Monday, 31 March 2014

Creme Egg Cake Tutorial

Have I ever mentioned how much I love cake?

Admittedly the best bit is eating the cakes but over the last few years I've been slowly improving on my cake creating skills, usually with the help of my more creative and patient husband but we are getting there.  I am always so in awe of professional cake makers who these days seem to create such amazing masterpieces and until now wouldn't have thought of even attempting to emulate them.  

Last year, 'Ladies That Cake' created a masterpiece - a Creme Egg Cake. 

This year they are sharing the secret!


For £10 (about €12)  you can now purchase the 'Creme Egg Cake' tutorial, and make your own in time for Easter. 

Due to a major lack of time setting up and promoting my new website and being so close to my Slimming World target, unfortunately I've yet to try to make my own Creme Egg cake but it's on my wish list!  I just thought it was so cool that I had to share it with you!

You can purchase the tutorial for yourself by emailing enquiries@ladiesthatcake.co.uk  



Not a sponsored post - although I may be requesting payment in cake from 
Ladies That Cake at a later date!   *wonders if cake will make it in the post*

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Marching and Mountaineering

March 25th is Greek Independence day - and is celebrated in Cyprus as well as Greece. It is a bank holiday, shops and schools are closed and parades are held all over the country.  Leo and his classmates took part in a school play to commemorate the event and came home proudly waving their Greek flags.


As usual on these national holidays we were 'treated' to the sound of one of the parades which sets off from outside our apartments, we were lucky to have to unusually late start of 7.45am though this time!  Leo and Louka enjoyed it though, watching over the balcony and then marching round themselves!


It was a lovely day and summer must be on its way as the flip flops and 3/4 length trousers made their first appearance this year when we all headed down to the beach path for a walk later in the morning. 

It's quite rare that we venture onto the beach while we walk along which is daft but the sand drives me crazy, especially when I'm not prepared for it but I'm really trying to get over that so when Leo asked to play on the sand I think he was surprised to hear me say yes. 

We took a very tired Louka down with us and had a great time playing on the almost empty beach, especially when we discovered a huge mountain of sand left by the diggers that had been getting the beach ready for tourists.  

Louka absolutely loved it and hardly even ate any which is an improvement on last time, it was only when I tried to take him off and he threw himself face first on the floor that it went a bit badly!


We finished off the outing with a meal at my favourite beachside cafe and Leo played nicely while Louka eventually fell asleep in the pushchair, 4 hours later than he would normally sleep!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Rosetta Stone, Mobile Solution

I've been a big fan of Rosetta Stone for many years now, ever since I tried the free demo not long after deciding to move to Cyprus.

Having previously used the the TOTALe program on my laptop I was interested to see what the difference would be using their new 'Mobile Solution'

Designed to enable you to learn 'on the go' away from your computer, your progress automatically syncs to your computer.

I used the Rosetta Stone TOTALe Course app on my android tablet and it completely renewed my enthusiam for learning the language after I'd long got out of the habit of using the program on my laptop.

It was a much more enjoyable pastime, curled up on the sofa or in bed made it seem easier to dip in and out off meaning that I found it less of a 'chore' to do.

For me, the biggest advantage is how much more it appealed to Leo. At the age of four he attends local Cypriot school and is taught in Greek, therefore his understanding of the language is very good and 'helping Mummy learn Greek' has become one of his new favourite activities!

It amazes me to see how good he is at it and we make a great team doing it together as the bit he often struggles with is not the comprehension of the language but understanding the pictures, often needing my help to work out if someone is 'going into a bank or a post office for example.


Even Loukas at 18 months old is fascinated by it and will often sit for quite a while watching us, as long as we can keep it out of reach so he doesn't ruin our scores with his wild lunges at the screen!




The Rosetta Stone Mobile apps are available from the App Store and Google Play

I received an online subscription to Rosetta Stone for the purpose of review and in conjunction with my contributions to the Rosetta Stone #milestones blog.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Listography - My life in books

It's been a very long time since I joined in with Kate's Listography but I couldn't resist at the mention of books. I couldn't even begin to tell you how many books I've read and I have so many favourites but these are these ones which are the most memorable to me.

