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Showing posts from July, 2012

What is a doula?

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Since I've been pregnant and telling people I am having a doula this time round I've been asked time and time again what one is, especially by Cypriots who have mostly never heard of them.  I decided the best person to explain is the lovely lady herself so I invited her to explain, and share her story of how she decided to become one.....


My name is Claire, I’m a mother of 2 and a Doula… "A what???" Yes I get that all the time, A doula supports a woman and her partner during pregnancy, birth, and the early weeks of parenting, with reassurance, practical assistance, and information.
A doula is someone you come to know well by the time of your birth, and who is there during your labor, by your side, focused solely on you and your partner. She can encourage you, remain objective, and help your partner feel more confident about how to support you. She can also assist you with practical knowledge on comfort measures for labor, such as massage and suggestions for positioni…

Silent Sunday

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Ding Dong Bells

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Most days during the summer we have our routine visit from the Ice Cream man, (When they are not digging the roads up that is!)  although last year Leo had no idea that this interesting van served any purpose other than to drive around playing a nice tune and I was in no rush to inform him differently.  For a start he usually comes between 6pm and 7pm, just as Leo was  in the bath or about to go to bed, I didn't want to have to start him asking for one every day, and he didn't even really like ice cream last year!
However, he did love to hear the music and each day would go charging outside asking to be picked up shouting 'its ding dong bells Mummy, up!' I got into the habit each day of picking him up to show him and his little wave would be returned by the 'Ding dong bell man' who uses the dead end bit of road outside to turn around. 

Towards the end of the summer it was getting a bit annoying as we HAD to stop whatever we were doing to go and see him.  I end…

Flashback Friday - One year later

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Last year we often used a hotel pool in Pernera, about 10 minutes drive from us.  Although we have a communal swimming pool at our apartments the shallow end is still too deep for Leo so it was good to find pools open to the public which had baby pools for him to play in,  oh and a restaurant / bar was often nice too!

Last year Leo refused to wear armbands, even preferring not to be in the water at all if you really forced the issue.  When I wrote about teaching him to swim  many people said it was a good thing as it would mean he wouldn't have to 're-learn' to swim without them, I agreed but also wished he would just wear them so it wasn't quite so scary around the pool!   He had no concept of the depth, and would just throw himself in at random so it involved one of us being in arms reach constantly.

When he was in the big pool we discovered he could just about touch the bottom, assuming he would keep his mouth closed for long enough!   I remember saying last summer…

36 week bump update

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36 weeks already!  (or maybe 38!)

Even though the first trimester of the pregnancy seems a lifetime ago and the last few weeks have been quite hard work in the heat I still can't believe that very soon there will be a actual baby here!   I've had an easy pregnancy, despite the moany outbursts I've had and I've had a lot of help from my parents too.

I was worried in the beginning about having a baby here in Cyprus, nervous about the whole thing from antenatal appointments and especially about giving birth.  I was worried about what to do and where to go and had heard (often 2nd or 3rd hand)  many things that didn't help  - for example how they have no pain relief (they don't have gas and air but it's not that they don't have ANY)  how they are very quick to give caesareans when they might not always be needed, to name just a couple.

So many people have their babies privately here and that was a concern as well, I wondered why this was the case - were the…

Birth in Cyprus - Three times over!

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I've had a fantastic response to my plea for stories of pregnancy and birth in Cyprus, and it's been really interesting for me (and hopefully will be to other ex-pats facing the same situation now or later)  Today I'm sharing Sarah's story with you. Like many other ex-pats I've come across she has experienced giving birth in both the General hospital and a private clinic, once again I'm pleased to say that the General wins out!

I'll hand you over to my questions and Sarah's answers....


Did you have your baby in a private clinic or in the general hospital?
 I have 3 children, all of them born in Cyprus but my first was in the Napa Olympic Clinic (Private) as Paralimni general hospitals maternity ward wasnt open at the time, and it would have meant travelling to Larnaca for all appointments and the birth. Both my 2nd and 3rd children were born at the General hospital with all appointments and scans there too. Although I did pay for the 4d scans at the Li…

Only in Cyprus?

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For a long time now the council here have been doing roadworks (actually I can't remember a time in the 3 years we've been here that there hasn't been some somewhere) in our area. 

Even without the roadworks it is a very dusty place to live, as there is a lot of empty ground around us and obviously this gets very dry in the summer. You kind of have to give up in the end as you can dust and mop the apartment  / balcony in the morning and then less than an hour later it looks like you haven't bothered, but it's a hundred times worse at the moment, even the slightest gust of wind whips up a dust storm you can hardly see through - which is nice when our patio doors are open (which is most of the time!)

The way they carry out the works is amazing, there seems to be no pattern at all to the work or the hours in which they do it. They also seem to do a little bit everywhere at once so the whole village is a little bit done all at the same time.   The roads that are closed …

Birthday cakes for all ages!

