Monday, 31 December 2012

New year, new ideas and no resolutions!

Although I'm not really a fan of making New Year resolutions as such I don't like to pass up an opportunity to make a list, even if it's just in my head!   I've always said that January 1st is a rubbish day to start something, especially if it's dieting or stopping smoking which always seem to be popular resolutions.... I will be doing neither!

Instead, each year I tend to come up with stuff I would like to achieve in the year,

In 2013 I will get back to my target weight, I made quite a a good start back on Slimming world after Louka was born but I kind of abandoned it all just before Christmas.  As I proved several times now actually going to a group makes all the difference so on 7th Jan I will be joining a new group local to me.

Along with Slimming World, I would also like to regain my former fitness!  I was never the sportiest person but when I lost weight the first time round I was exercising regularly and really enjoying it.  Of course it also meant the weight came off much quicker.  Since having Louka I've had really bad back ache and painful knees so I'll have to work up slowly so I don't kill myself but I know from experience that weight and exercise goes a long way to getting rid of all the aches and pains.... well eventually!

Since hearing so much about it, I also have a mad idea that I want to do the '30 day shred' so that's kind of on my 'to do' list at some point.  I think it may be a few months off as it sounds terrifying though! On the same theme, I've entered the “Get Fit Feel Epic competition from” over on The Road to Being a Yummy Mummy and Mum Reinvented to win a Fitbit Activity tracker and set of wireless scales.

Blog wise, I plan to continue writing here and posting more often on my 'Discovering Cyprus' blog, which had been sadly neglected last year as there was not much 'discovering' going on!

You may remember that a while back I started a '101 in 1001 list'. When I wrote it I didn't expect to be having another baby in that time so I don't expect to be able to complete everything in time but I'll give it a shot - the 1001 days are up on April 26th 2013

Rather ambitiously I'm also starting a '365 photo a day' project  - I will be more than surprised if I actually make it all the way to the end of the year but now I've got a decent phone and can do it all on there if I need to, and after seeing 'The Boy and Me' complete her second year I thought I'd give it a go. Aaron said he didn't think I'd manage more than 2 weeks so I've got to at least see January out!  I won't be swamping you all with the photos but you will be able to find them over on 'A matter of photos' if you want to follow them.
I'll also be continuing with learning Greek with my twice weekly lessons I've been taking since November.
image credit
I've recently discovered that something happened with the email subscriptions on this blog so if you had signed up you may need to do so again if you've not been getting the posts through.  Just enter your email on the top right hand side of this page and you won't miss anything :)

I'd just like to wish all my readers a very happy new year and hope you'll stick around in 2013.

Post submitted to Mummy Mishaps who's hosting the Britmums carnival this month.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Boxing Day fun and madness

Whilst getting ready for our Boxing day walk in the sunshine I happened to mention to my Dad that a friend of mine had been asking a few days earlier if anyone was up for a Boxing Day swim.  Straight away he replied 'Why not, I'd do it'

I was surprised (although I don't know why) but without thinking I smiled and 'ok, lets do it then'   Aaron thought we were mad and I'm sure many people would agree with him, (especially my friend Sam who is such a wimp she won't get in a pool by the end of September!)  but I figured if hundreds of mad people survive a swim in the Channel at this time of year then in 22 degree sunshine it shouldn't be too bad. 

It was bloody cold though, as you can probably tell by how I'm holding my arms on the way in!  I did swim but not for long, Dad on the other hand was in quite a while.  We did have a few funny looks from people walking along the beach path, and we even got asked by some Russian tourists if they could take our photo!

Leo stuck his foot in the water and like a true child of Cyprus decided it was too cold. He did have great fun running around on the deserted beach though, the sand was almost snow like when we got there, all smooth and untouched.  Great for making patterns and footprints!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Friday, 28 December 2012

Flashback Friday - Looking back at 2012

It's been an interesting year, it started with Aaron at home looking for work, then had him working 7 days a week for the whole summer whilst I got increasingly large and waddled around waiting to give birth. Leo started school, and in August we welcomed Loukas and our little family became complete.  I decided to look back over the year with my favourite blog post and one photo from each month. 

