Sunday, 28 April 2013

An 'Amazing' Day Out at CyHerbia

Today we had a brilliant, 'amaze-ing' in fact day out at CyHerbia Organic Herb Gardens in Avgorou.. I'd only recently found out about the place via facebook and today they had an Easter Egg hunt in the maze.

CyHerbia has 9 themed herb gardens, woodland and Cyprus' only elevated hedge maze. It has a distillation room which although we didn't see today demonstrates the process of essential oil distillation and a tea room where you can sample the herbal teas and see the many herbs, and herbal products available for sale.

Great Cyprus Family attraction

Today was a special Easter event (no, they are not late with it, we celebrate Orthodox Easter here in Cyprus so Easter weekend is next week!) and for €2 per child you could take part in an egg hunt in the maze, 'I-spy' in the herb gardens as well as some sheets to complete finding other things in the maze and spotting the Easter bunnies hiding in the gardens.

I think I may have been even more excited about this than Leo, not just for the event itself but for finding a well priced family attraction here in Cyprus. One thing that I do miss from the UK is the things to do that do not involve beaches, pools or pubs! So often we go to family events  and almost without exception I've been slightly disappointed, or at least full of things they could do to improve them, I know - I'm a hard person to please when it comes to stuff like this!

The event was advertised on facebook, and advertised well (first thing that impressed me! - there's not much that annoys me more than companies here which do not use facebook well, its not hard and its free!)   In fact I think it may have been advertised a little too well as I think they were surprised at the turn out of people!

We arrived early figuring that it would get busy,  so we (myself and my friend and her son) were into the maze not long after 10am. The boys were excited and set off eagerly to find 10 eggs each. Luckily my Mum was with us too as Louka was not impressed about being in the buggy so I ended up carrying him while she pushed the buggy.

Easter egg hunt Cyprus
I loved the maze (I'm such a big kid!) although it's not something I'd fancy doing much later in the season as it was very hot in there, I was actually organised today though and for once we were all wearing suncream, hats and had water, well I might not have had a hat but you can't have everything!

After the maze we stopped at the tea room for our free herbal tea, I wasn't expecting to like it as I've never liked any before but never one to turn down a freebie I gave it a go and was pleasantly surprised, even Leo drank most of his!

Feeling refreshed we headed out with our clipboards to the herb gardens for our 'I spy' game.  The boys were not very observant although once we pointed out the things we were looking for they then took all the credit!  The bunnies were well hidden though and I ended up cheating and asking a passing older child for the last name as our boys were getting tired.

The herb gardens are very well laid out and the boys enjoyed running round all the windy paths and asking us  to read all the signs telling you what all the plants were.

We stopped for a well earned lunch,  the menu is simple but in keeping with the attraction. Although they were very obviously overwhelmed by the amount of people there the lady in charge was lovely (and much calmer than I would have been!) They apologized for the delay, and the fact they had run out of some things and although we did wait quite a while it was not a problem as the boys were happy running about in the garden and playing games at the table.

The food was good when it arrived, and when we came to pay they knocked a little off the bill as an apology for the delay - lovely bit of customer service in my book!

After lunch we went for another trip round the maze, this time without the egg hunting to find the viewing platform we'd missed the first time. Using Aaron's theory of following only one wall so as not to get lost we were not in there as long this time round, good job really as we were all very hot and tired by now!

All in all, it was a fab day and we're certainly be going back another time.

By the way, this post is not sponsored in anyway - Cyprus hasn't got that idea yet ;)   I just thoroughly enjoyed our day and wanted to spread the word!

Saturday, 27 April 2013

365 Project - week 17

Leo's current favourite thing is wii sports, and annoyingly is better than me at mot of it!

My favourite photo of the week!

Tuesday we went to a St George's Day celebration at a local pub/ hotel, they had a bouncy castle but Leo and his friend also went in the pool for the first time this year, this is Louka watching from a nearby sunbed.

Louka tries broccoli, sweet potato and chicken and rice for the first time and I also get Leo eating it too after making a chart to go on the fridge - each boy gets a star for trying a new food.  As Leo doesn't like to lose he has to try as much stuff as Louka does, which obviously works to my advantage as Louka will eat anything still... vegetables, plants,  magazines, anything he can pick up really!

