Mumaleary's Blog

Cheaper than therapy

Zen;WHEN?!

Today marks International Yoga Day and I am giddy with excitement because this evening, my gorgeous friend Clare and I will be hosting our first ever event together; A Summer Solstice Supper down at Church Farm, Wirral. The aim of the evening is to gather people together to welcome in a new season, set new intentions and let go of any regrets and things that you no longer need bogging you down or holding you back. We’ve got candles and affirmations and new bolsters and food and fizz basically; the works. We can not wait!  It has come about a bit by accident- as the best things often do; Clare is a brilliant yoga teacher and I am half way through my yoga foundation training which takes place at Clare’s studio, we are mum mates from the school run and it just sort of evolved.

summer solstice

But, what is the course like I hear you cry well- let me tell you; Since January, on the first Sunday of the month I head out first thing for a full on day of yoga- or so I thought! Far from it being a chilled out day of backbends and yoga nidra (code for a delicious slice of sleep!) it has challenged me way beyond anything I expected. Yes, the days do include the physical practise and the relaxation as well as tea and cake and chats and yes; I have learnt more about the postures and poses, about the muscles we use and the benefits of the stretches but, in many ways that has been coincidental in comparison to the deeper learning and, fundamental ‘meaning’ of yoga- from my learning anyway…A part of the course involves keeping a journal- I am not 100% sure that this is what my gorgeous yoga teacher had in mind but- yoga calls for you to be your authentic self so, I’ve embraced that;  for me, at the half way point, these are my take aways.

The pose is not the point

Yoga is not about the perfect pose, about nailing the headstand or managing to hold boat for any period without capsizing! It is about being kind and gentle to yourself and others. It is about trying and not worrying about the outcome. It is about listening to your heart and to your body- doing things that feel right for you in that moment, not being driven by your ego because the person in front of you has her knees behind her head! It is doing things without expectation or hope of reward, which, to my mind, is just basic humanity and at should be the foundation of any religion or belief system or lifestyle choice. Don’t do 50 hail Marys every morning and then ignore the lonely mum in the playground. Don’t perfect your downward dog but park in the disabled bays at Tesco. In short;

dont-be-a-twat-off-the-mat.-1.png

 

It’s about the journey, not the final destination

Generally speaking, in the West, we have a penchant for instant gratification. Credit cards and fast forwarding adverts and Deliveroo and Amazon and 24 supermarkets mean we want everything NOW and, I think that yoga can be viewed in that way also. Simplified, dumbed down, reduced to an exercise class- something that will get you slim and tone you up so you are “beach ready” and “fit for summer”. Hot yoga…so your muscles warm up faster so you can stretch further so… Not really the point (in my humble opinion and, baring in mind that I am only just dipping my toe into my yoga education) clearly I have a loooong way to go with the whole letting go element! Yes; yoga can give you an amazing body but- what it should do is remind you that you already HAVE an amazing body. YOU’RE ALREADY THERE. You might get stronger, you might become more toned, you might become more flexible but hopefully along the way, those things will become less significant to you and the more important aspect will be how you listen to your inner voice, how you accept yourself as you are and how you quieten down your inner critic.

you are a child of the universe

 

We are all teachers; we are all students. 

There are 12 of us on my course, each of us different. We have all arrived here from different starting points, are looking to take different things from the sessions (which for me is a really evolving) and, as such we are all seeing things in our own ways. This is one of the elements that I am enjoying the most- getting to know new people and see things from another point of view (plus; there are some excellent bakers in the gang!) Signing up for something new, stepping out of your comfort zone and opening yourself up to learning again is as exciting as it is scary but it is always worth the risk. The course is helping understand myself better and be more accepting of other peoples views and ideas.

Share the journey

I am loving yoga with my girls and, given the massive mess that we are in as a planet, anything that we can do to teach a bit of mindfulness, compassion and ways to understand ourselves is really valuable. Depending on you and your child and your mood and the weather and basically LIFE- the sessions might be magical, they might feel a little like herding cats. Honestly; sometimes this has been utter bliss and sometimes it has left me feeling fraught because they are not where I want them to be in terms of their patience or concentration or their mood again…not very yogic…there’s the journey analogy again! I am learning to go with the flow and to be more understanding of where they are at and some tools have been really helpful with this;

Mindful Kids cards from Barefoot Books are great for giving you options so you can work with the emotions in front of you.

Cosmic Kids on YouTube is a winner with loads of sessions which you can select based on what you need to get out of it in that moment.

There are also more and more yoga sessions for children and families setting up across the country. Schools are beginning to include it in their days or offer it as before or after school sessions so…we are moving in the right direction but, doing it as a unit, when it works is just pure joy and, the more you practise…the more you all know how to relate to it and each other. WINNER!

