Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Aliens Love Underpants Review

All of our favourite books seem to turning into stage shows at the moment! After seeing ‘What the Ladybird Heard’ at the Civic Theatre recently, T and I were thrilled to be invited along to see the latest book turned show ‘Aliens Love Underpants’. As it was a weekend show D decided that he would come with us and a lack of childcare also lead to L coming along for her first theatre visit!

The show is currently being shown at the Leicester Square Theatre and with an afternoon showing we decided to make a day of it in London, going for a walk through Hyde Park before heading for some lunch in Leicester Square. I sometimes forget how close we are to London in Chelmsford and we didn’t have any problems with the buggy on the train. The tube is a different matter and people aren’t always so forgiving to nervous mums trying to get their buggies onto the escalators!

As with all stage shows for children the audience were involved right from the start. The cast appeared in ‘I LOVE Pants’ t-shirts and asked the children about their favourite pants. I thought it was lovely that children were then mentioned specifically by the cast on stage as they started the show - it really helped to get all the children involved and the children who were mentioned had beaming smiles. This was followed by questions from the cast about the various colours, patterns and shapes of pants. The audience loved shouting out their answers and it was a great start to the show.

As an adult watching these shows, I am always intrigued as to how they will use the book to fill the 55 minutes running time of the show. The show’s director and writers had obviously been very keen to stay as close to the book as possible and they did use whole sections of the book as dialogue. I don’t want to give away too much detail as I don’t want to spoil the show if you haven’t seen it yet!

The aliens are puppets and L absolutely loved it whenever they came on stage and, even at just 20 months, she was cheering and clapping every time she saw them. They were exactly the same as in the book so those who knew the book well were able to make this connection. The part of the show on the spaceship was another highlight, especially when the main character was able to press a button and translate from ‘Alien’ into ‘English’!

There were lots of references in the show that were clearly aimed at entertaining the adults as well as the children. An older character mentions CD’s to the bemusement of the younger characters and the Pants Hall of Fame section was also excellent - I was trying to guess them before the aliens explained who they had belonged too and felt quietly happy when I realised I’d guessed them all correctly!

‘Alien’s Love Underpants’ is definitely a show aimed at all ages and I would highly recommend it. I had been worried that L would be too young to enjoy the show, but whilst she didn’t sit their mesmerised for the whole show there were certainly large chunks of it that she really did enjoy. D also enjoyed it and it was his first experience of children’s theatre. I’m just hoping that there is a ‘Pirates Love Underpants’ in the pipeline!

‘Aliens Love Underpants’ is showing at the Leicester Square Theatre until 31st August. See here for more details.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Chelmsford Summer Holidays Activities for the Under 5's

I've had some fantastic feedback from the 101 Things to Do in Chelmsford This Summer with Children but I know that there are lots of you (me included!) with children under the age of 5. With normal classes and toddler groups not running through the school holidays and hordes of school age children invading all the normally quiet parks and soft-play centres it can be difficult to know how to cope with the long 6 weeks of summer and our children aren't even in school yet!

So to help you here is 'Chelmsford Summer Holiday Activities for the Under 5's'! Not all of these activities are exclusievely for the under 5's  and it goes without saying that wherever you go it will be busy. But allow extra time, take a picnic to avoid queues at food outlets (and a rug to avoid frustration at the lack of picnic tables!) and just enjoy the sun. September will be here before you know it...

1. Natural Foundations are running a play cafe on various days over the summer. Natural play including games for all ages to play in the beautiful gardens with water play, mud kitchen, storytelling, along with lots of fun! (See our review of their regular sessions here).

2. Jester's Holiday Club in Bicnarce. Children from ages 3 and above are welcome and I've heard excellent reports. 

3. Inflatable Fun at Hylands House 3rd-6th August. Under 3's will be given discounted entry.

4. Thorndon Country Park with Gruffalo Trail. If it is busy there is plenty of space here to get away from the crowds. 

5. Promenade Park in Maldon. Avoid the pirate ship play area and head to the play area to the left of the sand-pit. This area is just for the under 5's. The sand pit is great but remember to take your own bucket and spade! The splash here is also fantastic and they do limit numbers so it's a great way to cool down on a really hot day. 

