Posted 16 November 2019
Winter is here, and with it (or at least for my family) come the inevitable sniffles and possibly a few lovely sickness bugs! Oh, the joy. I think something about kids going back to school coupled with cold weather seems to be a recipe for getting sick.
We spend much more time indoors with the heating on, not doing as much exercise and filling up on stodgier foods. Lack of sunlight also means we’re probably not getting enough vitamin D too.
Posted 09 November 2019
Bonfire night can be a wonderful, sensory experience for children. Sparkling bright lights falling from the sky accompanied by whiz, pops and bangs are understandably exciting and awe-inspiring. The noises, sights, sounds and smells are a novelty for kids and an opportunity for some fun family time.
Although it’s exciting, it’s also important to take extra precautions to keep children of all ages safe around fireworks. So, whether you’re holding your own back garden celebration, visiting friends or going to a public event, this post is to help you get the most out of your evening.
Posted 02 November 2019
Hey everyone and welcome to our October edition of Motherhood Minis, featuring bitesize interviews with real mums. A quick unfiltered glimpse into the lives of our Matchstick Monkey parents and their little ones!
This week, we chat with the lovely Hannah Louise Evans. Hannah is a mum, wife and Parent Panelist for Mammas and Pappas. Hannah’s Instagram features Luna being cute, amazing outfits and beautifully captured moments, but she’s also not afraid to “spread the realness of motherhood as thick as Nutella” in her no holds barred captions. We catch up over a non-decaff coffee on the 3 am club (we all belonged to it, ladies!), winging motherhood and the importance of recharging.
Posted 26 October 2019
Think of “Halloween” and what images come to mind? Surely the majestic pumpkin is one of them? Although delicious, they’re totally underrated for most of the year. But this is the time of year when they shine! Not only are they a source of nutrition for your family, but they’re also a source of entertainment too. What more could we ask of this humble vegetable?
I’ve made no secret about the fact I love celebrating Halloween with kids. They want to get involved in everything, which includes pumpkin carving. Unfortunately, my kids are too young to be handling knives or implements that are large or sharp enough to carve pumpkins. Until they are, we decorate pumpkins instead.
Posted 19 October 2019
Winter is coming! Tralala. Crisp winter afternoons, snuggly jumpers and pumpkin lattes, blah blah. What I’m actually thinking about is what could be arriving along with it. Not Christmas, but the array of winter bugs…
Call me a killjoy, but most parents with school-age children will have experienced a bug or virus that comes home with your child from school one day. It makes itself at home and before you know it, everyone’s feeling like the dog’s dinner.
Posted 12 October 2019
Finding funny Halloween costumes for babies has been a work highlight of my month. Of all of the blog posts I write in the year, I think this is my favourite. For a good chunk of the day, I got to search Google for pictures of babies dressed in Halloween costumes for you. Such hard work!
Posted 10 October 2019
This week Matchstick Monkey travelled to Cologne to exhibit out biggest ever stand at The Kind + Jugend Show. As one of the world’s biggest and most exciting showcase for baby and children’s products - it’s a pretty big deal!
Kind + Jugend focus on design and quality and are one of the most prestigious baby and child shows in the world. One of the reasons why we’re always excited to be part of this event.
Posted 05 October 2019
Motherhood Minis: Bitesize Interviews with Real Mums - Managing expectations with @the_miller_diaries.
Welcome to our third interview of the series, Motherhood Minis, featuring bitesize interviews with real mums. A sneak peek into the lives of our Matchstick Monkey parents and their little ones!
This month for motherhood minis, we’re catching up with Jade on motherly pride, the importance of caffeine, and not pushing yourself too much! Jane also runs her own blog The Millar Diaries, writing about motherhood, miscarriage and reviewing all kinds of useful baby products.
Posted 23 September 2019
There’s so much to do around the UK if you’re looking for a fun, family day out in Autumn. And I don’t mean spending hours sipping bad coffee in soft play centres (more endure than enjoy). I’m talking about days out that the whole family will enjoy. From the under one’s to the great grandparents!
Although many of the best things to do this Autumn are fre e, there’s also a raft of tailor-made adventures for families. There are sometimes deals to be had after the summer holidays and before October half-term if you have older children at school so keep an eye out!
Posted 14 September 2019
Although summer is definitely my favourite time of year, autumn comes in at a close second. It’s a time of year when you might still get a warm, sunny window in the day to take a walk. The last of the blackberries are still out and leaves are beginning to crunch underfoot. You can begin to unpack your woolly jumpers - but only your favourite ones.
Now the blazing sun has made way for more gentle autumn rays, it’s the perfect time of year for you and your little ones to be outside. The sights, sounds, textures and tastes of autumn are exciting for babies and toddlers to explore. There are even autumn songs to sing. Does anyone remember the primary school hymn Autumn Days with the nostalgia for all things Autumn?
Posted 10 September 2019
A baby’s first words are always a source of excited anticipation. When finally the blabbering, gargling and gesticulating gradually form themselves into a recognisable word.
The first word could be a delightful “mama” or “dada” but it’s not uncommon to be en emphatic “No!” either. Or something random!
Posted 31 August 2019
Welcome to our fifth interview of the series, Motherhood Minis, featuring bitesize interviews with real mums. A quick inside look into the lives of our Matchstick Monkey parents and their little ones!
Posted 24 August 2019
When you’re trying to meet the needs of a young baby as well as your now school-age child, it can be difficult at times. There are so many things your child looks to you for so knowing they have your attention and support helps build up their confidence. But babies can be very demanding of your time, making it hard to feel like you’re giving them both what they need.
Posted 17 August 2019
If you’ve ever had a baby, the chances are you remember when they first smiled at you, first took their first step, when they said their first word and what it was. Maybe they’ve even been recorded in a baby book?
Posted 10 August 2019
Choosing a name for your baby can be pretty difficult. Even after much thought and debate, once your baby is born, you may suddenly feel they don’t suit the name you thought you wanted! This may sound crazy, but it can feel like your baby is born with a personality of their own, straight out the womb. Sometimes, a name that seemed great before, now just doesn’t quite fit.
