Saturday, 30 June 2012

Saturday is Caption Day!

I don't normally join in with the popular Saturday Caption day link up, mainly as I cam never come up with any witting captions for the great photos that everyone uses. But this week not only is it being hosted by my friend Jenny, I also managed to take this fantastic photo!


Leave your caption in the comments below and then click the badge to see the other entries....


photo-za

Friday, 29 June 2012

Number fun!


One of the presents Leo got for his birthday was a great little number puzzle, there are two parts to it, the first is very simple and Leo did it with no problems - numbers on one side and pictures on the other.

The second is simple maths, for example    3 + 2 = 5  and   9 - 3 = 6  The addition was not too bad but   he was a bit confused by the subtraction as he wanted to count up the pictures and then match the total number and he got quite annoyed when I tried to explain,  so in a fit of inspiration  (as he didn't want to put it away either)   I opened a pack of dolly mixtures and showed him with the sweets.....

If you Mummy has 7 sweets and she eats 2, then how many are left?

He thought it was hilarious that I ate them and counted what was left, came up with the right answer and matched the puzzle piece.  I got him to do the next one and he ate the sweets this time,  laughing his head off all the while - and getting them all right!

Another new and great addition to our collection of books is a wipe clean 'Ready for School' book.  It's got loads of great activities in it and although many are a bit too advanced for Leo (it does recommend from age 4 but he enjoys it so who cares!)  he loves the ones where you copy over things with the pen.


All of these things we do because he enjoys them, and it gives me a chance to sit down for as long as possible!


Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Hands

There is a great prompt for this weeks Gallery, one designed to make us all think a bit more, although immediately several photos popped into my head, it wasn't a hard choice though as I'd already used the one  of the best inflatable in the world on here last year!


One evening not long after Aaron and I had got together we were sat in the pub and 'Father Figure'  by George Michael was played, it's a really random moment that sticks in my mind but I remember we were both just sitting there singing to ourselves and happened to look up just as the lyric 'I will be your Father figure, put your tiny hand in mine'  was sung,  Aaron reached over and I placed my hand on his, it was a moment of great timing..... either that or he was reaching for his drink and I misread it of course!

Eight years ago Aaron took my hand and lovingly slipped a gold wedding ring onto my finger. (well, he tried to but it didn't really 'slip' and involved me having to take over and force it on hoping I'd actually manage to get it on my finger during the wedding ceremony but it's a nice idea in theory!)


Then five years later he held a very tiny hand.....


I will be your Father figure, put your tiny hand in mine
I will be the one who loves you.... 
till the end of time.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

When the sunshine's grey...

Several years ago I was in the park walking our dog in a little world of my own kicking through the autumn leaves, it was a nice day for the time of year, not too cold, sun shining, nothing wrong with it at all - the kind that us Brits actually get all excited about as it's not raining and nature looks beautiful.  But for no real reason I stopped in the park and it just struck me as grey, I could see the gorgeous reds, yellows, browns and greens all around me but it suddenly lost all its appeal, it just seemed as someone had thrown a sheet over me and I couldn't quite breathe properly.

I feel a bit like that now, although I can actually come up with a list of reasons which may or may not make it better now!  and it's not a sheet - it's a suffocatingly hot electric blanket which won't turn down!

As a rule I don't like to moan on my blog, I don't know who reads it and I've upset friends in the UK before who have felt sad for me and I feel bad enough about leaving them as it is but I don't see a lot of people and I feel I may start to drive them mad with my incessant winging so sod it!  I'll stop thinking of what I 'should' be writing and remember why I started blogging in the first place!

It's summer, it's Cyprus, we're living the dream!

Bugger the dream - its hot, so hot that I can't remember what it's like to wear an actual proper outfit, not that it matters as I'm not sure I have one that fits   ;)

I'm fairly sure it's just me though - I see from my facebook news feed that people I know here are enjoying the beach lifestyle or loving the kids being off for the school summer holidays (REALLY??? for 12 weeks - surely they will  change their minds soon!)   they are spending their days at the beach, at the pool, their evening sunset swims and bbq's on the balcony.   Yes they are hot but that's the point - it's summer, it's Cyprus we should not be surprised by that!

My evenings are spent indoors, melting even though there is usually a nice cool breeze blowing on the balcony, Aaron doesn't like to sit outside and I feel a bit odd sitting apart from him as I only see him for an hour or two a day. Last year I sat outside every night but I made the effort to be covered in mossie repellent, and I had the incentive of being able to smoke and drink! 

To be honest I'm bored, and tired, and constantly feel like crap. Leo has been ill, possibly still is ill as he seems to be alternating between fine and having a 'hurty belly' several times a day, I guess its because of that but he's been unbelievably whiny for the last few days - I do realise however he could be getting this from me!

My patience, which I'm the first to admit is not great, has gone out the window and despite the fact he's now at school for the morning I still feel like I could throttle him several times a day. I know he's a toddler but he's a clever one so WHY won't he listen!   :)

I feel like I haven't left the house in months apart from to take Leo to school and go food shopping or visit my parents downstairs, but I also don't want to - even going to the pool feels like a mammoth expedition!  I feel like I'm sulking when I don't want to be but my mind comes up with a heap of obstacles with each idea that pops into my head.

I don't remember pregnancy being this rubbish last time round, I'm trying to focus (and hope!) on the fact that it's this that is making me feel like this and I'll be back to normal afterwards.   I have been assured that I was as uncomfortable and moany last time too, which I'm not entirely sure cheered me up!

