Mumaleary's Blog

Cheaper than therapy

Shared Parental Leave, how very 21st Century. 

The clocks have gone forward, we’ve stepped into spring (albeit with some pretty serious downpours and a gust of wind so strong it caused the car boot to shut on my head) and on Wednesday we’ll be a whole new financial year. 
Working part time for an accountancy practise (who are excellent btw if you are looking for someone North West based) this is very much at the forefront of my mind and, with an election on the horizon new policies are very much under scrutiny. 

One of the most significant changes coming into force as of Wednesday is Shared Parental Leave; all very new age! 

Mumsnet sent out an email last week asking for bloggers thoughts on the new policy.
I’ll level with you; when the changes were announced I didn’t take a huge amount of notice, probably because I was too damn busy ‘mumming’ to sit down, read the paper, watch the news and form an opinion on anything unlikely to directly affect me and my family. 
With two tricky toddlers on the rampage I reckon we’re just about done with the whole baby thing here…I think?! 

Then I read on and noted that the email said; 
Post your link on our linky page and you’ll be entered into a prize draw where one contributing MN blogger will win a £300 voucher for the store of their choice.

Hmmm I thought, I have always been interested in sexual equality and claim to deeply believe that blokes and birds are equally capable of doing any job they desire (apart from bins). Perhaps I will look into the nuts and bolts a little more…

The basics are that as of this Wednesday, working couples will be able to share up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of pay in a way that best suits their family and work needs. 
Parents can take time off together or they can tag team stopping and starting leave returning to work in between times if they wish. 

From my point of view the time off together sounds awesome. One of the happiest periods in my life was when Mr L was on paternity leave following the birth of the big little. We could muddle through the days learning together and figuring out what our respective roles in this new family situation would be. 

On the other hand, you are effectively eating up your year “off” in half the time so, I’m not sure how practical that would be for everyone but, even if you had 4 or 6 weeks off together at the beginning and then again later in the year I think it is a hugely appealing prospect. Taking a family holiday before you have to pay for a plane ticket or panic about disrupted routines? Yes please. 

  


Having spoken to many new dads, as well as guys that are yet to become dads, the general consensus seems to be that new babies simply aren’t that entertaining. Yes they’re cute, yes they love them but they’re a little bit boring. I’ve never heard a woman say the same. 
To that end then it makes practical sense to split the leave down the middle doesn’t it? Mum does the first stint when it’s all about the feeding, cuddling, the lounging on the sofa watching HUTH and Phil and Holly (a little bit kidding) and then, when the old weaning and crawling shenanigans starts Dad duty kicks in. But that mean us girls miss out on some of the fun. 

At the end of the day, as with everything, it all comes down to pounds, shillings and pence. What makes most financial sense for families. 
Mr L earns more than me so, even if SPL had been around when our babies were babies I would have very probably still had the lions share of leave and I loved it. 
With breast feeding and what not it clearly made more practical sense too. A breast pump, even an electric one, can only do so much and, as open minded as Mr L can be I don’t think he’d have been willing to don one of these bad boys every 3 hours. 

  

On balance though, I do think certainly that the option of shared leave is a good idea. 
Children are the equal responsibility of both parents and so it is only fair that both have the opportunity to care for and bond with them in the precious early years. I have often thought that blokes are given a rough ride by eye rolling mums suggesting that dads are less capable. If they are, then a large part of that is likely down to the fact that they haven’t spent whole days alone with a tiny being that can only express themselves through the medium of high pitched noises. 
They haven’t found themselves in the eye of a projectile vomit/poonami in the middle of the supermarket and simply had to keep calm and carry on. 

Parenting, much like marathon training, is all about doing the hard yards, gaining the experiences both good and bad. No one knows it all and it is only trial and error that gives us mums the edge. Perhaps now SPL will level the playing field a little. 

Finally, I wonder what business owners make of all this; “tag team taking time off in between” Is this fair on the teams you dip in and out of for the best part of 12 months? Surely it impacts on the opportunity to get effective cover in and leaves colleagues with a heavier workload? 

What do you reckon? Would it work for your family? And if your a business owner I would love to hear your views. 


