Mumaleary's Blog

Cheaper than therapy

The Life Lottery and the love friends

Tonight there is a national lottery rollover.

Someone will likely be ending tonight £28 million better off.
I haven’t entered.

I haven’t entered because sometimes money simply doesn’t matter.
Sometimes all you can do is thank your lucky stars instead of dreaming of the inconsequential nonsense that can so easily infiltrate our day to day lives.

A week ago a beautiful lady lost her husband and had her world and that of her gorgeous children turned upside down- no amount of money can fix that.
I have met Julia only a handful of times, the first of which was after a Facebook exchange where she messaged me to say she was thinking of starting a blog and wanted some advice- How ironic! Her incredible writing and wonderful photographs meant that Rainbeaubelle leapfrogged my little old blog almost as soon as her first post hit the page- and rightly so. Julia is a born writer, a total natural and I am so pleased that she has had both the writing and the blogging community to help her through what has and is an impossibly difficult time.

In the blogging world social media and ‘virtual’ friendships are massive. Yes there are trolls as there are in every walk of life but they pale into insignificance when compared to the love, support and friendship that is shared across the various platforms that we inhabit.

As Julia’s news spread amongst us it was decided that we wanted to do something, anything, to show our friend that she is loved. Loved and supported and she will always find someone awake in the wee small hours who can send a virtual hug.

Julia,

Rog sounds like a really special guy. His smile, much like yours Jules, looks like it comes right from his heart and soul. It goes right to the eyes and even in the most recent pics they seem to twinkle. I am so glad that you had each other and am so sorry it wasn’t for longer.

In the past week we have collected personal messsges and contributions for the hospice where the family have spent much of their time in the last weeks and months.

We hope that this will be some small comfort for you Jules. Your strength and courage astound me. Everyone in the blogging community is thinking of you and sending you more love than you can imagine. We love you and we are all here in our various guises so call on us.

XxxxX

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How I got #ProudinmyBikini

Since I posted my #proudinmybikini post earlier this week I have had so many nice comments on Facebook and Twitter and on the post itself. It has been really touching to read friends and strangers saying that kind things and they are sticking.

Looking at the pictures which incidentally, were taken after a long day at work whilst the girls jumped on my sisters sofa shouting ‘why are you nudey rudey Muma?!’ I genuinely don’t mind them.

MY FAVE!! Maryan Mehlhorn Nautical Bikini

MY FAVE!!
Maryan Mehlhorn Nautical Bikini

Obviously my sister isn’t challenging David Bailey for a job (sorry sis!) but I am no longer upset by what I see before me- WOO HOO!! Progress.

Clearly I am no longer my 17 year old self with a pair of boobs to die for and a pretty cute little figure if I do say so myself (hindsight is 20/20 hey!!! Youth is absolutely wasted on the young!)

I’m not even my 27 year old, stretch mark free self.

Nope, I am a 34 year old mum of 2 toddlers that is frequently shattered and struggling to work a 3 day week, plan an incredible Christmas event, remember the shopping and the washing and the cleaning and so on and so on.
Obviously in the main I don’t manage, my to do list never ends, I am constantly apologising for the state of the house and I have no clue how we would manage without my mum doing our ironing (amazing!) and having the girls from time to time.

But everything is a choice and a trade off- I have yet to meet the woman that has it all. The things that I am choosing to spend my time and energy on are the things that I know make a difference to my mind and body so, here’s what helped me reclaim my Mojo…

1) Diet
Not dieting- In January I started a 12 week Fit ‘n’ Slim programme with Melissa from Fresh Start Health and Jonathan from JGF Fitness.
It was a brilliant programme that helped me to become more mindful about what I eat and why and 3 months after finishing I am still having lemon and ginger and against all the odds my juicer is still getting used daily for my super green smoothie.
1/2 Cucumber
2 sticks celery
2 handfuls spinach
juice of one lime
1/2 an avocado

Juice the cucumber, celery and spinach, add in the juice of the lime and then chop up the avocado and blend together (over ice if you’re posh!)

Genuinely delicious

Genuinely delicious

2) Exercise
My brilliant and very clever friend Jo invited me to try some crazy outdoor circuits class. OUTSIDE. IN FEBRUARY…First class was free plus it was a week after I’d asked her to come running with me so I couldn’t say no!
I LOVE IT. Best fitness class ever! It is hard, it is sometimes wet and cold and it is 100% guaranteed to get me out of any mood I am in.
I feel healthier, I am definitely fitter and it is certainly good for the serotonin levels.

One day I'll get to the top of the bar!!

One day I’ll get to the top of the bar!!

