Saturday, 31 August 2013

365 Project - week 35


Day 237 - Loukas' first birthday, we had a fab day celebrating with a 'Very Hungry Caterpillar' party. Here's the birthday boy about to eat his cake whilst watching all the goings on with interest!


Day 238 - a random shot of Louka sitting under his high chair. I love this photo, it was taken with Aaron's posh camera that I have no idea how to use but even on auto the photos always look great!



Day 239 - Spent a morning at the beach with my Dad and Leo, we made a boat which Leo christened 'Bucky' due to his current obsession with 'Jake and the Neverland pirates'


Day 240 - Trying watermelon, he enjoyed mushing it about but not sure if he ate much!


Day 241 - Leo was overjoyed to be given his own 'Bucky'   (in fact he has had it for ages but has been sitting in my parents shed as he was never interested in it and I'd forgotten all about it!) 


Day 242 - Had a fab child free girls night at a friends on Friday which turned into a bit of a pool party, and with lots of drinking, inflatables and a childs slide - Very good night!



Day 243 - Hiding under the washing, I think he likes the coolness of the wet towels!


TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Friday, 30 August 2013

Flashback Friday - On the beach


Although we've been taking Leo to the beach for four summers now, this is the first year that he has let us build anything without him knocking it down before you actually get anywhere!

It turns out though, that its my Dad who is the expert in sand building, whether it be castles, boats or cars.  (although from memory I believe a car is pretty similar to a boat!)

Looking back through old photos, I can't imagine that I built many things all by myself.....  I do remember my Dad giving considerable assisitance - well, it was a good way to get the sun on his back!

Me in 1985, in Menorca - not sure why it looks so grim!

Spain - in the mid 80s

But they were not nearly as impressive when I did then all by myself, even though I do seem to be quite pleased with it.....

On the Isle of Wight - 1990




Linking up to Jenny's 'Flashback Friday'
mummy mishaps

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Hedrin Protect and Go - {Review}

I have vague memories of queuing to see the 'nit nurse' at primary school and the dread that I might have 'nits', I remember how everyone used to repeat like some protective mantra that 'they only go on clean hair' just in case it turned out they had them!  I'm not sure what my childhood fear was, the reaction from the other kids or the thought of my Mum having to sit for hours with a comb and having 'stinky shampoo' to use. 

It turns out that I avoided head lice right up until the other week when after a long sleepless night with Louka I discovered that the poor little man had somehow caught them himself.   I guess they had come from Leo although it was a couple of days later that I discovered his and they didn't seem to bother him much at all. 

It was relatively easy to get rid of them, although a huge pain to have to do so and ensure they did not come back so I was pleased with the brilliant timing of an email offering me bottle of Hedrin 'Protect and Go', a spray designed to protect against an infestation in the first place. 





A hassle-free conditioning spray, clinically proven to help protect against head lice

  • Disrupts the life cycle of head lice, preventing an infestation
  • Water-based conditioner which is easy to use and can be applied to wet or dry hair after shampooing
  • Apply after every hair wash or at least twice a week







I have used the spray on myself and both the boys and not only is it nice to know we should be protected from another outbreak it also smells lovely!


Priced from £4.29 for 120ml, Hedrin Protect & Go is available from Boots, pharmacies and leading retailers nationwide.  It is skin friendly and contains no known asthma triggers.  You can find more information at www.hedrin.co.uk  or like 'Once a Week, Take a Peek on facebook.


I received a bottle of 'Protect and Go' for the purpose of this review.


Monday, 26 August 2013

A 'Very Hungry Caterpillar' Party

For many months now (possibly even since before he arrived) I've known that I was going to do a 'Very Hungry Caterpillar' theme for Loukas first birthday. As you probably know I adore parties and the planning of them so I've been enjoying getting ready for this one.

First birthday Hungry Caterpillar party

This time I had a little helper too,  part of the reason I chose the Hungry Caterpillar theme is because it is a book that Leo has enjoyed for a while now as I did at his age, and I knew he would enjoy being part of the preparations.

Party planning with children

I decided it would be fun to theme the food, and match the items that the Caterpillar ate.  (of course when I say 'I decided' clearly I meant I spent the evening on pinterest!) 

Without using a book as a 'menu' I would never had served that much fruit but was stunned that the children and Leo in particular, ate almost every bit!

Hungry caterpillar food and snacks

I really enjoyed making the cake, the first one of the boys I have made entirely by myself and I was very pleased with the finished result.

Hungry caterpillar birthday cake


Apart from the food and preparations leading up to the party I kept it very simple as at one year old Louka had no real idea it was for him. We turned our small balcony into a play area for the bigger kids with a huge train track built by Leo and Grandad, and some soft mats and a pile of baby toys on the big balcony along with all the seats for the adults and the food.

No party games, but just before cutting the cake I gathered all the children together and Leo read the Hungry Caterpillar story to everyone. We also had music and some dancing which was also enjoyed by my little dancing baby!

