Friday, 30 September 2011

Flashback Friday

When I was pregnant, I planned to have Leo sleep in a moses basket for some time. We borrowed a gorgeous one from my Mother in law, the one in fact that Aaron had slept in.  Leo however ended up sleeping in it for just a few days, he was a big baby (9lb 9oz making him the biggest of all of my Mother in law's 3 children and 9 grandchildren at birth)  and as he moved the noise of the wicker moving used to wake him up.

So at just a few days old he slept in his cot for the first time, he took to it perfectly and slept brilliantly even though it seemed like such a huge place to put such a little man, even though he seemed so much happier. It was lucky it was so warm at the time as from day one he hated being swaddled, covered by a blanket or wearing too many clothes - good job we ended up in Cyprus really!

Apart from various nights in a travel cot, a make shift cot / bed on a narrow boat and a suitcase on our first night in Cyprus, Leo has always slept in this same cot. At first the drop side was always down, I found it very hard to lay him down in it as I had a bad back, obviously when he got on the move the side went up.

We had a stage of interrupted nights when he learnt to sit, and then later stand, where we would hear him cry and go in to find him sitting or standing, half asleep and not knowing how to lay back down. He never tried to climb out, the though didn't seem to ever occur to him so it was easy to put off the thought of moving him to a bed.

We have talked about moving him for a long time, but after the problems with the bottles I've been putting it off somewhat.  But now his bedroom has been decorated and we thought it the perfect opportunity to get him into a 'big boy's bed', this is the reason it took so long to get the room finished as I wasn't really looking forward to it.  For many months now he's gone to bed without a fuss and recently has started sleeping sometimes as late at 8am, I had a feeling this may all change.

I was stunned and amazed that the first night he went to bed without even a comment! I did everything else the same and laid him on his bed, kissed him and walked out. There was not a peep out of him until the next morning. I woke as I heard him come out of his room, he was standing in the hallway looking all confused and saying in a really sad voice "oh, where's everyone gone" It nearly made me cry!

I'm sure it was beginners luck and not every night will be that easy but it was certainly a good start!

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

What makes a house a home?

A new house becomes a home when a well loved picture goes back up on the wall, or when treasured possessions come out of the bubble wrap. When it gradually fills with all the things you know and love as they emerge from their boxes, things that were long ago packed away to make a very long journey across the world. 

A house becomes a family home when there are toys scattered about, and finger prints are on the TV (and doors, and everything else!)

And a nondescript living room become a proper 'big boy's bedroom when it is transformed from this...

to this...

Leo has finally got his bedroom finished, it's been a while coming but was worth the wait. Last year Aaron transformed what was an open plan living area into a bedroom and yesterday it was finished off. Leo now has a lovely bedroom, decorated and with a new 'big boy bed'! 

We surprised him with it yesterday and he was over the moon. Today he's been telling everyone he had a new bedroom and it has 'Mickey Mouse and Light Mcqueen' on the wall!

Linking up to The Gallery, this week's prompt is Home.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

G is for Gravesend

Gravesend, according to Wikipedia is a town in northwest Kent in England on the south bank of the river Thames opposite Tilbury in Essex.

Gravesend Photos
This photo of Gravesend is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Gravesend, according to many people who live there is a bit of a s**thole. 

Gravesend, according to me is a place full of many fond memories (and some bad ones but we ignore those!) 

I lived in Gravesend from 1997 until 2003 and then continued to go back for the next six years after moving away until we eventually left the country. We met a fantastic crowd of people there and had more brilliant drunken nights out than I could possibly count, or remember!  It's the first place I lived when I left home to first live with Aaron, we had a great year sharing a house with two others, - all men, I was the only girl!  Looking back it was great fun but I could never do it again!

I later moved into my own flat in one of our 'not a couple' phases. Although at first I was unhappy I loved my little flat so much, I was there almost four years and that's where I feel I grew up. The last few months Aaron stayed with me but the last night I insisted on spending on my own. I sat on my sofa watching TV under a blanket (something he used to moan about) eating chips and dunking them in the mayonnaise jar (What?  my flat, my mayo!)   being both excited about the next phase and sad to be leaving my lovely little home.

Just before we left for Cyprus we had a leaving do in 'our club' - Spots and Stripes pool club. which had been our second home for many years. I had spent so much time there I had become very good friends with one of the barmaids, and she had been my bridesmaid!  It was yet another good night up there and I made it through most of the evening without crying only to end up sobbing on my friends shoulder in the cab on the way home!

Aaron played pool there for many years, and won a lot of trophies.... generally collected on one of the aforementioned drunken evenings....

This photo was taken on the best of all the Pool presentation nights, although it escapes me now exactly why it was the best one. I can tell you though that there would have definitely been a rousing rendition of Queen's 'We are the Champions'  and drinking beer from the trophy..... ah the good ol'days!

Posted as part of My A to Z.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Games night

Officially my idea of a brilliant evening includes lots of drinking dancing and coming home at silly o'clock in the morning but coming in a very close second is a good old games night, it's much cheaper, and you're not likely to lose your handbag and get sore feet. (although it doesn't guarantee you won't still have a fuzzy head in the morning!)

