Mumaleary's Blog

Cheaper than therapy

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.

Julia,

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.

XxxxX

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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

MY FAVE!!
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,

Muma.

XxxX

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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.

#proudinmybikini

Look at that hair!!!
Gorgeous.

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

MY FAVE!!
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,

Muma.

XxxX

love-your-body-and-be-healthy

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 HonestMum.com

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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.

Muma.

XxxxX

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
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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.

Muma

XxxX

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Weddings with wee ones; my top 5 tips…

This weekend is officially the busiest of the whole year for weddings…

Everyone loves a Summer wedding. It’s the opportunity to dress up, catch up with friends and sink a few shandies…isn’t it?! UMMM…Not if you’re taking the kiddiewinks!

Love this picture...totally glossing over the reality of the getting dressed drama!

Love this picture…totally glossing over the reality of the getting dressed drama!

Sure, it’s all fun and games, photo opps and compliments for the first few hours. The children are excited, they are cute in their posh frocks and they’re entertaining for the masses for a bit but, let’s be honest, there comes a stage when your back is in bits from the feet on shoe dancing, they’re cranky, crumpled and craving attention where as you’re sober and looking longingly at the guests on the dance floor giving it beans to a cheeky rendition of Come on Eileen (I never pretended to be classy!)

This year family Leary have 4 weddings and a blessing. Last year we went to 3 so I like to think that we have learnt a thing or two about how to survive the celebrations when you have kids in tow. Here’s my top 5 tips for getting it right or, at the very least, ensuring you get through the day without wanting to put a stiletto through your eye socket;

Pristine and ready to roll!  photo thanks to: http://www.martinphillipsstudio.com/

Pristine and ready to roll!
photo thanks to: http://www.martinphillipsstudio.com/

This is the easy bit!!

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“Muma; what does falling in love mean?”

Don’t you find that the biggest and most important questions happen at the end of the day when you’re all winding down, spending proper time together having a cuddle and a cup of the white stuff?

I’m not going to lie, we’re having a bit of a tough time at the moment. Lots of temper tantrums, daily tears about Muma going to work, irritating whiny voices and, in the case of this morning, wailing from all three of us pre 7.34am, it’s not pretty.
In amongst all of that however there is always usually the rays of sunshine which make me love my children with every single fibre of my being.

So, last night we were having a cheeky bit of The Little Mermaid in bed and that was when the big little posed the rather big question;

What does Falling in Love Mean?

Wow; That’s a biggy…I thought I had years before this sort of stuff…

Well my darling, I’m not quite sure that I answered properly earlier, something about a fuzzy tummy and a special friend (blurgh!)

So I wanted to clarify…

Falling in Love is as easy as falling off a log.
It is the skip of a heart beat when you see your special someone.
It’s wanting to talk to that person when something goes right…or goes wrong.
It’s the extra brush of the hair, the nervous laugh at their jokes.
It’s a glow in your cheeks and spring in your step and a song in your heart.
It’s buying 4 4 2 just so you understand the off side rule. (true story!)

Falling in love is incredible and exciting and nerve-wracking and heart breaking. It gives you legs like jelly and the appetite of a bird…it also makes you more likely to have a proper shave.
It is the way I feel when I pick you and your sister up from nursery because I am falling more in love with you every day.
It is the way your Daddy makes me feel when he comes home after being away or when we look at each other when you two do something funny.

The falling in love is easy my darlings; it’s the staying in love you have to practise.

Hope that helps.

Mummy and Daddy will love you always.
(Bit less whining would be amazing though!)

Muma.

XxxxX

I’m linking this blog post up with Honest Mums #BrilliantBlogPosts linky. Click on the badge to see who else has joined in.

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

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Mix up the Magic for the Perfect Playdate!

Playdates; they can get a little bit samey can’t they.
You get into a habit of seeing the same people, doing the same things and, if you’re anything like us, serving up the same sort of snacks and treats but, every now and again things need a bit of a shake up.
With Summer on the way, the promise of holidays on the horizon and the beginnings of a brilliant and beautiful garden hideaway it’s time for us to Mix Up The Magic.