6. Frinton Beach. With no amusements and pier this tends to be a quieter beach than nearby Walton and Clacton. 

7. Oaklands Park has it's own dedicated under 5's area so is an excellent choice for a sunny day. 

8. The Essex Libraries Summer Reading Challenge is something that all age groups can take part in. My 20 month old already has her first sticker! 

9. Kids and Koffee is a soft play centre aimed at ages 8 and under.

10. Pickles Playhouse is a little further afield but worth a visit as it for ages 5 and under only. 

11. Lathcoats Farm is great place to while away an hour or two. With animals to visit and a newly built natural play area, your under 5's will be entertained while you enjoy a coffee (and a piece of cake) from the Beeshed Cafe. 

12. Play in the Park Held at various parks in Chelmsford on various dates, some welcome under 5's as well as older children; check the website for full details. Free!

13.  Wild Wednesdays at Danbury Country Park. Free outdoor fun and games for all ages. 

14. Tropical Wings is a great place to visit with the under 5's. Small enough to see it all in one day but big enough to have a wide variety of animals and birds. Also one of the cheaper 'day out' places in Chelmsford. 

15. Chelmsford City Council Activity Courses. Some of these courses are available from ages 1 and up. Art and crafts, gymnastics and swimming are among them and they are run at 4 different centres across Chelmsford. 

Please do leave a comment below if you know of anything else going on that I've missed out. 

Enjoy the summer and I'll be writing a post for the beginning of September with a round up of pre-school classes and groups. If you have something you would like to include do let me know!

Extreme Stunt Show Competition and 2 for 1 voucher!

The Extreme Stunt Show is coming to Chelmsford on Sunday 10th August with the show starting at 3pm.

To be in with a chance to win a family ticket click here to enter our competition.

And if you aren't lucky enough to win a ticket here is a 2 for 1 voucher for use on the day! (Just remember to print it out and take it with you)

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

The 555 Project - Essex Mental Health Services

Each year, one in four of us will experience a mental health problem. For Essex, that’s around 375,000 people - enough to fill Colchester Stadium over 300 times.
But what do people think of the mental health service they get?
And what can we learn from their experiences to help services improve?

The ‘555’ project is an exciting piece of work to make the voice of Essex mental health services users heard by the people who commission the service. It’s run jointly by patient voice organisation Healthwatch Essex and disability organisation ecdp.

Demand for services is rising and financial cutbacks are increasing, so mental health services face a real challenge. How best should they spend their budget to improve the lives of service users in Essex? Listening to today’s service users can help shape some of tomorrow’s solutions.

Over the summer, we are running five focus groups all around Essex to gather the lived experience of mental health services. We’d like to hear from as many people as possible. From people who may only have used the service once to be referred for counseling, to those who regularly receive care in the community, or those who have experienced care as a mental health in-patient in a hospital. We’re also interested in people’s experiences of specific conditions, such as post-natal depression. We’ll use these focus groups to develop a picture of where mental health services are working well in the county, and where they could be better.

Join a focus group

Stansted Holiday Inn Express, London Stansted Airport, Thremhall Avenue, Essex CM24 1PY
Tuesday 19 August 2014, 6pm-8pm. Refreshments from 5pm.
This group will focus on people who have used secondary mental health services. Secondary (or 'acute') care is the healthcare that people receive in hospital or in the vicinity of hospitals.

Braintree Town Hall, Market Square, Braintree, Essex CM7 3YG
Wednesday 20 August 2014, 6pm-8pm. Refreshments from 5pm.
This group will focus on people who have used natal mental health services, during or after pregnancy.

The Mill Arts and Events Centre, Bellingham Lane, Rayleigh, Essex SS6 7ED
Thursday 21 August 2014, 6pm-8pm. Refreshments from 5pm.
This group will focus on people who have used secondary mental health services. Secondary (or 'acute') care is the healthcare that people receive in hospital or in the vicinity of hospitals.

Essex Hall - Princes Theatre, Town Hall, Station Road, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex CO15 1SE
Tuesday 26 August 2014, 6pm-8pm. Refreshments from 5pm.
This group will focus on people who have used primary care mental health services. Primary care is the local healthcare that we receive from GPs, NHS walk-in centres and includes IAPT services.

