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Showing posts from October, 2011

A scary Halloween!

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Living in Cyprus I am very pleased to avoid most of the 'Halloween hype' as I'm not really a fan of 'trick or treating' having never done it as a child and more importantly spending years in the UK trying to avoid the older kids who were only interested in collecting money or 'tricking' (ie destroying stuff), that said it may sound hypocritical but I don't dislike Halloween at all,  after all - a reason to party and to dress up, what's not to love!
Last year I went to my first ever Halloween party, at my friend and fellow party/fancy dress fan Sam's. Halloween is Sam's 'thing' and this year she hosted her now annual Halloween party. (Sorry Sam, we'll be back next year,like it or not!) 
Sam had done a fantastic job with the decorations, all home-made (you tend not to see Halloween things in the shops here) and everyone brought a contribution to the food table.  Aaron and I had made a Ghost Cake and I also made Monster Eyeballs and S…

Silent Sunday

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We all love cake!

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Last year I told you all about my first Halloween party it was held by my friend Sam and it was great fun. Tomorrow we are going to do it all again so in a tradition we seem to have created for ourselves Aaron and I had a cake to make!

Last year we made a 'Pumpkin cake' and so we've been debating what we could do this year. Aaron suggested a skull but I thought we shouldn't peak too early so we went with his second idea a Ghost cake.

It was a joint family effort as Leo 'helped' me bake the cake and then as usual I handed the decorating over to the arty one.


Leo and I made a simple Victoria sponge mixture but as we needed a lot we tripled the standard recipe.

300g castor sugar
300g butter
6 eggs
300g self raising flour

I usually cream the butter and sugar first, adding the egg then the flour gradually but Leo didn't agree with that method and chucked it all in before I could intervene, including the eggs without cracking them! I retrieved the whole eggs and …

Flashback Friday -

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This time two years ago we were rapidly disappearing under a pile of boxes, we had booked our one way flights and it seemed that every day brought more 'goodbyes' as we gradually got closer to our leaving date. We had spent many months gradually packing our belongings for shipping to Cyprus and my poor parents lost the use of their conservatory for a very long time (and their garage, spare bedroom and hallway!) It was a huge task debating what to take, what to leave and who to give it too or how to sell it, along with trying to work out what we needed for Leo as he was then only 5 months old.

We said goodbye to our things at the end of October and I remember standing on the driveway, in the cold and that horrible drizzly rain as I watched the van with our beloved boxes drive away.  I stood there for a long time watching the now empty road thinking.... 'Oh my god, that's it - it's all gone now'  I could hardly believe that I would next see it all in Cyprus, aft…

A bank holiday, and a little bit of history

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I have always been interested in many things to do with recent history and among other things the second world war,  particularly what was happening 'at home' whether that was in the UK, France or anywhere else in Europe. What has fascinated me and often left me in awe is the sacrifices people made and how everyday life was affected for everybody.

Today Cyprus celebrates another Bank holiday, but it saddens me that so many British expats here do not even realise that it is, and even if they do they possibly have no idea why it is so. I am making this lovely country my home and so I wish to learn all I can about it's history and people and I think it is important to find out these things.

Today, October 28th is Greek Independance Day, or 'Ohi Day' as it is often known.   It commemorates the day in 1940 when the then Greek prime minister Ioannis Metaxas rejected the ultimatum from Italian dictator Mussolini that the Axis forces should enter and occupy Greece or else …

Facing foward

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They say you can tell a lot from looking at someone's face but I've never been very good at reading people myself, Aaron is a good 'reader', especially when it comes to me, I suppose the 16 years we have been together help quite a bit there!

This photo was taken on my wedding day just before I left my parents house, and I wonder what he would have thought had he been there at that point.  This is one of my Mum's favourite photos of me from the day.


The process of getting ready had not gone entirely to plan, the hairdresser was late and I although I'd imagine getting dressed in a leisurely fashion with my bridesmaids helping me and then making my 'entrance' as I came down the stairs, it ended up that I jumped into my dress and ran downstairs hoisting it up and asking someone, anyone to zip me up!

The photos felt rushed and I didn't feel entirely comfortable but I do remember this one being taken. The photographer asked me to look into the garden but…

Music therapy

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Once upon a time I listened to music a lot, in the car, at home and even if I had the TV on it would usually be on a music channel during the day. Nowadays due to the protests of a certain little man it's usually restricted to in the car, and even then it has to be 'not big loud Mummy' On the rare occasions I end up indoors on my own, the first thing I do is to turn my ipod on and listen to my favourites.

I miss my music and wish I'd not stopped listening to it so Leo was in the habit of hearing it and might not moan about it so much. Music can do so much for your mood and there are so many songs that really mean something, it drives Aaron mad that I have a story for nearly every song in my collection!

I've been tagged by Real Housewife Lauren to take part in  Mammywoo's Music Therapy which is all about reminding ourselves how much we love our music and sharing the songs which really mean something to us, those whose lyrics could have been written just for us…

Discovering Cyprus - Derynia Folkloric Museum

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When you step off the tourist trail in Cyprus you realise there are many little hidden gems to be found, one of these is in Derynia, the village where we live.  The Derynia Folkloric Museum is a picturesque old house full of traditional Cypriot items including many household and farming tools.

