Sunday, 28 August 2011

Rosetta Stone World and Studio - Review

I've just finished my third live Studio session with Rosetta Stone.  Studio sessions form a large part of the learning experience with the new TOTALe software and I find them both brilliant fun and nerve racking at the same time!

The Studio sessions are where you chat in real time with a native speaker and one or two other students.  The tutor has a webcam so you can see them (they only hear us so you don't have to worry about doing your hair!) and they use various combinations of pictures to ask you questions about and start conversations.

I found this third session quite difficult as I had only just finished the lessons leading up to it and had not practised quite as much as I should have done but Maria the tutor was ever so helpful and very encouraging.

Along with the Studio sessions you can also visit Rosetta World. which is home to their online games and activities. There are three types, Solo - where you play games by yourself. Duo - where you play with other learners, and Simbio - where you play with native speakers.

Unfortunately every time I have been online I have never found anyone else to play with so have only tried the Solo games. I assume this to be due to the majority of learners being in the United States. I have had a similar problem scheduling Studio sessions as most are between midnight and 6am.  I would love to participate in the Studios several times a week but have only been able to do three in almost three months.

The TOTALe package comes with 3 months free subscription to the online services. I don't think I'll be renewing the subscription unfortunately  as there is not enough available in my time zone to make it worthwhile for me, this is a shame as I really do think that it is a fantastic way to help your knowledge along, and fun!

I still love it though and will be continuing through the rest of the levels of the course. Now holidays are over I'm going to get stuck in at least 2 or 3 times a week... I'll keep you updated!

Amatterofchoice



 I was sent the the Rosetta Stone language course to review but have not received any other compensation, the views and opinions are all my own.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Guest post - Expat loneliness

Since I started my blog I've enjoyed reading many others. Like most people I follow those who I can relate to so since I found Mum Reinvented  I've been a big fan. As a fellow ex-pat Brit we can appreciate how annoying mosquito bites are and how rubbish BBC Entertainment is among other random conversations.  I was very excited when she kindly agreed to guest post for me and can totally agree with her subject.

I'll go and be quiet now though as I'm supposed to be having a day off .......

Expat loneliness

Something that nearly all expats are likely to feel in their new home country is lonely, regardless of whether they have emigrated alone or with immediate family. Wherever you move you will always be leaving behind friends and family, not to mention a life that despite perhaps you are keen to leave for whatever reason, will no doubt be very much different to the new life you will be entering into.

A new country, new language, new culture, new job or possibly adjusting to not working as well as missing friends and family back home are bound to test even the strongest of people and when loneliness hits it can hit hard! It's often not immediate, after all when you first arrive you're busy exploring your new home, perhaps starting a new job, completing endless paperwork or settling your children into a new school. It's when you stop still for a moment that it can all get a little too much.

So how do you overcome that loneliness? Of course the answer is simple - make new friends, but that isn't always easy, especially in a foreign country and lets face it we aren't children any more, friendships are often harder to forge as an adult. Here are a few things that may help:

Immerse yourself in the language - attend as many classes as you can. Hopefully
you will find like minded people in local language groups and if not at least
you will have the tools to speak to the locals as your grasp on the language
progresses.

Find local expat groups - perhaps there is one dedicated to mums
in the area you have moved to, or even a general one and join in with any
activities arranged for kids/adults. Even just getting out is often enough to
cheer you up when you're feeling lonely.

Hit the internet - there are plenty of expat websites with dedicated forums for almost any country you can think of, some of which link to local expat groups, not to mention the wealth of information they provide.

Put yourself out there - like I said it's often harder to make friends as you get older, it doesn't seem to come as easy as it did when you were a child. So make sure you speak to the other mums at the school gate, or that friendly shop assistant, you may even find they're in exactly the same position as you are.

Of course many expats find that the friends they make while living abroad become almost a second family and some of the friendships forged will last a lifetime, no matter where in the world they end up next. Just remember if you do feel low that there are a whole load of other people feeling exactly the same as you are, you just have to get the courage up to go out there and meet them!


Friday, 26 August 2011

Flashback Friday - This parrot is deceased!

