Essex Mums Newsletter August 2015
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Summer Holidays   *   Summer Holidays Planner   *   Save Money this Summer  *   Essex Mums Awards   *   Can you help us?   *   Getting Active   *   Would you like to write for us?   *   Classes and Groups for September   *   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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I know the newsletter is a little later than usual but I hope you can forgive me as I was having a much needed holiday with the family! Now back and faced with another three or four weeks before school starts again I'm glad for all the research I've done for the Summer Holidays pages to find us some fun things to do to keep the kids occupied! 
If you have something you'd like to add to the site, please use one of these buttons to get you there quickly!

“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!
Summer Holidays
Hopefully you have been using the site to help keep your kids amused this summer but just in case you need some pointers, we have everything you could possibly need to know here at Essex Mums. From days out in the woods to bouncy castle craziness; from a hour's entertainment to a full week's worth of summer camp. Check out our Summer Fun section for full listings!
Summer Holidays Planner
Keep track of all the fun things you have planned with our handy Summer Holidays Planner. Make time for days out, meeting friends, family time, games and play, rest times, meals in and out as well as all those boring chores that unfortunately still need to be done. If you want some ideas for places to eat out, try the Family-Friendly Eats section, and be sure to review places you've been yourself!
Save Money this Summer
Did you know that Essex Mums is in partnership with The Essex Pass: a fantastic way to enjoy 2for1 deals at some of the best attractions in Essex? 

The Essex Pass is much more than just a discount card; for less than a tenner you get access to hundreds of discounts across Essex for a whole year & typically make your money back in just one day out!

Enjoy 2 for 1 deals at: Marsh Farm, Hadleigh Farm, Secret Nuclear Bunker, Brentwood Karting, Lakeside Karting, Laser Warfare, Epping Ongar Railway, Hylands House, Delta Force Paintball, Monkey Madness, Creepy Crawlies, Old Macdonald's Farm, Barleylands Farm Park, Audley End Miniature Railway, Enchanted Fairy Walk,  Hedingham Castle, Original Great Maze,  Essex Police Museum, East Anglian Railway Museum, Saffron Walden Museum, Tumble Downs and many other great savings across other attractions, restaurants & businesses in Essex!

Click here to buy your card and start saving this summer!
Essex Mums Awards
The nominations have been counted and the voting has started! Come and vote for the people, places and things that make your life as a parent in Essex that bit easier!

Voting will close on August 31st so there's plenty of time to vote, share with your friends or customers (or both!) and generally say thanks to all those wonderful people who bring so much joy and fun to our families. Last year it was so amazing to be able to show how much we appreciate them and I am looking forward to doing the same again this year. 

Thank you to everyone who has already voted; we have already received more than 20,000 votes, which is just amazing and already outstrips the number received last year by miles!

The 2015 Essex Mums Awards are sponsored by:
Can you help us?
We all know Essex Mums is full of great ideas, wonderful people and all-round good advice, but the truth is, it needs an overhaul. Until now I have built the site myself but with three kids and a business to run, I just can't redo the whole thing myself and need to get outside help for the rebuild.

I have started a Go Fund Me page to see if I can raise some of the money needed to do this, and as much as I hate to beg, if you can you spare a few pounds to help us, it would be much appreciated. It will make the site better, faster and more responsive so hopefully will help you too!

If you can support us at all, please donate here: 
Getting Active
Over the next few months I will be putting together a brand new section of 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.

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, please get in touch!
  • Exercise classes for Mums
  • Sports and exercise sessions for children
  • Weight-loss products
  • Nutritionists/Healthy Eating
  • Personal trainers
Would you like to write for us?
Are you a blogger or would you like to be one? I would like to have a few regular contributors to our blog so if you are interested, please get in touch. It can just be about every day life with kids but it would also be great to have some that are a bit more specific such as larger families, families dealing with additional needs etc. 

We want to hear your stories!
Classes and Groups for September
Please feel free to send over your class listings for September if you would like them to be updated on the site. Just email them over to me or submit your listings here. This might also be a great time to make the most of our Featured Class listings for just a pound a week to really stand out! 
Be an earlybird and start planning your family's new advent tradition with My Little Elf. Little Elf is 'sent by Santa' to make sure children are behaving in the lead up to Christmas, however he is also prone to create mischief (and a whole lot of giggles) himself! This set contains elf toy, scene-setting letter from Santa, elf passport, good behaviour charts, delivery label, elf report card and an elf antics ideas sheet for Mum or Dad.

