Tuesday, 29 March 2011

His favourite obsession...

Pat, Pat, Pat...PAT   
These are the words I am greeted with every day at the moment!
I never thought I'd be trying to persuade Leo to watch The Wiggles after how many times we watched it last year but it turns out it is less annoying than Postman Pat over and over again!

Leo has become  Postman Pat's biggest ever fan, it's the first thing he says every morning and the last thing he says at night, last night he even said it in his sleep!

I thought we had it bad with The Wiggles but didn't realise how much worse it would get when he learnt to talk, he used to 'ask' for The Wiggles but I suppose it was more me putting it on to keep him happy while I blogged cleaned :)

On the upside it just so happens that the DVD we have is 'Postman Pat's ABC and 123' and due to the sheer number of times we have watched it Leo now knows his numbers 1 to 10, and can say nearly all of the words which represent the alphabet on it, so at least it is productive.

He is also quite partial to a bit of  Tweenies and 'In the Night Garden'  (known in our house as 'giggle') and a new contender is 'mouse' -  more commonly known as 'Mickey Mouse Clubhouse', (although we do not own the DVD and have to guess when Arabic TV will randomly decide to show it!) but still nothing compares to the man in the van and his cat.

Although it is driving me crazy, (and causing the inevitable guilt that  he watches too much TV) I'm sure in years to come when Pat is no longer his hero and is replaced by big boy's stuff (which I will undoubtedly think is stupid and not understand if Ben 10 and Bakugan are anything to go by) I will look back on the 'Pat days' with fondness and wish for these innocent days back.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Greek Independence Day

Today, March 25th is Greek Independence Day, it is a national holiday throughout the Republic of Cyprus and marks the start of the islands fight for independence from the Ottoman Empire which started in 1821. The Greek War of Independence ended in 1832 and Greece was finally recognised as an independent nation.

The day is marked not only by cultural displays and historic exhibitions in many of the larger Cypriot towns but by many parades in the streets. We can hear one such parade from our apartment.


They practise regularly just a stone's throw from our apartment and are quite loud! The drums are very good but I think that the bugle/trumpet players could do with the practise... we've been here a year and they don't seem to have improved yet!

Not that I'm complaining (well, except when they wake Leo by starting 2 minutes after his bedtime!) I think it's great that they celebrate all they do out here, the Cypriots love their Bank Holidays! At least they are patriotic, the closest us Brits seem to get is celebrating St Patrick's Day.... not even St Georges!

Double Flashback Friday

This week I'm giving you a double whammy Flashback Friday.  First of all it's back to 1977 for one of my baby photos. 


The blanket was handmade by my Mum, and Snoopy was one of my first cuddly toys. I loved the blanket and when I was a little older I used to use it in my dolls pram. I didn't realise that my Mum had kept both the blanket and Snoopy so that last year we could take this photo of Leo...


Don't forget to check out the other fabulous entries over at Cafe Bebe.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

The Gallery - Education

This week's Gallery prompt is Education. 
Anything you like to do with learning and education. Your school days, your children's school days, are you learning something now? What does or did education mean to you? Teachers, students, lecturers, gurus.


I had a flick through my old photos and I have quite a few, so I decided to go with the first and last.
This was my first day at school...

I can remember posing for the photo just as we were about to leave. (my Mum is standing just out of shot waiting to take me - they didn't just kick me out on my own!)

I was never a big fan of school, not the actual learning part though, mostly that was ok if a little dull in places. It was the 'social' bit I didn't enjoy, I had a group of friends but it was an all girls school and was often very bitchy. At the time I did not have to confidence to stand up for myself.

I remember the run up to our last day at school well, everyone was so excited and couldn't wait to leave, so it was I suppose a bit strange that most of us spent the day in tears!  For me it was the whole 'end of an era' thing and the fact that once a couple of people cry it just sets everyone else off too!



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Saturday, 19 March 2011

My Favourite beach

Let me take you to my favourite beach...





Welcome to Konnos Bay, situated between Agia Napa and Protaras and said to be one of the most picturesque beaches on the island.  We first discovered Konnos when on holiday in 2008 and I declared it my favourite beach of all time, quite a bold statement! 

