Mumaleary's Blog

Cheaper than therapy

Supermarkets- are you taking the P**s?!

Let’s begin today’s post with a brief caviate shall we:

Call me a revolutionary but it is my deeply held belief that if you make the decision to have children, it is your responsibility, until you draw your last breath, to love them, embarrass them and to look after them to the best of your ability.

It isn’t the job of shops and hotels and restaurants to cater for them, it is yours. That might mean packing the kitchen sink for the first 5 years of your offspring’s life and walking with a dowegers hump for the remainder of it as a result but hey, at least you’ll never be caught short.

However, no one is perfect and accidents happen – as happened to me today…My little little who is both heart meltingly gorgeous and a whole heap of attitude, did a wee in a popular local supermarket (whose name ends with burys!)  just as I was struggling with one of those stoooooopid “don’t talk to an actual human” machines which was gleefully telling me that there was or wasn’t an unexpected item in the bloody bagging area.

I looked around for some help and asked the closest assistant if she had something that I could wipe it up with; her response?  I would need to buy some wipes.

WHAT?!  Read the rest of this entry »


Ain’t Mums Brilliant.

One of the things I love most about being a mum is meeting other mums. I have made a brilliant group of friends through mum and baby groups and it is so important to be able to wipe your childs nose with your own sleeve in company knowing you won’t be judged (you might even be offered an actual wipe!) and we’ve probably all had a little whinge with another mum on a particularly off day. Yep, my mum mates are brilliant.

Clearly not every mum you meet is going to become your BFF, not everyone is going to be your cup of tea; Just because two people have popped out a sprog in the same postal code around the same date does not mean they are soul sisters, kindred spirits and destined to be BFF’s. In fact, some women are criminally judgemental of others and the way they chose to parent their children it makes my blood boil. Take the breast feeding mafia as an example Read the rest of this entry »

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Monday Menu.

Evening all, what are you like in relation to meal planning? Is it something you do or are you more of a see what we’ve got kind of gal throwing fish fingers and beans on to the table more than is strictly acceptable?! I am probably a healthy mix of the two though with school to think about in September  (brief pause for a WGAAAAT moment) I could certainly use a bit more of a plan…

Don’t get me wrong, I’m in awe of the parent that spends an age turning a plate into a tiny version of the Mona Lisa but that simply ain’t gonna fly in this gaff. Our weeks are manic and time is precious so I reckon we need to plan our meals so I know we’re not going to end up morbidly obese, diagnosed with rickets or chained to the cooker.

Equally, I want the girls to know about the food on their plate and enjoy what they’re eating so we try to involve them in the shopping, the prep and the cooking of as many meals as we can; today that meal was one of my own creating…watch out Delia, I’m snapping at your heels!

Readers, I give you Kale, Cauli and Chorizo cheese.

Few things in life are more satisfying than knocking up a lump free cheese sauce and now I know how it is pimps. This recipe can be a whole meal or a side dish depending on the mood and who you’re feeding. It’s not lobster bisque but it will get a healthy dose of veg, leafy greens and calcium into the kids!

Here’s what you need:

40g margarine or butter

40g plain flour

1pt milk

1/2 pt water (that you used to steam the veg)

40g mild cheddar

40g medium cheddar (feel free to go as strong as you fancy and think the kids will cope with)

1 head of cauliflower

1 bag of Curly Kale

Chorizo (around 7cm but obviously 0cm if you’re a veggie and more if you’re a meat fiend)

Here’s what you do:

Chop up the cauliflower into largish florets and place in a steamer. Don’t over cook- it needs to retain its shape and actually need to be bitten.

Put the Kale in a collendar to wilt for a few minutes when the cauli is almost done then remove from the heat and drain reserving the water.

Melt the marg gently in a pan and then add in the flour. Stir continuously until it forms a paste (roux perhaps?!) allow to cook out for a while to get rid of the taste of flour and then slowly- slowly add the milk and continue to stir.

Allow yourself a smug smile if this results in a smooth and silky sauce base and console yourself in the knowledge that it is being poured over veg which will disguise it if not.

Add in the cheese, stir stir stir and then add in as much of the water as you need (again little by little) until you have the flavour and constancy you’d like.

I don’t add in salt or pepper but if you feel it needs it you’re welcome to.

