Monday, 30 May 2011

Come inside, it's fun inside...

Reading the letters on his banner!
It was Leo's 2nd Birthday this weekend and we had a great couple of days...

Saturday afternoon saw 7 of his friends (plus parents) arriving for a 'Mickey Mouse' themed party,
Greeting on our front door for the party!
I LOVE parties, both organising and having them. In the run up to the party I made special birthday cookies and had great fun preparing all the food. I had brought a 'toodles' shape cutter and made cheese and marmite bites with them, as well as cutting ham into Toodles shapes as well. Along with plenty of other goodies and a brilliant cake decorated by Aaron we were all set.


I loved the fact he knew what was happening this year, last week we went to a friends party and he had talked about it every single day since. I was being greeted each morning with the question "Jack's party again?' so we kept saying "No, Jack's party's all gone, it's Leo's party next'  He spoke about his 'Mouse party' every day and it was brilliant to see his face light up when we brought him in and he saw all the decorations up.

After present opening and the birthday tea we played lots of party music, including Leo's favourite 'The Hokey Cokey' Like his Mother, He loves to dance and it was a real laugh!


His actual birthday was Sunday so we started the day with a big fry up and present opening, his two main presents were a Garage and cars from us, and a toy laptop from his Nana and Grandad, both of which have gone down very well.

He also received lots of cards from family and friends in the UK and some lovely clothes.

Of course, it wouldn't have been complete without the main mouse himself...




After breakfast we took a trip to the beach and marked the occasion in the sand...



Sunday, 29 May 2011

Silent Sunday



Silent Sunday

Now you are two...

Dear Leonidas,

Happy birthday little man, you are two years old today!

Time seems to have flown by since I wrote to you on your first birthday, You have changed so much in the last year I'm starting to have trouble keeping up!

Who'd have thought it possible that you are now more cute than ever, and very clever with it.  You now repeat everything we say, which is brilliant but not always a good thing, as sometimes we have to speak in code to talk about what we are doing later so you don't insist on it immediately.

Daddy and I are very proud and amazed at how well you know your colours, numbers and alphabet, and now you even know your numbers in Greek.  It's great to hear you read out every letter and number you see as we go about our day. 

Your favourite toys at the moment are your ride on turtle which you 'high five' and kiss goodnight. You love cars and spend ages 'driving' them up and down anything you can find. Like your Mum and Dad you also love your books, especially your 'big book'  Winnie The Pooh because it has lots of things to learn in it.  Your other favourite activity is colouring which Mummy is pleased that you enjoy but doesn't always think that 6am is a good time to do it!

Of course the best ever thing is still your 'Raff' (or 'orfinge Faff' as you usually call him) this has not changed since last year but now you talk to him and tell him all you are doing. 

We spend lots of time with Nana and Grandad and you get really excited when they knock on our door. You enjoy doing craft things with Nana, and Grandad always makes you laugh. 

You have lots of friends, and really enjoy playing with them all now, especially your favourite girl Leiarna

Like Mummy, you love your food and also seem the same have hollow legs that your Nana used to tell me I had. Fruit is still one of your favourites but you have also discovered chocolate and lollipops now! 


You amaze and amuse me every single day, I am very proud to be your Mummy. I wish you lots of love and big cuddles (with arms!) on your 2nd birthday.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Dear So and So

I've not joined in with Kat's Dear So and So for ages and I've rather missed it...

Dear Leo,
It's your party next!!
I know it's been a very exciting week with two other birthday parties and I know you've had great fun at both of them. I have taken note of your party requests and we definitely have cake, candles, balloons, hats and bread. Not sure why bread is such an essential party item but bread we shall have. (maybe you have got it confused with that other party essential, beer - we shall have that as well but that will be Mummy's 'juice')
I hope you have lots of fun tomorrow and enjoy your '(Mickey) Mouse party'

Love Mummy xxx

********
Dear Rain,
What are you doing here? It's May, your time is up now, bugger off and don't come back for the summer like you usually do. Don't you realise I have eight 2 year olds plus parents coming round tomorrow and unless we are outside they will not fit in my apartment.

Slightly concerned Emma

********

Dear Mum and Dad,
Thank you for all your help in the party preparations, cleaning and especially taking Leo to the park (in the rain) so I could make the cake and prepare some food whilst listening to music and without a small person hanging onto my leg!

