Mumaleary's Blog

Cheaper than therapy

Hubble Bubble Toil and a BRILLIANT new app! Mwah ha ha ha…


I am sorry to go all American on you, but the facts of the matter are that this ‘holiday’ is becoming a pretty big deal over here too.

The Guardian (yup, I’m one of those parents) informs me that we will spend £300 million on ‘All Hallows Eve’ this year and that looks set to continue to grow…Now, I don’t want to pummel your pumpkin or anything but, I ain’t made of money so, this year I am thinking outside the box for cheap tricks (and treats) to keep my little witches entertained so, when Mumsnet were looking for families to review a free new app I was keen to get involved.

Enter Not on The High Street and their wicked FREE story time sound app.

NOTHS image


As you may or may not know, I absolutely love a good book. I think encouraging kids to read is so important and the times that we spend together snuggling up with a good book are some of my favorites and the addition of a sound app makes the whole thing even better.

Now, since my little witches are only 1 and 3, I would not be so bold as to tell you how to parent but, if you’re interested, I introduced the story time sounds in our den. I hid the Ipad under the blanket and began to read adding in appropriate sounds as and when the story allowed.


The girls were so surprised to hear the sounds and couldn’t figure out where they were coming from so it was a fantastic giggle and a really enjoyable experience for us all.


I know I'm not in the den in this pic...I am not an octopus and couldn't figure out the app, the camera, the book...answers on a comment!

I know I’m not in the den in this pic…I am not an octopus and couldn’t figure out the app, the camera, the book…answers on a comment!


The app and the variety of sounds is a brilliant way of encouraging the kids to use their imagination and it partners really well with a book called You Choose which uses pictures as prompts for story creation and development- adding sounds into the equation just makes the whole thing even more fun for everyone.

I’ll say again, I love it!

Obviously for today, the Halloween sound board is the most suitable and NOTH have thunk up a short story to get you started but it is even better if you (or the kids) can think up your own and then read it aloud with a torch under your chin!

Download it for free here, it is aimed at 3-7 year olds but I would say that younger and older kids will enjoy it too. I’d love to know what you think of it.


I am keeping my fingers crossed that there are more sound boards to come but in the meantime this is keeping me and the girls more than a little entertained.
Our favourite is monster cry but to be honest there is a sound for all story’s and all moods; for example, I have started to announce my hair-brained schemes to Mr L with the Fanfare sound which, as I am sure you can imagine has gone down swimmingly.
I’m thinking next time he advises me to do something ridiculous like find a job I’ll respond with the witches cackle. Oh yes, there’s no end of fun to be had here!
This kiss, the cackle and the dragon are a realistic depiction of yours truly!

This kiss, the cackle and the dragon are a realistic depiction of yours truly!

I hope you have a very happy Halloween and, to start you off, here’s my raw and uncut version of  The Little Witch who couldn’t be Scary, by Leona Ford.

Love Muma.
PS- I am not intentionally looking scary, it’s just a no make up day! xx
PPS- This app is free to download and, as ever, all views and opinions are my own. This post however does act as my entry into a competition to win £400’s worth of NOTH vouchers.
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Toddler Tally’s.

There are many things about formal education that I don’t understand.

Pythagoras’ Theorem for example. I have never once in my adult life needed to work out the angle of a triangles points.
I have only ever had to recall the elements of the periodic table for the purpose of a pub quiz and the Latin I ‘learnt’ in the hope of using it in my career as a pathologist or criminal psychologist is buried so deep I doubt I will ever recall more than the rhyme:
Which everyone has heard anyway.

But, one very useful tool I did take away from my schooling is the beauty of the simple tally chart.

Today is has come in handy for counting how often we use these common parenting phrases;

1) No thank you (5,009 approx)
2) Get out of there (3,912)
3) Come over here (possibly with a please depending on the time of day/patience ratio ( I didn’t really keep an actual tally you know but one day I will!)
4) Get that out of your mouth/nose/ear canal (or in one particularly high point- your botty…in relation to a toothbrush…) you turn your back for one minute!
5) What Do you Say?!
6) Because…(tailing off before finding a suitable answer which is not too long winded, scary, complicated or a lie)
7) Put that back
8) Come down before you fall
9) Where did you hurt (whilst internalising the SEEEEEEEEEE, I TOLD YOU SO!)
10) Stop hitting your sister.