Brentwood Theatre, 15 Shenfield Road, Brentwood, Essex CM15 8AG
Wednesday 27 August 2014, 6pm-8pm. Refreshments from 5pm.
This group will focus on people who have used primary care mental health services. Primary care is the local healthcare that we receive from GPs, NHS walk-in centres and includes IAPT services.

We can support travel costs if necessary.

Spaces are limited, so book today

Please call Laura Dunn on 01245 392321.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

T20 Cricket at Essex County Cricket Ground

In 2003 the England and Wales Cricket Board, faced with dwindling crowds and reduced sponsorship of the game, were looking at ways to boost the popularity of cricket with the younger generation.  The intention was to develop fast-paced, exciting cricket to fans who had been put off by longer versions of the game. (This was certainly true for my brothers who aged 8 and 10 had gone to a cricket game with my dad and had to be picked up 3 hours later because they were bored!

natwest-t20-blast.jpg (500×473)

The solution was Twenty20 or T20 as it usually shortened to. It is a much shorter version of the game with a maximum of only 20 overs for each team, contrasting with 50 overs for a standard one-day match. A game can therefore be completed in about three hours rather than over a whole day (or days in the case of Test cricket) and many of the games are played in the early evening. This has obvious appeal for families and young people. 

And it has been incrediably successful, revitalising the game of cricket not just in the UK, but worldwide. There is a T20 cup held in England every year, the T20 Natwest Blast, and the T20 World cup is held every two years. This increased interest in cricket at the Twenty20 level has also been credited for increasing the popularity of One day and Test cricket. 

But is it really family friendly? Would our 3.5 year old really enjoy it? The only way to find out was to go along to Essex County Cricket Ground to find out! We went to see the Essex Eagles versus Hampshire and with Essex wanting to maintain their top spot in the South League and Hampshire hoping to reach the second spot and a chance in the quarter finals, it was sure to be a great match.

38. Essex County Cricket Club 2_0.jpg (632×355)

The atmosphere on arrival was fantastic. Music filled the cricket ground and our seats were easy to find thanks to the really friendly staff. We had taken along a picnic, but food was available at the ground. Friends of ours highly recommended the hotdogs! The bar was also open, much to D's delight. 

 Now I've never actually been to any form of live cricket game before this match so I didn't have anything to compare it to but, having seen Test match cricket on the TV, I was surprised at just how fast paced the game was. With only 20 over in which to achieve the highest score, players attack the ball rather than playing more defensively as they do in longer matches. The boundaries are also shorter in a T20 game and this obviously leads to an increased likehood of the exciting 4 and 6 run scores. Umpires can also penalise teams if they feel that they are wasting time. 

This fast paced game meant that T didn't get bored as there was always movement on the pitch. There were also a lot of other families at the game so weren't made to feel uncomfortable if your child did get up and wander around to have a look at something else that was going on. Cheering, singing and general noise was also encouraged so again it didn't matter if you had a particularly noisy child with you! The Essex mascots, Eddie the Eagle and Ellie the Eagle also made an appearance. 

_47601334_ellie_eddie_766.jpg (766×511)

Unfortunately Essex lost but we still had a fantastic time. I would highly recommend T20 at Essex County Cricket Ground. Families and children were made to feel really welcome and the game itself appeals to all ages from 3 upwards. T really enjoyed himself and I am looking forward to next year's season already!

T20 games at Essex County Cricket Ground are frequently sold out at least a week before so it is highly recommended that tickets are brought in advance. 

(Disclaimer - most technical knowledge of the T20 game must be attributed to D!)

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Maldon Soap Company Review

Since I became editor of Mumsnet Chelmsford I have been amazed at the number of small businesses that are being run in Chelmsford and it's surrounding areas. The Maldon Soap Company is just one of these businesses and owner (and soap maker!), Sue McKenna, very kindly agreed to send some samples for me to review.

Trying new skin products can sometimes be a bit risky for me. I caught chicken pox for the second time in my late teens (it's not an urban myth - you really can get it twice!) and ever since then I have had extremely sensitive skin. Anything 'Because you're worth it' is a no go for me and even expensive skin care brands can sometimes bring me out in a rash. I have spent a lot of time trying to determine if it is a specific ingredient that I am allergic to but the lists on the backs of these products are so long and so confusing I've given up and just avoided anything new.

