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Showing posts from May, 2012

All aboard for a birthday party!

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There was never any doubt what theme to use for Leo's 3rd birthday party!


He's the biggest Thomas fan I think there could be so it just had to be a Thomas the Tank Engine themed party. I love arranging parties so had been planning it a while now, and this year Leo got involved too.

A few days before the party he had great fun helping me make decorations, I cut out lots of train shapes from thick white paper and Leo painted them red and blue. We used these to stick up around the balcony and all over the apartment along with red and blue balloons.

My Mum gets the credit for the Thomas train in the picture - butter dishes converted into carriages by covering them in coloured paper. I used them for food so having the lids to put on them was very handy!

Leo also helped me to make the biscuits, although unfortunately I cannot blame the bad decoration of them on him as I did that myself! Although it was his 3rd birthday I put No.1 on them as I'd iced them in blue and Leo would h…

Now you are three

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Happy Birthday Leonidas!

It only seems like a matter of weeks since I wrote to you on your 1st birthday and again on your 2nd birthday one whole year ago but already you are celebrating your 3rd birthday.

You've changed so much this last year and have become a proper 'big boy' now, able to do lots of things yourself and usually insisting on doing them yourself even when you can't quite manage it yet.  Last month was a big milestone as you started wearing your 'big boy pants' and you have done so well at using the toilet.

You love lots of different programmes, and you chop and change through different favourites each week from Shrek, to Toy Story, and Cars to name a couple but nothing comes close to how much you love Thomas the tank engine!


You play with your tracks and your engines every day and astound me with your knowledge of them, now you can name almost every character there is (there are about 65 I think!)  and give us random bits of information such as …

Silent Sunday

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Flashback Friday - Party!

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I've always considered myself to be a bit of a party girl, always the first to arrive at a party and usually the last to leave. Drinking and dancing till I drop or everyone else gives up and goes home to bed, well back in the day before toddlers and baby bumps that is!  It's ironic that now I live so close to one of the worlds biggest party destinations that I've only had 2 'big' nights out in the last 2 years!

Nevertheless I still love a party even though these days they are more likely to involve jelly without vodka in it or party bags without lipstick and fags but instead a plastic yo-yo and some sweets, and dancing will not be on a bar but will be the Hokey Cokey and the Birdie song.

I love planning a party as much as the party itself and this weekend we will be having Leo's 3rd Birthday party here at home - I hope he wants to have his parties at home for many years to come as I prefer them to parties at soft play or similar.  As a child I had all my parti…

My reasons to be cheerful

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I hear the sun is shining in the UK at the moment and obviously that makes a lot of people much more cheerful than usual. I remember how a rainy day used to really depress me and that a bit of sun makes all the difference so I can totally understand that.  Although we're not totally into guaranteed wall to wall sunshine here in Cyprus yet (it's sometimes said that after the festival of Kataklysmos in a couple of weeks it will not rain until October at the earliest) the temperatures are up in the 30's and rainy days are now few and far between.

I'm feeling cheerful for more reasons than a bit of sunshine though....

1. First of all my friend Michelle has moved back to Cyprus after 6 months in the UK. She went back to the UK in November and we were very sad to see her go. I'm also really pleased that her and Leo's little mate Oliver are home in time for Leo's birthday party - which brings me to the next reason....

2. It's Leo's 3rd birthday next week a…

The Gallery - Picture Postcard

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Can you believe that Tara's Gallery has been running for 100 weeks now,  not only that but I've now joined in with 52 of them, and it had already been running a while when I came across it!  This week she's gone with a gorgeous theme to celebrate - Picture Postcard and as a thank you for supporting her for so long Tara is offering us the chance to win a set of greetings cards.... not only that but the draw is open to everyone around the world so I can actually join in for once ;)
I just knew my photo would be a scenic shot, the problem was choosing one,  I once said that you can never have too many sunset or sea photos, it turns out you can!
One of my favourites was actually taken by Aaron and was taken on holiday here in Cyprus, in 2008, the year after we brought our apartment. I had the photo stuck on the wall next to my desk at work for nearly two years before we moved over and I used to stare at it and try and imagine the day that I would be living just down the road f…

Painting & Playtime

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Although it may seem that I am excelling myself at the moment with interesting things to do with Leo with the recent homemade alphabet book and pirate treasure game I'm still constantly racking my brains (well, searching the internet!) for more things to do. I never imagined a day with a toddler could be so long, after all I've had enough boring jobs in my life and I thought nothing could top them - I didn't realise that a day with a demanding toddler can be equally as hard but in different ways!
Ideally I try to do 'something interesting' as he puts it at least once a day, an 'interesting activity can last anything from 30 minutes to maybe an hour if it's a particularly good one, add that to some cleaning (he's likes to 'help') lunch, some reading, a bit of tv, maybe a trip to the shop or Grandparents and dinner then we make it through the day with minimal damage!
This week at a loss for an idea I got the paints out and gritted my teeth agains…

Silent Sunday

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Birth in Cyprus - Lucy's Story (Private vs General)

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A great overview of two different places to give birth - one in a private clinic and one in the general hospital.

