Essex Mums Newsletter February 2016
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Half Term Fun   *   Alternative Shopping Guide   *   Essex Mums Awards   *   Getting Active   *   Can you help us with our Homework?  *   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, now that Christmas is well and truly a distant memory, hopefully you have all recovered and are looking for some fun things to do with the family. Half-term is coming for those with school-age children, so check out what's on across the county, and let's hope for a little bit of nearly-spring sunshine!
If you have something you'd like to add to the site, please use one of these buttons to get you there quickly!
 

Barracudas

“Giving every child such an amazing experience they can’t wait to come back!” 

  • Superb Easter & summer camps at 35+ 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! 


Half Term Fun

If you are a parent of school age children, half term will be rolling around for you this month. As always we have plenty of fantastic events listed on the site, so take a look at our Spring Half-Term page (though admittedly, spring sounds a little ambitious given how chilly it is out there). This is currently being updated as we are sent more events so make sure you check back to find more fun family ideas.
Alternative Shopping Guide
I'm so excited to be adding some lovely new shops to the Alternative Shopping Guide this year. The guide is full of fantastic independent shops that sell great gifts, fairtrade or handmade toys, clothes that are a bit different to what's on the High Street, and lovely bits and bobs to treat yourself, so make sure you take a look! You can browse the different categories for shops or search the Product Guide if you are looking for something specific.

If you are a shop and are interested in getting listed, please 
email me for more information.
Essex Mums Awards
Coming next month is the opening of the third Essex Mums awards. Last year's was so exciting and saw more than 40,000 votes cast for your favourite people, places and things. The nominations will start from next month, so get thinking about what makes your life that bit easier or more fun!

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, take a look at the packages on offer here.
Free Training and Business Advice

Award winning Ignite Business Enterprise are able to offer you free workshops and business advice. Whether you are thinking of starting up, have started or your business has been going for some time, we can help.  Our workshops are running across the whole of Essex until the end of March and cover everything from ‘which social media’ through to 'basic book keeping’ or even ‘marketing on a budget’, to qualify all you need to do is live in Essex and want to learn more. 

For those who want a bit more help and advice, you can arrange to visit our premises in Braintree for a Free advice session and if that’s too far we can arrange for a more local provider to assist you.

To book a workshop or advice session, simply call 01376 340940 or email emma@ignitebusiness.org, workshops can also be booked online www.ignitebusiness.org
Getting Active
There is a brand new section on the site - all about getting you and your children fit and active. We will be putting various products and activites to the test and thoroughly reviewing the pros and cons of each, to give our community the best advice and ideas to get them in shape.You can see the first few reviews here and we'l be adding more as they come in!

If you are involved in any of the following businesses and are confident that your product or service can help with weightloss, fitness or general good health, or if you would like to join our team of reviewers, please get in touch!
  • Exercise classes for Mums
  • Sports and exercise sessions for children
  • Weight-loss products
  • Nutritionists/Healthy Eating
  • Personal trainers
Can you help us with our homework?
We have a section of the site that could be a really fantastic resource for parents of school-age children but it needs more input - can you help? The Educational Activities section contains ideas to help your children with their learning, from nursery right up to secondary school. If you have any useful tips, games or ideas, please share them! It doesn't matter how silly or how simple, if it helped your or your child, it might help another! 
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! 
Organix Cheese Stars
We tried the Organix Cheese Stars which is targeted at children aged 7+ months. It comes in little handy packets and are chunky star shaped made up of 5 segments. They are suitable for babies who are just starting out with finger food and have yet to develop their pincer grip.
Click here to read Melissa's full review
NAGA Magnetic Glass Noticeboard
When we were given the opportunity to review this board I was imagining that it would look rather good in my kitchen, functional yet stylish, probably the nicest thing in there, to be totally honest. What actually happened was that when it arrived, I looked around at the lack of wall space and started to wonder where I would put it… 
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! Read their wonderful reviews and follow in their footsteps on your own healthy journey. 

Here are the new reviews added this month! 
The Problems of Dieting – The Solutions For Success! 
This short, 16-page motivational ebook by Lance Geringer BA tackles the obstacles that dieters can face and looks at potential solutions. The author is a Californian sports scientist now living in Essex who has worked with professional golfers and has a lot of experience in diet and nutrition and in helping athletes to reach and maintain the top of their game.

Read Helena's full review
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:
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.
Maternity Clothes – What do I need to buy?
When you find out that you are pregnant it is tempting to go on a spending spree for maternity clothes. However, if you are on a budget there are only a few essentials that you will need to buy as you will probably find that your wardrobe contains most of the clothes you will need to see you through your pregnancy. 
Read more
Are you Ready to have a Baby?
Like me, you may be wondering when the right time is to have a baby, well the real answer is, there is never a right time! As much as you plan when you would like to have your baby “by the time I'm 30!” nothing really prepares you for the task ahead.