The Cyprus Tourism Organisation says this "One of the most picturesque beaches on the island, it is well sheltered from heavy winds and has practically no waves at all. It is 200 metres long by 35 metres wide and covered with fine golden sand."

My reasons...
It's lovely for kids, (expect the walk down to it if you are laden with bags, towels, assorted beach toys and a buggy, and especially the walk back up!) as the sea is almost free of waves and is shallow for a very long way out. 

There is a cafe which does lovely food, (especially the bacon and halloumi sandwich) and the best view I think I've seen.

View from the cafe. (and my blog header!)


There are water-sports, umbrellas and sun loungers for hire, but the best bit is that the yellow plastic sun-loungers float! 





The sand is lovely and soft, and the sea is crystal clear. There are a few rocks in the water but big enough to see and it's fine to walk in with no shoes on.

There is a shower and toilets, and not only that, they were still clean, tidy and with toilet roll left at 6pm in the evening!  

It's also only a 15 minute drive from home which is rather handy!

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For more photos of Konnos Bay, head over to my Posterous blog  - Discovering Cyprus

Friday, 18 March 2011

'Fancy' Flashback Friday

This week I'm taking you back to 1997, the year I discovered that I LOVE fancy dress!

Before this I hated dressing up, I'd never know what to wear, and would worry that I would look stupid, but then I met AJ... the biggest fan of dressing up ever!

In 1997 we were invited to am 18th birthday party in a local hotel, we didn't actually know the birthday girl, she was a friend of a friend but it was a big hall and we were making up the numbers! AJ was very excited but I was somewhat less than enthusiastic, we had big debates what to wear and he asked me what I would most like to wear if I could choose anything.

That was an easy question, a wedding dress! Well it just so happens that his Mum makes wedding dresses for a living and she had a dress that she had made for a Bridal fair, and it was black and white. From this the plan for my costume came to life. I was to be "Bride of Dracula"  (Yes, I realise that it should be "Bride of Frankenstein" but AJ was doing Dracula so we bent the rules!)

When AJ dresses up, he really goes to town. He wanted to do "Bram Stoker's Dracula"  so we hired the film to check the exact costume and then spent ages trying to find blue sunglasses! He brought a white plastic skull, sprayed it silver and stuck it onto a cut down broomstick painted black to make his cane.  He grew his beard, dyed it and then on the day cut it to the correct shape!

My mother-in-law made me a black veil for my outfit and then we finished it off with gothic make up and black false nails. When we met our friends in the pub first AJ was asked where I was as no-one recognised me!

The party was good, lots of excellent costumes but I had so many great comments on mine, I think I even accidentally 'outdid' the birthday girl who was in a hired Cinderella costume. My dress was big, and it had a four foot train, I didn't really go unnoticed!

From that day, I've always enjoyed fancy dress and like AJ I now try my best to do it 'properly'! We've done many different things over the years, I'm sure I'll be digging some more out for future Flashback Fridays!


Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3

I missed last week's Reason's to be Cheerful link up as my parents moved to Cyprus last week and we've been spending time helping them settle in and doing lots of cooking as we are waiting for their shipping to arrive. The last week we have been sharing my frying pan and baking tray!  Their arrival was my reason to be cheerful last week, along with the fact I now have two extra pairs of hands should I need them, a babysitter right on my doorstep, and adult company during the day!

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy From the Heart

This week I am still cheerful...
  • It seems that summer is most definitely on its way, if not knocking on the door already, although the evenings are still cold the last few days have been gorgeous. AJ returned from the pub last night saying that there were even a couple of sunburnt faces around!
  • Yesterday I re-joined Slimming World. I almost didn't as I do know how to do it and several people said there was no point in going when I could do it on my own. For me, it's all about the group though, that's how I did it before and I am pleased that I've started again. I am feeling motivated and looking forward to getting out my old 'slim' clothes.
  • AJ and his pool team have won the local league, there is one game left to play but after winning last night's game they will still be top of the league even if they lose next week. They have also won the 'Charity cup'  and are in with a chance of winning another trophy next week.  It looks like Pool Presentation night next month will be quite a celebration!







Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Here we go again....

If I've done it once I can do it again, right?