Bethan 2

 

Do what you can when you can. That is enough.
This is as true of life as it is of yoga but bloody hell it is tough to remember that isn’t it. Slowing down, taking a break, saying no, we don’t do it enough. Hold your space, let others hold theirs and don’t feel bad about it. Do what you can and don’t feel guilty about the stuff that you can’t and…when you’ve mastered this come back and tell me how!

 

Speaking Sanskrit is hard

Nothing to add here; it just is!!!

 

Yoga is just one piece of the puzzle; 

I am not yet the person to wax lyrical on the 8 limbs of yoga, the mantras, the chakras and the deep teachings of the gurus- there is just so much to take in and digest. The history of yoga is MASSIVE and it absolutely blows my mind. The understanding that people had of the mind, body and soul connection all those thousands of years ago totally and utterly BLOWS MY MIND. I can not believe that so many of the human race managed to get so far away from the original teachings and mess things up so badly for their health and that of the planet in their striving for more more more but, I guess that is human nature, we have to try things hey?! As always for me, it is the reflection, the opportunity to digest stuff and write down my take on things that gives me real peace and, as I continue to develop my own toolkit for selfcare I am allowing myself more time to do the stuff that fills my jug and makes my heart happy which, as it turns out is exactly what we’re all meant to be doing.

Let me leave you with this- a truly beautiful quote which gives us all permission to be that little bit more epic than we might otherwise have dared. I love it.

 

our deepest fear

 

Happy Summer Solstice all.
Wishing you love, light and a little bit of fizz!
Namaste!

Tanya

XxxX

 

Advertisements
Leave a comment »

Happy Birthday Dad.

 

Somewhere, in some weird and wonderful parallel universe today I should be sitting in a delightful beer garden somewhere family all, watching my dad blow out the candles on his 70th birthday cake. Actually; we may have opted for Royal Ascot where we could dress up and lord it up on Ladies Day all paid for by him of course because…that’s what dads do isn’t it- they look after their brood….That’s my understanding of a father.

Instead, my mum and my sister and I will raise a glass to the man we miss and each of us will wonder what life would have looked like if things had been different. But that’s not what life is- you can’t pick and choose it all; we’ve all seen Back to the Future*

grief-.jpg

And; whilst this is and always will be very sad, we have had over 30 years to grow around our grief. To manage its ebbs and flows and to smile at the few memories and imaginings of memories that we have stored away for safe keeping and; whilst that will never be enough, whilst I will always, always wish we had been gifted with more time it also IS enough.

It is enough because I know that I was loved and, in that respect I guess, a dead dad is better than a bad dad.

I appreciate that sounds hard and unfeeling but it might be true… I have seen the damage done by not knowing- the young people I used to work with had so many questions and were often so desperate to know more about their past and their parents that it was destroying their future. A file provided by a professional with as much blacked out as there is to read isn’t the same; your family is part of the fabric of who you are.

My mum and our friends and extended family give me that. They have furnished my sister and I with memories and the security of knowing that our daddy loved us and, had the choice been his to make, he would have been here today. I know what songs he loved (Brothers in Arms as todays ‘Blast of absolute class’ brought me to tears; someone else recalling early 80’s car journeys with their dad singing along to Dire Straits). I recall watching him get ready for work much as my girls do with Mr L today. I remember going to his office, I remember he made me feel safe and happy and loved. I never saw him fail, I never saw him frail, I never saw him fade into a shadow of the man he was. How lucky is that? To have that knowledge and to have people reaffirming it when I question or stumble or worry or forget is a massive deal and, without that I would have been a very different person.

 

So; whilst I can, and do, wish that our dad was still with us, his absence allowed me to create a picture perfect person because, when we die, we can never disappoint, we can never fail. We can only be remembered. Death, particularly when the person is young or it is unexpected creates romanticised ideals that are impossible to live up to. Over time the rawness of grief softens, the memories become more technicolour and, in my experience become mixed with happy dreams of imaginings of things that maybe never were. Those left behind are simply imperfect humans that have to pick up the pieces, do their best and keep on keeping on;  That’s the tougher gig by far.

And so; here we are, our unit of three that has swelled to a 9 doing our best to make memories for the next generation.

family photo yellow dresses

He lived, he loved and was loved and the legacy he leaves means I know what a good dad is and every day I get to see Mr L making my girls feel just as safe and secure and as loved as I ever was. To get that lucky twice is something special wouldn’t you say and that, for me, has to be enough.

20130612-093337.jpg

one of a few precious pics which is why making memories is so important to me. 

 

 

Happy birthday daddy.

You are loved and remembered every day.

Tiny Tears. x

PS: Since you’re here- I’ve got a favour to ask… give someone you love a call today and tell them. There’s never a bad time to tell someone how glad you are to have them in your life.

*If you haven’t seen Back to the Future- please do!

THE TROUBLE IS

 

 

 

 

 

2 Comments »

Sometimes we all need a PJ day & 3 books that made me feel less mad!

