Posts tagged #testimonials

March Newsletter

Spring is in the air

And there is a spring in our step after our busiest ever month and a load of lovely reviews from members and also in the press - so many that we have had to re-do our press page, which was bursting at the seams! We also have some new partners offering exclusive discounts to our members. Details of these are provided below. 

West London Mum talked to us for their 'Meet a Startup' feature, asking how the idea came about and who we see as competition.  Royal Mums asked about my tips for working mums, my inspiration and who we would match them up with.  Parent Dish looked at the trend of finding mummy friends online.  We love Sheer Luxe's emails and we were delighted to see the Mummy Diaries are back - even more so as we were featured in it! And finally we were able to Match Up the lovely Rebecca from Clapham Mums recently and she wrote about her experience as a member of Match Up Mums.  As much as I love the chance to bore everyone to tears with my interviews, it is even more exciting to be part of someone's actual pregnancy announcement!  It is really great to have someone who can share their first-hand experience of Match Up Mums. 

And that is where you lot come in, too!  As much as we love getting fantastic press coverage, you can't beat word of mouth recommendations.  So do please keep telling all your friends and family about us - if you've already had your baby you will have appreciated just how important a local support network really is, something that lots of first time mums-to-be might not realise until they really, really need it.  Send them our way any time!  And a big thank you to those of you who have already recommended us, we love it when people tell us that is how they came across Match Up Mums.

Want to meet some pregnancy & baby experts?

This month we are also working with a great network of Clapham-based businesses on the Clapham Pregnancy and Baby Show.  If you are in the area, do come along for a fun afternoon on Saturday 21st March.  Tickets are free but to guarantee admission pre-book yours at EventBrite. It is a bit of a different feel to the usual baby expos, this one is less about coming away with armloads of stuff and more about meeting all of the local experts who are available to offer support and advice throughout your pregnancy or early days as a new mum.  There will be taster treatments, lovely goody bags and a raffle in aid of Ickle Pickles charity.  
We are also looking forward to working with Kensington Mums on an event for mums-to-be in that area later in the year.

New discounts & benefits

Last month we also set up some more partnerships, so that you can all benefit from your membership of Match Up Mums even before you get matched or well after you have started meeting up with your Match Up Mums friends. As always, the details are in the members’ area – along with discounts on maternity wear, night nannies, weaning sessions, gyms and personal training, nursery design, babysitting – and more! The discounts available add up to over £2,000 which we think is a rather nice perk for our lovely members.
 
Here are the new partners this month, offering discounts exclusively for you. Oscar & Olivia is an online boutique of eco-friendly and stylish children's clothes and they are offering 15% off any order or 25% off orders over £100, Younique baby offer postnatal support packages designed to help with breastfeeding and sleep issues, and Pelfix pelvic floor education programme will have you back on the trampoline in no time ;)
Both Pelfilx and Younique baby are offering our members 10% off their highly regarded services. See our members' area for the discount codes you need for these and many other mum and baby-friendly brands.
  
As usual we end our newsletter with guest posts from two of our partners. Dominique tells us how Sophrology can help new mums deal with lack of sleep, and Jayne shares her expertise on the oils that are safe to use on your baby's skin.

Please keep recommending us to any mums-to-be or new mums that you know, and keep the feedback coming.  Until next month, we thank you for your continued support and wish you all the very best.

Love,
Megan x

How Sophrology can help new mums deal with lack of sleep 

by Dominique Antiglio, Sophrology Therapist, Bsc(Hons) Ost, of BeSophro

Feeling irritable and overwhelmed shouldn't be what a new mother experiences on a daily basis. There must be a better way.
 
Understandably, time is never enough and lack of sleep can make you feel tired and stressed. If you have just given birth, your body has been through a huge physiological roller coaster and it needs time to recover. Better sleep means more energy and also a feeling of empowerment: so many women feel tired and frustrated they can't do as much as they did before they had children.
 
Thankfully, help is at hand: Sophrology offers great tools to help you recuperate, de-stress and sleep better. In continental Europe doctors recommend Sophrology as an effective relaxation and self-development technique to notably help deal with pregnancy, prepare for birth, deal with anxieties and lack of sleep. Sophrology uses simple and efficient tools to access consciousness and grow inner resources through breathing, relaxation, meditation, visualisation and body awareness.
 
Because time is precious, what you choose to help you sleep better and feel calmer and more alert during the day needs to act fast and offer immediate relief. With regular practice, you can learn to achieve a deeply restorative state of relaxation within 5 minutes and from there work on a wide array of issues.
 
