Mumaleary's Blog

Cheaper than therapy

It’s Good to Talk; especially with Vonage.

Evening All,

Happy 1st September to you! My favorite month of the year; It’s all back to school, new books, new possibilities and all that jazz, it’s also mine and the big littles birthday- yey for the Autumn.

I have been a little light on the old blog fodder of late, I’m sure you’ve noticed and calls to The Samaritans have increased as a direct result but, the thing is, I’ve been busy with the new ventureFabulous Frost Fair, Hillbark Hotel

I know, first I steal the last few days of summer with my talk of Autumn and now, to add insult to injury, I have set up a business specializing in the magic of Christmas; Sorry I’m not sorry!

Anyway, this has been taking up a lot of my time and, has involved much chatting to local businesses and so on. How fortuitous therefore that Vonage were looking for bloggers to test their low cost business plan which allows you to turn your broadband into a phone line, giving you much lower phone costs with high quality calls. I was on it pretty sharpish.

Frankly, who doesn’t want an excuse to purchase a second phone that looks like this;

Dog and Bone... Get it?!

Dog and Bone…
Get it?!

 

Anyway, on to the serious stuff. I had never heard of Vonage previously and wasn’t sure what to expect but the product and the customer service has been excellent.

  • Installation was idiot proof, there are minimal wires and connections to make and the box itself is small and unobtrusive.

    The whole kit and caboodle. Teeny!

    The whole kit and caboodle. Teeny!

  • You can select your own number (inc dialing code) so you can have a number which relates to your customer base even if that is not the area which you work out of.
  • The quality of the sound is top notch, no issues with crackles and breaking up though on some occasions this would have been useful…”We sell Dog and Bone novelty phones and would love to exhibit at your event” a quick “Sorry, I’m afraid you’re breaking up” is always welcome during such conversations!
  • You can transfer calls to your mobile so you can receive calls when you are away from your desk.

The plan I have been using with Vonage includes the following which, for £15.00 a month I think is incredibly reasonable; particularly since my most recent phone bills had been hitting the £60 mark…

- unlimited UK landline calls
– unlimited calls to 68 countries
– 250 min to UK mobiles, 3p a minute thereafter
– use your calling plan on your home phone and smartphone
– a dedicated second phone line with no installation costs
– your choice of UK number and area code (as your second line)”

One downside is that at the moment, Vonage have an offer on which actually includes a handset so, sadly for me, there was no need for a new Dog ‘n’ Bone.

If you do have your own business or are thinking of setting one up, I would definitely recommend checking out Vonage and, whilst you’re at it, why not look for a novelty phone to go with your plan- anything to make the office more fun hey!

They were acceptable in the '80's!

They were acceptable in the ’80’s!

Happy Chatting!

Muma.

XxxX

PS- If you are a business and would like a stall at The Fabulous Frost Fair, you can find all the details you need on our website: www.fabulousfrostfair.co.uk/

PPS- I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent
bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for
Mumsnet. As such, I did not pay for this service but, as ever, all views are my own and I retain both editorial control and integrity.

PPPS- For more details on Vonage and their various deals and plans click here http://www.vonage.co.uk/call-plans/plans/

PPPPS- Kidding, I’m done! xx

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Shhhh….Don’t say the C word.

Christmas. That’s right, Christmas. You didn’t think I meant the other one did you? Walk away from the screen right now and wash your mouth and mind out.

I definitely meant Christmas!

It’s a comin’ people. 17 weeks

I hate to be the one to break it to you but it is. The X Factor is kicking off again this week-end and that signals Summer’s over like nothing else.

If this year you intend to break the habit of a life time, get yourself absolutely organised and awesome then you are going to need two three things;

  • An early bird shopping trip to bag the inevitable ‘must have’ that is on every childs Christmas list.
  • A Fabulous Frost Fair to stock up on a range of utterly beautiful and unique pieces which are simply perfect for all of the special people in your life (and you…we all deserve a treat!)
  • The third is the number of a good beautician…it is pointless to leave your festive defuzz booking to the last minute…get it in the diary now ladies!