Getting ready to go to my Greek lesson and my Mum comes up to babysit, she gets roped into board games and tries to learn Leo's rules which change all the time!

Louka now wriggles off the playmat and prefers to get under it!

Not a particularly exciting photo I know, but I took this when I gave up trying to get Louka back to sleep and then completely forgot to take any other photos for the rest of the day - the other option was going to be a photo of my dinner as the kids are in bed now!

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Friday, 26 April 2013

Flashback Friday - one year later

Last year Aaron started work in Easy Riders hire shop in Agia Napa, as they are only open during the summer season they work very long hours and so I often took Leo down to see his Dad during the day. He loved sitting on all the quads although always made Aaron promise not to start them as he didn't like the noise.
Moped and quad hire Agia Napa Easy Riders

Last week I took both the boys down to see him and Leo couldn't wait to get on the quads again.

This year however he is much braver and actually wanted to go out on one!  He was very happy that Daddy took him up the road and back and he loved every second.   Louka was in a very wriggly mood so I didn't get round to getting his photo taken on one but I'm sure I will next time.


Wednesday, 24 April 2013

The Many Faces of Leo - an update

Two years ago I published a blog post 'The many faces of Leo' where I had a series of photos of him pulling different faces for me, so when I saw this weeks Gallery theme was expressions it was the first thing that came to mind.

I showed him the original photos and the blog post and explained that I wanted to write a new one and he was very happy to oblige, although he had to choose the faces he made this time!

Saturday, 20 April 2013

365 Project - Week 16

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Another trip to the park

Leo does love 'the park with the statue' and we often go there either on our own or with a group of us. a couple of weeks ago I left Louka with Aaron and took Leo on my own for an hour or so.

He paid more attention than usual to the water pumping displays and I had to figure out how they all would have worked to explain them all to him - it's a shame they don't have some information boards next to them as that would have made it much easier.

As usual we also collected pine cones for Nana, she asked him a while ago to see if he could find some for her, soon I think she won't be able to move for the amount he's been giving her!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Thursday, 18 April 2013

The Gallery - Youth

I burn my candle at both ends, 

It will not last the night. 
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends, 
It gives a lovely light.

My Dad grew up with his Dad telling him not to 'burn the candle at both ends' and he often said it to me too. Although I quite like the quote now at the time it drove me mad! Then I thought it a load of rubbish and decided that I'd rather pour petrol on the bloody candle and have a huge flame - that sounded much more fun!

The thing is, a youthful candle is much longer lasting!

This is one of my all time favourite photos of me, although my Mum hated it! It was taken in 1994 in Minorca on my last holiday with my parents. I loved that dress although I didn't ever have the confidence to wear it anywhere other than on holiday. Not sure why looking at the photo, I wish I'd realised I was that slim at the time!

Once upon a time I could drink, party and stay up late and still get up for work in the morning, nowadays I blame the kids for my inability to do that but even before their arrival the hangovers were getting longer and the nights were (sometimes) getting earlier.  I still refuse to blame it on the 'blazing candle' though - I refuse to admit that he may have been right.... although I reserve the right to repeat the phrase to Leo and Louka when they are out partying in Agia Napa all night!

TheGallery flashbackbadge1

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Celebrating 'Leonidas Day'

Name days are not something I had heard of before moving to Cyprus but as I love any excuse to celebrate I thought it best to try and embrace the local tradition!

The custom originated with the Greek Orthodox calendar of Saints and people named after a particular saint would celebrate on that day. Traditionally children will celebrate both their birthday and name day equally, with some differences but as they get older they tend to just focus on one.  (according to Wikipedia anyway!) 

In previous years Leo has had no idea of it being his name day as he was too young too understand, even birthdays were not really understood, but this year I knew he would appreciate it more. At school he often receives a small chocolate or sweet from various children as they take them to hand out on their respective days.   Leo was very excited to take in a bag of mini chocolate bars to hand out to his teachers and friends, and even more pleased to get two of them himself!