Since I've been on a bit of an ongoing theme this month with my Hen night / Hen weekend and Wedding related flashbacks I thought it would be nice to end on one from our honeymoon.

We spent two weeks in the gorgeous Moon Palace resort in Cancun, Mexico. It was the best hotel we've stayed in by far, although the most expensive so that kind of explains it! The rooms were amazing.... jacuzzi at the end of the bed, all inclusive mini bar with optics in the room, etc etc.

I've been trawling through the photos, as usual there are so many to choose from. We went on fantastic excursions, and swam with dolphins and took many photos of the lovely pools and views we saw. One thing we did come across a lot though were parrots....


A very nice photo, but this has got to be the best...


We showed a friend of our this photo on our return and Aaron said "These parrots are dead" she looked at us amazed and said in complete horror how awful it was that we were actually holding dead parrots. We then had to explain and she had no idea what we were talking about!

Please tell me you know what we are talking about or else hang your head in shame!

(if you really don't know what I'm talking about then off you go, Wikipedia will help you out!)


Thursday, 25 August 2011

Guest Post - Out, Down Under, and back

Even before emigrating I have always been interested in other peoples tales of travel and living an Ex-pat lifestyle, so I was very pleased when Cressida from The Book Analyst agreed to write a post about her ex-pat childhood.

Out, Down Under, and Back

Hi, I’m an ex-expat child – having been brought up in Brussels from 
aged 2 to 12, before we more or less settled ‘back’ in the UK.

The year I turned twelve I went to three different secondary schools 
in three countries on three different continents in a year.   Actually 
for most of that year I managed not to be at school at all – sound 
good?  Not quite so good in reality.

The plan was to leave Belgium, where we’d had three consecutive three 
year postings and return to Australia – as my father was a journalist 
for the ABC (the Australian version of the BBC).  We packed up the 
house, let the cat go live on a farm, said tearful farewells to my 
friends at the big international school, then moved to London for a 
couple of months.

My father was covering someone’s job before we got to Sydney – so that 
was my first experience of being a bored preteen in a new city with no 
friends and no school.  Anyone we did know was at school.  I read a 
lot of books, half-heartedly did some workbooks my mother had got hold 
of, and we waited until we could get started in our new lives.

Two more months while we took the scenic route around Asia on our way 
to Australia – my parents needed a holiday.  I was a bit over the 
whole ‘holiday’ thing.  When we finally landed in Australia, I was 
hustled into an education testing centre, still jetlagged, to do an IQ 
test to see where I would fit in the Australian school system.

My results meant I finally had a school to go to – after the longest 
summer holiday ever – North Sydney Girls’ High.  For four weeks.  
Before the summer holiday started (got to love swapping hemispheres).  
Uniform was bought – deathwatch tartan – summer dresses (with very 
handy hidden pockets) like the ones you’ve seen on Neighbours and Home 
and Away.

I came into school – towards the end of the school year – just after 
all the exams.  The girls were friendly, interested in my time off 
school and my English accent, but much more interested in the fun two 
weeks they coming up as a reward for their exams - non-school uniform 
and non-curriculum.  New school uniform went back in the cupboard as 
we watched films, tie-dyed t-shirts, walked across the Harbour Bridge 
– and then started the summer holidays.

During this time my parents had been busy.  My father had settled into 
a new job, my mother had found us a home and was getting it ready.  
And then a new job came up – in London.  Dad got it.  We were due to 
move back again in March.  Mum told the school.  They waved us goodbye 
– there were other (more long-term) children waiting to come, so I was 
out.

Another two months spent trying to kill time and get out of mum’s way 
while she packed.  I discovered that a school bus pass (valid for 
trips to and from school only) would get you all the way to Bondi 
Beach from central Sydney if you told a bored bus driver you had a far-
fetched dentist appt.
image credit
Back in the UK, suddenly cold, and another round of school interviews
and another girls’ school.  This time a couple of weeks before the 
Easter holidays, no uniform, and not quite such friendly girls.  I 
turned up with an Australian accent, and a severe case of emotional 
jetlag.

Longterm this last move wasn’t the most successful.  My father got 
embroiled in office politics in his new job, my parents’ marriage fell 
apart, and I suffered with bullying.  I do sometimes wonder what would 
have happened if the life we’d started living in Australia had 
continued, but – but – then of course I almost certainly wouldn’t have 
met my husband and had my children.

