Mumaleary's Blog

Cheaper than therapy

I just wanted you to know…

I just wanted to say;

I feel like I’ve neglected you a little over the last few weeks- I have been so busy planning Fairs that I haven’t always been fair on you or me or your daddy.

I wanted to create an event to ensure that you don’t grow up in a place that lacks any sense of uniqueness or individuality; a place that has a community that supports each other and I am really proud of the way it turned out, but it’s a tough old balancing act and sometimes it didn’t work quite right.
More than once you’ve told me to stop it when you catch me looking at my phone or answering messages instead of giving you my complete attention and I’m sorry I haven’t been 100% present. When you pick up the remote and pretend it’s a phone or when you ask for a pen and some paper so you can ‘be busy doing your work’ I know that’s because of me.

Working mums
In years to come of course I want you to work hard, try your best and have a good work ethic but I think maybe 3 and 1 is a touch soon?!
I’m also sorry that this year we can’t get you much in terms of actual material presents but, if it counts for anything (which, when compared to a pretend shop or a dolls house or a scooter it may not) you have my absolute love, pride and adoration.

We have just come back from a weekend at Center Parcs with your Uncle and Auntie, Nanny and Grandad and you had a ball. It was amazing to see you on the balance bikes and careering down the slides but, actually, some of my favourite times with you are the ordinary days.

Tuesday is my absolute favourite.
Nothing is a rush. We go to mother and baby group, sing and play and see our friends. Have some tea and toast and then we might go to your friend Bella’s for some lunch before ballet.
Then, we come home and it’s just the three of us, in our house and we don’t really do anything special.
We colour, we read, we cook tea and we talk to each other. Obviously sometimes there’s a toilet dilemma or a mini melt down but in the main it’s just ordinary, all girls together hanging out.

I love it. It’s my favourite day of the week.

This week we had parents evening at nursery and your daddy and I could have burst with pride reading your little progress books.
You are kind, polite, caring and happy little girls and I couldn’t wish for anything more.

When my work project ended in August I knew I’d need to find something else in the end but I never knew how much I’d love our ordinary Tuesdays. Being properly present with you both as you grow is something nothing can compare to or replace.

I just wanted you to know that really.

You complete me.

Sisters.  Best Friends.

Best Friends.



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Hubble Bubble Toil and a BRILLIANT new app! Mwah ha ha ha…


I am sorry to go all American on you, but the facts of the matter are that this ‘holiday’ is becoming a pretty big deal over here too.

The Guardian (yup, I’m one of those parents) informs me that we will spend £300 million on ‘All Hallows Eve’ this year and that looks set to continue to grow…Now, I don’t want to pummel your pumpkin or anything but, I ain’t made of money so, this year I am thinking outside the box for cheap tricks (and treats) to keep my little witches entertained so, when Mumsnet were looking for families to review a free new app I was keen to get involved.

Enter Not on The High Street and their wicked FREE story time sound app.

NOTHS image


As you may or may not know, I absolutely love a good book. I think encouraging kids to read is so important and the times that we spend together snuggling up with a good book are some of my favorites and the addition of a sound app makes the whole thing even better.

Now, since my little witches are only 1 and 3, I would not be so bold as to tell you how to parent but, if you’re interested, I introduced the story time sounds in our den. I hid the Ipad under the blanket and began to read adding in appropriate sounds as and when the story allowed.


The girls were so surprised to hear the sounds and couldn’t figure out where they were coming from so it was a fantastic giggle and a really enjoyable experience for us all.


I know I'm not in the den in this pic...I am not an octopus and couldn't figure out the app, the camera, the book...answers on a comment!

I know I’m not in the den in this pic…I am not an octopus and couldn’t figure out the app, the camera, the book…answers on a comment!


The app and the variety of sounds is a brilliant way of encouraging the kids to use their imagination and it partners really well with a book called You Choose which uses pictures as prompts for story creation and development- adding sounds into the equation just makes the whole thing even more fun for everyone.

I’ll say again, I love it!

Obviously for today, the Halloween sound board is the most suitable and NOTH have thunk up a short story to get you started but it is even better if you (or the kids) can think up your own and then read it aloud with a torch under your chin!

Download it for free here, it is aimed at 3-7 year olds but I would say that younger and older kids will enjoy it too. I’d love to know what you think of it.