Saturday night was BBQ and Game night, and we had some games to try out courstesy of TACTIC games

First up was Dotto - a race against time to match the coloured dice to the patterns on the card.  On initially reading the instructions we thought it it looked a bit dull but how wrong we were!  It actually turned out to be mine and my Mum's favourite.   The timer is unpredictable so you have no idea who will get buzzed and it is hilarious as everyone starts getting a bit competitive, and addition of 'skip' and 'reverse' cards mean it can be your turn at any time!

We all loved it, it is aimed at age 7 and up, but Aaron and I (both clearly thinking we are still 18) think it would make a great drinking game for an adult evening, substitute the tokens which you lose when you get buzzed out for shots to drink and you are onto a great night!

Next up was Roll for Gold a game which on first reading the rules we did not understand at all, we wondered how a 7 year old would get it but quickly realised they'd probably get it quicker than we did!  We played it through twice and the second time it all clicked into place (and now I'm not sure why it took us so long!)  I would say it's more of a family game than one for either just children or adults, which is great - I look forward to the day we can play things like this with Leo. 

The aim is to be the player with the highest score when the treasure is revealed by a throw of the dice, it's a good game for sneakily teaching your children maths!  We felt it was a bit slow to start and I think it would be improved by having 6 people to play, but all in all very enjoyable. 

After a slight pause for cake and to refill the glasses we moved onto Draco - a nice simple game with lovely wooden pieces. The idea is to hit another dragon and take the pieces to increase your own - great, even we could understand this one!  I found it quite difficult to shoot the pieces the way it tells you to, but this could be modified with younger players (unless they are playing with Aaron, who doesn't like deviation from rules!)

The downside is the amount of time you spend getting up and retrieving the pieces when they don't quite go as planned!  

Last but not least we tried Faquir, this one completely divided us - Mum and I did not like it and Dad and Aaron LOVED it!   The description says you need "Perceptive thinking, some light strategic thinking and a dash of luck"   It has similarities to chess (another game that gives me a headache!) and really makes you think. The idea is to be the first to lay the coloured pegs so your 'Faquir' card can fit onto the board, whilst laying them you have to be aware what the other players are doing and try and stop them in the process.

Although I wasn't a fan personally I can see the appeal, and I can totally understand why they liked it, I can see them battling it out over this game for a long time to come!

All these games can be brought online at Carousel Toy Shop.

Games were provided for the purpose of review, I received no other payment for this post and all the opinions are my (and my families) own. Thank you to for providing me with the opportunity to review these products.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Flashback Friday

One of the things we are trying to teach Leo at the moment is how to ask for things without whining. I know whining tends to come naturally to a 2 yr old but we're starting to get there slowly, with a little prompting he has started to change the whine (you know the tone of voice!) into 'Peease can I have sausage and pasta peease Mummy' or 'Leo like to watch Thomas now peease Mum'

It only seems like yesterday that he was smearing food over his face (oh wait, that was yesterday) and learning that there was a lot more exciting things than milk.

I decided when he was very small that 'Baby led Weaning' was the way forward. I had a few doubts at first, and endlessly stressed about what I should feed him or whether I 'should' be pureeing and spoon feeding.  At the time I didn't have internet access which I found really hard, I'd previously spent a long time reading though the Baby led weaning site and couldn't use it when I needed it most.

In the end it seemed that Leo decided for me, he refused point blank to eat from a spoon when I gave it a try (admitedly probably a half-hearted try!)  So, off we went BLW it was. I was kind of glad I was not in the UK, we'd only just arrived in Cyprus and there was no-one to judge the decision or make me doubt myself, although I did plenty of that myself.

Looking back though I'm glad I did it, I think - if I had another baby I'd probably introduce some stuff a little earlier - when I felt the baby was ready rather than sticking rigidly to the 'not before 6 months rule' and I'd try them with a spoon.  I did worry a bit about him not getting enough food but I'd be much happier second time round and have more faith it would be all ok.

It was brilliant though watching him discover all the new types of food, well, maybe except weetabix!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Xpat Blog Hop - A bit of history

I'm enjoying the Expat Blog hop hosted by Tales from Windmill Fields  which I have taken part in the last couple of weeks. This week we are invited to...

Tell us about a bit of history from your Expat country that fascinates you, impacts your life there, means something to you.

I live in Derynia, a very well known village in Cyprus as it is right on the Green Line, the line that partitions the island of Cyprus into the southern area known as the Republic of Cyprus and the northern area controlled by the Turkish Army. The Green line came into being in 1964 originally drawn up as a ceasefire line but then became impassable after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974.   

Derynia is home to the Cultural Centre of Occupied Famagusta, situated at the road block at to the occupied area. It is where the all the demonstrations against the occupation take place and attracts many visitors from all over the world as well as students from all over Cyprus. From here you can take binoculars to the roof and view the 'ghost town' of Varosha

Varosha was abandoned during the invasion and has been empty ever since. It's inhabitants fled as the two armies advanced, expecting to return once the trouble had passed but instead it was fenced off and ever since no-one except the Turkish army or the UN has been allowed back in. Supposedly, according to some sources there are still brand new 1974 cars still sitting in showrooms.