The 'Little House' series - Laura Ingalls Wilder

After reading Little House on the Praire at school, and then finding 'These Happy Golden Years at the library I was totally hooked on the story of Laura and her family.  Eventually I owned the whole set and read and re-read them for many years. I can't remember how old I was when I got rid of them but I dearly wish I'd kept them all now.

Flowers In the Attic - Virginia Andrews

This was the first time I realised how you (usually) ruin a very good book with a bad film.  I loved Flowers in the Attic and the rest of the series, but I sat in disbelief at the film - it wasn't even the same ending! I went on to read almost everything Virginia Andrews wrote.


London Pride - Beryl Kingston

The first 'grown up' book I got from the library, I can't remember how old I was but I didn't have an adult ticket but I asked my Dad if he would get it on his, the libraian heard him and said I could get it myself as she would change my ticket to enable me to take out adult ones - I was so excited about this sudden new amount of books to choose from! It also started me off on a love of World War two 'home front' books and a fascination for recent history.

Lightning - Dean Kootnz


Officially declared as my favourite book of all time. Time travelling Nazi's, 'destiny struggling to reassert the pattern which was meant to be' - what more could I ask for!  I first read my old housemates copy and just loved it and then brought my own battered copy for 50p from a boot fair once he had moved away. One day I will get round to buying a decent copy - it doesn't seem right that my favourite book is falling apart now!

The Hungry Caterpillar - Eric Carlye


This has to have a mention as not only was it probably one of the first books I read, its now one I'm regularly reading now! I am pleased that I seem to have passed my love of reading onto my boys and we have acquired a huge collection of books which both the boys read every day just like I always did.



Wednesday, 19 March 2014

More than a Cornish pasty (Guest Post)

Devon for foodies

Once upon a time, British food had a pretty poor reputation and the thought of comparing it to the cuisine across the Channel would have brought howls of laughter.

However, with the increasing popularity of celebrity chefs and a newfound appreciation for the great quality home grown produce available across the country, foodies have discovered a real love of British cuisine and nowhere more so than Devon.

Regional produce

With its rolling hills, rich coastline and agricultural history, it’s no wonder that the county produces some of the best fruit, veg, meat and fish in the country, and with its proud culinary tradition, they know exactly what to do with these great ingredients too.

The temperate and wet climate of the county, combined with its fertile soil provides the ideal conditions for dairy farming and in turn produces some of the best dairy produce in the country.

From clotted cream to fudge and ice cream to custard, you can find some of the most indulgent, decadent and delicious dairy products in restaurants, farms and shops across the county.

The environmental conditions in Devon don’t just produce good dairy cows, they also provide the ideal mix for great quality beef and lamb emphasis placed on free-grazing varieties.

Restaurants

If you don’t want to cook your own food during your Devonshire getaway, there are plenty of restaurants only too happy to transform these great quality ingredients into culinary delights for you to sample.

In fact the county is home to a two-Michelin-star restaurant and three one-star establishments, allowing any visitors to Devon to try some of the very best food the UK has to offer.

Great setting

Many of the best restaurants in Devon enjoy spectacular settings in the county’s most picturesque villages, towns and rural areas adding hugely to their ambiance and to the experience of dining at a top establishment.

However, as well as world-class eateries, the Devonshire setting also provides a great backdrop to the many independent, local and community producers that dot the county giving the whole area a great aesthetic and placing food firmly in the forefront of country life.


The great produce and fantastic cuisine of the South West means that foodies are always on the hunt for property for sale inDevon where they can have easy access to some of the most delicious foods and most picturesque settings in the world.  

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Time changes everything - eventually!

25 years ago today Tim Berners-Lee launched the World Wide Web, and the world changed forever....

Mumsnet today has a thread where they are discussing what has changed in their lifetimes, not just mobile phones, internet etc but things that might not be so obvious to younger people such as making 'mix' tapes from the radio, having to wait at home for a phone call,getting your photos developed at the chemist,  three tv channels that closed down at night, and  the 'amazing new indestructible music format - the CD.

It was a fascinating read and I could relate to most of the list having been born in the late seventies, what got me though was the amount on the list that are not so different in 2014 in Cyprus, and how they did not seem so strange to me.