Good Morning you gorgeous gaggle and a very happy Pyjamarama day to you! But what’s that I hear you cry?! Well, we’ve all heard of a PJ day or a duvet day. I imagine that we’ve all felt the need to hunker down, pull up the drawbridge and ignore the outside world for a day or two…Pyjamarama day is just the opposite! A UK  wide event where thousands of nurseries, pre-schools, libraries and other baby groups will be staying in their PJ’s to raise money for Booktrust to support their campaign to ensure that every child in the UK gets a bedtime story.

pyjamarama_b-heart_plus_logo_470x626

This is the first year that Booktrust have hosted such a day which is a bit of a shame as it would have been the perfect way for me to launch Time for Bed Baby which will be celebrating its 1st birthday this month!

Feedback for the book has been really positive; mums have reported that they feel ‘less alone’ and ‘encouraged by the supportive tone of the book’ which honestly makes me so happy! The whole purpose of the book was to reassure mums that, even if they are alone physically, there is someone out there that knows and understands the way they are feeling and, is telling them it will pass, they are precious too and they deserve the time to take care of their needs too.

This book gave me the ultimate gift of hope. Hope that sleep will come (it has been elusive!) and tomorrow will begin afresh. A practical set of actions, and a story that my little one absolutely loves. Thank you! It’s our family’s favourite and I am sure I will be buying as a gift for my friends.

My local PJ day was hosted by West Kirby library on Tuesday and was absolutely gorgeous- there was a bounce and rhyme session with lots of singing and music followed by a chance for drinks and a chat with other mums and some of the services and groups in the area that families can access such as first aid sessions, swimming classes and music groups. I was so glad I went because honestly; that morning, I nearly didn’t. My anxiety was through the roof, imposter syndrome was choking me;

Seriously; who the hell do you think you are with your stupid book and your mindfulness for mums? Everyone is laughing at you- what makes you think anyone gives a shit what you think?

AND- I was in my pyjamas for crying out loud- I wasn’t exactly going to go unnoticed on my walk from the car park!

Putting myself out there- sharing not only something that I wrote but also my feelings and family has been without a doubt the hardest part of the whole book writing process. I have regularly wondered why I bothered, why people would be interested in my verse, my advice, my experience. I have shrugged off compliments and minimised my achievement because it is a really bloody scary thing to share something that means so much to you with the world, and await judgement….and it is all of these things, all of these feelings that make me sure that sharing them is the right thing to do. Showing others, mums or not, that these feelings pass. That they can be managed, they can be discussed and, it doesn’t make you less of a mum or a woman or a human. It makes you more. To feel like staying in your PJ’s, under the covers and alone save for a cuppa and some fictional characters, but to actually get up, get out and own looking like a total div dropping off the kids and walking through the carpark in the rain whilst wearing your salmon pink birdy pyjama top is enough!

PJ Day

You can’t tell I’m full to the brim with self doubt here can you…

Being kind to others and sharing your experiences so people feel less alone is a success whether that is one person or one million  and all of this is true whether you’re promoting yourself or your business or whether you’re just braving the library bounce and rhyme for the first time. Allowing yourself to hear and believe compliments is hard but, I am getting better; these are two of my favourites:

Every new mum needs this book! The routine of reading this lovely story to your baby each evening, then being prompted to look after yourself is an incredibly valuable tool for new mums. I love the yoga and breathing exercises and I love that taking time in the evening for me has now become routine.

The transition to motherhood wasn’t effortless for me and I wish this had been available when my first was born, I think our bonding experience and in turn, my mental health would have been very much more healthy.

And, in the Booktrust spirit; I am going to share with you some of the books that have made me feel less of a weirdo, more able to manage my mind day to day and be more gentle with myself- whatever life throws at me. 🙂

Bryony Gordon: Mad Girl and Eat, Drink, Run – Bryony ran with me (via Audible) through most of my marathon training! She made me look madder than usual during my Wirral Way jaunts as I nodded and laughed and cried along with her. She is funny, self aware, honest and the perfect illustration of how non of us can possibly know what anyone else is going through unless they share it. I love everything she stands for and have a massive girl crush on her.

Suzy Reading: The self-care revolution – Suzy is a regular contributor to Psychologies magazine and has lots of suggestions on how we can take ‘micro moments’ to look after ourselves. It’s not funny but it makes a lot of sense!

Hal Elrod: The Miracle Moring  **This is mega American and listening to it on audio will only heighten this feeling but, I got loads from it

NB- These books are not magic; you will defo still have days that you feel pants. Soz.

Well; this post has definitely taken a different turn to what I was expecting to write; Sorry but- there you go! You might as well be honest otherwise whats the point?! I was planning on sharing with you the books that my babies loved reading before bed each night and revisiting the idea that was so important for me in the early days, weeks and years; Bath, Book, Bed but- you can read all about that in my book if you want and I’ll come back soon with my other recommended reads.

Have a happy day now.

Loads of love,

Tanya

XxxX

PS- If you want to buy a personalised copy of the book drop me a line with the details and I will pop one in the post for you spit spot!

