Thursday, 31 May 2012

All aboard for a birthday party!

Thomas the Tank engine train partyThere 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 have pointed out that Thomas is No1, I should have done green icing to be able to put a No3 (Henry!)  I'm ok at making things taste nice but decorating is not my strong point....which brings us onto the cake!

I had been searching for inspiration online for ages and eventually came up with what I thought would be easy yet effective. Apart from the slightly amateur icing of it, I thought it was ok. Unfortunately for some reason Leo was not so impressed!    I think he was bothered by the fact I'd used one of his toy engines and I had recently told him not to put his toys in his food so I can't really blame him!

My Mum also made a cardboard box into a Thomas train and we got the kids playing a game which involved throwing 'coal' into it.  I made the coal using black balloons filled with rice!

Train party coal throwing game

I made party bags for the children with home-made play-dough in red and blue, with some Thomas stickers and a mini box of smarites each.

Thomas and Friends train party invite
The logo Aaron made for the invites!

On his actual birthday which was Tuesday  he had his presents from us and Nanna and Grandad and then
we took him to an amusement park in Protaras where he got to go on a train!  He has been on a proper train once in the UK but was too young to remember it, unfortunately there are no trains in Cyprus so we had to make do with a pretend one.... he didn't seem to mind though!

We had lunch at a little restaurant by the sea with a great little play area, and then home for more cake. I had decided that I should make another cake so we could light the candles again and I quickly threw one together on the morning of his birthday using some leftover fondant icing and a packet of sweets.  He was over the moon with this one despite it taking me a fraction of the time I spent on the Thomas one. Can someone remind me to keep it simple next year please!

3rd birthday presents, card and cake

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Now you are three

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 their number or what part of Sodor they work on!

You are very inquisitive and constantly asking 'Why' along 'What does "insert random animal" eat?', 'What country does 'random person/ thing' come from?' and the most recent question - 'How does that work?'  You often have me lost for words as I try to answer all your questions.

You love meeting up with your friends, and you are desperate to go to school like the rest of them even though you don't really know what that is! I hope you like it when you go in September as much as you think you will!

This will be a big year for you as in August you will become a big brother! Every day you talk to my belly and give the baby kisses and blow raspberries on it to 'make the baby laugh'. You tell everyone we see that 'Mummy has a baby in her tummy' and you ask when you can see 'the baby brother'   At the moment you seem quite keen to share everything with him - even introducing him to all the 'engines'.

You have your 'challenging' moments but I imagine it must have been annoying at times being 2 years old, you can be an absolute star though, polite and friendly and always happy to meet new people. Many people have said how polite and clever you are.  You like to 'listen to the instructions' and you understand them even if you then choose to ignore them!

You are very imaginative which pleases me as you must have got that from your Dad! It's fascinating to listen to you playing and to hear your stories. You are also very clever, knowing many words in Greek as well as English now and you can match up your upper and lower case Greek alphabet better than Grandad can!

I hope you have enjoyed your party and have lovely birthday and enjoy being three years old!

Monday, 28 May 2012

Flashback Friday theme week 13

Just to get you all prepared for another fab Flashback Friday and give you a heads up on this weeks theme..

I've brought back themes as the linky seemed to be more popular with them. You don't HAVE to follow the theme though - I love a bit of nostalgia so it would still be great if you fancy joining in with your own flashback. Maybe this week brings back a certain memory or you just fancy reliving a certain moment in time?


This week in honour of the Queen's Jubilee I'm opening the theme up a bit wider!
Take your pick from one of these or make your own up....

Celebration / Royal / London / Commemoration /  Anniversary / Bank holiday!

As ever you can interpret this as you wish, and if you don't have a photo but would like to share a story then feel free to do that too!

The linky will open early Friday morning and will stay open until the following week.

If you want to join in, write your post and come back on Friday to link up.   If you're linking up please visit as many of the other posts and see what they've come up with too.

You can grab the code for the  badge to display on your post but the important part though is to come back and add your post to the linky, then visit some of the others for a lovely nostalgia fest!

Grab my button
and join in

Friday, 25 May 2012

Flashback Friday - Party!

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 parties at home until I was 16, although they obviously changed over the years they were all great and brilliantly organised by my Mum.  Decorations, party games and a birthday tea made them all very exciting.

This was me on my 3rd birthday

I was just planning to use the photos from my 3rd as a comparison to Leo's birthday but then I spotted this one from the following year...

Note the train cake and the Mr Men tablecloth, it turns out some things just do not date - Leo would love both of those!

This post is for my Flashback Friday, this week the theme is 'Party' but feel free to just go with whatever takes your fancy if you have a memory you'd like to share! 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 linky, then visit some of the others for a lovely nostalgia fest!

