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One for me, One for you; A Saturday Book Review #5

Hello Lovely People. How are you my precious little petals? I am fine, it is 8:04 on a Friday night, I am in my PJ’s, in bed with my laptop and keeping half an eye on DIY SOS- Obviously I’m expecting blubbing- anything can set me off now I’m a mum, films, adverts, books, happy things, sad things, anything. This week it’s in Manchester and the family are on a trip to the Blue Planet…we’ve been there sob- they’re just like us- sob!  Every single time I see this programme I cry. Anyway, this is meant to be a sane and rational book review so instead of going off on one of my usual tangents I am going to sick with the job in hand and tell you what you should be reading this week;

Just to recap before we kick off, here’s what you get each week; Family Leary choose two books each week to read and review. They might be something we already have, they might be something we’ve bought or borrowed or something we’ve been sent to review but, you will always get our genuine opinion; good, bad or ugly…

ONE FOR ME: This is a review of a real life grown up book- This could prove to be the down fall of this feature…me finding time to read a book each week and then tell you about it. If I start reviewing the TSS advice sheet you find in all good tampon boxes, you’ll know I’m struggling!

ONE FOR YOU: The YOU I am referring to here is my babies- so, this will be a children’s book that we have read and enjoyed. This shouldn’t be too tricky since both girls love books though for the little little they are used more as elements of an obstacle course as opposed to a literary educational tool! Finally Ready?!

Read the rest of this entry »

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Fox Hunts, Fajitas and A foolish Footballer; Love the Little Things #10

Good Afternoon Everybody! I’m hoping you read that in a sort of sing-song way as if you were responding to a teacher like you had to back in the day before it went all first name and casual?!

How the devil are you? I hope that you’ve enjoyed a short week and half term has been kind despite the weather?

So, we all know where this is heading don’t we; that’s right kids, it’s time for Love the Little things, my rock and roll run down of the week so take a load off, grab a cuppa and enjoy! Read the rest of this entry »

11 Comments »

Wonderful Wirral Women! #WoWiWo

Ladies, Ladies, Ladies; How the devil are you? I am saying ladies specifically because, frankly, without being sexist, I don’t think any of this is of interest to the guys amongst you- you might be required for babysitting though so do take note of the dates!

Can you believe we are slap bang in the middle of May half term and once that’s out of the way we will be rolling down the holiday hill headlong into Summer?! Sounds good hey? I know that daily I am becoming more and more like my mother but, I can’t let this pass without saying;

Oooohhhh; The days are long but the years are short aren’t they?!

Ain’t that the truth.

Over the Bank Holiday family Leary headed over to Farm Feast Festival at Claremont Farm and I was reminded yet again how lucky we are to live in such a gorgeous place; The Wirral. I love it.

We are surrounded by countryside,

We are surrounded by countryside,

we're close to the sea

we’re close to the sea

and the cities

and the cities

and, thanks in no small part to good old Dicky Branson we can still hit the big smoke in under 3 hours- perfect!

Since we came up here to live from Surrey in December 2012 I have been able to see so much more of my friends and family as well as meeting lots of new people which is brilliant. Incidentally, if you’re not familiar with Wirral, I would heartily recommend a visit. There are some lovely places to stay- one of which is on offer on Secret Escapes at the moment!

We all need a bit of this on our life don't we!

We all need a bit of this on our life don’t we!

Life is somewhat different than it was when I was growing up here, my social circle is now more baby groups that bellinis, more potty training than partying and frankly more gross than glamorous and I thought I would try to re-inject something special for all the #WoWiWo, that’s Wonderful Wirral Women to you and I- like it?!

So…with that in mind I have decided to become a little bit PTA, a little bit of a sticky beak, Mrs Mangle neighbour type and arrange some get togethers to help more mums and women in general, take a little bit of time for themselves and to hang out with their mates- see if any of them float your boat and feel free to share!

1) Non-Networking Networking: 

If you have your own business, are looking to set up your own business, change careers or return to work after a break then this night is perfect. On Thursday 10th July from 7:30pm I will be taking over Otto Lounge in Heswall with the lovely Jo from The Womans Org.