Right, must dash, I’m off to meet my very beautiful niece for the very first time. The littlies are very excited but not a patch on me! Sniffing a babies head is the one of the best things on earth I reckon. 

Loads of love, 

Muma.

XxxX 

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Here comes the Summer…WIN tickets to GERONIMO – The Biggest Children’s Festival in the NW!

Last week, in my post about Disney on Ice, I promised you a competition and, despite the meltdowns, the tantrums and the terrible twos, one of my very very favourite things to do is spend time with my babies and Mr L doing something different. Preferably out doors and ideally including ice cream!

Because I am a caring, sharing kind of gal I want the same for you guys so, how about this:

Brand new to the festival scene for 2015 comes Geronimo, a weekend of organised mayhem at Tatton Park in Cheshire, May 23 – 25.

Geronimo Tatton Park

Expect a line-up jam packed with some of the biggest names in children’s entertainment, including CBeebies favourites Mr Bloom (calm down ladies!) Katy Ashworth, Alex Winters and Cook & Line from Swashbuckle. Geronomites will also be able to enjoy den making, zip wires, donkey rides, circus shows, baby ballet, cookie decorating, storytelling, a petting farm, tree climbing, craft workshops, bubble shows and much more.

KATIE CBEEBIES

CAN NOT WAIT- we adore a den and donkey’s, ballet, stories, cookies- all the rest of it.

Tatton Park is famous beautiful gardens and woodlands, it has excellent motorway links and extensive on site parking.

Tatton Park

The whole programme is designed for the under 12s and tickets are on sale now priced £20.00 per person with kids under 2 totally free.

Happily, one of you lovely lot will be able to go totally gratis as I’ve got one family pass (up to four paying people) to give away. You’re Welcome!!

To enter, all you need to do is answer the question below wirh a comment either on the blog or as a Facebook comment.

Q: Where is the 2015 Geronimo Festival taking place?                    

  A: Tatton Park

 A: Lyme Park

A: South Park

Good Luck!!

Have a wonderful weekend, we’re off to my gorgeous cousins wedding where both of our babies will be beautiful, brilliant, well behaved bridesmaids…we hope…watch this space.

Loads of Love,

Muma.

XxxX

T&C’s: The competition closes on 23RD April (St Georges Day!)  

We have one family pass to giveaway. Each pass admits 4 people, one person in the group must be aged over 18 (NB children under the age of 2 years do not require a ticket).

The winning family can attend on the day of their choice, either May 23rd, May 24th or May 25th. The date must be specified at time of confirming the prize. Travel and accommodation are not included. The prize is non-refundable and no cash alternative will be offered. The prize is non transferable and ID will be required at time of collecting the ticket wristband upon arrival. The prize includes all events and activities at Geronimo but not food and drink from any stalls or bar. Winner chosen at random.

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Disney on Ice…The Real Review!!

Following on from Friday’s apocalyptic melt down from both little cherubs post the Disney on Ice extravaganza I have relaxed, rebooted and am now able to tell you all about it.
You should know that I will be totally glossing over the aftermath and will be painting us as the quintessential perfect family. Please allow me to reimagine the day with a rose tinted hue!
I should also point out that it is far easier for me to write this from the comfort of Virgin first class as I travel down to London for a day of hen fun. I’d be just as happy to spend the whole day on the train reading, writing and chilling on my lonesome but a gals got to do what a gals got to do. Champagne cocktails here I come, unaccompanied mum alert, it could get messy!

{Brief aside; due to the abysmal WiFi on Virgins trains I was not able to post this yesterday as planned; I know many of you will have waited in for it!! }

Anyway, back to Disney on Ice;

Disney on Ice Echo Arena, Disney on Ice review,
On Friday night, as I relaxed in the bath with Sandi Toksvig; not the actual person, that would be both cramped and awkward; she is merely one of the writers of Good Housekeeping (Yes I do read it, my mum passes on her copy to me each month in the vain hope I will transform via osmosis!) I was reassured to discover that she shares my frustrations about Disney Princesses; they all get rescued by fellas and then, quick as a flash, get an incredible frock and go on to live ‘happily ever after’ but, they do it with such a bloody annoyingly brilliant sound track and amazing animation that it’s tricky not to get swept along.