Heat a frying pan and add the Chorizo when hot just to colour and crisp a little.

‘Arrange’ the cauliflower and Kale in an earthenware dish, pour over the cheese sauce and scatter the Chorizo on top.

You can either then simply put under the grill for a few minutes to brown or you can wait until it has completely cooled and then put in the freezer for a quick midweek meal. When you need it defrost thoroughly and cook for 20 minutes on 180°c.

Kale, Cauli, Chorizo and Cheese. #yummy

Kale, Cauli, Chorizo and Cheese. #yummy

Voilà, Muma Learys Monday Menu! Forgive the photography…you can’t be both Delia Smith and David Bailey 😉


Lots of love,



I’m linking up with Honest Mum’s Tasty Tuesday Linky…pop over to see what other treats you can try.

Tasty Tuesdays on


When the nightmares come…

Sometimes for absolutely no discernible reason, the little voices in your head decide to turn up the volume and tell you in no uncertain terms what they think of you. They tell you that you’re useless- a rubbish wife, a dreadful mum, a second rate mate and an excuse for an off-spring.

They whisper in your ear that people think you’re an up yourself idiot for writing a blog, they think you’re a loser for having a jobs history longer than War and Peace and they remind you that whilst your friends and your family and everyone has something to offer you, you have nothing- nothing to give to them and you are frankly, a useless, needy, worthless idiot that ought to just shut up and fuck off.

Urgh, they are dark, dark moments when they come- seemingly from nowhere, to tap you on the shoulder, smack you in the mouth and leave you winded and in a heap of tears on the cold of the bathroom floor at 4am.

These moods and these times have punctuated my life since I was a teenager so I am now far, far better equipped to deal with them and, as I have opened up/slash bored people to tears on this topic previously I find that people have been more open with me so I know I’m not on my own which is as nice as it is nasty in a way.

One of my biggest fears about my weird and sometime malfunctioning brain is that it will have a negative impact on my babies or, worse, that they will experience the tap on the shoulder too. That would be pretty tough to take. However, in the interests of proving that I didn’t strap all the time and money I spent on counselling to a firework, I think I would be able to offer them if not words of wisdom, then at least some empathy, lots of love and a cup of tea.

Here’s my tool kit for the dark times:

1) Write- When my brain is overflowing with thoughts, there is no hope of sleep and I can’t clean the house for fear of dropping a pan or waking the family, writing has been my saviour. Getting everything down on to the page to be chucked or re-read when your mind is less mangled is cathartic. Emotionally draining but cathartic.

2) Talk- To thin air, to a counsellor, to the Samaritans, to God (who ever yours might be) or to someone you know. Expressing the way you feel and haring things out loud can put a totally different spin on things and they can help you see things from a different light.

3) Do- Thinking is an absolute bastard and sometimes the very best thing is to simply do something that requires your attention or will take a little piece of your brain somewhere else for a while at least. A long time ago when I was pretty bloody low, my lovely mum quite literally got me out of bed everyday and took me swimming. Every. Single. Day. It really, truly helped.

4) Be Kind- Caitlin Moran writes brilliantly about this in the July edition of Red. I am not quite as articulate or funny as she is which is doubtless why she is a famous writer and I am not (yet) but, the basic premise of the article is to treat yourself as you would a pet- with love and kindness. Give yourself walks and good food and a nice tickle on the tum (or similar). I have searched for the article on line but alas can not find it. Find it and read it though- it is perfect and utterly true.

5) Keep hold of these truths- This WILL pass. The darkness will lift and in the meanwhile you are not alone.

(Plus this is a genuinely funny picture!!!)

melon collie

With lots of love,




The Life Lottery and the love friends

Tonight there is a national lottery rollover.

Someone will likely be ending tonight £28 million better off.
I haven’t entered.

I haven’t entered because sometimes money simply doesn’t matter.
Sometimes all you can do is thank your lucky stars instead of dreaming of the inconsequential nonsense that can so easily infiltrate our day to day lives.

A week ago a beautiful lady lost her husband and had her world and that of her gorgeous children turned upside down- no amount of money can fix that.
I have met Julia only a handful of times, the first of which was after a Facebook exchange where she messaged me to say she was thinking of starting a blog and wanted some advice- How ironic! Her incredible writing and wonderful photographs meant that Rainbeaubelle leapfrogged my little old blog almost as soon as her first post hit the page- and rightly so. Julia is a born writer, a total natural and I am so pleased that she has had both the writing and the blogging community to help her through what has and is an impossibly difficult time.