Four years ago I lost four stone with Slimming World. I stayed close to my target weight for almost a year until I got pregnant and decided to eat my own body weight in doughnuts,
(I started off well, deciding that I would continue to eat healthily and try and maintain my weight for a little bit and then only put on what was necessary.... then I realised that was a rubbish idea and eating lots seemed like much more fun!)

Since being in Cyprus I have lost about a stone, but still have about the same to go to get to where I would like to be. I don't know yet what my actual target weight will be but one of the good things with Slimming World is the fact you do not have to set a target until you are ready (and when you do it is entirely your choice, unless it is lower than the recommended 'healthy weight') What I am aiming for is to fit back into most of my old clothes and feel fitter again.

Although I have followed the Slimming World plan for years on and off, for me going to a weekly group makes all the difference. I am pleased that they have finally opened a group in my area (although not so pleased that they couldn't do it 2 years ago when I wanted to become a consultant) and it's at a time I can make without the little dude!

I have been inspired by reading Mummy Manda's blog who is not only following Slimming world but has set herself a 30 day challenge to eat a different evening meal each day.

Today I joined my new group and I'm all set to get back into my summer clothes - the weather is starting to change now and I'll regret it otherwise in a few weeks when we get back to the beach! 

I'll let you know how I get on...


The Gallery - Trees

This week's Gallery prompt is an interesting one... Trees.
 
Back in December we visited Profit Elias' 'the Church on the hill' in nearby Protaras.  There we found these amazing 'tree memorials'.



At first glance it could appear that they are covered in litter but on closer inspection I discovered they are tributes to lost loved ones. This is what I assume anyway, as I have been unable to find any more information about them.

There are a wide variety of things tied to the trees, empty plastic bottles with rolled up paper in them, laminated letters and photos, and lots and lots of bits of cloth. I spent ages (well, as much time as possible whilst holding onto a toddler that doesn't find it all that interesting!) looking at them all and reading the tributes. 

I've never heard of this practise before, I don't know if it's unique to Cyprus or done in Greece as well - if anyone knows please let me know!

Amatterofchoice

Friday, 11 March 2011

Where it all began...

Just over three years ago I stood in a field with the most important people in my life......

AJ, Me and my parents at the site of our future home.

We had just signed the papers to buy our new apartments, We had one of the penthouses and my parents brought an apartment on the ground floor. They were due to be completed in May 2009. We had no real idea of what we were doing, especially AJ and myself as we hadn't spent much time in Cyprus at all but it seemed like a good idea!

We had no real plan of when we would be moving, the original plan was to be about now when AJ's work contract ran out and my parents retired. However plans changed several times for various reasons, (the main one being a certain little Leo arriving in the same month that they were due for completion!) AJ's contract ended early and we decided to make the move rather than look for more work in the UK. 

Ground breaking on the site.
It was a very strange process, knowing (or hoping!) that our new home was being built but being unable to check! Luckily I made contact with a nearby ex-pat who sent us photos every now and again. It was a long couple of years, knowing we were moving abroad but I think never really believing it could actually be true. I thought it was something that normal people just couldn't do. I never really realised that many people for all the talk, don't actually want to do it when it really comes down to it.

We did manage a trip over when the apartment looked like this...

AJ and I moved over in November 2009 when Leo was just 6 months old. There was quite a short time between making the decision to go and actually leaving. Leaving was not as bad as I expected it to be I think because I still couldn't believe it was happening! The hardest part was leaving my parents, as I had always spent so much time with them, and it seemed a long way off until they would be joining us. 

But that day has now arrived, as of this week we now have our new neighbours and it means I survived (and enjoyed as it wasn't that bad really!) my first year and a half in Cyprus. There were a few times where I was a bit lost, at home on my own with Leo, AJ at work and no other neighbours or people to call on but we did it and I'm quite proud of us!

The next chapter starts now....

This post has been written for Cafe Bebe's Flashback Friday, a little bit longer and with a few more photos than usual!  

Thursday, 10 March 2011

My Fitness Story

Over the last few months I have been reading a great new section over at The Five F's blog called my Fitness Story. Back in January Kate asked for people willing to share their stories.