When he arrived at school all the teachers came up to him and hugged and kissed him, and he tells me that later on the class sang him a special song. He was beaming when I collected him having really enjoyed his special day.   I'm pleased that we have given both of our sons Greek names and they can have their own celebration like all their friends.

As my Mum loves making cards she continued her tradition of making him one for his name day and this years was great, I gave it to his with his breakfast.

Thomas the tank engine greeting card
He was really pleased when he opened it, and excited that his Thomas was 'chuffing his name'. Then, after seeing his picture was confused as to when Nana had taken a photo of him driving Thomas!   He then was a little sad as he wanted to actually go and drive Thomas and I tried to explain that Thomas wasn't real - backtracking slightly after seeing his hurt face,  Thomas is magic and lives on the Island of Sodor which is why we can't actually go on him.   After telling him it was time for school, he replied 'But I don't want to go to school, I want to go to the island of Sodor'     Luckily he soon forgot about that as he remembered the chocolates he was taking!

Leonidas name day

After school we went for a 'Name Day' picnic in the park with some friends, including my friend Pennie and her son who is also called Leonidas.   Leo and I had made some cakes the day before decorated with 'L's and proudly gave them out to the other kids, well after I had explained they were not just for the kids whose names started with L!

Unfortunately it was really windy and quite chilly in the park, not that the kids seemed to mind and we didn't stay as long as we normally would but it was still a nice afternoon, although I managed not to take a single photo!

I love marking the occasion and it proves that it's not all about presents as Leo enjoyed the whole day for being special, and asked 'when will it be my name day again Mama?' 

Sunday, 14 April 2013

The Silly Season begins...

This month sees the start of the so called 'Silly Season' here in Cyprus, the tourist areas are waking up after the winter shut down.  Protaras, which almost completely closes during winter has opened again and pretty much everything in Agia Napa is open again for the summer.

Last week Aaron started work again and all of a sudden we have a big change upon us. Last year was his first season and I was worried about coping through the summer with Leo and my ever growing baby bump, not to mention the arrival of said baby bump and the first couple of months with dealing with two children.  Once the season gets underway he has to work 7 days a week, often in the height of summer for up to 12 hours a day, and he got just one day off when Louka was born. It was a long old summer!

The flipside of such horrible hours is of course the fact he gets five months off in winter and it was a very welcome break, we were both exhausted and Aaron was happy to finally get time to spend with his boys, and get to know Louka properly. 

It was a fairly quiet and not always easy as we tried to get used to being a family of four, but we had some lovely days and it was great having him around all the time. 

We had a great Christmas, and really enjoyed the run up to it as well - well I did anyway!  We had several days out, and a visit from Aaron's Mum and nephews which was great as we'd not seen them for almost 3 years. 

There were plenty of walks and we even got round to taking a trip to see the snow in the mountains which I have wanted to do every year since we arrives. I often took Leo out on his own so we could do things together which would have been much harder struggling with a buggy and Louka.  

It wasn't all about the boys though, we had a night out with our friends for the Daxi business awards and I went to England for four days all on my own, which was brilliant! I also started Greek lessons which I would not have been able to do so easily without Aaron being at home. 

I'd been trying not to think too much about his return to work as I was not looking forward to it at all. I am worried about how I will cope with the boys, my parents are an amazing help but its not the same as being able to just pop to the shop or go for a nap without feeling guilty and wondering if you need that 'babysitting favour at a more important time!

It's so tiring, for both of us and almost impossible not to play the 'who's more tired game'  Aaron always says, its not a competition (I reckon, because if it was I'd win!) but its hard on both of us just in different ways. 

I'm also sad, sad that that little period of our lives is over, the winter of spending time with our last baby and our funny three old. Sad that the Leo will miss his Daddy and not really be able to spend any length of time with him for 7 months, sad that he will miss both the boys birthdays and his own 40th and sad that Aaron and I will not get to spend much time together either due to the stupidly early time I end up having to go to bed.

I promise though that I will try to get on with it and stop bloody moaning! I know I am lucky for many things and there are plenty of people a lot worse off than me.  I'm sure I will get into a routine of sorts and if I stop feeling sorry for myself (and for Aaron - for having to work so hard) then the boys and I will have a great summer and we won't just survive we'll actually have fun too!