3) Me Time
Me time means different things to different people but for me it usually involves a seriously deep bath, a stretch mark smoothing wrap and a copy of RED Magazine or Good Housekeeping (which is ironic to say the least!)
I know that some people are going to think that using the wraps is not in keeping with the #proudinmybikini idea but that’s ok because it’s my body and my choice. I’m not using these #crazywraps because anyone else has made me feel bad about the way I look, I am using them because they compliment what I am doing already and have seriously helped me feel happier with the skin look and tone of my ‘mum tum’.
wrap right image

4) Mindset
I have written so many times before that I am an all or nothing character. I tend to really go for something, fall by the way side, thing I’m a failure and knock it on the head but I decided this year (and last) that I was going to try to be kinder to myself, to do what I could ad not beat myself up about the rest. Seven months in and I think that I can, more often than not, tick that box. I am caring less about what others, aside from those that really matter, think and am just trying to be OK.
choose happiness

5) Support
The #proudinmybikini campaign started by Honest Mum, the support of Tommy Tight Pants (yep, that’s what he calls himself!!) of Melissa and Jon and of my friends and family and the lovely Wrap Right Girls has kept me on the straight and narrow.
I am doing this for me and for my girls and, in the words of the song…It’s feeling Good!

Have a Seriously Souper Douper Weekend!

Loads of Love,

Muma.

XxxX

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This Summer I will mainly be #ProudinmyBikini

Last month a hashtag was doing the rounds on Facebook and Twitter set up by the blogging beauty that is Vicki from Honest Mum.

Now, I had always considered her type of honest and mine to be poles apart, her children are immaculate, her hair is frankly immense  (in the best possible way) and her writing, blogging and film making experience are the stuff my dreams are made of.
In short, if this were school she would definitely have rolled with the cool kids. I felt- through absolutely no fault of hers, that she was out of my league- a genuine successful grown up whilst I, approaching 35, am still struggling to figure most of this stuff out.

One evening, home alone, I was scanning my twitter feed and came across Vicki’s original #proudinmybikini post.
She was literally laying herself bare (short of a gorgeous red bikini) and saying this is me, I’m a mum of 2 and I’m proud to be me in my bikini.

#proudinmybikini

Look at that hair!!!
Gorgeous.

In the post (which as now been seen by over 70,000) Vicki was asking for other mums to share their bikini pics.

Wow- didn’t that redress the balance.

Isn’t it ridiculous that it should even be a big deal…but it was and it is because it seems that we women are always so keen to imagine that other people are doing so much better than we are…

Better mums- because they’re working or not working or combining the two.
Better wives- because they don’t burn water or whatever
Better species because…We imagine…that beneath their jeans they don’t have the bit of belly that gets tucked into their knickers (which no doubt match with their bra- which they no doubt peel off each night before a mammoth session with the husband!)

It is a fantasy fed by stupid magazines and also by social media.

Women are too fat or too thin, too vain or too unkempt.

We’ve lost our sense of perspective and also of giving ourselves and others a break.

This week The Sun posted what I’ll loosely refer to as ‘an article’ on their social media entitled “17 people that look worse in a bikini than you do.”
How cruel- who made them or indeed any of us judge and jury?

I love #proudinmybikini. It is an amazing look behind the curtain into the fact that we are all normal people.
No one is perfect and no one is without their own hang ups and flaws and, by sharing them we become a little bit more real and help everyone else breathe a little easier.

Prior to this campaign the last time I’d properly worn a bikini was over  years ago on our fabulous baby moon in Marrakesh. Pregnant bikini
I absolutely love the picture- check out how happy I am- over the moon to be carrying our precious daughter (didn’t know that she was a she at the time) and loving the relaxing sunny break with my husband.

Since then I’ve had 2 beautiful baby girls and the boobs and bump have headed somewhat south.
I’d like to say that the change in my body didn’t affect me but, in the spirit of being honest I’ve got to say that after a particularly nasty labour and a tricky recovery my confidence was well knocked, the stomach stretched and sagged and my fitness and body confidence plummeted. It has  taken quite a lot for me not to well up when I saw myself undressed. Incredibly self indulgent I know- but there it is.
Lots of little things have helped me get my mojo back but one of the most significant has definitely been this campaign.
Following on from the tweets UKSwimwear sent me a couple of the mums who took part in the campaign some bikinis to review and I was lucky enough to be one of them. They are absolutely gorgeous- I LOVE THEM.
I can not wait to wear them in the paddling pool, at the swimming pool and finally, on our holiday in Tuscany.
They are my way of sending a messsage to my girls that say:

We are more than the way we look
Be kind to your body- it is the only place you have to live.
Your spirit and kindness are visible whatever you are wearing and whatever your size
Don’t judge other people (at least not on appearances)
Don’t waste your energy on people that are judging you and…importantly
Nautical is always, always on trend!

