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Showing posts from October, 2012

Frightful!

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Love it or hate it even in Cyprus where it's not widely acknowledged you can't avoid the fact it's Halloween, so it's no surprise that this weeks Gallery theme is 'Frightful' 
It didn't take me long to figure out what photo to dig out the archives...

Meet Scary Clown, aka my husband in his favourite fancy dress costume of all time! 
This was his outfit of choice on a adult party weekend at Butlins several years ago. I tried to disown him for the night but as much as we tried we couldn't lose him even in a packed nightclub, you could always tell where he was by the screams coming from random people as they ran away!   

Dividing the housework

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This week Aaron finished work for the winter, he's worked so hard for the last 7 months and we've both been looking forward to his time off.  Aaron is looking forward to spending time with the boys and having some time to rest and recover from working 7 days a week for so long..... I'm just wondering how long to give him before I hit him with the 'to do list'

He's going to get off lightly in my opinion  there are few big things I want doing around the apartment but I certainly don't intend to do all the household / childcare jobs on my own now he's here full time too!
We do seem to always fall into the same jobs though - emptying bins, cleaning windows and ironing are always down to Aaron,   Mopping and sweeping is usually a joint effort, but there is one thing that is always completely down to me...... Aaron does not do washing up.....EVER.
To be fair, I did know this long before we got married and being a Kitchen Designer he knew how best to compare d…

Autumn wreath craft

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October is probably my favourite month now I live in Cyprus, it used to be July or August in the UK, working on the principle that there was the most chance of a bit of summer then.  The temperature here slowly starts to cool at this time of year, and after the long hot summer (made much longer and hotter by being big and pregnant!) its a welcome relief!

Being quite excited by the change of season I thought it would be good to do something to mark it and teach Leo that there is more than just 'Summer' and 'Winter'

Last year we made an 'Autumn Tree' and this year my 'crafty' friend and I decided to make some Autumn wreaths with the kids after seeing 'The Boy' making one.


I'm all for simplicity when it comes to crafts and this certainly fitted the bill!

Cardboard circles, crayons, glue, ribbon and different coloured paper leaves was all we needed, along with the patience to explain why we there weren't just green leaves.

They were quite b…

Silent Sunday

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Slimming World Carbonara & Weigh in

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I've been trying to get back on track this week so I've been making an effort to plan all meals to Slimming World friendly and cooking enough to eat them for the following days lunch where possible. We've had home-made meatballs and spaghetti, omelette and chips and one of my current favourites, Spaghetti Carbonara.

I've seen many Slimming World recipes for Spaghetti Carbonara over the years but they all use Quark and apart from the fact I can't stand the stuff (have tried SO many different ways of using it but I still know it's in there!) it's not at all easy to get here. I found this one which uses low fat fromage frais in one of my SW recipe books and adapted it slightly



It's quick and easy and doesn't taste like a 'Slimming' dinner.

Fry roughly chopped bacon in Fry Light for 2-3 minute until cooked
Beat an egg, stir in some 'very low fat fromage frais' and chopped herbs.
Add to bacon with heaps of boiled spaghetti and cook over a…

The Hungry Caterpillar and the Unhappy Butterfly

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This week's Gallery theme is 'Books'

I can't remember a time when I didn't read. There have been so many books over the years I'd loved, I have no idea how many books I've read but for each time of life there are always a few which stick out in your mind, even as far back as  I can remember, back to my play-school days....


No prizes for guessing which classic book we were characters from...

It was our playschools end of year show, I was the butterfly and all I had to do was crawl out of the cocoon (a table covered in brown paper)  after my friend the hungry caterpillar had crawled into the other side.

I was very shy anyway and wasn't very happy about doing it probably but unfortunately, I hit my head on the table as I came out - I can still remember the pain!    I saw my Mum in the audience and ran straight to her crying!

No amount of persuasion could get me back on stage, I think in the end my Mum came up too!