Grab my button
and join in

Next week in honour of the Queen's Jubilee I'm opening the theme up a bit wider!
Take your pick from one of these or make your own up....
Celebration / Royal / London / Commemoration /  Anniversary / Bank holiday!

So get searching through the archives and see what you can come up with!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

My reasons to be cheerful

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 and we are having his birthday party on Sunday. As he's as HUGE Thomas fan it's going to be a Thomas and friends themed party.  I love arranging everything for a party and as much as he loved his Mickey Mouse party last year I think he'll appreciate this one even more now.   Aaron designed this fantastic picture for his invitations!

3. Aaron is enjoying his job at Easy Riders despite the fact he's doing long hours and now working 7 days a week. After sulking about it for a while I'm starting to get used to the fact that I only see him for a couple of hours a day!  As he pointed out he could be doing almost as bad hours in the UK all year round - at least here he will be off for the winter. 

4. I'm now 27 weeks pregnant and apart from the usual aches and pains all's well so far. Leo is telling everyone that 'Mummy has a baby in her belly' and is looking forward to becoming a big brother and sharing all his toys - well that's what he's saying at the moment anyway!

5. There is a new shop opening at the weekend which will be selling UK branded children's clothes at sensible prices - this would begreat in itself but it's owned and ran by my friend Sarah and her business partner Pat so I'm even more excited that someone I know is doing something so exciting - I'd love to be in a position to do something like this!  The Grand opening is this Saturday at 10am and it's also being blessed by the local priest.  You can find Petal's Children's Boutique over on facebook 

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

The Gallery - Picture Postcard

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 from there, I now use it cropped down as my blog header. 

This one was taken last year on a rare afternoon I spent on my own, it was October I think and still warm but on this day was very windy. In just an hours walk I took a load of photos of the gorgeous views and the sea crashing dramatically on the rocks. 

This is one of my favourites from the day...

Monday, 21 May 2012

Flashback theme - Week 12

Welcome to Flashback Friday - yes I am aware that it's not actually Friday but I like to be prepared!

I've brought back themes as the linky seemed to be more popular with them. You don't HAVE to follow the theme though - I love a bit of nostalgia so it would still be great if you fancy joining in with your own flashback. Maybe this week brings back a certain memory or you just fancy reliving a certain moment in time?

FlashbackFridayThis weeks theme is an easy one though..... PARTY!  

As ever you can interpret this as you wish, and if you don't have a photo but would like to share a story then feel free to do that too!

The linky will open early Friday morning and will stay open until the following week.

If you want to join in, write your post and come back on Friday to link up.   If you're linking up please visit as many of the other posts and see what they've come up with too.

You can grab the code for the  badge to display on your post but the important part though is to come back and add your post to the linky, then visit some of the others for a lovely nostalgia fest!

Grab my button
and join in

Painting & Playtime

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 against the mess and we did this...

Considering he once hated to get messy he really enjoyed this.  I taped some big sheets of paper together watered down some paint and let him get on with it. We ended up with paint everywhere but we were outside so it was easy to clean up, and he enjoyed that just as much!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

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

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 and really hesitated giving me pain killers!! The screaming and crying helped change their mind. The room was very old and shabby. They really didn't let me see much of the baby, and gave him bottles while I screamed I wanted to feed him!! But 3 days later me and my healthy baby and very neat scar went home!! Short the 2000 cyp it cost!!!!

Mikes I had at the general, I saw the older male Dr. He was very short on words but for a second pregnancy I was short on questions.  I made it clear I wanted to try for a natural birth, they were fine with that and let me go all the way. Nurses were always very sweet. I went into labour and got to A&E at 6 am.  They made me lay down with a machine to measure contractions.  Very uncomfortable so don't go in early!!

They checked my cervix ouch!!!!!!! Nothing happening so emergency c section it was.  I was very upset and shakey!! But when they put the epidural thing in all was well with the world pains were gone and life was good. 

Mikes was whisked off to an incubator while I got sewn up. I was allowed some recovery time then he was in my room the rest of the time. Lovelly sea views!!! Nurses were so nice, food was rubbish!
Let out 6 days later. All for free!!! Yey. So the general were brilliant! I have heard all the horror stories too, but everyone loves some drama eh!!! It's the poor me attitude take no notice!  

I'm guessing the experience here in Cyprus is 100% more personal than the UK.  The only shame is lack of after support when you go home no one comes to see if everything is ok at home. But we are all here to tell the tale perfectly fit and healthy! 

Language barrier is never a problem if you only ask! 


I love this story as it proves to me what I had thought about the choice between the two. It's nice to hear such a positive account of the general hospital. 

Friday, 18 May 2012

Flashback Friday - Waiting

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.

taken at about 32 weeks
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 cleaned, I cooked)   So although it was a long time off work I was having a ball, the only time I got fed up with the pregnancy was in the last 2 (overdue - I don't DO late!) weeks. 

Our apartment in Cyprus was due to be completed on May 30th, which then became the end of June.  When Leo was 5 weeks old Aaron flew out to collect the keys and make sure all was ok.  At this time we had no idea when we were going to actually move but we gradually packed everything up and constantly talked about when we should do it. 

Because of that I could never really settle into motherhood as I might have done otherwise. I went to a few Mum and baby groups but it seemed so pointless making friends to be possibly leaving them so soon. It was hard not knowing what was about to happen. 

In the end due to Aaron's work becoming scarce we decided to go for it in November, which was 6 weeks away at the time, Leo turned 6 months old after 5 days in Cyprus.  This was the start of a new and different kind of 'waiting' - waiting to get into a new routine once Aaron found work, waiting to feel settled in our new home and make new friends.

It was an eventful and strange year, and although I miss the easy first pregnancy / early baby days (with just the one child to look after!)  it's not a year I'd really like to repeat!

This post is for my Flashback Friday, this week the theme is 'Waiting' but feel free to just go with whatever takes your fancy if you have a memory you'd like to share! 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 linky, then visit some of the others for a lovely nostalgia fest!

Grab my button
and join in

Next week the theme is a great one.... Party!    So get searching through the archives and see what you can come up with!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The Gallery - Morning

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 harder work than a tiny newborn happy to have a bottle and a cuddle while you lay watching rubbish random TV......

Having such an early riser can be depressing, even if you have plans for the day you still have several hours to fill before doing anything and its at times like that I wish I liked coffee!  On a good day I might get a bit of a lie in - never expected that I'd ever class 7am as a lie in but now it makes me massively happy!

The worst, like today is any time before 6am - and it's amazing how even 5.55am seems so much worse than 6.05am.  On the upside though - having to get up at 5am is not so bad when you open the curtains to this...

I'd rather be seeing that view on my way to bed though!   It's hard to believe that as this time of year only 15 minutes down the road people are still out clubbing from the night before - in fact this was taken at 5am so I could go to at least one club and have another 2 hours to party, unfortunately I think that's the only way I'd make it to closing time these days!

Written as part of this weeks Gallery - the prompt was Morning.   
Click the badge to see the other entries.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Searching for pirate treasure

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 dish and a Skull and crossbones sticker I happened to have we made a 'Treasure chest'  Then with 12 milk bottle tops I drew a crown on each one to make coins for the 'treasure'

Then I hid all the coins around the balcony and set him off to search for them all.

I told him there were 12 in total so he kept stopping to count them to see if he had got them all. So we even  (not intentionally I might add!) got some maths learning in there by asking him how many more he needed to find to make 12 etc.

The game was a surprise hit and we've been playing it over and over again!

Monday, 14 May 2012

Birth in Cyprus - Kellie's Story

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 carried out at the hospital so I never needed to go private for anything. If I was able to have more children then I would certainly go back to the General.

There aren't any antenatal classes in Cyprus,  they believe that we should automatically know what to do! but once I had my first child they were very good in showing me what to do.  I was very happy with the after birth care with the nurses. They were very thorough and actually said that if I didn’t want to go home after 5 days I was more than welcome to stay!!!

What do you wish you had known about having a baby here beforehand? That they don’t do any drugs or gas and air!!!
Did you have a c-section or natural birth? I had natural birth with both my children – I was very close to having a c sec with my first but we managed to get there in the end.  I had to be cut on both my births but apart from that everything went pretty smoothly

Did you have any pain relief? Nothing – they offered me a Panadol for the pain but that didn't even touch the sides! Pethidine was available 

How long did you stay in hospital after birth? I had my son on the Tuesday and was out of hospital on the Saturday lunchtime, with my daughter it was 4 days. It was great!!! For the first 2 days I did nothing – the nurses cleaned, fed and looked after the baby. On the 3rd day they showed me what to do, on the 4th day they watched me like a hawk with what I was doing and the 5th day they left me to it. 
With my 2nd child they left me to do everything myself unless I asked them for help which they were really happy to do.

Were you spoken to in English or Greek? They spoke in English.

I have only had children in Cyprus but I have many friends in the UK that have had children and listening to their stories I would pick Cyprus any day over the UK!!


Saturday, 12 May 2012

Bettacare Comfy Sleep Pregnancy Cushion - Review

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 job and difficult to swap over when you change sides during the night. I

This new cushion is a lot smaller so easier to move in bed, and less likely to mean that Aaron ends up sleeping on the very edge of the bed trying not to fall out! It also means I'm less likely to get too hot by being wrapped around a huge pillow which is handy as I think it's time to pack the duvet away until winter time, I usually try and hang on until June as I do love sleeping under a cosy duvet but it's just getting a bit too much now!

The sleep pregnancy cushion is available from Hello Baby.. Hello Baby also sells a wide range of other baby and nursery stuff including baby toys, nursery furniture, baby travel and baby safety products.    They also deliver to Cyprus!

I was provided this product for the purpose of review, the opinions are all my own.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Young love?

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 at the same age I would have still been merrily playing and being shocked that some of my friends were smoking or worse!

Hopefully Leo will grow up somewhere in-between the two of us - I was a bit 'square' and boring and wasn't very confident growing up and Aaron was maybe too far the other end of the spectrum!  We eventually met in the middle (maybe even swapping ends!)  So I reckon there's a good chance he will be fine!


This week Flashback Friday is having a rest and there is no linky.   From next week though I plan to remind you all and hopefully get a few more people joining in.  To help you out I'll be giving a prompt,
I'll start you off for next Friday with

as this time 3 years ago I was doing just that, waiting for the arrival of baby Leo!

You can be as creative as you wish with the theme, so maybe a pregnancy post, or sometime in your past you felt you were waiting for something or someone?  You don't HAVE To follow the theme, I love reading your flashbacks so please feel free to link up any flashback post.

You can grab the code for my Flashback Friday badge below. Can't wait to see what you come up with!

Grab my button
and join in

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

I is for Ink

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 is a tattoo artist)  I *might* have gone and got this done....

It took me almost a year from first thinking I might get one to the day I went to get it done so it wasn't a spur of the moment idea. The idea for the design came from Aaron, with the flowers to represent me, him and Leo and the swirly bits are actually Leo's date of birth and then we handed it over to Marc to draw it up.

It's on the top of my leg and for a first tattoo it's huge but I'm glad they all talked me into having it the size I did. One of the main reasons I was happy to get it done is that I trust Marc to do an amazing job, and everyone told me he is very gentle and that it wouldn't hurt... well it did hurt but then again I am a wimp!

Problem now is that I'm going to have to have another at some point after getting one 'for' Leo or there might be a few questions later from baby No.2.

Marc is a brilliant artist and baby or not, I think I actually wouldn't ever have another one if he wasn't doing it for me! This year he's opened up his own tattoo house with his business partner Paul and I'm sure they will do brilliantly.

This is not a sponsored post in any way - I just love my tattoo and also want to wish Marc and Paul all the best in their new venture.

You can find them on Facebook  under Blood Brothers Tattoo or visit their website.

To see the rest of my A to Z posts, click here.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Birth in Cyprus - Sarah's Story

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 who was/is a midwife at another big clinic and I spoke to her.  She said
that her clinic accepted Guest Obstetricians so I should ask my Gyny/Ob to see if he would go there to perform my C/Section.  He agreed so I went to this other clinic, Thank God.

How much did it cost?
Approx. CY£ 1500 (Med Insurance) €2500

Would you do the same again?
Yes if I were younger and could conceive naturally – would not go through IVF again, simply because it’s too many hormones and has affected me.

What was the antenatal care like? Were you happy with it?

I had IVF and all the appointments during the treatment and then whilst I was pregnant were very good – really liked my doctor. (who was a fertility doctor too)  

I had more pregnancy check-ups as it was IVF.  Antenatal classes were rather pathetic.  1 session a week for 4 weeks.  

1st week – shown around hospital.
2nd week - Sat in a conference room with a lady Gyny/Ob and spoke about

3rd week – about the birth and what’s involved.  
4th week – a new Mum came and spoke about her experience. No breathing techniques,
anything like that.  It may have changed now (I do hope so).  Think this cost something like CYP70 which is about €120 !

What do you wish you had known about having a baby here beforehand?
I was told early on I would have to have C-Section due to low placenta…..
every scan showed same but I didn’t know that, as couldn’t read a scan and see placenta position.  Wish I’d researched more on this and maybe pushed for natural birth but at end of the day, all went well for baby and me with the C-section.  

Also wish I’d researched about vaccinations as would never have let my daughter have so many – they truly over-vaccinate here.

Did you have a C-section or natural birth? Was that your choice?
C Section – low placenta throughout pregnancy.

Did you have any pain relief? What was available to you?

I had a Spinal Anaesthetic for my C-Section.

Were you spoken to in English or Greek?Mostly English – a couple of the nurses were English and others from Norway but spoke English, my doctor and Anaesthetist spoke English too.  

Did you have a birth partner?

My husband

How long did you stay in hospital after birth? What was it like?
5 days – could have gone home after 4 but was enjoying the rest and wanted to learn to bath baby one or time with the nurses!


Saturday, 5 May 2012

Saturday is Caption day!

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

Friday, 4 May 2012

Flashback Friday - some things never change!

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 linky, then visit some of the others for a lovely nostalgia fest!

Grab my button
and join in

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