Image credit Michael Totten
In the 1970s Varosha was the top tourist destination in Cyprus, visited by the wealthy, rich and famous. Full of luxury hotels and with many shops, bars and restaurants.  We can see these hotels in the distance from our balcony...

Many Cypriots we meet have something to say about Derynia, most have said it's a lovely village but they couldn't live where we do as it is far to sad for them to see the town that they are not allowed into. Many have family or friends who have property there they can no longer access or lost people in the fighting.  It is recent history, an event that happened in many peoples lifetime so everyone has memories of it, if not first hand then from their parents.

Every day I look at the hotels and feel for the people who lost everything,  I would dearly love to be able to see inside the 'forbidden zone' but even more so would like to see it reopened for everyone to enjoy and the former residents to return.


Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Living with Meniere's disease

I am very lucky to have a wonderful Mum, we are very close, have always got on well and although over the years she may have driven me slightly mad (but that's including going back to live with her twice as an adult so it's not bad!) you cannot fault the way she powers on through any obstacles that come her way.

One of the obstacles she has to face is the fact that she suffers from Meniere's disease, a disorder of the inner ear

Meniere’s Disease (Syndrome)  equals  Tinnitus - Vertigo - Deafness

People say they:
Have a fuzzy head, feel light-headed, feel woozy, have eye pains, noise or pressure in their head or ears, double vision or blurred vision. See moving objects and rooms spinning. Sickness, nausea, have burping. Feel they are in a virtual reality, have a sensation of not being in the room when they are, become forgetful and lose concentration. Have a drunken feeling, a staggering walk and veer from side to side. Bump into doors, have feelings of falling all the time and some actually fall. Feel they are swaying.

Logo - Meniere's Society

People do not necessarily experience all of these symptoms; it affects everyone in different ways.

Attacks can occur at hourly, weekly or monthly intervals, depending on the condition at the time, ranging from several incidents a day, but it can also go into remission.

1 in a 1000 people develop Meniere’s. The condition starts in one ear only. The other ear is also affected at some stage in about 4 in 10 cases.

Mum has kindly written the following post about her experiences...

I for one certainly did not, way back in the 1980’s, I like many people, had never even heard of it. I phoned the Tinnitus and also the Meniere’s helpline, they were marvellous to talk to and I realized I was not alone. They both provide information sheets and support to sufferers and carers.

Mine started with Tinnitus in my left ear, the first sound that I awoke to one morning and I wondered what was happening. After awhile I began to get dizzy spells, the worst time in the beginning happened while I was out shopping, I felt that I could not walk out of the shop and wondered how I would get home. I should have asked for a chair to sit on, but I steadied myself and with sheer will power arrived home.

After a few more such events, I finally went to my Doctor, who arranged for me to see a Consultant at the Hospital. I attended many times, each time I was given an audiology test. This proved over many months, that my hearing in my left ear was fluctuating. Quiet sounds became hard to hear and loud sounds became even louder.
I was finally diagnosed with Meniere’s disease and given Betahistine Hydrochloride (Serc) tablets to take, which I still take to this day.
In the early days I experienced times of sickness, and actually cried at one time, wondering when it would stop. Thankfully I do not experience that anymore.
After a while I started getting drop attacks, one minute I would be standing, the next without being able to help myself, I would fall down on the floor and the next minute  get up and be fine. This was the beginning of being concerned about going anywhere on my own, which now days, I do not.

I can remember sitting down for a dinner of sausage and mash one evening, but feeling a bit dizzy, as I looked at the sausages on my plate, they looked just as if they were going round and round, hence that’s where I left them. I have laid on the bed at one time when the room was spinning round and round, the pictures on the wall, moving up and down, shutting my eyes, so I could block it out but still feeling as though I was spinning. Every so often opening my eyes to see if the world had returned to normal and having to shut them again, till a couple of hours later.

I am a fighter and one of my problems is probably that I never give in; I always try to show the Meniere’s whose boss! and more often than not, there is a funny side to events.

Whilst on holiday with my Daughter, many years ago - it was role reversal, she was looking after me! While waiting for the receptionist to order us a taxi, the reception desk was very high, I had a drop attack, imagine her face when she turned round and thought we had gone, she could not see us as my daughter was kneeling beside me, on the floor. Within minutes the cab driver came in, and I thought to myself, his probably thinking that woman’s drunk already, but I can assure you, it was not a case of take more water with it, I had only been drinking water! Just one of a few tales that can be told.

Luckily I always have help at hand, my wonderful husband, daughter, son-in-law and friends.

If you (or someone you know) suffers from Meniere's here are some contacts which may be useful.
British Tinnitus Association -   Helpline 0800 018 0527              
Meniere’s Society -   Helpline 0845 120 2975  

Monday, 19 September 2011

Cyprus information on the web.

Although our decision to move to Cyprus was quite a random one, and most of the moving process was fairly painless, in fact in many ways easier than buying our house in the UK was, the reality of moving abroad goes much deeper than just shipping your belongings and getting on a plane.

Settling in a new country is not as easy as moving down the road, or even to the other end of the country. You have language barriers, different procedures for many things such as claiming child benefit or visiting the doctors, you need to get your bearings and there are so many things to learn.