The museum is run by a friendly local called Varnavas, who grew up in the house and decided to open it up to the public and share his collection of now historic items.  He is happy to tell you lots of interesting information and you can tell he genuinely enjoys sharing his family and countries past with the visitors.  From telling you about all the photos of his large extended family lining the walls to opening up all the cupboards and pulling out  delicate hand made linens and traditional clothing to show you nothing is too much trouble.


It is even possible to get married here at the museum, either in the traditional bedroom or in the courtyard.  I've been to the museum twice now, and I…

Silent Sunday

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Flashback Friday -

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I was very lucky as a child I got to go on several foreign family holidays over the years. I went to Malta twice as a toddler but the first holiday I have memories from was in the early eighties to Estepona in Spain, although I do wonder how many I'd have if it wasn't for the large amount of photos we have!
I learnt my first foreign word on this holiday which was 'Helados' a very important word for a young child to know as it means 'ice cream'. I remember coming back to the villa one day to find the doorstep so covered in ants it looked completely black!  I remember that my parents forgot to give the villa key back and we realised once back in the UK, I kept that key (Casa 228, yep I can still remember what was written on it!) for years and years as my 'best ever' souvenir.
Most importantly I remember walking through a tunnel (I assume under a road or something) with my Dad after he had had a drink or 3 when he announced he was "a little 'tiddlyp…

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3

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The last few weeks I've not been able to cobble together a post to take part in Michelle's Reason's to be Cheerful linky, in fact I may have struggled to fill a 140 character tweet on the subject!  I decided last week that I would take a leaf out of Michelle's book though and find things to be cheerful about even when it appears there are none... but then...

I got a job!    Not only did I get a job, I got a good job!    After Aaron lost his job back in August I started looking for work, the plan had always been for me to do something (had no idea what, I was looking for a flash of inspiration!) but once Leo was in nursery, and we had to wait until we had the cash available to send him - catch 22 I believe!  
As we were both out of work I was now looking for anything at all, but it's very hard. It is the end of the season so many people are now out of work for the winter so the wrong time of year for job hunting. I've not worked here in Cyprus so far and I don't…

Listography - Keyword searches

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One of the things that continue to fascinate me about this blogging lark is the not just the amount of readers I have gathered along the way but also the search terms that lead people to my blog.   This weeks Listography asks for our Top 5 Keyword searches so I couldn't resist going to find out what they were.


1. Barney / Barney & friends (and loads more Barney related phrases)  
This is my highest viewed post by far, and it was a previous Listography entry - Top 5 Annoying Kids programes.  It's had over 10,000 more views than anything else!

2. What makes a house a home
The second highest search at the moment, which would take you to my recent post about Leo's new 'Big boy's bedroom'

3. It's all Greek to me / Rosetta Stone (and many Rosetta Stone related terms)
I've been writing about my progress learning Greek and reviewing the Rosetta Stone software.

4. Meniere's Disease
This pleases me, and I hope this post may have helped someone This was …

Silent Sunday

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Birthday celebrations

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What a busy birthday week it's been.... I had a nice birthday 'day' which was mainly filled with cake! It started off with toddler group to which I took fairy cakes, followed by a lovely home-made cake from my Mum and then the arrival of my friend with an armful of doughnuts.

In the evening, my lovely parents babysat and paid for us to go for a meal, we tried a new restaurant which had been recommended to us and had a lovely time. 
Last week I looked back over my childhood birthdays, and on the day itself my Mum wrote about my actual birth day so this week I thought I'd share some memories of a couple in between!
I love any excuse for a celebration and birthdays are a VERY good one so I've had some outstanding (usually) drunken celebrations. From my 18th birthday party where I tried to punch Aaron (and missed!) for getting me a stripper after I had made him promise not to, to a alcohol free weekend on the canal when I was pregnant I have many to choose from. 
One of th…

Autumn leaves Toddler Craft

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I'm slowly getting better at doing more craft activities with Leo. I always imagined I'd be doing all kinds of things but in reality it turned out to be harder than it looked! I've never been known for my patience and this is not helpful when it comes to dealing with toddlers at the best of times, let alone when you add paint, glue and instructions into the mix!

I love the ideas over at Emma's Lunch, and the way the crafts are themed to the seasons so I thought I'd try an autumnal themed craft. My inital plan was to take Leo to the park, something we haven't done for a few months due to the heat, to collect some leaves, but I realised the flaw in the plan as soon as I looked out the window... the trees are all green and the few leaves that are around are the wrong type!

Not to be outdone I printed some leaves to colour in,


I gave Leo just 'autumnal colours' red, brown, yellow and orange, along with a green as he was a bit bemused that trees could be any…

My Birth-day!