I held off for as long as I could but we are now fully paid up members of the Dinsey fan club so, when I got the email telling me that Disney on Ice was coming to The Echo Arena, I put aside all of my feminist frustrations and booked. It was expensive at £40 each (3 seats between 4 as the little little is 2) but it was their Christmas present.

It was worth every penny. I loved it. Grandma loved it.

We all loved it.

There was no weak link. It was fantastic from start to finish. In the words of Anna (she needs no introduction)

It is amazing!!!

When the dates were announced initially I missed out on tickets so, when an additional date was added I was on it like a car bonnet and as a result we had the best seats in the house. Literally, we were floor level, front row. Get them if you can.

Only the best will do!!  Front Row Baby!!

Only the best will do!!
Front Row Baby!!

DOI Audience

Mickey and Minnie introduced all of the acts and every single one was fabulous. The dancers really engaged with the children and the big littles arms must have ached from the pointing and waving.

DOI Mickey and Minnie

First up were Anastasia and Dresilla from Cinderella, followed by The Little Mermaid.  We’ve never seen the film but the performance was incredible. When Ariel traded her voice for some legs she left the ice and gave a serious display of acrobatics whilst suspended by a rope. Amazing. I know I am over using the term btw!

After a short intermission Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy were back to get us all in the mood for the next acts;

One of our favourite Disney films is Beauty and the Beast and we can regularly be found singing along to Be Our Guest in the car.
The girls eyes were nearly as big as the plates when Mrs Potts and Chip came out. We booed Gaston, cheered Belle and laughed at Lumiere and Cogsworth. Apologies for the lack of imagery but it is tough to balance a toddler, point, clap and film simultaneously!

There were scenes from Tangled- including Maximus- an actual (obviously not ACTUAL but you get my drift)

Image courtesy of my friend Fi!! Thanks Mate ;-)

Image courtesy of my friend Fi!!
Thanks Mate ;-)

then the finale was…Frozen (obv!)

The rink was transformed into a winter wonderland with snow falling from the ceiling  and when Sven and Christophe came on we were all enthralled.

Prince Hans lost his footing which frankly could be karma but he carried on seamlessly. All of the performances were really brilliant and, as Grandma so eloquently pointed out there were many pert posteriors to admire! There really is something for everyone.

I realise that by booking this we are on a slippery slope, I will be keeping my eyes peeled for other events like this, I have already booked tickets for Ben and Holly and I can not wait until they are old enough for festivals and the theatre proper!!!

In May we are off to Geronimo Festival at Tatton Park (keep your eyes peeled for a ticket give away soon) and in August hope to head to either Lollibop or The Just So Festival so, with that in mind here’s my top tips for making sure you don’t miss out on the hottest tickets in town and don’t feel fleeced when you go.

1) Sign up to the mailing list for your local theatres, arenas etc and you’ll get priority booking and will be the first to know when new acts are announced.

2) When Aunties, Uncles, Grandmas, Grandads and God Parents ask what to get the children for birthdays, Easter, Christmas, consider asking for tickets to the next event they’d enjoy. They might even offer to take them…

3) Get a loyalty card such as the ATG theatre card and save on all the booking fees. If you go to more than one or two performances a year it is well worth it.

4) Take your own snacks. Do not try to justify the £7 it costs for a drink because you get to keep the cup. £4 for candy floss with a cardboard Olaf head?!

5) Blindfold your kids on entry and exit to add to the occasion. A happy side effect of this game is that they won’t see all of the stuff that they are selling; no one needs to spunk £10 on a cup, a swirly light thing or plastic horse. You really don’t.
A double bonus here is the money you save on tat is money you can spend on the next years tickets plus, you’ll save on Big Yellow Storage fees in later years ;-)

Have you been to Disney this weekend? I’d love to know what you thought…

Have a wonderful week.

Muma.

XxxX

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Disney on Ice (and kids that are dicks)

I think it’s safe to say that I am writing this blog seething. 
I haven’t calmed down, I haven’t put things in perspective and I am miles away from seeing the funny side. 
Safe to say this is a knee jerk post!