Daxi awards
A rare night out for the Daxi Award Ceremony
In January I made the announcement that I was expecting our second baby,
beach path, Landa bay, Cyprus
An afternoon stroll
In February I had got used to the idea of a new baby and I was really happy to have found a doula. 

teddy bear picnic party
Mum's Birthday
In March I shared the story of my Mum's little travelling companion and introduced Travel ted to the world!
its a boy, pregnancy anouncement

In April, we found out that our new addition was going to be another boy and I wrote about how it felt we were entering a  new chapter in our life.

3rd birthday
Birthday boy!
In May, Leo turned three and I wrote him his annual letter, he enjoyed a Thomas the Tank engine themed birthday party and a day out and a ride on a miniature train!
in the pool
We spent every day in here!
In June there was an big change when Leo started school, from being at home with me all his life straight into full time school.
wooden train tracks
Another day, another track!
In July, my lovely friend Sam threw me a great baby shower and I was starting to get very fed up with being pregnant in the heat!
Birth of our baby boy
Loukas Alexander arrives
Just before Loukas was born in August I looked back at the 'good old days'

Dad and the boys
Daddy and his boys.
In September I started a new tradition -  interview with 3yr old.  I wonder how his answers will change when he is four!
first smile

In October, I finally got round to writing my birth story, it took me three blog posts but I was really pleased to have such a great experience recorded for posterity.

end of season
Spending lots of time with Daddy
November saw the end of season and Aaron finally got to properly meet Louka, and spend time with us all again.
family photo
A rare family photo.
December was a very busy month, with lots of Christmas activities and a lovely visit from Aaron's Mum and two of his nephews. Early in the month I asked Leo what he knew about Christmas and was quite surprised by his answers!

Linking up to Flashback Friday

Thursday, 27 December 2012

The bells were ringing out for Christmas day....

As the line from the best Christmas song ever goes.... the bells here were certainly ringing out for Christmas day, at about 6am at the big church just down the road.

We had a lovely Christmas day at home (well here and my Mum & Dads but it's the same difference - it's only downstairs!) Louka was first awake but we still got a lie in as Leo didn't wake up till gone 7am, despite the church bells. Leo called me into his bedroom and I went and sat on his bed, he asked if it was time to get up but made no mention of presents.  

I asked him if he remembered what we had hung up the night before, he looked around, didn't 'see' the stocking hanging right where he had put it and said 'ah, no presents came Mama'  Slightly bemused I pointed to the stocking and he gasped and jumped out of bed to get it - 'Aaaaah look Mamma, there's presents for me, woo hoo' 

He was so excited he didn't even realise there were some more under the tree!

Mum and Dad popped up briefly for bacon sandwiches (and to give Aaron a hand disconnecting the extractor fan in the bathroom which had blown up while I was cleaning my teeth!) and we had a quick chat over the balcony with the neighbours. 

We went downstairs for the second round of present opening and to start eating all the yummy Christmas food! Mum made a lovely dinner and we were joined by our neighbour Rob. The day was a lovely combination of presents, playing, eating, drinking and eating some more!

Leo loved his day and it was brilliant to see his reaction to the gifts Santa had left, and he was pleased to get what he had asked for - chocolate!

Friday, 21 December 2012

Flashback Friday - Christmas Memories

This week for Flashback Friday I'm handing you over to my Mum, as she shares her Childhood Christmas memories.

As a child on Christmas morning, my presents would always be at the bottom of my bed in a pillowcase. If I woke up during the night, I would chose one of the presents to open and snuggle down in bed again till the morning, although I wanted to open them all, I would have hated to have nothing to 
open when I got up. I always had a selection box, normally books or games from my Aunts and Uncles, things that could be made or drawn and usually something doll related. 

My Dad was always the last to open his presents and did so with the use of his penknife. In memory of those days every Christmas Dad’s penknife is still put on the unit and if it is used we always thank him. 

Mum and Dad always made Christmas exciting, Chicken was always on the menu (turkey was not a traditional dish then), and to have chicken was extra special! The three of us would have Christmas dinner and then the rest of the family, the Kennedy's, the Littlefield's, and the Barrett's, would all arrive for tea and the evening, which included party games, with Mum or Dad  playing the piano, everyone would have a good singsong and Dad's accordion would also make an appearance which everyone enjoyed.

Until the age of nine, when we moved house, the Christmas parties were in the big front room which was also my bedroom. My bed was also a large settee so it was just folded up out of the way giving more than enough room for everyone. The room always looked very festive with decorations stretching across the ceiling, some of which I would have made from coloured strips which with a good lick,would be joined together to make a chain. The Christmas tree was always placed in front of the window with the lights twinkling away.