Linking up to Flashback Friday and The Gal…

Silent Sunday

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Flashback Friday - Home improvements

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A rather random flashback but as we approach the winter season and many people here are coming to the end of their seasonal work contracts there is lots of talk of plans for home improvements (well, mainly from the women whose men will suddenly be off work, not so much from the men themselves! )

It made me think of the biggest and best home improvement we've ever done, with the possible exception of building a wall and creating a bedroom for Leo (when I say we, clearly I mean I made tea and Aaron worked!)

When we moved into our first house together back in 2003 the garden needed a lot of work, so much in fact that we left it for several years while we worked out what we could do to make it better.  The problem was a raised section that was separated from the rest by a huge wall that was also on a steep slope and not really big enough to do anything with.


After much debating, discussion and drawing of plans we decided that decking the whole thing would be a good idea.  We did not h…

Week 3 - Trying to stay on track

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It's very hard when following any diet / eating plan to stay on track 100% of the time, the secret is learning how to get back on it, or preferably not veer too far from it in the first place.

This hasn't been a 100% week for me, it was my birthday so I knew it was never going to be!  Despite the fact I always joke that cake is syn free on your birthday (well, it should be!) celebrations inevitably  mean the temptation to eat and drink 'bad' things.

As often happens I celebrated my birthday over two days, my actual birthday and then a meal out the following day as it was the weekend. From a Slimming World point of view it could have been worse though.  I kept to the plan on the actual day apart from a big chunk of birthday cake and on the day of the meal I kept to it all day, until we reached the restaurant that is!

I knew I had the choice, and I could have certainly made better choices in the evening but the fact was I'd been waiting 9 months for a good drink and …

Something Old....Something Borrowed

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This week's Gallery theme is old.

When my Mother in law got married she spent £5 on her bridal veil........   Five WHOLE pounds.  Her Mum was not happy and thought it was far too much to spend on something she would just wear once.


It's a good job then that my sister in law borrowed it from her Mum for her own wedding


and then.....


I think it was money well spent, don't you?


Learning English in Cyprus for children

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Our family have always had a big love of reading and a house full of books, my Mum taught me to read before I stared school and Leo has also caught the reading bug.  He has had his own books and been read to from a very early age - in fact I often read out loud to him from whatever I was reading at the time when he was only few weeks old (it was the only time I got to read and he used to sit happily on my lap and listen)

I'd heard many English parents here in Cyprus worry about their child's English and end up getting private tuition for them as they progress through school to keep them up to speed in case they have to go back to England to study at any point.  It concerned  me that there was going to be an extra thing to worry about, but I thought with the wealth of information and resources available surely we'd be able to do it ourselves?

I know that it's often said parents should leave teaching to the teachers, in case we teach them 'wrong'. (In fact my Mu…

The best bouncy castle in the world!

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Apart from the beach and pools there are very few good places to take little ones here in Cyprus. Parks are very few and far between and are usually not all that good and play areas are often a little bit worse for wear - usually sun-damaged and sometimes the toys can be quite dangerous. 
So we were quite excited this year when an established restaurant in nearby Kapparis opened up a play area.  Initially we were disappointed that it didn't open until 6pm but realised it would be just too hot to go there during the day.  
It costs €6 euro per child to enter and they can stay as long as they wish. We've been twice now in the last month, first for a 'Mum's and Kids' meet up arranged via Facebook for anyone who fancied joining us, and then again on Friday to celebrate my birthday (You know you're getting old when you pick somewhere like this!) 