Posted 03 August 2019
Welcome to our third interview of the series, Motherhood Minis, featuring bitesize interviews with real mums. A quick inside look into the lives of our Matchstick Monkey parents and their little ones!
Posted 27 July 2019
We all naturally want the best for our little ones. But making decisions on the best products to buy can be difficult when there’s so much choice. Products designed to do the same thing, all come with slightly different features which can be incredibly confusing for parents!
Posted 20 July 2019
Ahhh, how wonderful it is to take our beautiful babies to the beach to watch them frolic contentedly in the sand… erm, yeah right!
Let’s not pretend that going to the beach, or even going anywhere with your baby in summer is a sinch. Often there’s sand in every nook and cranny, hat’s/shoes/clothes being thrown off and at some point, a tear or two even! The baby bag is full of random things you don’t end up actually using - and you get crazy sweaty carrying it all to wherever you’re going.
Posted 13 July 2019
When my first baby was teething, I found it exhausting to deal with. I know some babies sail through the teething phase with no problems at all, but that wasn’t the case for us! At that time, not many of my friends had children. So, I’d lie awake into the night googling tips and scouring Mumsnet for anyone who could relate.
Posted 06 July 2019
Motherhood Minis: Bitesize Interviews with Real Mums - 21st Century Parenting with Francesca @lavendarcottage
Welcome to our third interview of the series, Motherhood Minis, featuring bitesize interviews with real mums. A quick inside look into the lives of our Matchstick Monkey parents and their little ones!
Posted 29 June 2019
After getting bitten yet again by my teething baby, this time drawing blood, I was desperate to find a solution. Feeling sorry for myself, I had a meltdown in the corner of the kitchen but then I had an idea… I’d had plenty of ideas for products before, product design is one of my passions - but this one was different (in so far as it worked).
Posted 22 June 2019
It’s almost the summer holidays! A time when almost every family experiences being packed into a car for hours on end. Visiting relatives, going to the beach, escaping for a weekend camping… whatever the reason, the dilemma is the same. How to keep the kids, specifically toddlers, entertained in the car!
Posted 15 June 2019
This week we’re going to talk about, men! Specifically, men and their health. It’s Men’s health week 2019 so we’re raising awareness for all the husbands and dads out there. Men’s Health Week was created to shine the spotlight on men’s health and address some of the reasons why sometimes, men don’t seek help as often as they could. This year, they’re focussing on the key numbers that paint a bigger picture of men’s health.
Posted 08 June 2019
There’s a myth that healthy newborn babies have to stay inside for a certain period of time. Don’t listen to it! It’s safe for babies to be outside very soon after they’re born, as long as there are no other issues (or doctors advice) that would prevent this.
Posted 01 June 2019
Motherhood Minis: Bitesize Interviews with Real Mums - Take a Bow for Proud Mum, Nikki from @cassie.and.rio
Welcome to the second interview in our series, Motherhood Minis featuring bite-size interviews with real mums. Short and sweet but packed full of tips and insight into the lives of our Matchstick Monkey parents and their little ones!
Posted 25 May 2019
It has been wonderful to watch Matchstick Monkey grow over the years, from the initial concept drawing I did back in 2015, to us now becoming an award-winning brand. Now Matchstick Monkey’s are flying out across the globe, we often get asked if we’re going to make any more colours. This is why we’re so excited to welcome our new Matchstick Monkey colour range in Airforce Blue, Claret, Dusty Pink & Mint Green!
Posted 18 May 2019
Ah, tantrums… It’s very humbling to have a child. All of those smug judgements you made about other people’s children having tantrums. Your child would never be like that, of course. And then all of a sudden, you’re the one getting the sideways glances as you realise it wasn’t as simple as you thought.
Posted 11 May 2019
The Duke and Dutchess of Sussex have finally welcomed their son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, to the world! Many new parents will recognise their pride and excitement at showing off their new baby for the first time. Even if most of us look considerably more bedraggled at the time of doing so (if only we all had a private makeup artist and hairdresser, damn it).
Posted 07 May 2019
Welcome to the start of our interview series, Motherhood Minis, featuring bitesize interviews with real mums. Short and sweet but packed full of tips and insight into the lives of our Matchstick Monkey parents and their little ones!
Posted 27 April 2019
Many parents will recognise this scenario. Your little one is teething and is clearly uncomfortable. As well as the usual discomfort and niggling, you’re sure they’re feeling a little warmer than usual and have noticed an irritated, pink patch on their cheeks. Should you be worried? Is this just another symptom of teething or is it something else?
Posted 20 April 2019
There is a growing allergy and asthma diagnosis rate, of which there are varying theories - but what can we do to protect our children - if anything? As Allergy Awareness Week is coming up, I thought this would be a great opportunity to talk about how allergies can affect our children and those close to us, and how we can help.
Posted 13 April 2019
You can’t have missed that Easter is on the way. We’ve all noticed the supermarkets have been stuffed full of chocolate eggs for a month already! But, despite being somewhat commercialised and covered in chocolate, Easter is an age-old celebration that has origins before Christianity.
Posted 06 April 2019
The 1-7th of April this week is World Autism Awareness Week. Autism is a life-long condition that can affect how people perceive the world. But each person is different, this is no exception for children who have been diagnosed on the autism spectrum. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the umbrella term for various conditions that include social, behavioural and communicational challenges. These challenges can range from fairly mild and hard to diagnose, to pronounced and sometimes severe - including everything in between.
Posted 30 March 2019
In the past, chatting about issues involving female reproductive health has seemed almost taboo. Although we have many of these conversations in private with our good friends, there’s been a distinct lack of clear information in the public sphere. So much so, that for some of us - what goes on “down there” remains a bit of a mystery.
Posted 23 March 2019
At one point or another, you may need to entrust someone else with the care of your little one. It could be an event, work commitments or even an emergency. But no matter the reason, the first time can be daunting. That’s why finding a great babysitter is the holy grail.