Achieving that deep state of relaxation is called “sophroliminal state” in Sophrology: that's what happens when the alpha brain waves kick in to provide a sense of well-being. The sophroliminal state in itself is a great way to recuperate, rest and rebalance. This state of relaxation can make a huge difference to balance your emotions and mood swings related to hormonal changes. It is achieved with your eyes closed, sitting in a comfortable position and following the gentle voice of your Sophrologist.
 
As a rule, it is a good idea to start embracing a new routine during pregnancy:

Before your baby is born, learn to have short naps
Re-prioritise your schedule and ask for help – the cleaning can wait and if you're feeling overwhelmed ask for more support especially with the easy tasks others can help you with
Take 10-30 minutes each day to reconnect with yourself using Sophrology, allowing you to acknowledge and accept the changes you are going through and prepare for your future including the birth itself. 

Breathing can be a powerful ally to help you get some rest, whether it's a quick nap or a good night's sleep. You choose when you carve 10 minutes out of your day: maybe it's first thing in the morning, or at midday or before going to bed. The sensation of calm you gain from dynamic relaxation can work wonders for your overall health.
 
If you practise breathing exercises regularly not only it will help you during labour but also it can make a difference to the quality of your sleep after the birth. You can learn to use the breath to calm and focus your mind while relaxing your nervous system. It will also help you to bring a fresh supply of oxygenated blood to your brain and you will therefore feel more alert and energised.
 
As you grow more confident in connecting more with what you feel and listening to your needs, you also learn to pace yourself and listen to your baby needs, feeling confident that you can support him or her, reinforcing the special bond you are creating. It would be a shame to let your disturbed pattern of sleep impact on that very special time of your life.
 
A short daily Sophrology practice will also help you feel happier and feel more grounded, staying in the present moment. This is a very powerful tool to help you be at ease while you are coping with the challenges of motherhood. This is a time of life when women go through so many changes, and it can be a source of anxiety and endless questioning, especially for first-time mums. Nothing will replace going through your own experience;  accepting that is a huge step. Therefore, being able to let go of these anxieties and live more in the present, taking one day after the other is a great strategy. Although everything is changing in your body and in your life, that connection you have with yourself remains a stable ground.
 
Sophrology is not complicated and can bring positive changes and support from the first session as it is a practical and simple approach. Your Sophrologist will guide you through a tailored practice and record it so that you can listen to it at home and learn at your pace in between the sessions. You can start it before or during pregnancy if you need support, or wish to prepare for birth and motherhood. Sophrology can also be practised right after birth especially if you find it difficult to settle in your new life. And of course your baby is welcome for the session too ! Home visits are available in Central London. Sophrology can also be practised in groups.

A first simple Sophrology tip: the tense and release exercise.

When we experience worries or tension in the body, the first step is to acknowledge it is happening here and now. This is the first step into letting go.
 
Start in a relaxed seated position. Tune into your areas of tension, inhale, activate your whole body by tensing every single muscle of your body including your face and toes. Match the tension in your body with the tension you experience inside and, as you exhale, release all muscles of your body. Stay still for a few second and notice the relaxation sensation in your muscles. Repeat 3 times at a slow pace.

About Dominique Antiglio and BeSophro

BeSophro has been created by one of the UK’s leading Sophrologists, Dominique Antiglio, who is also an Osteopath and Sound Therapist. She specialises in stress-management, birth peparation and self-development. Based in London since 2011, Dominique is also the co-founder of The Sophrology Network to promote the practise of Sophrology in London.
She created Bloom@58 to offer a holistic approach to maternity care where she enjoys collaborating with other therapists.

For more information: www.be-sophro.co.uk or contact Dominique directly info@be-sophro.co.uk

Time for an oil change?

by Jayne Russell of NomNom Skincare  

As a massage and nutritional therapist of more than twenty years, specialising in pre and postnatal care, and a skin care formulator I have been constantly researching and updating my knowledge to find out what works best for baby skin.  Oils have different properties, benefits and disadvantages so which should you use and avoid in baby massage and skincare?
 
The International Association of Infant Massage recommends “babies be massaged with a high quality, preferably organic, unscented, cold pressed vegetable oil”.
 
A recent study found that “olive oil significantly damages the skin barrier, and therefore has the potential to promote the development of, and exacerbate existing, atopic dermatitis” concluding that its use in infant massage should be discouraged. This comes as a surprise to many who are still being advised by a health practitioner to use the very same on their baby’s dry skin!
 
