Essex Mums Newsletter March 2016
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Essex Mums Turns 8!  *   Easter Event  *   Essex Mums Awards  *   School Admission  *   Can you help us with our homework?  *   Want to be on TV?  *   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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March is here and could that be Spring poking its head around the corner? Seems a little too early to call it while it's still so chilly out but I'm sure that soon we will be able to get out and enjoy some activities that don't have to involve muddy puddles!
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! 

Essex Mums Turns 8!
The most exciting news this month is that we will be reaching the grand old age of 8! I know I tend to waffle on with the thanks every year but I really do appreciate every single one of you who has helped make the site as successful as it is - from those of you who post on the forum and have made it such a lovely place to chat, to those who just pop in once in a while to see what's on. Thank you! I hope you know that for me, Essex Mums isn't just a business, it's been a labour of love, and something I hope will continue to thrive in the years to come. 

Easter Events

We have been busy adding Easter events for this year and will get more on the site as the month goes on so make sure you have submitted yours here. You can take a look at the Easter page here - more is being added all the time so why not get in early and plan some fun spring activities with your family.

If you're interested in one of our Easter ad packages, check out what is on offer here.
Essex Mums Awards
In a few weeks the third Essex Mums awards will begin and I can't wait! Last year's was so exciting and saw more than 40,000 votes cast for your favourite people, places and things. The nominations will go on until June, 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. Check out some of the amazing companies sponsoring the awards this year below:
School Admissions
Are you one of the many parents across the county who has just found out their child's secondary school placement, or is waiting to find out which infant school their little ones are going to? Why not come and discuss how you feel about this in the forum. There's a special Schools section where you can chat about everything from the school itself to your fears about such a big change. It can be so useful to have support from other parents in your position and to hear the experiences of those who have been there before. If you have a question for a professional, check out our Ask the Teacher section.
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! 
Want to be on TV?
Then take a look at the Media Requests section of the forum for shows needing people like you.


Snugalicious features a gorgeous range of super soft bamboo baby clothes, from newborn to 8 years. The benefits of Bamboo are that it's thermoregulating (so ideal for warm or cold babies) and is made from natural fibres so brilliant for children with allergies such as eczema or asthma.

I am currently looking for new members to join my team and this fantastic opportunity. Perfect for new Mums/Dads or those with children who maybe don't want to return to work or would like something that fits in around family life and can be pursued as much or as little as you'd like!

Use code SNUGST16 when ordering through the facebook page or by email to receive 10% off your first order.
 
Email: sarah@snugalicious.co.uk
Phone: 07793 720714

 
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! 
Props and Frocks Ice Kingdom Experience
The day started out with the girls meeting Anna and Kristoff, in a very luxurious Castle themed room.  They began by decorating their very own coronation crowns with fab glittery shapes and felt pens. Then they had a frozen singalong, met Elsa herself and got crowned at their own mini coronation which delighted them both no end!
Click here to read Michelle's full review
Organix Muesli
We reviewed the organix banana, peach and apple muesli and raspberry and banana muesli 10+months
I was a bit dubious at first as really hadn’t given any of my children muesli in the past due to people saying it contained lots of sugar. In terms of sugar its not as bad as first thought as generally on par with most breakfast cereals.
Click here to read Leanne's full review
Guosto Recipe Box
I’ve been intrigued by the idea of recipe boxes for a while so was really thrilled to have a go at trying a couple of recipes from Guosto. The idea behind it is that you choose the recipes you like the look of (with the option of having 2 or 4 portions) and all the ingredients are delivered to your house: really convenient, of course, but what appeals to me is the lack of waste. You get exactly what you need to make the recipes, no more, no less.
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! 
LadyM @Home Workout with ILU
Here is the first of three great at home workouts, shared with Essex Mums by ILU

Click here to see the workout





Brentwood based therapist and coach specialising in:
  • Weight Management
  • Relationships/Couples Counselling
  • Confidence & Anxiety
Contact me to book your FREE consultation and start to make positive life change TODAY.
Email: lisa@pawlowski.co.uk
Phone/text: 07734 543546
Website: www.lisapawlowski.co.uk

 
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:
  • Ace and Me: Eco-friendly and handmade slipper socks
  • ILU: Your Colour, Your Style, Your Mood
  • Jolly Smith Design: Household giftware that will transform any interior into a fun, contemporary living environment
  • The Lemon Tub: Beautiful accessories, scarves, jewellery, lifestyle clothing and gifts
  • Malcolm and Gerald: Personalised Children's Clothing
  • Ollie and Belle: Baby Muslins & Swaddles
  • Sally Lees: Unique Birth Flower Jewellery and More
     
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.
Zika Virus
Zika virus is a mosquito-borne infection. It can be transmitted to humans if they are bitten by infected mosquitoes, commonly the Aedes mosquito, which is generally active during daytime hours. There is also evidence that Zika can be spread through unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected person. The virus is not linked to malaria. 
Read more
Breastfeeding positions
It’s important to find a comfortable position when breastfeeding, as you may be there a while. It’s completely up to you which position you choose and different positions may suit different times of day and situations. Here are some ideas. 
Read more

Dovercourt Skating Rink - Outdoor Roller Skating Rink and Food Kiosk
We are one of the last outdoor Roller Skating Rinks in the UK, opened in 1947, the rink is now run by Simply Skate Ltd a local family owned company.