My children go to the local school, with their local friends, and 
although we have had the chance to live abroad for periods of time, 
I’ve always resisted it.   My children’s school caters for army 
children, a third at any one time, and there are comings and going, 
sometimes in the middle of term, sometimes at the end of a year, and 
new children sometimes appear – almost randomly.  If this happens in 
your school, think of that child, and the parents who have been 
running themselves ragged getting everything organised  - and invite 
them over for a play and a meal they don’t need to cook.  It could be 
the beginning of a beautiful friendship

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Guest Post - An expat friend.


Today, I've got Christine, a fellow expat whose blog 'Expat Mum in Portugal' I've been reading for a while.  She has very kindly written today's guest post on a subject I can certainly relate to. 

I'll hand you over...

An Expat friend.

When you are an expat, friendships are a little different.  People are drawn together, especially at first for support and familiarity, often meeting through other expats or expat groups and events.  Less often through work or other social places like playcentres or bars etc. 

Expat friends can be quite transient, more so than friends in your home country, as they are more likely to move on, particularly if they are ‘serial expats’ or their job demands it.  Many expats I know spend a lot of time with their families, sometimes just because of the way they are, sometimes because they don’t have the social network that they had at home.

 One day you can be a strong friend but once that friend moves on, the friendship soon breaks as though it was location which held it together.  Although this isn’t always the case, some friendships last forever, but I think this is rare. 

I don’t have a huge set of friends and although I spend a reasonable amount of time with them and know them fairly well, I don’t doubt that if we or they left the friendship would be left behind.  I think it is just how it is, human nature is to be attracted to what is familiar to you, expats are drawn to each other for support and a sort of ‘replacement family’.  I think this kind of behaviour helps us to cope with being an ‘expat’ and to move into our new life abroad.  It is a little sad to think that way, but I’m sure a lot of expats can relate to what I’m saying. 

For example, I have friends back home in England who I have known a long time, and don’t see very often but know that no matter how long it has been since we talked or were together, it will be like it was yesterday when we are together again.  That is not something I feel with my ‘expat’ friends.  But maybe it is just me, what do you think?  What is your experience of ‘expat friends’?


Monday, 22 August 2011

What we've been up to this week...

We are halfway through our holiday, (well Aaron's holiday from work but I've been calling it our holiday as it sounds more fun!)  I planned to spend less time blogging during this fortnight hence the recent guest post and the ones coming up this week but as we are still at home I'm not doing very well at that!

I've not joined in with Kate's Listography for a while but this week the theme is "What we got up to last week"  so I thought I'd share some photos of our 'holiday' so far...

Building boats on the beach
Making cakes!
Our wedding anniversary picnic on the beach
An evening drink on the Pernera beach path.


Right, better get back to it, there's beers to be drunk and stuff!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Flashback Friday - the best dressed bear in the world!

This time seven years ago I was preparing excitedly for my wedding tomorrow, I have blogged about my wedding day before so for this week's Flashback Friday I'm just sharing a different aspect...

Me in my wedding dress
In the run up to the wedding I was trying to think of an unusual thank you gift for my Mum. Flowers are lovely but I really wanted something that would last. As Mum is the worlds biggest teddy bear fan  my plan was to go to the Build a bear shop and get her a bride teddy.  Great idea in theory, but have you seen the price of those bears, and the accessories!  The wedding dress wasn't even floor length!

My Mother in law was making my dress so I went to her and asked if she could make a little dress for a bear and maybe just add a touch of red somewhere on it to link it to mine...



Look what she came up with, an exact replica of my dress.

Isn't this the best dressed teddy bear you've ever seen!





We presented the bear to Mum after the speeches, you should have seen her face!  As she opened it  by the look of the box she was expecting a bear but was lost for words when she saw it.



Thursday, 18 August 2011

If not now, When?

Back in February I was getting really stressed with Leo's constant refusal to drink anything other than milk and only drinking out of a bottle. I realised that we would work it out eventually and he wouldn't be still doing in months to come but I had no idea how to go about it.  I thought I'd end up forgetting what a nightmare it was and how much I worried about it but not so much - I remember it all!