Don’t panic, don’t panic! I am not talking about some serious networking event where you put on a power suit and give a presentation about how you’re going to be the next Bobbi Brown or Jo Malone or Martha Lane-Fox.
 I’m talking about you pondering what you’re looking for out of your job and finding like-minded people who you might be able to link with, drink with and possibly work with in the future. You can come along to meet up with others, chat over a glass of wine about what you do, what you’d like to do and whether you might be able to support each-other by introducing contacts, sharing skills or experience. Don’t be put off if you’re not sure whether you fancy starting out on your own- you can just come for a kid free night with friends- it’s not a high-powered shoulder pad type of affair! More an opportunity to mull over some ideas with friends and acquaintances, hand out business cards if you fancy and speak to  The Women’s Org about how to take things further if you’d like.

“Networking is one of the most effective ways to grow a business, especially if your business is new and not well-known. It helps you to find new clients, suppliers and services and to forge new relationships that strengthen your company and build that essential ‘word of mouth’ about your business.”

I will be circulating a contacts list after the event so, if you want to come just email me the following with NETWORKING as a title:

  • Name
  • Business Name if applicable
  • Website if applicable
  • Social Media Details if applicable

The event will cost £3.50 and payment details will be provided by email.goals

 

2) Christmas Shopping Extravaganza

Yes, that’s right- I am unashamedly using the term extravaganza! This is to help you conjure up ideas of a glorious Festive Shopping trip with Frizz and Friends and Fun!

Meeting at The Devon Doorway, Gayton on Thursday 6th November from 8am you will be treated to a glass of bucks fizz, a delightful Eggs Benedict breakfast and a tea or coffee before being whisked off to The Trafford Centre (leaving at 9:30am) so you can shop sans kids and crowds and ensure that you get your hands on the must have toys and gifts before they all sell out.
We will be leaving the Trafford Centre at 4pm so you can get home in time for the kids bath and bedtime OR to carry on the evening with the food and drink offers available at the Devon Doorway and many of the other restaurants in Heswall. So, book in the childcare and hop aboard the fun bus (actually a comfy executive coach…I’m not as young as I was!)

The event will cost £20 and payment details will be provided by email.

shopping

3) The Fabulous Frost Fair

This is the most exciting of the three events to be perfectly honest and I can not wait!

Over the weekend of November 21st through to 23rd you are cordially invited to step into a beautiful Winter Wonderland at a top secret Wirral Location. Imagine for a minute the chance to browse a fantastic selection of luxury craft stalls choosing bespoke and beautiful gifts that you couldn’t find elsewhere whilst sipping champagne and tasting some gorgeous foods in a stunning setting. There will be demonstrations and workshops as well as the opportunity to book photo shoots to ensure you can send the perfect Christmas cards featuring your gorgeous self/kids/pet.

I can’t say too much more for the moment but, if you are interested in a stall for your business please do email me for more details. Christmas magic

So, there you go, a brief update on why my mind finds it so hard to power down and switch off! It would be absolutely brilliant to see you at any or all of these events- you don’t have to be young, be a mum or be a shopaholic; everyone is very welcome.

Oh and, the beauty of these events is that you can wear this with pride throughout December…

christmas teeshirt

 

Hit me with your emails at thelearys1710@gmail.com and I’ll be in touch!

Muma.

XxxX

 

 

3 Comments »

‘Mazin’ Meatballs!

Hey dudes, with it being Half term and all I thought you might have a little bit more time for cooking with the littlies- these meatballs and tomato sauce  are something we’ve enjoyed making. They’re healthy, cheap and not too tricky…Let me know what you reckon. I initially wrote this post for International Blog Swap day but, now that’s long gone I thought I’d share it with you lovely people.

So, without further ado, here is the Jamie Oliver Meatball recipe we tried last week (I had to review a supermarket chain and this is what we made with our purchases). We were inspired by the family film of the moment, Lady and the Tramp! Lady and the TrampIngredients:

  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 12 Jacob’s cream crackers
  • 2 heaped teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 500 g quality minced beef, higher-welfare pork, or a mixture of the two
  • 1 heaped tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ fresh or dried red chilli
  • 2×400 g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 400 g dried spaghetti or penne
  • Parmesan cheese, for grating

Method:

Finally chop the rosemary whilst your toddler enjoys smashing the crackers to bits with a rolling pin. It’s best if you put them in a sandwich bag or something first to prevent them from going everywhere and a shard nearly blinding you, just saying!
Add to a mixing bowl with the mustard, minced meat, chopped rosemary and oregano. Crack in the egg and add a good pinch of salt and pepper.
With clean hands scrunch and mix up well. Divide into 4 large balls. With wet hands, divide each ball into 6 and roll into little meatballs – you should end up with 24. Drizzle them with olive oil and jiggle them about so they all get coated. Put them on a plate, cover and place in the fridge until needed.