The play area has the best bouncy castle I've ever seen, and a huge inflatable bouncy slide, along with a couple of …

Silent Sunday

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Slimming World Friendly Quiche & Week 2 Weigh in

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If I had to pick one product that helped me the most with Slimming World it would have to be Batchelors 'Pasta & Sauce.  Pre SW (and pre-children) I used to eat at lot of ready meals and processed food, 'Pasta & Sauce' being one of them. When I started the plan I was very happy to find they were 'free' on Green days (or very low in syns for some flavours).
Although I started cooking most meals from scratch I found these to be a life saver many times and always made sure I had several packet in the cupboard. Not only were they quick and easy to make I actually really enjoyed them unlike most other SW friendly 'easy' foods. 
Handily they are also in the shops out here and they are a sensible price unlike many other imports. 
They are great on their own, or with the addition of some herbs or chilli flakes but I also use them to make a 'Slimming World Quiche'
You need:
One packet 'Pasta & Sauce'  any flavour but Tomato & Herb wo…

My Birth story - Part three

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After the hugely painful but overall brilliant birth of Loukas I was taken back to the ward. It had two beds but at that point I had it all to myself, with TV and free wi-fi plus a great view I was very comfortable.
The midwives took Louka for a few hours so I could rest which was most appreciate. They loved this 'big baby' with his head of gorgeous blonde hair, something which must be very unusual for them. They often popped in for no apparent reason during my stay just to see him!
I was quite happy in the hospital unlike when I had Leo where I couldn't wait to get out, although this time I was appreciating the time to rest before starting the new chapter of my life with two children.  Aaron came to see me after work and to meet his second son. He stayed just a short while so he could get home relive my parents and put Leo to bed.  My parents then popped in afterwards as I had not felt up to seeing Leo right away, preferring to be able to greet him properly when I did.

L…

My birth story - Part two

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You can find Part 1 here.

After checking my blood pressure and monitoring baby's heartbeat I was hooked up to the drip to start the contractions off at 10.30am. It was a low dose to begin with so the contractions started quickly but  were mild and caused me no problems.

Claire was great at keeping me moving, something I didn't do at all with Leo. We walked up and down the ward corridor chatting about all kinds of random stuff while I kept tangling myself up with my drip!  She had me bouncing on the birth ball and doing squats, all things I wouldn't have been doing without her encouragement. The midwives were great at letting me keep moving, something they are not generally known for after induction, and they only popped in now and again just to monitor me.

I had been told no food or drink, something guaranteed to upset me in any circumstances but Claire smuggled me sips of water, snack-a-jacks and fruit polos every time they turned their backs  - a complete lifesaver for m…

My birth story - Part one

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Loukas is now 6 weeks old and I've finally finished writing my birth story - it's quite long so I've split it into several posts, the rest will be coming up over the next few days.

Although I didn't have a terrible birth with Leo it wasn't the best fun I'd ever had (you can read the story here)   12 hours of labour with gas & air, pethidine  ventouse delivery followed by stitches. I felt like I'd been run over by a truck afterwards and was very uncomfortable for weeks.

My second birth was very different, It's taken me an age to write but here is my story, I tried (and failed) to keep it short and sweet so will split it into several posts just in case I accidentally break the interweb or something!

I was very nervous at first about giving birth again, especially as I was to be doing it here in Cyprus. I'd heard that they don't really 'do' pain relief - no gas and air, no mentions of epidural (although the thought of those make me feel…

Silent Sunday

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A 'dinosaur sensation' - Flashback Friday

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Last year Leo and I went to the 3rd birthday party of my friend's daughter at our local soft play place.  As part of the party package the kids had a visit from Barney the Dinosaur.  I wondered how Leo would react to him,  he watched Barney regularly on TV (I can't stand the annoying purple thing myself but there is little else on Arabic TV!)  but I thought it might scare him in real life.

As Barney entered I picked Leo up and said 'Look Leo, look who's here?' 
'BARNEY' he said,  'It's Barney come off the tele!'
I asked him if he wanted to go over and see him and he nodded at me, eyes wide with amazement.
At this point most of the other children were trying to get away from him, and were either crying or hiding behind their parents. I slowly walked over with Leo and Barney gave him a wave, Leo didn't wave back but instead held his hand out to give him a 'High five'.  A few of the other children had a cuddle from him, I thought that L…

First week weigh in

Each week along with my weigh in post I'll be sharing some aspect of my current or previous Slimming World journey, recipes, tips or just my random thoughts about it. Hopefully it might be of interest to some of you, but if nothing else it will help me stay on track! 