Thankfully, because I adore Christmas, spending time with friends and a glass of the good stuff, I have got it all sorted for you.

All you need to do is get your tickets, invite your friends and look forward to feeling super smug on Christmas Eve as you curl up on the sofa watching Carols from Kings (or Home Alone, depending on your preference!)

1) Muma Leary’s Shopping Extravaganza.

This signals the start of your Christmas planning and preparation.

Shopping in the Christmas madness is no fun. Whether you’re the one with the buggy or the one being rammed in the ankles by someone elses, shopping with young children is rarely simple. More often it is stressful, manic and nerve shredding!

Avoid at all costs.

Instead, meet your friends for a relaxed day of shopping, book-ended with fizz and festive cheer at The Divine Devon Doorway. You can book your tickets by clicking the Eventbrite link on the left of this page (just below the search bar in fact) or by visiting the Eventbrite page which has all the details you need.

They’re selling quickly though so don’t wait too long. It’s great to see so many people confirming via Facebook but, without a ticket, that’s not a booking- if you’ve already paid me directly, you’re on the spreadsheet!! Sorry to sound like a geeky version of Scrooge.

Devon Doorway, Wirral

Think roaring fire, glass of red and good friends.

 

2) The Fabulous Frost Fair.

This is the place to be this Christmas. The stunning Hillbark Hotel and Spa is the perfect venue for this 3 day event showcasing the very best of the North West independent businesses that focus on quality, originality and customer service.

Fabulous Frost Fair, Hillbark Hotel

With over 40 stalls of amazing products including clothes and accessories, candles and homeware, cards, books and gorgeous stationary as well as delicious food and drink, you can pick up everything you need whilst supporting your local area in the process.

The website launched this week and on there you can find out everything you need to know about tickets, opening times, exhibiting and the work of our chosen charity, The Clatterbridge Cancer Charity.

3) The Beauty stuff.

Come on now; you have to do something yourselves! If I gave you the number of my lovely lady and then I couldn’t book in…well; it doesn’t bare thinking about!

Oh, Hillbark does have a spa though and, if it’s good enough for Rory Mc Ilroy…

Hillbark Hotel spa

And Relax…

 

Looking forward to seeing you all at either or both of these events now get out the onesie, it’s almost Autumn!

Love Muma.

XxxX

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Weekend in Watford…WTF?!

I know it doesn’t sound sexy.
Watford is anything but sexy (sorry Watfordians!) but, heading down South for the Lollibop festival (more of which another time) we needed somewhere to stay and, with a whole long weekend stretching out in front of us thanks to Mr L’s annual leave, The Grove (officially in Chandlers Cross) sounded just perfect.
With family rooms and babysitters on site how could we refuse?

Answer, we didn’t.

I imagine it’s pretty tricky to write anything other than a glowing review of anywhere when you’re drafting it whilst reclining on a roomy and comfortable sun lounger looking at this:

In little old Blighty! Can you believe it?!

In little old Blighty! Can you believe it?!

Read the rest of this entry »

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Lullaby’s, Life and Licking the Bowl. #Lovethelittlethings


Hey lovelies, I hope you’ve had a lovely week- Half way through the Summer holidays hey- this year is whizzing by. This time next month it will be my birthday weekend WOO HOO!! Not totally sure why I seem to be excited about the aging process but it is a privilege denied to many so I will smile and be grateful for the wrinkles!

Anyway, I have had a serious break from my favorite Friday posts- Love the Little things but this week I am back with a bang, check out what we’ve been up to this week.

Read the rest of this entry »

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How to Save a Life #WinningWednesday

Can you Adam and Eve it- I go to the bother of hosting a #winningwednesday, pick a winner and they don’t respond to my emails- RUDE!!

Oh well, thanks to a lack of common courtesy (or a serious personal issue keeping them away from social media, I’m not sure which!) I am re running the competition for one of you to win a British Red Cross First Aid Book and Kit.

first aid book

 

Anywho, at that time what I said was, the app was really useful but that everyone should, if possible, attend an actual real life course.  Read the rest of this entry »

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RIP Robin Williams. An Illness, Not a choice.