Meatball recipe

Easy to Bag and freeze- Fab!

 

On to the sauce- now, I don’t know what you guys are like for feeding your kids different flavours and things but I am all for just giving them smaller portions of your food. I have absolutely no time for all of this “they only like beans and fish fingers” sort of thing. I have no intention of cooking more than one meal a night so they need to get comfortable with flavours! Having said that, you are obviously welcome to omit the chilli, garlic etc if you think it might be too much for smaller tums.
Pick the basil leaves, keeping any smaller ones to one side for later. Peel and finely chop the onion and the garlic (to be honest, I usually use the lazy garlic) Finely slice the chilli (use more or less depending on who you’re feeding). Put a large pan of salted water on to boil. Next, heat a large frying pan on a medium heat and add 2 lugs of olive oil. Add your onion to the frying pan and stir for around 7 minutes or until softened and lightly golden.

Add your garlic and chilli, and as soon as they start to get some colour add the large basil leaves. Add the tomatoes and the balsamic vinegar. Bring to the boil and season to taste. Meanwhile, heat another large frying pan and add a lug of olive oil and your meatballs. Stir them around and cook for 8–10 minutes until golden (check they’re cooked by opening one up – there should be no sign of pink).

Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer until the pasta is ready, then remove from the heat.photo-3

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the packet instructions. Saving some of the cooking water, drain the pasta in a colander. Return the pasta to the pan. Spoon half the tomato sauce into the pasta, adding a little splash of your reserved water to loosen. Sprinkle over the small basil leaves and some grated Parmesan I didn’t do this bit- putting excess green on the top is a sure fire way to get an ‘I don’t like it’ before it’s even touched the lips. Don’t bother!!

Now, I want it to be known that I am a hideous housewife and even worse cook but even I was able to make these work…with the help of my glamorous assistant so, don’t be shy, give them a try. They freeze really well and, as they are fairly small defrost quickly for a meal in a moment dinner.
Add spaghetti and salad and you’re basically super mum!!

So, there you have it. Let me know what you think.
You can check out my blog for more fantastic recipes (you won’t find many!) you will mainly find examples of me being an epic fail of a mother but trying my best anyway. You can also find me on Facebook and Twitter.

With lots of love,

Muma.

XxxX

16 Comments »

And all before 10am! Phew

Holy Crap- What a stressed out start to the day that was!

We woke up late thanks to a 2 1/2 hour hiatus in the middle of the night where the little little decided that no one could possibly survive the night without knowing the breadth of her (impressive) vocabulary.

It started around 1am with the obligatory muma muma muma and, when I realised the incessant wailing would not stop without help I went in to her. This led to her poking my eyes and pulling my hair in turn simply to prove she knew the words. Marvelous.

I took her into the spare room which also doubles as my office; a somewhat grandiose term for ‘room with desk and other clutter’. She changed tack…chair chair chair. We sit on the chair. Obviously at this stage I had already attempted the back to bed thing more than once- I’m not a total idiot. Anyway, eventually, after asking where the horses* were (asleep) where grandma was (asleep) and where the dogs** were (also asleep baba- do you see the common theme here?!) She went back to bed and so did I. That was around 3.30 so when the alarm went off I felt I deserved a snooze or two…Cue waking up at 8:18, way later than necessary to get everyone sorted and out the door in time for nursery for me to start work. Shiiiiiiiiigar!

Not to worry, we’ll drive today as it’s raining…

Car seats at Grandmas…start again.

Put girls in buggy, Big little needs wee wee, Get her out, take her, praise her, etc etc…

Put her back in buggy.

Little little wants ‘nana. Get nana as an easy don’t cry bribe and set off.

Get a right old sweat on trying to do the old jork (jog walk) to nursery and arrive looking like the wild woman of Borneo and probably smelling worse. Also, forget keyworkers leaving present. I am amateur.