Saturday, 13 April 2013

365 Project - Week 15

I only turned round for a moment and Louka had dragged himself under the table (he doesn't crawl, just somehow wriggles along, and generally only backwards!) 

Then there was trouble!  Now Louka is moving about he keeps grabbing Leo's things, this is not going down well, especially when he removes bits of track!

On Tuesday I had my first parent's morning at school. He's doing so well and I'm so proud of how well he is coping with the second language.

After telling Leo how proud of him I was doing so well at school and with his Greek he decided he wanted to help me learn too so he got his puzzle out and started teaching me!

A rare moment of Louka sitting upright, propped up with cushions. He usually throws himself about as he prefers to be held standing up, which is really hard work on your arms!

Revision for today's Greek exam!

I believe this look says 'Don't take photos of me eating just because you've realised it's getting late and you haven't taken one today yet!

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

It's not all Greek to him!

If you've been reading my blog a while you will no doubt remember how worried I was about sending Leo to school, from trying to work out where to send him, and how to enroll to his first day at his 'big school'  it's been quite a concern of mine.  Although he seems to have enjoying his time at his school since September I had wondered exactly how he had been getting on, he always says he doesn't remember when you ask him what he's been doing and because of the language barrier he often can't explain very well even when he does remember!

Today the parents were invited to spend an hour in the class and then to enjoy coffee and cake whilst having a chat to the teachers about the children's progress.

It was interesting as my Greek is not yet good enough to understand what was going on very well but brilliant to see him there being so much a part of the class and happy.  As I walked in, he had the biggest smile on his face and after running over for a kiss he happily went back to his seat like he had been told to, although he kept looking over at me with a beaming smile and telling everyone in Greek 'Look, there's my Mama'

I had hoped to get a sneaky photo or two whilst I was there, forgetting this is Cyprus and you can do what you like!  Every parent in the room was busy capturing the moment on video, phone or camera.

The teacher spoke for a while, from what I can gather they are learning about Spring at the moment and butterflies, bees and flowers (among other things but that's as much as I could pick out!)   The children were asked questions and although I had no idea what was being said I was so proud to see Leo put his hand up to answer several times.

The only sad bit for me was when they were 'testing' the parents and asking them the questions, after a few others had answered Leo called over to me 'Put your hand up Mama, like this when you know the answer', obviously I couldn't answer any and he looked at me with such a hopeful expression each time!  That's all the encouragement I need to carry on learning the language though.

The best bit for me was seeing him join in with the singing, in his first week at his old school I watched him sat in the class while they all sang a song, he was the only one not joining in then and I'd felt so sorry for him not understanding what was being said in what I'm sure was a very popular song for children. It stuck with me for ages afterwards and I often wondered how hard it must be to be the only English one in the class.

Today though, he really did us proud - singing his little heart out with the rest of them!

After the singing we got to sit with our child to see their work and join in with them, it was a real pleasure to hear him talking away to the other children and even their parents as if he'd been speaking Greek all his life. At one point another parent spoke to me and as I hesitated trying to understand and answer Leo told them, in Greek that 'Mama doesn't speak Greek, she is only learning'  They then asked if he learnt from my husband, when I told them just from school they were very surprised. The teacher spoke to me afterwards and told me that Leo is very good, very clever and also kind, she is very happy with him.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

365 Project - Week 13 & 14

Last week I didn't get a chance to post my photos and I missed the linky for the first time but I still managed a photo a day!

It was my Mum's birthday last week hence the homemade card and cake from Leo and myself.

Louka has now mastered getting about in his baby walker, including an obsession with trying to get into Leo's bedroom.  Leo is not impressed about this new development and I found him sitting on his stool in the doorway blocking Louka's entrance!

Louka has almost got his first tooth, not that there is a chance of him showing anyone so certainly no photo!  Despite many sleepless nights (nothing new there then from him!) he's still been his very smiley happy self during the day.

This week I got my 1 stone award at Slimming world, we've been exploring our local park again, Leo has been bowling for the first time and today Leo and I had our first proper beach trip of the year - blog posts to follow when I catch up with myself!

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

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