Thankfully, coming in at number 11 was I love you very much…it was some way behind the others but it’s in there.

We’re going to be late and I’m going to count to 3 were very close contenders but just missed out on the top spots!!

Loads of love,




Porn & Kids (a dreadfully serious post!)

Yesterday Mr L took the girls out for the day and, when they arrived home tired and full of tales he triumphantly handed me a gift he knew I’d love and loathe in equal measure.

A porn mag.

I gawped at it, I drooled over it and then I felt guilty and stupid for thinking that we could still achieve such mind-blowing, sigh inducing, pimped up versions of ourselves now we have children.

…I am talking of course about the John Lewis Christmas Catalogue, sorry; Annual. I am flicking through now and weeping at the beauty of it.

john lewis catalogue 2014 1


john lewis catalogue 2014 2

Regular readers of this blog will be well aware of my love affair with John Lewis. Their customer service is brilliant, their exchange policy is no quibble and, as department stores go, they can’t be beaten.

I am honestly not a greedy person, I mostly daydream about being minted when I see little gifts I could give to others. If I won the lottery I’d be so damn generous it’d be sickening but tell you what, one look at this John Lewis tome and I am picturing a parallel universe in which I can be both a mother of 2 gorgeous but grubby, hand smearing, bean juice wiping, mud loving snot machines and the owner of a veritable show home.
The creator of a Christmas wonderland with a wardrobe so grown up gorgeous I begin to imagine that simply by purchasing the entire collection I will morph into someone who both understands all things adult and has no need to use the information since life will unfold perfectly for me as a sashay through it (with a serious manicure and a killer lip!)

And that is why I must dispense of this filth.

It’s not for me.

Not now.

john lewis christmas catalogue


Now my posh tops are magnets for mess, our Christmas table has an actual colour in cloth and some of our cutlery is primary coloured plastic.
But, that’s just it isn’t it.
It’s not just a magazine, it’s a picture of perfection; buy this and your life will look like that…

Damn you John Lewis, you get me every time. You and M&S.
And soon you’ll bring out your bloody Christmas advert which will no doubt have me in bits. Again.

john lewis christmas advert

But, actually, this festive season I have the perfect reason not to be sucked into this generic Christmas.

The Fabulous Frost Fair.

I know that each of us will hit the high street for some of our essentials and I’m not trying to suggest otherwise but, for the really special stuff, for those really precious people in your lives, those that you want to show the level of thought and care and love that’s gone into their gifts you need something extra.
That’s what you get at FFF. That along with champagne and the opportunity to bypass the high street for the ultimate luxury shopping experience- even if you are there in M&S undies and John Lewis gloves!!

Fabulous Frost Fair, Hillbark Hotel

See you there, it’s going to be gorgeous.

Loads of love,



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Top tips for holidaying with toddlers…part 1…

So, you’re thinking of taking a break with your tot. You’re dreaming of a much-needed break and a shot of vitamin D before the winter takes hold but you want some top tips on how to make the best of a holiday with children….

I could make this post exceptionally short and simply write DON’T BOTHER in massive letters and end this whole sorry story right there but, I feel that, without an appropriate explanation you might think I’m jesting or that I’m exaggerating for comic effect.

Let me be clear. I’m not.

But dear reader, take heart. It seems that it’s only family Leary that feel this way. We, it seems, are shit at holidays.
Every time our very well-travelled friends get back from a ‘kids came too’ holiday they are full of superlatives about how amazing it was.
We on the other hand are full of expletives.

Remember the holidays prior to children?
They went a little bit like this;

Wake up, have a little bit of lazy sex.
Head to the pool.
Read in blissful silence only acknowledging the other party to offer a drink or humorous anecdote from your book.
Have a dip to earn your lunch.
Lunch will be long and will likely include a glass of something cold.
Have a nap. Possibly even have sex again.
Have a sundowner as you get ready to go out for the night.
Go out for the night. With one, tiny clutch bag.
Come back, have a bit of tipsy sex before going to sleep knowing you will wake when your body wants and not a moment before.
Repeat x 7 or, because you have disposable income, maybe even 14 nights!!

Well friends, put away your childish imaginings that nothing too much needs to change.