I am keeping my fingers crossed that there are more sound boards to come but in the meantime this is keeping me and the girls more than a little entertained.
Our favourite is monster cry but to be honest there is a sound for all story’s and all moods; for example, I have started to announce my hair-brained schemes to Mr L with the Fanfare sound which, as I am sure you can imagine has gone down swimmingly.
I’m thinking next time he advises me to do something ridiculous like find a job I’ll respond with the witches cackle. Oh yes, there’s no end of fun to be had here!
This kiss, the cackle and the dragon are a realistic depiction of yours truly!

This kiss, the cackle and the dragon are a realistic depiction of yours truly!

I hope you have a very happy Halloween and, to start you off, here’s my raw and uncut version of  The Little Witch who couldn’t be Scary, by Leona Ford.

Love Muma.
PS- I am not intentionally looking scary, it’s just a no make up day! xx
PPS- This app is free to download and, as ever, all views and opinions are my own. This post however does act as my entry into a competition to win £400’s worth of NOTH vouchers.
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Toddler Tally’s.

There are many things about formal education that I don’t understand.

Pythagoras’ Theorem for example. I have never once in my adult life needed to work out the angle of a triangles points.
I have only ever had to recall the elements of the periodic table for the purpose of a pub quiz and the Latin I ‘learnt’ in the hope of using it in my career as a pathologist or criminal psychologist is buried so deep I doubt I will ever recall more than the rhyme
Which everyone has heard anyway.

But, one very useful tool I did take away from my schooling is the beauty of the simple tally chart.

Today is has come in handy for counting how often we use these common parenting phrases;

1) No thank you (5,009 approx)
2) Get out of there (3,912)
3) Come over here (possibly with a please depending on the time of day/patience ratio ( I didn’t really keep an actual tally you know but one day I will!)
4) Get that out of your mouth/nose/ear canal (or in one particularly high point- your botty…in relation to a toothbrush…) you turn your back for one minute!
5) What Do you Say?!
6) Because…(tailing off before finding a suitable answer which is not too long winded, scary, complicated or a lie)
7) Put that back
8) Come down before you fall
9) Where did you hurt (whilst internalising the SEEEEEEEEEE, I TOLD YOU
10) Stop hitting your sister.

Thankfully, coming in at number 11 was I love you very much…it was some way behind the others but it’s in there.

We’re going to be late and I’m going to count to 3 were very close contenders but just missed out on the top spots!!

Loads of love,






Porn & Kids (a dreadfully serious post!)

Yesterday Mr L took the girls out for the day and, when they arrived home tired and full of tales he triumphantly handed me a gift he knew I’d love and loathe in equal measure.

A porn mag.

I gawped at it, I drooled over it and then I felt guilty and stupid for thinking that we could still achieve such mind-blowing, sigh inducing, pimped up versions of ourselves now we have children.

…I am talking of course about the John Lewis Christmas Catalogue, sorry; Annual. I am flicking through now and weeping at the beauty of it.

john lewis catalogue 2014 1


john lewis catalogue 2014 2

Regular readers of this blog will be well aware of my love affair with John Lewis. Their customer service is brilliant, their exchange policy is no quibble and, as department stores go, they can’t be beaten.

I am honestly not a greedy person, I mostly daydream about being minted when I see little gifts I could give to others. If I won the lottery I’d be so damn generous it’d be sickening but tell you what, one look at this John Lewis tome and I am picturing a parallel universe in which I can be both a mother of 2 gorgeous but grubby, hand smearing, bean juice wiping, mud loving snot machines and the owner of a veritable show home.
The creator of a Christmas wonderland with a wardrobe so grown up gorgeous I begin to imagine that simply by purchasing the entire collection I will morph into someone who both understands all things adult and has no need to use the information since life will unfold perfectly for me as a sashay through it (with a serious manicure and a killer lip!)

And that is why I must dispense of this filth.

It’s not for me.

Not now.

john lewis christmas catalogue


Now my posh tops are magnets for mess, our Christmas table has an actual colour in cloth and some of our cutlery is primary coloured plastic.
But, that’s just it isn’t it.
It’s not just a magazine, it’s a picture of perfection; buy this and your life will look like that…

Damn you John Lewis, you get me every time. You and M&S.
And soon you’ll bring out your bloody Christmas advert which will no doubt have me in bits. Again.

john lewis christmas advert

But, actually, this festive season I have the perfect reason not to be sucked into this generic Christmas.

The Fabulous Frost Fair.

I know that each of us will hit the high street for some of our essentials and I’m not trying to suggest otherwise but, for the really special stuff, for those really precious people in your lives, those that you want to show the level of thought and care and love that’s gone into their gifts you need something extra.
That’s what you get at FFF. That along with champagne and the opportunity to bypass the high street for the ultimate luxury shopping experience- even if you are there in M&S undies and John Lewis gloves!!

