Friday, 28 October 2016

Interview with a 4 year old {Loukas}

I was really starting to think that I wouldn't be able to get an interview video from Louka for his 4th birthday as every time I've asked him since his birthday he has refused to do it,   but after almost giving up I asked him again yesterday and he said yes!

It's not the best video as he insisted on doing it on his bed (the bottom bunk) so the light is rubbish,   and I also tried to take his 'baby' cup off of him while I filmed but he was having none of that either.   (He does drink from normal cups, he just likes to have milkshake in ones with a lid so he can shake them! Strangely this was not his favourite drink when asked - which it usually is!   Leo always answered with the thing he could see or had most recently done so that answer was a surprise!

I love that corrected me when I said biscuits to 'Biscota' as since going to school he always uses the Greek for them.

I was also expecting his friend Jaxon to get a mention, but it was very sweet that he said Leo and I.

I just watched Leo's 4 year old interview as I was uploading this and was surprised to see he gave the exact same answer to 'What do you want to do when you grow up?'   Leo said he wants to do what I do,  and when I asked him what I do he said 'I don't know!'    

It may have taken a while to get round to it but he was a lot more cooperative than he was in his 3 year old interview,  at least he stayed put and you could actually hear his answers!

I am so pleased I started doing this, I love looking back at the old ones and seeing how the boys and their answers change over the years.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

A Summer of Swimming

It's almost the end of October and I can now announce that I am out of the swimming pool until next year.  I was last in a week or so ago and although I managed to swim several lengths I wasn't happy unless I was moving,   Leo loves his swimming and being the 'English' baby of the two he can take the cooler temperatures more happily but I think even he agreed it's just a little too chilly now.

From April Leo and I swam,  actually I think Leo even managed a little swim in March,   and Louka started to join us in May.  We call him our Cypriot baby (born here in August and covered in blankets by the midwives in 45 degree heat)   as he is always cold and really only enjoys the pool in the hot summer months.

This was Loukas year though,  although not strong enough to be on his own out of reach of us or the edge of the pool he has ditched the armbands!

With a bit of help and confidence building from his SwimFin he went from not being able to swimat all without armbands to swimming like a shark in under 10 minutes!

He splashed about in the shallow end at first but after a few minutes to our surprise he got out and jumped right in,


and we're in!
It was still the shallow end and he knew he could stand but he went right under the water,  came up and started swimming.

Surprisingly he didn't want to wear the SwimFin very often after that first day,  but there was a real sudden improvement in his confidence.   It was hard work in many ways as whereas before he would be happy enough in his armbands in the deep end or middle of the pool, suddenly he couldn't stay up all by himself with no effort at all,  so we therefore had to be close to him all the time.

He did go back to the armbands a few times,   usually when we were playing with the lilo and throwing the kids off backwards into the water,  but every time he wanted to practise swimming it was either with the SwimFin or nothing at all.

So after many weeks of being in the pool for at least a quick cool down each day Louka ended the summer being able to swim a width of the pool completely unaided.   I'm sure now that by this time next year he will be as confident as his big brother.

We received the SwimFin last year to review,  you can read about how Leo got on with it in

You can also find our more about SwimFin on their website    
Pop over to their social media accounts for swimming tips, and more, you can find them facebook,twitterInstagram,  and even Youtube. 

Sunday, 23 October 2016

My Sunday Photo

It's been oh so long since the days of my regular 'Silent Sunday' posts,   in fact I think the last one was over four years ago now.   I don't take anywhere near the amount of photos that I used to but I do have quite a collection hanging around,  I don't even put them on facebook as much as I used too,  I still manage to upload them from my phone though, and keep them in different folders backed up and safe online.

I opened up the old folders and scrolled through until one took my fancy,  going past loads of sunset and sky pictures, beaches and photos of the kids doing various things.   It may seem like a strange choice compared to all of those but this one jumped out at me today.

It was drawn by Leo for me, as he loved that I had taken them to the beach.

It's been a while since we've been to a beach now,  we've hardly been at all this year (again!)  as everyone prefers the pool and it's just so much easier and convenient.  But the summer season is almost over,  just another week or so to go and that means its time for beach trips once more.

No sunbeds all over the place, long empty stretches of sand and sunny days without the intense heat - yes I think it's time to love the beach again!.

Friday, 21 October 2016

A walk to school

When I was at school walking was the only option to get there and back,  it wasn't far and my Mum didn't drive so there was no debate about it.   My boys schools are both local,  one more so than the other but we have always driven so far.  Loukas is in walking distance but it would mean leaving earlier and as we leave at 7;30 anyway its quite precious time!  Also his little legs mean what would probably be a 10 minute walk gets much longer, and I'm also very lazy when it comes to walking anywhere!   Leo's really is close but as I drive Louka he just gets dropped off on the way past.

It had been mentioned about Leo walking on his own at some point this year, to much debate from different people.  As I said, it's really not far (you can see the top of his school from our balcony)  but he does have at least one road to cross, and there is no pavement for some of the way.

Many of his class mates walk without adults, and have been doing so in the first year too and they all walk much further than he would have to, so the other day Leo walked to school.

