Posts

Showing posts from November, 2011

It's still all Greek to me!

Image
Regular readers of my blog will know that I'm in the process of learning Greek, I have been learning it on and off for several years now but have struggled to get into a regular pattern of studying.  When I received my Rosetta Stone TOTALe software back in July I was very excited (I really was, I believe I may have tried to put Leo to bed an hour early.... it didn't work!)  and threw myself straight into it, doing a little almost every night and scheduling Studio sessions whenever I could.

Included with the TOTALe package is 3 months subscription to the online services, and when this ran out I think my motivation left with it!  In the similar way to going to an actual Slimming World class helped me to lose weight the live sessions ensured I kept up with the lessons and didn't start to skip days. The thought that you have one booked and you are going to be having a 50 minute conversation in Greek makes me much more inclined to get on with it!
Rosetta Stone have kindly offered…

Silent Sunday

Image

2 years in Cyprus

Image
Today is our 'Cyprus Anniversary', we have now been in Cyprus 2 years!   Last year I looked at the difference a year makes and how much it felt like home.  It wasn't the easiest of years and I had always been looking forward to this second year, actually in some ways this year has been even harder due to Aaron losing his job and money being somewhat tight but in terms of feeling like home this year has been an improvement.

My parents moved out in March and now it seems like they've always been here, it seems like I've known my friends here forever and now I've even got a job!  
Aaron is now on the committee for the Famagusta Eightball Pool Championships as Vice Chairman and is Captain of his team 'All the Kings Men' who play for the King's Sword Pub in Agia Napa.  Aaron has been playing pool for years but this is the first time he's been Captain!
I'm now writing for Daxi, a local magazine and also enjoy getting involved with the brilliant we…

Things that make me happy

Image
As part of my 101 list I decided I would make a list of 101 things that make me happy. I started making the list back in July last year and although most of it came to mind pretty easily I soon got stuck, I was determined that it wouldn't beat me though so I saved it and have been coming back to every now and again.   Of course, now I've finished it I'm sure a load more things will pop into my head that should have gone on the list!


I'm also cheating a little and linking this up to 'Reasons to be Cheerful' this week over at Bod For Tea as although I've not been the most cheerful person this list reminds me of many reasons to be! Being Mum to LeoBeing married to AaronSunshineGood friendsLosing excess poundsThe view from my balconyPhotosGood musicMy parentsDancingMaking listsFloating on a liloLeo laughingNot being in debtTidy apartmentDrinking with friendsWeddingsSleeping in lateReading good booksBBQsTalkingSmoking!Meeting people at airport arrivalsSleeping sn…

Onion Marmalade - Creating Christmas

Image
Last night, feeling particularly organised  I decided to start the first of my Christmas cooking, I love cooking and particularly enjoy preparing things for Christmas, as a child I always looked forward to making Cheese Straws and Mince pies with my Mum, always to the sound of carols so it's usually the start of the festive season for me. 
I decided it was a little too early to break out the Christmas CD so instead I opted for wine and Strictly Come Dancing on the TV in the background... obviously Aaron was out so I had control of the TV!
Some time ago I found a recipe for Onion Marmalde and thought it would be nice to go with cold meat and cheeses over Christmas. Aaron introduced me to the brilliant Boxing Day tradition of this meal and we always used to get some sort of onion relish.  You can buy it here in Cyprus but there is not a huge choice and it's not usually very cheap so I thought I'd give it a go.
Despite collecting jam jars for a while and ordering a pack of wax d…

Sponsorship Opportunity - BritMums Live

Image
After reading so much about previous blogger events such as Cybermummy11 and the MAD blog awards and seeing the excitement created by them on twitter and on lots of blogs I follow I have been hoping I would one day get the chance to attend one. Since BritMums Live was announced I've been planning my trip!

BritMums Live is the biggest blogging event of the year, devoted entirely to parent bloggers, and run by the UK's largest parent blogging network of more than 3000 influential bloggers.