Grateful daughter xxx

********

Dear Hubby,
Can you believe our little man is very nearly 2 years old ..... that went quick didn't it!
Love you both lots and lots, and thanks in advance for decorating the birthday cake :)

Love wifey xxx

********

Dear Mosquitos,
You are driving me crazy, my legs are itching so much I want to rip them off and squash one of you to death with them. Please go next door where they have all their lights on and windows open, they are issuing a invitation to you. We are trying everything to stop you and you just don't care.

Angry itchy Emma.

********

Dear So and So...

Flashback Friday - Birthday boy!

This time 2 years ago I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of our little man, he was already late but finally made his appearance on Friday 29th May at 11am.


I had been told to call the hospital at 9pm on the Thursday evening to see if they had a bed for me to go and be induced. I had been having some pains on and off all day so they told me to go in at 10.30pm.

I'm not going to write my 'birth story' for a couple of reasons, one it's all a bit hazy now and two I don't wish to traumatise Aaron again by making him read it!  Compared to many it was a problem free birth (assisted with ventouse and I had a few stitches but nothing to get all dramatic about) but Aaron bless him had really not wanted to be present at the birth and he was pretty much forced into it by his rather emotional/hormonal pregnant wife!

I'm so glad and so proud that he did against all his wishes stay with me for the whole thing, I don't think I could have done it without him.  (well I assume I would have done but you know what I mean!)



Monday, 23 May 2011

Save the Children - No child born to die

As you may have noticed I love all the memes and link ups floating around in blog world but this time I've been tagged by Heather at 'SAHM loving it' in one that actually has a point!  


The plan is to promote Save The Childrens 'Born to' campaign which was created to raise awareness that no child should be born to die.
Did you know that every year 8 million children under 5 die from illnesses we know how to treat or prevent such as diarrhoea and pneumonia.


Save The Children is focusing on providing vaccinations and healthcare workers. In June there is a meeting in London hosted by David Cameron and attended by other world leaders. Save The Children aims to make as much noise as possible to ensure the funding shortfall for vaccinations (4.7 billion) is met by all the donor countries. You can absolutely help with this by signing the Save the Children petition and then passing  it onto your friends. Pls do this by May 29th. 


You can also help if you are a blogger by joining in this meme, All you have to do is:

  1. Sign the petition and pass onto your friends
  2. Let your child draw a self portrait of themselves and write a blog post about this challenge
  3. Tag 8 fellow bloggers
  4. Link back to Red Ted Art's blog.



So I asked Leo what he would like to be when he grows up at several different times in the hope I would eventually get an answer that made some sort of sense. (Don't forget he is not yet two years old!) Replies included table, bebums (raisins), look Mummy dirty feet, and circle. 


Eventually I got the crayons and paper out to immense excitement from him as it is possibly his favourite activity and asked him to draw what he would like to be....


"is kerkles an lines mummy"


I also rephrased the question and asked him what he wanted to be when he was bigger.....


He replied (with arms waving above his head)   'BIG.'        Fair enough!






So many bloggers have done this meme already I think I'd struggle to find 8 in my blogroll who have not already been tagged. So I'm going to cheat and skip the tagging part.   Please feel free to join in though if you wish, or at the very least go and sign the petition NOW!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Silent Sunday



Silent Sunday

Top 25 Ex-pat Mum Blogs

I have discovered that Circle of Moms are looking to find the Top 25 Ex-pat Mom blogs and I'd quite like to be included in the list :)

I beg smile sweetly and ask you nicely, my lovely readers to head on over to vote for me here, or to click the badge below (or in the side bar)



Voting closes on the 6th June and you can vote once every 24 hours so feel free to get  clicking lots between now and then!

Friday, 20 May 2011

Flashback Friday

It' Flashback Friday time again and this week we are going back 30-something years to my 2nd birthday as next week is my son's 2nd birthday and I'm in full toddler party planning mode!


The year was 1979, as you could possibly guess by the rather fetching orange flowers on the wallpaper.

I don't remember anything about being 2, but I do remember spending a lot of time over the years in my Grandad 's garden


He had a huge garden, and obviously I was a lot smaller so it seemed like an enormous place to be in. We used to visit every week so I would have spent many hours playing there. Granddad was very green fingered and grew many different things in his garden and greenhouse. He had so many things growing in seed trays that he needed to label them and came up with the genius plan of cutting up old fairy liquid bottles into strips and writing on them.

These plastic strips ended up everywhere and I made it my job to go and find them and collect them up for him. I'm not sure how old I was at this time (older than 2 I know that much!) but he used to give me a penny for each one I found. (usually rounding it up to 50p) After I had collected them I'd take them in to show him how many I had and then put them away in the garage where there was a huge pile of them.