But the products from the Maldon Soap Company had surprisingly short ingredients lists. All products are made by hand and in small batches to ensure freshness, with items often being made to order. All of the soaps, shampoos and cosmetic products are made using only the finest ingredients, locally sourced wherever possible. I thought this was really exciting as it is not often you get to use a product with ingredients that have been made practically on your doorstep! Maldon Honey, Maldon sea salt, goats milk, rapeseed oil, oats and beeswax all come from local farms, and there are even ingredients fresh from Sue's back garden including carrots, calendula, herbs and nettles - they even use local beer!

Sue says "We use pure aromatherapy quality essential oils so you can be sure that each product will be beneficial for your skin, hair and wellbeing.  We do not use palm oil, parabens, SLS or other nasties, nor do we add extra foaming agent to our cold process soaps, they are pure and quite foamy enough. We use vegetable glycerine from palm free sources and nothing we use has ever been tested on animals."

Maldon Soap Samples
My Samples! 
The first soap I tried was the Pure Almond Soap (not shown in the photo as I was so excited to try one of them!). Made almost completely from almonds (whole ones, almond milk, almond oil and almond extract are all included) it smells just like marzipan and the smell lasts for ages on your skin.

A very obvious difference between the Maldon Soap Company soaps and more commercial soaps is that there is very little foam when you use them. As Sue points out they don’t add any extra foaming agent that is so often associated with using a bar of soap but this is also what causes your skin to feel dry. The Pure Almond Soap (and all the other soaps that I tried) did not try my skin out at all and even my sample sized soaps lasted for ages.

Along with the Pure Almond Soap I was also sent Coconut and Oat, True Patchouli, Strawberry and Cream, Purely Local Orange and Oat and True Litsea Cubeba Soaps. They all smelt exactly as you expect they would and, because they are made using essential oils, they don’t have a ‘chemical’ smell that some soaps do. The Purely Local Orange and Oat soap was a hit with my children too as it has the look and feel of fudge! It is slightly squidgy and has an amazing orange fragrance.

The Maldon Soap Company makes more than just soap and I also had some hand creams and foot gel to try. The Minty Scrubby Foot Gel arrived just in time as I really needed to do something to make my feet more presentable for summer. After a long winter hidden away in tights and boots, the gel has made my feet a lot smoother and I’m much happier in flip-flops!

But my overall favourite product had to be The Avocado and Shea Hand and Body Cream. I love the smell of it, a little bit of product went a long way and my skin didn’t feel greasy after I used it. My sister-in-law, who has a major hand cream obsession, also tried it and loved it too. I will definitely be ordering myself a full sized tub of this! (Oh and I had no negative skin reactions to any of the products I used.)

More information about the Maldon Soap Company and their products can be found here.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Boys Toys Review

The hugely popular Boys Toys event was held last month and, whilst I was hugely disappointed at not being able to attend, one of our lovely Chelmsford Mumsnetters went on my behalf to write this review:

"Whilst our group could be considered by some to have the incorrect male/female ratio for this event, my daughter (age 3) and I are petrol heads and it was only for the want of maternity leathers and decent motorcycle child seats that I ceased my blossoming motorcycle adventures. My husband is a fan of musical theatre but takes a good piccie so we let him come along too.

We arrived as the gates opened and were the first on the Hylands' Heavy Horse and Carriage ride. Great for toddlers and we were allowed up close to our steed (Joe) for photos after. This was instrumental in my daughter's rehabilitation after witnessing my husband being bitten by a wild horse in a freak carrot incident in February. 

We had just enough time to stroll over to the aerial display area, where we saw the Supermarine Spitfire perform numerous fly overs and stunts. It was stunning to watch the vertical climb in particular. Sadly, due to the weather, the Spitfire had to return to North Weald rather than land at Hylands. After a run of scorching days, this day was rather overcast- it was a shame but the weather didn't impinge on any of the other attractions. The helicopter rides carried on throughout the day. 