Right, now I’ve got that off my chest I’d better get back to changing the world through code! Someone’s got to…

Have a great day people.

Muma.

XxxX

* Important to note I think she is referring to the horses in the fields opposite, not our horses.

**Important to note that she is referring to random dogs we see, not our dogs!

I am linking this post with Vicky’s Brilliant Blog Posts so, click the link to see some other fab blogs.
Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

12 Comments »

Me time, Meal Planning and Making Lists…The Aviva Stress Less Test #2

Tuesday already! Tomorrow we’ll be half way through the week and winding down to the weekend again- easy peasy hey?!

I mentioned on Saturday that I had received some Stress Less tips from Aviva thanks to being a member of the Mumsnet Blogger network. A couple of weeks ago they emailed me a questionnaire and, last week, based on this answers they sent me my first, personalised email with suggestions on how to manage my time and life better!!

Good luck with that Aviva- I’ve been trying for 33 years to no avail but, lets see what you suggest shall we… Read the rest of this entry »

6 Comments »

Weaning Woes #Archive Post

Another Sunday, another archive post for your reading pleasure. This week I have am looking back on this time last year when I started weaning the little little. Bloody hell, time flies doesn’t it?! Last week she was chowing down on olives, hummus and sun-dried tomatoes! Yeah, that’s right, we had the worlds most middle class picnic! Sorry I’m not sorry!

Anyway, as this weekend I am braving a hen dressed as a hoy paloy fox hunter with the lovely Kate and co I thought I would share with you when we first met. Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry »

3 Comments »

One for me, One for you; A Saturday Book Review 4

Watcha! Happy Saturday People.

Learning my lesson from last week and taking heed of the stress less tips that Aviva has kindly sent me (more of which tomorrow) I am writing this way in advance of publishing, 2 days infact- yey me!

Infact, I am writing this in the sanctuary of one of my very favourite places. A bookshop cafe. Aaaahhh- Bliss!

There are few things in life that make me happier than perusing the shelves of a bookshop. I can easily lose an hour if left to my own devices with no one tugging at my coat and, happily, it seems that the girls are growing up to enjoy  the same (though obviously they need to be monitored lest they should try to escape and need rescuing by a random as they head for the door as happened in the bank this week, cue much tutting and eye rolling from the elderly of Heswall- oops!)

The only slight issue is that there is always so much I’d like to buy, read or give- I could spend a fortune. Thank goodness for libraries, charity shops and those book swap thingys. But, there is nothing quite like the feeling of a brand new book though and that is exactly what I have treated myself and the girls to this week- absolutely no need but I am pleased I did.

Anyway, incase you’re new to this; it’s pretty simple. Family Leary choose two books each week to read and review. They might be something we already have, they might be something we’ve bought or borrowed or something we’ve been sent to review but, you will always get our genuine opinion; good, bad or ugly…

ONE FOR ME: This is a review of a real life grown up book- This could prove to be the down fall of this feature…me finding time to read a book each week and then tell you about it. If I start reviewing the TSS advice sheet you find in all good tampon boxes, you’ll know I’m struggling!

ONE FOR YOU: The YOU I am referring to here is my babies- so, this will be a children’s book that we have read and enjoyed. This shouldn’t be too tricky since both girls love books though for the little little they are used more as elements of an obstacle course as opposed to a literary educational tool!

The weather this bank holiday is destined to be burgh so, if you do get the chance to get cosy nug with your brood or, on your own, settle in with a cuppa and blanket and get into a book. Here’s what we’ve been reading this week…

ONE FOR ME: 

ISBN: 9780857868787

ISBN: 9780857868787

 

This was recommended to me by the lovely Michael in Linghams. It is a world away from anything I would usually select, the font and the cover didn’t pull me in and, as he was using words like philosophy, maths and politics to describe the book I was basically thinking shiiiit, how am I going to politely get out of this one?? As it happened, I couldn’t think on my feet and so ended up taking it to the counter and handing over my cash. My expectations were that most of the book would go over my head.

I can’t really tell you too much about the premise of the book except to say, it is about a mathematician who is also a father and a husband. He isn’t doing too well at the latter two but reckons he’s got the first bit cracked. You will need to suspend reality. It includes maths and aliens and some poetry. Chic lit it is not.