I’ve written plenty of times about promoting a positive body image for my daughters but actions speak louder than words so here goes…

Channelling the 1950's vibe.

Channelling the 1950’s vibe.

MY FAVE!! Maryan Mehlhorn Nautical Bikini

MY FAVE!!
Maryan Mehlhorn Nautical Bikini

To me, bring Proud in your Bikini this summer is more than the act of wearing a bikini it is the decision to like yourself a bit more whatever you are wearing and to embrace the idea of kindness and support for yourself and others.

I hope that this post makes you breath a little easier.

Happy Summer Everyone!

Loads of love,

Muma.

XxxX

love-your-body-and-be-healthy

I am linking up with Honest Mums #BrilliantBlogPosts you can click the link to see what other bloggers have been up to this week!

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

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Times they are a changing…

Today has been a day for looking backwards, for contemplation and gratitude. A day of milestones and memories.

Ten years ago today I was living in London teaching in a massive and multi cultural secondary school spitting distance from Canary Wharf. News of the terror attacks came in dribs and drabs- no one quite knew what was going on and the school was put on lockdown.
Kids of all faiths and backgrounds were frightened and confused and we, the adults had no words to explain what had happened and why. I was and remain, unable to comprehend, let alone explain, the senseless acts of the few that shattered the lives of so many.

Fast forward a decade and life is unrecognisable.

I am mother to two gorgeous girls that I can no longer call my babies.

Today we said “Good Bye” to the mother and baby group we have been attending since we arrived home over 2 1/2 years ago. In September the big little is off to (pre-school). Sure, me and the little little can still go to Toast Tuesday but it won’t be the same.
We’re the Three Musketeers- Tuesday is our special day.

I wasn’t prepared for how big a deal this would be for me.
I’m realise now how quickly time is passing and I’m just not ready to let my baby girl go.

I’m not sure if the magnitude of the date made the day feel more poignant but never the less, as I watched my beautiful babies play and eat and sing together with their friends I felt them slipping away from me a little.
I wanted to capture the moment, to hold it in my hands and never, never lose the image of my first born smiling so much she could barely sing her last rendition of ‘Ten Little Fingers’.

Never agin will you race your sister from the car to be the winnest at the door.
No more will we snuggle up and read on the Dalmatian cushion (when we can do that any time at home!!)
No more gluing and sticking and creating weekly master pieces that I tactfully sent to Grandmas house or posted down to Nanny and Grandad.
No more sipping your water and chomping your toast all the while hoping it was someone’s birthday so you’d get a cheeky bit of cake.
Today instead of checking my watch I wanted song time to go on and on- the sleeping bunnies, the wheels on the bus, the row row the boat- I wanted them all.
It felt like you knew. You sang and danced and smiled with extra gusto today, you wrang every bit of joy out of the session as you could and when you were asked why you wouldn’t be back in September you were so proud to confirm you are a big girl and will be off to school.

I know that you are so ready to go; I am so very, very proud of the kind, caring, funny, clever and polite little girl you are becoming but it is just happening so fast. I just need to catch up so give me the summer to get on your page- there’s a lot for me to process…

I am so not ready to leave this beautiful stage just yet. Let me cherish it a little while longer….the two months of Summer are going to be pretty special….

I love you, until the seas run dry…and that will never happen.

Muma.

XxxxX

PS- I have no idea how your sister is going to take it when she realises she’s not going to school with you…eeek!!

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The Learys do Legoland…

It’s no secret that family Leary love Lego.

Mr L and I both had it as children. I loved following the pictures to create a house or car or throwing away the instruction booklets and free styling something fantastic and I have fond memories of building things with my dad in comfortable silence.
Basically, it’s the perfect toy; it’s robust, doesn’t age, doesn’t break, doesn’t need batteries, can be played with by anyone of any age or sex and the only limit is your imagination. The only negative is how much it kills your feet if you accidentally step on a piece. No major surprise that the word Lego translates as ‘ Play Well’.

Knowing all of this it made perfect sense for us to take the girls to Legoland and frankly, I was as excited as they were!
Now, I have realised of late that blogging and reviewing products is turning me into a miserable old hag. The sort of person that instead of taking the positives out of a situation casts a critical eye and looks for things to whinge about lest I should be accused of not telling the full story. It isn’t a quality I like- I tell the girls that no one likes whingers and I certainly need to take some of that advice myself.
However, I know you do appreciate honesty, so here, for your reading pleasure is our lowdown on Legoland Windsor.LLW%20Resort%20Logo%20Large
Read the rest of this entry »

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