Our little unit then went to watch the first of the three extreme stunt shows scheduled. We saw cars driving on two wheels, quad bikes leaping and stunt BMX bikes interspersed with the odd flaming circle. A great show and obviously years' of experience in the creation. I would suggest that you arrive ten minutes early because it does get three deep around the barriers which, if you are 2 metres' tall (or have a Daddy who is) doesn't prove problematic but mere mortals like me had to jostle a bit for a good view. This is probably testament to the show's popularity which is well deserved. We found ear defenders very useful at this show. 

The event has plenty to attract the under 5's- as well as the older child/bloke (excuse my bias- it is based on our group's composition). There was an entire area given over to free inflatables, a number of kiddy friendly rides and lots to look at in the display arena. I did harp on hubby to have a go on the hovercraft ride but he wimped out- there were a number of stands and displays including jetskis and the Essex Advanced Motorcyclists Group which he "hovered" lustfully over instead. 

This isn't a place to go and eat at if you're on a diet. Very lad orientated- fair enough! We settled on the German sausage offerings as the least "wurst" option. (Sorry) There were food stalls there that I recognised from the usual Hylands Farmers' Market which provided a contrast to the fried fodder though. We would have liked to have stayed and watched more of the music but nap time beckoned."

A Massage At Greenwoods Hotel and Spa

Last week I was invited along to the newly refurbished Greenwoods Hotel and Spa for a massage. Greenwoods has been under new management since early this year and there has been a lot of work done to upgrade and improve the facilities there. Their Facebook page is constantly being updated to show what is being achieved and giving details of upcoming events.

The hotel and spa are set in a 17th Century, Grade II listed manor house surrounded by extensive landscaped gardens. Greenwoods Spa offers guests an impressive range of more than 50 of the latest beauty treatments and techniques, inspired by leading names such as Jessica and Voya. The facilities are just as impressive; Jacuzzi, cleansing saunas, steam rooms, an invigorating Monsoon shower and an enticing, deep blue 20 metre lap indoor pool are all available to complement any treatments that you have. There is more than enough here to keep you busy during a spa day!

Massage at Greenwoods Hotel and Spa
Indoor Pool at Greenwoods Hotel and Spa

I arrived in plenty of time for my massage and was greeted in the hotel reception before being given directions down to the spa. On arrival at the spa I was taken through to a waiting area, offered a drink and asked to fill in a questionnaire to determine whether I had any medical conditions that might affect my treatment.

Whilst I was waiting for my therapist I also had a look through the visitors book to see comments from previous guests and I was extremely impressed - everybody had been really pleased with their treatments; ranging from manicures and pedicures through to full spa day experiences. More impressive still was that there was not one negative comment in a book spanning the five months since the newly refurbished spa has been open.

Massage at Greenwoods Hotel and Spa
Treatment Room

Every member of staff I came into contact with was very friendly and welcoming, and my therapist was no exception. She went through my health and medical questionaire very thoroughly and made me feel at ease by explaining what I would need to do at each stage in my treatment. I’d not have a massage prior to this for a very long time but did remember feeling quite awkward about when to undress, when to get under the towel and when to turn over so I was very relieved that time was taken to ensure that I felt comfortable.

I had the La Touche Verte full body massage; a 50 minute ‘Greenwoods Spa’s own specialised full body massage incorporating Swedish, Thai and Aromatherapy techniques’ and promising to be a ‘truly relaxing experience’. To be completely honest (and I can’t imagine that I am alone in this!) it did take me a while to achieve the ‘truly relaxing’ part of this massage. With so many things going on in my life and constantly being able to check emails, facebook, twitter etc I find it very difficult to ‘switch off’ and during the first 15 minutes of the massage my head was still swirling with ‘I need to pick up the dry cleaning!’ and ‘What am I going to cook for dinner tonight?’

But I then tried really hard to clear my head and just enjoy the massage. And I really did -  at one point I was so relaxed I was almost asleep! The essentials oils used were lovely and really added to the whole experience. It was also clear that the therapist was experienced as she concentrated on the areas of my body where I get tense even though I had not mentioned these to her previously. At the end of the massage she also spoke to me about problem areas that I have and I was amazed that she was able to tell this just from the massage.

I hadn’t expected to feel so light afterwards either; it was as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I would certainly recommend a treatment at Greenwoods Hotel and Spa and will be adding some treatments to my birthday wish list!