What I should have been writing about now, is the amazing spectacle that is Disney on Ice. 
I should have been putting my opinions on Disney princesses (and the fact that every single character it has ever created is now whored out to the merchandising masses and are literally impossible to ignore)  to one side and been sharing my video footage and pictures but that will have to wait.

For now all I have to say is my kids are dicks. 
This afternoon after an amazing show at the Echo Arena, Liverpool, both girls made an absolute wholly show of me. They wouldn’t hold hands with me or my mum, they wouldn’t walk, they lost the ability to speak but perfected the art of wailing and screaming. What a sheer, unadulterated delight. 
They lay on the actual pavement whilst a trillion Anna’s, Elsa’s  Belle’s (there’s the merchandise whoring I mentioned!) and a random Robin Hood filed passed swinging arms with their parents as if they were from the bloody von trappe family and my two were from Poltagist.

Now, I appreciate that this sounds like an exaggeration but it isn’t. 
There are people at home tonight talking about us and thanking their lucky stars that their kids aren’t like mine. Well, careful people, pride comes before a fall and all that! 

They screamed, cried wailed and generally made it their business to completely fuck me off.

Well done ladies, it worked.

A particular low point was having to carry the little little under my arm like a plank of wood whilst dragging the other by the wrist whilst simultaneously ignoring the smug/pitying/shall I call the NSPCC stares. 

So; tell me please- what am I doing wrong and what the hell would you have done in that situation?!

This is not rhetorical. I need suggestions; I’m googling reward charts and self medicating with trash telly and wine. 


As a footnote and to make myself feel marginally better about things, they were pretty good during the performance and, I will blog about this separately, the show was first class. 

Whatever my thoughts on the whole disney money machine, they certainly know how to put on a show and I would recommend it in a heart beat. 

I have never been one that fancied Disney World but on the back of today I am seriously tempted…We just need someone to have the girls 😉

Happy International Happiness Day! 

Muma. 

XxxX

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So, we still have to do this do we??

Apologies for the negative opener but I can’t be the only person to find it hugely frustrating that we still have to have days like this; International Womans Day. Conversations about equality and why women and men are basically the same but not- and why should they be?!

I wrote about my annoyance on International Day of the Girl last year but; being a woman and, as a mum to two gorgeous girls regularly blogging about the woes and wonders of motherhood and the dance of the working mum I felt that it would be remiss of me to let the day pass without adding my tupence worth.

I’ve written before about the fact that I hate that we still need days like this, the fact that women and girls fall so far behind the men and boys in relation to wages, education and life chances. Will we ever live in a world where we can take it as read that people are just people?? Unlikely but I think we’re moving forward, slowly.

(on that note, this is a brilliant post from Mr L’s fave, arseblog)

A part of me wonders if I’ve got anything to add to this but, the other part says; that’s why International Womans Day exisits; to remind people that every woman, everyone, has a voice and everyone has a right to make it heard so…here goes.

If you like it and you chose it, wear it. To Hell with anyone else.

I recently had what I shall tactfully describe as a heated debate, about girls that get sexually assaulted having to take responsibility for the way they dress and the way they behave. This makes me want to weep and scream in equal measure. It adds insult to injury that the discussion was with another woman…

I am absolutely the first to admit that I have seen my fair share of outfits that are a little bit out there, outfits that leave little to the imagination and outfits that are just plain weird. Hell, I’ve worn plenty of them myself.

I read status updates from women that have just run a marathon, lamenting the fact that their face looks a little flushed and their thighs could be skinnier. We have got to stop this.

Where ever you are, whoever you are you have the right to wear what you want and look however you like. It is for no one else to judge and it is certainly not for anyone to take the way you look as a sign that they understand the inner workings of your brain.

Whether you choose a bikini or a birka. Wear it, own it and never apologise for it.

Knowledge is Power. Don’t take it for granted.

I adore the fact that your minds are so enquiring. Never, never, never lose that. I love the fact that you love to read and question and learn. As you grow up, you’ll ask questions that daddy and I can’t answer but, there will be an answer somewhere and, we have access to so many resources that you can find them. Don’t take these resources for granted. Not all boys and girls have access to them.