A silver cigarette lighter would always make an appearance as it was a custom for it to be passed alternately between my Dad and Uncle Wally. It was quite a challenge to achieve this sometimes without the receiver realising that it was back in their possession, but it worked every year.

On Boxing Day the celebrations continued with Christmas tea and the evening at Aunt Alice and Uncle Tom's and the first Saturday after Christmas,everyone would go to Aunt Bab's and Uncle Wally's. I used to love the time when the Snowman was opened, each person would have a raffle ticket and receive the corresponding present from inside the large Snowman. Their house was very large, upstairs was a massive room which would always have an enormous Christmas tree in it, here we would spend the evening having fun and games, after having tea downstairs.

I have many happy family memories to look back on over the years.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Our Angel child!

It's not often it can be said but tonight our little Leo was an angel!

He played his part in his first ever school play and was brilliant!

I had no idea if he would take follow in my footsteps and refuse to do it and burst into tears or if he would do what he was supposed to.  He had learnt his lines off by heart, even correcting me on my pronunciation of them, and had been excitedly showing me how he had to run around on the stage but I didn't know if the huge audience and camera flashes would put him off.

Unfortunately we were sat the other side of the stage to where he stood but we did see him and also manage to get a great photo. It was the only photo we got of him as he refused to let Aaron take one before we left home.  Not wanting to upset him before the play we didn't force the issue!

He had been looking forward to going to school at night (the play was at 6.45pm - interesting as he usually goes to bed at 7pm and he has to be at church with the school at 7.45am tomorrow morning!)  but took a little persuading to wear his 'Αγγελακια' costume, announcing instead he wanted to wear his Buzz Lightyear costume instead!

These were the lines he had to say,
Αγγελακια εμεις μικρα
ηρθαμε απο ψηλα
Το  Χριστούλη για να δουμε
ψαλλοντας το Ωσαννα

 translated (via google translate) means...
We Angelakos small
We came from above
The Little Christ to see
singing the hosanna

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Our alternative Christmas Pudding

Nothing says 'Christmas Desert' quite like a good old Christmas pudding but unfortunately I cannot stand them!    Without meaning to be difficult I also dislike Traditional Christmas Cake, and only realised that I like mince pies in the last couple of years,   this meant that Christmas day desert when I was younger meant Yule log  (always too dry)   or Arctic Roll (good but didn't really say Christmas to me!)

Until I met Aaron that is and we realised that we both dislike Christmas Cake and pudding, along with his brother and sister.  He then introduced me to his Mum's alternative Christmas pudding she has made for years now, which I promptly adopted and have used every year since.

Christmas is now NOT Christmas without Chocolate Chestnut pudding - (I've yet to see chestnut puree in the shops here but so far I've got someone to bring us a tin out each year!) 

Christmas pudding, chocolate
The first year my Mother in law introduced it as 'Chocolate Pudding'  rather than 'Chocolate Chestnut Pudding'  knowing that the children were more than likely to be put off by the mention of chestnuts!  We have done the same many times since making it ourselves!

It's one of the simplest deserts I've come across, if not the healthiest.... but it's Christmas so who cares!

All you need is.....

4oz (100g) unsalted butter
4oz (100g) Caster suger
1 tin unsweetened chestnut puree
12 oz (300g) plain chocolate

Cream together the butter and sugar, add the chestnut puree and mix.
Melt chocolate, add to the mixture, and mix thoroughly

Leave to set in the fridge.

If you want to turn it out of the bowl you let it set in make sure you line it with cling film or you're never get it out in one piece!   We usually make it to look like a Christmas pudding, and melt white chocolate over the top, but we have also made it in a loaf tin before as well. 

Our is always served with squirty cream and tinned mandarins..... this is very important!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Deryneia Christmas Avenue

It's often said by expats here in Cyprus that Christmas doesn't feel like Christmas, there's several reasons for this, blue skies being one of them but also not being surrounded by family and friends, not seeing Christmas adverts and programs on the TV and the fact that it is not so 'in your face' as in the UK.  The first couple of years we were here we struggled to find things to do with a Christmas theme, friends of mine who have been here for years say that only 6 or so years ago there was nothing at all.