Posted 16 March 2019
As most parents know, it’s not easy to persuade your child to eat what’s good for them. When they’d rather throw their food onto the floor instead of putting it in their mouth, just giving them whatever they’ll eat seems like the only option. Bananas for breakfast, lunch and dinner it is!
At the same time, everyone knows a parent who extolls the incredible appetite of their child. Their kid will eat anything put in front of their tiny faces. Vegetables, fruit, a good ol’ vindaloo curry… (their favourite of course!) All chowed down and asking for more. Well, if you’re one of those parents then I’m happy for you… but my little ones have all had their fussy food stages.
Posted 11 March 2019
Teething is a definitive point in almost every baby’s life, so it’s natural that as parents we have so many questions about it. Even if like me, you’ve been through the teething period with one or more children already - each experience can be different! When it comes to teething there’s no manual you can stick to. A bit like most things when it comes to bringing up children!
I created Matchstick Monkey when my first baby was teething, so, I know how frustrating not knowing how to help your child can be. Especially if they seem uncomfortable!
Posted 02 March 2019
International Women’s Day is coming up on the 8th March! Since I’m a woman and have three girls, it’s a day I really want to celebrate!
Posted 23 February 2019
Some nights I’ll find myself skipping out of my sleeping toddler’s bedroom thinking I’ve cracked it, only to find myself 24 hours later locked in a bedtime battle. Getting your little one to sleep can sometimes be a struggle, so is there an easier way to send your toddler off to the land of nod, where they’ll stay for at least 12 hours? We’ve compiled a handy list of dos and don’ts to help you get the peace and quiet you deserve at the end of the day.
Posted 16 February 2019
Last International Book Day we published an article recommending the best books for parents and their toddlers. This year, we’re going to do the same! Why? Because it’s a good excuse to add to our own reading lists and because books are one of the only things you can buy that make you richer... (Who actually said that first, we’d love to know!).
Posted 09 February 2019
Valentine’s Day suggestions for parents? Ahh yes, becoming a parent can kill off many romantic activities and sometimes, even feelings of romance! This day of lovers can pass many of us by with a simple card and a peck on the cheek.
Posted 02 February 2019
Most of us like to eat sweet things, especially children. Unfortunately, refined sugar is very bad for a child's developing teeth and it’s not advised they eat foods with any added sugar at all until they’re over 2 years of age. And then only in very limited amounts.
Posted 26 January 2019
Ever wish your skin was “as smooth as a babies…”? Or so the saying goes. The thing is, not all our babies and toddlers have smooth skin. In fact, our little ones are more likely to suffer from dry skin, eczema or red, sore patches than we are.
Posted 19 January 2019
I’ve been happily reading people’s Instagram posts about what they’re grateful for in 2018. And it’s really reminded me how important it is to celebrate achievements, however big or small. I think we also learn a lot from failures and these are important too, but taking a look back to remind ourselves how far we’ve come can be really rewarding.
2018 has been an amazing year for Matchstick Monkey. We’ve brought new ideas to fruition with the release of Colours, our book for toddlers. Also, we’re incredibly proud that our original Matchstick Monkey teething toy has also won some of the most prestigious awards in the industry!
Posted 12 January 2019
Whilst we were researching our last post, we realised that a lot of you have questions about keeping your baby warm in winter. Although we did give some tips in our last article here, we thought it would be a good idea to answer some of the more specific questions we were asked…
Sooo, in this follow-up post, we’re going to look at:
Posted 05 January 2019
Feeling anxious that your baby might be too warm or too cold is something that most parents experience. I’ve had both summer and winter babies, and spent a lot of time worrying that they may be either too hot or too cold!
In this article, we’ll give 5 tips to keep your baby cosy and warm this winter.
Posted 31 December 2018
Now that the excitement of Christmas is over and January is on the way, I’ve started thinking about some New Years resolutions.
I’m never very good at sticking to these kinds of things, but I feel like starting something new is easier when you’ve got company. Being “in it together” gives you more purpose. You can look out for each other, encourage each other and also monitor each other - which keeps you on the straight and narrow!
Posted 22 December 2018
Christmas is special for lots of reasons, but we all have those family traditions that make it extra special. As an adult, I most look forward to the slightly more boozy tradition of having prosecco with breakfast and stuffing myself full of nice food. But once upon a time, it was laying out the cookies, milk and carrots for Father Christmas and his reindeer!
We all have quirky traditions that might sound weird to everyone else. But, some of our favourite things, I guess, wouldn’t sound out of place in anyone’s household.
Posted 15 December 2018
You can have a lot of fun with Christmas decoration ideas for kids. Keep your own (potentially expensive) decorations that you’ve been collecting for years to one side, this is something a bit more child-friendly!
When I was a child, I was always overjoyed to have my own special Christmas decorations. My kids are no different! Decorations are fun and a novelty, two things that most kids love. Here are a few ways that you can make decorating your home for Christmas extra special for kids.
Posted 08 December 2018
Often the magic of Christmas can start to wear off for adults, but you can awaken that feeling of wonder by celebrating alongside your kids. Although Christmas isn’t all about presents, we like to treat the people we love to something special. This year, we’re really focusing on sustainability and quality instead of gifts that won’t pass the test of time.
Keeping this in mind, we’ve put together a gift guide for babies and toddlers packed with some of our favorite ideas to give you a bit of inspiration.
Posted 26 November 2018
Are Christmas calendars for toddlers acceptable? Sure they are! Just probably not the ones full of chocolate. Although one of my guilty pleasures is to scoff chocolate from my Christmas calendar every year, (I say this like I still get one, woe is me) I much prefer the healthier option for my little ones.
In this article, I take a look at why chocolate isn’t great for toddlers and check out some healthier (but still fun) advent calendar options for kids.
Posted 17 November 2018
The best winter activities for babies and toddlers are (for me) based inside! I love the cosiness of being indoors when winter arrives, but it’s easy to find myself getting cabin fever if I don’t get out now and again.