The food kiosk has recently been upgraded and we now offer meals along with light snacks and due to the owners history we have created a quality Ice Cream Parlour selling the finest Dairy Ice Cream and Gelato along with the family favourite ‘Mr Whippy’ and ‘Walls’ products.

We offer Skate hire, either quads or inline skates and we will soon be launching Skating Lessons.

Lower Marine Parade, Dovercourt, Essex, CO12 3ST
Tel: 01255 551296   E-Mail: info@simplyskating.co.uk
www.simplyskating.co.uk
www.facebook.com/DovercourtSkate

 
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
Organix Passion Fruit Cake
The perfect homemade treat for mum on Mother’s Day, and a delicious no junk treat for Easter, this passion fruit cake is bursting with flavour.  This cake won't last long as it contains no refined sugar to preserve it, and has a fresh cream topping and filling, so make sure you invite the family around to help you devour it fresh!

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
Puffy Paint
This idea from One Little Project really caught my eye. I would have loved it when I was a child and am sure there are lots of other budding artists out there who would enjoy it too! Puffy paint is really easy to make and gives an amazing texture that lasts a few days: fun for adding something extra to your paintings!
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
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. 

Theatretrain are drama, dance & singing classes for children aged 3-18!  As well as being really good fun, Theatretrain is a fantastic way of building confidence and gaining social skills.  All abilities are welcome & there are auditions to join, offering all children the same experiences whether they have performed before or not.  Come & join us for a FREE TRIAL at our open day on 9th April to be in our next performance at the Royal Albert Hall in September 2016!  Contact Rebecca on 07880317127 to book your place!

www.theatretrain.co.uk

Special Offers
Special offers for Essex Mums added this month!
25% off at ILU
ILU’s story is about following your passion in life and taking chances when they are offered. Our founder Mary was a City lawyer for many years, walking the treadmill of career recognition and secure income. But her passion was in health, fitness and fashion, not law, and eventually she had the chance to make her big move
Read more
10% off entry at Paradise Wildlife Park
10% off entry to Paradise Wildlife Park when you book online with the code MUM10. Click here for more info and to book. 
Read more
10% off Free From Party Food course at Braxted Park
As mums, we all know how difficult it can be to cater for the dietary needs of every child at a party. The good news is that The Cookery School at Braxted Park in Essex have just launched a new course to make these problems a thing of the past.
Read more
Free Day at UK Football Camps
Every half-term:  Voted the #1 FUN CAMP for the 3rd year running – FREE DAY for the kids of Essex Mums…   UK Football Camps – not just a football camp! As we continue to celebrate our 3rd year of camps, we’re pleased to be able to offer Essex Mums a FREE DAY for their kids to attend camp. 
Read more
Ultimate Body Blueprint
LAUNCH OFFER! After 4 weeks of running the Blueprint our clients are really getting some amazing RESULTS! Up until now we have held back on marketing too much, so we get best practises down, understand what works best, what approaches are getting the best results and what the members enjoy the most. 
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!
Prepare To Start A Family With These 3 Tips!
Being a parent, I know that starting a family can be tough. In the beginning, there are lots of worries and concerns, but it’s all worth it in the end. It’s even harder to start a family if you aren’t properly prepared. So, to help you out, I have three tips...
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

When sisters Charlie Day and Alex Burnside decided to team together to launch a new business, they had no idea what a dynamic duo they would become. Alex Burnside a Foundation Stage teacher, and her sister, Charlie Day a young entrepreneur, decided to team together their skills and create: ‘Little Stars Phonics.’ These Pre-School phonics classes give children, aged 2-5 , the perfect foundations for school. Each session includes rhyme, alliteration, oral blending and segmenting – the necessary skills for reading and writing. This high energy class also include dough disco and wiggle whilst your squiggle to develop gross and fine motor skills which are both fundamental for writing. The duo have launched 9 classes this term and will be launching 10 more classes after Easter so get in touch to book your child a space today! www.littlestarsphonics.co.uk

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!

Performing Arts has been shown to have a significant impact on improving literacy levels in children as it stimulates creativity, assists language development and communication skills. Razzamataz teachers know how to encourage and inspire so children learn to better express themselves which leads to greater confidence and self-esteem – all whilst having fun!  Theatre is becoming increasingly popular with boys who soon become hooked at Razz!    

Our Saturday curriculum covers everything from musicals to pop singing and street for ages 4 – 17. We offer performance opportunities and workshops with industry professionals such as “Diversity” so book a Free Trial Session now! Call Catherine on 07787 570760/01268 683512 or email  rayleighwest@razzamataz.co.uk  For further information visit www.razzamataz.co.uk

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
Classic Festivals and Events/Quintessentially British Events

The Weald Country and Craft Show, Weald Country Park


1st and 2nd May, 10.00 – 5.00
www.wealdcountryshow.co.uk 

The Weald Country and Craft Show will be bringing many new and exciting attractions this year from the amazing Stunt Monkeys with top British Riding Team to the wonderful World of Birds demonstrating flying with vultures, storks and parakeets.  We will again be supporting small producers and adding to our Food and Drink Markets, the Classic British Bake Off and most importantly our children’s Horticultural Tent.  Demonstrations from Rural Crafters and supporting local and handmade.  The FESTIVALS OF features over 25 classes daily which you can enter throughout the day as well as Dog Agility and two main rings.

www.classicfestivals.co.uk or www.festivalsofdogs.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/ShowOrganiser/
https://twitter.com/SuffolkFoodFest
 
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: Easter packages and lifetime shopping guide 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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