PPS- The eagle eyed among you will have seen I am beginning to change my name on social media from Muma to Tanya…more on that to come…

 

 

 

1 Comment »

Body Image…How’s yours?

When I drafted this post I initially started by saying; “I am sure that it hasn’t escaped your attention that it is Mental Health Awareness week” but then I realised that maybe it had… Maybe the conversation about mental health is like Brexit all over again- I think we are staying in because the people I follow, the feeds I read, the papers I skim all tell me we all share the same view and the UK will remain in the European Union except oh…wait…URG Maybe I think that everyone is becoming more open and aware about mental health, mental illness and ways to self care because that’s where I’m at but actually, there are still huge swathes of people who are affected and feeling afraid and alone with those around them scared and unsure of what to do.
Maybe I see and hear so much about mental health and self care because these are the posts I like and share on social media and then the clever algorithms/ scary big brother types think- like that? You might like this too… and, often, they are right. I love to see posts of people doing good stuff- of Bryony Gordon in her pants saying “this is me and if you don’t like it; jog on. Of people wild swimming or surfing or just enjoying the sunshine. They make me feel good; they make me think- “I might try that” and it has taught me loads, It led me to climb Snowdon at Midnight, it has directed my to brilliant books, perfect podcasts and awesome insta accounts full of positivity and inspiration but, that’s not how it is across the board.
News this week tells me that:

  • 12.5% of adults in the UK today have felt so distressed about their body image that they consider ending their lives.
  • Locally we know that serious issues still remain with Birkenhead recently listed as one of the most depressed communities in the country.
  • Today I hear that yet another teenager has ended her life following a social media poll asking should she live or die.

It is becoming clearer than ever that social media can be a really harmful tool. In the same way that my algorithms keep showing me little squares of healthy recipes, yoga retreats and dogs on surfboards, there will be other people, most likely young people, being shown images of self harm and devastating details on suicide; reinforcing their beliefs and thought patterns. It has to stop and, until social media giants do something tangible to make a difference, we need to know what positive steps we can take for the benefit of both our own mind and body as well as our children’s. I was invited on to Radio City Talk earlier today to speak about Body Image and the impact that can potentially have on our mental health and, because I am so passionate about this, I couldn’t possibly fit in everything I wanted to say in the 20 minutes we had (They should give me my own show really) so, for those that missed it, you can catch it again here and, for those that want to know more, read on! Read the rest of this entry »

Leave a comment »

My Wellchild Why #VLM2019

All being well, this time in 3 weeks I’ll be sipping on a shandy with my fifth (and probably final) London Marathon hanging round my neck. Having deferred last year due to a niggling knee and a dose of depression which stole my running mojo, I can’t wait to get to the start line and soak up what is always an incredible and emotionally charged atmosphere.

I will be heading to the start line this year nursing a hurty hip, a niggling knee and an achy ankle. I will be celeb spotting at the Green start and draped in one of the new capes that VLM are trialling as just one of several measures to reduce the carbon footprint of the race and am aiming for a new PB- keep everything crossed for me! This year, I am running for an incredible charity; WELLCHILD and, I thought you might like to know a little more about my why…

Once upon a time (you might need to suspend belief for a minute) the government made some really poor decisions and decided that front line staff working with children at risk of entering the care system were a luxury. Now, it would be incredibly easy here for me to go off on a massive rant here about the subsequent rises in gangs, violent crime and the fact that decisions such as this have had an impact which will take decades to undo but, as we all have things to do I will press on with the story at hand…

After my friends and I were told that we were being made redundant, I logged on to gumtree and searched for a job that would help pay the rent whilst I looked for something else. What I found was an amazing weekend position looking after a gorgeous girl and supporting a fantastic family who had a child with complex medical needs. That little girl was called Phoebe and she was born with Cerebral Palsy having suffered complications at birth. Phoeb’s was not able to talk or walk and used an electric wheelchair to get around but she was definitely able to make her feelings and needs known. I fell 100% in love with her!
phoebe
At the interview I was so afraid of using the wrong terms or saying the wrong thing; and I certainly made my fair share of mistakes; having never supported a child with significant medical needs before it was a steep learning curve for me but, it was also one of the best things I have ever done because it taught me so much about life- about empathy, guilt, unconditional love and just getting on with things, how ever challenging the circumstances.

I saw how much love and care her mum and dad gave everyday and how difficult they found it to give as much time and attention to their other children. I saw how frustrating Phoebe found it when I couldn’t quite figure out what she wanted despite both of us trying our best and I saw how clever and funny and stubborn and cheeky she was- it was a learning curve and a massive privilege. I worked with Phoeb’s and her family for almost 3 years. She is now 17 (which is frankly ridiculous) totally gorgeous with a whole life list of plans that she is smashing her way through as I type and I am so proud to know her! Me being a part of the family (which is what so many carers are) enabled mum and dad to get some much needed respite, to spend time with their other two children and to do all of the usual day to day admin that comes with being a parent… washing, home-work, taxiing to parties- you know the score- well; times that by at least 100 and you’re still a world away from the daily challenges that these families face.