So, what do you do with your toddler on a cold day? To give you some inspiration, here are my favourite things to pull out of the bag when everyone’s getting cabin fever.
Posted 10 November 2018
Any time that I do remember to pack the teethers for the little ones when I’m on the move, they inevitably get dropped and mistreated in every way possible. Unable to really clean them properly on the go, the fact they’d been licked by my friend's dog/fell on the floor/rolled in someone else’s crumbs/stood on, kind of niggled at me.
This is when I realised...
Posted 03 November 2018
Enjoying a rare childfree moment at a wedding I attended recently, I sat having a drink with one of my baby wielding friends (who was dutifully sipping on an orange juice). The amazing thing was, as we chatted over the band who were swinging into their final set, her baby was sleeping soundly right beside us in his stroller. How was this possible? I could only assume it was because he was wearing ear defenders - and this was confirmed by my friend.
“It’s amazing!” she enthused “once she’s got the ear defenders on she sleeps, no problem. She gets disturbed by loud noises, so these have been perfect”. I remembered the times that either my husband or I have had to leave a wedding or evening early because there was no way our little one was going to get to sleep with all that noise distraction. Why hadn’t I thought of trying this?
Posted 27 October 2018
Becoming a grandparent can be a wonderful thing. No matter if you’re prepared or not, being a grandparent comes with its own unique challenges and rewards. It’s not the same as having your own children, it’s a whole different experience that can be enjoyed in its own right.
It can also be daunting. Lots of things have changed since we brought up children of our own. The world is a different place, technology has moved on and our children may want to make different choices as parents to the ones we did. Even though they’re parents themselves, our children will probably still seek advice and need help and support from us as grandparents.
Posted 20 October 2018
As I’m giving the baby her lunch, I feel a familiar and insistent tug on my jeans. Looking down I see my cute toddler gesture to be picked up. At the same time, a shrill voice shouts “Muuuuuuuuuuuuuum!” down the staircase. Hmmm, welcome to the world of having more than one child!
It’s not just family time that’s important for children. Each of them wants and need time with both my partner and me, individually. Even we might love them all equally, their needs aren’t the same as they’re all at different stages of development. This is why I wanted to write down a few tips on how we try to spend individual quality time with all our children. If you have any of your own, please pass them on because I could always use a little help!
Posted 13 October 2018
Do you remember your favourite books as a child? From Spot the Dog to The Little Caterpillar and the Velveteen Rabbit, I had a very well thumbed (and chewed) collection of kids books, most of which are still in print now.
Books are so important for children. They’re a tool for learning speech, learning to recognise a range of objects or animals, developing motor skills, learning about the world around them and eventually to read themselves.
Posted 06 October 2018
“Mum?” Minnie asked me one day, “are all the Matchstick Monkeys friends?”. “Of course they are” I answered, “they all live in the jungle together, swinging from the trees!” hoping that this sounded like a plausible story. “I thought so!” she smiled back.
Honestly, I hadn’t really thought about what the Matchstick Monkeys got up to in my kids imaginations. Thanks to Minnie, I spent the rest of the day wondering what the Matchstick Monkey’s would do, if they did come alive!
Posted 29 September 2018
We’re exhausted but elated after returning from an amazing week at the Kind and Jugend show in Germany! Despite the cancelled flight on the way back (can’t really complain as we got to spend another night in the beautiful city of Cologne) everything went according to plan, thanks to our awesome team!
As the international leading trade fair for premium baby and toddler products, the show is a big deal for us. As well as exhibiting to around 22,500 visitors we also get to check out some of the most innovative products and trends from all over the world, which is a huge amount of fun!
Posted 26 September 2018
Preparing for the arrival of a baby is always an exciting time with lots of things to do, organise and look forward to. If you have a pet dog, this prep will also involve helping your furry friend get ready to meet the new addition to your family!
Making sure you take at least 6 months to get your dog ready for the arrival of a baby will help to keep disruption to a minimum. This goes for your furry friend AND for you! No matter how old, young, friendly or easy going, no matter the breed or size of your dog, you should never assume that you know how your dog will behave with your baby.
Posted 15 September 2018
For as long as your toddler can remember, they’ve had your undivided attention. Soon though, there’s about to be a new baby in town and you’re not 100% sure how they’re going to take it…
When I fell pregnant with Coco, I wanted to make sure I prepared Minnie for her arrival as soon as my bump became a bit more apparent. Luckily, Minnie accepted Coco from day one, but we did spend a lot of time doing research on how to ensure that feelings of jealousy were kept to a minimum.
Posted 08 September 2018
It’s September, which I recently found out is Baby Safety Month in America! I can’t see why we shouldn’t embrace Baby Safety Month here in the UK, to help raise awareness and offer tips and education for new parents or anyone caring for a baby.
Baby Safety Month is promoted by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA ), a non-profit organisation in the USA that serves as a top resource for product safety standards, educates customers on the safe use of baby products and much more.
Posted 01 September 2018
From exciting designs and charming appliqués to rainy-day ready wellington boots, JoJo have so many exciting items just waiting to be worn. Think interactive t-shirts, practical reversible hoodies in your favourite animal prints and exciting glow-in-the-dark styles that’ll see your child from day to night. Here at JoJo we love traditional styles, but it’s also important to put the fun into fashion! So, we’re offering you clothes that’ll do just that…
Take a look at some of our adorable styles that will have you spoilt for choice.
Posted 25 August 2018
We all recognise that scenario. It’s late in the evening, the early hours of the morning or another extremely inconvenient time. Your small child is squawking at the top of their lungs and verging on losing it, but you can’t understand what they want?
Are they hungry? You try this, but no. Do they need changing? Nope. What they can’t tell you is that their teeth are hurting, that they’ve dropped their favourite teddy on the floor and they’re too hot. You take another half an hour to work this out, by which time the meltdown is in full force.
Posted 20 August 2018
When your baby gets to an age where they can appreciate the excitement of a birthday party, it’s easy to end up having a mini meltdown wondering how to start planning one.