Your opinion is as valid as anyone else’s.

So, as you grow and question and enquire you will form your own opinions.

They are valid. Don’t let someone silence you because they think their view of the world is more important than yours. It isn’t. Debate is healthy but for goodness sake, make it informed. I’ve learnt from experience that clambering down from a high horse feels pretty excruciating!

The only thing a boy can do that you can’t is wee standing up.

There is no such thing as toys for boys, jobs for boys or colours for boys or hobbies for boys. If you want to do it, Do it. If you hate it, what have you lost? Don’t ever stop yourself from having a go because you don’t have a winky.

The long and short of it? It’s all here; advice for life whoever you are.

Muma.

XxxX

good women

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Time to say Goodbye.

So, it seems that my sole surviving grandparent, my Grandma is dying. She has been sleeping since late last week and we don’t expect her to come round from this state. She has neither eaten or drank and is being medicated round the clock to keep her as free from pain as possible.
What a sad, sad end to a life so well lived.

There is a beautiful poem about death by Canon Henry Scott Holland, it begins like this;

Death is nothing at all.

Hmmm; what do we think about this?

Death maybe nothing at all; but what of dying?

I wish that death could be as painless as switching off a light. Of planting a kiss on a loved ones cheek, wishing them well until you meet again but alas, that is so rarely the case.
Dying is messy, emotional, inconsiderate, inconvenient, inevitable and often awful. For everyone.

It is the opposite of nothing at all.

My glorious Grandma has ebbed away, she is a shadow of the wonderful woman that she was and it is so bitterly unfair.

I wish so deeply that she had not suffered the pain and indignity of this death. That she had not had her memory pilfered, stolen away from her piece by piece until she could no longer remain in the home she loved, could no longer recall our names and half of her history.

I wish she had not stayed quite so long at this party and her family and friends were saved the grief of this period.
The dying bit.
It is the natural order that you get old and you die; I am not mourning that.
I am mourning the interim period where the person you love is in pain, frightened and unable to manage even the most basic of functions alone.
Gone in all but body but with enough remaining to feel the physical pain.

That is not nothing at all. That is simply awful and feels inhumane.

I know that one Grandma has passed away time will heal this hurt.
I know too that the remainder of this beautiful poem will hold true and, as a family we will be able to share jokes and fond memories and cherish the long life she lived but for now I just feel so very very sad.

Sad for her. She would not have wanted this and we don’t want this for her.

I want her to go to her new home now, with her son and her husband, watch the birds from her easy chair with an earl grey and a slice of lemon cake.
I want her to look in on us occasionally and smile before going back to the crossword and perhaps having a cheeky sherry in front of Songs of Praise.

I want to be able to smile at the memory of baking with her and my cousins, of visiting her church at Easter and making the model of the crucifixion and the tomb.
I want to recall the hot chocolates and bedtime stories, the different voices and her soft soft skin which smelt of Oil of Ulay.

I want to have a wry smile when the girls wear something ‘too grown up’ and recall our shopping trip to “Tammy Girl” and her request for cutlery in McDonalds.

I want to replay her 90th birthday and her face when I told her she was going to be a Great Grandma and I want to remember her seeing the girls on her birthday last year. She was delighted with them.

I want this bit to be over now. Not because I don’t love her, but because I do.

IMG_1072

God Bless Grandma.
You are loved.
Always.

**Grandma passed away on Wednesday night so is now at peace at least.**

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Home is where the Heart is; Happy St David’s Day.

Where are you from? What nationality are you? Are they easy questions for you?
They’re not so easy for me, the actual truth doesn’t tell the story of how I feel.

I suppose, if we’re using the crudest measures, in a survey, I’d have to tick the English box.
I live in England and I was born here too.

Don’t misunderstand me, I’ve got nothing, nothing against England. Some of my best friends are English!! I just don’t feel English myself. British yes, but English, no, that doesn’t feel like me.
The National Anthem means nothing to me- I like Queen Liz and all that, she’s done a sterling job, and I loved the James Bond thing at the Olympics but, my heart and my heritage lie elsewhere.