Find out more - and order your set today -  at for fun, giggles and good behaviour!

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! 
My Pasta Bar, Lakeside
A couple of weekends ago the whole Ford family tested out My Pasta Bar at Lakeside’s newly renovated third floor food court, The Eatery. 
Read Louise's full review
Tree Fu Tom Live
The show was fantastic. Enough to hold my 5 year old daughter’s and two year old twins’ attention for the entire show. There was a lot of audience participation involved, joining in spells and magic and dancing which my children loved. 

Read Michelle'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! 

If you have a shop you would like to advertise on the Shopping Guide, please get in touch on
babyballet® Scoop Two Prestigious Dance Awards

Popular pre-school dance academy, babyballet®, is celebrating its 10th birthday in style – by winning two national awards.

The multi-award winning dance company has won Dance Franchise of the Year and Dance Brand of the Year in the Dance Teacher Hub Awards 2015.

Judges included top former ballet dancer, Darcey Bussell, a judge on hit show Strictly Come Dancing, and well  known dancers, presenters and choreographers Laura Wilson, Matt Flint, Ryan Jenkins and Tom Shilcock.

Babyballet has branches across Essex teaching thousands of babyballet stars each week. To find your nearest class visit 

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.
Sun Safety
Most families long for the summer when they can spend days out in the garden, on the beach, at the local park or even on holiday. Children love to run about and play and we all love to feel the warmth from the sun. 
Read more
Tips for getting pregnant
Trying to get pregnant can be an exciting, but also stressful time for everyone. There are plenty of old wives tales out there on how to increase your fertility. But what actually works, and what are the best ways you can increase your chances of getting pregnant?
Read more
Bleeding in Pregnancy
So that moment has come, planned or unplanned you are sat at the toilet, pregnancy test in hand with a million possibilities and questions running through your mind. Two little pink lines are all you have as an answer. 
Read more
Relax, Breathe and Birth – A Hypnobirthing taster session with a difference!

Have you heard about Hypnobirthing and interested to learn more? 

Maybe you are feeling anxious or worried about your upcoming birth?

Do you want to learn some useful techniques to support you through your pregnancy and birth?

Want your birth partner to understand how they can have a more active role at your birth?
For an investment of £30, come and spend a couple of hours with an experienced Hypnobirthing Doula, and walk away with confidence!
26th August. 7- 9pm Mace Playce, Chelmsford
Contact Steph to book your place – 
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
Delicious Veggie Burger
These Veggie Burgers are packed with lots of healthy vegetables but they are also coated in a gluten-free Flour called potato flour which gives them a crunchy and chewy coating.

Read Jemma's full recipe
Organix Courgette Pesto Spaghetti
A wonderful alternative, gluten free, healthy vegetable ‘spaghetti’ recipe from Organix. This is super quick and easy to make and is wonderful for little fingers to discover.

Read the full recipe here
Fish Pie for under a Fiver
If you want an easy, budget meal to make in the slow cooker, this fish pie is a good option! The recipe suggests using frozen veg for convenience and cost but you can, of course, use fresh if you prefer.
Read the full recipe from Lizzy’s Lazy but Fabulous Slow Cooker Recipes
Yoga isn’t about being bendy. It’s about feeling at home in your body, just as it is. Dynamic Yoga Training Method is a gentle, restorative yoga practise that nourishes your body, cultivates mindfulness and allows you to grow a sense of balance and calm, relaxed wholeness.

Rob is an Independent Yoga Network registered teacher who takes joy in introducing people of all ages and abilities to the wonderful healing self-care that yoga provides. For more information and class times visit

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!
Heads, Bodies, Legs and Feet
Chances are most of us played this as some point in our own childhood but had totally forgotten about it. It’s a fun game to play for children and adults, regardless of ability – even the simplest drawings can be hilariously weird. It’s so simple too and it a great game to play on a journey as all you need is paper and pens.
Read more 
Easy Handprint Flamingo
Looking for a simple but sweet craft idea? This handprint flamingo from Crafty Morning is about as easy as it gets, and looks great! It also makes a great keepsake to look back on how tiny your child’s hand once was.
Read more


Now introducing the Tyrannosaurus Rex to the stage, Dinosaur Zoo brings these awesome prehistoric creatures to life as you’ve never seen them before.

From cute baby dinos to teeth-gnashing giants, marvel and interact with extraordinary life-like dinosaurs in this imaginative and hilarious live show. 