I’m terrible at hosting parties for myself. I’m one of those people who tend to get “the fear” that no one will enjoy themselves, meaning I don’t actually end up enjoying myself!
Posted 11 August 2018
Nappies, diapers or whatever you call them can be a bit of a minefield. There are so many options to choose from that it’s easy to get a bit overwhelmed, especially as a first time parent.
I wish I’d been more clued-up about all the options out there when I had my first born, so I thought writing a mini-guide would be helpful for anyone having the same conundrum.
Posted 06 August 2018
The first few days and even weeks of a newborn’s life normally focuses around eating and sleeping (the second, if you’re lucky). Once your baby starts to stay awake longer than when they just need a feed or a nappy change, you can actually start to play with them!
Babies are learning about the world around them as soon as they open their eyes. Even just talking to your baby helps their senses develop, as they get used to the sound of your voice.
Posted 28 July 2018
Once you’ve had children, looking forward to a relaxing mini-break feels like a distant memory from once upon a time. Fortunately, relaxing isn’t the only desirable adjective to describe a mini-break! It’s now all about the fun, novel, simple, life affirming, inspiring and adventurous mini-break!
After doing a bit of research for my own family this summer, these are some of the best locations and mini-break ideas I found.
Posted 23 July 2018
When it’s warm outside, the last thing you want to do is spend time sweating over a hot oven. Whenever summer comes along I try to eat outside as much as possible. This is for two reasons. 1) We can make the most of the lovely warm afternoons and evenings and 2) there’s less mess in the house and kitchen for my husband and I to clean up, because seriously, no one likes doing housework in the heat either!
These snacks are perfect for afternoons when the kids and their friends are playing outside in the sun between meals. They’re also great as deserts or orderves and are all easy to make with minimal time in the kitchen!
Posted 14 July 2018
Here I am sat on a deck chair under a tree, straw hat on (still half squashed from being under a suitcase at the back of the wardrobe), and fanning myself with an empty porridge cereal box. I am mightily thankful no one but my three girls can see me now, as they’re far from old enough to be embarrassed by me yet.
It’s hard enough to figure out what clothes to wear to keep myself cool whilst not looking like I’ve just been for a roll in the laundry. My children, however, are usually better turned out than I am. This is because when I buy their summer clothes, I gave them much more consideration than I when I buy my own!
Posted 07 July 2018
The more I read about swaddling, the more I feel like there should be some kind of adult swaddle. A decrease in anxiety, a feeling of being safe, a better night’s sleep… hell, sign me up!
Babies can be swaddled usually until around 4-6 months of age, as past that age they start being able to roll (not good because they could end up on their tummy) or pull a houdini and escape the swaddle. Up until this point though, it’s widely thought of to be a safe and effective bedtime strategy.
Posted 30 June 2018
Of course, as the co-founder of a company that creates (awesome) teething toys, and being the mother of three kids, this is a subject that’s clearly close to my heart!
Teething was definitely challenging for my kids and me, and I’m still not sure how I managed to summon up the creativity for product design whilst at the end of my tether. How did I type with my toddler bitten fingers and fuzzy, sleep deprived brain? I’m still not really sure…
Posted 23 June 2018
Being a creative person I love designing and decorating, but I was still feeling tiniest bit of sadness was decorating Coco’s bedroom. It only seemed like yesterday when we were busy putting the nursery together, she’s grown up so quickly!
As your children grow up their needs are different, so for me I wanted my children’s bedrooms to reflect this. I want their room to be somewhere that they can explore, interact and engage with, as well as somewhere they feel safe and comfortable in.
Posted 16 June 2018
Isn’t it so much fun to play with your children and to watch their little faces light up when they feel, hear or see their favourite toys? From presents, hand-me-downs and impulse buys to well thought out, aesthetically pleasing nursery toys - in this modern age there’s so many to choose from. So, how do we decide what kind of toys encourage our babies development, and, do we need to?
Now I’ve had three children, I understand the importance of choosing toys wisely! This isn’t just because the right toys can encourage your babies development, it’s also for my own sanity. Ideally I don’t want my house to resemble Toys R Us after being vandalised by a horde of toddlers.
Posted 09 June 2018
Toddler portion sizes, how much is enough? It almost goes without saying that all toddlers are different. Some might have the ravenous appetite of a hungry bear just woken from hibernation; others might flat out refuse all but a few tasty morsels. In the case of my toddlers, their “food personality” can change from week-to-week, even day-to-day!
Personally, I struggle with estimating my own portion sizes, so, trying to guess what the right amount of food is for my little ones can be impossible! Do I let them eat what they want until they start refusing food? Do I get the overacted “choo choo” train out and push them to eat that little bit more, or sit in my puree stained dress and cry quietly in a corner?
Posted 01 June 2018
Father’s Day is just around the corner and it’s the perfect day to celebrate the man, or men in your life! It’s not always easy to appreciate each other as parents and partners when you’re both busy at work and taking care of the family - so sometimes it’s nice to stop and think about how much you do really help each other.
My partner, Sam, is a very hands on father and he’s always helping in so many ways. He’s definitely amazing at entertaining and knows how to get the girls to have a good time! He’s loves taking the girls out to let off steam on the trampoline, skating, scooting, biking or swimming and playing games they adore, like “What’s the time Mister Wolf?”
Posted 26 May 2018
Celebrating the arrival of a friend’s baby is one of the nicest things. It’s only natural if you want to show your support for her new adventure by giving her family something that will make their new life that little bit easier!
There’s also that (secret) part of me that hopes when the baby is older, their parents will exclaim something like:
Posted 19 May 2018
So, guests to the royal wedding have to bring their own picnics? Fine by me! (Not that I’m going, obviously.) But really, I’d rather make my own healthy picnic any day than eat someone else’s soggy cucumber sandwiches and uninventive carrot sticks…
Whether you’re a Royalist or not, you can still enjoy the spectacle of the day (even if it’s just to shout things at the TV). Why not make it an occasion with your own picnic? Invite your friends over along with their families and if it’s not nice enough to sit in the garden, just camp out in the kitchen.