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Today is my birthday so I thought it would be a good idea to ask my Mum to share her memories of my arrival while I turn the computer off and go and eat a lot of cake :)

Our daughter, Emma Joanne was born on Tuesday 11th October 1977, at 11.10 am. (which was a coincidence) weighing 8 lbs.9 ¾ oz. (3.9 kilos). Being born on a Tuesday was apt, as Tuesday's Child if full of Grace - my Mum's name.
Emma was delivered by Dr. Barnard, nephew of the heart surgeon, Christian Barnard, by Caesarean Section. I had undertaken fertility treatment, so we were extra lucky to have Emma.
As proud parents Nick and I left the hospital on Thursday 20th October, it was like stepping out into a different world, autumn had definitely arrived, golden leaves were everywhere, there had been none when I first arrived. Emma was wrapped in a shawl and I cradled her in my arms. Nick took us home to where her Grandparents (Nick's side)  were waiting for us, it was so good to get home. The next day was the t…

More on Monday... "Best day at the beach, EVER!"

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On Saturday we took Leo out for a little trip to Agia Triada to a nearby beach I had recently discovered, a perfect toddler beach... no sunbeds, no tourists and no shops or restaurants, just sand, rocks and space to run around.


He usually seems to like the idea of the beach more than the reality, this year we've been much more than last but  the longest we have successfully stayed is about 2 hours. By this point he's hungry, or tired, or wants to go to the pub (a habit we accidentally started by going to our 'local' for breakfast after Sunday morning beach trips). It's not really been a problem as living so close to the beaches it doesn't really matter if its a short visit.
Now the weather has cooled down a little it's a much nicer experience for him,  so we thought we'd take him to explore the 'new beach'   We paddled in the sea, dug some holes and poured water in them. We had a big ball and did lots of kicking about. 
We were there less than an…

Silent Sunday

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'More on Monday' to follow...

A really useful engine.

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Back in the year BC (before child) I wholeheartedly believed many things about parenthood, there were things I planned to do, and not do and it all appeared fairly straight forward to achieve. One of these things was strictly limiting the amount of television my child would watch. Instead I would ensure we always did many 'fun and educational' activities.  I look back on my poor deluded previous self now and wonder what happened!
Prior to our move to Cyprus,Leo had seen very little children’s tv, in fact just before we moved we staying at a friends house he watched in wonder at CBeebies for the first time and looked at me amazed that such wonders existed, after all I had been enjoying the days of being able to get away watching ‘This Morning’ and 'Loose Women' in relative peace when he was tiny and spent most of the day sleeping.
After a month in Cyprus with no tv, we got satellite, not a dish as big as our house like many have to be able to pick up all the English chan…

Birthday girl

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Do you remember the days when you used to count down the days to your birthday? When you could hardly wait to be a year older? When birthdays were the best thing ever? I can very well, not unfortunately because it was only yesterday, but because I have a whole pile of photos from over the years to look back on.

Next Tuesday is my birthday so in my weekly trip down memory lane for Flashback Friday I thought I'd relieve birthdays gone by...

The years blend into one looking back but I loved everything about my birthday, from choosing the invites and writing them out at the dining table, and going with Mum to buy the matching party stuff weeks in advance as I'd be so excited.

Coming downstairs in the morning to see presents and cards on the table waiting for me and usually presented in a really cool way, One year I had a 'Care Bear' theme (in fact maybe more than one year!) My Mum had brought an extra table cloth and had cut out pictures and decorated the whole room,  ano…

A tale of two 'Raff's'

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This is 'Orange Raff', you may have met him before as he's been around for a good couple of years now.He has spent almost any many nights in the cot as Leo and he's always been there when it seems the world is ending.  'Orange Raff  was once just plain Raff, or 'Mr G.Raff' if we're being a bit more formal. Named by Aaron and placed by Leo's head in his cot when he was a couple of weeks old it wasn't too long before he started to play a bigger role.

For many months it seemed as Leo would never notice him, every morning he was left to laze around in bed while Leo got up and faced each day.  One morning though a long time ago now, Leo picked him up as he was lifted out the cot and gradually he became an extension of Leo's hand.

As Leo began to talk and started learning colours he would name the colour of everything he said. He struggled for a while with being able to pronounce 'orange' so at first it was actually 'Offinge Raff'…

The many faces of Leo

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Let me introduce you to the many faces of Leo...

Leo is entering a new and amusing stage in which he is becoming very entertaining to watch.  He's speech amazes me daily, the things he remembers and repeats, and the random funny things he regularly comes out with.

His latest thing is to make his 'sad face' and come up really close pointing to his face,  you then have to give him a cuddle as he is sad and you have 'need make Leo happy now'  You give him a really big cuddle and he thinks for a moment and pulls the sad face again... meaning he has to have another cuddle.  The cuddles generally get bigger and more 'squeezy' and eventually he will be trying to do his sad face but is laughing his head off!

If you ask him to 'do' different faces he is happy to oblige and he loved his little photo shoot to capture them all.


He is loving the Mr Men books at the moment of which he has four, he spends just as long looking at the pictures on the back of all the …

Silent Sunday

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