It's the end of the first week of being back on the Slimming World plan.   It's been good to get back on it and I've enjoyed starting to get back in the swing of things.  I've had a good week and stuck to the plan all week (with the one exception of sharing a pizza with Leo at the pool on the weekend, but I used that as my only syns of the day)

So, how did I do?

I lost 4 lb - a very good start I think!
First time round my goal was to aim for a 2 lb a week loss, and to my surprise I pretty much managed it throughout the first year.  Sometimes it was 1 lb and sometimes I stayed the same and but I didn't have too many gains,  and when I did I always knew why so it didn't bother me too much.    Lo…

How my fitness levels changed

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Today I dug out my great collection of fitness DVDs, they've been gathering dust for quite a while now due to pregnancy, the heat and general laziness!  But believe it or not most of them have been very well used in their time.  Before I amassed this collection exercise was not a word in my vocabulary, growing up I hated sport (unless it was an excuse to go out drinking)

When I started Slimming World back in 2006 I was pleased to hear you didn't HAVE to exercise but it didn't take me long to realise that it would make a huge difference to my weight loss and that I would actually start to get fit for probably the first time in my life!

My first purchase was the Ministry of Sound Pump it Up DVD, I loved the music and thought it would be fun - but I nearly died when I tried to do it, It was impossible, I couldn't breathe and couldn't get anywhere close to what they were doing on screen. I dismissed it as gimmicky and thought them just an excuse to get fit girls in ti…

Birth in Cyprus - C-section's and Private clinics

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Some of the concerns I had about giving birth here in Cyprus were the things I had heard about their eagerness to do caesarean births and the 'whole Doctor knows best attitude with no discussion available. Since hearing from many women it seems that this is not always the case, but can happen, as this story from Veronica shows,  my last post in the 'Birth in Cyprus' series .....


I am a foreigner like you and had very similar concerns to yourself about giving birth in Cyprus not so long ago; I thought I will share my experience. 
I gave birth to 2 children (they are 2 and 4 now), at the same private clinic (Maternity center in Nicosia). Both were natural, though my husband and I went through quite some trouble looking for a doctor who would agree with an idea of natural birth. In fact, the very first doctor we've met was insisting on a caesarean. I did have some complications in my pregnancy, but after a thorough research we found that cesarean is actually not recommended…

Bambino Mio Cloth Nappies - Review

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While I was pregnant with Louka I received a set of cloth nappies from Bambino Mio to review. I'd never used cloth before and was slightly apprehensive about it to be honest, especially once I'd remembered how bad newborn poops are!

The nappies I am using are the Bambino Mio two piece nappy system.   Here's what they say about them...


Our award winning cotton nappies are designed to provide maximum absorbency and comfort for your baby. made using a three panel construction with 6-8 layers of cotton (size 1 nappy has 6 layers, size 2 nappies have 8 layers) in the centre and 4 layers of cotton in the outer panels can be foldedin various ways to suit the individual needs of baby made from tightly woven 100% cotton long lasting and can often be used on subsequent children
I finally plucked up the courage last week to try them out.... and I'm not entirely sure now what I was so sacred of!

Louka looked ever so cute in the nappy - whatever your views on disposable vs cloth, you c…

Marching for Cyprus Independence Day

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Leo has been at his new 'Big school' for 3 weeks already, he's enjoying it and is now going off each morning without a fuss which is brilliant! Each day when I pick him up he's so pleased to see me but comes out happy and full of beans telling me all about his day.

I've been making sure when I collect him that I'm not late, but also trying not to be too early (I am usually too early for most things!) as I didn't want him to expect me to be the first Mum in each day. This usually means I am sat in the car for a while or I sneak into the school and try and catch a glimpse of him before he sees me.   It amazes me each time I do to see him in this new environment getting on with it and looking so grown up.

On Friday as I pulled up in the car I could see all the children in the playground which was different to usual. I realised that they were all marching with the teachers who were also banging drums and singing.  Each child was waving a Cypriot flag they had …