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Due to a run of birthday's in our family the last month or so has been very full of cake, this is obviously no bad thing (especially as I'm pregnant and not yet thinking about dropping a couple of pounds!) It all started in  May with a Cars cake for Leo's friend and  Leo's two birthday cakes and last week we finished off with a cake for my friend Sam's birthday.

I don't claim to be a very good cake decorator, the actual making of the cake is fine but I have no patience, not a lot of imagination and a very unsteady hand so usually I bake and Aaron decorates when it comes to 'novelty cakes'  However as he's been working so much I've been giving it a go!

I was most worried about the No.6 Cars cake as it was a present but it seemed to go down very well, I got very stressed whilst rolling out the icing as its so warm that I find it hard to handle, Aaron actually rescued me with this one as it was so big that every time I picked up the icing to put on…

Silent Sunday

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Flashback Friday - My first car

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1995 was one of my favourite years so far, I was at college (well, sometimes!) and working part time in Safeway's with one of my best friends, Sarah.  I still lived at home and spent most of my time with Sarah, either at our friends flat or in the pub. It was also the year I started driving...

I had brought my car the year before but failed my first driving test so spent a year walking past it every morning to catch the bus to college Sarah's house. I was so desperate to be able to drive it and used to spend ages washing it - more time than I've ever spent washing cars since in fact!

1995 was the year I met Aaron and we got together in the October, he loves big American cars and likes to be different so he persuaded me to 'customize' my boring beige Fiesta.


I passed my test eventually towards the end of 1995, while my car was in the garage having stuff done after failing it's MOT, the day I got it back I was on a late shift and was so looking forward to going …

Breast vs bottle - the dilemma of a 2nd time Mum!

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When I was pregnant with Leo, although nervous about the pain of labour, I was quite relaxed about how it all might turn out,  I had a vague birth plan -  avoid an epidural or c-section if possible, would quite like a water birth, but failing that gas and air or pethidine.  The main aim was to have a baby and I wasn't planning to beat myself up about how that might happen.  

The same applied when it came to feeding him, I planned to breast feed as 'that's what you do' but I had brought a steriliser and bottles before birth just in case (No formula though - really didn't think that one through as I realised at midnight on the first day home!)  I also had a breast pump as I was going to express so Aaron could feed him too.  I said many times while pregnant when asked if I was going to breast feed (Why do people insist on keep asking that anyway, what's it got to do with anything?!)  that I would if I could, I never said a definite yes as who knew if I could? 
It…

Silent Sunday

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Place your bets.....

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After my baby shower and the blog post I wrote about it I've been getting lots of people guessing when baby might make his appearance and how much he might weigh.

Aaron is convinced he will be right on the due date or later (the hospital's due date as he doesn't believe the one I calculated can be right as a he says the scan CANNOT be wrong)  and he will be heavier than Leo was.   I think he'll be a bit early, this could just be wishful thinking as I thought Leo would be too!


So just for fun I thought I'd make a note of all the guesses in one place   :)


Sam                              27th July        8lb 7oz
Kelly Marie                                                        28th July        8lb 8oz

Rachel                                                                5th August      11lb
Eri (Greek4kids)                                                 6th August      7lb

Michelle (Mummy From the Heart)                      10th August    9lb
Lauren   (Real Housew…

Flashback Friday - July

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The fact that I arrange my photos into folders by month can be quite handy when it comes to inspiration for a  Flashback Friday post. I was having a browse through previous years and realised that this time four years ago we were here in Cyprus on holiday.  We had brought our apartment in 2007 and the following year came out for a holiday and to see how the build was progressing, oh and see what Cyprus was like as we had only spent 6 days here prior to that!

It was different to our previous holidays which had always been spent by the pool, on the beach or maybe an excursion or two, in other words, your typical package holiday.  This time, although we spent a lot of time by the pool, we also went to Ikea, and 'locals' supermarkets and tried to get a feel of what it would be like to live here. 
We didn't book a package, instead rented an apartment privately, and booked flights and car hire separately.     We didn't go out every night as we once would have done, in fact …

Baby Shower!

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I've been looking forward to this week for a while now... Monday night was my Baby Shower, arranged by my lovely friend Sam and held at my Mum's apartment.  (which was handy as I only had to waddle downstairs!)  I knew nothing about the evening beforehand other than when and where it was.
Sam is very creative (and I had noticed her 'pinning' some baby shower type bits recently on Pinterest!) so I had a feeling she was up to something....  look at what she came up with!

A lovely banner,  flowers made from socks and baby bibs,with balloons attached, a huge basket of goodies (nappies, changing mat, baby toiletries, blanket etc). An elephant riding a bike made from nappies, bottle, babygrow and scratch mitts and some great little bits for the guests to fill in for me.