Story time - hungry caterpillar

With an age range of children from 6 months to almost 5 years I also kept the party favours simple (and inexpensive!) avoiding the dilemma of what to put in the little plastic bags I usually use and each child left with their own 'beautiful butterfly'

Hungry caterpillar birthday party butterfly favour


Sunday, 25 August 2013

Now you are one {Loukas}

Hey Louka mou,  today you are one whole year old!


I'm not sure where this last year has gone, I said the same when your big brother turned one but I'm sure your first year has gone even faster!

You seem to have flown through all the milestones, one after the other from rolling over, to sitting, to crawling, cruising and now in the last week walking your first few unaided steps.... and climbing which is one I'm not enjoying so much!

I'm pleased that you seem to be learning how to get off of things, like the sofa and Leo's bed by turning round and going backwards. Not so impressed about how you try to get on the table, and anything else you can find when my back is turned!


You are the cheekiest little monkey and you are well on the way to a wicked sense of humor it seems. You have an infectious laugh and are very playful.

You can now wave and clap and you love to dance, waving your hands and bouncing when you hear music.

At the moment you are a real Mummy's boy and often cry if someone else holds you when I am in sight but you love your Daddy and get very excited when he comes home in the evening and you enjoy climbing all over him in the mornings when we go to wake him up.

Sleeping is not your 'thing' and we really hope you start to sleep better soon,  night waking AND early morning is not a great combination little man, although we do have some nice moments watching the sunrise and enjoying the quiet I'd still rather not be up at 5am if you don't mind. (after 11pm, 1am, and 3am)

You like to play with your toys but not as much as you like to play with Leo's, or my phone, or anything thing else you are not supposed to have.

I love how much you adore your brother, you try to copy everything he does and you love to climb all over him and mush your face into his giving him kisses! From the way you charge into his room in the morning to wake him up to peering round when I strap you in the car to check he is there and babbling away at him having 'conversations'.


You have very little fear, which is both a good and bad thing!  Bouncy castles, slides, soft play, swimming pools- you take it all in your stride and love every second.


I wish you a very happy first birthday little man, with lots of love and big smushy cuddles that you love so much!



Saturday, 24 August 2013

365 Project - week 35



I wondered where my sieve had gone!


First time playing with crayons, well actually the second but it was the first time he drew with them!


Party favours all ready!


Leo's way of 'helping' me make the birthday cake!


First proper pair of shoes!



TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Friday, 23 August 2013

A new dawn - Flashback Friday


Sunday 26th August 2012

This photo was taken on Loukas first full day in the world,from the balcony of my hospital room. It would have been about 5.30am and I was awake in the hospital enjoying the coolness and the peace and quiet when I looked out the window and realised the sun was just coming up.

I had been initially so worried about giving birth here in Cyprus but by the end of my pregnancy I was confident in the help that my doula Claire would provide (and so ready to not be pregnant anymore!) 

Loukas birth had been brilliant, something I never thought I'd say.  Before then I'd been all about the drugs and would never have chosen to have a natural birth in a million years - as I always used to say 'you wouldn't have your appendix out without drugs'  which does seem like a very daft comment now - as its hardly the same thing!

I only managed it without, as gas and air is not available here (had it have been I would have been on it without a seconds hesitation!) and Claire talked me through the part where I was starting to crack and demand the only other option which was pethedine. 

I wrote my birth story last year, but what is still very clear is how much I loved those first few days in hospital, of course there was pain and hormonal tears but it was lovely spending time with just me and my new son. Maybe it was the air conditoning in the hospital or the fact he was not as demanding as my 3 year old Leo or maybe it was the first time in 3 years that I got to read several books!

I guess many wouldn't agree with this but I'll be forever grateful that the midwives first gave him to me clean and wrapped up, and after a very quick cuddle took him off me as my arms felt too weak to hold him straight away, and best of all took him away half an hour after birth while I had the best sleep I think I've ever had!



When I first held Leo back in 2009 in the delivery suite, I looked at him and I believe I said 'Hello, I'm your Mummy'  and thought 'woah, here's a baby, and it's mine' whilst not really knowing what to do next. I felt uncomfortable the whole time I was in hospital (only just over 24 hours after birth) and just wanted to get out.  I'd screamed when the doctor placed him on me as he delivered him all wriggly and slippery, and I tried to breastfeed with no success whatsoever. I wasn't hit by the massive rush of love people talk about, I thought about it, and obviously loved him but it wasn't 'overwhelming' like everyone seems to describe, I think maybe I worried that I hadn't done it 'right' 

When I held Louka I said the same thing, and thought to myself, 'wow, here's another one'

We had no 'skin to skin' contact, there was no breast feeding (apart from a couple of attempts in the first 24 hours that I felt I had to do in case it had happened easily and felt right) and he was not with me for the first few hours after that initial cuddle - all the things I feel people are often made to think they 'should' do, and it was just perfect.