I spent a long time searching the internet trying to find as much information as humanly possible, there is a wealth of information out there but it can be hard to find. Many sites are now out of date, or only aimed at tourists, or those looking to retire and finding out the every day stuff is hard work!

There are several helpful sites out there though,
Cyprus Eastern Forum is an endless source of info (and often quite a few moans but you can ignore them) as it is a forum for all those living or visiting the East of the island. There is much more info to be found on Paphos and the west so it's nice to see a site dedicated to our end.

Angloinfo Cyprus  - a global expat network covers many countries, not just Cyprus. This has tons of really helpful info on it as well as forums, classifieds and some really good bloggers  :)

Mums in Cyprus - this is a great site, started last year and is getting bigger all the time. This is the site I would have loved to have started had Carine not got there first!  - a personal site run by a couple who brought a holiday home back in 2004. It's a really helpful little site with lots of interesting info on it.

Facebook - ah, my 2nd favourite obsession!  Not only is it great for keeping up with the gossip from the UK it was a great help in making new friends when we arrived. There are many facebook pages on local businesses and it's a really easy way to share information with each other.

I'm sure there are plenty more - if you know of any please leave me the web address in the comments section, I'm still always looking for new information, you can never know too much!

I was not asked to endorse any of the mentioned websites, I have just shared those I have found useful.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

We love cake!

I'm not as good as I imagined I would be, finding new and interesting activities for Leo and I to do, the problem I think is the lack of patience  (erm, that would be mine not his!) so I've been putting it off really, the whole cooking together thing, but recently we made Choc Cornflake cakes and it went surprisingly well so encouraged by Jenny's 'I Love Cake' linky and competition I decided to take the plunge and do some proper cooking with him...

We went for the simple option and made Queen Cupcakes.

115g butter
115g caster sugar
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
4tsp lemon juice
175g self raising flour
115g currants
2-4 tbsp milk if necessary

Pre-heat oven to 190c,
Weigh out all ingredients before letting toddler loose in kitchen
Mix butter and sugar until you get bored then hand to Mum to mix  until light and fluffy,
Then beat in eggs and 1 tbsp of flour..
Pour in far too much lemon juice (when Mum gives you the bottle expecting you to understand what she means by 'put in just a drop'.)
Fold in remaining flour with a wooden spoon laughing hysterically as is goes everywhere and the currants adding a little milk if needed.
Spoon into paper cases and bake for 15-20 mins whilst staring at oven saying 'cake ready now?' until well-risen and golden brown.
Leave to cool whilst explaining to toddler they are still too hot to eat.

All in all it went very well, no tantrums from either of us. I asked him afterwards what we did and he gave me a very good descriptive run down so he was paying attention. Only problem was half hour later he came up to me and said 'Make cakes again now Mummy?'

I Love Cake

Friday, 16 September 2011

Flashback Friday - Antiqua

This time five years ago Aaron and I were in Antigua....

It was a lovely holiday, well except for the time I spent in hospital on a drip after getting concussion after fainting on the first night that is!. We went on great excursions, drank lovely cocktails and watched the sun go down every evening but most importantly....

My friend Sarah got married

Happy 5th Wedding Anniversary to a lovely couple!

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Reasons to be cheerful 1,2,3

Several weeks ago I was offered the opportunity to host Michelle's Reason's to be cheerful weekly link up, it's something I've often joined in with over the last few months so I was very excited and jumped at the chance.

In Michelle's words...

Reasons to be Cheerful 1, 2, 3 (or #R2BC as it is affectionately known) is a simple link your blog up which is open to everyone and particularly easy for a new blogger to join in... Go on, jump right in, we are all friendly here! 

Last week I was being cheerful despite things going a little bit pear shaped, not much has changed since that post but we're getting on with it and trying to come up with a plan.  On the up side though it has been nice to have Aaron around more and it's been nice for him and Leo to spend this much time together.

This week we went to the local soft play place. I try to arrange a meet up there once a month or so through a facebook group I set up for Mum's in my area as there is not many places you can go to meet people.  As is quite common there were just the usual faces there but Leo had a fantastic time.  He's suddenly got the hang of playing and greatly encouraged by his very good friend Jack (he's 5, by the way - something that Leo tells everyone!) he did much more than ever before.

It was lovely to see him charging around like a mad thing, and playing on his own.

So, what is everyone feeling cheerful about this week?  Please come and link up to let us know, you can grab the badge if you wish below.

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Up, Up and away....

Today I crossed another item of that great 101 list of mine as I went parasailing with my Dad!

Its something I've wanted to do with him for ages - would have to be us together as there is no way you'd get my Mum or Aaron up there! I had done it once before on my own, many years ago and although I did enjoy it, I felt really really sick!

Much to my disappointment I found out that I'm not good on boats (or flying 150metres in the sky) so I was really pleased to be offered a pair of Sea-Bands for review.

Sea-Bands are a drug-free way of reliving nausea, travel and morning sickness and they worked. They work by applying continuous pressure  by way of a plastic stud on an acupressure point between the two central tendons on the wrist. I put them on as I got on the boat and felt fine - although they did not get rid of the slight fear as the boat sped up and we were lifted high in the air!