More information about Greenwoods Hotel and Spa can be found here.

Have you been to Greenwoods Hotel and Spa recently? Let me know what you thought!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Make, Do and Mend

Since taking over as editor of Mumsnet Chelmsford, I have been amazed at just how many small, independent, businesses are being run in and around Chelmsford. Some of them are run purely online, whilst others have taken the plunge and opened their very own bricks and mortar shops! 

One of the aims of Mumsnet Chelmsford is support all things Local and so this is the first in a new series of blog posts showcasing some of these businesses and their owners. First up is Hannah Elgie from Make, Do and Mend. Make Do and Mend has already gained a reputation for running a wide range of creative and craft workshops & classes. 

And I highly recommend the courses, but they should come with a warning - you may become obsessed! Two years ago I took a beginners patchwork course at Make, Do and Mend and produced my very own pincushion. The course was the beginning of my (journey) in patchwork and I’ve since made several patchwork quilts. There is another one I’m currently working on and a huge bag of my favourite baby clothes that I’m planning on turning into a quilt (just need to be 100% sure that I’m finished having children before I can bare to cut them all up!). And it’s probably best not to mention the huge stash of fabric that D has no idea is currently living in the loft!

Mumsnet Chelsmford
My most recently finished quilt.

So having met Hannah through the newly formed New City Girls Women’s Institute group (more on this later in the year!) I asked her a few questions about Make, Do and Mend...

1. What qualifications and experience led you to open Make, Do and Mend?
I did an Art Foundation course, then a BA in Photographic Arts, but really my experience is probably through sewing with my mum from when I was a very young child.

2. What’s the idea behind Make, Do and Mend?
The idea behind Make, Do & Mend is to promote the traditional crafts that are at risk of being lost in our busy modern times.

3. How long did the idea take to become a reality?
Not long, I just did it (I can be quite impulsive!). After the beginning of our knitting club, which is where it all began, it took about 6 months to set up.

4. Why did you choose Chelmsford to open Make, Do and Mend?
Well I moved here from London for love! I wanted to connect with my local community, and noticed there was a gap in the market in Chelmsford.

5. What is your favourite part of running your own business?
The look on peoples faces when they leave the shop having created something new, developed a new skill, had a lovely time learning in a friendly happy environment.

6. How have you found combining being a parent and running Make, Do and Mend?
It is the hardest thing I have ever done! I would never have been able to do it without my amazing friend and brilliant colleague Hayley. Through the help and support of my family it has got easier as Beatrice has got older and more independent.

7. What’s next for Make, Do and Mend?
We hope to continue working with some fantastic tutors & as you may have heard, we have the lovely Chinelo Bally from the Great British Sewing Bee coming to teach workshops here, which is very exciting! Our repertoire of workshops is always expanding and we are always making room for more haberdashery items, wool and fabric. We are also hoping to be involved in the Essex Business Excellence Awards.

8. And finally, what’s your favourite biscuit? (For those of you who aren’t regulars on the main Mumsnet site, this question has been asked in all interviews ever since Gordon Brown famously refused to answer the question!)
 A simple and humble custard cream! 

To find out more about the courses and workshops being run by Hannah at Make, Do and Mend see here.

Are you a local business owner? If you would like to find out more about appearing as part of this series please contact me.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

St John's School Fundraising Event

A special assembly was held at St John’s School in recognition of their fundraising for Walking With The Wounded.  The pupils raised £5257 by taking part in a three-legged race. Andrew Cook, a fundraiser from the charity, praised the pupils for raising the highest total out of all the participating schools.  Amy Magee, a year 9 pupil, received a certificate for raising the highest amount in the school - £1203. Helen Studd, the school Community Co-ordinator commented “This was a wonderful event, as it saw the school working hard together to achieve our goal of £1600. How marvellous that our students surpassed this figure by so much.  We know that our efforts will be a significant help.”

Mumsnet Chelmsford

The race took place on Friday 2nd May at 2pm precisely.  Pupils from the Junior and Senior school had their legs tied together and raced for over 200 metres with the aim of becoming Guinness World Record holders for the largest ever three-legged race for multiple pairs across multiple venues as well as the primary aim of raising money for such a worthy charity.