Johnson’s baby, who were involved in funding this study, have used the finding in a recent advertorial to denigrate ALL natural oils. The truth is you do need to be careful with your choice of oils for delicate baby skin, particularly where there is a tendency to sensitivity or eczema, but mineral oils are certainly not the best alternative. Sharon Trotter midwife and baby skincare expert advises they:

  • create a greasy and sticky texture that is not a good medium for massage
  • create a film or barrier on the skin which means skin cannot breath properly or eliminate toxins, which could lead to allergies or dryness
  • do not absorb, leaving a layer of oil on the skin which is slippery
  • provide no ‘nutritional’ value to nourish the skin

I would add that it is usually artificially fragranced, itself a cause of sensitivity and irritation. Well-chosen plant oils by contrast can have very positive benefits for the skin. They:

  • Absorb and are chemically similar to the fats under our skin
  • Carry fat soluble vitamins into the skin which help to nourish
  • Enhance the skin’s protective functioning without blocking the pores
  • Can help meet the body’s essential fatty acid requirements resulting in softer skin less prone to eczema.

However, you also need to be wary of potentially sensitising nut oils, particularly where there is a tendency to eczema and allergies - peanut and tree nut oils such as almond and the seed oil sesame are all high on the list of sensitising ingredients.
 
So which are the best oils to use on your baby’s skin?
 
Oils which are low in oleic fatty acids (thought to be responsible for olive oils adverse effect) and  high in linoleic, such as sunflower or starflower and evening primrose oil (both rich in GLA, which is particularly beneficial for dry, irritated skin and cradle cap) or coconut are the most suitable and favourable for baby skin.
 
Look after your oils by storing them in a cool place away from direct light and check the best before date. And use your nose – it is always a good idea to sniff an oil before use to check it still smells fresh!
 
For more advice on baby skincare download Jayne’s FREE eBook “10 Steps to Super Healthy Baby Skin” www.nomnomskincare.com

Posted on March 5, 2015 .

October Newsletter

Is Autumn here at last? 
 

After a really busy summer launching Match Up Mums, it's like we are starting a new term at school here, all shiny new stationery and excited to get stuck in!  We definitely feel less of a new kid on the block, now we have matched up 32 groups and have had lots of really useful feedback on the Match Up Mums service.  Also we now have lots more 'friends' of Match Up Mums with exciting new partnerships forming that will really benefit our members. More on this and some great giveaways below.

We are proud to say that we have matched up over 75% of our gold and silver London members within a month of joining, and we have new groups forming all the time from Clapham to Crouch End and also beyond London.  The more members we have, the more matches we can make so please tell all your friends about us!  I know it sounds a bit strange to tell your friends about a site that helps you meet friends - but in all likelihood you will have friends who are mums but live on the other side of the city, or who are at a very different parenting stage to you. And they could be just the people that some of our other members are waiting to meet.  So if you can help us to spread the word, please do recommend us to any mums or mums-to-be that you know.  A quick email or a share on Facebook would be really appreciated.
 

New Member Offers:

We know that if you haven't yet been matched it can feel a bit boring waiting for your group, but we took the view that members would rather wait for a good match than be sent off to meet 'any old other mum' for the sake of it.  And to make sure that you still benefit from being a member of this exclusive club of Match Up Mums, we have worked to put together exciting member offers - the latest of these are with new-mum haven (and heaven!), the Mermaid Retreat in Chelsea and also the "leading antenatal class provider in London", Lulubaby.  We have offers from a range of partners and this month our exclusive guest posts at the end of this newsletter come from two of them: JoJo Maman Bébé and the Neighbourhood Midwives, we hope you will find them an interesting read.
 

Top Tips for New Mums

We also wanted to find a way for all of our members to help fellow mums, so we have the Facebook group where members can chat and post questions, as well as our public page, where you can find our latest news. And, thanks to all the lovely mums who sent us their top tips, we now have a collated list of the most useful products for the new-baby stage, from swaddling blankets to feeding cushions and bouncy chairs - and a brief description of why a Match Up Mums member found it so fantastic.  

 
 

See what other Match Up Mums recommend for your own new arrival...

You can read the list here and of course if you would like to make a further recommendation please just drop me a line.  We hope it is useful for any first-time mums, and even a few new ideas for the second timers, and good to have so many mums' views all in one place.  Watch out on our Facebook page where we will announce the winner of the £50 John Lewis voucher on 10th October from all those who recommended things - there's still time to get your entry in before then too!  And the Instagram competition is open all autumn so do send me a photo of you and your group of Match Up Mums if you fancy winning a massage for yourself or a baby massage class for your group, from Home Spa London.
 