Posted 12 May 2018
As Mental Health Awareness Week approaches, we wanted to contribute to raising awareness around postnatal depression by speaking to professional counsellor and psychotherapist Leonie Adamson.
Leonie Adamson is a member of the BACP (British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists) and the clinical supervisor and director of Talking Therapy NI : Stalking NI.
Posted 05 May 2018
Now that the sun is finally coming out (wahoo), you can stop worrying so much about your baby being cold and instead start worrying that they’re about to be burned to a frazzle! Well, we all like a bit of a change, right?
Out come the cute hats and the suncream, but wait… how much sunscreen should you put on your baby? What if they swallow it? What if they get too hot? What if they need to get some sun on their skin!
Posted 28 April 2018
After a long winter, summer is almost here and it’s the perfect time to start planning some outdoor activities.
When kids come along, leaving the house can feel like a strategic, military operation. I always find that I end up flailing around the house for ages on a sunny weekend wondering what to do and by the time we get out, it feels like we’ve wasted precious sunshine!
Posted 21 April 2018
We thought it would be great to get all of the popular questions that you guys ask us answered by a professional dentist. After all, there’s so much information out there on teething, we wanted to make sure you got the best advice possible!
Dr Saul Konviser is a general dentist working at Dawood & Tanner General Dental Practice in Central London. He also is a Trustee of the charity, Dental Wellness Trust, providing oral health education workshops and toothbrushing programmes to schools across South East England as well as in Cape Town, South Africa.
Posted 14 April 2018
Ok, so, packing nappy bags are one of a long list of non-glamorous things you need to learn to do as a parent. Carrying around an ungainly, bulging bag that’s spilling over with baby wipes, bottles and god knows what else is beyond annoying. I can hardly remember what I need to put in my own handbag (wallet, keys, phone) at the best of times, so this is a challenge!
I’m always really envious of parents who manage to look put together, miraculously and inexplicably able to whip out whatever it is their baby needs from a pocket of their bag in a millisecond like some kind of nappy bag ninja. I figured, if I’m going to have to keep carrying around all this extra baby stuff, I might as well do it well.
Posted 08 April 2018
Entertaining your baby is one of the most enjoyable things to do as a new mum. All of the games and activities you’re doing with your newborn helps them learn about the world around them, as well as how to communicate with it.
From touch and taste to sight, smell and sound, all your baby’s senses are being stimulated by what’s around them, and they’re always watching and listening carefully to what’s going on - and commenting on it, in their own way. Even when you’d much prefer they were sleeping peacefully!
Posted 01 April 2018
I’ve been making a concerted effort this year to homemake as much food as possible. Although I love homemade food, I’m not fanatical about it and certainly wouldn’t ever ban takeaways or ready meals in my house… I mean, who doesn’t love an M&S night in deal?
Unfortunately, when you’re a super busy mum with a business to run, children to look after and a house to keep in some semblance of order - making everyone’s food from scratch everyday seems more of a concept than a reality.
Posted 26 March 2018
After you’ve had a baby, some mum’s can’t wait to get back to exercising but for others, it’s the last thing on their minds.
I’m pretty bad for making time for exercise anyway, never mind after giving birth, however, these easy and quick post-natal exercises are simple enough to squeeze (literally) in, whenever you get a spare few minutes!
Posted 19 March 2018
Easter kind of loses its magic a bit in adulthood, when you realise that your waistline won’t allow you to guzzle chocolate eggs for breakfast guilt free. Your family stop buying you (as many) easter eggs and everyone you know is discussing what they’re going to give up for lent.
Then suddenly you have children and Easter is fun again! You get to share in their excitement for this religious festival, now so synonymous with chocolate. Now that you’ve got a great excuse to buy one, you begin to eye up the fun chocolate eggs in the supermarket. I hope you’re one of those lucky few who’s darlings will let you have more than a crumb of it once it’s opened (unless they’re not looking)!
Posted 13 March 2018
Many mum’s, including me, instinctively turn to natural materials when it comes to finding clothing, bedding, toys or anything that’s going to come into close contact with our baby’s skin.
Why? Sometimes it’s a completely unconscious thing. You could just browsing through clothes in a shop, flicking through the rails with your hands and finding yourself attracted to a certain feel of a garment. Maybe it’s something we instinctively know to look for?
Posted 02 March 2018
Mother’s Day is coming up, so to celebrate, we wanted to post an article celebrating all things mum! We’ve also included some tips to treat your baby this Mother’s Day, because we all know, when baby is happy - mum’s much happier too!
When you become a parent, you realise how much hard work goes into it. That’s why it’s often when we have our own children that we can only fully appreciate the sacrifices our own parents made, and how much they must have loved us! That’s why it’s so nice to celebrate days like Mother’s day and Father’s day. Not because we need to be told to show recognition, just because there’s at least one day when there’s a real excuse for us to put our feet up ;).
Posted 25 February 2018
Books are the saviours of bedtimes, an education in disguise, a window into another world and sometimes our only company during those long, sleepless nights!
In honour of World Book Day, celebrating these brilliant clumps of paper we all love so much, I wanted to make this week’s blog post about, you guessed it, books!
Posted 19 February 2018
Becoming a new mother (or parent for that matter) can be one of simultaneously the most amazing, scary, rewarding, intimidating things that ever happens to you. Of course, some take everything in their stride and don’t blink an eyelid.
As an expectant mother it’s hard to know what to expect. You never know exactly how you’re going to feel, if you will cope as well as you thought or if anything you expected even matters.
Posted 10 February 2018
It’s never too early to start thinking about the health of your babies teeth. As soon as the first tooth comes through you can start as you mean to go on by keeping them healthy and clean!
Obviously (like most things) this may be A LOT harder to do than it is to advise! Brushing a baby or toddler’s teeth can be incredibly fiddly and requires a lot of patience. It is worth it though! I hope if my children grow up knowing the importance of good dental hygiene then they’re more likely to continue to look after their teeth as teenagers and adults.