First of all there was a 'Guess the date and weight' card. Answers ranged from July 27th and 8lb 7oz  to 20th Aug and 9lb 12oz.   What's your guess?    Join in  and leave me a comment :)
(Due dat…

Summer time food

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Many people say that they go off their food in the heat of the summer, unfortunately this is not something that's ever affected me!  There is very little (if anything) that puts me off my food. However what I can't stand is the  extra heat created by cooking so given the choice I turn to meals that need less oven time or, even better - BBQ's (also, because that's a 'man thing' it means I just have to make salad!) 
One of my staple dishes in the summer is this....    blatantly stolen from my friend Kelly, who made it for us not long after we moved over 3 years ago, I've been making it ever since!
Cucumber, tomato, onion, with a little bit of lemon juice, salt and mint.

I use it with many meals but one of my favourites, and easiest if there are a group of us is this....

Jacket potatoes,  vegetable rice,  fried halloumi, chicken, warm pitta bread and tzatziki,  preferably washed down with copious amounts of local wine St Panteleimon although in this summer so…

Photo Canvas (Review)

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As you know, I LOVE my photos - who doesn't?    I do miss the pre-digital days of going to collect the little packet of prints and hoping that they have come out well and standing in the middle of a shop looking at them because I can't wait any longer but I wouldn't give up digital for anything!

For a long time now I've been using Snapfish online digital photo printing to order my prints as I didn't want to fall into the habit of never having an actual photo to look at rather than hundreds stored on my laptop where no-one could see them.  I've also used them before for their excellent photo gifts - my mother-in-law loved a calendar we gave her just before we left the UK of photos of Leo, and I also have a photo book of our wedding photos. 
One thing I'd never tried though was the photo canvases so I was thrilled when I was offered the chance to try one, it took me a ridiculous amount of time to pick a photo but that was the only hard part of creating it! …

We are eagerly awaiting....

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You may have noticed that Leo is a bit of a Thomas fanatic, this both amuses and slightly disturbs me but I think it may be catching! A friend of mine said recently that she hated Thomas and I was momentarily lost for words..... how can you hate the little blue engine!

Along with a selection of cups, books, clothes, games, DVDs, a Thomas scooter and of course a great set of wooden tracks and engines we have a new 'Thomas' love here in our house...


Some time ago I decided to show him the Thomas and Friends website, and it turns out he's just like his Mother when you stick a laptop in front of him, I think if left to decide when to turn it off he would be there for weeks on end!  For a while now we've looked at it occasionally to see the engines, which is about as much as I let him do with my reluctance to let him use the laptop.  He can now name every engine on there and there are more than 60, I'm not sure but I think he can read the names to a certain degree (ei…

Silent Sunday

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Flashback Friday - Summer of '69

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'When I look back now, that summer seemed to last forever'
I'm not talking about the ACTUAL summer of '69 you understand, that's a decade before my time but hopefully you got that from the first line!

This week's Flashback theme is 'Summer' - I've looked through loads of photos from many years and could not decide on which to use. (you'd think I might have thought of that before I set the theme but you'd be wrong!)

Summer's always seemed long as a child due to the long summer break from school ( I wonder how much different they will feel to Leo with 3 months off when he gets older as opposed to 6 weeks!) and  I don't remember the weather being that bad either!  I had photos in my head to use of my childhood summers - playing in the sprinkler and paddling pool or day trips to the beach but I just couldn't find what I wanted.

Then the song popped into my head and I realised I wasn't looking for a photo taken in summer at all!

I…

Reasons to be Cheerful

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After my miserable post last week I thought I'd better join in with Reasons to stop being a moany old bag be Cheerful again! Actually writing that post and reading all the supportive comments made me feel a huge amount better so I'm very glad I wrote it.  It's actually given me my first reason to be cheerful in a roundabout way....

1. Blogging - I just love it! I love the friends I've made through it and will continue to argue that they ARE friends even though we've not met in real life.  I am in more contact with them than most of my my real life friends in Cyprus, and certainly those in the UK! I love the fact that by writing my blog I'm creating a record of our life along the way too, and it's nice to look back over the last couple of years at things I would have forgotten otherwise.

2. Water - yes, quite a random reason you might think but not only am I constantly drinking it by the bucket, I'm loving the swimming pool right now!  Either having a q…

The Gallery - Everyday

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This weeks Gallery prompt got me thinking.... 'The Everyday'  
What do we do everyday?   We get up everyday usually before 7am for Leo and I,    Aaron works everyday till the end of the summer season,  We eat,   We clean - (oh hang on we're talking EVERY day, so maybe not!)  We watch tv/ use the laptop  We see my Mum and Dad.
There are lots of things we do sometimes... Swim, paint, visit friends, bake, go to the beach, go shopping and go to nursery school (but not on the 'end-week' as Leo calls it)
But then I realised the thing we do EVERY day....

'The Everyday'
We build a track, often first thing in the morning and hopefully at the moment with help from Daddy, as getting on and off the floor is proving to be quite tricky at the moment!  Removing the element of discomfort from crawling around the floor with a 7 month baby bump I do quite enjoy making the tracks and get quite a worrying sense of achievement when I make a good one, especially if I've not given…