Free tickets to Baby Show Olympia:

Finally, we are off to meet lots of potential members-to-be at Kensington Olympia's Baby Show, at the end of October.  We have FREE TICKETS to give away, worth £20 each! To win a pair of tickets all you have to do is write a few lines about Match Up Mums on our Facebook page, to tell us (and our followers) what you think about our new service - even if you have already written us a testimonial then we would love a post on our page from you.  If we run out of tickets then we will dish them out on a first come first served basis. We look forward to hearing from you and hope to meet some of you at the Baby Show.  In next month's newsletter we will give you a behind-the-scenes look at our how our profile-matching service works.  Until then, make the most of the autumn sunshine and I'll leave you to enjoy the guest posts from two of our wonderful partners.

Love,
Megan x

Getting Started with Breastfeeding
 

Tina Perridge is an experienced midwife and director of Neighbourhood Midwives – an amazing social enterprise that helps women find an insured private midwife, whom they know and trust.  Here are Tina's top tips for getting started with breastfeeding.

 
1. We all know about the benefits of immediate skin-to-skin contact with your baby and now the evidence suggests up to 6 hours of this after the birth will benefit both of you.  So pop a nappy on and cuddle up and enjoy.
2. Most healthy babies, after a few feeds in the first couple of hours after birth, will probably have a nice sleep. Try to avoid this sleep lasting longer than 4-5 hours. If your baby doesn’t wake naturally, cuddle and offer a feed at this time.
3. Colostrum is amazing and though small in quantity it is high in quality and provides your baby with antibodies and all the nutrients he needs at this time.  Try to ensure baby feeds every 2/3 hours in the first few days (8-12 times in 24 hours) and if for any reason he will not latch on just express your colostrum onto a sterile spoon and give it by clean finger or a tiny syringe. Your midwife can help.
4. The night before your milk comes in your baby will feed a lot, this is good because he knows that the milk is ready.
5. A good latch and positioning will solve many problems. Hold the baby close to you using the opposite arm to the breast you are using, tuck baby’s bottom under your elbow, (like the bagpipes), use your other hand to support your breast, aim the babies nose to your nipple, when he opens wide bring the baby on, and keep him there. If you change position too quickly the nipple may move out of position in the baby’s mouth.
Result: a comfy feed, a happy baby, a happy mum.

Autumn trends for tiny tots
 

Got your Autumn-Winter wardrobe ready? Not for you, for your budding fashionista!  In this month’s guest post, the children’s wear team at Jo Jo Maman Bébe tell us where they found inspiration for this season’s collection, where it’s less about catwalk trends and more about clothes that kids can have fun in.

 
Season after season, we don’t stray too far from what has always worked for us: quirky British style with a French nautical twist. To keep things fresh, our design team take trips to European cities (our favourites are Paris and Barcelona) which help inspire new collections.
 
Our design process for AW14 was no different – we based the new pieces on old customer favourites but updated the prints and colours. We’ve also added several stories to make the pieces fun for little ones to wear while still keeping to our design principles. For girls, we have the Woodland and Elephant stories, both based around rich, autumnal purple tones – meaning you can easily co-ordinate your favourite separates. For boys, there’s the Air Show story based around a fantastic British tradition with the main theme colours being red, white and blue. These pieces can easily be layered to suit the seasons, allowing kids to enjoy an active lifestyle whatever the weather – something we’re great advocates of.

 

Don’t forget all Match Up Mums members receive a discount at JoJo’s and Neighbourhood Midwives – see our Members’ Page for full details.

Posted on October 1, 2014 .

September Newsletter

What do our members recommend? 

Phew, it's been another busy month here at Match Up Mums - small matters of school holidays, loom band craziness and ice bucket challenges in amongst growing our business, meeting new partners (see guest posts below) and introducing lots of new groups of mum friends.  Thank you to everyone who has sent us feedback on the Match Up Mums service, it has all been really useful and we've had some great press coverage in the past month, too.  

Obviously we hope that your first top tip to any prospective parent would be "Join Match Up Mums" - and with testimonials like these, maybe it will be..?! But also, we think that there is another really useful way that our members can help each other out.  We all know that the best people to tell you what you actually need, and not stuff you'll just waste money on, are fellow mums who have very recently been in exactly the same stage of parenting.  