I started reading the book in the hairdressers on Thursday afternoon and- honestly, if I hadn’t been there for a couple of hours with a head full of foils I think it would have been resigned to ‘the pile’. I loved the preface but it took me at least 70 pages to get into and I regularly felt that I was a bit too stupid for it, but, I am so so glad I persevered. More thanks to the hair appointment than any genuine persistence on my part.

It turned out to be one of the most touching, poignant, sad and beautiful books I have read. It captures perfectly the complexity of what it is to be human. Our need to love and be loved, the weird fact that we do so many things to make ourselves happy which we know, do not.

By the beginning of Part II, I was totally sold and, have found it impossible to find a quote which does not become a paragraph and then a chapter which would become me simply re-writing the whole book here for you and that my friends is called plagiarism. It is frowned upon. Matt Haig, the author, manages to write as if he is watching the family from an entirely different reality. The everyday, mundane tasks are given beautiful descriptions and the book made me look at life, my day-to-day life, in a beautiful rose-tinted hue.

If you are feeling tired and careworn and in need of reminding that, generally speaking the world is a good place, read this book. The chapter ‘Advice for a Human’ had me in tears.

Thanks Michael for the recommendation and Thank-you fate for the hair appointment!

 ONE FOR YOU: 

ISBN: 9780552547086

ISBN: 9780552547086

This book has been recommended to us by lots of people and I feel like we have barely dipped our teeny toes in the possibilities of it. It is fantastic!

You Choose is such a brilliant idea. I absolutely adore hearing the big little talking to her toys and making up games and stories for her and her sister each morning before Mr L or I head in to see them but, when I ask directly her to make a choice without giving her any examples she struggles- who doesn’t. You Choose takes away the pressure of pulling an idea out of the air as they have put hundreds of possibilities down on each page so, it is like reading a new book every time you open it. And, as your child’s imagination and knowledge of the world around them grows, so will the stories that you can create together.

So far we have:

  • Been to the moon with a pirate.
  • Lived in a Mushroom and a lighthouse.
  • And eaten lots of sausage and mash.

There is no set way to use this book so the possibilities are almost endless. You could build your story using the suggestions throughout the book or focus on just one or two pages.

I guarantee this will give you gallons of giggles and will provide opportunities to talk about loads of interesting topics with your toddler which will help you to learn more about each other and will leave you amazed with the amount going on in their minds.

Well done Nick and Pippa. I loved this book and think the girls are quite into it too!!

If I have tempted you to go out and buy them, please check here for your local shop, you know my views on Amazon don’t you?!

Have a wonderful weekend peeps…I’m off to a hen- I smell trouble!

Loads of Love

Muma.

XxxX

 

I have linked this up with the Read with me linky from MammaMummyMum- check it out by clicking the badge.

MamaMummyMum

5 Comments »

Katie Price, Pottery painting and Perfect pedicures. Love the little things #10

Hello my Lovelies- Thank Crunchie it’s Friday hey!! I hope you’ve had a good week? I’m pleased to say that I have. Thank you everyone for your kind words and comments after I opened up about feeling low lately. I am sure that being open has helped me as much as the doctor so thank you. I appreciate it more than you know.

Anyway, I have got much to report this week so lets go shall we…

Read the rest of this entry »

5 Comments »

So, you think you’re stressed?!

Marvellous, somehow it is already Monday…again!

Time to watch the weekend disappear in the rear view mirror and wind our way through another busy week…

Today we have errands and mother and baby and tidying and all sorts to get done because, who wants to do all of the functional stuff at the weekend?! No one- that’s who! I will probably be knackered by the girls bedtime but that’s what comes from being up at 4:30am because you can’t sleep due to the ‘things to do’ list whirring around your head. (On searching for a suitable image for this post I found this which is in fact, exactly what I am doing right now! Would be nice to look so calm and dewy skinned whilst feeling so stressed!!) Frustrated Woman Using Laptop

It was during one of these stupid early starts that I saw an email from Mumsnet simply entitled

‘Stressed…Want some tips from the Experts?’

Naturally I replied to say that, YES, I was feeling a little tense, fraught, stressed, frazzled, anxious and all the rest of it and would value some handy tips to turn my life into a serene millpond of calm wonderfulness.  Read the rest of this entry »

10 Comments »

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