On Thursday, as Mr L, the girls and I were leaving the house for an afternoon at Chill Factore the post arrived and in it was this- I cried most of the way to Manchester;

ava pic

ava words

As our two girls sat in the back of our non adapted car chatting and reading and singing I was totally overwhelmed. How lucky we are to be able to get up and go, to take part in activities and visit cool (pun intended) places like Chill Factore without considering anything more than whether we had remembered 4 pairs of gloves for 2 hours in the snow… news flash… we hadn’t!

Running the marathon for Wellchild will hopefully show what a huge amount of respect I have for all of the families across the UK that are caring for children with complex needs as well as all of the nurses and support services that work along side them. It is a difficult and life long journey.

WFT-Jill-quote

The work Wellchild does allows families like Ava’s and Phoebe’s and hundreds of others, to live. It enables them to get home and get on. It provides training so that families are able to administer medical support at home. The Better at Home Suite at Edge Hill is a wonderful facility which enables parents to learn the necessary skills to care for their child at home in a safe and supportive environment. Wellchild also funds nurses who can visit families at home to support with medical needs and prevent prolonged hospital stays. There is so much more I could say about Wellchild, quite simply, they are life savers- check out the family stories  on the Wellchild website and you’ll understand exactly what I mean.

I would love you to support my marathon fundraising efforts by donating a fiver, a tenner or whatever you can afford, in doing so you’re helping to make sure families all over the country have the care and support they need to be able to look forward with hope.

Click the here now to make a donation…. PLEASE- every single donation helps.

wellchild logo

 

THANK YOU!

Love

Tan

XXXXX

Leave a comment »

Whitney was right, the children are our future.

Since mid January I’ve been attempting a weird hybrid of the Marie Kondo ‘Life changing magic of tidying’ and The amazing Organised Mumcleaning method and; spoiler alert- it actually is life changing. I have cut the criminal amount of crap in our playroom to a manageable level. We have reduced our rainforest of paperwork to a few files which is a massive relief. Mr L and I spent part of Valentine’s day at the tip – true story and, I am on first name terms with the ladies at the charity shop. I have sold lots of toys, games and clothes that the girls have grown out of and the money has gone to my marathon charity- Wellchild.

Having a cleaner, tidier, emptier house feels nice. Knowing where to find things saves me time and stress and I am a less shouty mummy which we are all happy about.

Considering which items “spark joy” has led to a serious reduction in both random clutter and kids crafting efforts but it has also made me acutely aware of the sheer volume of waste packaging which exists and, if our home is anything to go by, the insane amount of plastic and paper we use and discard on a daily basis.

People do seem to be thinking more about waste, recycling and climate change but, ironically, the pace of change is glacial and the people making the biggest noise are the kids which fills me with equal levels of hope and shame.

Our throw away generation with our demand for cheap products, disposable fashion and convenience are responsible for the global crisis we now find ourselves in. Governments have ignored the issues and it is only now, now children are literally taking to the streets to protest that we are beginning to take notice. Greta Thunberg, the 16yr old Swedish girl who speaks so passionately about the crisis and has been protesting each Friday since last August, has brought a new awareness and urgency to the situation. Her parents must be so proud. So often it is left to children to show adults how to behave, the art of what is possible and the power of words; Malala Yousafzai is another incredible example that springs to mind.

If we all commit to making some small changes the effect will be more than the sum of its parts but, we are way beyond small changes now. We need BIG changes. We need BIG companies to evaluate what they can do reduce their waste, their carbon emissions and we need to all recognise that our obsession with stuff has to stop.

We need to buy less, drive less and use less.

Companies like Jo Malone need to consider their recycling policies- offering a refill service or allowing customers to return empties doesn’t devalue a brand. It means you value your clients and recognise your corporate social responsibilities. Last week, fed up of waiting for a change in policy I took my candle jars, room diffusers, soap dispensers and boxes to the tip for recycling. 😞 it’s better than landfill but recycling still takes energy and creates waste. Reusing is better, refilling stations would be better. Waste Not Want Not in Birkenhead Market can do it. You need to step up. We all do.

As ever, Matt Haig is able to articulate this brilliantly:

I know that’s uncomfortable. I know it’s not what people want to hear and I appreciate that it requires us to make changes and it is a pain in the ass. It requires less time and less planning to jump in the car for a 2 minute trip as opposed to a 10 minute scoot but, needs must. Our children need us to step up, to pay attention to their protest and to make changes. Plus; there are so many positives that come out of doing things more slowly- we talk more, notice more and engage more.

What changes are you making in your home to make a positive difference to the planet? We’d love your top tips.

Leave a comment »

A sort of Poem for my sister (who is 40!)