We had our cuddles, I talked to him, and fed him and we had our few quiet days getting to know each other before going home to Aaron and Leo and the happy madness of a family of four.


Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Easy behaviour management AKA how I bribe my son!


Back in June, with the 3 month school holiday looming I was a little nervous as to how we would make it though and stay reasonably sane at the same time.   Leo is on the whole a very good boy but at the end of the day he is only four years old and that means he can be a right royal pain in the bum when the mood takes him!

I'd only used a reward chart once with him whilst potty training and although it worked well I didn't know how I could make it work now.  The problem wasn't so much that I wanted him to do specific things it was more that I needed him NOT to do things.

As I realised I couldn't 'reward' him for 'not hitting his brother' or 'not whining/ banging/ interrupting/shouting etc  so when I saw this fab idea on Pinterest I thought it might just be the answer.

Leo hates to think he is 'naughty' and was always asking me if he was good or becoming very sad if he was told off. Although he is no angel, he really wants to be good and make everyone pleased with him. He would ask me every night as I put him to bed if he had been good so I thought this chart would work really well with him.


Each morning Leo starts the day on 'Good boy' as I explained to him (in an attempt to build his confidence) because he is always a good boy, and knows how to behave, but sometimes he forgets or makes a mistake.

If during the day he does something naughty he gets a warning,  and if he does it again he gets moved down.

Going onto 'Oops'   does not mean he is bad or 'naughty', but it does mean he has done something that wasn't very good / nice behaviour.

He is moved up as and when I (or my parents) think he has done something particularly good - this can be anything from being well behaved whilst out, being kind, playing very nicely, or just doing things he should do without being asked.

He can move up and down the chart as many times as needed during the day but he has to finish on 'Good boy' or higher at the end of the day to be able to stay up late with Daddy on a Sunday evening.

In the month or so we have used the chart he has only moved onto the bottom square once, and was completely distraught by it. Once he had calmed down  within minutes he ran off unprompted to get toys that Louka would like and began playing nicely with him and trying to teach him things, which then got him moved back up.   (this was lucky as I realised I hadn't though of what I would do if he continued to misbehave!)

We then reached the point where increasingly the warning is not given - ie 'hit your brother / climb on the furniture means you go straight down.  This works well for the things he knows FULL well he should not do.


Several weeks later and the chart is still going strong, I can't believe how effective a few pieces of coloured card and a clothes peg could be!

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Nine years!


Today Aaron and I celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary.  Well I say celebrate.... we'll have a couple of drinks on the balcony, maybe we'll turn the laptops off and maybe I'll even cook a nice dinner. It might not be a huge celebration but hopefully an improvement on some previous ones - last year being 5 days away from giving birth, year before I passed out in a restaurant in Agia Napa  (I feel the need to point out I was  ill and NOT drunk!) and on our 1st anniversary I had food poisoning in Prague, we've had some pleasant ones in-between though!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

365 Project - week 33


As much as I hate getting up at 5am after three or four times in the night it does mean I get to see the gorgeous sunrise, (and wonder how many people are still out clubbing in Agia Napa!)


Monday night, in the pub for a girls night out for my friends Baby Shower, fab night with great friends.  Sam did a wonderful job hosting it with a brilliant display of decorations, gifts and games. My contribution was the cake!


Spot the dancing baby!


Leo started swimming without his armbands this week!




Leo sharing his drink with his little brother.


Swimming in the morning at home with Grandad, and again at a local hotel with our friends ensures a very tired boy!

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Friday, 16 August 2013

This time last year....


This photo was taken this time last year, on or just after my wedding anniversary and due date of 20th August.  I spent a lot of time in that pool, although rarely sitting like that - the effort needed to get in and out of that position was huge! I really missed being able to get in the pool from the side as there was no way I could do it with the bump!

I'll never forget the moment when at my first scan at about 9 weeks pregnant the doctor gave me the estimated due date.....  I think I could have cried - AUGUST!!!   ARE YOU SURE!

I had been dreading the summer heat all year and it was a justified concern. Daily temperatures of 40 plus degrees, big bump and a lively 3 year old are not a good combination!

Everything seemed to be twice as difficult, it turns out I'm a bit rubbish in the height of the summer anyway but shopping, cleaning, even sleeping was just horrendous.  God knows how many times I looked at the calender, at the days which seemed to be passing oh so slowly and it seemed like it would never end.  Not helped by the fact I swore that the hospital had my dates wrong and I was 100% sure he was due at the end of July and not August,  it seemed like the longest pregnancy in the world. 

This year, every time I think to myself how hot I am I smile and think how happy I am to not be pregnant!

I remember my Mum trying to make me feel better one day and saying 'we're all in the same boat, everyone is as hot'...... Nope, they are REALLY not I replied!

First time round I was very worried and nervous about giving birth, second time the excitement of a few days of air conditioning was greater than the fear I think!


The look on my face says it all!



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