In the end I cut the top of one of the teats on his bottle, which made a really big hole and told him it was broken. He wouldn't drink from it happily as the drink came out too fast. I gave him a new cup and we went 'cold turkey'  For one day I offered the 'broken' bottle then only the new cup in case he decided it was ok to drink out of a bigger hole in the teat  It all ended up working very well and only took a couple of days for it not to be a problem at all. !

I still don't know if it was the way I went about it or if it was a timing thing as I had been trying different ways for several months. I wish I knew....

Now we are fast approaching potty training time, or maybe (according to the many different lists explaining when that time is) we are already there. I wonder now if again am I not approaching it the right way or if he actually isn't properly ready yet.

Back in June, Jenny (Mummy Mishaps) and myself hosted a Potty training Carnival - 'Going Potty' and through that I read lots of potty training posts and tips, and since then it seems that many of my fellow bloggers are in full training mode.

I always said I'd not force the issue and I'd wait until some sort of sign to start, except I have no idea what I'm looking / waiting for. All my 'Mum friends' suddenly trained their kids several months ago and it looked pretty easy for most of them (the kids are about 6 months older than Leo) but it just looks like an impossible task to me!

I admit I'm not the most relaxed when there is a nappy free toddler running around. I don't know why, as I have marble floors and a 10 quid rug which I don't eve like so I shouldn't be worried about that. He's had very little nappy free time in his life so recently we done a little bit.

He will sit on the potty with a nappy on but not with one off, he won't sit on the toilet at all. I don't know whether to stick him in pants and get on with it or wait.... for something.

Ah, I may have just answered my own question.... think I'm just putting it off now. I'll start tomorrow next week then....


Wednesday, 17 August 2011

The Gallery - Feeding time.

This week's Gallery theme is Black and White - not a duplication as Tara puts it of last years Black and white prompt, "more of an extension of a great theme."

I love black and white photos but rarely take them, I'm actually using photos taken at the same time as the some of the ones I used last time.  I'm being a bit brave (especially as many people I know read my blog) as I hadn't even put this photo on facebook.  It was taken when Leo was about 8 weeks old at feeding time.

When Leo was tiny, I was asked more than once "Are you feeding him" now me being me chose to ignore what I 'knew' they meant (as in are you breastfeeding him) and generally replied in a jokey way, no I thought I'd let him starve.
Maybe I was being over sensitive but what difference did it make to them? Sometime bottle-feeding Mum's can be made to feel so bad about their method of feeding, one that might not have even been their choice.  I actually planned to breast feed, and although I was prepared with bottles and a steriliser before Leo's arrival did not have any formula. However, it didn't come at all naturally and after some debate I decided to go with the bottles.

It was not a lot of debate, in fact the main reason against bottles was the fact that I 'should' breastfeed, and I felt that I wasn't giving it a good enough go before giving up. In fact I don't think he ever latched on at all so the poor little man never had a drop.

Midwives came and went over the first week and tried to help but I just didn't feel like it was a battle that I wanted to fight. They were fine and did not make me feel bad at all, a fact I am very grateful for - they would have been shown the door I think if they had done.


I'm sure some will think I was selfish but the decision suited us very well, and enabled me to feel like 'me' again within just a couple of weeks.  It meant I could go out (Tesco's, not clubbing!) without worrying how long I would be and if he'd need a feed, and importantly made Aaron and I both equally able to look after him.

I'm sure he will suffer no damage from our choice, and if I had another although I would give breast feeding a go, I'm fairly sure I'd move over to bottles again and I wouldn't beat myself up about it.

I don't doubt that 'breast is best' after all it's perfectly designed for the job, but I still fed him myself (most of the time anyway!) and don't regret it.

Happy, healthy little man!

Check out the other gorgeous Black and White photos by clicking the badge below.


Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Guest post - It's all about the Photos

Way back in my early days of blogging one of the first blogs I started reading was It's all about the photos, being a bit a a photo fan (but not great photographer) myself I've been reading ever since.  I love the simplicity of her blog and the fact that it is literally 'all about the photos'

I asked if she would be kind enough to guest post for me, and as so many ex-pat Brits (but not me this year) make a hasty exit from Cyprus during August I thought I'd see if she could find me a little bit of my old home.

