Posts tagged #Exclusive Offers

Happy Birthday to us! August news.

And thank you, thank you to all those lovely members who have made it such a great first year.  We are well on our way to matching up our 150th group of likeminded mum friends, and whether you were one of our very first guinea pigs or more recent joiners, we are so grateful to have you along for the ride. It's a bit of an old cliché to talk of a roller coaster year, but it has certainly kept us busy.

Reflecting back on the last year there have been some real challenges, usually around finding time to keep on top of everything on the work and home front, with the new business often feeling like a demanding fourth child!  And with that of course there have been some lovely highs, but especially receiving lovely feedback and reviews - it's a great feeling to hear that groups are still meeting up a year on and having fun, and  even planning things like nanny shares together. It is strangely satisfying when we make a match on multiple levels, like the group who had all taken a completely different career path from the one they studied towards and also all played a musical instrument. Or the group who all worked in the medical profession and liked running. And more than once we have introduced people who live on the same road (and have lots more in common besides that) but who had never met one another - maybe it's a London thing!  We've even welcomed back some early members who enjoyed their first Match Up Mums experience and have come back for a second time, around their next pregnancy - you fast workers know who you are… And it is lovely to have you back.

Happy Birthday to us! :)

Happy Birthday to us! :)

Latest offers from our partners

I couldn't talk about the first year without acknowledging the support we have had from so many other businesses. This really is a lovely sector to work in, it seems to attract people who are kind, open and supportive and we've loved getting to know lots of new people forging interesting careers and businesses.

It also means we can reward our members for being part of Match Up Mums with a raft of exclusive offers (now worth in the thousands of pounds if you were to do the lot!) in our members' area. This month we have some new offers and our usual guest posts, and it seems appropriate on this anniversary newsletter that we have one of them from someone I have known personally for many years, and one is the latest new partner we have met thanks to an introduction from our friends at Neighbourhood Midwives, who also recommend them highly.  

Firstly all of our members can claim a free yoga class with Nadia Raafat - I know it won't be exactly local to many of you, but I can tell you from firsthand experience that this is a very special class and well worth a trip! I went to Nadia's pregnancy classes myself at BatterseaYoga in my first pregnancy, and really loved having the time to get my head around the fact I was having twins(!). Second time around it was equally valuable to just have some time out from juggling work with being a mummy to two very busy boys, to feel a connectedness to our new baby.  So, highly recommended. As well as pregnancy yoga there are postnatal classes and a lovely mum and baby class too.

BatterseaYoga are offering all Match Up Mums subscribers their first class free at any class of their choice. To book your free class simply follow the link from our members' area to BatterseaYoga.com and use the discount code provided.

If it is too far to travel for the class itself, do check out the next best thing which is Nadia's DVD, endorsed by many magazines, midwives, baby product review sites and birth education organisations.

Secondly, we very recently met with the founder of a new and adorable baby clothing company, Baby MORI.  Dubbed "unclepreneurs" by the FT, these guys bring an innovative and fresh approach to baby clothes. I know everyone says their babygros are soft (you wouldn't sell many marketed as 'super-scratchy', after all!) but these ones are almost *shockingly* soft and made from all natural fabrics. You can purchase as you need from the MORI website, or subscribe to their parcel service and receive deliveries every 6 weeks - just when you abby is about to enter the next phase. Their fabrics are a beautifully soft cotton/bamboo mix, designs are Scandinavian and Japanese-inspired, and colours are always neutral. Because we like them so much, we asked for a special offer for all our Match Up Mums members. The code they have provided for us will get you 20% off all MORI products, or try their £42 subscription for just £20 with free shipping in the UK (you can cancel this anytime) - find it in the members area of our site.  

 

We have more offers in the pipeline so watch this space.  In the meantime I will leave you to enjoy Nadia's guest post, and I'll just sign off by wishing you all a great summer. Thanks again for being part of our brilliant first year and please do recommend us to any mums and mums-to-be you know!

Until next month, have a good one...

Love,
Megan x

Yoga - good for mummies, good for babies   
by Nadia Raafat, co-founder of BatterseaYoga 
 

Becoming a mother was synonymous for me with becoming a yogini. Although I had dabbled in yoga pre-pregnancy it was only really during the trials and tribulations of my first unplanned pregnancy, thirteen years ago, that I discovered the sanctuary that yoga offered. 