So, we are going to introduce a way to make it really easy for our members to help advise each other and pass on their top recommendations, for whatever parenting stage you are at.  You'll be able to see recommendations by age of child, and vote or comment on other people's recommendations if you too agree they are a life-saving, sanity-restoring, simply brilliant product. 

Recommend the baby products that you wouldn't have been without - and you could 
win yourself a £50 John Lewis voucher! Please email your top 3 tips to Megan@MatchUpMums.com along with the age baby/child you recommend them for - and we will pick the voucher winner out of a hat in October.  To get the ball rolling, we asked some knowledgable friends of Match Up Mums to recommend their favourites to us for the new-baby stage.

Win £50 John Lewis voucher

Win a £50 John Lewis voucher

Tina Perridge of Neighbourhood Midwives recommended Sleepyhead, a brilliant way of helping a baby feel cocooned and held even when you put them down. Genius! 

Super-Mums at the Wandsworth Twins Club recommend Aden & Anais swaddle wraps, which double as muslins or burp cloths, lightweight blankets, breast-feeding scarves and are also big enough to throw over the pram when you are trying to get your baby to sleep. They are super-soft and come in loads of different colours and patterns. 

Medina Sam at MK Kids Interiors recommends this Harlequin Dawn cot bed set which can be perfectly complemented by their own delightful Alphabet prints, a lovely way of adding colour to a baby's nursery.

We hope to launch the full new-baby list in the next few weeks, and have the ones for older babies and children ready soon.  So please get your recommendations in to us. 

As well as introducing lots of friendship groups via our profile-matching service, one of our hopes for Match Up Mums is that the friendship and support of other mums won't stop with your immediate group.  It's been great to see some of you sharing advice in the members' Facebook group too, from hypnobirthing to days out with toddlers - so do check that area out if you have a question for the broader group of Matched Up Mums.  
 
Finally and rather boringly, Facebook have changed their rules (again!) for business pages.  So even if you have 'liked' a Facebook page, our updates won't necessarily appear in your newsfeed - you need to regularly like our individual posts too, to keep getting our updates in your feed.  We'll keep sending monthly newsletters of course but if you like getting regular 'hot off the press' announcements about new partnership discounts for example, or when these new lists go live, you'll need to follow us on Twitter or like our FB posts regularly.  Sorry, told you it was a dull note on which to end - but there are some more interesting guest posts below from our friends at The Vitality Centre and London Mothers Club.
 
Hope you're all enjoying this last hurrah of an amazing summer. 

Love,
Megan x

baby-photo-shoot-31.jpg

The Vitality Centre tells us about Cranial Osteopathy.

Cranial Osteopathy is a gentle, relaxing and extremely effective approach, which can be used to treat people of all ages, from birth to old age. It is a non-invasive holistic treatment used to cover a range of conditions from stress and exhaustion to headaches and depression.

Babies and children can benefit greatly from Cranial Osteopathy, particularly with issues such as colic, sleep problems or excessive crying. It is also effective if your child has eating/feeding difficulties, Flat Head, Glue Ear or was born with a cord around the neck. Mother and Child Cranial Osteopathy can be especially bonding and effective.

The Vitality Centre in Wandsworth has two wonderful, highly qualified Paediatric Osteopaths, who are happy to offer a free 10 minute consolation on 020 8871 4677.

Don’t forget, Match Up Mums members receive a 20% discount on all Vitality Centre treatments, including Cranial Osteopathy.

Read more about cranial osteopathy on the Vitality Centre website. 

Baby-in-suitcase.jpg

Back to Work - A London Mothers Club event

We are delighted to announce a partnership with the lovely ladies at the London Mothers Club, who organise a variety of fun events for mums and babies across London, from pamper parties to family fun days to ask-the-expert sessions.  Match Up Mums members will receive 10% off the price of single tickets to any event, and 20% discount when going as a group of 2 or more. 

Their next event is on 18th September from 1-4pm at the Crown & Anchor in Chiswick Park and it will be an Ask the Expert session: Back to Work with You!  They've lined up 3 speakers: a career coach, professional stylist and a family meal planner for busy working mums. 

You can find out more about all of their forthcoming events on their website and if you would like to buy tickets using your discount, please email Sophie quoting Match Up Mums.

We hope this partnership will be a great addition to the Match Up Mums service, as it will provide a fun diversion for you and your Matched Up Mum friends to enjoy together, and also enable you to potentially meet even more mums and broaden your circle further. That's what we call win win! 

Posted on September 1, 2014 .