Fabulous Frost Fair, Hillbark Hotel

See you there, it’s going to be gorgeous.

Loads of love,



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Top tips for holidaying with toddlers…part 1…

So, you’re thinking of taking a break with your tot. You’re dreaming of a much-needed break and a shot of vitamin D before the winter takes hold but you want some top tips on how to make the best of a holiday with children….

I could make this post exceptionally short and simply write DON’T BOTHER in massive letters and end this whole sorry story right there but, I feel that, without an appropriate explanation you might think I’m jesting or that I’m exaggerating for comic effect.

Let me be clear. I’m not.

But dear reader, take heart. It seems that it’s only family Leary that feel this way. We, it seems, are shit at holidays.
Every time our very well-travelled friends get back from a ‘kids came too’ holiday they are full of superlatives about how amazing it was.
We on the other hand are full of expletives.

Remember the holidays prior to children?
They went a little bit like this;

Wake up, have a little bit of lazy sex.
Head to the pool.
Read in blissful silence only acknowledging the other party to offer a drink or humorous anecdote from your book.
Have a dip to earn your lunch.
Lunch will be long and will likely include a glass of something cold.
Have a nap. Possibly even have sex again.
Have a sundowner as you get ready to go out for the night.
Go out for the night. With one, tiny clutch bag.
Come back, have a bit of tipsy sex before going to sleep knowing you will wake when your body wants and not a moment before.
Repeat x 7 or, because you have disposable income, maybe even 14 nights!!

Well friends, put away your childish imaginings that nothing too much needs to change.

They do.
You’re on an all inclusive package holiday with a shed load of Germans and a massive blue duck mascot for a start.

This holiday we’ve had the following ‘situations’
An elderly lady nearly having a heart attack thanks to a face staring at her from under the toilet door.
A hand trapped in a sanitary bin.
A poo in a bidet
A piss of such epic proportions it seeped through a nappy onto my silk top during a post wedding lunch with a host of child free individuals with a respectably low tolerance for the stench of urine drying in the Ibizan sun.
And lets not forget the 15 minute super tantrum in the pouring rain outside the Caves of Ibiza; it seems that pitying looks and judgmental tuts are a universal language!

I’m sure that in years to come the scars of this first holiday will fade. We’ll look at the snaps and reminisce about how wonderful it was when the girls frolicked in the pool as we watched from our sun lounger vantage point and we’ll pretend it lasted more than 19 seconds.

We’ll laugh at the night when we were so in need of a drink we used the first aid scissors to open the bottles.

We’ll talk fondly of the afternoon neither offspring would sleep so we strapped them into the car, drove around the block and then dropped me off so at least one of us had some down time.

But mainly we’ll roll our eyes and laugh like drains recalling how we both packed actual books- for ourselves!!




NB- Obviously this isn’t the whole story- there were periods of pleasantness which I may even report on in the coming days but this draft was written in a sand storm on a freezing balcony whilst waiting for the kids to go to sleep. It was my worst parenting day to date and shall be referred to henceforth in the Leary domain as Black Monday.

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A ditty for my sister…

This evening I have mainly been wallowing in the bath (apols for the image there!) having today run the Chester MBNA Metric Marathon. YEY me!

During my wallow, I stumbled across a competition to win a spa break. To enter you need to tell Red Magazine and Pandora about a friend who represents one of the Pandora Essence key values;
Dedication and
The person I am nominating came into my tiny mind as soon as I saw it.

My sister.
Now, I love a competition but this is one that demands a certain amount of effort; how do I explain that she is the embodiment of the listed characteristics in the vein hope that, if I win, she will take me as her +1…

I could tell you how caring she is; putting everyone before herself.
She remembers birthdays and anniversaries and special dates in a way entirely foreign to me.
She adores her nieces and always volunteers to babysit.
She has more God children than you could shake a stick at. *
And is incredibly thoughtful.

I might go on to bore you about her belief. She believes in finding the good in everyone. Even hideous reality TV ‘stars’.

Finally, could mention her dedication to her little sister- I don’t know too many people that have had to rescue someone flailing about like an upturned turtle in a bath and then examine a weeping postpartum wound but I feel this is really too much for a Sunday evening so I will simply say this;

I’ll tell you why my sister deserves this little break;
It is because, quite frankly, she is super smashing great.
Now she is with child she deserves a little treat
To win this gorgeous Spa comp would be so very neat.
She cares for everyone without fail and never takes a rest.
If I could do one thing for her- this would be the best!

