Mumaleary's Blog

Cheaper than therapy

“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!)



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

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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.


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?!

Is there anything on my face?!

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

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

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!)



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.

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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.

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!)



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…


PS: I was asked to review 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:

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

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Normal? Nuclear? What does Modern Family mean to you?

So, Matalan turns 30 this year.

The Hughes Family. #MatalanModernFamily

The Hughes Family.

I’m adding this to the list of things which make me feel utterly ancient; I remember when our local shop opened and you had to have a photo ID card to get in. My mum, sister and I went over to Bromborough to check it out and then went to the cinema for a treat. Happy Times.

Anyway, in the 30 years since they first opened their doors, with the aim of providing outstanding value and quality for families, the definition and idea of family has altered significantly. Now Matalan wants to know what family means to us…
Their latest campaign is called Made for Modern Families; check out their advert- I think it’s fab (Loving the polkadot dress and the purpule bag)

When I googled ‘FAMILY DEFINITION’ I was presented with literally millions of options but the first one was this:

“A group consisting of two parents and their children living together as a unit.”

That seems like a pretty narrow definition to me.

From very early on my little family unit didn’t fit the traditional norm; we were the 3 musketeers, my mum, my sister and me.

The 3 musketeers

The 3 musketeers

I felt compelled to explain that my dad had died, lest people presumed that he had abandoned us or my parents had divorced. Our extended family, grandparents, uncles, aunts and my mums incredible group of friends were a daily source of support and I would be a very different person, and mother without their influences. Sadly though, to me growing up it felt that the nuclear family was the norm and expectation and anything else was met with a sniff of suspicion. An over sensitive and childlike view? Perhaps but I bet I’m not the only person to have felt that way.

These days, almost 30 years on, family Leary fit snuggly into the nuclear family pigeon hole; A Muma, a daddy and two gorgeous girls. We are only a pampered pooch away from a perfect portrait!

Standard Family Snap!

Standard Family Snap!

Two years later...

Two years later…

But for me that is only a part of the puzzle.
We have extended family; Brothers, Sisters, In-laws, Out-laws, first cousins, second cousins, not quite sure how distant cousins.

How weeny am I?!

Me and my super douper cousins; In age order!

We have friends that are as much loved and important to us as any blood relation. Those that have seen us at our best…and worst! The people we see almost daily and can call on for a whinge, a wine or an emergency babysitter at the drop of a hat.


Ready for the nursery run...we always look like this!

Ready for the nursery run…we always look like this!

People we haven’t ‘seen’ for an age except via the techno wizardry of Skype and facetime and the like but we know that when we do, we’ll fall right back into step where we left off.

And, as time goes on, we have the memories of family members past that gave us those original feelings of security and love which is our blueprint for knowing how family should make you feel; LOVED which, to my mind, is the only definition of family that really matters.

I'm the blondie!

I’m the blondie!

Happy Birthday Matalan, thanks for making us all feel like family!




PS: I’m sharing my thoughts on family with the Mumsnet Matalan linky; check it out Mumsnet linky to see what other bloggers have to say.

PPS: What does family mean to you? Share your family snaps with Matalan here for a chance to win £250 of vouchers

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