I'll hand you over to Photopuddle.....


When Emma asked me to do a guest post for her I was thrilled as I love reading her blog. She’s asked me to show you a picture which says “English Summer”. 

West Wittering

I wanted to use one of my own photos and it was actually really hard to decide on which one. I was very close to using one I took of tea and scones but I thought that might be a little stereotypical. I also thought about using one I’d taken in Brighton as I just love taking photos there. And of course I could have used one of my little girl splashing in puddles as this summer England has seen rather too much rain for my liking.

In the end I opted for this one. It’s one I took on the beach at West Wittering in Sussex last summer and I love it. I think it really does say English summer. You don’t get beach huts quite like that anywhere else and this one is so pretty. The beach is beautiful too. So many beaches in the South East are pebbly so it’s lovely to discover one that’s sandy. It’s not that pebbly beaches aren’t beautiful because they are, but it’s just the nicest feeling being barefoot on a sandy beach. 

And what I think most sums up the British summer here is that it doesn’t look like it’s a blistering hot day – it’s just a nice, pleasant day. So many British summers are simply warm rather than hot, hot, hot. And you know what, that’s just perfect.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Holidays are here!

Today, 15th August is an important public holiday in Cyprus. Assumption Day, a feast day related to the death of Mary, mother of Jesus. Legend has it that when she died her body as well as her soul went straight to heaven. I'm not 100% sure but I believe this day is the second most holy day of the year for the Greek Orthodox church. 

It marks the start of the standard August shut down. Most places (not tourist obviously) shut down for at least a week if not two and everyone seems to be on the move. Brits and other ex-pats often escape the soaring temperatures and head 'home' for a while and many Cypriots leave the capital and head to the coast.

We are staying put and holidaying at home, Aaron has two weeks off work and we are going to join the tourists. We have pool and beach trips planned plus a few nights out and of course a celebration for our 7th wedding anniversary. 

I plan to take a little blogging break, and maybe even talk to Aaron in the evenings rather than people I've never met on twitter :)  I'm sure I won't be able to resist for the whole two weeks, although I am going to have a whole internet free day to enable me to tick another item off my 101 list.  I'm not abandoning you though dear readers I have some great guest posts lined up for you to enjoy. 


I'll be back with tales of our 'holiday' before you know it  xxx

Friday, 12 August 2011

Flashback Friday - My Hen Night

Last week I "flashed back" to my Hen weekend, a school disco weekend at Butlins. Due to my girls' commitments this happened several months before my wedding so obviously I had to have a Hen night as well!

As night's out in my previous life (pre-baby!) go, this was actually one not one that would make 'my top 10 but it was my hen night and therefore quite special.  My bridesmaid and I picked a cabaret night in a local hotel, they had a reputation for being very good (and busy) nights and I had been to several already. I think we may have even booked without knowing the theme.
Me, Mum & Mum in law to be

That would be where we went wrong I think!  It was a Caribbean Night and apart from our group there was only one other, another hen party! The food was not great and due to a lack of people was not the best atmosphere on the dance floor.  Despite this it was still an enjoyable evening, my highlight being the very last song - the DJ started playing "New York, New York" and without thinking I just shouted to him (yes, there were that few people on the dance floor he could here me easily!)   'NO, don't play that!'

Although a bit of a cliche, I wouldn't normally mind but with no more than 10 people on the floor it really wouldn't work! He asked me what to play instead so I said the first thing that came to mind [ Robbie Williams  'Angels'.   Two of my best friends and I then stood, arms round each other singing at the top of our voices in a little huddle. As it ended I remember one of my bridesmaids (she NEVER dances) shaking her head and saying "You lot better not be crying!"

Every time I hear the song now it always reminds me of my random hen night, and my lovely girls.

Posing by a cardboard tree, as you do!



Thursday, 11 August 2011

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3

I'm not just choosing to be cheerful this week, I actually am!

Only 2 days until Aaron's off work for 2 whole weeks - yay!