But watch out. Not all of these ravenous reptiles are as tame as they seem…

Direct from the West End, Dinosaur Zoo is fast becoming a world-wide phenomenon, offering guaranteed fun for all the family ages 3+. Book now for this truly dinosaursome live show.
Twitter: @dinozoolive  #dinosaursome  Facebook: /DinosaurZooLive


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
100 Summer Holidays Activities and Ideas
I’m sure everyone agrees that the summer holidays should first and foremost be a time for kids to relax, have fun, see friends and spend time with their family but if you would like to keep their brains ticking over without getting into any major homework-related battles, here are 100 small, simple ideas and activities you can try with your children this summer. 
Read more
Paper Roto-Copter
We love this idea from Babble Dabble Do! This easy to do craft activity creates a mini paper toy that spins through the air like a paper helicopter. Why not create lots of different coloured ones and have a competition, or just watch the colours whizzing through the air! 
Read more

Our very popular ‘Progressive Sports’ Gymnastics Camp is at West Leigh Infants School, Ronald Hill Grove, Leigh on Sea. Tuesday 11th and 18th, Wednesday 12th and 19th plus Thursday 13th and 20th of August. Time: 9.30 - 12.30

There are still spaces left at only £15 per session. Also 2 very special workshops on Wednesday 12th which is 'Frozen' with a very special guest arriving and Wednesday 19th which is 'Mamma Mia' meets ‘Grease' musical. Both start at 12.30 - 3.30 and the children get to perform a show at the end. Cost £15 each and limited space’s left.

Text Emily on 07538079977 or call 01702714555 to book your child's space.

Special Offers
Special offers for Essex Mums added this month!
County Properties
County Properties are giving you a chance to save thousands of pounds in Estate Agency fees when selling your Essex home as they will list your home on their website and only charge 0.75% when they sell your property. 
Read more
Fit For Sport Activity Camps
Fit For Sport run Activity Camps in sites across Essex – they’re full of sports, energetic games and creative fun. We also run Looney Tunes Thursdays, with lots of themed activities. Get 10% off all summer camps.

Read more
Just Kidding Chorus
Love singing? Looking after a little one? The Just Kidding Chorus (based in South Woodford) is a feel-good daytime choir for parents/carers with a little one in tow. If you’ve had enough of Wheels on the Bus and want to get back to singing great music for adults, come join us! 
Read more
Kids Go Free to Colchester Zoo!
With every kid’s meal bought at Bourgee this summer you’ll receive a voucher for a free child entry to Colchester Zoo with a full paying adult! 

Read more

I offer a wide range of Wellbeing Treatments for the whole family including:

  • Food intolerance testing
  • Nutritional guidance
  • Emotional support
  • Behavioural concerns
  • Exam/peer pressure
  • New school confidence
  • Depression
  • Skin problems
  • Digestive and bowel health
  • Pain management
Find out how I can bring balance and sparkle back into your life!
Jackie Barber
Wellbeing Therapist & Healer
01621 855209/07807255921


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!
Great Tips for Mixing Up Your Holiday Plans
Taking a family holiday is one of the best things about having children, though it can sometimes be a nightmare! Usually, it’s great to get away and enjoy some time together. You don’t have to worry about work or homework, and everyone gets a break from their usual roles. 
Read more
Coping with Your Little One’s Eczema Scratching
Lots of babies, older children and adults suffer from eczema during their lives. It can be mild or more severe, come and go or stick around for longer. There can be some common triggers that make it worse, and there are lots of treatments, but mostly eczema needs to be managed. 
Read more
The Original Great Maze
Discover a new maize maze of adventure to be explored at Blake House Craft Centre, home of The Original Great Maze.

Weave your way through miles of maize pathways to finally conquer the 2015 tractor themed maze challenge. Upon your victory, climb the viewing platform and peruse the beautiful Essex landscape or see friends, still lost in the green labyrinth! When you have conquered the maze, take a look around the Blake House Craft Centre, visit Timbers Restaurant, or challenge friends to a game of Minigolf. Come and ‘get lost’ for a fun family day out, whatever the weather. 

Open daily until 13th Sept, 10am - last entry 4pm. Blake House Craft Centre, Blake End, Nr Braintree, Essex, CM77 6RA. Tel: 01376 553146.    

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.

Parent and Toddler Groups 
Updated Children's Centres Timetables 

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. Offers this month: SUMMER HOLIDAYS PACKAGES!
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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