Unfortunately I did not get any photos from the air, I guessed I would be too busy hanging on for dear life and worrying about dropping my camera so I can't share the magnificent coastline views we saw around my favourite beach Konnos Bay.

I am very impressed with the Sea-bands and will be keeping hold of them for more boat trips in the future.  I also have four pairs to give away (2 adults and 2 children's)
If you would like to win a pair then  simply do the following 2 things
'Like' A matter of choice on facebook,  and follow me on twitter @Emsyjo and leave me a comment to say you have below with your email address or twitter name stating if you would like to be entered into the draw for the adults, children's or both.

For more information on Sea-Bands you can visit their website or facebook page  or you can find them on twitter @SeaBandNausea.

You enter into the both draws but this does not mean you will win both, it will just place you into both draws. The draw will be made on 30th September and winners will be notified via twitter or email. Winners must email their address within 7 days or unclaimed prizes will be redrawn.

I was sent this product to review, all opinions are my own and not influenced by anyone else. 

A happy moment

There are hundreds of random happy moments in life, some are very obvious like a blowing out birthday candles or attending a wedding but some just pass by in the blink of an eye without really being recorded to memory to look back on in later years.

In 1995 I was 17 and didn't always realise how happy I was, I left college and didn't have any sort of plan. I worked in a supermarket and spent many hours with my friend Sarah sitting around chatting, often moaning about our un-exciting lives and trying to come up with a plan or find some nice men.  Ideas we discussed (with no real plan of doing them) were going to America to be au-pairs or getting a job on a cruise ship! Of course we did neither of those things, we continued going to the pub and generally being bored.

I've said for years that looking back 1995 was one of my favourite years, we had no responsibilities and we didn't go to college much so we pretty much just faffed around. I didn't appreciate it at the time as much as I should. 

Except on one day,
Sarah and I along with Aaron and another old friend went to Camber Sands for the day. It was the 8th of October.  We wandered along the beach, ate and drank and played frisbee. I hated playing games as I was self concious, and unfit so I walked off through the sand dunes and sat down to watch.  I still don't really know what it was about the day but as I sat looking out to see I thought that it was a perfect moment. So perfect in fact that I should remember it forever.

Randomly in that pre-digital era I even had a camera...

It was really very warm for October and I was amazed at our luck of having chosen to go the the beach on a warm sunny day at that time of year. I watched the others running around and messing about and everything seemed good. I sat there pondering whatever random stuff was going through my head and vowed to never forget that moment, I hoped the photo would come out and do it justice. I wondered if I really would remember it or if I'd forget it like millions of other moments which pass. I wondered if in many years to come I'd still look back and remember sitting on that beach. I hoped I would so I vowed not to forget.

The spell was broken when the others called to see what I was doing but the moment stayed with me, I never said anything to them, they'd probably have thought I was crazy! 

On the way home I sat next to Aaron in the back of the car after a while he reached across and held my hand. It was the very start of our relationship, a few days later we became an official couple.

Written for this weeks Gallery, the prompt was 'A happy moment'

Monday, 12 September 2011

The A to Z about me Meme

As you may know, I'm a bit of a fan of lists, and A to Z lists especially so I wish I'd thought of this one am pleased to join in with Lauren from The Real Housewife of Suffolk County's new meme.  

Here is an A to Z of things about me....

ANORAK…Do you have a sad side?
I have a love of REALLY bad music, proper cheesy stuff that shouldn't even be allowed. Aaron says I have a bad music gene!

BODY…What physical attribute would you most like to change? 
I'd like a nice flat stomach again, I had one for a short while in between reaching my Slimming World target and getting pregnant!

CELEBRITY…Which one would you most like to date and why? 
David Tennant,  Why?   Why NOT?!

DEBUT …Tell us about your first ever blog post. What made you start blogging? 
My first blog post was about the conversation Aaron and I had about moving to Cyprus.  I started blogging to record our move and how we got on with living in a different country.

ERROR …What’s been your biggest regret? 
 That I spent so much money over the years and managed to save any for the proverbial rainy day. (yes, Mum I should have listened)

FUNNY – who’s making you laugh? Aaron makes me laugh like no-one else can, he never fails to come up with something to crack me up, even several hours into labour he had me crying with laughter.

GRAND…If we gave you one right now what would you spend it on?  

Depends if you mean 'What would I have to spend it on' or "What would I like to spend it on'. I'd like to spend it on flights to the UK for a couple of weeks and a shopping trip but in reality I'd spend it on petrol, food and bills.

HOLIDAY… What’s your favourite destination?  
Cyprus.  If I was to go on holiday (that wasn't back to the UK to see friends) I'd go somewhere else in Cyprus, either to the Mountains or the north side of the island.

IRRITATE… What’s your most annoying habit? 
Talking too much and too fast.

JOKER…Whats your favourite joke {the one that makes you laugh everytime you hear it}? It's wearing off these days but the one joke that always had me in fits, mainly because I remembered how much I laughed the first time I heard it (because it was so stupid, and I *may* have been a touch under the influence)
"What did the lamppost say to the pavement?"    "Chuff Chuff" because he thought he was a train.   