I would love to be able to travel back in time 25 years here in Cyprus,  the changes in the UK have been huge but nothing like they have seen here - in some ways anyway!

Although it is becoming more common,  when we arrived in Cyprus, with the exception of the kiosk/ newsagents and bakeries you would not find a shop open on a Wednesday or Saturday afternoon, or at all on a Sunday. It caught me out many times in the beginning often running out of something important and finding myself driving to the tourist resorts in the hope of buying nappies or tea bags on a Saturday afternoon.

Now the laws have been relaxed a little but I am now surprised to see a big supermarket open on a Sunday and a little sad!.

Talking of supermarkets - it was mentioned how they were such a novelty being able to buy everything in one place. I don't really remember not shopping in a bug supermarket but now I appreciate how convenient that was!   Here you are rarely able to do everything in one place and you can't buy anything more medical than a packet of throat sweets (if you're lucky) in a supermarket.

I also don't really remember the days before processed food, but I know the days 'after' them very well!  On my trip back to the UK I was blown away by the array of boxes and packets available in the supermarket, how could I have forgotten? Ready meals, grated cheese, boxed cakes, and pre cut fruit and veg, I was surprised to see how much there was.

People talk about how the man was always the head of the household, and my Mum, in the seventies tried to buy a fridge on hire purchase (remember that?) but needed her husband to be guarantor even though she was working herself.   Obviously that has all changed now but the man is still often regarded as the one in charge here.

A friend of mine cannot get a medical card as she is not married to her partner and father of her children, if she was working she could get it in her own right but she must be married if not to be classed as a 'dependent'.

Do you remember the days of smoking indoors?  Before the seatbelt laws came in?   Health and Safety?

Although these things are legal requirements in Cyprus - (Well, maybe not Health and Safety!) they seem to be mostly ignored, or not worried about!

Speaking to a local restaurant owner I learnt that our village only got mains electricity in the sixties and there was only one telephone in the main square when he was studying in England, so when he wanted to call home he would ring it and someone would answer and go and fetch his father!

There has been a staggering amount of change here, some good some not so good - who knows what will happen in the next 25 years!

Image credit 

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Lets go fly a kite

Green Monday in Cyprus is traditionally a day for family get togethers, bbq's picnics and I'm not sure why but kite flying seems to be a compulsory activity on the day too!

Although I don't think I've ever seen a kite in the sky here on any other day of the year, without fail the skies are full of them every year on this day!

Leo has never had a kite before and for some reason thought it would be quite difficult to fly one.   I did have a kite as a child but I don't remember flying it myself, in fact I don't think we had it very long as I seem to remember my Dad got it stuck in a tree!

He redeemed himself though by buying Leo his first kite and joining us in flying it. 

Despite a few failed attempts and several crashes to the ground I think we did very well, even handing over the line to Leo was very successful.




'Καθαρά Δευτέρα'  (Kathara Deftera)  Clean Monday, or  Green Monday as it's more commonly known is a feast day which is always 7 weeks before the Orthodox Easter Sunday and marks the start of Lent.   The 'Clean' comes from the idea of leaving behind 'sinful attitudes and non fasting foods..


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Monday, 3 March 2014

Carnival comes to town

This weekend saw the carnival come to town and for the second year running we managed to play a part in it!  Last year Leo and I were just going to watch when at the last minute we realised our friends were walking with their school and joined them and he had such a fab time that I asked my friend who runs a dance school if we could join them this year.


Some of Leo's friends go to classes there so we had company on the float, and the little ones looked so cute in their orange capes to make their superhero outfits, I even got to wear one too!


The older students did a brilliant job dancing along behind us with their synchronized super hero routine.


Leo thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon, and was so well behaved considering how long we had to wait before the parade set off - what a difference a year makes!

Of course I had to be there for Leo's benefit but having a 4 year old is also a great excuse to dress as a superhero and wave at strangers from the back of a moving truck!

We were lucky with the weather as in the morning it has looked like rain was on the way but it stayed dry and we just about managed to miss a very strange dust storm at the end!

We'd like to say a huge thank you to Gemma and the Performers Students for a fab afternoon.

Performers Academy - Saving the world from bad dancing!

You can find Performers Academy of Dance on facebook


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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