If we’re talking emotions, it’s a no brainer. I’m Welsh through and through.
I don’t live there, I can’t speak the lingo properly and in terms of the politics I couldn’t tell you what’s going down the old general assembly but;
When I hear Bread of Heaven I well up.
When I picture my childhood home I’m don’t picture the house I went to school from or had friends to play at. I picture our own precious little corner of Wales where the sun always shone (even when it didn’t) and life felt pretty damn sweet.

IMG_4950IMG_4952
When  I watch the rugby (though my knowledge and understanding of the game is sketchy at best) I only want one team to win.

wales team
In my heart, I’m Welsh.

I know I can’t expect my children to share this feeling. Perhaps they will feel distinctly English like their daddy, perhaps they’ll feel like a blend of us both or perhaps as they grow up they’ll associate  themselves with traditions that aren’t so linked with place. I don’t know.

What I do know is, if my babies feel as warm and comforted by their history and heritage as I do then we’ll have done something right.

Happy St Davids Day Everyone, whatever you do, wherever you’re from and wherever you’re spending your day, have a good one.

Muma.

XxxX

to be born welsh

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Got any ID love?!

Can you believe that we are one week away from March?!?

Whoa there univimageerse, let’s slow this bad-boy down shall we?!
Oh well, spring is soon to be springing which means longer evenings, warmer weather and the arrival of my amazing niece or nephew. Hooray!

So, how is 2015 shaping up so far; well all things considered been a pretty great start to 2015 for family Leary.
I’ve got a new job, Mr L has celebrated a year in the post that brought him home to us, I’ve lost some weight and, more importantly I have so far maintained my momentum in the keeping active stakes so, with nearly 2 month’s done 2015 is looking bright.

I think though, that one of THE single, most lovely experiences of the year in terms of self-indulgent me time, happened a couple of weeks back; my last child free day before beginning my new job.

 

I literally did (almost) nothing all day and it felt pretty bloody amazing.
I put the duvet on the sofa made myself some tea and toast (which I consumed mindfully…) watched the tennis and then, hopped in the car and went for the single most amazing facial I have ever had.

Now, the reasons that it was so brilliant could be partly down to the fact that it is rare for me to have the opportunity to have such a treat and, when the hail is lashing against the windows who wouldn’t want to be snuggled up being pampered, but I’m pretty sure it went deeper than that.

My good friend Laura recommended Health and Beauty by Charlene Locke and I wasn’t disappointed.
I arrived at Charlene’s home in Parkgate armed with tracksuit bottoms and bed socks because I HATE feeling cold and have, all too frequently, had a spa treatment spoilt wondering whether asking for yet another blanket would either come across as rude or would crush my lungs due to the number of additional towels being piled on top of me.
How blissful then that Charlene’s bed had an electric blanket, actual duvet and a towel. Amazing. My brain was immediately able to get rid of that little worry and so was free to empty itself completely- another rarity.

Secondly, Charlene is a glowing and gorgeous example of her products and the facials she administers. I always feel more hopeful when met by someone that you’d love to look like as opposed to someone whose fingers smell of nicotine and whose make-up routine is out of the 1980’s…true story people; happened in Coventry last year. That was 30 minutes I’ll never get back. URGH.

Charlene asked about my current beauty regime- a very short conversation. Basically at the moment I am cleansing with baby wipes and scraping out the last of the MAC foundation with a cotton bud whilst I await my first pay cheque. It’s not a winning formula and, since I am trying reeducate myself about healthy mind, healthy body it makes sense to try to translate this into my loosely termed “beauty regime” and dipping my toe in the water with a treatment is the ideal way to start don’t you think?!

Having had a good look at my skin Charlene decided that a Belantur soft peel was the one for me, a 90 minute treatment starting with a back and neck massage- pure bliss! (Belantur is a Spanish skincare company new to the UK they have an amazing range of products to suit all skin types)

Charlene started experimenting with her own products when her daughter was born and now incorporates them into many of her treatments- she used the coconut and frangipani soufflé for my back massage and it smelt and felt amazing.

As I drifted off to sleep I am informed that Charlene then cleansed, moisturised peeled, pressured point massaged and generally gave my skin some serious TLC.
Of course, I was so relaxed and fast asleep it is possible that she slunk next door and watched This Morning but, judging from my “luminous glow”, I don’t think that was the case!