When I woke up this morning and heard the dreadfully sad news about Robin Williams death I felt I had to republish this post.

Robin Williams, comic genius, acting god and all round good guy had apparently succumbed to one of the darkest illnesses of all. Absolute proof that anyone can be struck by anything regardless of sex, race, age or anything else you’d care to list.

Robin Williams, Mrs Doubtfire, The incredible Patch Adams and of course Aladdin’s brilliant Genie but it seems that wishing himself well didn’t work.aladdin_genie

What a sad, sad loss.

The statistics on depression, mental health and suicide are frankly astounding and worth reminding ourselves of;

suicide inforgraph

There is an excellent campaign called Time To Change which has loads of advice, support and information on how you can help someone you know if you even have an inkling that all is not well.

Below is my post of some months back which is an insight into how it can feel…  Read the rest of this entry »

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Summer Holiday Fun… #SWEEET

Hi all. How are you holding up halfway through the Summer hols?

At the moment, Summer holidays mean very little to me. The girls are too young for school and nursery is open all year round with only a few days off between Christmas and New Year. Perfect.

At the moment, Mr L and I don’t need to draw up complicated timetables of who’ll be taking time off when, which family and friends will be drafted in to cover the 6 week Summer Holiday Stretch.

6 weeks.

6 weeks is 42 days.

42 whole days.

That is a loooong old time- you’d better have some tricks up your selves people?!

You don’t…oh my, that was foolish- fail to prepare, prepare to fail and all that. Not to worry; here’s my fool-proof guide to surviving the Summer. Read the rest of this entry »

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We’re Racing For Life…Jog on Cancer

Hi again All!

I hope this post finds you well and happy? I am- very happy in fact, I have received an email from the wonderful people at Aqua Pura who read my blog about last years Race for Life and wondered if I’d like to be a Race for Life Champion. You know me, usually I’d shun the lime light but, when offered a bottle of water, a free tee-shirt and a £50 donation to our Just Giving Page I caved in.

We love the Race for Life and this year, Aqua Pura are supporting the thousands of women that are getting involved to give cancer the heave-ho. They sent me a big old goodie box which, sadly, arrived on the Monday following the race but- we all need to hydrate don’t we so it hasn’t been wasted. photo (52)

 

Hands up if you’re doing a Race for Life this year.
Hands up if you’re doing it for somebody specific.
Someone you loved and lost,
Someone you love that is fighting or
someone you love that has fought and won.

This weekend, all the birds in my brood got  together to complete the Birkenhead Park Race for Life in order to give humongous thanks for the successful cancer treatment of the oldest and youngest of us.

Have you any idea how tough it is to get 8 females looking the same way at the same time?! Impossible!

Have you any idea how tough it is to get 8 females looking the same way at the same time?! Impossible!

 

Now, the race for life isn’t a massive physical challenge, it’s not a triathlon or a marathon or even a 10km but it is something that anyone can do. It is achievable for almost everyone (with a vagina!)
It allows families to do something together. To show solidarity and to be a part of something amazing and emotional.
I am so pleased to discover that the funds raised go towards research for all the 200 types of cancer. They all need beating as much as each other.

Cancer is utterly indiscriminate isn’t it. An absolute blight on people’s lives. It changes people physically, mentally and emotionally.
Forever.
It thieves futures, it prevents people becoming parents and it is an all round horrid, horrid disease which needs to be understood and stamped out as soon as possible.

This isn’t news though.

What I suppose could be classed as news though is the relationships it helps form, the barriers it breaks down and the close bonds that are forged as a result.

That’s what I am focusing on this weekend.
Last year, my baby cousin Bex was diagnosed with breast cancer.
On Valentines day.
Now, I know there’s no ‘good’ day for news like this but really? When you’re 25, totally beautiful inside and out and looking forward to a night out with your boyfriend, Valentines day is a bit of a bummer don’t you think?

The news of Beckys cancer rocked the family, much like my mums did a few years before. She was a baby, just back from travelling and embarking on her teacher training.
She underwent surgery, lost her hair to chemo (and totally rocked a number 1 btw) and astounded me with her attitude and spirit throughout.
During this period, something unexpected happened; The group of cousins- spread across the globe started sharing Facebook messages more frequently.