Happy Sunday everyone- especially you Red and Pandora. :-)



*In this day and age, shaking a stick even at one child is frowned upon!





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Guilt and Gratitude.

I haven’t blogged for 3 weeks.
3 whole weeks, that has never happened before. I have been blogging for 18 months now and each and ever week I have found something to say. I love to stick my oar in on most topics frankly but recently, I haven’t felt like I’ve had much of importance to write about.

In the last few weeks I have heard tale after sorry tale about friends, family, friends of friends, family of friends who really do have stuff going on. Who really do need an outlet and who really do need our love and support and so writing about the time the big little exposed my arse in the freezer aisle of Tesco seems a small problem by comparison.

I also feel guilty for not endlessly wallowing in the warm glow of permanent gooey love for my off spring but, being honest, sometimes, rather than skipping through the supermarket, pants round my ankles, feeling grateful that their little lungs work so bloody perfectly, my temper gets short and the only place I want to linger is in the wine aisle.

But then, I had a thought, perhaps those people with all of their serious stuff going on need a little light relief.
Perhaps they don’t always want earnest faces doing the head tilt and nodding as if they know how the other person feels. We don’t and we can’t pretend to.
Perhaps they want a little slice of normal.
And that my friends means me, in yoga pants that are too easy to pull down when a toddler is looking for some attention.

Happy Wednesday Everybody.

I’ve missed you!




How to Plan and Host a Perfect Child’s Party.

There is so much pressure these days for children’s parties to be all singing, all dancing, bank breaking, stress causing nightmares.
Because I like to think of myself as a helpful soul, I have put together a handy list of how to plan and host the perfect party.
Get a note pad!

1) Have a broken boiler for the week of the birthday when you will have an absolute house full, loads of dishes and washing.

1b) Make absolutely certain that, when bathing the children round your sisters, the little little slips, flails around like a fish out of water and slits her lip covering both you and her in blood.

2) Ensure that, whilst making the party jellies, the birthday girl falls backwards off her chair, bashes her head on the kitchen island and is beside herself for the remainder of the evening.

2b) Read the NHS guidance and phone a friend to geek up on head injuries and behave like a cat on a hot tin roof for the rest of the night.

3) Do not confirm your cake order.

3b) Momentarily consider making your own.

3c) Change knickers having wet yourself laughing.

3d) Make sure you forget at least one item each time you go to the supermarket and, when you go for the final time, en masse, be careful to make sure that the birthday girl sees all of the shop cakes and selects the only one that you utterly despise.

3c) Pretend that you are a cool, easy going Muma and put the chosen cake in the trolley.

3d) When you arrive at the tills, do a bit of sick in your mouth, sprint back to the cake section and swap for a cake of your choice.
**make sure you behave like a total,neurotic! controlling weirdo.**

If, and only if, you are able to achieve all of the above. There is a chance that, the party will go absolutely swimmingly.
Do not take an iota of credit for this.
It is down to good weather, awesome, clever, well prepared, accommodating friends and plentiful wine.

In my brain now, I will begin planning and preparing for future parties way, way in advance. Why not have a read of this blog on 11th January to see how absolutely nothing has changed!! :-)

Best of luck with yours.
Loads of love,



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A second Royal Baby and a Britmums Carnival?! It’s all going on here.

Evening All,

I am so sorry for the exceptionally late posting of this, my very first Britmums Carnival; I probably won’t be asked again. The truth is I signed up months ago with the very best of intentions and then promptly forgot…Sorry.

We’ve had a manic week (which frankly now seems to be my tag line) and it is only thanks to the lovely Mari that we got here at all so thank you my dear. I am so pleased to see you had a good day in Paris, check out everything Mari squeezed into 1 day here- I am booking a ticket! The gawjus Domestic Godess needs our help- how can she fly without nerves? any suggestions will be gratefully received I am sure!

Anyway, since my tweets and Facebook messages have gone out asking you to share your posts with me you have responded in your droves and, since I didn’t set a theme the blend is delightfully eclectic.

Since Kate and Wills have just shared their happy news, I thought I would share with them (they subscribe, natch!) my tale on bathtimes once you have two… 

Here’s what the rest of you had to say…Enjoy. Don’t forget to try and leave a comment on those that you read- we all love a bit of blog love!

Suzanne at 3 Children and It is kicking things off with her series on Life Rules; today we’re talking LIES…uh oh!!