One day I looked at the pile and had a brainwave - I could get a big handful and get lots of money!!

I don't know how many I picked up but it was a lot more than usual, I took them to Granddad and he counted them out. I was very pleased with myself when it came to a lot of pennies but then he asked me to sit on his lap - a little bit nervous as I was feeling a little guilty (I was such a good child it was ridiculous!) He said he was surprised that I'd found so many and asked me where they all had been....

Ooops!
I've never been able to lie to save my life, I did make some vague attempt to but had toadmit that I'd got them from the garage.  Granddad said he wouldn't be able to give me the money for them as it wasn't 'playing the game'. I remember being really sad, not so much because of the money but because I thought I'd disappointed him.

He put the money back in his pocket but then took out a pound  (a WHOLE pound!) and handed it to me. It was for being honest and telling the truth, and for using my initiative  :)


Wednesday, 18 May 2011

B is for...Blog

When I started this blog back in September 2009 I had no idea I where I was going with it, I had no idea there was a whole 'blogging community' and even when I realised that I never imagined that I would feel like I was part of it. I started my blog as a record of our move to Cyprus and how we were getting on in our new home, I imagined family and friends would be subscribing to keep up to date and maybe a couple of people who were looking to do the same thing might find me and be interested. (I'd have loved to find a blogger doing the same during our buying process)

As it turns out apart from my Mum (thanks Mum!) I'm not sure any of my friends of family actually read this blog, I post to Facebook and I've had one or two friends mention that they read it but no-one (except Mum again!) has ever commented -   Hello?!  Lurkers please leave a comment, they make me so happy :)

I'm fairly sure if I hadn't found the other bloggers I wouldn't still be here typing away into cyberspace. I enjoy the sense of community and I really enjoy reading other blogs too. I have been asked 'why' I blog and it's not an easy question to answer - other than because I enjoy it!


It possibly sounds a bit extreme but it's even changed the way I think, many times a day something pops into my head and I think 'ooh that's a blog post'. 

There was no question that in my A to Z posts B would be for Blogging  - it's now a big part of my life and my favourite hobby.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Listography - Products I can't live without

This week Kate has asked us our Top 5 products we couldn't live without.  So here we go...


1. My laptop - without a doubt this is number one. I love blogging, keeping in touch with people in the UK and I generally watch all my tv online. Without my laptop I am not a happy bunny at all!

2. My camera - I rarely go anywhere without my camera. I've always loved photos and I was usually the one on a night out who ended up with lots of embarrassing photos of everyone. I have hundreds and hundreds of pics. Now Leo is my main photographic subject but I enjoy taking lots of photos of places out and about in Cyprus for my blog too.

This where I get a bit stuck, once upon a time I'd have been able to reel off a whole long list but everything that pops into my head I could actually live without now. When we moved  we didn't have access to a lot of our things for a long time and I realised how much stuff we owned that we didn't actually need. 


Ok, so had a quick look around and number 3 would probably be our gazebo.


I love the gazebo, it gives us some essential shade in the summer and because it has fly screens and sides which close also a nice place to sit in the evening. I spent every single evening in it last summer with my laptop!

4. Flip flops - I am one of the rare breed of women who hates shoes, I want to like them but I've never really mastered the art of walking in heels and even pumps seem to always hurt me. Therefore from March till October I tend to wear nothing but my trusty flip flops!

5. My kettle - I never used to be a big tea drinker (always tea though NEVER evil tasting cofee ever!) but over the years it has turned into a habit that is here to stay. On Saturday I tried to make my first cuppa at 6am and discovered my kettle had packed up!!!!!  Yep, turns out boiling water on the hob is a pain in the bum and I couldn't live like that for very long!  (Lovely parents came to the rescue and brought me a new kettle later that day - thanks Mum & Dad!)

Sunday, 15 May 2011

101 things in 1001 days

On July 29th 2010 I started my 101 list. (a list of 101 things I would like to complete in 1001 days.) I was thrilled to discover yesterday that I inspired Sarah who writes Sarsm's blog to start her own list and she in turn persuaded inspired The Laughing Housewife to do the same.

Sarah even made this lovely badge for us.

My 1001 days run until April 26th 2013, I'm doing ok I think - the Day Zero website tells me I've completed 31% of the list. I have amended the list a little since starting it and I will possibly do it again once more. I did have some debate as to whether that was cheating but it's my list, and I figured it has to stay achievable.  It took me a long time to write it and I think I threw a few things in there without really thinking about them!