Posted 05 February 2018
When it’s cold, not being constantly paranoid about your baby being either to too cold or too warm is really hard! It first started for me when I was told by the hospital that I needed a hat to put on Coco when I took her home. A hat?! No one had told me that before...
But when I thought about it, of course that little bald head would be cold without a hat! It seems like common sense now, but why does no one tell you some of these eminently practical things before you give birth?
Posted 29 January 2018
Nordic interiors are currently having a serious moment and I have to say, I absolutely love it! Nordic style is usually about white walls, natural fabrics and a minimalist style. Right now geometric patterns and pops of colour popular are popular as well as that magical Scandi touch of whimsy.
I’ve always liked incorporating natural colours and materials in my house. It’s just so easy on the eye and it feels really calming to me to be surrounded by clean lines and neutral tones.
Posted 21 January 2018
Baby showers have got pretty big in the last few years. Thanks to traditions in America that have now spread across the pond, expectant mothers and fathers to be benefit from a special celebration to welcome their baby into the world. I wasn’t 100% sure on the idea (I hate being the centre of attention) until my friends threw me a baby shower and I realised what a great idea they actually are!
A baby shower is the time you get to properly catch up with friends before the final months of pregnancy and birth. After the baby is born, you often end up way too tired or busy to get together and have a good time with friends, so this is the perfect opportunity to spend quality time with your best ones!
Posted 14 January 2018
When your baby is teething it can be hard to know what to do. You’re trying to find the best solution to make it better because the thought of your child being in pain is horrible, especially when you can’t even explain to them why it hurts.
As well as being uncomfortable for them, it can be a hard time for the parents too! Sleeplessness and irritability might be symptoms of teething children, but they can also be symptoms of parents with teething children!
Posted 08 January 2018
It’s hard to believe just how fast babies grow and develop. After welcoming our new girl into the world only a couple of months ago, looking back at pictures of her in the hospital, I just can’t get my head around how much bigger she is now! Just as you’re getting used to having a tiny baby around, all of a sudden they’re getting heavier, longer and stronger and you wonder where that tiny bundle of baby went?! Even though this is now my third little one, I still never get used to how fast it all happens.
Babies teeth, like everything else, come much sooner than you expect! As babies get ready for weaning, their teeth can start to emerge from as young as three months, however it usually happens between 4 and 7 months. If it hasn’t happened by then though, don’t worry as the first tooth can sometimes take up to a year to appear. At least by then, you’ll be ready for it!
Posted 04 December 2017
I don’t know what it is with Christmas desserts and children, but they just don’t seem to be popular with anyone under 4 feet tall. On the long list of Christmas treats that fall foul of the little folk are mince pies, Christmas pudding, Christmas cake, figs, nuts (obviously) and brandy snaps.
All of these would go stale in the cupboard before my little one’s would consider sampling them. Maybe they get it from me, I can’t ever remember liking them when I was younger, in fact I’m sure I used to scoop all the filling out of the mince pies and just eat the pastry. They were definitely an acquired taste.
Posted 16 November 2017
When it comes to flying with your baby for the very first time, there are always so many questions that you need answering. When you’re used to only having to look after yourself on a flight it comes as quite a shock to realise that you’ve now got way, way more to think about than what to pack in your own hand luggage. Wave goodbye to your moisturising travel face mask, cashmere wrap and cooling face spray (not that I used those anyway, but I always thought I might do someday).
Flying successfully with a baby can seem like a minefield. With all of the security measures at airports, knowing how to fly with baby formula or baby food, if they need a passport or if they need their own seat booking on a plane, etc etc. remains a complete mystery to most of us before the moment we have to do it ourselves!
Posted 10 November 2017
Ahhh, those first lovely weeks and months of teething. What joy… said no parent ever!!! I remember anxiously waiting for my first baby to start teething, worried that it wouldn’t happen. Oh how innocent I was. When it inevitably did, I sure was in for a rude awakening.
Some children’s teeth develop more quickly than others so it’s really hard to predict when it’s going to happen. Most children exhibit only a few of the symptoms (sometimes just one) so what is a sign of teething for one child may be completely different for another.
Posted 30 October 2017
If you’re holding a baby shower, why not make it extra fun by incorporating a theme? If you’re anything like me, I’m not amazing at planning parties so if there’s a theme I find it a lot easier to get inspired! At Matchstick Monkey HQ, we talk about lots of baby related things - as you can imagine! This week we had a bit of a brainstorm session and came up with (what we think are) 4 of the best baby shower themes…
Throw your baby shower in the theme of the season the baby due date is. Right now it’s Autumn which is a great theme for inspiration!
Posted 17 October 2017
I don’t know how good your memory was when you were a toddler (I’m not one of those amazing people that can remember things from when they were two) and I sure can’t remember any of my birthday cakes! Most toddlers love cake though and if they’re old enough to be able to eat some, it’s something really cute to have at your child’s birthday. Even if they’re not old enough to have a slice yet, the grown ups can. It’s sometimes the highlight of attending kids birthdays as an adult, at least, it’s a great excuse to eat cake - not that I need one, personally! Although I much prefer natural sugars than processed ones for my little ones, a little bit now and again doesn’t stress me out.
I popped together a quick list of my favourite cake ideas. There’s a mix of traditional sugary confection, make your own, organic and also healthy options. They’re all so cute, I think I might like one for my birthday!
Posted 14 September 2017
Matchstick Monkey Travels to Cologne for the Kind + Jugend Show
We’re really, really excited about appearing at the Kind + Jugend Show in Cologne, Germany! Why? Because the Kind + Jugend Show is a prestigious event where some of the best new products for babies and children are showcased.
Posted 04 September 2017
There are so many questions when it comes to teething and as each child is different, sometimes the answers vary depending on which source you read! When my two little ones were teething, even though they’re sisters I still have exactly the same experience with both of them.
This article attempts to pull together answers to some of the most common questions mum’s and dad’s have when their child is teething. We’ll add to this article constantly as we keep researching parents, health professionals and industry leaders advice on teething.