An unexpected treat was the hand and arm massage which gently brought me back to life as the mask was working its magic. Again this was using Charlene’s own products- specifically the neroli & lavender hand cream which left my haggard old hands much softer.

The final touch was removing the mask and moisturising with “fitoaloe” a nourishing and hydrating cream rich in hylauronic acid which is apparently an “active ingredient and a MUST for keeping your skin dewy and fine lines at bay”.

I left almost 2 hours after I’d arrived walking on air and feeling as though I’d slept for a week.

Testament to the treatment is the fact that, on the way home I popped into Co-op for a bottle of red and I WAS ONLY ID’ED!!!

Sure, he might have been on training, sure they say ‘if you look under 25′ and all that but even that means I’ve shaved off almost a decade; Ten Years Younger eat your heart out!

image
With Mothers Day on the horizon surely this has got to be on the Wish list? She does vouchers you know!

Love

Muma.

PS- Charlene gave me this treatment for the purposes of this review but- as ever, all views, words and naps had are my own.

PPS- If you want to buy a voucher or book in with Charlene you can call or email her;

07973 264415

charlenelocke.sa@gmail.com

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Mindfulness

Tonight, possibly as you are reading this, I’m going to session 6 of the fit and trim programme I’ve been taking part in since mid January.
It’s a fantastic idea from Melissa at Fresh Start Health and Jonathan her brother who is a fab personal trainer .
Basically, it is all about mindfulness and re-educating yourself about what you eat, why you eat, how you choose to exercise and look after yourself from the inside out.
We have had menu plans, a week of juicing and 2 weekly group sessions where we run, chat and the following day do circuits. It is a holistic approach which I think is really important.
Blue Sky wallpaper
It isn’t about being perfect or never having a biscuit again, it is just about trying to be a little bit more mindful.
Last night I skipped Commando X fit which is an amazing class I’ve been doing along side the fit and trim sessions, check out what we get up to on the video!!
I love it.
It’s outside, it’s hard, it’s usually cold but it is always different and it gives me a real buzz.
I didn’t skip it because I couldn’t be bothered, I made a choice to spend the evening with my babies and my husband.
I had the time to bathe them (Not Mr L-that would be weird!)
We cuddled on the sofa in front of Abney and Teal, I read them 2 books and tucked them in to their beds.
Check out the daddy's girl!  What a look of love.

Check out the daddy’s girl!
What a look of love.

Then, after that, I had dinner and chilled with him in doors and I enjoyed it all because it was a choice, not a cop out.
I felt family time took precedence last night; usually I have to race out of the door when Mr L gets home to get to the class in time and leave the girls lips quivering as I don the trainers and make a mad dash .
Mindfulness in practise people; I think this fit and trim is really making a difference.
Bring on the second half. I am feeling motivated!
Happy Chinese New Year!
If you’re having a takeaway; ENJOY!
Muma.
XxxX
PS- Here are the links to the classes in case you want to know more:
Fit and Trim: http://fresh-start-health.co.uk/fit-n-slim-challenge

JGF Fitness:  http://www.jgffitness.co.uk

Commando X Fit: http://www.commandoxfitengland.co.uk/

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Everything’s Premier but the price?! OR; a post that makes me sound a bit ‘Hopkins’.

There’s a school of thought that when you have children nothing needs to change.
In my PC (pre child) days I was one of those people. I believe the word is, in hindsight, delusional.
Delusional for me on quite a few levels as it happens.

I envisaged that we’d be globe trotting like good’uns as soon as the babes were dry- why I expected this when we were too skint to holiday much when it was just the two of us is a mystery, but I have always had some pretty high ideals!
Like the posters say; dream big and all that.

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I envisaged that both myself and my children would leave the house looking serene and polished with hair pulled back into a thick, glossy, swinging ponytail. I look which, frankly, I have never pulled off. Even when I was only in charge of one birds nest barnet.