I had originally planned to write a blog post about each item, (this was also on the list) but I realised some of them were not that worthy of a whole blog post. I will though be updating my blog more regularly with my progress especially as I now have some 'blog friends' doing the same.

I've set up a blog hop for anyone else doing a list who would like to join us, it doesn't matter if you are part way through or if you just fancy starting now (or later) You can get the code here


Silent Sunday


Silent Sunday

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Flashback Friday - Before and after

This week for Flashback Friday Karin from Cafe Bebe has given us a theme.... Before and After.  


I've decided to go one better - so in keeping with the reason I started this blog here is my Before, During and after!

This was taken in May 2007 and was the first I saw of our new home since we had stood in the field trying to imagine what it might look like in October 2007. It was quite unnerving not even knowing if they had broken ground so getting these photos sent through by a kind neighbour was so exciting!

In July 2008 we came out on holiday and stayed just down the road, one of the first things we did was to drive straight to the site and see how it looked....
Our kitchen

I was a little worried as I thought it looked small (and we weren't even expecting Leo then!) but Aaron seemed more than happy and he's the expert so I was fine. It turns out that he was totally worried we had done a stupid thing but just pretended otherwise knowing that I'd panic!  It was great though to actually stand in our new home and try to imagine actually living there... in Cyrpus (oh my god!!!)

The apartments were due for completion on May 30th, the day after Leo arrived!  Like Leo they were a little late and Aaron had to go and leave me holding the baby while he went to collect the keys and check all was ok at the end of June. 


I made him take photos of absolutely everything, including the utility room which was basically a big cupboard, I couldn't wait to get out and see it all for myself. He took a video of the apartment  which just happened to have 'St Elmo's Fire' playing in the background. I watched that video so many times that song became the soundtrack to our new life.

We moved over in November 2009, our shipping arrived the day after we did and soon it looked like this...


18 months on and it still looks pretty much like this - although back then we had a coffee table that I could actually leave things on and now days the breakfast bar is generally a lot more covered in random crap that it is here in an attempt to get things out of the little dude's reach!






Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Discovering Cyprus - Cape Greco


Last week we visited Cape Greco - the headland on the south-eastern point of Cyprus. It's somewhere we have taken everyone who has come to visit as it gives such amazing views.










Cape Greco is a national park and covers 385 hectares. One of the few buildings in the park is a small chapel dedicated to Agios Anagryoi. It's here that Leo had his very first taste of ice cream last year (usually an ice cream van in the car park in season - they're not daft!)


Just behind the church some steps lead to a hermits sea cave which is mentioned in local legends, it's very popular for swimming from. 


I love the tranquillity of the area and the fact that it always makes me feel like I'm on holiday when I go there as it just doesn't feel like it could be somewhere that I only live 20 minutes from. 

A natural bridge.
I imagine it would be even more peaceful to visit without having to stop toddler running around and throwing himself off the edge!

This bench is calling me... to sit and chill 

You can see other places we've been on my Discovering Cyprus page
Amatterofchoice

This post is also part of The Gallery over at Sticky Fingers - the prompt this week is 'Chilled Out'

Monday, 9 May 2011

Listography - Bad Combinations

This week's Listography topic is 'Bad Combinations'  As we have no entered the tourist season in Cyprus there are many bad combinations to be seen everywhere.

Socks and sandals - Do I really need to explain? Why do people do it? In what way do they think it looks good?

Men and speedos - particularly older overweight men but I think no man (yes, that includes David Beckham) looks good in speedos.

Beaches and picnics and toddlers - sounds like a good idea but it is impossible not to end up with crunchy sandwiches. 

Sun and holiday makers - Lobster red is really not a good look. I know you might not see much when you get home of it but as much as you want to you cannot take a whole summers worth in 2 weeks. I can never believe the amount of people who are bright pink and STILL laying in the heat of the day!


Toddlers and hangovers - I know it's been mentioned but it is the worst combination of all time so there was no way I could leave it out!  Now everything is open again I'd love to go out and sample the delights of Agia Napa but it's not just a case of having a babysitter for the evening, I need one for the next day -  last year for my birthday I got home at 5.30am - Leo gets up at 6am!   Really really not good!!

Photobucket

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Dammit Janet

I've not joined in with Mumra's Playlists for a while but this week it had to be done. The theme is A song from a musical. No prizes for guessing which musical I've chosen :)

Regular readers will know that my hubby and I are big fans of The Rocky Horror Show. I'm not however choosing the most obvious song as it is overplayed (although the stage show version is excellent)

I love all the songs, I don't think I could pick out one as a favourite but this one always takes me right back to the show we got engaged at.