Now, as you should have gathered by now although I am a Brit, and a Mum, I actually live in Cyprus which means I could do with a little assistance in getting to the event!  Attending BritMums would be a fantastic opportunity for me but I would also like to use this opportunity to work with a company relevant to my family and our lives and the readers of my blog.


In case you are a new reader to 'A matter of choice'  let me introduce myself....

I'm Emma, a 34 year old expat Brit, wi…

Ladies who cake.

Image
I love cake.... well who doesn't!

I love to bake cakes but I'm not even vaguely artistic and to make matters worse have zero patience so generally not very good at even trying!  So in our house when it come to making special occasion cakes it become a team effort, I bake it and Aaron decorates it. Between us I think we've done well, there was the pumpkin cake, the ghost cake, Mickey Mouse for Leo's birthday among others.

A couple of people said we should sell them but they as good as they are, they are not that good.... these however I think are brilliant...


They are the work of my lovely Sister-in-law and her business partner who have recently started 'Ladies Who Cake'  They are based in Kent working from home and since they started earlier this year have been inundated with requests.


You can find them on facebook at Ladies Who Cake

This is NOT a sponsored post, I have received no payment, not even any cake for writing this, I just wanted to share these brill…

Silent Sunday

Image

The week that went too fast

Image
Last Sunday was an unusual day, I said 'see you later' to my friend Michelle and then went straight to the airport to meet my friend Larisa which was great timing as it cheered me up! I saw Larisa once last August when I was in the UK but Aaron hadn't seen her since we left almost 2 years ago and Leo wouldn't have remembered her. 
Leo loves to look at photos so in the week leading up to her arrival I showed him lots of photos so he knew who was coming. I think she was quite surprised he took to her straight away like he'd seen her every day of his life, even before she showered him with presents!

Regular readers (and fellow ex-pats) will know that one of my least favourite things about living in Cyprus is the lack of reasonably priced clothes (and toys, books, stickers among many other things) so Larisa had been gathering goodies for us for a while. I'd also been on ebay winning random items to be sent to her, I'm surprised she had any room left for her own …

Flashback Friday - Weekend in Paris

Image
One of the best presents and biggest surprise I've received was from Aaron for our first Christmas as a married couple. We were at my parents house exchanging gifts (we used to save our and take them round so we all opened the presents together) and Aaron handed me two presents.  I opened the first one to reveal a guidebook for Paris. With a present like that after a moments confusion you start to wonder if it's a rather random choice of gift or a clue to an amazing one!
It was of course a clue, the next present I opened was a wallet containing travel documents and an itinerary of things that he had planned for us.  It was booked for the early January and Aaron had already cleared it with my work to have the time off!
I'd never been on a city break before and I although I was really looking forward to it, I didn't think it would be like a holiday as such.... weekends go very fast and I didn't think it would be particularly relaxing - the only ever foreign trips I'…

The Gallery - 11/11/11

Image
It may not rain very often in Cyprus but when it does it really chucks it down, since we have been here we have seen some huge storms and have spent many an evening staring out the patio doors watching the lightning illuminate the sky.

Never before though have we seen a sky lit up like this...



What made it all the more surreal is the fact that not only were we stood outside with no sign of rain anywhere, we could also hear no thunder at all.  The storm was way out to sea and went on for almost an hour with nearly constant lightning!

It was a fitting end to a day with an unusual date, and the perfect timing for this weeks Gallery post, the prompt was 11/11/11 and the task was to use a photo to mark whatever we were doing on that day.

It's not goodbye, just 'See you later'

Image
One of the advantages of being an expat Mum in Cyprus is when you meet other British Mums with similar age children you immediately have at least two things in common. This can be very helpful when making new friends in a new country. Some people you just click with and it seems like you've known each other for years.

Of course, there is an equal disadvantage to making friends abroad, the fact that circumstances can arise which makes it necessary for them to leave. My friend Michelle leaves for England this week with her gorgeous little boy, Oliver who is one of Leo's best mates.