There was a difference though, despite what they keep telling me - I had my life then, I had things to do, lots of people to talk to and space to breathe. I had Aaron around to talk to, go to the pub with or just to spend a couple of hours with, I feel that come the winter I won't even know him!  We spoke about the baby, and life in general, he felt the kicks and we looked forward to the new arrival.  I went shopping and enjoyed looking at baby things and was able to easily and cheaply buy the things I needed for the birth and early days.   I could look through an Argos book (I have a really strange craving to look at one of these - I never realised how much I referred to it!)

I knew it was never going to be the same second time round and things will be different in a different place and I will look back and it will have flown by so fast and one day I'll probably wish I could turn the clock back, at least I will be able to read this blog post then though and be thankful that the sun looks like it should do once again.


Monday, 25 June 2012

All Fancy Dress - (Review and giveaway)

As you may know Aaron and I are HUGE fancy dress fans, we've annoyed many of our friends in the past by instigating fancy dress parties (often for no reason at all!)  or convincing everyone to go out dressed in random outfits.  From getting engaged in costume to some fantastic parties and weekends away  we never like to pass up a chance to dress up!

Back in the UK we had amassed a huge collection of costumes but unfortunately decided get rid of them all before moving out to Cyprus. To be fair we've not has much of an opportunity to wear any of them but it's much harder to get hold of things to make outfits here.    So I was really excited when I was offered an outfit from All Fancy Dress.com, I eagerly surfed my way through my favourite types of costumes - (Fairytale, Burlesque, Greek Goddess etc)  and then realised I no longer had anywhere to wear it!

So, instead I headed to the children's section (after convincing Aaron that he didn't NEED a Greek warrior costume and it would make for a really odd review as he had nowhere to go wearing it!) and chose one for Leo. I debated for quite a while but eventually chose a ''Jack Sparrow' Pirate costume as he's recently been enjoying searching for pirate treasure and watching a lot of 'Jake and the Neverland Pirates' so I thought it would go down well.

I was surprised then that he has not yet got the 'fancy dress bug'   (he will eventually - trust me!) and it took some persuasion to get him to wear it!  I actually had to promise him some chocolate just to get a photo of him in it!

However, it's a great little outfit and I only put his reluctance down to being a stubborn 3 year old rather than a reflection of the costume!

It's a one piece outfit which is great for kids as they will actually keep it all together rather than discarding waistcoats or belts and then losing the overall look.   It does come with a pirate hat but unfortunately was way too small for Leo's head!   (however we recently found out that the medium size crash helmets in Aaron's shop don't actually fit him so I'm sure the hat is fine for anyone else!)

Despite the disappointing lack of enthusiasm from Leo, I liked it and I'd be more than happy to order from them in the future, and unlike many companies they actually deliver to Cyprus!!




It a great way of putting some fun into the summer holidays and having a new costume that your children can enjoy wearing on multiple occasions is always wonderful to see. So if you fancy yourself a winner just fill the the simple form below. 


I was sent this costume for the purpose of this review  - I received no payment and the views and opinions are my (and Leo's) own.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Flashback Friday - Dad

This weeks Flashback Friday theme, is Dad.



In the last week not only has it been Father's Day but also my Dad's birthday. On his 60th birthday as part of his present I 'gave' him '60 memories' - things that particularly stuck in my head from childhood to date.   It took me quite a while to do as but it was very well received, some were a bit random but it got quite difficult towards the end! 

Here are a selection of them....


     Riding my bike thinking you were holding onto the back and then realising that I had done it on my own.

     Teaching me how to play Chess, Backgammon, Othello and Draughts – and letting me think I was good at them!


  Always trying to change channel on the TV whilst you were asleep only to have you open your eyes as I pick up the remote.

    Trying (and succeeding I once I believe) to convince you we had parked the car on a different level to what we had.

     Decorating the Christmas tree - 1st Sunday of December with the Christmas LP playing, putting the hooks in the baubles and then the best bit – throwing the tinsel on at the end!

     You decorating the front room for my birthday with fairy lights.

     You ALWAYS eating the top of my ice cream, (still not sure whether to be amused or angry about that!)

     Me insisting on going out in the car that was “legally mine because I was over 18!  (I think that has got to be one of my favourites!)

     Giving me away at my Wedding (Did you realise I’d come back!?)



This post is for my Flashback Friday, this week the theme is Dad



Thursday, 21 June 2012

Moving Stories


Today you can find me over at VegemiteVix - a brilliant blog written by an expat Kiwi living in the UK. She is running a new series of guest posts called 'Moving Stories'

I'll let her explain in her own words...

I've decided to start a new series here on the blog, called Moving Stories. In it I’m going to feature interviews with some of my favourite expats, and I’m going to share a series of posts on how to Move Worlds Without Losing Your Mind. Keep an eye out for it if expat life could be in your future, or if you just want to dream about the possibilities.


To see my story, and others in the series pop over to VegemiteVix.com

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

The Gallery - Family

Compared to many I grew up in a very small family, as far as I knew there were the three of us (Mum, Dad, and me), two sets of Grandparents and an Aunt and Uncle.  There were more scattered about but for various reasons we (or I at least) didn't see them at the time.   

In contrast to that, Aaron grew up with the complete opposite,  with his parents, brother and sister along with more Aunt's, Uncles and Cousins than I could ever keep track of -  His Dad was one of eight siblings! 