It seems to be changing though, Agia Napa has several events including the switching on of the lights and a visit from Santa and this year there seems to have been a lot more Christmas fairs and such like.  Last weekend I was really looking forward to the 'Deryneia Christmas Avenue' event held in our village. 

It sounded brilliant...
A very large section of road closed off to traffic from 11am till 8pm with stalls and entertainment throughout the day.  Games for children, photos with Santa and rides on Santa's train (that was what did it for me knowing how much Leo would like it!) Aaron did warn me that usually events we have been to are somewhat disappointing so I was interested to see how it would turn out. 

We arranged to meet a couple of friends and their children there, meeting at 1pm so we could have lunch beforehand. 

The event was held to help out the shopkeepers on that stretch of road who have had a hard year due to huge roadworks as well as the financial crisis. 

It turned out to be a great afternoon and we stayed for several hours.  I thought there was a great atmosphere,  (although there is a chance that could have been influenced by all free drinks!) and I think it has great potential as an event for future years. 

I heard a few people say they were not hugely impressed but you can't please everyone! There is certainly room for improvement if they make it an annual event but for a first time we thought it was very good.  As with many things here I think it would benefit from a bit more promotion as it seemed to be announced only a couple of days beforehand, there was also very large sections of road with nothing in them which made quite a distance to walk between stalls. 

The train, obviously was the highlight for Leo, but he also enjoyed the bouncy castle and the free craft table where he made a stocking and a Christmas tree. There was plenty of free food and drinks, bottles of whisky, vodka, wine, juices and fizzy drinks to help yourself too outside the shops all along the street whilst looking at the shops or browsing their stalls. 

There was also face painting, fashion shows, dancing, carol singing, go-karts, wine and cheese tasting, cocktail making demonstration, and plenty more throughout the day. 

A photo studio was offering photos with Santa for €5 which included a calendar, print and a balloon and goodie bag for the child. 

We got this gorgeous photo....

Unfortunately I can't even remember the name of the studio! (although I do know where it is!) - I think they missed a trick by not putting their name at least on the envelopes they gave out the photos in!

All in all, we had a great time and I really hope that next year they repeat it and make it bigger and better!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Christmas Eve Snuggle Sack

Last year was the first year that Leo got excited about Christmas, admittedly he still didn't know exactly what was going on but he certainly got the excitement. I've always loved Christmas and have looked forward to having our own family Christmasses for a long time so I was really excited about developing our own traditions that the boys will grow up with.

So last Christmas I made the first 'Snuggle Sack' created after seeing this post over on Thinly Spread.

Christmas Eve, sack, presents
The idea of the snuggle sack is for it to be a family event unlike the stockings the boys will have one each of the following morning.

Last year it contained.....

A Christmas DVD (think it was The Polar Express)
A Christmas story book
New pyjamas for Leo
Chocolate for us all to share
Hot chocolate sachet for each of us
Some Christmas themed colouring pages (found online and printed)
A hanging decoration - (sign saying 'Santa stop here, Leo has been good')

It was great fun giving Leo the sack to open up, and we'll be doing it again this year, I will have a new Christmas film and book for it as last years got put into our Advent box to enjoy over the month of December.

My Mum has revamped the decoration from last year to include Louka's name so the same one will go back in and then we will hang it up so Santa can see it and know to stop here :)

The idea is not to give more presents or take anything away from the magic of the following morning, but to make the evening just a little more special by presenting what could be quite ordinary (pyjamas, chocolate etc) in an exciting way.

This year I might also add the carrot for Rudolph to it as well - last year we completely forgot to leave Santa his mince pie and whisky before Leo went to bed so it might remind me!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Leo's thoughts on Christmas

I'm not sure what the average 3 year old thinks about Christmas but I wondered what Leo could remember about it all so we asked him at the end of November.  I would imagine that if we were in England some answers would be a bit different.....

What is happening next month?
Mardi, (Aaron's Mum) Tomas and James are coming to Cyprus.

Yes, but what else?
Don't know.

It's Christmas next month, What does Christmas mean?
Don't know (this is a very common answer, to many questions as you may have gathered!)

What do we see at Christmas?
Father Christmas

Do you know what happens at Christmas time?
We put a tree up and put lights on it.