This is what she says about it...
'I think fitness and weight loss is such a broad subject and there are so many different ways of doing it, good and bad, that just talking about what I do doesn't even scratch the surface. So, I asked on twitter if anyone would share their stories and a few people popped up expressing an interest so I've decided to give it a go. 

I want to cover as broad a range as possible. What I'm after is experiences of following a diet or starting a fitness regime, with a goal in mind. It doesn't have to be a great success. If it was a qualified success, or an abject failure, I want to hear those stories too - about what you learned from the experience, perhaps how it changed your ideas or outlook on diet and fitness, and how you moved on from that.'

I am very excited to tell you that this week's Fitness Story is mine!  You can find Kate's blog and my weight loss story here




Tuesday, 8 March 2011

The original Agia Napa

Agia Napa is known to many as one of the big party resorts in the Mediterranean, it is famous for it's clubs, partying and drinking, and thousands of people visit every year for just this reason alone. But there is another side to Agia Napa.....


This is the Agia Napa monastery, we've been here several times now as it's turned into one of the places we always take our visitors. It's one of the few signs that Agia Napa was once a sleepy little village and when you stand in it during the day, and out of the tourist season it's hard to imagine you are in a party town.

I would imagine that most of Agia Napa's visitors do not know (or care while they are buying cocktails by the bucket) that "Agia Napa" is Greek for "Saint Napa"   The word 'Napa' comes from the ancient Greek word 'nape' and means 'wooded valley'  It's very hard to imagine now as you come down the motorway towards the town and see the hotels and the big golden arch of Mcdonalds but it was once a thick forest.

There was a local legend that said an icon of the Virgin Mary was found in the cave that is now part of the monastery's church and this was called "The Icon of Agia Napa"  i.e the "Icon of the Saint of the wooded valley', this was then shortened to "Agia Napa"   You can read more of the history of Agia Napa and the monastry here.



I recently found out you can get married in the monastery, its probably a good job I am already married as there are so many gorgeous places you could choose from here in Cyprus, I'd never be able to make up my mind!

I last visited the Monastery in December when one of our lovely friends came to see us, he took all the photos with his posh camera (thought I'd better not take all the credit!) He's new to blogging and you can find him at Chuzzlewit77


To see what else I've 'discovered' in Cyprus click here.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Reasons to be cheerful 1,2,3 - Week 8

Wow - I've been cheerful for 8 weeks now, that's quite a long time! Seriously though this is what I love about this link up, even if you are not feeling that cheerful it makes you look harder for some reasons and then you realise that there is always something that is good.

Yesterday my car wouldn't start and although I may have sworn at it a little bit, it crossed my mind how please I was that we were at home with it and not stuck out somewhere with toddler and no buggy - finding reasons to be cheerful must be habit forming!

Michelle has challenged us to be creative this week and not just post three reasons....
Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy From the Heart


1. My car needs a service, this doesn't sound like a reason to be cheerful but I was worried it might need a whole lot more. Our mechanic friend took a look at it yesterday and saw nothing majorly wrong with it, that was good to hear!

2. AJ's car should be fixed very soon. After nearly 4 months of it being off the road (it needs a new engine) we finally have a plan. We have debated all the options, sell it, part-exchange it, fix it and changed our minds many times. An engine has now been located for it on the island and we have found someone to do the work for almost half as much as we were originally expecting it to cost us.

3. We have had a sneaky peak of summer. When spring arrives in Cyprus it feels like a lovely English summer, Leo has been playing outside for the last few days and I've even gone out without a jumper on briefly (yes I do seem to have acclimatised now - it was 26 degrees!)

4. In four days time we will have new neighbours..... My parents arrive on Wednesday. Leo will be beside himself with excitement as I think he's somewhat missed them over the last couple of weeks. He starts every morning asking "Grangas, Nana?"  He has the cutest way of saying 'Grandad', that's about as close as I can get!

5. It's a long weekend here in Cyprus so AJ is off on Monday. We are meeting friends on the beach for a BBQ which is a tradition for 'Green Monday' as it is known. We won't be dining like the locals though as on Green Monday no meat is allowed - sorry but us Brits can't have a BBQ without meat!