Being the only child in my family compared to Aaron who had his brother and sister and a whole heap of cousins which he was very close to, I have no idea what it is like growing up with other kids around to play and fight with, and I'm a little bit nervous about having 2 boys of my own when I hear of the stories from Aaron's childhood!

I remember as a child going to my friends house, she had two brothers and a sister and the noise scared the life out of me!  I was quiet and shy and they always seemed to be fighting and arguing with each other. They did have great times together and I was often envious of them but I honestly thought that sometimes they would kill each other too - I think it must have made them stronger though and they are all great friends now as adults.

I am very glad that Leo will soon have a little brother, especially as we are so far away from the rest of the family and all his cousins, I just hope I can control the pair of them if they recreate any of their Father and Uncle's escapades!


You're going to need to share that lilo soon Leo!


Linking up to The Gallery, the prompt for this week is 'Family'

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

What to expect when.... (Review and Giveaway)

Although I'm not generally a fan of instruction manuals when I get something new  -  you try and figure it out, fail miserably, swear it at and eventually read the book when you are really stuck,  I often thought how useful it would be if babies and toddlers were all born with some instructions.

It turns out that I actually like to have instructions, at least the have a look at when you get stuck and many time I've resorted to Google for answers or advice  (before I started blogging and found twitter that is!)

Now, I know all babies are not the same so everything I've learned with Leo will probably be completely useless when it comes to baby No.2.  So I was very pleased to receive a set of three 'What to expect' books

What To Expect  - When You Are Expecting
What To Expect - The First Year
What To Expect - The Second Year

When I was expecting Leo and in the days before I was surgically attached to my laptop I read a huge heap of 'baby books' from my local library but I honestly don't remember reading any as comprehensive as these, they are as close to an actual instruction manual I think you'll find!

What to expect.com have teamed up with me to offer 2 sets of books to give away to my readers


To be in with a chance of winning, simply fill in the Rafflecopter form below...




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 18 June 2012

The 500th post!

Welcome to my 500th blog post!

My very first blog post was way back on 17th September 2009, when I hit publish that day there was no-one to read it and I never imagined that I'd still be going all this time later with nearly 200 readers (that I know of) and more importantly still enjoying every second.   

Having missed both my blog anniversaries when I noticed I was coming up to the 500th post I decided it couldn't go unmarked. I thought I'd take a little look back over the last couple of years and share some of my favourite bits with you - as I'm sure you weren't around in the begining (well, except you Mum!) 

I started off slowly having no idea what I was doing, and rarely putting photos on my posts. I had no plan and knew nothing about blogging at all. I knew there were thousands of blogs out there but didn't realise there were lots of other 'Mum and expat bloggers'  or that some of them I would come to class as good friends of mine despite having never met!   I only started it as I thought  the fact we were emigrating would give me something interesting to write about and I thought friends and family might like to follow our adventure. 

I started slowly just before we left the UK with just 10 posts in 2009, then a big break while we tried to get internet access. In 2010 I published 88 posts and then found my feet and last year wrote a whopping 258.  This year probably won't be far off (although I expect to get a little side tracked after August which I'm sure will slow me down!

With so many posts I could never pick a favourite but soon I'll be digging through the archives and sharing a few you might have missed  via my facebook page 'Emma's blog - A matter of choice'to keep you entertained while I get used to  life with two small children! 

Since writing this I've had some great opportunities from reviewing some great products and writing regularly for Daxi magazine, Angloinfo Cyprus and Mum's in Cyprus websites.  This year I was really hoping to go back to the UK for a visit and attend BritMums Live (as well as catching up with old friends and a spot of shopping!) but redundancy and pregnancy put paid to that plan - fingers crossed I will be able to find a way to do it next year.

If you've been reading for just a few or many posts then thank you, and if you ever leave me comments I thank you even more!  



In case you ever wondered, the name of my blog came from my favourite quote:

'Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice
It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved'



Flashback Friday Theme - Week 16

Another fab Flashback Friday coming up this week...


FlashbackFriday 
This week is honour of Father's Day the theme is simply    Dad

As ever you can interpret this as you wish, and if you don't have a photo but would like to share a story then feel free to do that too!  It doesn't matter how far back you go - whether it's 10 months or 10 or 50 years, just take us back to a moment in time!

The linky will open early Friday morning and will stay open until the following week.



If you want to join in, write your post and come back on Friday to link up.   If you're linking up please visit as many of the other posts and see what they've come up with too.

You can grab the code for the  badge to display on your post but the important part though is to come back and add your post to the linky, then visit some of the others for a lovely nostalgia fest!


Grab my button
and join in

Saturday, 16 June 2012

First week at school - Update

On Monday, Leo had his first day at school, although not a complete disaster he didn't really enjoy it.  I think the main problem was that he didn't realise I was coming back for him! On Tuesday I made sure I explained before we left and again when we got to school that I was going to work (he understands that better than anything else) and I'd be back in an hour.  He was not happy and although he wanted to go he didn't want me to leave him.   His teacher took him and I gave him a quick kiss and said goodbye,  he was crying but was so sweet as he was also trying not to.  As I left I could hear his little cries and him saying 'I need my Mummy to stay here'


Wednesday when I picked him up after 2 hours he seemed much happier, apparently they had given him a biscuit and a banana and that 'made me happy and not crying any more' He was very pleased to see me and showed me the other children, the teacher got them to wave and say bye, and he waved back saying 'See you tomorrow'  He said he hadn't played with the toys but he only cried a little bit because 'you said you would come back, and now you come back and that's good'


When I peaked in as I arrived the teacher and children were sitting in a big circle singing, he wasn't joining in which is to be expected as it was all in Greek but I felt so sorry for him sitting there not knowing what they were saying, yet again I felt bad that we had 'made' him live in this country!