At this point he turned to my Dad and asked him what happens, he replied 'We eat a lot of yummy food'   Then Dad said 'Maybe you will get some presents'  Leo turned to Aaron and I with a questioning look on his face  and Aaron said jokingly 'Ooh I don't think there be presents, not at Christmas'

Leo looked back to my Dad laughing and said 'No Grandad, not presents silly'   Feeling a bit mean I told him he probably would get a present. I then asked him if he knew what Father Christmas did...
He makes a noise.   (really!)

What noise does he make?
He rings a bell. 

What else does he do?
Don't know.

What would you like for Christmas?

Anything else?
A chocolate egg   (may be getting a bit confused with Easter here!)

Anything that's not chocolate?
Some cake  (he's not deprived of sweet things honest!)

Ok, anything that's not food!?
A chocolate milkshake

How about something that's not food or drink?
um, play, I want to play.      I want a Percy  (we'd temporarily lost his Percy engine and he thought it had gone forever)

Assuming that we find Percy (we did a little later!) is there a different toy or something you might like?
I'd like a Diesel (one of the engines he doesn't have)

He then suddenly declared...
I want to wear a bakers hat, erm no a Smurf hat.

Do you mean a Father Christmas hat?
Yes like in the photo.  (talking about a photo taken 2 years ago of him in his baby walker wearing a Santa hat)

He also mentioned the singing Father Christmas that we have and remembered exactly where it was last year, I'm still amazed that he could remember that but made no mention of presents!

I guess this is where it would be different living in England as there are no adverts here for him to see, shops are unlike the UK where I would have been going to the high street and big supermarkets etc.   He doesn't actually know what there is to want so his only answers are things he knows or sometimes things his friends have.  I know it won't last forever but I love the fact he is excited about Christmas but without a huge expectation.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Three Years in Cyprus - Flashback Friday

It was our three year anniversary of moving to Cyprus on 24th November. Many people have said they can't believe its been that long and although in some ways it seems hard to believe I feel like we've been here forever.  It feels like a lifetime ago that we lived in the UK.  My parents have UK tv channels and it seems 'foreign' to me to see adverts in English or watch the local Kent or London news. I'm vaguely interested at times but it just doesn't feel relevant to me any more.

It may seem a long time ago but I remember our first couple of days so clearly.  Our shipping was due to arrive about a week after we did so we had huge problems in packing our final suitcases.  Although our apartment came furnished we had nothing except the basics and we also needed a cot, steriliser and various other baby paraphernalia.

We had brought Leo a seat on the plane even though at 6 months he could have gone on our laps, but at £35 a ticket it was worth being able to strap his car seat on its own seat meaning he slept most of the way. It also meant we got a whole extra suitcase for him!

I couldn't tell you how many times we packed and repacked those three suitcases and our hand luggage bags. I was still doing it the morning of our flight sitting on the floor at my Mother in laws and throwing several items of clothing at her saying 'chuck that in the charity bag, it doesn't fit in the case'
Eventually we were done, clothes, nappies, formula, wipes, passports, favourite toy,  ipod, phones, laptop, chargers, all our birth certificates and personal paperwork and probably the kitchen sink all in a few bags.

The rest of our things had been boxed up several weeks before and picked up by the shipping company. I can still picture the van driving away from our old home. (You can tell I wasn't blogging then or I'd have certainly had a photo of that!)  I remember watching it turn the corner and looking in disbelief realising that the next time I saw all my things it would be in Cyprus and crossing my fingers and hoping it would make it in one piece!    It was raining as it drove away and we stood huddled in the garage until it went out of sight and I tried to imagine what it would be like the day we saw it again.

Waiting for our things to arrive!

The day we saw it again was earlier than planned, we called on our first morning in Cyprus to tell the company we were here and they could deliver whenever was suitable and they said it was here and they could deliver it that day!  So much for all that worrying how we would survive without it!

The early days were surreal and fun.  Disappearing under a sea of randomly packed boxes - packing for shipping is quite different to normal packing, it's all about space rather than weight although you do need to be able to shift the boxes!   Aaron had turned packing into an art form, protecting our fridge freezer with cardboard and bubble wrap all around it, packing the glass shelves into our Christmas tree box along with a duvet and some random items of clothes until EVERY last bit of space was full.   No saucepan or bowl was packed without something inside it which made relocating everything something of a challenge!

Luckily the weather was perfect on our arrival, something not guaranteed in late November (although we didn't know that then!) so we could leave a lot of stuff outside while we sorted it all out.