6. I got crafty with Leo and survived! We had a playdough session yesterday,not only that but it was homemade playdough! I really want to do crafts and cooking and painting with him but I seem to have a major irrational fear it seems of mess. I have surprised myself with how much I don't want to do these things as I just think it will go very badly but I think playdough was a good start.

Well, that's a whole lot of cheerful from me if that hasn't been enough go and check out some of the other reasons to be cheerful this week.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Flashback Friday - Week 3

This week for my Flashback Friday post I'm going back to 1986.


This was taken in my favourite park as a child, it was a bus ride away but Mum often took me there. It had a brilliant playground, although thinking about it it probably wasn't that good - I can't really remember anything other than this slide, but that would have been enough as I LOVED that slide!

Not only that it had a rose garden with lots of different sections to explore and 2 big duck ponds with bridges and feeding the ducks was always a highlight of each trip. We usually had a picnic or as a special treat we used to get a take-away KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) on the way in!

Many years later I worked in an office opposite the same park and I spent many lunchtimes having a wander around or sitting on the grass with a book. I did refrain from going down the slide though :)

 

Make sure you come back next week for a Flashback Friday special at  A matter of choice!
and if you can't wait until then click the badge above to see this weeks other entries. 

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Listography - Pet Hates

I'm joining in with Kate's Listography again this week, and I must admit I got a bit excited when I saw the topic - Top 5 Pet Hates but I've been racking my brains for ages and have only come up with 3, I think moving country may have mellowed me out a bit. I asked AJ and even he struggled!

1. Lateness, this is without a doubt my biggest pet hate. If you care about what you are meeting me for, why would you be late???  I don't do late (unless it it something beyond my control, and even then I may have already planned for something to go wrong and can get round it) In fact I hate being late so much that I am usually early, something which would possibly be on my friends list of pet hates!

2. Empty promises, this ranks very close to lateness for me. I hate it when people say they are going to do something and then don't. Time and time again I have heard 'I'll call you / Let's have a group weekend away / We'll definitely come and stay with you / of course we'll stay in contact' etc. . Unfortunately I know so many people who do it, I can't always work out if they don't really want to and are just being polite or they just can't fit it into their busy schedules,  for me though I think if they wanted to do it enough they would sort it out.

3. Ex-pat Brits abroad, I don't mean all of them of course, just the ones who expect it to be like England in the sun. Moaning about the weather (too hot!) the locals or the fact that not everything is in English. I know we Brits like to moan, it's just inbuilt into us and probably the reason I got so excited when I saw this weeks list but stop it, especially the one about moaning about the locals to people you don't know...IT'S THEIR COUNTRY!

This is where I started to struggle a bit but I can't not complete a list.....

4. People who procrastinate... "ok, so you are going to do it, when? Now?" When I first started my blog I had a lovely flashy button thing which said "If not now, When?" and it sums it up perfectly. I'm quite impatient (maybe very impatient which is not a brilliant trait to have in Cyprus, but I'm not moaning about it!) and if we are going to do it why not just get on with it.  I think this is because if something is not arranged I think the person will end up possibly not doing (see point 2!)

5. "Text speak"  I don't hate ALL text speak, there is a time and a place for some of it, that place is ONLY in texts on a phone and online chat, and only some of it. I may abbreviate a word or two in a text to stop it running into 2 messages and it can be useful when typing quickly online which I do a lot now but most of it just drives me crazy.   Facebook is the worst for it, If you are at a keyboard how much longer can it possibly take to write properly? Oh, and people who don't use capital letters at all in their statuses.

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Simple pleasures

Life is full of simple pleasures, even though I have been guilty of not always appreciating them. I am getting better  with age it seems, you know 'older and wiser' and all that, or maybe it's having less money so I'm looking for them more!

There are many simple pleasures that I love
  • Getting up at 7am (yes I did say 7am, when Leo usually wakes at 5 or 6am it really is a pleasure!
  • Watching waves crash on the rocks
  • Sunset (and sunrise but that means I didn't sleep till 7am)
  • Cake,   need I say more!
  • All the many amusing/cute/clever things that Leo does.
  • and this......


The view from my bedroom window, taken at 7am in the morning one day last spring. We are just approaching the same time this year, there are not quite as many flowers yet.



This post was written as part of this weeks Gallery, the prompt was Simple Pleasures

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