Thursday was another improvement, the first day where we had no meltdown about going in the first place.  It was my Dad's birthday and I told him that after school we would be able togive him his surprise cake so he was looking forward to that.  Today I was leaving him for 3 hours and I was a little nervous for him as he would be there over different activities.  When I went to get him I managed to see him for a few minutes before he noticed me - all the children were having a 'free play time'  and were scattered around the room, Leo was sitting on his own looking around and absent-mindedly playing with a brick, he looked very lost but he wasn't crying so it could have been worse!


When he saw me his face lit up and he charged over to me, bottom lip quivering again but telling me how he hadn't cried and he was so happy to see me.  He said he had had fun and played on the toys outside, and ate his food at the round table with the other children  (he had told me the day before he was too scared to do that)

He told me he 'creeped through the tunnel, it was very colourful and then proceeded to name all the colours for me.... in Greek  :)

Friday he actually asked to go to school whilst eating his breakfast!  When it was time to go he went without a fuss, walked in and gave me a kiss goodbye with a problem.  This was to be pretty much a full session as Eleni suggested I collected him at 1pm / 1.30pm ish.    When I arrived he was sitting with just a handful of kids as most were going for a sleep, he charged down the corridor to me starting to cry a little but was actually quite happy when I asked him about his day.
He said he had eaten all his food and had some lunch which looked like pasta and he ate four bits and it was yummy!


All in all I think it's been a successful week, I was so pleased and proud of him when I collected him on Friday afternoon, I think he's done so well in s short space of time. The strangest thing for me is not knowing what he's been doing as his answers are very vague!



Friday, 15 June 2012

Shopping in Cyprus

I never thought of myself as a fan of shopping but as the saying goes 'You don't know what you've got till it's gone!'  One of the unexpected things I now miss about living in England is the shops, and most expats out here would probably say the same thing.

Now I think about it, as long I was not having to buy shoes or a particular outfit I loved wandering up and down the high street.  Bookshops, 'gadget' shops, Primark, Wilkinsons and Woolworths (or whatever random shops has been occupying the old store for the last few years!)  and not just the high street shops - supermarkets which sold everything from clothes to toys, DVDs and household goods AND medicine (saving you having to go to a Pharmacy to buy some headache tablets).  The supermarkets here DO sell non-food items but I generally gave up looking at it when I first noticed a plain white baby sleepsuit on sale for €10 euro and promptly went into mourning for Asda multipacks and money off vouchers!

The shops are very spread out here, no highstreet locally where you can park in one place and do all your shopping, you end up driving from place to place  or as is more common you just don't!   Buy your food, go home and browse the second hand selling groups on Facebook to find your bargains for anything else you want.

Shops usually close for lunch between 1pm and 3pm (except the supermarkets and shops in the tourist areas) but stay open until 7pm.   Wednesday and Saturday are early closing and Sundays everything is closed.  It often caught me out when I first arrived as I drove into a supermarket on a Wednesday afternoon to then remember it was closed!

Shopping online isn't really an option either unless you have helpful guests coming over with plently of space in their suitcase.  So often I find that even websites that offer shipping 'Europe wide' have decided that Cyprus is not in Europe and do not deliver here or they will but the shipping fee far outweighs the cost of the actual item!!

Childrens clothes, Cyprus, UK Brands
You can find Petals on Facebook here
Kids clothes are the thing that annoy me the most, as adults you tend not to NEED new clothes as often (well that is if you don't go and get pregnant and have nothing to wear!)  but these pesky kids do insist on getting bigger all the time!

Myself and my friends miss the likes of Asda, Primark and Matalan so much for baby and  childrens clothes so you can imagine how pleased we were when a friend of mine opened up her new shop last month.

Petals Children's Boutique are selling UK branded childrens clothing and bedding and not only that they are all at sensible prices!   So no more €10 euro baby grows for me then!


This is not a sponsored post I an genuinely impressed we have a new shop selling such great stuff!


I am linking this post up to the Expat Blog hop over at 'Tales from the Windmill Fields'  This week's theme is 'Shopping'

Flashback Friday - First day at school

This week as Leo went to nursery school for the first time I thought this would be a great photo choice for my Flashback Friday....


This was taken on my first day at Primary School, I don't remember that much about it but I do remember the photo being 'staged'  and my parents asking me to go to the end of the drive so it looked like I was going but Mum saying that it was pretend and she would be really taking me in a minute!

I asked my Mum about the day and she said I was not impressed!  When the teacher rang the bell for class all the children, including me ran straight over to the teacher but I was the only one to run straight back to my Mum crying! She ended up being the only Mum to have to take their child inside where the head mistress plucked me out of her arms and told her 'You've had her for years, it's our job now'

It took a week or so for me to go without a fight, to begin with Mum took me and settled me at my desk, then progressed to saying goodbye at the classroom door, the corridor and then the playground!




This post is for my Flashback Friday, this week the theme is New Start - it can be anything you from your first day at school or a new job, a house move or a new relationship for example.

As ever you can interpret this as you wish, and if you don't have a photo but would like to share a story then feel free to do that too!  It doesn't matter how far back you go - whether it's 10 months or 10 or 50 years, just take us back to a moment in time!