Soraya, Soraya Soru.

I have written a poem for you*

When someone has been in your life for the whole of your life, it is difficult to effectively articulate just how much they are a part of you. How deeply entrenched they are in your path to this point. It isn’t a given that just because you have a sister you’ll like each other and you’ll grow up to like each other more. There’s no guarantee that you’ll be lucky enough to find yourself a friend for life but, for me at least, this is absolutely the case.

This poem doesn’t all rhyme.

I’m not even sure if it is a poem in the truest sense of the word but anyway, here it is, as per request. It is a love letter to you, my darling sister who has my back, always.

I hope you know that I’ll always have yours.

IMG_0997

40 years ago today you popped out mums sunroof to say ‘G’day!

Into the warm Australian sun you opened your eyes to a life time of fun.

Daddy held you in the palm of his hand

(and realised then you’d never be naturally tanned)

Mum was bowled over by her bundle of joy

(She still is today- though you sometimes annoy!)

From a geeky girl too shy to speak,

Whose 3 times tables made her weep.

Who played a Gnat in the school play

And didn’t ever get her way.

Who ripped a hymn book and did a wee,

Who had blue glasses so she could see.

To the wonderful woman you are today,

Wow, what a journey, what can I say?

(and here is where we move into the non rhyming bit)…

You are the fabric of my childhood.

All of my happiest memories have you in them and I am proud to call you my sister. You should be proud of the person you are too;

20130612-093337.jpg

As beautiful inside as you are out you keep many independents afloat simply by being so willing to get your brows and lashes and bikini line done. A true heroine of small business!

Seriously though; I don’t know anyone that has a bad word to say about you. You are kind, caring, compassionate and a true forever friend to so many.

The fierce love you have for your family is obvious and Peter, Amy, Alf, All of us- are lucky to have you.

family photo yellow dresses

What I am trying to say Soraya is; (and apologies again about the lack of rhyming)

You are the best sister I could ever have hoped for. Every single little quirk which makes you you, makes me smile…. and occasionally roll my eyes! Hanging out with you makes me happy (usually). You make me more sparkly and silly and who doesn’t need more of that in their life?

For those that don’t know you know you (if you know what I mean), it would be easy to focus on the fizz, the frocks, the fascinators and the fabulous array of shoes (and they really are fabulous!)

Soray and PV Tux

soray wedding fagan

But this is really just the handbag stuff.

Sure; you might have more social engagements than Meghan Markle (12 weddings in 12 months is a particular high!) Your God Child count is higher than the birth rate of some small countries but; that is simply because you mean so much to so many people. They know they can trust you and that you will be cheering them on. You are the person people trust with their deepest fears, their scary secrets and their amazing achievements. That’s not a privilege afforded to everyone.

I adore the zest for life you have.

You welcome people into your life with open arms and an open mind. You forgive people with an open heart and you are always ready for fun.

xmas pudding soray

You don’t get to 40 without facing some adversity and life hasn’t all been plane sailing has it?

Whose is?

You love people, you lose people and we all have to learn to adapt to the holes that they leave behind but adapting isn’t forgetting. You have a little piece of every special someone you’ve ever loved locked inside your head and heart- they’ve all had a part to play in the person you are here in this moment and for every moment going forwards.

daddy and grandma

glyndwr

I am so happy that you have your family unit and that me and my family are able to be such a close part of it.

 

cheseter zoo all kids m and v

I am so glad that you are always up for an adventure and don’t take life too seriously; I can not imagine a day when you’ll be too old for a day at a fair or a dip in the sea and I hope I can always be there grabbing a selfie with you.

sis selfie 2

mum, me and soray sunnies on.jpg

I LOVE YOU.

ALWAYS.

Happy Birthday Soray. Here’s to many more.

XxxX

 *sort of…your name isn’t great for rhyming to be honest!

 

Leave a comment »

Greenbelt release- is there another way?

Last night I started writing some notes in advance of this evenings constituency meetings relating to the potential release of greenbelt land on the Wirral. Notes very quickly turned into a sort of rant, the bulk of which is here so, before you read on I must make you aware of some caveats to this massive monologue…

  • I absolutely appreciate that I am not an expert. I am not a planner and I don’t have any experience in this area (aside from occasional conversations with Mr L and a human geography degree & PGCE from 102 years ago)
  • I understand completely that I am probably not aware of all of the finer detail of the various plans that the council, developers and other stakeholders have.
    I understand basic market rules, I know about supply and demand and the fact that things are only worth what someone is or isn’t prepared to pay
    I know that we are an island; I understand we have a finite amount of space and, as our population grows we need more (and different types) of housing which means that it is inevitable that some greenfield space will be lost over time.
  • I know that there are many, many examples of fantastic and sympathetic new developments, built on greenbelt land which have allowed new communities to develop and ones which were under threat thrive again.
  • I am nervous of posting this. I don’t want to be seen as obstructive or difficult or naïve and childish quietly wishing for the impossible. My current contract is working within the Birkenhead BID and I genuinely can see really positive change happening in the area and I want to continue to be a part of that.