Next up is something that has been causing some debate in our home- not massively sure why since none of us are Scottish but, here’s what Ellen at In a Bun dance has to say; what do you reckon?

Sims Life shares some breathtaking photos of her trip to Can Franc in Spain. It looks incredible and the pictures add yet more weight to my plan to ask for a photographic evening class for Christmas; simply beautiful.

Donna over at Mummy Central is tackling a massive issue and one sure to cause a few sharp in takes of breath…For what it’s worth Donna, I agree but, if you want to know what we’re talking about you’ll have to nip over there and see!

I really loved Michelle’s post about her life long search which ended in 2002, if you are of the opinion that Christians are ” a bunch of nutters, all loons that wear socks and sandals”, you might just need to check out her take on things!

I know that many of you will be adjusting to life as the parents of a secondary aged child and Sarah who blogs at Mum of Three is thinking about what the year ahead will hold for her son; yup, Year 6 is pretty major!  Emma, at Emma and Three agrees, don’t take your foot of the gas people! At the other end of primary school, Nikki at Stressy Mummy gave me a lump in my throat talking about her little girls first day at school. That’ll be my girls before we know it. I hope they cope as well.

Talking of school, Cass at The Diary of a Frugal Family talks about the importance of a peaceful homework space. Agreed! When I was nannying I saw so many families who were paying thousands for private education squeeze homework in last thing on Sunday night or before the school bus, Seriously Stressful! Get it done and out of the way I say…until we get there!!

Carrying on with the education theme Joy, at Pink Oddy is writing about how we can do our bit to help the poorest children learn to read. I could not agree with this more. Reading and all education can open so many doors for all and we need to make sure everyone has that opportunity.

I know at least 3 mums who will be desperate to read Liz’ post on how to throw the perfect Frozen party; I realise that I am about to get in all sorts of trouble for this but…we’ve never seen it!!! duh duh duh…I think we’ll save that for one of the many windy, rainy Sundays that are heading our way later in the year. If you have a Frozen obsessed child though- this will be a winner!

One of said mums id the frankly hilarious Kirsty at Ehhbaamum. If you’re concerned your blog ratings are slipping, check out her advice on how to write a great blog and you’ll be hitting the Top Ten lists in no time…maybe!

My final post is from the only guy in the group, Dave at The DADventurer (I see what you’ve done there!) This is hilarious look at life from the blokes perspective. Anyone who can get the words hooters, rack and baps into one paragraph deserves a read and perhaps a light slap!

I hope that you find time to check out these offerings; they have brightened my day and introduced me to lots of fab new blogs that I’ll be keeping a close eye on in the future!

See you next time.




Tutu’s & Teepees.

When one reaches a certain age, it is considered unbecoming of a lady to prance down the street in a tutu.
Don’t ask me why, it just is. And, since I don’t want to be judged in the way in which I judge adults that wear Disney items or those weird fleeces with wolves on, for now at least I am conforming with societies expectations. Call me weak, it’s just the way it is.It is for this exact reason that I am now living out my fashion (and all other) dreams, vicariously through my delicious offspring.So, for this birthday, the only worthwhile gifts we could possibly get our daughter were:

  • A teepee (or 2!)
  • A tutu and
  • Some very fierce shoes.

Who doesn’t want to read magical tails in a wonderful den whilst channelling your inner awesome?

I’ll tell you who. No one.

little me teepee review

All set up for the Birthday Girl.

littleme teepee

Bedhead birthday cuddles.

If you go down to the woods today...

If you go down to the woods today…


...You're sure of a big surprise!

…You’re sure of a big surprise!


You'd better be in disguise.  (or at least an amazing outfit!)

You’d better be in disguise.
(or at least an amazing outfit!)

Or two...  check out the sulk!

Or two…
check out the sulk!

Catching some massive bubbles!

Catching some massive bubbles!

check out the tutu and boots combo!!

check out the tutu and boots combo!!


Thank you so, so much to everyone who made our Birthday weekend such a special one- proper Thank you’s to follow…probably!

And, for all those wondering where these items of amazingness hail from; you can get them here:

Tutu- so soft it is basically like wearing a cloud: Angels face

Bother Boots- The one and only Dr Martens, obvs.

Indoors Teepee- The wonderful Janine at Littleme Teepee

Teddybears Picnic Tent- The delightful, nothing on this earth is too much bother, Katie at The Celebration Tent


Happy Monday People!



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Bristol Betty

The semi-coherent thoughts of yet another Guardian-reading middle-class mother

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Molly Gunn

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