FlashbackFriday
Grab my button
and join in




Next week in honour of Father's Day the theme is nice and simple.....  Dad 

So get searching through the archives and see what you can come up with!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Reasons to be Cheerful

This week despite the soaring heat (it's up in the high 30s now and that's fairly warm even if you are not 7 months pregnant!)  I'm still feeling cheerful....


1. Leo has started nursery school -  I'm not sure this is something he's very cheerful about as he's had quite a lot of tears about it this week but we are on day 4 now and it's not THAT bad.  Although I obviously feel for him (and think it must be a huge thing for him - suddenly 5 days a week in school an everyone speaking Greek!) it's taken a huge weight off of my mind as I was really worried about him starting in September just after the baby arrives, I think that would have made it so much worse.  It also means I get a chance to rest a little bit before hand!  (she says writing a blog post while he is at school!)

2. I got Leo to wear his armbands in the swimming pool unlike last year where he refused which means someone hasn't got to constantly hold him in our pool or worry that he might just suddenly jump in.   This week we've been in a few times and already he is swimming about quite happily on his own, he even swam a full length of the pool the other day!

3.  My neighbour arrived yesterday with two huge bags of baby goodies for me that she had got from her friend. Wipes, nappies, toiletries and magazines - yay!  This time round I've really missed all the freebies you can collect in England whilst being pregnant and the magazines I used to really enjoy reading.

4. It's my Dad's birthday today and that means lunch and birthday cake when Leo comes home from school!    Cake is always a good reason to be cheerful in my opinion.  

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

Are you feeling cheerful?  Head over to Mummy From The Heart and join in!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

First day at school

Yesterday, after much debate about which Nursery school to choose Leo had his first taste of school!  After seeing the school and actually being shown around it unlike all the others I was quite happy at sending him.  I had been trying to prepare him as best I could and when we got up yesterday morning he was excited and raring to go.

He kept saying he was excited about going to school like his friends which was good but I was a little concerned he thought he would be going WITH his friends (they all go to different ones) I didn't want to point that out though in case I upset him before we even left.

When we arrived he walked in happily with me and Eleni, his teacher came out to great us, she bent straight down to his level with a happy 'Kalimera'  (Good Morning) and asked him his name.  Ever the friendly boy he replied 'Morning, My name is Leo, look at my new school bag, it's got Thomas on it'

She asked him if he wanted to come and meet the other kids and he said 'No, I want to play on the toys outside'  'Ok', she replied and went to take him at which point he clung to me and said 'Mummy come'.  I went with them and tried to get him to let go of my hand to go through a play tunnel but he was having none of it.

It was then all a bit sudden as Eleni turned him round and said Goodbye to me, I had planned to explain to him that I'd be back in a little while and say goodbye as I do when I leave him with my Mum, but by this point he'd already started crying so I knew it was too late - he would have clung to me and trying to say anything else to him would have made it worse so I made a swift exit to the sounds of him crying  'I need my Mummy'

An hour later as arranged I went back to collect him, he was sitting on the lap of another teacher who had the rest of his class sitting at her feet. He wasn't crying but his eyes were very red and he looked a bit subdued.  When he saw me he leapt of her lap and nearly knocked me over with the force of his cuddle!    That started him crying again and he said'  I missed you so much - I didn't know you were coming back and I cried'

We spent about 5 minutes there, and he showed me the toilets and told me how he'd used them. He then seemed quite happy and gave the teachers a cheery wave and said 'See you tomorrow'  In the car on the way home he told me how he hadn't played with the toys as they were scary because the slide was black, and he'd cried but the red lady (lady with the red top) had given him a cuddle.  Over the course of the day when he talked about it he seemed to forget he'd been crying and his account of the morning improved to the point where he seemed quite happy to go again today.

He was very pleased to be allowed to talk on the phone and ring Daddy in the afternoon to tell him all about it so I hope he properly enjoys it soon.


Flashback Friday theme - Week 15

Another fab Flashback Friday coming up this week...


FlashbackFriday 
This week the theme will be  New Start - it can be anything you from your first day at school or a new job, a house move or a new relationship for example.


As ever you can interpret this as you wish, and if you don't have a photo but would like to share a story then feel free to do that too!  It doesn't matter how far back you go - whether it's 10 months or 10 or 50 years, just take us back to a moment in time!

The linky will open early Friday morning and will stay open until the following week.



If you want to join in, write your post and come back on Friday to link up.   If you're linking up please visit as many of the other posts and see what they've come up with too.

You can grab the code for the  badge to display on your post but the important part though is to come back and add your post to the linky, then visit some of the others for a lovely nostalgia fest!


Grab my button
and join in

Monday, 11 June 2012

The great nursery debate

I've been wanting to get Leo started in nursery school for a long time now, most of his similar age friends (he's the youngest by 6 months but they are all 3 years old now) have been going for almost a year and Leo often asked why he didn't go to school like his friends. The main reason he hasn't been is the cost, and as I'm not working we couldn't afford or justify sending him and paying so much money out each month. 

Back in January I registered him at pre-school and I was quite stressed about that as I had no idea how or where to go about doing it, and even once I had still had no clue if he actually had a place or when he might be starting, if I would drop him at the gate or take him inside etc.

I eventually got a phone call a few weeks ago saying he would have a place in September but was still none the wiser as to a start date, I asked and they said they would ring me! The other thing that was now worrying me was the fact that he would be starting and doing Monday to Friday straight off just a couple of weeks after the arrival of his little baby brother.   If the baby was late there was even a chance it might not have been me taking him to school, all this seemed a recipe for disaster,especially as he'd never been away from me or my parents for any length of time before. 