I trained as a yoga teacher when my first-born was 18 months old and have not walked away from my mat since… Yoga has accompanied me through my subsequent pregnancies, supported me throughout the births and the postnatal period of a further three children. Today my four yoga babies are aged 12, 10, 5 and 19 months old.

Yoga was made for pregnancy. In a sense pregnant women get a fast track ticket to the heart of the practice. Pregnancy with all its niggles and symptoms brings women into their bodies in a visceral way; their bodies swell, their breasts grow, calves cramp, backs ache and hormones rage. But most of all a small being floats and tumble-turns inside them. Whilst exercise is needed so many forms become off-limits. Yoga, through a prescribed combination of posture work, breath work, mantra, relaxation, visualisation and meditation, offers physical well-being and relief from many of the complaints of pregnancy. But more than that it also offers emotional and mental wellbeing too. A recent study, carried out by the Oxford Centre of Mindfulness found that pregnant women carried markedly reduced stress hormone levels in their bodies after a mindful yoga class. 

As the birth looms and the baby wriggles down towards the birth canal pregnant women really start to engage with the practice; they suddenly find the meditation easy and feel motivated to get their baby into a good position for the birth. During the labour itself yoga and meditation offers women a clear pathway; the path of presence and open-minded, open-bodied awareness. Using the movements and breathing exercises learned in class, the mantras and visualisations practiced week in, week out, they are well placed to carry themselves through the twists and turns of the childbirth experience with a relaxed and open body and mind.

In our postnatal classes new mamas and babies yoga together. Mum restores and re-energizes her body, rebuilds her strength, rediscovers her fitness whilst baby, at first, snoozes, and then, later, joins in. Babies love baby yoga. They love to be touched, squeezed, and played with. And as the babies grow, the yoga grows with them. Six month old babies fly, swing, roll and ride their mothers’ bodies chuckling and giggling as they do. It aids their motor development, vestibular development and emotional development too. Baby yoga helps babies digest well, move well and then sleep well. In fact at the end of a class, the baby is usually snoring before mum is out of the studio door.

Today myself and my partner Angus Ford-Robertson and I are lucky enough to have established our own beautiful and independent studio next to Battersea park where we offer a wide range of classes. For Mothers and Babies we offer three pregnancy classes, one baby-friendly postnatal and one mum and baby yoga class.  Batterseayoga also offers a number of meditation classes and our Beginners Mindfulness programme is being widely referred to by GPs across Wandsworth borough  - and many a pregnant woman is to be found in those classes too.

As study after study demonstrates the efficacy of these ancient practices, more and more mothers are experiencing for themselves the well-being that yoga and meditation bring. All you need is a mat and an open mind. I invite you to come and visit our studio with baby in belly or in arms and discover for yourself the gifts of yoga. Fit body, Calm mind. Happy Baby. What more could a mother ask for? 

January Newsletter

So how was 2014 for you?

We hope it was a good one - and that you are looking forward to an even better 2015.  In this January newsletter we look back on a rather hectic but really satisfying 2014 and also start to think about what 2015 might bring.  As usual we have some great guest posts, this month they go out to all of you still aiming for some new year's resolutions - you'll find three articles at the bottom of this newsletter, which we hope you'll enjoy reading.

We wish you all a very happy new year and hope it brings you everything you could wish for. We also want to thank you for being part of our amazing first six months in business - it's been great!  Things have really taken off quicker than we could ever have hoped and for that we are so grateful.  We launched Match Up Mums hoping there might be a need or desire for a service like this but thanks to all of your support and incredibly useful feedback, we now know there is.  We've matched up 72 groups (stop press! make that 73) now, below is a snapshot of just some of the groups we have put together - you might even recognise yourself in there…

And many more! Read some testimonials from some of these groups here

A small handful of members remain unmatched and we particularly thank those members for their patience.  Our membership is still largely in London itself and so members outside London will be encouraged to take only bronze membership, and we will contact them to upgrade as and when we do have good matches in their area. Sometimes even within London we just don't have good enough matches to propose a group and won't waste your time until we do have good matches - but we never give up and we are constantly looking to find the right matches for you.