The Great Outdoors.

As children, my sister and I spent holidays at our Grandpas farm and we were outside morning til night and we loved it.
These days, parents are less likely to let their kids play outside. We worry about them getting too cold, sunburnt or hurt.
It is important to me that our girls appreciate the great outdoors, wildlife and learn how to care for the environment. Yoghurt pot bird feeders were the perfect way to get the girls out in the sunshine soaking up the vitamin D and who doesn’t love getting messy with a bit of mixing and making?!

Fabulous French:

I am no linguist. Sometimes even the most basic of English words escape me, sleep deprivation and a baby brain which clearly hasn’t switched off two years later don’t help!
I am in awe of people that can speak another language (or even English coherently) so, when a friend from toddler group mentioned a new business venture, teaching French to pre-schoolers, I basically strong armed her into a session at ours.
With songs, rhymes and parachute games it was the perfect start to the week and, when the little little welcomed Mr L home with a jaunty ‘Bonjour!’ I almost split my cheeks smiling.

french2

Learning French? Oooh La la!

Learning French? Oooh La la!

A little bit of crazy?!

One of things that makes me happier than anything else in the whole wide world is hearing my babies chattering to each other, playing, pretending and making up games.
As they grow up I absolutely cherish watching their relationship develop and, on a selfish note it sometimes has the added bonus of giving me 5 minutes to clear the breakfast dishes.
During one of the 5 minutes this week (which might have become 10 and included a cuppa and a flick through a magazine) the girls set up a picnic on the stairs, made a pretend plane in their teepee and had a game of crazy golf in the hall.

This is all the luggage they need!

This is all the luggage they need!

I love this.

Yes it makes our home a mess, yes it sometimes makes us late or leads to over excitement; we all know how quickly squeals of happiness can become tears and tantrums but that’s the risk you take. It’s all a learning curve and I am loving these lessons.

**point to note- sometimes the over excitement and general merriment will lead to your phone getting dropped in the water bucket you’ve been splashing in and that in turn means you lose all your happy snaps of said fun times…you have been warned!**

Petit Filous is mixing things up too with their New Magic Squares yogurts which lets kids experience two delicious flavours in one like never before. They are a brilliant source of calcium and vitamin D which helps the body to absorb the calcium…science hey! We love them in our house and the empty pots make fab bird feeders! Reduce, Reuse, Recycle people!

Yummmmmy!  Is there anything on my face?!

Yummmmmy!
Is there anything on my face?!

We don't stage shots here...my kids really are this messy!  #dirtwonthurt

We don’t stage shots here…my kids really are this messy!
#dirtwonthurt

I’d love to hear how you Mix Up the Magic with your littlies…I could use all the ideas you’ve got!

Have a happy week, we’re off to the zoo (zoo, zoo!)

Muma.

XxxxX

Mmmmm...Mix up the Magic.

Mmmmm…Mix up the Magic.

PS: This post is an entry for BritMums #MagicSquaresPlaydates Linky Challenge, sponsored by Petits Filous. http://www.petitsfilous.co.uk

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Pssst…we’re not getting any younger- have you planned your pension?!

Since January I’ve been attempting to live a slightly more balanced and grown up sort of life.
I’ve exercised more consistently (thanks to the quite brilliant Jon and Melissa and their Fit ‘n’ Trim programme) and am generally trying to make better food, drink and lifestyle decisions. Obviously it doesn’t always go to plan; I love a gin in a tin as much as the next person and a bar of Dairy Milk is all I really need to make me happy but, generally speaking, family Leary are trying to eat and live well.

The problem with this is that other grown up topics are now forcing their way into my consciousness. Namely; wills and pensions…Frankly both topics fill me with dread but they desperately need to be faced and the sooner the better.
Mr L and I often talk about our retirement plans. The conversations never centre around eating value beans and wearing gloves indoors. We talk about travel, treating ourselves and enjoying the free time but, none of that will come cheap and it certainly won’t come about by magic.