‘Walking With The Wounded’ raises funds to finance the re-training of wounded servicemen and women and in so doing assists them in acquiring the skills and qualifications necessary to find new careers outside the military. Fundraising enables the blind, the burn victims, the mentally injured, the amputees and all the other wounded to rebuild their lives and return to the work place and provide long-term security for themselves and their families.

Friday, 11 July 2014

101 Things to Do in Chelmsford with Children This Summer - Part 5

And finally Part 5 of 101 Things to Do in Chelmsford with Children This Summer. This post includes soft play areas and everything slew that didn't really fit into the first four posts. 

Have a fantastic six weeks! Let us know what you've loved (and loathed!) about the places that have been suggested...

81. The Playloft at Rivendell Village in Maldon

82. Dizzee Rascals in Maldon

83. Creepy Crawlies in South Woodham Ferrers

84. Mace Playce

85. Kids and Koffee

86. Pickles Playhouse in Witham

87. Rocky's Funhouse

88. Wacky Warehouse

89. Cheeky Monkees in South Woodham Ferrers

90. Lathcoats Farm and PYO

91. Hazle's Pottery Barn

92. The Glazed Look

93. Ceramics on the Hop

94. Odeon Cinema

95. Swimming

96.  Essex Libraries reading challenge

97. Tenpin Bowling

98. Pitch and Putt

99. Ice Skating

100. Shopping (It's almost last on the list as I know it's most parents idea of hell but it's going to have to be done anyway for all the back to school stuff!)

and finally 101: A nice relaxing day at home!!

Don't forget to check out the other blogs in this series!

Part 1: Summer Courses, Camps and Holiday Clubs 1-20

Part 2: Days Out 21-40

Part 3: Events and Activities 41-60

Part 4: Get Outside! 61 - 80

Thursday, 10 July 2014

101 Things to Do in Chelmsford with Children This Summer - Part 4

Part 4 of 101 Things to Do in Chelmsford with Children This Summer is a showcase of some of the best parks and outdoor spaces that we have right on our doorstep in Chelmsford. We'd all love for the sun to shine all summer, so I've included some of the closest beaches to Chelmsford as well. So go on - get outside and try somewhere new!

61. Play Cafe with Natural Foundations in Writtle

62. Hylands Park

63. Oaklands Park

64. Danbury Lakes

65. Galleywood Common

66. Hatfield Forest

67. Thorndon Country Park with Gruffalo Trail!

68. Saltcoates Park

69. Promenade Park

70. Walton-on-the-Naze

71. Clacton on Sea

72. Frinton Beach

73. Great Notley Country Park

74. Castle Park in Colchester

75. Epping Forest

76. Admirals Park and Tower Gardens

77. Three Shells Beach in Southend

78. Brightlingsea Beach

79. Cudmore Grove Country Park

80.  Mersea Island

Don't forget to check out the other blogs in this series!

Part 1: Summer Courses, Camps and Holiday Clubs 1-20

Part 2: Days Out 21-40

Part 3: Events and Activities 41-60

Essex Libraries Summer Reading Challenge

Essex Libraries have just launched their Summer Reading Challenge. They have been running these challenges for many years and I have memories of going to Chelmsford Library to prove I had read my 6 books and collect my certificate at the end of the summer!

Essex Libraries Summer Reading Challenge

This years challenge is called 'Mythical Maze' and to complete the challenge, and meet some new mythical creatures along the way, you need to read six books over the six weeks of the summer holidays. There are stickers to collect as you read each book and when you have completed the challenge, you are awarded with a medal. Even if you don't quite manage to read all six books, everyone is given a certificate to show they have taken part. Also, for the first time this year, under 3's are also being encouraged to take part and will be given special stickers.  

Another first this year is the development of an app that brings the mythical creatures to life. The downloaded app will allow you to scan pictures of the creatures in the library and find out more about them. The app also features stories and games involving the creatures.

Mythical Maze will be running from Saturday 19 July to Wednesday 3 September. Medals can be collected until 6 September. Some libraries will be starting the challenge earlier and mobile libraries from early July. 

Find out more about the challenge here.

Find your local library here.