We started texting and calling each other.

We started to be a bit more open about saying that we loved each other.

Without Becky’s cancer, I am pretty sure that wouldn’t have happened. Not for any reason, just life. Everyday life keeping people busy.
I am pretty sure that we wouldn’t all have got together this weekend, had a meal for 12 including Aunties, cousins, partners, husbands and kids.
We wouldn’t have laughed and drank and cried and hugged.
We’d always have been family but we would have been slightly less close.

Without the big C, we wouldn’t know each other so well and my cousins would very likely be a little less involved in the lives of my babies so, weirdly, I’d like to say Thank you cancer.
Thank you for helping my family develop closer, stronger bonds. Thank you for reminding us not to take anyone or anything for granted, to show that we care for people whilst they are here.

So, thanks for that cancer but enough now. Job done, you can DO ONE.
GET LOST.
JOG ON.

We’ve got memories to make and you’re not invited.

This wasn't quite the plan!!

This wasn’t quite the plan!!

Family- even if you not here this weekend please accept this blog post as evidence that I love you all. I would like to see more of you all and you are precious to me.
Friends, ditto.

Happy Weekend Everyone.

Love each other.

Love

Muma.

XxxX

 

PS- If you want to sling some pennies our way it would be very welcome…https://www.justgiving.com/corbett-girls/

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Mummy Guilt.

I’m sorry to be a bit of a one topic pony at the moment what with all this talk of coding and YRS and everything but, I can only write about what is going on for me or for us as a family without sounding like a sort of contrived sort of weirdo and, frankly at the moment it is mainly work.

This is THE busiest time of year for Young Rewired State. We are all getting ready for the Festival of Code and, because I am Project Manager for the iDEA Awards as well it is definitely a full on month all things considered.
A perfect time then for my big little to begin feeling super sensitive about me leaving her.
What with the golf and the lurgy and the long hours and life in general, I’ve felt that she’s been a little bit sad recently. Lacking a little bit of her usual vim, vigour and general va va voom.
I asked her why this was, I wasn’t quite prepared for the response…

It makes me sad when you go to work.

Oh my good lord. A dagger to my heart.
On the plus side, pretty articulate for a 2 year old! You win some, you lose some hey.

Wow, so this is it. This is what people meant by mummy guilt. Holy Cow, it feels pretty dreadful.

Imagine, if you will looking at the cutest trembling lip in the world and knowing you caused that. T’riffic. I am sure most of you don’t need to imagine but please tell me it doesn’t last forever?!

Well, since I am not going to be giving up my job any time soon I need to think of a way around this.
A way to tell my babies that, whilst I adore them, work is a way of life for most mummies and daddies.
It is a way to make sure they can have the food that they like and the clothes that they need and the home that they live in and play in and cause untold havoc in!
It is also a way to prove that when I leave I will always come back and coincidentally I will be absolutely thrilled to see them and we will treasure each other’s company more because absence really does make the heart grow fonder, I tell myself!

In the wee small hours of the morning when the big little woke up and cried for me we talked about work and I allowed my foolish brain to think that she’d got it. So it was even more devastating the following morning when I told her it was a work day for mummy.
They both cried when I dropped them off at nursery and guess what, so did I.
The lovely ladies from nursery called me to see how I was. Big fat tears streamed down my face all the way home, not a good look. For goodness sake woman, hold it together hey!!
A good cry, a cuppa and a hug from my Muma and I felt much better, you’re never too old for that are you.

So, to ease these stormy waters, I am trying to do two things.

1) Make a chart so we can all see who is doing what and why. This is a great idea in theory but, because it’s the holidays everything is all over the shop. No baby groups, no toddler groups- our routine is out the window, down the street and round the bend. Roll on September I say!!
I am doing a chart a week at the moment but if it helps I am all for it.

2) If it’s a non work day, it’s a non work day.
Leave your laptop or tablet or mobile or whatever alone. Give your time to your babies and do something, anything, Together.
Do not try to do a gazzillion things at once; focusing on the most important people in your life is the priority here (whilst you make a game out of the washing and the food shop!)