KENNEL… Do you have any pets?  

Not at the moment, I grew up with dogs and would dearly love another one day.

LOVE…Are you single, married, engaged, living with a long term partner?  

Married..... seven years this year!

MEAL… Whats your ultimate starter, main and dessert
Probably Prawn Cocktail, with Advocado, followed by Steak (medium rare) with blue cheese, then some sort of huge chocolate cakey thing.

NOW…If you could be anywhere right now where would you be and who with? 

Right here, in Cyprus with Aaron but with my best friends from UK too.

OFF DUTY…What do you do in your spare time?  Blog, tweet and faff around on facebook mainly.

PROUD MOMENTS …What are you most proud of?  My gorgeous clever little Leo

QUEASY …What turns your stomach? 
I'm still really not good with sick, I thought tiny baby sick was bad enough and I kind of got over that but it gets so much worse!

RELAX…How do you relax? 
I'm generally fairly relaxed so I don't actually know how to answer that!  Sleep I think!

SONG…Whats your favourite song of all time?  

Hold On, by Wilson Phillips

TIME …If you could go back in time and relive it again, when would you choose? 
My wedding day.

UNKNOWN…Tell us something about yourself that no one else knows?  Um, due to annoying habit of talking too much I don't think there actually is anything that NO-ONE else knows!

VOCAL…. Who is your favourite artist?  
If I had to pin it down to one, Madonna as I've liked her music for as long as I can remember.

WORK….. What is your dream job, and are you doing it now?  

My dream job would be a Wedding Co-ordinator and/or Event Planner, but growing up I wanted to be a wife and (stay at home) Mum so if you are talking about unpaid jobs then yes I am doing it now!

XRAY…Any broken bones? Nope, so far so good.   (runs off to touch some wood!)

YIKES…What’s been your most embarrassing moment?  
Passing out in a bar in Antiuga, hitting my head on a concrete bar stool, giving myself concussion and then throwing
 up over a passing man who was on his way to dinner.  I would like to point out that I was NOT drunk by the way!

ZOO…. If you were an animal, which one would you be? 
A dog, but only if I was in England - Cyprus is not generally a nation of animal lovers so as a dog this is not a great place to be!

I'm going to tag the following bloggers and hope they want to join in..... 
Christine from Expat Mum in Portugal
Liska from New Mum Online
Mum Reinvented
The Boy and Me

Friday, 9 September 2011

Welcome to the world

This post is dedicated to my lovely friend Claire, or more accurately her gorgeous new baby girl who made her appearance on Tuesday evening. I have been badgering her for weeks now to make sure I was on the all important "labour alert text list' as I obviously could not just jump in the car to see her and check all was ok. 

I am hugely impressed that not only was I kept updated, but they came from the lady herself, I passed all labour alerts over to Aaron during Leo's birth, and, not only that but for someone who doesn't 'do' technology actually sent me a photo of the lovely little lady. 

All this new baby news sent me running to Leo's baby photos and I came across this one.....

The new Mum herself holding my 2 day Leo.
Claire was the first non-family member to come and see us, she brought us lovely presents - a cuddly lion (which I gave back to her as part of her 'baby shower in a box' as Leo had outgrown it and I thought it would be a nice touch for the baby to have a present from Leo) and some plastic bowls, which at the time she explained were obviously way to early but we use them every day now.

But despite all of that, the first thing that comes to mind when I see that gorgeous photo is the fear that she had that Leo would be sick on her, she had come to see us on her way to a BBQ with her work colleagues and had no time to get changed. Luckily Leo was feeling charitable and saved it for Mummy!

I want to wish baby Ava and the new parents all the best, and I hope I can see you soon.  Congratulations guys!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Always look on the bright side of life....

Some things in life are bad
They can really make you mad
Other things just make you swear and curse.
When you're chewing on life's gristle
Don't grumble, give a whistle
And this'll help things turn out for the best...

I am married to possibly the most optimistic man of all time, many times during our relationship we have been in varying degrees of the brown and smelly stuff and each time I've worried or panicked about it he has assured me it will be fine. This includes the time we sat on a park bench debating our future, with a 10 week old baby, no-where to live in the UK, no income in the UK as he was self employed and had lost a big contract and a mortgage that we had to pay in a country we had only spent just over 2 weeks in. We had had a plan, and this was not it! We came to the conclusion that we were more stuffed than ever before, I laughed (in a slightly manic hysterical way) and Aaron said... "Trust me, it'll all be fine"   (it was, we suddenly took the plunge and moved to our new apartment six weeks later!)

I asked him what he was basing that response on, how on earth could it possibly be fine this time. The response, as ever was "it just will, it always is eventually'   To be fair, Aaron is generally a lucky b***ger and so far it has eventually always turned out fine, if not really good!  My worry is that one day his luck will run out. 

I think many people would believe the same - but Aaron is 110% sure that his luck will never run out - and I think maybe it's his attitude that means it's true..... which is handy as last week he lost his job which now leaves neither of us working in a country where we don't speak the main language and neither of us really know the best way to go about finding work.  It's often said "it's not what you know, it's who you know" and that is very true here in Cyprus. 