As it happened he wasn't quite alone but it was a start!

walking to school

It had been a last minute decision,  he had been reluctant to go to school after a minor incident the day before and wanted me to go in and speak to the teacher, I thought it would work out better for him if he at least tried to sort it out himself and suggested it.     There was a bit of a debate which ended up me saying that I could hold his hand, put his socks on and do everything for him or I could say,   get up, get on with it and get out  (the door to school!)

There was a sudden change and he excitedly asked if he could really do that,  and go on his own.  After a moments hesitation I said yes and just ran over the 'rules'  - where to cross, which side of the road to walk on etc.  

All was well until Louka realised what was going on and he was not impressed, practically begging to walk as well.     Oh, it was far too early in the morning for this!

Eventually I decided it was probably a good thing to not be so lazy,  and Louka is always very early for school anyway so being late wasn't an issue.   I also predicted that he would only want to do it once!

So, off Leo goes,  with Louka and I walking a short distance behind.   We were not 'allowed' to talk to Leo and he ran to get a bit ahead of us. It was good to see him taking care crossing the road and walking nicely,  although of course he knew I was watching!

There was a slight tantrum from Louka when we reached Leo's school as I wouldn't let him walk across the playground as a short cut, as that would have meant going into to Leo's school and doing the one thing I'd been trying to avoid!  As it is I only ever drop him at the gate and don't get out of the car so it would have been worse than usual.

It was soon averted by a game of  'Eye Spy' and we continued our walk.

Deryneia Cyprus

At first it was going very well,  with Louka telling me he loved walking and 'this is very fun Mummy' but he gradually started to get slower and the novelty wore off even though we were going downhill!

By the time we got to school he announced that he always wants to go in the car to his school!

Of course I then realised that I had to still walk home.....

Deryneia village
I love this old building, its been like that since we moved here!.

I also remembered that I love our village, and took time to notice what an interesting and picturesque walk it is.

Traditional Cypriot taverna

The old.....

the new......

and the traditional.....

Just as I was thinking it was still a little to early in the year to be walking as I was starting to get a bit too hot and bothered and wishing I'd brought a bottle of water, I was 'rescued' by a fellow school mum on her way home who stopped to ask me what was wrong with my car!

Since then Louka has been happy to be driven,  and Leo has decided that he prefers to walk home rather than walk there.   He's got another couple of years of having the option before Louka joins him at big school and walking will be the norm!

Country Kids

Thursday, 20 October 2016

The one with the random ramblings

It seems that many posts on my blog over the last year or two have had a similar theme but it turns out I'm not the only one thinking the same,   my long standing fellow blogger and friend 'TheBoyandMe' also feels the same.  I've just read her latest post 'I miss my blog' and it struck a cord with me. 

I keep saying I miss my blog, but what I think I mean is I miss the blogging days, the time when it was a joy to write and create posts without much (or often any) thought to what I was writing or why, when there was no thought of how I should 'pimp' the post on pinterest or what time to publish and share for the best results,  when I didn't stop to think about what images to use or how I should edit them,   before I was working and distracted by other online activities and when we only had a few Arabic tv channels to watch. 

I realise the problem is over thinking,   where once I'd sit down and type as I 'spoke' now I try to think about what I'm saying too much. As an example, already in this post I have re-written the first paragraph several times and almost given up with the post already!

I used to write on my little netbook so I could do it anywhere, curled up on the sofa or sat on the balcony.  I used to carry it from room to room stopping and writing anywhere at anytime, often with a baby asleep in my lap.  Now the babies are 7 and 4 and haven't napped for many years, the netbook is on its last legs and only works plugged into to mains,  it also takes ages to boot up and as I have the patience of a 3 year old I tend not to use it.  Instead I now use my main laptop which means I am sat at the dining table so I can use the mouse, the same place I am sat to work so it feels less fun to continue that in the evening.   

I used to document almost everything we did, and often did things just so I could blog about them afterwards, which I felt was a good thing  but as TBAM said it does get tiring after a while and can start to feel forced.  I have a huge folder of photos of things I would like to blog or have already blogged about but it all seems like too much hard work. 

I miss the commenting and the interaction between the blog community,    every now and again I decide to go on a commenting spree but it also feels forced,  like I'm now doing it for the sake of it.  Things have changed,  and the few bloggers I was / am friends with I now interact with outside of blogging on facebook and instagram usually.  Our blogs have changed over the years but of course they have, we started blogging with babies and toddlers and now our 'inspiration'  has gone to school.   You'd think it would make it easier wouldn't you, but for some reason it's the opposite!

I was so determined that this year wouldn't be the year with the least blog posts,   in 2014 and 2015 I wrote 67 and 60 blog posts respectively and so far this year I've written 34.   There is still time but its looking unlikely, even though I've probably got at least 30 posts drifting around in my head!    I am quite impressed though to have just realised that since 2010 I have not missed a single month,  even this year I still managed to get one blog post up in September,  not quite the same as July 2012 which had 29,  but I was very pregnant with one child at nursery then so I spent most of my time sat down in an air conditioned room!

My tagline for this blog was always the 'random ramblings of an expat Brit in Cyprus' - where did I stop being so concerned about them being random?