In the blogging world social media and ‘virtual’ friendships are massive. Yes there are trolls as there are in every walk of life but they pale into insignificance when compared to the love, support and friendship that is shared across the various platforms that we inhabit.

As Julia’s news spread amongst us it was decided that we wanted to do something, anything, to show our friend that she is loved. Loved and supported and she will always find someone awake in the wee small hours who can send a virtual hug.


Rog sounds like a really special guy. His smile, much like yours Jules, looks like it comes right from his heart and soul. It goes right to the eyes and even in the most recent pics they seem to twinkle. I am so glad that you had each other and am so sorry it wasn’t for longer.

In the past week we have collected personal messsges and contributions for the hospice where the family have spent much of their time in the last weeks and months.

We hope that this will be some small comfort for you Jules. Your strength and courage astound me. Everyone in the blogging community is thinking of you and sending you more love than you can imagine. We love you and we are all here in our various guises so call on us.



How I got #ProudinmyBikini

Since I posted my #proudinmybikini post earlier this week I have had so many nice comments on Facebook and Twitter and on the post itself. It has been really touching to read friends and strangers saying that kind things and they are sticking.

Looking at the pictures which incidentally, were taken after a long day at work whilst the girls jumped on my sisters sofa shouting ‘why are you nudey rudey Muma?!’ I genuinely don’t mind them.

MY FAVE!! Maryan Mehlhorn Nautical Bikini

Maryan Mehlhorn Nautical Bikini

Obviously my sister isn’t challenging David Bailey for a job (sorry sis!) but I am no longer upset by what I see before me- WOO HOO!! Progress.

Clearly I am no longer my 17 year old self with a pair of boobs to die for and a pretty cute little figure if I do say so myself (hindsight is 20/20 hey!!! Youth is absolutely wasted on the young!)

I’m not even my 27 year old, stretch mark free self.

Nope, I am a 34 year old mum of 2 toddlers that is frequently shattered and struggling to work a 3 day week, plan an incredible Christmas event, remember the shopping and the washing and the cleaning and so on and so on.
Obviously in the main I don’t manage, my to do list never ends, I am constantly apologising for the state of the house and I have no clue how we would manage without my mum doing our ironing (amazing!) and having the girls from time to time.

But everything is a choice and a trade off- I have yet to meet the woman that has it all. The things that I am choosing to spend my time and energy on are the things that I know make a difference to my mind and body so, here’s what helped me reclaim my Mojo…

1) Diet
Not dieting- In January I started a 12 week Fit ‘n’ Slim programme with Melissa from Fresh Start Health and Jonathan from JGF Fitness.
It was a brilliant programme that helped me to become more mindful about what I eat and why and 3 months after finishing I am still having lemon and ginger and against all the odds my juicer is still getting used daily for my super green smoothie.
1/2 Cucumber
2 sticks celery
2 handfuls spinach
juice of one lime
1/2 an avocado

Juice the cucumber, celery and spinach, add in the juice of the lime and then chop up the avocado and blend together (over ice if you’re posh!)

Genuinely delicious

Genuinely delicious

2) Exercise
My brilliant and very clever friend Jo invited me to try some crazy outdoor circuits class. OUTSIDE. IN FEBRUARY…First class was free plus it was a week after I’d asked her to come running with me so I couldn’t say no!
I LOVE IT. Best fitness class ever! It is hard, it is sometimes wet and cold and it is 100% guaranteed to get me out of any mood I am in.
I feel healthier, I am definitely fitter and it is certainly good for the serotonin levels.

One day I'll get to the top of the bar!!

One day I’ll get to the top of the bar!!