I've been looking around for a nursery that would do part time hours, as it's not like I needed full time child care but it would be good for him to get used  to going somewhere so he would not be so shocked come September. In the last week I went to four different places,I found two places which would do part time hours -  one was just plain weird and the other I didn't like much. 

There is an English nursery which does flexible hours but I didn't really want him to get used to going there to then have to face a big language change when he moves to pre-school, also they were the most expensive by far and the furthest drive away.

I had resigned myself to sending him somewhere not perfect, just as I felt the time had come that we HAD to do something, then I went to see a local one last week and fell in love with it! The part time hours are 7.15am till 2.30pm (full time is until 5.30pm)  Monday - Friday and it's €157 euro a month which although is a huge amount of money for us is a really good price. 

It was the only place I visited where I felt welcomed and was shown around the school. Leo's teacher went to great lengths to explain what they do, what I need to take and covered every question I could think of.  It looked child friendly and clean and tidy and she even gave me 7 pages of information to take away with me (in Greek but she translated the whole thing for me). They were also the only ones to suggest bringing him in on the first day at 10am (when they have playtime outside on the big toys) and just leaving him for an hour. 


So today was the day... He was very excited this morning, saying he was going to school like his friends and although there were tears (from him, not me!) he seems quite happy to go back tomorrow!

I'll let you know how today went and tomorrow goes later this week...

Birth in Cyprus - Caesarean births

I'd heard that caesarean births are very common here in Cyprus and initially I was worried about having to have one when it might not be necessary. I have no problem at all if needed medically but would rather not unless it was unavoidable.  Here are two stories of C-sections which both happened to be at the Achillion Clinic in Limassol.  From the feedback I have received since asking for birth stories it still seems that more people choose to go private than use the General hospital, in many cases as if it's the only option?!


Tara's Story -
In response to your post, I had my son in 2008. I chose to go private as I had a strong dislike of the general hospital due to previous experiences, and as it was my first child I was naturally a bit scared and wanted to feel 100% looked after.

The total cost including scans, check ups, blood tests, birth and hospital stay was nearly €5000. I had a c- section which is around €1000 more than natural birth. I didn't want to have a section but my son stopped wasn't moving as much as he should have been towards the end and didn't seem to be getting into position. When he was born he had the cord around his neck 3 times which explained the above worries. I was a bit concerned to start with as I have heard that sections are very common here with a lot of women actually opting for them but in the end the decision from the doctor was correct in my case.

Both my doctor and the overall care I received in the hospital can not be faulted. Was spoken to in English, treated with respect and received fast and efficient care during the 3 days I stayed there.

If I have a second child I will most likely return to the same doctor and clinic.


BirthInCyprus

Nia's Story - 
I had my first child in Nov 2009. The cost of operation was about €2000. During pregnancy every month I had a check-up with my gynaecologist there, each visit cost €50 plus around €200-€300 for all necessary tests.

From the very beginning I decided that the birth will be via C-section, the doctor appointed the date - usually it is 2 weeks earlier that due date. The good thing was that I had local anaesthetic - epidural pain relief, so I was given possibility to meet my baby in this world, the doctors brought him to me for hug as soon as he came out. Another good thing was that our paediatrician (which we had chosen in advance) was attending the operation.

I stayed at hospital for 4 days, for C-section this is the normal period. Here I shall add that any movement and especially walking is quite painful in first 2 days, in total I needed one month to recover fully physically.
All staff in hospital spoke English, it is common for all hospitals, especially for private ones.

In general I shall note that I have not meet anybody here who was unhappy by deciding to give birth  at Cyprus.  Of course everything costs money, but here you usually get proper value.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

20 Questions - Interview with a 3 year old.

I came across a great idea on Pinterest a while ago where you ask your child a series of questions each year on their birthday staring at age 3 and then you can see how their answers change over the years.  I asked him the questions over a few days as and when he decided to cooperate and answer them - to most of them the answer was first 'I don't know' which is what he responds to everything at the moment even if he knows so I had to try a few times to get an answer out of him!

Now he keeps asking me the questions too!



1. What is your favourite colour? Light blue (this changes each time you ask him!) 

2. What is your favourite toy?    Thomas   (the tank engine) 

3. What is your favorite fruit?  Grapes

4. What is your favourite tv show?  Thomas 

5. What is your favourite thing to eat for lunch?  Ham and salad cream (sandwiches

6. What is your favorite outfit?   Boys will be boys (t-shirt, doesn't care which shorts!) 

7. What is your favourite game?  Snap downstairs with Nanna

8. What is your favorite snack?  Nanna's special Cream biscuits  (Custard Creams - I don't buy them!)

9. What is your favourite animal?  Elevan (from 'Jungle Junction)

10. What is your favourite song?  'Clicking and a clacking'   (from one of the Thomas films)   and 'Brown ga lin a ling' (otherwise known as 'Brown Girl in The Ring - Bony M!) 

11. What is your favourite book?  Thomas (the exact book changes every five minutes but it's always a Thomas one!) 

12. Who is your best friend?    Mummy    (but really I'd say Leiarna, or Jack or Kyle usually depending on his mood - I think he was after something with this answer!) 