I remember it well but it feels like a different place looking back to those days,  just tonight I stood next to Louka's cot looking at the same view as I did when I stood there those years ago with Leo and it doesn't feel like it did back then.  Then I'd look at the few street lights I could see and it really felt like I was standing on the edge of the world, just some land and sea between us.

Now it feels normal, I feel more at home than I ever did in our old house in Kent.

Linking up to Flashback Friday

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Christmas Cyprus style

Christmas in Cyprus is generally much more low key than in the UK (Easter being the bigger celebration here) so I'm always keen to find 'Christmassy things' to do. This year so far has been more successful than our previous years here, partly because Leo is a bit older and can enjoy them more. Last weekend we kicked off the festivities with two Christmas events....

Derynia Cyprus Christmas Saturday was the Christmas lights switch on in Agia Napa, a great free event which takes place each year in the town square.  

It's always very busy with locals and tourists alike and to get involved you do have to repress the extremely British urge to queue!

Santa arrives in a horse drawn carriage and gives out free presents to anyone who can brave the scrum - luckily my Mum seems to have adapted to the surroundings and can wiggle her way to the front of crowds quite well now!

There are also stalls handing out free wine and snacks but we decided it wasn't worth the effort (especially having tasted the wine last year!)  

After the lights were switched on there was fantastic show on the stage - dancing, singing, and even fire poi (spinning fire on chains) The atmosphere was great and as usual much more relaxed than I imagine a similar event would be in England.  Leo really enjoyed himself this year although I think his favourite part was playing with his friend Kyle in the play area!

Sunday was Leo's school fete, having never been to a Cypriot school fete before I wasn't sure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised and it was a brilliant afternoon. It was held in the park opposite his school and although there wasn't actually that much to do it had a great atmosphere and we stayed there for over 3 hours.

There was a free craft table run by the teachers, pony rides (Leo had a go but didn't really enjoy it!),  face painting (he wasn't interested) and a couple of games - bean bag tossing, and a football game. There were food stalls,  popcorn, pizza, yummy waffles with chocolate sauce and the best and biggest hot dog I've had in ages (which was a bargain €2 ).  Much to Aaron and my Dad's delight there was a drinks stall selling large whisky and coke (again €2 and free pour whisky!) along with beers (Local beer  Keo was one of the fete's sponsors)  soft drinks and Zivania. 

But the absolute highlight was the ride you could take on the Big Red Bus with Santa himself.  Leo loved it so much that he went on it three times!

Red Bus company Cyprus

I have to admit that I loved it myself, and I think my Dad did too as he didn't hesitate to give Leo the money for his second trip when he asked to go again! It was a great way to meet Santa and have a drive around the village - Christmas music blaring out and Santa ringing his bell.   Leo got to shake his hand and even have a go at ringing the bell himself.  

During summer the Red Bus offers tours around the East coast of Cyprus and over to the north of Cyprus, I've always fancied taking one of the trips (even though one of the 'places of interest' it stops at is at the bottom of my road!) but I thought Leo was always too small and would get bored - looks like this wouldn't be the case any more!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Christmas Decorating time (Giveaway)

I have declared that this weekend will be 'Decorating Day' in our household, this is purely my decision as Aaron was over ruled for the last time last Christmas when he tried one last time to get me to put them up on Christmas Eve.  Instead this year we have been having a debate about swapping Christmas trees with my parents, we have a Christmas tree brought years ago before we left England from Notcutts Garden Centre which has been nicknamed 'the biggest Christmas tree in the world',  it's a great tree but unfortunately we don't have the biggest apartment in the world to match!

For the last few years we've just put half of it up (so it sat flat against the wall) but now we've gained an extra child and a whole load of associated stuff, our small apartment seems to have shrunk even more!  The solution seems to be to temporary swap as I love our tree and can't bear to sell it!

One thing which will stay the same from previous years here in Cyprus is our outside lights strung around the balcony.  I do love to see pretty Christmas lights as you drive around, not that there are as many as you'd see in England.  

Notcutts have a great selection of lights (and other decorations) and I have one set of White LED Cone lights to give away to one of my readers in the UK.  

It's a fantastic 8 metre set with 100 lights and multi functions.
Just fill in the Rafflecopter form below for a chance to win. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Notcutts are also running a competition over on their website to win a Christmas Tree and all the trimmings.

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