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
Spicy Tortilla Soup
This soup has quite a kick so might be a bit too spicy for a lot of kids but you can always cool down with some extra sour cream if they like a bit of heat!

Read the full recipe here
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
Egg Box Crocodile
This one is nice and simple. My son wanted to paint his but there’s really no need if your egg box is already green.

Take the egg box apart so you can change the end that it opens from I made holes and one end using scissors and tied it back together with string...
Read more 
Fit & Fun @ Mini Monkey Gym

STARTING ON 25TH FEBRUARY 2016 @ 4PM AT THE KNIGHTSWAY CENTRE BRENTWOOD CM13 2AZ
Ages 4-6 years old 

We offer circuit training in a child friendly environment practicing rolling, balancing, jumping etc.

Among the many benefits are physical fitness, confidence and stronger self-esteem, more energy, better memory, and simply a good feeling about themselves and they are easy to achieve.

We start every session with a welcome song and a warm up and songs throughout the session.

To book your child’s place please contact Val on 07944229138 or email us on brentwood@minimonkeygym.co.uk

www.minimonkeygym.co.uk/brentwood.php
 
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
Sporcle
My eldest son Felix loves facts. At least four times a day he will come and ask me “do you want to know a fact, Mummy?” and proceeds to tell me some new bit of info he has found out. He takes after his Dad in this regard: my husband is the king of trivia, a pub quiz expert. 
Special Offers
Special offers for Essex Mums added this month!
10% off at The Costa Cupcake Company
Based in Hadleigh in Essex The Costa Cupcake Company is an award winning fresh young company providing stunning celebration cakes for all occasions. In the words of Tracey-ann, The Costa Cupcake Company is her little piece of heaven and self admits she is not the “normal baker”.
Read more
Photography by David Solomon Ltd
I have been a photographer for 30 years and more. My passion is creating amazing images and making people smile. I do most style shoots, let me know what you’re after and I will create it.
Read more
5% off and free P&P at PhotoFairytales

Read more
Discounts with On Board Air Ambulance
Exciting new member benefits scheme which entitles On Board members to fantastic discounts both online and in-store with well known brands PLUS raises funds for the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust
Read more
Based in Hadleigh in Essex The Costa Cupcake Company is an award winning fresh young company providing stunning celebration cakes for all occasions. In the words of Tracey-ann, The Costa Cupcake Company is her little piece of heaven and self admits she is not the “normal baker” specialising in Quirky, Shabby Chic, Retro & Vintage designs as well as sugar free, gluten and dairy free cakes.

From birthdays, christenings, and weddings, to corporate events and supplying local tearooms and coffee shops if you are looking for something that’s tastes as amazing as it looks then look no further.  

Mention Essex Mums for your 10% discount.
www.costacupcakecompany.co.uk
01702 741860 / 07447 452125 
Areas we cover: Essex, London ,Hertfordshire,Suffolk


 
 

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!
New Mum’s Resolution
Well that’s a pretty rubbish title but it sort of sums up my goal. I really want to get back into keeping a blog and thought the new year provided a good opportunity to start. I’ve never been one for new year’s resolutions, but I do feel like there’s a certain sense of starting afresh that comes after new year. 
Read more
My end-of-year cleaning up
It is hard to find a woman who does not like clothes. But I think it is easy to find a female who does like cleaning her closet. I am one of such women. I like new outfits, accessories and shoes. However, my bedroom wardrobe is not endless and gives me signs saying, or rather demanding, that it needs urgently to be decluttered. I postponed this task as long as I could. But New Year has just gone
Read more
How Dads Can Make Mother’s Day Special For New Mums
In a few short weeks, it will be Mother’s Day, the holiday that celebrates motherhood in all it’s glory. As your kids get older, they’ll make you cards and give your cute little presents. But when they’re little, Mother’s Day can be treated as just another day. Unless of course, your partner – aka dad, wants to come to the rescue. 
Read more
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!

66% off Kids Pass
Kids Pass are offering an amazing deal for Essex Mums. Purchase an annual kids pass for  just £29:99 (RRP £75:00  â€“ a massive 66% off )

Use the promo code KPCESSEX at the checkout on the kids pass website www.kidspass.co.uk/join
 
WHAT IS KIDS PASS?
A Kids Pass Membership gives you access to the most Incredible deals at 1000’s of Attractions and Restaurants across the UK.

As well as restaurant and attraction savings, you’ll also have complimentary access to Cinema and Theatre Benefits as well as many more offers:
  • Up to 60% off at 100’s of the Top UK Attractions
  • Up to 40% off at over 420 Nationwide Cinemas including: ODEON, Cineworld, Showcase, Empire, Reel and Vue Cinemas.
  • Kids Eat Free at Family Friendly restaurants Nationwide!
  • Up to 60% off Theatre Tickets Nationwide.
  • 25% off Experience Days with Virgin!

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
Children's Centres Sport
Groups for Parents to Be
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: Half-Term ads and half price banner ads.
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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