Back to School! Essex Mums Newsletter November 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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Hi everyone, hope all the kids and babies have had a lovely half-term and enjoyed Halloween. This month the newsletter will be focussing on Bonfire Night events across the county and a few festive ideas as I know a lot of you are already making Christmassy plans!

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

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
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Basildon        01268 833330
Bonfire Night
As long as the weather holds out, most families across the county will be off to some sort of Bonfire celebration this week, so take a look at our Fireworks page to find some Guy Fawkes celebrations near you. 

I'm sure there are some I haven't discovered so if you know of one that isn't listed here, please email me the details on and I'll get it added or just add your event here.

If you would like to advertise on this page (any business can have an ad), they are now only £5 and you can book here.
Alternative Christmas Shopping Guide
If you like to get organised early with Christmas presents, our Christmas Shopping Guide is now full of lovely gift ideas for the whole family: make sure you take a look at the Alternative Shopping Guide and the Product Guide for some ideas for unique and unusual presents for the whole family, and check out some the lovely shops that are listed there. Many are small businesses run by parents just like us, so not only are you buying a lovely gift, you're also helping small often local businesses stay alive! Yay! If you have your own shop and would like to be featured, please get in touch - listings start at just a pound!
Festive Fun
It might be a little early to be getting Christmassy, but as the month progresses I know many of you will be starting to think a bit more about it, so would like to devote a bit of newsletter space to all the fantastic festive fun there is to be had. If you're thinking of planning things to do nice and early, take a look at our Festive Fun page, which has listings for all sorts of Christmassy events, or click on the title below to take you to the page. New events are being added all the time but this should get you started!

It's not too early to get your children booked in to see the big man in red. Whether you want to meet him at a local bazaar or go all out for a winter wonderland, you'll find it listed here. Keep checking our Meet Father Christmas page as more places announce when they will be visited by the one and only (ahem) Santa Claus this year.

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!

Tyndalls Winter Wonderland has something for all the family. Come along and take a magical tour around the Winter Wonderland and visit Father Christmas in his Grotto.

Join us for our Opening Weekend on 19th – 20th November for some festive food & mulled wine.  We have 10% off everything in store – PLUS buy a Christmas Trees (which can be kept in the garden until ready) and receive a Free Family of 4 Ticket for the Grotto this weekend.  

The Winter Wonderland is Open until 24th December. Call for more information or visit our website: - 01279 792321
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! 
Great British Canvas Prints
Celebrate the Best of British with one of these nostalgic canvas prints – designed in Britain, made in Britain, and about as British Bulldog as you can get! This fab Great British Meals canvas has really put the finishing touch in my kitchen. You’re able to customise the wording to include any dish that you want! The dimensions are 12 inches x 24 inches and it is 40mm deep. It’s perfect size for any kitchen or diner as you can change its colour to match your appliances and decor.
Click here to read Michelle'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. 
Womentime: How to keep active in Winter
It’s only natural that we feel less motivated in winter because of the dark evening and the weather is wetter and colder. However, winter can do amazing things for your workouts, meaning you won’t find them such a chore!

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

Picture the scene: the morning post arrives with a special Santa letter for your child. Imagine their face as they open their own personalised letter from Santa. He knows their address, how old they are, even the name of their best friend.

Father Christmas Letters provides personalised letters from Father Christmas or Santa Claus to children and adults alike. We have been supplying our top quality letters since 2004 and they are the best on the market as is our customer service.

Click here to order and get £1 off! 
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:
  • AHandmadeEmporium: Soy Candles Handmade with Love
  • Anne Fontenoy: Dress Designer/Maker & Visual artist
  • Apatchy: Bespoke lifestyle gifts with handpicked accessories
  • Coochie Coo Nappy Cakes: Beautiful Handmade gifts for babies
  • Little Love by Susie: Beautiful hair accessories for bridesmaids and everyday
  • Sgt Smith: Clothes with a good dose of British humour to ensure that when you wear sgt. smith, you'll also wear a smile!
  • Shutter and Sketch: London based pencil & photographic fine art portraiture.
  • Space Kids: Quality space dressing up costumes and adventure themed fancy dress for kids and adults, space and educational toys, astronaut food and other cool space stuff
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
Rocket, goat cheese and strawberries salad 
A lovely light salad from  Lemons & Olives, this salad is a little powerhouse of complementary nutrients. Great as a starter or light lunch.

Read the full recipe here
Gluten- free cous-cous with chicken and spicy courgettes
An easy and gluten-free cous cous, made from millet, a not very well known grain (it is actually a grass seed). Similar to cous-cous and easy digestible, millet is great if accompanied by roasted vegetables and some grilled meat, perfect for lunch boxes and as easy dinner for the whole family.

Read the full recipe here
Sticky left over lamb sandwiches
Have some lamb left over from Sunday lunch? Don’t let it go to waste, use it for this ultimate comfort sandwich!

Read the full recipe here

Fairkytes Live is committed to finding new talent and providing further opportunities for young bands to progress. This evenings gig is headlined by Two Year Break, who are making an impact on the London scene, plus Truth in a Cliché and Fairkytes Live debutants Osseous and Strings of Fire. (Bands are subject to change).
£5 plus booking fee
Or tickets can be bought at Fairkytes Box Office for £5 (credit card fee 1.5%)
Box office number: 01708 456308
The cost of a ticket will be £8 on the door.

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
Easy Fireworks Craft
If you’re looking for something fun and easy to do with the kids this Guy Fawkes Night, this easy fireworks craft from Juggling with Kids could be perfect for you!
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
Fizzy Science
Bonfire night is coming up and I thought it would be fun to look for some fizzy, whizzy science experiments you can do with your kids at home. There are so many great blogs out there, I thought we’d share a few favourite ideas!

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
Own the Experience - Food & Drink
Special Offers
Special offers for Essex Mums added this month!
15% off at Carddies
Carddies are Award winning British colouring sets encouraging creativity, pretend play, imagination and story-telling…
Read more
20% off Christmas Afternoon Tea at County Hotel Chelmsford
Enjoy a lovely festive afternoon tea! 

Read more
25% off with Fit Mamas
Lose over one stone and save 25% of our 6-week online weight loss program starting 31st October 2016.
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
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

High quality, fun and functional children’s clothes.

From organic newborn outfits to smart children's coats that cleverly adapt to any weather. Polarn O. Pyret of Sweden have been making smart, functional and colourful clothes for babies and children since 1976.

Letting children be children is our philosophy - so look out for the kids clothes that can handle a stain busting hot wash, baby clothes that expand or roll down for growing room and durable clothes in distinctive prints and patterns that can be handed down from brother to sister.

20% Off Everything Until Midnight At Polan O. Pyret

LAST CHANCE! Hurry, our 20% off everything birthday event is almost over, ending at midnight… Don’t miss out!
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!

The Elf on the Shelf® Tradition is a special scout elf sent from the North Pole to help Santa Claus manage his naughty and nice lists. When a family adopts a scout elf and gives it a name, the scout elf receives its Christmas magic and can fly to the North Pole each night to tell Santa Claus about all of the day's adventures.

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
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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