I'll hand you over to Lucy....

Here goes... 6 years ago I was pregnant with George. There was no general hospital in this area then so I went to the Litto private clinc. I saw Dr Economou, he was old but fab! Saw me at the drop of a hat for every paranoid thing I got with it being a first pregnancy. It was 10 Cyprus pounds a visit (I paid as I went). I too had heard about the c section frenzy and asked him!  He dug out every file in the office to show me how many natural vs c sections he had done.  Natural far out weighed the other!! 
Turns out though that George didn't want to come out so I had a c section (planned 5 days in advance). Chris was allowed to watch.!! And cos the hospital was not busy he stayed with me for the 3 days I was in. Yes only 3 days! 
I was awake during the c section but had terrible after pains! The docs didn't understand why an…

Flashback Friday - Waiting

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Every now and again I find myself in a period of time where I am waiting for something, unfortunately I'm not that good with waiting being as I am probably the most impatient people I know!

2009 was a year with a lot of waiting in it, it was a year full of changes and uncertainty for us. 
I left my old job at the end of February, taking maternity leave at the earliest possible point after several months of debate about redundancy or big changes in the office. Leo was due on May 16th and finally made his appearance 2 weeks later on May 29th at the very last minute before induction so I had a long time off work to prepare for his arrival - which basically meant watching rubbish daytime tv, having reflexology sessions, afternoon naps and ordering my grocery shopping online with an occasional meet up with friends for good measure.

Aaron was working for himself and was home often by mid afternoon, and as we were living with my parents I didn't even have to clean the house  (Mum cle…

The Gallery - Morning

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I've never been a fan of early mornings, only getting up when I had to, from my early 6am starts when I worked at Safeways or even 9am starts in my last job which required me to get up by what now seems like the perfectly sensible time of 7.30. My Dad on the other hand is one of those annoying morning people, when I lived at home he would drive me nuts by being happy and singing every morning (once he got thrown out of his works canteen for being too happy!)  but on the upside of that I used to get a cup of tea made and in the winter he would happily scrape the ice of my car for me!

When Leo was born I didn't mind the early starts as much as I thought I would - being born in May it meant the mornings were light and I quite enjoyed the early morning feeds but looking back the fact I'd be asleep again by 9am with him obviously helped!

These days mornings are generally not as much fun, especially after a unsettled uncomfortable nights sleep due to the bump and a toddler is h…

Searching for pirate treasure

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Now I'm back to being at home on my own with Leo each day I'm always trying to come up with new and interesting things to do, not just for Leo but for me too - there are only so many times you can watch 'Thomas' or read the same book over and over before you go mad!

After the success of the 'Alphabet book' I came up with another idea, not sure where this one come from either or where I've suddenly got inspiration from but I hope it continues!


After saving milk bottle tops along with various containers for a while now (randomly saving them until I thought of a good idea!)  one morning I suddenly decided to make a fun game to play.   Leo and I had recently read a book called 'Pirates Ahoy'  (which I really dislike and am hoping he goes off soon!) and now he keeps talking about pirates and treasure, and goes around the place with an empty toilet roll 'looking for clues'

So came the idea of 'The Pirate Treasure Game'

With an empty butter…

Birth in Cyprus - Kellie's Story

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From talking to other Mums here in Cyprus it seemed to me that so more people seemed to give birth in private clinics rather than the General hospitals.  I'm still not 100% sure why this is considering the difference in cost, this had made me worry that the general hospitals were that bad that people were happy to pay thousands of euros to avoid them. 

Even if I wanted to going private is just not an option for me, and paying thousands of pounds to give birth is something I could never imagine being able to justify to myself even if I could afford it.  So I was very pleased that in my request for birth stories to hear from several ladies who have given birth in the general hospitals (including the one I am using!) and all had positive experiences.

This is Kellie's story - she had her babies in the Famagusta General hospital, the same place I will be having mine.



I had both my children at the general hospital, it cost me €2 per check up – all blood tests and major scan were c…

Silent Sunday

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Bettacare Comfy Sleep Pregnancy Cushion - Review

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One of the many things I miss whilst being pregnant, along with a good drink and the ability to go more than 10 minutes without needing the toilet is a comfortable nights sleep.  By the end of my pregnancy with Leo I was sleeping on a folded up duvet to ease my backache with an assortment of cushions carefully arranged under my bump, behind my back and between my legs, which of course I had to rearrange every hour when I needed to change position due to a numb bum!

So, I was very pleased to be offered the Bettacare Comfy Sleep cushion - Vanilla to try out.  


It's a wedge shaped cushion, designed to sit under your bump for support 

'Ergonomically designed wedge shape takes weight off the tummy and relieves discomfort and backache in bed.'

I've been using it for the last few nights and I'm pleased to say it has been a help. I had been using a 'v-shaped' pillow, the type you usually see as a feeding aid to help you support the baby but it's a bit big for the j…

Young love?

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Aaron and I in the 1980's  - Didn't we make such a cute couple?

You've probably guessed, this is not an original photo, but I came across it the other day and remembered how much I love it! It was done by Aaron's brother just before our wedding after we'd sent him a bunch of photos to use on a website he was making for our wedding information.

Aaron and I didn't know each other way back then, and it's probably a good thing as from sharing stories over the years we would not have got on at all! There is a four year age gap between us and had we have met much earlier than we did I think it would have been too big to cross!

As a young teenager he acted older than his age (bunking off school and going to the pub, his school uniform was black trousers, white shirt, school tie and blazer - take the tie and blazer off and you blended in. Much better easier for him than the kids who went to the other local school who had to wear the nasty brown uniform!)    while …

I is for Ink

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If you had asked me a few years ago to come up with one of the most unlikely things I'd choose to do it would be to get a tattoo.  I've never liked them and although I probably shouldn't admit it often classed people who had them as 'chavvy' or just instantly prejudged a person on the fact they had them.

Aaron had always wanted a tattoo and despite all my protests gradually got a few over the years.  I gave up offering my opinion and started to not really care, after all it's his body and there's no way I could stop him.   I never saw the point of them, I'd also never seen a tattoo that I thought looked good even as a piece of art, and what if you changed your mind?  I've spent weeks debating over buying clothes that I've gone off in less time - how would a permanent bit of ink be a good idea!

Then sometime after moving to Cyprus and  the sun melting my brain making a very good friend (who happened to have several tattoos and have a partner who …

Birth in Cyprus - Sarah's Story

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Along with sharing my experience of pregnancy and birth in Cyprus, I thought it might be interesting to hear some other peoples experiences too. Unlike the UK there is very little information on-line about birth here in Cyprus and it can be very daunting when you are doing it all in a new country so I wanted to gather together some birth stories for part of my 'Birth in Cyprus' series.


Sarah had her baby in a private clinc after IVF treatment  in 2005, here is her story....


The clinic that my Gyny/Ob worked from (He rented half of it) was not good.  During 2005 when I was having IVF and went for hormone injections, I would go to a small nurses room (3mx2m) and up on the high windowsill there were ashtrays where obviously the nurses/doctors smoked.  I once saw my Anaesthetist come out from there and it was all smoky when I went in.  Also from the outside you could see Dads smoking on the balcony of the rooms!  I knew then that my baby would not be born there. 


I knew a lady…

Silent Sunday

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Saturday is Caption day!

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I've never joined in with Mamasaurus' Saturday Caption day but couldn't resist it with this one!


Leave me a comment below with your caption....




Click to see the other 'Sat Cap's' over at Mammasaurus

Flashback Friday - some things never change!

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They say that 'Change is inevitable' times and technology move on, often quicker than most of us can keep up with. Our children will have very different childhoods to those of our parents and even us, although I grew up with a TV in the house from a baby there was no constant children's programs to watch, we had a computer but nothing like those of today - my phone is a million times more advanced!  The list goes on and on, but it doesn't matter what changes the years bring and what advances are made in the world, one thing will always stay the same......

The fun a toddler can have with a box...


Although I do seem to be enjoying it more back in 1979 than Leo did in 2010.


This post is for my Flashback Friday, this week there is no theme - just go with whatever takes your fancy! . If you'd like to join in you can read all about it here. If you wish, grab the code for the badge to display on your post, the important part though is to come back and add your post to the…

Home made Alphabet book

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Although I'm not naturally 'crafty' or imaginative I do like to try and come up with new ideas for fun activities to do with Leo, and ones that are in some way educational at the same time are even better!  I was confused recently when a friend of mine said how impressed she was at all the ideas I had, then I confessed that they are rarely my own and mostly 'borrowed' from other people's blog posts or Pinterest!

So I surprised myself the other week when I decided that Leo and I should make an 'Alphabet book'  Unless I saw this online and can't remember I think I might have actually came up with this idea myself!

Leo loves to read and knows his letters very well and I'd realised lately that he is starting to recognise words and read them even without a picture next to it. He will also happily spell out words when prompted.

So I gathered together a load of cute clip art, one picture for each letter of the alphabet and cut them all up.  Using a ne…

Birth in Cyprus Part 1 - Kelly's Story

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Some of the things I had heard about giving birth in Cyprus....
No pain relief available during labour You have to stay in hospital for 5 days after birth (even standard 'easy' birth) Babies are not kept with Mother but cared for by midwives They are very quick to perform caesareans  Babies often bottle fed by midwives without asking the Mum

So I decided to see if I could gather together a collection of 'real birth stories'  It seemed that everyone had their babies in a private clinic, and paid thousands of euros for the privilege but not always having a good experience. This did not fill me with confidence as I wondered how bad the general hospitals were when people paid so much money to go private instead.

My first birth story comes from Kelly, who was the very first person I met in Cyprus. We met online while I was still in England while she was pregnant with her fourth baby and I was expecting Leo.

Kelly had 3 babies in England before moving to Cyprus, her first wa…