To provide our members with a benefit to joining even before they get matched up, we also put in place a load of exclusive offers from mum and baby-friendly businesses.  The list includes these great companies and I'd also like to thank them all for being so supportive and welcoming of a new kid on the block and for helping us to enhance our members' experiences.  It's been fun getting to know you all!

Full details and discount codes are in our members' area

Member Benefits

The discounts are listed in full in our members' area but just to remind you, they include:
10% off at JoJo Maman Bébé; 10-15% off a load of different antenatal or postnatal classes at Lulubaby; 10-20% off with Home Spa London, 15% off your registration fee with Night Nannies; 10-20% off with Mama Knows Best parenting consultancy; a free month's membership of Hello Mums babysitting service, 10% off full care with Neighbourhood Midwives; a humungous discount off nursery design services from MK Kids Interiors; 15% off all services and treatments at the Vitality Centre; 10-20% off tickets for London Mothers' Club events; 10-20% off classes with First Aid for Life; up to 30% off with Matt Roberts gyms, 10% off the Yummy Tummies blueprint package, 20-25% off PaleoGym courses; 15% off Angel Maternity clothing, 20% off Almondella baby boxes and 10% off classes and free use of the crèche at the Old School Club.  PHEW!!  These are all great businesses and we hope you enjoy getting to use their services at your special reduced rates.

Looking ahead... 2015 is going to be busy!

Our plans for 2015 include a load of new groups - we are working on groups of City mums-to-be in Battersea, 2nd time mums in Wandsworth, new mums in Woodford, Putney first time mums due next summer, new mums in Regents Park and 2nd timers in Twickenham and Tooting… Among about twenty more!  So if you know anyone who might be interested in joining one of these groups or might like to find their own group of mum friends-to-be, please do send them our way.  We are also helping to promote a couple of events that our partners are working on for pregnant women and we are excited to be a part of their plans in this area too. I'll give more details in our February newsletter and on our social media with some dates for your diaries.

To round off this newsletter, as usual we have some guest posts for you and this month the theme is New Year's resolutions.  We have two really informative articles about how mums can keep healthy - personal trainer Matt Roberts tells us about training safely while pregnant, while Lyndon from the fabulously named Yummy Tummies has some great tips for sorting your tummy out after having a baby.  
Anyone who saw on Instagram or Twitter the amount of Christmas cake I have got to get through will know that my own resolutions are going to have to wait until at least February but I hope for those of you who feel ready to get fitter, these come in handy!  Finally, if your resolutions are less about the body and more about the mind and spirit, the article from Inma at the Old School Club might just inspire you to learn a new creative skill or take up a new hobby.

Until next month, we thank you for your continued support and wish you all the very best of years in 2015.  Here's to making it a great one.

Love,
Megan x

New Year, New Tummy? 

by Lyndon of Yummy Tummies

If I was to ask you what part of your body you would most want to change, chances are that you would say your stomach. Let's face it, after having your abs slowly stretched over the last nine months, it would be nice for it to go back to where it once was.
 
In this rush to get your 'abs back' a lot of people resort to all sorts of crazy exercises.
 
However, if you get it wrong at this point you can really mess your abs up. It is not just a case of heading down to your local bootcamp and holding a plank for four minutes at a time.
So what is the best way to get your tummy back in shape after having a baby?
Try the following three step process:
 
- Step 1: Restore Pelvic Floor- these muscles need to be strengthened again to restore function of your pelvis and to prevent any incontinence issues or pelvic pain. By the way, did you know that by doing your pelvic floor exercises it actually helps to flatten your stomach? This is because the pelvic floor muscle are on the same reflective loop as your deep abdominals (the transverse abdominals).
 
- Step 2: Close the gap between your external Rectus Abdominal muscles. This will prevent any rectus diastasis issues and also allow you to perform more effective exercises going forward. By targeting your deep transverse abdominals this will decrease this separation and give your stomach that flat and tight appearance.
 
- Step 3: Increase the stability around your pelvis and lower back. Throughout the early stages of post pregnant life there will be still be a presence of relaxin in your body. While this a great hormone for increasing the flexibility of your hips and ligaments surrounding your pelvis, it may create a fair degree of instability afterwards. It is necessary to gain a good degree of stability in your body again especially if you are doing activities such as running.
 