It seems to be working as I asked her what tomorrow is on the way home from nursery today and she shouted at the top of her voice

It’s a Mummy Day!!!

It feels nice to be wanted. :-)

image

I guess, in the words of Mr Williams, you’ve got to get high so you can taste the lows.

Have you got any tips for the whole work/babies balance…I could use some more suggestions to keep up my sleeve…

Happy almost weekend people. We’re off to see The Giants tomorrow despite the fact I have no idea what they’re all about and Liverpool will probably be rammed!

20140724-211043-76243089.jpg

Have a good one and, if you’re doing the Race for Life on Sunday in Birkenhead keep your eyes peeled for me and mine. It’s a family affair so we’ll be pretty hard to miss.

Loads of love,

Muma.

XxxxX

PS- if you’re suffering from Mummy Guilt, enter my Lollibop competition to win a fab family day out at the kids festival.

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In Which Computers remind me that people are Awesome

It has been over a week since my last post, I can’t remember the last time that happened but I quite literally have not had a minute to sit down and untangle all of the various threads of my life that have been knotting together leaving an ever present gnawing in my tummy of you need to do this…you haven’t finished that, what about your babies, you’re letting them down blah blah etc etc.

It is finally beginning to look as though there is a little chink of light at the end of the tunnel. Obviously it may well be a train careering towards me but for now, I will think positive;

  • The golf is over (Well done Rory)
  • We had a brilliant weekend in Harrogate with our friends and their beautiful boys
  • We have moved back into our own house (and I have nearly finished the washing!!)
  • Trunks is home safe and well (Thank Goodness) and
  • The iDEAS Week Project which I have been working on is happening, ready or not, from Monday. Bring it on!!

The last two in that list have only been made possible thanks to Social Media- AMAZING!!

Somehow these days almost everything comes back to technology, social media and the crazy world that so many of us don’t really ‘get’, the stuff that goes on behind the screens.computer code

Last week I started my journey into unpicking the whole coding thing- I know, I know, I work for Young Rewired State, I need to know this stuff. I am constantly in awe of the stuff that the young people create using code and technology and can not wait to attend my very first Festival of Code next weekend where kids as young as 8 will clamber on to a stage to show the 1000 or so other attendees what they’ve made and why.

Anyway, I digress, last week I headed down to Somerset House for an intensive day learning about code with Freeformers. It was unbelievable. I actually understood it and, as soon as the Festival is over I will be teaching myself some more, if you start seeing some cool stuff on the blog, you’ll know where it started!

But, tech is useless without people. Last week, Emma shouted on twitter that iDEAS Liverpool needed some support- the responses came in their droves;

“Have you thought of this person”

“I’m free”

“Let me see if so and so is available”

“I’ll come and bring loads of champagne and cakes” *

We now have speakers and mentors and all sorts, incidentally, there is always room for more so if you are Liverpool based, love a bit of geek in your life and want to support young coders, let me know).

When I ambled through West Kirby and Hoylake soaking up the sun and atmosphere of The Open, Trunks made a run for it after a thorough search of the buggy, car, mums house etc and 3 disturbed nights and forlorn requests for ‘Tunks’, Facebook came up trumps (excuse the pun!) and I collected our elephant from Aldi West Kirby on Monday- Hooray!!!

#elephantattheopen #findmytrunks

#elephantattheopen
#findmytrunks

And that’s how life is these days isn’t it- the friends and communities we build and develop on-line become as precious and important as our ‘real life’ friends, and, I guess, this rambling long post is just a round about way of saying a massive THANK YOU.

Thanks to social media, thanks to everyone that shared our posts, retweeted our requests and generally helped to make me a little more sane and a little girl very, very happy.

 

Lots of love,

Muma.

XxxX

* This is sadly a tweet I have not yet received…

PS- If you want to know more about Young Rewired state or The Festival of Code or any of this stuff I keep going on about- check out our website here or hit me with any questions- we’re international ya know!

PPS- I am linking this post with Vicky at Brilliant Blog Posts…using code to do this too- where does it end!!

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

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