13. What is your favourite dinner? S'getti and sausage (Spaghetti)

14. What is your favorite thing to do outside?  Watering (playing with the hose on the balcony)

15. What is your favourite drink?    Juice in a box  (any carton of drink!) 

16. What is your favourite place to go?  The park with the statue (our nearest park)

17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Little orange raff (his cuddly giraffe he's had since birth)

18. What is your favourite thing to eat for breakfast?  Cheerios and raisins 

19. What do you want on your birthday?  My friends to come (for the party) and some cake 

20. What do you want to be when you grow up?   I don't know....erm Daddy.   ( I thought he'd struggle with this one not really knowing what the options are!) 




I'm sure if I asked him these again they would change each time but they were his first answers, it will be interesting to see what they will be next year!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Flashback Friday - Young Love

Way back in the days before I discovered boys, popstar crushes and even Care bears I had my very first love.....

Let me introduce you to Dumbo.

Dumbo was my first love, he was my first toy and was certainly could not have been more loved!  He's still with us albeit a little worn and aged now, the photo above was taken only today.

As a young child I slept with him under my arm every night, always the same arm which is why his trunk bends to the side, he has been around the world to Spain, and Malta on his holidays with us.  Over the years he has had a little bit of surgery at the very careful hands of my Mum and was always carefully hand washed (the washing machine would have made him feel sick!) and then given pride of place in the airing cupboard to dry, always sitting up and never squashed in between some random drying underwear.


Although he spent many years relaxing as I stopped playing with toys he always had pride of place in my bedroom and came with me each time I moved house.  When we packed for Cyprus it even seemed wrong to pack him in the shipping which would take 6 weeks at sea, so he stayed with us and came along in the suitcase!

Dumbo once had a very important photo shoot with a certain young Leo, although these days he sits up out of reach as he's a little past the rough and tumble days!




This post is for my Flashback Friday, This week the theme is  Young Love - it can be anything you from your first boyfriend, favourite cuddly toy or something you had a real passion for in your youth. Or even relating to other family members - did your Grandparents have a brilliant love story for example?

But feel free to just go with whatever takes your fancy if you have a memory you'd like to share! If you'd like to join in you can read all about it here. If you wish, grab the code for the badge to display on your post, the important part though is to come back and add your post to the linky, then visit some of the others for a lovely nostalgia fest!

FlashbackFriday
Grab my button
and join in



Next week the theme is New Start - it can be anything you from your first day at school or a new job, a house move or a new relationship for example.

So get searching through the archives and see what you can come up with!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

29 week bump update

I've surprised myself with this pregnancy, I really thought  I'd keep more of a record of it that I have done so far now I blog so often. I had plans for lots and lots of photos as with Leo I only got a few at the end but in reality there just didn't seem a lot of point when there was not much of a bump.  I will definitely get some nearer the end though with Leo in them too.

I've read many blogs with weekly or even monthly pregnancy updates since I started writing but it didn't really appeal to me, there just didn't seem to be much to say. No major problems, no interesting cravings, nothing that I could find to write about.  I'm not feeling as enthusiastic this time which hasn't helped.

At 28 weeks with Leo I had already finished work (left early to avoid redundancy) and I had a nice 3 months shopping, relaxing, visiting friends and having lovely naps - maybe that's why I don't remember being as uncomfortable this early!  Oh, with no toddler and no temperatures of  over 30 degrees every day - that could be it!

In the last week or so it's hit me, I know,I know...11 weeks is not a long time / it will fly by/ I should make the most of it (insert other random cliché response here) but I'm starting to feel like I'm walking through treacle and not getting anywhere fast.   Part of the reason I've not written a 'bump update' is that I didn't want to sound negative but then I realised it would be a good post to read if I ever happened to feel broody again so I thought I'd just pretend that no-one else is reading this and write it anyway!


The heat is getting to me, and it's only June. I've not given in to using the air con yet (although the fact it really needs a service because it's a bit rubbish could have something to do with it, and I've got to keep the stupidly high electric bills down) last year it topped 50 degrees by August so I don't want to peak too early!  I'm starting to feel housebound as taking Leo anywhere seems like a mammoth task but then I feel guilty as every day he asks where we are going, and I would love to be making the most of spending lots of time with him while I can.

Aaron is on his third week without a day off now and the next one is not yet in sight, hopefully he'll get one when the baby arrives! It seems like weeks have gone by since we've had a conversation as we only see each other for a couple of hours each day. I'm trying not to moan at him as he's also tired but that means I can't think of much else to talk about!

I'm not quite into proper waddling yet but bending is really difficult and sitting on the floor is not comfy, getting up again is a huge effort!  Standing for too long is not good, sitting makes my bum go numb and laying down is not entirely practical all day!  My fingers are swollen and I cannot get my rings off, the most annoying thing about this is the fact I took them off just last weekend and stupidly put them back on.  I also have REALLY annoying mosquito bites on my bump!

Last time I was trying to savour the pregnancy as I was nervous about having a tiny baby (I'd never even changed a nappy before Leo was born)  and I really did try to make the most of being able to do what I wanted, when I wanted to. I am still trying to appreciate the fact that having one child must be easier than two but it's not that easy as I'm finding it hard to remember what it's like to feel normal!

On the upside.....
I do remember thinking I'd never feel normal again when I was expecting Leo and I did.  Although Aaron is working silly hours he will probably be around most of the winter, and my parents are being a big help in many ways.