So now in the interests of not over thinking I am going to hit publish, with no accompanying image and no actual point to this post. (although I should probably just reread it to check it at least makes some sort of sense!) 

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Daxifest Charity Music Festival

Last weekend was the second Daxifest - a charity music festival and great family day out to raise much needed funds for local charities KEPA and the SBA Food Project, both of which feed and look after underprivileged families in the area.

We attended the first festival held in Achna last year, it was a brilliant day out,  although was not as well attended as the organisers had hoped.  As with most events, especially the first one, and especially in Cyprus of course it was not perfect but they took into account the feedback that came in after the event and made great efforts to improve for this years festival.

The promotion of the event, stall prices,  location, entrance fee,  Cypriot entertainment and more were all looked at and amended as the feedback suggested.  So this year I was sure it would be an absolute smash hit - not only a fantastic day out but a huge amount of money raised for the cause.

We had a stall with the Klik Photo Booth so we were there from the start,   Aaron set up and I joined him just before the gates opened, but my heart sank as I looked over and saw hardly anyone enter as the festival started.     Ever the optimist I figured it was early and the crowds would soon arrive.

But sadly they didn't, at least not any near the thousands that were hoped for.

Photo by Steve Barns

The presenters, performers and everyone involved in running the event did an amazing job,  working solidly for over 14 hours in the blazing sunshine.

The Organisers had worked solidly for months beforehand, advertising and planning but despite all their best efforts the event not only didn't raise any funds for the charities it also ran at a loss to the company.  

Seeing the post on facebook on Monday from the CEO of the Daxi Group, Natalie Reed sharing the news  broke my heart.   I've never met anyone who so tirelessly works for the community in so many ways and I know how gutted she will be feeling over this. not just because the very valid worry about the deficit in company funds, but the fact they are not able to give the money they planned to.

But why?    Where the HELL was everyone?!
It's not often that I rant online, in fact I usually go to great efforts not too as I have a fairly public profile on social media with writing a blog, running a business and a community website but sometimes it has to be done.

People say so often that there is nothing to do here, yet when someone actually gets off their arse and does something nobody goes!     I've seen it happen to so many events, groups, and activities over the years.

€10 entrance fee (ALL of which was going to charity) - for 14 hours of live entertainment, stalls,   food, drink and children's area - BARGAIN.

It was in Ayia Napa - an easy location, good venue to get to and with FREE bus transfers from all over the place.

It was advertised EVERYWHERE -   I cannot understand how anyone could have missed it, or forgotten about it,  unless they really couldn't have cared less.    It's not something I could usually say but I don't see how they could have advertised it any more!      If you want to know what is going on in the area LOOK OUT FOR WHAT IS GOING ON!      Pick up a Daxi magazine,   go on facebook,   look out for leaflets in shops,    follow the Eastern Cyprus Forum   or the Famagusta Parents Network.

I understand that not everyone can afford €10 entrance,  of course I do, especially when you add food and drink to that for a family.   I've been there and struggled to find enough money to buy a bottle of milk.        But that's not everyone,    and even then  what did those people do to help?

Did they share the event or tell their friends about it?  or did they continue sharing pointless posts and viral videos.   I love facebook more than most but it can be an amazing tool or a big pile of crap!

 I know that many people were working, and it was a 'school night'  but plently of people managed to work round that to support their community.

Since the event, I heard people say 'Oh I wish we'd gone now, seeing the videos and photos of the event'     or 'We'll definetly go next year, as it looked good'   Well, its too late now, there won't be another Daxifest.

It makes you wonder why the minority bother,   but we do and we keep trying to raise the profile of the area,  create events,  help businesses and charities and have some fun in the process,    and hope that we can make even a small difference...... but what could happen if EVERYONE does it?

You can still help.....  
Natalie has set up a Just Giving page,  PLEASE donate if you can.....

Monday, 12 September 2016

The First Day

The new school year starts here!

Starting Cyprus school

It's been a long summer holiday,  13 weeks of lazing around,   swimming, playing, watching tv, broken up with some great days out and a lot of late nights, and a surprising amount of lie ins!

The boys went off happily enough to school this morning,   Leo was equally pleased and not impressed about the end of the holidays,   Louka didn't really seem to have an opinion either way,   I'm sure that will change once he remembers he has to go every day.

It's not as big a change as last year, which saw both boys starting a new school.  This year is just a change of class,  Leo into 2nd class and Louka into Prodimodiki (pre-school)  rather than the nursery class.  So new teachers for them both but the same building so hopefully they won't take as long to adjust.

We were pleased to discover that Louka has the same teacher that Leo had when he was there,  which made it all feel a bit easier too.

I've enjoyed the summer overall,  its not always been easy going with two constantly hungry and bored boys, plus trying to keep up with work but it I wouldn't have changed it.    Now though I am eager to get on with my massive to-do list and move on.

We've had a lot of fun over the holidays,   and I've taken surprisingly few photos compared to previous years but I've got a good selection and I hope to blog about some of our adventures over the next few weeks,  for now though I must get on with the cleaning now I can crank up the music and not have to mop round the kids!

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