BUT I also know this;

Read the rest of this entry »

3 Comments »

What is art anyway (and can anyone appreciate it?) #Aurora

A few months ago I received an email from the lovely people at FACT Liverpool asking me whether I’d like to be a part of an advisory group to help discuss and develop ideas to engage a broader audience as they move forwards. I was thrilled to be asked of course but, as I composed my reply I felt it necessary to fess up to the fact (excuse the pun) that I am absolutely hopeless at art and in fact, Art in its most traditional form is something that in the past I have been a little intimidated by.

I’ve always felt that my brain doesn’t really ‘get it’. As if the artist is trying to express something way beyond my comprehension and, as a result I’ve probably tried too hard to understand it instead of just seeing what I see and enjoying it from my own perspective. Second guessing people isn’t fun at the best of times and second guessing an unmade bed or a cow in formaldehyde wasn’t really a priority for me in the early noughties so it’s fair to say that I’ve sort of shied away from it a bit and haven’t got much knowledge of the traditional art world at all. I’ve never spent a huge amount of time in galleries. Libraries yes; Mr L and I spent hours in the ‘main branch’ of New York Central Library many years ago- and I could happily reside in Liverpool library with its poetry and glass domes. May be I just naturally focused my attention on the stuff that I understood more readily. The Peoples Palace in Glasgow for example held my attention for the best part of a day and I see something new and absorbing every time we go to the Liverpool museum. But, traditional picture on wall writing in a box underneath galleries haven’t often been on the must visit list. As I grow older though, I really would like the time to amble around a gallery and ponder the why’s and the wherefores of the pictures before me but, with two young children there isn’t a huge amount of time for that at the moment!

Anyway, back to FACT. Fact actually stands for Foundation for art and creative technology and they are the UK’s leading media arts centre offering a unique programme of exhibitions, film and participant-led art projects. Based in the town centre of Liverpool FACT is just one of the many organisations in the area that helps keep Liverpool at the absolute top of its game in respect of the quality and variety of exhibitions and artists of all disaplines it attracts. There is always something to see. This evening that something was the preview event for FACT’s latest installation; AURORA; an “epic immersive experience” based within the bowels of the old Toxteth Reservoir and I was invited along.

Honestly, I very, very nearly didn’t go. It was cold, pouring with rain, I didn’t know anyone else that would be there and a large part of me had that old nigle… you won’t get it and everyone else will be proper arty types that know what they’re taking about… gulp.

In the end, I went along mainly because I had asked my mum to babysit and I didn’t want to mess her around but I am so very glad I did;

It reminded me of the beauty of people power.

This installation is a collaboration between artists from the UK, India and Indonisia. It has been 2 years in the making! It’s involved schools from across Toxteth as well as the wider community. There has been multiple sponsors and funding applications to bring the artists vision to reality. The people on the doors, giving out tickets and wrist bands and holding the torches are FACT volunteers. Absolutely everyone involved is so proud of what they’ve achieved together and it really felt like a community effort as we gathered in the church hall for out briefing this evening.

It consumed me

For 40 minutes I was removed from the chaos and mundanity of modern life. To begin with I was still that anxious non artist trying to second guess what the real artists wanted me to think or see or feel at particular points but, the longer I stood, the less that mattered to me. I was just totally absorbed by the lighting and the hauntingly stirring music; it filled my ears and reverberated in my bone and when it was over I felt like I wanted to cry!

It was just for me.

I am so pleased I was able to attend and experience it completely by going alone. I didn’t hear anyone else’s take on it. I didn’t have to articulate what I thought of it and I didn’t have to rush or linger. I was there viewing it in my own time on my own terms.

As we exited the experience we were handed postcards asking

“what did the installation mean to you?”

At the time I couldn’t find a way to articulately express my thoughts so here they are a few hours late.

Water is life. It is constant but it is ever changing. It has the power to soothe and to scare. To calm and to kill. It will outlast us all and it is beautiful.

Thank you FACT. Thank you to the artists; Invisible Flock, thank you to everyone that played a part in getting this art installation to completion. I found it mood altering, mind opening, utterly absorbing and completely consuming. In short, brilliant.

Thanks for reminding me that art comes in various forms and it is for all. Thanks for bringing it to a new space and a new audience. I can’t wait for the next meeting (if you’ll have me back?!)

The installation is open between 21st Sept and 7th October and is well worth a visit. Book online and take your wellies…unless you want to get wet feet! Find out more online at the FACT website and, if you do go, don’t forget to tell me what you think!

Until next time!

Leave a comment »

It’s a tough job…no seriously, it is!