3) Me Time
Me time means different things to different people but for me it usually involves a seriously deep bath, a stretch mark smoothing wrap and a copy of RED Magazine or Good Housekeeping (which is ironic to say the least!)
I know that some people are going to think that using the wraps is not in keeping with the #proudinmybikini idea but that’s ok because it’s my body and my choice. I’m not using these #crazywraps because anyone else has made me feel bad about the way I look, I am using them because they compliment what I am doing already and have seriously helped me feel happier with the skin look and tone of my ‘mum tum’.
wrap right image

4) Mindset
I have written so many times before that I am an all or nothing character. I tend to really go for something, fall by the way side, thing I’m a failure and knock it on the head but I decided this year (and last) that I was going to try to be kinder to myself, to do what I could ad not beat myself up about the rest. Seven months in and I think that I can, more often than not, tick that box. I am caring less about what others, aside from those that really matter, think and am just trying to be OK.
choose happiness

5) Support
The #proudinmybikini campaign started by Honest Mum, the support of Tommy Tight Pants (yep, that’s what he calls himself!!) of Melissa and Jon and of my friends and family and the lovely Wrap Right Girls has kept me on the straight and narrow.
I am doing this for me and for my girls and, in the words of the song…It’s feeling Good!

Have a Seriously Souper Douper Weekend!

Loads of Love,




This Summer I will mainly be #ProudinmyBikini

Last month a hashtag was doing the rounds on Facebook and Twitter set up by the blogging beauty that is Vicki from Honest Mum.

Now, I had always considered her type of honest and mine to be poles apart, her children are immaculate, her hair is frankly immense  (in the best possible way) and her writing, blogging and film making experience are the stuff my dreams are made of.
In short, if this were school she would definitely have rolled with the cool kids. I felt- through absolutely no fault of hers, that she was out of my league- a genuine successful grown up whilst I, approaching 35, am still struggling to figure most of this stuff out.

One evening, home alone, I was scanning my twitter feed and came across Vicki’s original #proudinmybikini post.
She was literally laying herself bare (short of a gorgeous red bikini) and saying this is me, I’m a mum of 2 and I’m proud to be me in my bikini.


Look at that hair!!!

In the post (which as now been seen by over 70,000) Vicki was asking for other mums to share their bikini pics.

Wow- didn’t that redress the balance.

Isn’t it ridiculous that it should even be a big deal…but it was and it is because it seems that we women are always so keen to imagine that other people are doing so much better than we are…

Better mums- because they’re working or not working or combining the two.
Better wives- because they don’t burn water or whatever
Better species because…We imagine…that beneath their jeans they don’t have the bit of belly that gets tucked into their knickers (which no doubt match with their bra- which they no doubt peel off each night before a mammoth session with the husband!)

It is a fantasy fed by stupid magazines and also by social media.

Women are too fat or too thin, too vain or too unkempt.

We’ve lost our sense of perspective and also of giving ourselves and others a break.

This week The Sun posted what I’ll loosely refer to as ‘an article’ on their social media entitled “17 people that look worse in a bikini than you do.”
How cruel- who made them or indeed any of us judge and jury?

I love #proudinmybikini. It is an amazing look behind the curtain into the fact that we are all normal people.
No one is perfect and no one is without their own hang ups and flaws and, by sharing them we become a little bit more real and help everyone else breathe a little easier.

Prior to this campaign the last time I’d properly worn a bikini was over  years ago on our fabulous baby moon in Marrakesh. Pregnant bikini
I absolutely love the picture- check out how happy I am- over the moon to be carrying our precious daughter (didn’t know that she was a she at the time) and loving the relaxing sunny break with my husband.

Since then I’ve had 2 beautiful baby girls and the boobs and bump have headed somewhat south.
I’d like to say that the change in my body didn’t affect me but, in the spirit of being honest I’ve got to say that after a particularly nasty labour and a tricky recovery my confidence was well knocked, the stomach stretched and sagged and my fitness and body confidence plummeted. It has  taken quite a lot for me not to well up when I saw myself undressed. Incredibly self indulgent I know- but there it is.
Lots of little things have helped me get my mojo back but one of the most significant has definitely been this campaign.
Following on from the tweets UKSwimwear sent me a couple of the mums who took part in the campaign some bikinis to review and I was lucky enough to be one of them. They are absolutely gorgeous- I LOVE THEM.
I can not wait to wear them in the paddling pool, at the swimming pool and finally, on our holiday in Tuscany.
They are my way of sending a messsage to my girls that say:

We are more than the way we look
Be kind to your body- it is the only place you have to live.
Your spirit and kindness are visible whatever you are wearing and whatever your size
Don’t judge other people (at least not on appearances)
Don’t waste your energy on people that are judging you and…importantly
Nautical is always, always on trend!