He is, as usual annoyingly calm about the situation, which winds me up but is fine. I realise that both of us cannot run around in a panic.  Looking at things rationally maybe this is a good thing, maybe this means we will end up in an even better situation than before eventually, and I think you make your own luck anyway, after all.....

"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" 

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

In case you are wondering why I'm linking to Mich's Reasons to be Cheerful   it's because I am attempting to be more like my lovely hubby who usually always makes me cheerful when it all looks like it's going to pot!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Xpat Blog Hop

I'm joining in with the latest blog hop I've come across this week - It's the Xpat Blog Hop hosted by Tales from Windmill Fields.  Every week she gives a topic, a top 5 perhaps or a question or photo related post and you link an old post, or write one to fit the theme.

This week...
 List 5 things you wish your expat country had and they don't . And 5 things your expat country has and you wish they didn't . (it can be less or more than 5 if you wish)

I wish Cyprus had Primark / Asda etc..  15 euro for one baby grow in the local supermarkets, that says it all really!   or actually if they all just delivered (with sensible delivery charges!) that would be fine. I realise it would be a bit depressing if the local area turned into a standard British high street but I do miss the availability of cheap clothes and kids stuff.

Organised baby/ toddler activities - I've had a moan about this before but there is a major lack of organised activities for babies and toddlers and Mums!  I always imagined that I would be quite busy once I had a baby going to meet ups, library sessions, swimming groups etc but there just aren't any here!

A sense of urgency!  - the 'siga siga' (slowly slowly) attitude although very nice in theory just does not come naturally to me. Unfortunately patience is not a skill I am not all that good at, when I want to do something I want to do it right now.   The engine in Aaron's car died just before Christmas and has had no end of problems resulting it being sent back and forth to the garage and we still don't have it back!

Moving on....
I wish Cyprus didn't have mosquito's, the bloody things drive me crazy!  I hoped this year would be better, thought maybe I'd be a bit more immune to them, but no not so much!

Um, this is a lot harder than I thought it would be, I'm sure if I walked into the nearest 'expat pub' I'd find lots of people who would reel off tons of things, some of which I'm sure I'd agree with. many though would probably fall into the 'moaning ex pat' category which I try very hard to stay away from.   It's good to know that there is not TOO much I'd change, in fact I think I'll leave this here in case I realise there is more!

The shoes of summer

I have an usual confession to make, not only do I not like clothes shopping..... I hate shoes...and unlike clothes I don't even really like them if someone else did the shopping for me!  I own a fair few pairs of shoes, I think less than Aaron though, and I never even wear most of them.  I've got a few nice pairs but I hate wearing shoes that hurt and I'm more rubbish than ever at walking in heels since having Leo than I was in the first place.

I have spent most of the last two years in cheap flip flops, (a very good reason to move to Cyprus that hadn't initally occurred to me!) and it seems Leo has developed a similar tastes in his attachment to these....

With the exception of maybe two occasions Leo has worn nothing else since about April, you cannot get him into anything else for love nor money (or chocolate!)  It's fine, they sort of go with most outfits and my life is too short to get into discussions about which shoes to wear.   The thing is how MUCH he loves them - the first thing he usually says upon meeting anyone, whether he knows them or not is  "Got Crocs on"  accompanied by lifting up one foot to proudly display them.   He literally bounces around with excitement when we are about to go out shouting "Crocs on, crocs on yeah"

The only problem (but he does seem to be getting a bit better) is the fact he cries when he gets sand or dirt in them as it feels horrible on his feet, so therefore will not walk on sand, gravel, or dusty roads, all of which there are lots of around here!

This weeks Gallery prompt is 'Shoes'  hence the random subject matter for this post - I'm so pleased though that it will remind me in years to come of the 'summer of the Crocs'

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Summer's still going strong!

There is much talk at the moment in real life (well, my real life friends on facebook - does that count?) and in the blog world of the whole 'back to school/end of summer thing'.  I realise this is not going to make me very popular but this is kind of passing me by a little bit.....

Summer has been here in Cyprus for a long time, not just due to the fact it hasn't rained since early May (Sorry I did warn you!) but that the schools here break up for the holidays somewhere near the beginning of June and they still haven't gone back yet. (ah now you're glad you are in the UK aren't you!)  For me, as a stay at home mum with a preschooler it makes no difference anyway.  So my summer is here to stay a while longer.

This year has been a much more enjoyable summer time, I even have a tan - last year although I developed a bit of one I'd previously got more tanned on week long holidays! Although I have only sunbathed once this year we have spent a whole lot more time outside.  Now Leo can happily spend several hours at the pool or beach, and with my parents being here there are more people to amuse him it's become a lot easier.

I've done quite well on crossing a few things off my 101 list....

I got over my fear of getting my whole apartment covered in paint and let Leo loose (well not that loose!) with his paints.

I finally got round to taking a walk along the Pernera beach path at night. I've wanted to do this since we got here but never got round to it. I've done it many times in the day, usually with the other mums from Leo's music group, where we would end up taking over the path with all our buggies!

I went swimming at night...

We had a picnic on the beach in the evening to celebrate our anniversary. I had a 'fish foot spa'  and I also started learning Greek properly, although I can't cross that one off until I finish the course.