I met Michelle initially via Facebook and we met in real life early 2010, meeting up generally at least once a week at 'Jingle Jangle's' toddler music group.

The boys are 'usually' best of friends but go through stages of seeming to hate each other!  Both as bad as one another in different ways they often have their moments where all they do is wind each other up.... Oliver likes to…

Silent Sunday

Image

Creating Christmas

Image
I must apologise for bringing up the 'C word' so early.....Christmas is not actually that far away, but you probably knew that. I imagine that in the UK it's been everywhere you turn for weeks now? but here it's only the last week or so that I've seen or heard any mention of it.

I'll soon be reading all the usual stuff online about Christmas stress and shopping in tweets and facebook statuses and be thankful that I'm out of it, don't get me wrong I LOVE Christmas but can't stand all the faffing about presents...  who everyone is or isn't buying for, how much it's costing etc etc

I like to think that maybe people are going to worry less about it all with so many people now struggling for money but I'm probably being optimistic.

This year, for the first time I'm doing home-made stuff, it may not be brilliant but it's the thought that counts and it's that or nothing!  I only be doing things for a very small amount of  people as …

Lest we forget

Image
They went with songs to the battle, they were young.Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,They fell with their faces to the foe.They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.At the going down of the sun and in the morning,We will remember them.Laurence Binyon (1869 - 1943).

Flashback Friday - the best weekends in the world!

Image
Back in the good ol'days we went through a bit of a second childhood!  It all started with my hen weekend when 8 of my friends and I went to Butlins for a 'School disco' weekend and ended up with five separate trips in just two years!

They were quite simply the best weekends of all time! Friends, fancy dress, dancing, drinking and lots and lots of laughter. There was something about the place that made you regress to childhood - maybe it was all the flashing lights on the arcade machines! From the Friday when we arrived until the Monday when we left it was like being in a different world - a world that was often very surreal!

Aaron and I, as we do went to great efforts to persuade everyone to dress up, at least on the Saturday night. Over the various trips we have been school kids on several occasions (the simplest and one of the most fun, especially when there are 8 of you dressed like it!), Superheroes, and other random and quite brilliant costumes ranging from the '…

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 - still smiling, just!

Image
I'm still smiling, well I say smiling, it's more like grimacing through the pain!  On Tuesday I picked up Leo off the sofa and pulled a muscle in my back and it got steadily worse throughout the day, Wednesday morning it took me 20 minutes to get out of bed :(

I'm still cheerful though as in particularly good timing I've met the lovely Claire from MG Fitness and they don't just do fitness, Claire is also a qualified sports massage therapist so has been helping me out and at least I can now get in and out of bed!

Tomorrow I'm due to meet up with a couple of my friends at the local soft play place, I'm only kinda cheerful about this one of the girls leaves Cyprus next week to move back to the UK and we're really going to miss her. I am looking forward to the meet up though as Aaron is also coming (to save me having to climb round the play area with a bad back!) and he's only been to soft play once with him before, so will be great for him to see how m…

10 Questions

There is another meme doing the rounds at the moment and I've tagged by Jenny from Mummy Mishaps.


1. Describe yourself in seven words. Enthusiastic, loyal, inpatient, persistent, talkative, frustrated, sociable. 
2. What keeps you awake at night? Not much, usually I sleep very well but these days it's not so much Leo waking up rather the thought that he is about to wake up! I can lie in bed for ages thinking he's probably going to wake up any second, sometimes he does, sometimes it an be an hour or two later but I still do it!
3. If  you could be anyone for a day who would you be and why? I think I'd be Leo, it would be fascinating to see the world through his eyes and be able to have the best time ever by playing with a box or jumping on some squares. It would be interesting to better understand how annoying it must be to be 2 years old and to see things from his point of view.
4. What are you wearing now? Pyjama's, big fluffy dressing gown and slipper boots. I realise I …

Health & Fitness...