I’ve written plenty of times about promoting a positive body image for my daughters but actions speak louder than words so here goes…

Channelling the 1950's vibe.

Channelling the 1950’s vibe.

MY FAVE!! Maryan Mehlhorn Nautical Bikini

Maryan Mehlhorn Nautical Bikini

To me, bring Proud in your Bikini this summer is more than the act of wearing a bikini it is the decision to like yourself a bit more whatever you are wearing and to embrace the idea of kindness and support for yourself and others.

I hope that this post makes you breath a little easier.

Happy Summer Everyone!

Loads of love,




I am linking up with Honest Mums #BrilliantBlogPosts you can click the link to see what other bloggers have been up to this week!

Brilliant blog posts on


Times they are a changing…

Today has been a day for looking backwards, for contemplation and gratitude. A day of milestones and memories.

Ten years ago today I was living in London teaching in a massive and multi cultural secondary school spitting distance from Canary Wharf. News of the terror attacks came in dribs and drabs- no one quite knew what was going on and the school was put on lockdown.
Kids of all faiths and backgrounds were frightened and confused and we, the adults had no words to explain what had happened and why. I was and remain, unable to comprehend, let alone explain, the senseless acts of the few that shattered the lives of so many.

Fast forward a decade and life is unrecognisable.

I am mother to two gorgeous girls that I can no longer call my babies.

Today we said “Good Bye” to the mother and baby group we have been attending since we arrived home over 2 1/2 years ago. In September the big little is off to (pre-school). Sure, me and the little little can still go to Toast Tuesday but it won’t be the same.
We’re the Three Musketeers- Tuesday is our special day.

I wasn’t prepared for how big a deal this would be for me.
I’m realise now how quickly time is passing and I’m just not ready to let my baby girl go.

I’m not sure if the magnitude of the date made the day feel more poignant but never the less, as I watched my beautiful babies play and eat and sing together with their friends I felt them slipping away from me a little.
I wanted to capture the moment, to hold it in my hands and never, never lose the image of my first born smiling so much she could barely sing her last rendition of ‘Ten Little Fingers’.

Never agin will you race your sister from the car to be the winnest at the door.
No more will we snuggle up and read on the Dalmatian cushion (when we can do that any time at home!!)
No more gluing and sticking and creating weekly master pieces that I tactfully sent to Grandmas house or posted down to Nanny and Grandad.
No more sipping your water and chomping your toast all the while hoping it was someone’s birthday so you’d get a cheeky bit of cake.
Today instead of checking my watch I wanted song time to go on and on- the sleeping bunnies, the wheels on the bus, the row row the boat- I wanted them all.
It felt like you knew. You sang and danced and smiled with extra gusto today, you wrang every bit of joy out of the session as you could and when you were asked why you wouldn’t be back in September you were so proud to confirm you are a big girl and will be off to school.

I know that you are so ready to go; I am so very, very proud of the kind, caring, funny, clever and polite little girl you are becoming but it is just happening so fast. I just need to catch up so give me the summer to get on your page- there’s a lot for me to process…

I am so not ready to leave this beautiful stage just yet. Let me cherish it a little while longer….the two months of Summer are going to be pretty special….

I love you, until the seas run dry…and that will never happen.



PS- I have no idea how your sister is going to take it when she realises she’s not going to school with you…eeek!!

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The Learys do Legoland…

It’s no secret that family Leary love Lego.

Mr L and I both had it as children. I loved following the pictures to create a house or car or throwing away the instruction booklets and free styling something fantastic and I have fond memories of building things with my dad in comfortable silence.
Basically, it’s the perfect toy; it’s robust, doesn’t age, doesn’t break, doesn’t need batteries, can be played with by anyone of any age or sex and the only limit is your imagination. The only negative is how much it kills your feet if you accidentally step on a piece. No major surprise that the word Lego translates as ‘ Play Well’.

Knowing all of this it made perfect sense for us to take the girls to Legoland and frankly, I was as excited as they were!
Now, I have realised of late that blogging and reviewing products is turning me into a miserable old hag. The sort of person that instead of taking the positives out of a situation casts a critical eye and looks for things to whinge about lest I should be accused of not telling the full story. It isn’t a quality I like- I tell the girls that no one likes whingers and I certainly need to take some of that advice myself.
However, I know you do appreciate honesty, so here, for your reading pleasure is our lowdown on Legoland Windsor.LLW%20Resort%20Logo%20Large
Read the rest of this entry »


Come to Go Ape she said…It’ll be fun she said!