Those of you that have followed my blog or follow me on social media will likely know by now that I often go about things in fits and starts. I have always been the same and, it is something that I have to work quite hard to manage; food wise I can be feast or famine and it a similar story with exercise and writing. I love writing, I love running, I love yoga and every single time I do any of them I wonder why I don’t (or haven’t til now) done a little bit of all of them daily! They all make me feel like the best me and I like that me most!

Anyway… Last week, when I launched my book, Time for Bed Baby, (which as an aside you can buy here now- totally shameless plug 🙂 ) my lovely friend Karen came along to support and reminded me just how much I enjoy writing and encouraged me to just do it! It is both amazing and infuriating to think that multi award winning blogger of Mini Travellers fame asked me for my tips when starting her blog. Amazing that someone as smart and savvy as Karen even felt the need to ask little old me and infuriating to think of how my blog might have grown had I just been a. little. bit. more. consistant… AAARRRGGGHHH!! Anywho; That is where consistency, hard work, general loveliness and talent get you.

time for bed.png

In truth, I haven’t always felt like I’ve had anything of value or importance to say and, since I am neither a clothes horse or a beauty babe reviews on either of those topics were a non starter (in my humble opinion!) but, in my new role as BDM for The Wirral Visitor Economy Network I am finding that I do have a go to topic when I am lacking any first hand ‘Muma Leary type news! so, here’s today’s outing…

As I type I am soaking in the view from Thurstaston country park having popped in to see three brilliant new businesses spitting distance from  our house- WINNING!

First up,Just Baked @ Church Farm.

IMG_0028.JPG

On 13th June lovely David and Aidrienne took over the café at Church Farm. They have brightened it up, changed the menu and it is looking great. I chatted to Aidrienne as she made scones that my Grandma would have been jealous of!  In less than a month they have turned a 2* trip advisor rating to a 5. It is clean and bright and well worth a visit especially as they welcome dogs- HOORAY!

Excitingly, Church Farm are now leasing small units to local businesses so expect more exciting changes there soon. You can find out more by following them on Facebook  as well as Instagram and Twitter.

Next up is The White Owl; I considered a disguise for this one- last time I was here my girls were particularly feral and knocked over a coffee and a juice in quick succession; not the chilled out yummy mummy vibe I was going for! I needn’t have worried, I was met by Zara the manager who was warm and friendly and keen to tell me about their live music Saturdays and other regular events such as Globe Boppers which can be found at the Owl each Wednesday. Free parking, fab coffee (when it’s not lashed on the floor!) and a glorious view which I soaked up in solitude.

IMG_0035.JPG

So far, it’s sounding  like a tough day hey! I KNOW- Don’t get me started on the smug; I can not even articulate how lucky I am feeling  today! I adore living on the Wirral. LOVE. IT. Partly this is down to the fact that I have got a core of immense friends and family but it’s also down to the feel of the place, the views and the mix of coast and countryside as well as the towns and businesses. I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather raise my girls.  Soznotsoz.

heswall beach

we’re close to the sea! whoop!

Today I was lucky enough to meet the awesome new owner of GJ’s coffee shop, Fliss. Straight away it was obvious that she shares the same #WonderfulWirral vibe and is full of exciting plans for GJ’s over the coming weeks and months. Fliss took over less than 3 months ago and has already put her stamp on the popular spot- the jukebox will be back in working order very soon and the café will be opening earlier on a Sunday as of September to coincide with the launch of Junior Park run- perfect!

Foodwise you’ve got it all covered. Full on breakfasts with very generous portions, light as a feather meringues from Nova in Heswall, Fudge from Irby and some incredible looking vegan cakes from Cakehole in Liverpool.  Dogs are welcome indoors and out and they have their very own biscuits, ice cream as well as a ‘Star Barks’ water stop outside. Check out their page on Facebook and Insta and show Fliss and her team some love.

IMG_0044

If the insane quality of my writing has enticed you to want to pop to our #ParadisePeninsula for a break you can find out more about what to do, where to stay and all that jazz on the Visit Wirral website. See you soon!

Much Love,

Muma.

XxxX

 

Leave a comment »

Ghostwritermummy

Health is the new wealth

Bonjour, Blogger!

Your guide to cultivating an amazing blog

Bristol Betty

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

Mummy Says...

A UK Parenting and Lifestyle blog

Molly Gunn

Journalist | Editor | Copywriter

Born in 2011

Emma Cantrell writes

bigfatcypriotwedding

Lets make crisptory!

confessionsofatryhard.wordpress.com/

Ever tried hard to make something only for it to look nothing like it does on the tin? Welcome to my life!

Doodlemum

a day in the life of my sketchbook...

JakiJellz

A Lifestyle & Family Blog

BritMums

The UK's Original Influencer Network

helenfawkes

living with cancer

blunderbussme

Thinktastic musings on life, work and babies. With a bit of drinking and occasional falling over included – sometimes together but not always. The opinions depicted in this blog are sadly all my very own.

Moda Mi

Bespoke Dressmaking

We Should Go

the beautiful places right under our nose

%d bloggers like this: