAY HALF TERM AND SUMMER HOLIDAYS PACKAGES!
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
Competitions
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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