One thing that I have not been very good at since I started blogging is linking up with other bloggers. I have a couple that I read religiously, there are a couple that can only be read in the comfort of my own home and there are lots more I dip into when I can but, recently I have met a lovely lady with an excellent blog and lo and behold, she lives locally. Hooray!!

So, when she messaged to say she had a free Go Ape experience for up to 6 people at the Delemere site I jumped at the chance to go.

When I mentioned it to Mr L he was encouraging; “remember when you did it in Center Parcs and you were so frightened you wet yourself?!” *

When I told my mum there was the standard eye roll; “you’d be better off sorting your housework and getting on top of your washing!”**

*slight exaggeration but I clearly had blocked out that memory!

**Totally true and reasoned statement but frankly, getting on top of my washing is something I’d want to seek sponsorship for such is the volume.

Supportive family comments aside, Karen picked me up on Friday and off we went to leafy Cheshire.

I almost wept with happiness when I got into the car…there were crisps and raisins remnants in the seats and the footwells contained crayons and general kid clutter and I knew then I’d made a friend for life!

There was another lovely lady in the car, Ally, who blogs over at Messed Up Mum and we met up with Laura from Tired Mummy of two and Sarah who blogs at Extraordinary Chao. ..A right little band of bloggers we were!

Ready to roll!

Ready to roll!

We had a brilliant day and I would definately recommend it so, if you’re considering a day at Go Ape; here’s what you need to know;

1) Very few people can carry off a harness.

I am not one of them…you might be but, when the alternative is possibly plummeting to your death you’ll be more than happy to risk a camel toe!

Don't know what I'm looking so smug about!

Don’t know what I’m looking so smug about!

2) It is scary.

I like to tell myself that I’m balsy, brave and not afraid of anything and, I think when you’re a parent you have to encourage your kids to have a go and not show them you’re frightened incase it rubs off on them but, there were genuinely a couple of occasions when I could actually feel myself shaking but, as they say at commando; If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you!20150522_111705

3) It turns you back into a child.

Being a grown up can be boring. I should know (wrote a post about a laundry bin a few weeks back) you get caught up in the rat race of work, nursery runs, washing etc and you don’t often get the chance to let go.

Navigating a scramble net 20 ft off the ground is a great way of concentrating the mind on ONE THING. No multitasking, no checking the emails, just getting to the next platform. And when you are wizzing down the zip wire it’s really only polite to scream with pure abandon and then laugh till your sides hurt. Oh yes, inner child well and truly reconnected!

4) It gets you back to nature.

Although there are lots of ropes and nets and zip wires and so on, Go Ape really fits into the natural landscape and, when you’re up in the trees you can see things from a whole different perspective.

You are able to appreciate the views, the wildlife and (screams aside) you can enjoy a bit of proper peace and quiet. It’s good for the soul.

Check out the size of those trees.

Check out the size of those trees.

5) It is great for making friends.

Nothing makes me cringe like the idea of forced fun.

Building a raft with Geoff from the office before an afternoon of ‘Blue sky thinking’ makes me want to smash my head into a lamp post but, there is no denying that when you’re shaking like a leaf up a 40ft platform you appreciate the group of people around you and natural barriers are removed.

I’ve got to say, I don’t have many natural barriers, this blog has covered most things in its time but it is a different kettle of fish looking into someone’s eyes when they’re feeling a bit vulnerable and frightened.

Encouraging each other through the tricky bits, checking carabiners and not taking the piss when you look a bit of a lemon is all wonderful for team and friendship building. It was fab to spend a bit of time with you lovely ladies.

6) It earns you a bit of cake and/or a bacon sarnie.

You don’t realise when you’re up there but it is a bit of a workout swinging through the trees. No wonder Tarzan was always so keen to have his top off. It must burn some calories so, you can treat yourself to a celebratory tea and cake afterwards safe in the knowledge that the next day you might struggle to lift a cup to your mouth!! You’ll work muscles you never knew you had :-)

Thanks for the invite Karen, I loved hanging around with you girls!!

Woo Hoo! We did it.

Woo Hoo! We did it.



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