There is a line 'Here's the ring to prove that I'm no joker'  at the show I looked down at my hand and smiled and then up at my friend who was grinning her head off and had tears in her eyes!

Every time I hear the song I always (yes even now!) hold my hand out and sing Janet's first verse

'Oh it's nicer than Betty Monroe had, 
Now we're engaged and I'm so glad, 
That you met Mum and you know Dad. 
I've one thing to say and that's Brad
I'm mad for you too'


I'd love to go and see the stage show again, maybe if we go back to visit in the UK we'll try and time it for when they are touring again!

Mumra Playlist

Friday, 6 May 2011

Flashback Friday

It's Friday, and time for my favourite linky - Flashback Friday. This week I'm taking you back only two years...


'Bob' (we eventually decided on a name but he was nicknamed 'Bob' until he arrived) was due on May 16th so this time two years ago I looked something like this. I had taken maternity leave at the earliest time I could to avoid being made redundant so I had a lot of time to spare in the last couple of months.  Added to the fact we were living with my parents I didn't have a lot of any housework to do.

I was very careful to appreciate the time, knowing that very soon I'd never get the chance to be so lazy - I knew I was heading for a big change - going from lazy days with an afternoon nap and no housework to a baby and then very soon a big move, not just a house move but a country move and then to be on my own during the day with a baby rather than surrounded by 3 other adults - argh!



I think these photos were taken at the end of April, so as Leo was 2 weeks late the bump did get bigger! I had a great pregnancy and it was only the last 2 weeks that I got a bit fed up, mainly as we 'don't do late

Check out the other entries over at Cafe Bebe's and click here to see her 'bumptastic' photo from last week. Also - Congratulations to Karin, who's about to do it all over again!

Monday, 2 May 2011

My A to Z

I am starting a series of posts inspired by Stay at Home Mum entitled 'My A to Z'  It's very simple - I plan to go through the alphabet and write a post for each letter on something personal to me.

There could only be one possible subject for the first letter.....


I would like to introduce you to Aaron, the hubby formally known as AJ. (in the blog world anyway!)



When I started blogging I did not ask Aaron how he felt about me writing about him so I used his initials in some random attempt for him not to be recognised.  I realise now that with the amount of photos and the fact that if you know me you'd know him it's all a bit pointless - also the first few months of blog posts I didn't expect anyone to read it and used him name anyway! 


I met Aaron in 1995 in my old local pub, I'd like to tell you it was love at first sight but he was actually first brought to my attention by my friend with the comment 'Ooh look, he's got a nice arse'  (he was playing pool and bending over taking a shot at the time)  I shrugged and replied 'it's just an arse'      - oops!


Now in telling our story I'm going have to leave out a fair bit or I might just bring the whole interweb down with the length of it and some of it might not go down so well now. So I won't mention that my friend went out with him first (and then was my bridesmaid so we're all good don't worry!) or that we split up 2,/3/4?? times (I lost count!) I'll also leave out the part where he went to work in France for 6 months and I got rid of all his belongings, and I definitely won't talk about the time he buggered off to Cambridge and went AWOL for a week :)

So, where was I?

Oh yes... 1995. We got together, I was just about to turn 18. I loved the fact that I could take my boyfriend to my party and I was totally hammered infatuated . All was well for almost a year and then we entered what I now look back on as the fun part!

In brief...
- We split up
- We then moved into together -(yes I have written that in the correct order!)
- We lived together for a year as friends, very good friends but friends nonetheless :)
- We got back together
- We split up, he went to France and I moved out
- He came back, we were friends and I moved into my own flat. He came round a lot!
- We went to Cuba and Ibiza, just as friends ;)
- We got back together

2007
In early 2003 we brought a house together and then in October Aaron proposed to me. We married in 2004.

Then when it seemed we were becoming a bit normal we brought an apartment in Cyprus, and then moved across the world with a 6 month old baby and no real plans!

I always had a feeling through all the years in the middle that we would eventually end up married, we were so rubbish at not being together even when we were not a couple we used to get joint invites to things and people often said they just assumed we were a couple.

Although looking back it's not always been good at the time  I'm glad that our relationship panned out like it has. I'm glad I got the chance to live on my own as it really made me learn I didn't need him, I wanted him - big difference!


I'm also linking this post up with Super Amazing Mum's and Manic Mum's new Peeping Tom linky 





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