Last night I managed to cross off 3 things from the list!   We went to see local band Echo playing live on the beach, so that's the beach party done.

When we got home I did something I've wanted to do for years on holiday but always been to scared of 'hotel rules'....
After jumping in the pool fully clothed I *may* have also realised it was a good time to also tick off the skinny dipping task of the list..... don't panic though I won't be sharing a photo of that!

All in all it's been a great summer, and we're very lucky that it's not over just yet!

Silent Sunday

This is what happens when the owner of the pub realises it that Leo is upset that Mummy forgot his crayons and colouring book!

Friday, 2 September 2011

F is for Friends

The hardest thing about leaving England for me was leaving behind my friends. When the idea of moving to Cyprus first came up I couldn't even think about it, leaving the girls I had known for years and shared so much seemed unthinkable.

I was not looking forward to telling them at all but they were very supportive overall. Some just buried there heads in the sand and pretended it wasn't going to happen and some were very interested and wanted to know every single detail.They all said how much they would miss me and how they wished I was staying.  I was always known as the organiser, most events and meet ups seemed to be arranged or instigated my me and I was usually the one to make the first contact. This often got to me and many times I vowed to do nothing and ring no-one until they rang me  but inevitably after a while I caved in and contacted them.  Sometimes I wondered if they were just being polite as surely if they liked me as much they would be more enthusiastic or maybe they had more interesting lives!

Aaron warned me time and time again that when we moved I'd lose contact with them all, I refused to believe him as surely with the wondrous invention of the interweb and all it's possibilities that would be impossible.  I brought 3 people Skype phones as leaving presents,  maybe being a bit desperate as it's surely not normal to give people you are staying where  they are leaving presents but I was worried about them getting round to doing it themselves!

That may have been a waste of time as almost 2 years on I am yet to have a Skype call with any of those people. I gave them all my address and a discount phone code to call my Cypriot landline for 0.5p per minute..... bargain!  I upload my life onto the internet through my blog and Facebook account and I still don't know what anyone else is doing. There are a few people I regularly interact with on Facebook but surprisingly  they are not the ones I thought they would be, they are mostly new people I have met in Cyprus so therefore  don't actually need to talk online or a selection of random school friends or ex-colleagues.

Am I wrong to have expected a bit more?  Does this just prove that I have a bit of a Facebook addiction? Are they not missing me as much as I thought they might?    or should I still do ALL the running as I was the one who left?    Should I just get over it and realise that they have moved on?

We have had a couple of visits and I know that it's money that has prevented more, that I can completely understand, but I do wish they emailed me their news or rang for a chat, just to feel like I was still part of their lives.   I assume  (Ah, I remember.... Assumption is the Mother of all F**kups!) that they sometimes look at my photos or read my blog..... who knows?

I deliberated over this post for a long time as I was worried it would turn into a rant but I really do miss my girlies..... so (in no particular order)   Sarah, Nicola, Claire, Su and Ali.......if you are reading this....Get your backsides to a computer and come for a good old catch up!

To end on a positive note though......  Our great friend and Leo's Codfarmer Godfather Martin definitely wins the prize (see girls, bet you didn't know there was a prize ;) ) for staying in contact. Being as he is a computer geek  does a very important job with computers or something we are probably in even more contact than we were before.  Of course this could be because he's just checking we are still 3000 miles away :)

You can see the rest of my A to Z posts here..

Edit:  I realise now this sounded very harsh, I apologise to my lovely friends if I upset them in anyway, of course this was not my intention at all - it was just me in my stupid way of saying how I miss you all and wish we were not so far apart.... and yes, I realise this wouldn't have happened if I hadn't moved abroad, it was my choice and I am happy about it I just want it all ;)

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Vodka induced poetry released on the world

 I’ve come a long way since the day you broke my heart,
Yet it seems to me that we’ve never been apart.
You’ve helped me through bad times and shared in the good,
 Which is why I love you a little more than I should.

You stopped yet caused an ocean of tears,
So many memories in just a few years.
You helped me grow and become who I am,
Made me laugh many times like only you can.

Yet you caused me a great deal of pain,
We moved on, then you did it again.
I welcomed you back like only I would,
Which is why I love you a little more than I should.

I wrote several random poems as a child, mainly for school but as I grew up I could only write them if I was depressed (and usually being over-dramatic) This one I wrote in my flat, probably in my pyjamas whilst drinking vodka and eating toast, I can't remember the year but it was probably around 2001. 

If you read the story of Aaron and I, (the condensed version - I don't think cyberspace would be big enough to contain the full story!) then you know there were several 'just good friends' periods. This would have been written in one of those :)

I've had this post in draft for a while now, undecided whether to release my 'personal' poetry on the world especially as I post to Facebook too, and I'm fairly sure Aaron would never have read this before either but I really like it so why the hell not!

My Mum actually has several homemade books of the poems I wrote as a child, they are a bit rubbish (in my opinion but I suppose as poetry from a child they are quite good, and Mum's are supposed to love it all!)  I did however write a couple of great ones in alcohol induced states.... maybe I'll have a dig about through old boxes and see if I can come up with the others.

One I have already published here. - A tribute.

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