Posted 25 August 2017
5 Healthy Teething Solutions for Your Baby
Today I wanted to write about a few healthy teething solutions for your baby that I’ve tried and tested with my kids! When your baby is teething, most mums would probably do just about anything to help their little ones through the pain. We want to try and give you some healthy teething tips that you may not have come across yet.
Posted 31 July 2017
Ok, I’ll admit it… sometimes I’ve actually had nightmares about travelling with my kids. It’s not that they’re not capable of behaving, it’s just that they’re toddlers and toddlers can be unpredictable! Often it’s not them I’m worried about - it’s me! What if I forget something? Something important like their food, a change of clothes or worse - an actual child!
I’ve been left in a cold sweat after dreams of running through the airport terminal in my baby food stained clothing, eyes in the direction I’m going, clinging to the bags for dear life whilst Coco sits patiently on the seat I just accidentally left her on.
Posted 13 July 2017
I’ve spoken about this to you guys before in “breakfast for supper” but I’ve got to say it again… please don’t worry if your toddler is being fussy about what they eat. What a toddler wants to eat can change from week to week! Whilst they might love carrots, apples and celery one day, the next day they may refuse to eat any of those things. You’re not doing anything wrong, it’s just how kids can be sometimes!
So with that in mind, I wanted to draw up a list of some great, healthy snack ideas that toddlers (most of the time) will love. My two can get a bit grumpy if they refuse to eat their meals. I find that keeping some nutritious snacks handy can be a lifesaver for hungry children and also their harangued parents!
Posted 14 June 2017
I’ve been looking absolutely everywhere for some non-cheesy but still super cute Father’s Day cards and it’s so hard to find nice ones. A first Father’s Day is kind of special so I really wanted to get something we’d want to keep instead of popping in the recycling! I figured that surely I can’t be the only one having this problem...right?
So far, the best places for cards I found was Etsy and Not On The High Street as they seem to have more modern, fun designs instead of the usual photo mashup/ personalised name stuff.
For now, I’ve put together a (hopefully) helpful list of a few favourite card ideas I loved for a first Father’s Day...
Posted 18 April 2017
So I’ve got a controversial question for all you new mums out there: when’s the last time you did something just for you?
The thing about motherhood is that it is so easy to get sucked into the vortex of looking after your baby that you forget all about looking after yourself. And, in my experience at least, the likelihood of you doing that is probably doubled when you are looking after a baby who is having problems with teething.
Posted 06 March 2017
If you are reading this through puffy, sleep deprived eyes whilst drinking your third coffee of the day in a bid to stay awake, then let me start with this: one day, hopefully not too far from now, your child WILL sleep through the night.
In the meantime, I want to reassure you that you are so so so not the only one pacing the kitchen at 3.30am, trying everything in your arsenal to soothe your baby back to sleep at the same time as trying not to WEEP that another night is slowly ticking into morning, with both you and your baby awake.
Posted 30 January 2017
If there’s one thing that being a mum has taught me it is that, just when you think things will never change, they suddenly do – often overnight. In fact, I’ve noticed that it’s often just when I start thinking, “OMG Minnie is NEVER going to potty train/sleep through the night/learn to read” that something shifts and it all falls into place.
The problem is, though, that changing overnight thing can cut both ways…as I found out the hard way when Coco started teething.
Posted 17 January 2017
You know what I’ve realised lately? I think that almost anything important we undertake in life goes through a few teething problems in some form or another.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because we are in the middle of renovating our house. But it turns out that that’s easier said than done when you buy a small damp cottage and then find out all it is made from is mud - well they call it Cobb but all I can think of is that it’s an expensive mud hut!
Posted 21 December 2016
Every year it’s the same. Round about Halloween I start mentally preparing for Christmas. In my head I picture an alternate reality when Organised me does a weekend blitz of The Shops when they are all calm and empty. Early, and in plenty of time, I find the perfect present for everyone. I imagine, I’ve found the perfect present for my husband and hidden it, already wrapped up, in the bedroom cupboard. Heck, I’ve probably even stuffed the stockings!
AND THEN I WAKE UP. It’s December 23d. Sure, the tree’s been up since December 1st and much mulled wine merriment has been made, many carols sung. But I have been so busy keeping the show on the road that it turns out I haven’t bought so much as a single present.
Posted 19 December 2016
I’m going to start with a confession. It’s not glamorous. And it’s not grown up. But here we go. When I was little, my family nickname for me was ‘Muggle-Wump’, after the monkey in Roald Dahl’s book, ‘The Enormous Crocodile’. Now that’s all very well when you are five, and your favourite pastime in the world is climbing trees and making hideouts at the top. But guess what? That’s still my nickname and my mum will think nothing of shouting out in the supermarket, ‘Wump! Can you grab some eggs?’
The fact is, that even though I am a grown up now, with a husband, two children and a brand new business under my belt, I’m still reminded on a daily basis that I spent most of my childhood up a tree, wishing that I was a monkey.
Posted 17 April 2016
Matchstick Monkey is more than just a toothbrush teething toy. It is specially designed to help teething babies, pass through this period with ease. It can be very difficult when using your fingers to apply gels or granules to your baby’s back gums their little front teeth are razor sharp & can give a painful bite! Apart from the pain, using your fingers can also be unhygienic and you might not be able to apply the gels to the right place. Allow your baby to touch those areas where he or she is feeling the pain with the Matchstick Monkey. All you need to do is to apply your gel or granules onto the toothbrush bristles at the back of the head and allow your baby to chew the gel into the sore spot.
Matchstick Monkey is the only teething gel applicator with toothbrush style bristles which helps to get teething gels right to the source of the pain. Another unique point about Matchstick Monkey is that your children can handle it with ease. The handles are small enough for them to grab, without it falling away from their hands. It is also made specially to prevent children from sticking it too far down their throats. A major concern for parents is that children want to put everything they lay their hands on in their mouth, which might make them choke. Matchstick Monkey has been made to ensure the safety of your child. It has been made to prevent children from putting it too far down their throat or inflict injuries on their gums.