They do.
You’re on an all inclusive package holiday with a shed load of Germans and a massive blue duck mascot for a start.

This holiday we’ve had the following ‘situations’
An elderly lady nearly having a heart attack thanks to a face staring at her from under the toilet door.
A hand trapped in a sanitary bin.
A poo in a bidet
A piss of such epic proportions it seeped through a nappy onto my silk top during a post wedding lunch with a host of child free individuals with a respectably low tolerance for the stench of urine drying in the Ibizan sun.
And lets not forget the 15 minute super tantrum in the pouring rain outside the Caves of Ibiza; it seems that pitying looks and judgmental tuts are a universal language!

I’m sure that in years to come the scars of this first holiday will fade. We’ll look at the snaps and reminisce about how wonderful it was when the girls frolicked in the pool as we watched from our sun lounger vantage point and we’ll pretend it lasted more than 19 seconds.

We’ll laugh at the night when we were so in need of a drink we used the first aid scissors to open the bottles.

We’ll talk fondly of the afternoon neither offspring would sleep so we strapped them into the car, drove around the block and then dropped me off so at least one of us had some down time.

But mainly we’ll roll our eyes and laugh like drains recalling how we both packed actual books- for ourselves!!




NB- Obviously this isn’t the whole story- there were periods of pleasantness which I may even report on in the coming days but this draft was written in a sand storm on a freezing balcony whilst waiting for the kids to go to sleep. It was my worst parenting day to date and shall be referred to henceforth in the Leary domain as Black Monday.

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A ditty for my sister…

This evening I have mainly been wallowing in the bath (apols for the image there!) having today run the Chester MBNA Metric Marathon. YEY me!

During my wallow, I stumbled across a competition to win a spa break. To enter you need to tell Red Magazine and Pandora about a friend who represents one of the Pandora Essence key values;
Dedication and
The person I am nominating came into my tiny mind as soon as I saw it.

My sister.
Now, I love a competition but this is one that demands a certain amount of effort; how do I explain that she is the embodiment of the listed characteristics in the vein hope that, if I win, she will take me as her +1…

I could tell you how caring she is; putting everyone before herself.
She remembers birthdays and anniversaries and special dates in a way entirely foreign to me.
She adores her nieces and always volunteers to babysit.
She has more God children than you could shake a stick at. *
And is incredibly thoughtful.

I might go on to bore you about her belief. She believes in finding the good in everyone. Even hideous reality TV ‘stars’.

Finally, could mention her dedication to her little sister- I don’t know too many people that have had to rescue someone flailing about like an upturned turtle in a bath and then examine a weeping postpartum wound but I feel this is really too much for a Sunday evening so I will simply say this;

I’ll tell you why my sister deserves this little break;
It is because, quite frankly, she is super smashing great.
Now she is with child she deserves a little treat
To win this gorgeous Spa comp would be so very neat.
She cares for everyone without fail and never takes a rest.
If I could do one thing for her- this would be the best!

Happy Sunday everyone- especially you Red and Pandora. 🙂



*In this day and age, shaking a stick even at one child is frowned upon!






Guilt and Gratitude.

I haven’t blogged for 3 weeks.
3 whole weeks, that has never happened before. I have been blogging for 18 months now and each and ever week I have found something to say. I love to stick my oar in on most topics frankly but recently, I haven’t felt like I’ve had much of importance to write about.

In the last few weeks I have heard tale after sorry tale about friends, family, friends of friends, family of friends who really do have stuff going on. Who really do need an outlet and who really do need our love and support and so writing about the time the big little exposed my arse in the freezer aisle of Tesco seems a small problem by comparison.

I also feel guilty for not endlessly wallowing in the warm glow of permanent gooey love for my off spring but, being honest, sometimes, rather than skipping through the supermarket, pants round my ankles, feeling grateful that their little lungs work so bloody perfectly, my temper gets short and the only place I want to linger is in the wine aisle.

But then, I had a thought, perhaps those people with all of their serious stuff going on need a little light relief.
Perhaps they don’t always want earnest faces doing the head tilt and nodding as if they know how the other person feels. We don’t and we can’t pretend to.
Perhaps they want a little slice of normal.
And that my friends means me, in yoga pants that are too easy to pull down when a toddler is looking for some attention.

Happy Wednesday Everybody.

I’ve missed you!




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