As we already happen to be in a great holiday destination we are staying right here and holidaying at home. We are going to join the tourists every now and again and take Leo to the beach and various local pools, and have some late nights on the balcony no doubt drinking homemade cocktails and arsing around on youtube. (a great way to spend an evening!)

Am also hoping that the last bits of decorating can be done so Leo's bedroom is finally finished. Although I have said that when it is we'd move him out of his cot so I haven't been pushing to get it done as I'm sensing trouble!

We have some friends of ours over on Sunday with their 2 kids for a BBQ,  apparently Emma (yes, another one!) has wanted to drink on our balcony admiring the view for a while so should be a good night!

On the same day our lovely neighbours come out for a 2 week holiday so it will be nice to see them again. It's great timing as Aaron is off so we will be able to have lots of get-togethers with them and my parents as we all get on very well.

I may have mentioned , it's also our 7th wedding anniversary next week - not sure what we are doing to celebrate yet but we do have babysitters (thanks Mum & Dad!) so will have a child free evening at least!

I've been very organised and lined up a couple of blog posts so I have can spend a bit more time actually talking to Aaron in the evenings rather than blogging on the balcony while he watches tv! I'm very excited to have my first ever guest posts as well coming up in the next couple of weeks. I never imagined when I started blogging that anyone would be reading let alone want to write something for me!

Also, a few weeks away but I'm actually going to be hosting 'Reasons to be Cheerful' for a week here on my very own blog! (I'm very excited about this!) Michelle is handing over #R2BC for 6 weeks to some great bloggers and I'm one of them ;)





Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy From the Heart


Are you feeling cheerful this week?   Any holidays, days or nights out on the horizon?  Let us know what's making you happy this week.


Wednesday, 10 August 2011

You can lead a toddler to water...

....but you can't make him wear armbands!

Due to the heat, we spend lots of time at the pool, and I spend lots of time trying to get Leo to wear armbands. All the other toddlers we know wear them and it must be much less scary for their Mums when at the pool. We have tried floats, float suits, rubber rings and the long foam things (think sometimes called woggles) and he will not use any of them, well except the woggle to blow water at people!

The downside is that you have to hold on to him constantly and he is such a wriggler you end up bruised and batter from little feet in your legs. Also watching him walk round the side of the pool is quite worrying, we have drummed it into him I think not to run but I am constantly worried he will fall in.

He likes to jump in but often forgets the "1, 2, 3 jump" we are trying to teach him, therefore giving us warning that he is about to launch himself at you. The other day I caught him as he jumped unexpectedly and went straight under myself.  He is slowly getting better about going under water but is not hugely pleased about it so we try to catch him so he doesn't go right under all the time.

I assume that one day we will find the upside of him not wearing armbands, I've heard it said they are not necessarily a good thing and can lend a false sense of security to the child as well as teaching them to swim in an upright position meaning they have to re-learn how to swim without them.  I hope to enrol him in lessons in the winter and then maybe we can bypass the armband stage altogether.


How do you teach a toddler to swim?  Any tips would be gratefully received!

Entered into this week's Gallery, the prompt is Water
.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

E is for England

When I started my A to Z posts I knew that 'E was for England'  I had started this post in draft some time ago but couldn't quite decide how to write it. England is my country of birth, I haven't missed it too much since my move to Cyprus and I didn't want to write a post that ended up running it down for fear of offending my fellow Brits. 

Aaron has been saying for ages that the country is going to s**t and he didn't want to bring our son up there. He has always said there is no discipline any more. Parents, teachers and Police have no power to stop kids and that they should bring back National service.  Health and safety has gone mad and the Government is rubbish. I hadn't planned to write about any of that in my post as  I used to generally bury my head in the sand and assume it would all be ok. 

But you know what, he's right. I've been shocked by the events unfolding in London and all over the UK over the last few days. What the hell is the country coming to?

I grew up in Kent, first Bromley and then moved further out to Gravesend and Medway. Although not in anyway acceptable the riots in Tottenham and surrounding areas have not been as surprising to me as the trouble now moving further afield.  I was stunned to hear of trouble in areas such as Bromley and Croydon.

I'm so glad that Aaron was the catalyst for our move and that our son will not be brought up amongst trouble like this. This affects so many innocent people and I hope all my friends and family keep safe.