The above three steps are the first key steps you must take when starting exercise again after having a baby. The stronger the foundations the greater ability you will have to perform all of the harder exercise to follow.
 


If you need any help or advice drop me an email at lyndon@yummytummies.co.uk. I would be more than happy to help.

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Training whilst Pregnant?

by Matt Roberts Personal Training

It is always a good idea to check with your Doctor that you are ok to train whilst pregnant but in the main it can only serve to benefit you in the long term.
Women with a good training history and current level of fitness can continue training as normal whilst others who have not trained before should stick to body weight exercises.  However, as a general rule of thumb you just need to be careful and listen to your body. The general goal should be to reach and maintain a reasonable level of fitness.  Not only will it benefit you but your baby too.

There are obviously exercises to steer clear of or at the least limit. Exercises lying on your back should be avoided after month three and exercises that encourage you to tilt forward should be used sparingly.  Whilst overhead pressing should be avoided because they can tend to exacerbate lumber stresses.   Equally, breathing techniques should be coached to avoid excessive periods of breath holding which can lead to spikes in blood pressure and adversely affect the foetus.

Before starting any workout it is a good idea to warm up for a longer period of time and keep an emphasis on waking the muscles up to create stability rather than mobilising the joints.   When finished the workout, concentrate on cool down stretches that have been coached so not to push the muscles and joints to new limits.

Lifting weights is encouraged although given that the joints are under significantly more pressure, the limit needs to be kept on the low side.  Meaning that you should be lifting lighter weight but more times with a rest period of between 60 – 90 seconds.  The exercise selection should focus on the core muscle groups to counter stress on the lumbar spine (lower back) caused by the load from the baby on the front of the body.  Plus an emphasis should be placed on strengthening the posture chain (e.g. lower back muscles, glutes and hamstring) through appropriate exercise choice.

Conditioning work should be lower intensity designed to maintain aerobic fitness rather than build cardiovascular fitness.  The heart rate should be kept in the 130-150bpm range.
Finally, training should be kept to three times per week with a rest day between each day. Full body routines tend to work best as they prevent blood from pooling.  
These are guidelines but it’s important to remember that one pregnancy can be very different to another and even within these guidelines some people will be able to do a lot more than others. Let your common sense guide you. 

Learn a new skill

by Inma Goodhew of The Old School Club 

Talking about New year’s resolutions ... do you know that crafting is good for your brain & your soul? Research shows that sewing and other forms of crafting such as knitting, weaving and crocheting have quite a lot in common with mindfulness and meditation. All are reported to have a positive impact on mind health and well-being.

I used to work in IT, Project Management to be precise. Long hours, plenty of travel, social drinks... you name it. So when I had my first son I was looking forward to some ”time off”. I loved my time off. For the first 6 months. I then started to itch because I had to do something else with my mornings. Being creative was a bonus. I grew up in a family where most things were handmade, including the trendy jumpers – no brand for me, all handmade. So I started making cushions, painting things at home providing sewing classes at home. Mums came with their children, starting with my yoga friends. I had a babysitter looking after the babies & toddlers whilst the mums were sewing.  Suddenly I wanted this idea to become a reality, I wanted to create a place for mums to learn skills, make projects, socialise with other mums and have a very enjoyable morning.
 
So if you are thinking of embarking on a new hobby with other crafty mums or improve your rusty skills, you are on the right track. The same report indicates why crafting with friends may improve mind and brain wellness:

  • Mental challenge and problem solving
  • Social connection
  • Mindfulness
  • Development of hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness
  • Learning and teaching
  • Focusing attention and thoughts on a task
  • Encouraging active creativity
  • Gives a sense of pride and achievement
  • Teaches patience and perseverance
  • Facilitates memory formation and retrieval

And my small contribution to further add to the benefits found in this report:  You can have your tea or coffee HOT, as we look after your children whilst you craft along.  Yes, there is even a crèche.
 
Inma Goodhew is a mum of two wonderful boys and runs The Old School Club in Battersea where she teaches sewing, furniture painting and upcycling.  Her passion is to teach women how to become queens of all things handmade. Like her mum.