I realise I probably sound like a moany cow but I am still appreciating how lucky I am to be having a relatively easy pregnancy, and the fact that I am pregnant at all (even though it wasn't the best timing in the world!) as so many people would love to be in my situation.  I love all the baby's movements (well, maybe not so much the ones that hurt my ribs!) and the hiccups he often gets, and I'm enjoying little things like reading in bed and having reasonably uninterrupted sleep at night - I say reasonably as Leo often wakes me up for random things and if not I'm still up for a wee several times a night but I haven't forgotten newborn sleeping patterns completely so know its not that bad at the moment!


BirthInCyprus

Monday, 4 June 2012

Flashback Friday Theme Week 14

Just to get you all prepared for another fab Flashback Friday and give you a heads up on this weeks theme..

I've brought back themes as the linky seemed to be more popular with them. You don't HAVE to follow the theme though - I love a bit of nostalgia so it would still be great if you fancy joining in with your own flashback. Maybe this week brings back a certain memory or you just fancy reliving a certain moment in time?

FlashbackFriday 

This week the theme is  Young Love - it can be anything you from your first boyfriend, favourite cuddly toy or something you had a real passion for in your youth. Or even relating to other family members - did your Grandparents have a brilliant love story for example?


As ever you can interpret this as you wish, and if you don't have a photo but would like to share a story then feel free to do that too!  It doesn't matter how far back you go - whether it's 10 months or 10 or 50 years, just take us back to a moment in time!

The linky will open early Friday morning and will stay open until the following week.



If you want to join in, write your post and come back on Friday to link up.   If you're linking up please visit as many of the other posts and see what they've come up with too.

You can grab the code for the  badge to display on your post but the important part though is to come back and add your post to the linky, then visit some of the others for a lovely nostalgia fest!


Grab my button
and join in

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Maternicare Pre & Post-natal cream (Review)

When I was pregnant with Leo I religiously applied a pregnancy moisturising oil day and night for the whole 9 months, and towards the end sometimes even in the middle of the day too!  I know everyone says that if you are destined for stretch marks there is nothing you can do to stop them but I was determined to give it a good try!.

It almost worked, I didn't actually get any stretch marks appear until the last week - another good reason why I don't like being late for things, if he'd been on time I would have escaped them! This time round in the same way that my clothes seemed to shrink the minute I wee'd on a stick, the original stretch marks seemed to jump out at me and this did not seem like a good sign for the next 9 months.

So when I was offered the opportunity to try out Maternicare's Pre and Post Natal Moisturising Cream I jumped at the chance.

Their moisturising cream is  a blend of rich plant oils and essential vitamins developed especially to nourish and care for your skin as your bump grows, and then later support your body as it recovers. The gentle, hypoallergenic formula is packed full of pro-vitamin B5, almond, avocado and grape seed oils, as well as vitamin E and soothing calendula.

Since I received it I've got back into my old habit of moisturising my bump twice a day, sometimes Leo even helps!  It's a gorgeous cream and smells lovely but so far unlike other fragranced creams does not seem to be attracting the mosquitoes that can plague us at night-time which makes a change!

Obviously it hasn't magically removed the existing stretch marks, but if it can help in me not getting too many more I'll be a happy girl. After all a summer in Cyprus is just too hot to not be wearing bikinis!  What it definitely is doing though is keeping my skin lovely and smooth and reducing the itchy bump I tend to get late at night.


MaterniCare Pre & Post Natal Nourishing Cream is £14.99 for 200ml. Visit www.forum-health.co.uk to order your own MaterniCare today. For information on you and your skin during all stages of pregnancy and the benefits of MaterniCare visit: www.maternicare.com


I was sent some cream to review but the opinions are all my own.



Silent Sunday




TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

Friday, 1 June 2012

Flashback Friday - A right Royal Knees up!

Ever since I can remember I've always been interested in the Royal family. At the age of 3 I attended a playgroup street party although I don't really remember it and it wasn't really until Prince Andrew married Sarah that I started to pay an interest. I used to really enjoy collecting all the newspaper cuttings about them and making them into a scrapbook!  Although I got over that childhood hobby I've still enjoyed reading about the Royals and watching all the big events on TV, last year I was very envious of those in the UK while William and Kate got married although we did get to see it here.

It seems like everyone in England has got Royal fever at the moment - although I do wonder if that's just am impression I'm getting online. I know many people are not at all interested but I love all the pomp and circumstance!

I'd love to arrange or go to a proper street party, although I bet that none of them will be quite like they were back in the day...





These were taken in 1953 at a street party in my Mum's road in North Woolwich to celebrate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

This photo shows my Mum, dressed as a Bride with her Mum (My Nan) behind her and her Grandad standing up in the middle of the picture. Her cousins are next to her and her Aunt Alice on the right hand side.  They all used to live in the same area, mostly in the same street.


I love how everyone would get together and chip in for a great day, I wish that sense of community still existed today.




This post is for my Flashback Friday, this week in honour of the Queen's Jubilee I'm opening the theme up a bit wider!

Celebration / Royal / London / Commemoration /  Anniversary / Bank holiday!


but feel free to just go with whatever takes your fancy if you have a memory you'd like to share! If you'd like to join in you can read all about it here. If you wish, grab the code for the badge to display on your post, the important part though is to come back and add your post to the linky, then visit some of the others for a lovely nostalgia fest!

FlashbackFriday
Grab my button
and join in



Next week the theme is  Young Love - it can be anything you from your first boyfriend, favourite cuddly toy or something you had a real passion for in your youth. Or even relating to other family members - did your Grandparents have a brilliant love story for example?

So get searching through the archives and see what you can come up with!


Also linked this week to 525,600 Minutes.

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