Image credit. BBC News

Monday, 8 August 2011

I'm a local expert!

Did you know, I'm a local expert.....  look, I've got a badge to prove it!
easyJet Holidays to Ayia Napa

When we started looking into moving to Cyprus it seemed that everything centred around Paphos and the west coast. Not only is it a very popular tourist destination it also has a huge ex-pat comunity and so everyone assumed we would want to go there. 

It's something that bugs me as the East coast has just as much to offer, so when Easyjet invited me to write a piece about 'our' side of the island I couldn't resist.

Agia Napa is often thought of as THE place to go in the east, and then only for the hard core clubbers (it is known as being second to Ibiza as a party town to be fair) but there is more to it than bright lights and fishbowl cocktails. Not only that but there are other lovely resorts here to.  

You can see my brief low down on the East coast of Cyprus here.....

Friday, 5 August 2011

Flashback Friday - Back to school

Later this month Aaron and I will be celebrating our 7th wedding anniversary, and so I've been having a look back through all my wedding stuff and thought I'd dedicate August's flashbacks to the theme.

As you may know I don't generally need an excuse for a party, so when I have one I like to make sure I get my money's worth. Therefore I didn't just have a hen night, I had a hen weekend (and a hen night later but that's a different post!)  

A few months before the wedding (well, you never know how bad a hangover might be!) myself and 9 of my old school friends headed off to good ol' Bognor Regis on the South coast to Butlins for a School Disco party weekend, and we did indeed party...


It was a great weekend full of dancing, drinking and eating Burger King at 4am in the morning!  We were even really lucky with the weather and had an afternoon on the beach reading the papers and talking weddings (three of us were engaged at the time) among other random topics of conversation that would have popped into our heads.

Not all the girls could stay the whole weekend so on the Sunday evening there were just four of us left, we were flagging by this point but after some Red Bulls we tried to make a good effort at a third nights dancing. Unfortunately we couldn't handle the pace and ended up back in the room soaking our poor high-heeled damaged feet in a makeshift footspa in the bath whilst drinking the rest of the wine in our pyjamas. 

One of my favourite photos of the weekend!

Again I am relying on the fact I am 3000 miles away to avoid being moaned at for posting these photos - but once again, they could have been worse ;)




My birth story - the part with the birth!

Leo was due on May 16th 2009, for some reason I was convinced he would be on time if not early. as we don't do late!  It turned out he was quite happy where he was and was waiting until the last moment,  I was booked to be induced on the evening of the 28th, in fact by then I was having mild contractions so on arrival at the hospital after monitoring me for a short time they broke my waters just before midnight. 

Now looking back most of the night is a bit of a blur and I look back and think it was not THAT bad - I think this is some clever trick or nature though designed not to put you off having more than one! 

After my waters were broken we moved to the delivery suite, Aaron nipped out for a cigarette and I can remember being stood bent over the back of a chair thinking' Oh bugger, this actually quite hurts!'   I can't really remember time scales but after a while I asked for gas and air, I thought it wasn't working and was just making me feel sick so some time later I ended up also having pethedine as well - I then realised how to inhale the gas and air and was therefore as high as a kite!

This is where most of it is a bit of a blur, it was getting later (or earlier I suppose - I remember watching it get light outside and the 'early turn' midwife starting her shift) It was getting harder and cutting a long and painfully hazy story a bit shorter I was told I had to get the baby out in the next half an hour....

I remember thinking 'I can't get it out any bloody quicker than I'm doing, believe me I would if I could!' I 'thought' I was pushing but I realised right at the end that I wasn't pushing properly, I do wonder now if it would have been quicker and easier had I done in the beginning

I had no detailed birth plan, the only thing I asked for was to make sure he was cleaned up before giving him to me (especially as Aaron was being there against his wishes) and not to even ask Aaron if he wanted to cut the cord, watch the delivery or anything else like that!

The actual arrival suddenly got a bit dramatic, it was assisted and I was cut, Leo was delivered via ventouse and there were two doctors, a midwife and a student all around the bed. As Leo was delivered by the doctor - who didn't know the plan, he put threw a newborn Leo onto my chest..... in a very non-maternal way I screamed and shouted 'get him off', Aaron was facing very determinedly towards my head at the wall. 