Sailing off into the sunset can't be paid for in buttons and beans.

Sailing off into the sunset can’t be paid for in buttons and beans.

Cue the lovely people at Mumsnet pinging over an email asking bloggers to review a new website called Retire Savvy, from Skipton Building Society.

retiresavvy
Surely this can only be for 1 of two reasons;

1) They are actually downloading my thoughts
2) I am not the one having a pension panic attack

I am hoping it is option 2…

Basically, Skipton said;

“We believe retirement is one of the biggest social issues of today – in terms of improving people’s awareness of retirement planning and also helping them to ensure they’ve got sufficient savings to enjoy their retirements.
Increasing life expectancy means retirement is no longer a relatively brief period – for many people retirement can last as long as their working lives and many are choosing to do it differently, with set retirement dates becoming less and less common.
Mums are among the hardest hit groups, as we know they often need to contend with all of the above and to also make room for career breaks or reduced hours to make time to be mums. Retirement’s no longer a subject for ‘oldies’, it’s something everyone should be considering, and the earlier the better.”

Oh good lord, it is option 1; they are in my head…(sorry about the mess and all the Daniel Craig clutter!)

Ahhhhh...

Ahhhhh…

The site is full of excellent advice but frankly, there could only be one starting point for me;

Me to a tee...but not anymore!

Me to a tee…but not anymore!

The 5 points here have already helped enormously, I have been able to see just how pitiful my state pension could be and when I will be eligible to claim it; £69.57 per week as of September 2048. Handily though, I also now know how I can top it up.
The site also provided a brilliant reminder about a local government pension plan I paid into for a few years and information on how to find out where it is, how to access it and so on. Every little helps!

For me, the most important area of the site by far is, unsurprisingly, Retirement Planning for Families. All of my worries and concerns are voiced here and it is so reassuring to know that it isn’t just me who’s left things late…
It took me a little while to discover this section so perhaps going forward I’d suggest it could be prominent on the home page, perhaps with its own tab as opposed to being a sub-section of another.
I don’t quite feel that the term ‘Approaching Retirement’ applies to me so perhaps ‘Planning for Retirement or Retirement Planning in your 30’s/40’s etc might be more clear?
Having said that, all the information I need is there on the site; there are loads of useful articles and guides. The jargon buster is a brilliant tool and the forums are really interesting and reassuring; I’m pleased to see that others want to see free childcare provision increased so they can pay the difference into their pension pots- our thoughts precisely.
As the site develops and gains followers I am sure that the threads and discussion forums will expand and help with any questions I have going forwards but the stories and posts from the many retirees on the forums is a brilliant illustration that age now really is just a number and retirement or getting your bus pass can genuinely be a passport to new found freedom- HOORAY!

The most important thing that Retire Savvy does though is to get pension planning into people’s consciousness.
Pensions will never, ever be sexy and Skipton to their credit, aren’t trying to pretend otherwise but, as with so many things, planning ahead enables spontaneity and, whether that is with a crazy full change bag for a day at the zoo or a properly planned pension, so you really can sail off into the sunset, planning is honestly starting to appeal, and I never thought I’d say that!

Have you got your pension properly planned? I’d love to know if you’re paying in or making other plans…
Muma.

XxxX

PS: I was asked to review retiresavvy.skipton.co.uk by Skipton and the Mumsnet Bloggers Network. All views are my own. I was entered into a prize draw to win vouchers as a token of thanks for blogging.
You can check out what other bloggers thought about Retiresavvy here: http://www.mumsnet.com/bloggers/retiresavvy-portal-what-our-bloggers-thought-

PPS: Want to take part in a cutting edge social media campaign? Sign up to support retiresavvy on Thunderclap (best described as an online flash mob) and fight for the retirement you deserve!
For more information visit https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/24810-retirement-revolution?locale=en

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