Image
I've never been a fan of sports or going to the gym, from my school days until only recent years I would go out of my way to avoid doing even the smallest amount of exercise,  I was the big kid in the class, the one always picked last in games and I used to dread every PE lesson. This stayed with me as I grew up and would miss out on lots of things with my friends, on summer Sundays we'd all go to the park and while they played rounders or volleyball I'd sit in the sun making jokes about how that was too much like hard work and I was busy getting a tan or drinking a beer but really I didn't have the confidence to join in and was worried they'd laugh as I got too out of breath running around.
Only as I lost weight did I discover that I could actually exercise and not die.... although MY GOD did it kill me at the time I was stunned to see how much easier it all became as the pounds dropped off and I got stronger. For about  year I regularly did exercise DVDs at home a…

Silent Sunday

Image

First Friends

Image
In the months leading up to our move to Cyprus I spent a lot of time online trying to find out information on all kinds of Cyprus related things and I tried to get an idea of what 'real life' would be like when we arrived. Our apartment was due to be ready the same week Leo was due so it was a big thing to be doing with a small baby - arriving in a country where we knew nothing and no-one.

I often used a very helpful website - Eastern Cyprus Forum  and it was on here that I stalked met my first 'Cyprus' friend, Kelly. I was a bit worried she would think I was a nutter (until I met her that is!!!) as I saw a post she had written in which she said she lived in Derynia and that she was expecting a baby in May just a few days before I was and so I emailed her and said 'Hi, me too!' 
We became 'facebook friends' and over the months 'spoke' to each other quite a bit. Kelly had her baby ( her 4th) 8 weeks early, (Leo was 2 weeks late)  and I'll nev…

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3

Image
As Mummy from the heart - Michelle is taking a well deserved blogging break she is once again letting me host her lovely 'Reasons to be Cheerful' (#R2BC) linky.   This is all well and good but means I've had to have a bit of a think to come up with some, after all a 'I'm miserable, if you're not please link up' kind of post would probably mean I wouldn't get to host again!

But, this is exactly the brilliance of the idea, #R2BC is all about taking time to stop and appreciate the good things and since this linky started back at the start of the year there have been several weeks I have joined in and realised that if you think about it, everything is not all bad and there is always something to be cheerful/ thankful for.

So, despite the fact that we are still looking for a job for Aaron, and our bank balance is rapidly decreasing, the fact that Leo seems to be under the impression that 5am is an acceptable time to start the day and the fact that  I cannot …

Frequently asked questions

Image
These days it seems that every web site has it's FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions) and sometimes they have just the answer you were looking for. Sometime you wonder why anyone would ask some of them at all, let alone for them to be asked frequently!   That said they are a great idea, after all it gets a bit dull keep repeating the same answers time and time again.

So, I give you 'Emma's FAQs'...

Why did you move to Cyprus?
Honestly, I don't know!  My standard response is 'Why not?'  or 'It seemed like a good idea at the time' and I've said that so many times I can't even come up with a reason that sounds good enough to move across the world.  That's not to say I regret it at all, it's just looking back I can't believe we had the balls!   We didn't really know much about the country when we brought so I think it was pretty much to do with the weather!

When are you coming home?
We are home. This is where we live, we may go o…

Launch of a new lifestyle

Image
Since moving to Cyprus I have done much less exercise than I imagined I would, I am the master of excuses and it turns out having a demanding toddler can be quite a good one, that and 50 deg plus summer temperatures kind of puts you off!   But I do enjoy exercise when I do it regularly and I've been missing my old routine I had back in England before Leo was born, I just find it hard to get motivated on my own. So I'm very pleased to see that help is at hand!
Sunday saw the launch of a brand new health and fitness Centre in the East of Cyprus, MG Health & Fitness situated in Protaras, MG is run by Claire and Michael and today is the official opening.


Offering a huge range of classes,including Yoga / pilates based activites, Zumba, Bootcamp and Box Fit, with more in the pipeline it means there are plenty to choose from. All ages are catered for and I am very pleased to see a great range of classes for all ages of kids, something that is very lacking in this area of Cyprus. 
Wh…