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I envisaged my life would be yoga, lunching and weirdly minimal wiping up of sick and snot and vom. It’s not quite turned out that way and I do know how lucky I am to have a part time job, two gorgeous girls, a wonderful husband and a happy family life so don’t roll your eyes at me too much. I realise things are far from dire straits.

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However, I did not, not ever, envisage that I’d be dining on Valentines Day in a Brewers Fayre before falling asleep pre 10pm in a Premier Inn family room…no I was all about Mr and Mrs Smith boutique B&B’s, White Company sheets and adjoining rooms…
Clearly someone told me that child rearing and lottery wins were basically one and the same thing!

They’re not.

I have no idea why I’m like this; I was raised like a regular human with a love of The Little Chef, Harvester and Beefeater- anything food related really (except beans)
Perhaps my experience as a nanny for the well heeled has given me a misplaced sense of what’s normal!
Anyway, if you are still living in the same fantasy world in which I reside- despite having no pension to speak of or private fortunate to secure my old age, rest assured, the real world is pretty ok too and this is how I know…

Our Valentines Adventure to The Premier Inn…

I appreciate that everywhere looks a little bit shit when it’s cold and grey and you haven’t had a valentines card but I don’t think I’m speaking out of turn to say the sun would really have to be cracking the flags to brighten up the retail park and surrounding docks that we drove through to reach our destination of The Premier Inn North Shields!

We walked in and were greeted with a real North East welcome- hooray, people that actually seem happy to be working and interacting not only with the public but with children.
Dean and Anne were quick, efficient and friendly.

Our room was a really great size and, when the big littles first words were
“This is amazing, It’s just like Ibiza!”
My heart melted a little.

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I relaxed in the bath whilst the girls chatted to me and Mr L made some Twinnings tea…plenty of tea bags- take note The Grove!!
Perfect.

We headed over to the pub to meet our friends for dinner and again, the staff were really brilliant- orders taken and divided into families to prevent hassle when paying the bill.
Speedy service and no mistakes but, because I knew we were in a place designed for families I wasn’t panicking every time the girls spoke; which they didn’t really because they were too busy in the soft play.
Small gripe here; why does all soft play seem to have inaccessible areas which kids can post rubbish into but the cleaners can not reach to clean.
I don’t want to be asked to retrieve a ball or toy or a raisin from a minging concrete floor covered in fluff, dust and other kids haribo. It’s grim, end of.
Happily, the bits the children are messing about in are totally fine which is more than I can say about many of the other soft plays I’ve endured enjoyed.
The toys and activities I (for once) remembered were redundant and it was brilliant to see the girls holding their own on the slides and tunnels. When the big littles hairband fell out 3 boys all decked out in Newcastle shirts clamoured to be the one to return it.
Ah- young love!

The food was standard pub grub with pasta, salads, burgers and meats from the grill and the Dennis the Menace inspired kids menu went down well with our girls; what’s not to love about spaghetti Bolagnaise, ham and pineapple pizza followed by jelly and ice-cream?!

Walking back to the hotel (is the Premier Inn a hotel?!) meant we could both have a drink though the fact that the little little seemed to wake every hour between midnight and five made us grateful we hadn’t filled our boots.

I suppose we could have complained about the noise and claimed a refund thanks to the ‘Great Night’s Sleep’ Guarantee but it would take the Mickey slightly given that only noise we heard was from someone we willingly brought along!

We bought breakfast on the day and we were impressed that it was made to order; something else they didn’t do at The Grove! Kids eat free too and ours certainly made the most of that with fruit, cereal and toast to sustain them.
Mr L had the works and I had two boiled eggs which were soft but not snotty. Lush.

We headed off to gorgeous Patricks Christening at 10ish but could actually have stayed until noon which is pretty generous (and unnecessary if you’re with the bairns!)

I’ll level with you. It was a wicked way to spend valentines. I loved it, probably because when it’s quality time with the fam it doesn’t really matter where you are- cue a little bit of sick in your mouth!
I’m looking for reasons to book another break at a Premier Inn, Lenny Henry tells me there’s many an excuse; I think I’m finally coming down to earth and happily, I feel a lot more chilled out here.

What or where have you been pleasantly surprised by- are there more hidden gems we need to wake up to?

Have a Happy Monday.

Muma. XxX

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