They cleaned him up, while I was stitched (MY GOD that bit hurt!) and he was half an hour old when I held him and we got our first look at him. I've often felt a bit bad about that, especially as so many people really treasure the first few moments after birth and the thought that the first person the baby has contact with is the mother. But I don't think I'd do it differently given the choice again, although I'd try not to scream at my poor seconds old baby.

So, did Aaron end up being pleased he was there? 
No, not at all. If we were to have another nothing at all would make him be present again. He hated every second of it and makes no apology for that - that's fine, he did warn me again and again he did not want to do it so it should be no surprise. It does upset me a little, I don't know why - maybe I am disappointed that it wasn't a good experience at all, maybe I feel bad that I forced him to be there. 

All the way through it I kept thinking how pleased I was that he was there, I may have nearly even broken his hand in appreciation.  I say I couldn't have done it without him - I imagine I would have done as I would have not had a huge amount of choice in that matter but I will be forever glad I didn't have to.  I always felt honoured that he did something so against his wishes for me and just wish he could not regret it quite so much.

First day home

Thursday, 4 August 2011

My Birth story - better late than never!

Yesterday I joined in with Tara's Gallery, and said how I'd never blogged about Leo's birth. As I started to give it some thought and begin to write I realised I could never fit it into one (or two!) posts.... so to stop your bums going numb or your laptop batteries dying here goes with the first instalment and a bit of the conversations that led up to it.

Many years ago way before we were even thinking we'd be together long term, let alone get married and think about babies Aaron and I were having a conversation about births and he said there was NO way he would be present at the birth of his child. I was a bit taken aback by this as I thought most Dads these days probably would be but I didn't think too much about it, I was only 19 after all and babies were not yet on my mind.

As my pregnancy progressed we discussed it, or more accurately I mentioned it and was met with the same answer - no way was he going to be in the room.  Being pregnant and hormonal  my feelings changed frequently on the matter.  Sometimes I was fine with it as it was his decision, and sometimes I felt panicked about doing it without him, or worried how it would affect me or us if he didn't  'share' the experience - it was such a big thing and I felt I'd never be able to explain it properly afterwards and worried that he'd never really appreciate what had happened.  

I didn't really have anyone else I wanted or could have there, I lived a reasonable distance from most of my friends and as much as I am close to my Mum when it came down to it I really wanted it to be Aaron with me. We spoke about it lots, and in the end I suppose I forced him to be there. It's always been said I couldn't force him to do anything he didn't want to do, so I feel honoured that he did it despite really REALLY not wanting to. 

Although, I really did think that after the event he would be pleased he had been there. I've heard many Dad's say that even though they did not really want to be there, or they did not want to be at the 'business end' but afterwards were glad that they did. I did not expect Aaron to watch the proceedings as I can't say I would have wanted to do that myself so I didn't expect it would be that much of an issue. 


Leo at 3 hours old.
I realise in a post entitled "My birth story" that there hasn't been much about an actual birth, it was just starting to turn into the longest post in the world, so I'll give you all a break and let you read part 2 here.

ShowOff Showcase

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

The Gallery - Birth

Considering the amount of time I spend online, reading different blogs or randomly wasting time it does come as a surprise to me that I have never got round to writing Leo's 'birth story'.  I suppose as time went on it seemed a bit late and then when he was 5 months old we emigrated and it kind of distracted me!

This week's Gallery theme is Birth,  and reading the many other birth stories and lovely photos entered into it prompted me to think about writing my own.

It was, I think a reasonably straight forward birth but in writing it I had to think about more than just the actual birth. I've not blogged about it before as Aaron and I had different thoughts on what we wanted - me being the pregnant one ended up getting my own way and I think I maybe still feel bad about it!

I've never blogged about my birth story but feel that it is something that should be in this ongoing record of mine so have started giving it some thought.

I had no detailed birth plan, when asked about my wishes I generally replied 'have a baby' by that I meant that whatever happened was good. I like things to go to plan so I didn't want to set myself up to be disappointed.

And I was lucky, it was an assisted birth but not a terrible one,  how could it be at all bad when it produced this little man...


More birth story to follow...

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