Thursday, 31 October 2013

Reasons to be cheerful - Winter has arrived

Reasons to be cheerful?

Yep....... right here....

Last Saturday Aaron finished work as the boss suddenly appeared and told him it was time to close (no warning, we'd been trying to guess when it would be!)  The boys and I had been at a party and came home to find Aaron on the balcony, with a scotch and coke and a big smile on his face.

We made it through the summer!

My 'job' was easier (and yet often harder) than Aaron's job, both 7 days a week with no breaks.   (although to be fair, I probably managed a few!)  and the pay was rubbish for both but we powered on through the season and have just about come out of it unscathed - nothing that a whole lot of sleep won't cure. 

Seven months ago this day seemed so very far away, and it was, Aaron has missed a second summer of the boys mainly catching up on our adventures from photos on facebook whilst working his socks off 10 hours a day, 7 days a week, no lunch break,   (well he did get an hour off on Leo's birthday) for almost 200 days straight..... 

Not only am I cheerful that he is home, I am so grateful that he would do that for us.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Spooky day out at Cyherbia

Back in April we had a great day out at Cyherbia when they held an Easter egg hunt in the maze so I was quite excited when they started advertising a Halloween event for last weekend.

We went on the Sunday, getting there just after 10am in anticipation of the crowds the event was inevitably going to attract.

The entrance fee was €6 for adults and children with under 3's going free and included games, a cup of witches brew and a lucky dip prize for each child.

On entrance each child was given a clipboard with various things to do during the day, in the 'haunted maze' there was the Mystery of the Clocks - you had to find the hidden clocks in the maze and decipher the code.

Leo loves the maze so we went straight in, him taking the lead and excitedly searching for the clocks. There were several actors dressed up wandering around which I had been worried might scare him but he didn't actually notice them. My friend had her 2 year old girl with her and we were worried she would be scared so we headed away from them and asked one zombie to leave us alone - not breaking character she turned and ambled away without her noticing which I thought was great!

In the herb gardens there were spooky creatures hidden and tombstones dotted around the paths. Great fun for the kids to run around searching for everything, and you can see them wherever they go so even the little ones have the freedom to run. Louka really enjoyed it as I used his toddler reins for the first time and he walked everywhere!

Back in the tea rooms were several games included in the entrance price - apple bobbing, broomstick racing, and a 'ball toss' and bat game. There was also face painting, the free witches brew and Halloween themed snacks available.

All in all it was a fab day, brilliant for the family - spooky rather than scary and well organised.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Friday, 25 October 2013

Banbao Building blocks review and giveaway (Cyprus Only)

Recently at a Kids Fun Day held at a local Garden Centre we discovered Banbao bricks. They had a display of some of their sets to buy but also a table set up with various sets for the children to play with. Leo was really taken by them and did well putting them together considering he has only owned big 'Mega Blocks' before. He was fascinated by the Double Bus set.

I was really impressed with the range of sets on offer, and more importantly (especially for Cyprus!) was impressed at the prices. 

They range in price from just €1.25 making them ideal for presents or even an occasional treat, so I didn't mind when Leo asked to put them on his 'note for Santa'.

After meeting with them we were given the chance to review one of their top selling items, the Banbao Invincibility Car Racer.

Leo was very excited to go and collect it from 'Garden Plus' (one of the sales outlets for Banbao) but obviously came to the conclusion that it was a 'Daddy activity' as he wanted to wait until the evening to build it when Aaron got home from work!

With 182 pieces and priced at €5 it's certainly good value for money. 

The construction started well, with Aaron showing Leo the instructions and Leo sorting through the pieces to find the bits they needed, although it soon turned out that Leo couldn't really get the pieces together (he seems to have inherited his patience from me and gives up very quickly with 'crafty/ building type things!) 

They powered on through as even though Aaron was building he still loved helping and was over the moon with his finished car.

The added bonus is the fact that the Banbao race cars have a pull back action so they do actually race!
He even managed to crash it into the wall without complete collapse which I thought was impressive!

On asking Aaron's opinion he told me that he thought the recommended age of 4+  was maybe a bit optimistic as it was a very complicated vehicle, and he even struggled a little!

Leo (conveniently forgetting that Daddy built it) disagreed and said it was 'awesome'

I think that although it was too hard for Leo to build on his own it would be great for a slightly older child, but Leo loved 'building' it with Daddy so it was still a winner!

Banbao have kindly offered another one of their racing car sets, also from the Turbo Power series - the 108 piece Buggy Racer to giveaway to one lucky reader.

To enter just fill in the 'Rafflecopter' form below.

Sorry - CYPRUS entrants only please though.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Banbao products are available online at Grand eMALL and can be ordered online without having to pay in advance to collect from several locations in Cyprus.

You can find them also on Facebook  - Banbao Cyprus and see the full range of products at

Sunday, 20 October 2013

365 Project - week 42

285 - Leo loves 'Jake and the Neverland Pirates at the moment so when invited to a 'Pirates and Princesses' party I raided his wardrobe and came up with this creation, he loved it!
I also dressed Louka as 'Cubby' and myself as 'Izzy'!

286 - Colouring time

287 -  Not the best photo, but I realised it was the only one I took all day!

288 - Swingball - a bargain buy from the market and a whole lot of laughs as Leo kept getting hit in the side of the head with the ball, luckily he found it quite funny!

289 -  'Ammochostas Then and Now'  - a display by the children of Leo's school showing the city of Varosha which is closed off to everyone since the Turkish invasion in 1974

290 - One of those 'late night 'I forgot to take any photos' type photo today - my week old birthday balloons.

291 - "Ah yes, this is the one I was looking for" - I'm pleased that he love his books, but does he really have to take them ALL out every time!

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Thursday, 17 October 2013

365 Project - week 41

278 - Now the season is coming to an end and things are quieting down, Aaron took Leo to work with him so he could help out.  Leo had a brilliant day and helped wash all the vehicles and got to ride on them.

279 - Another gorgeous Cyprus sunrise, I just can't help but take a photo!

280 -  Not sure how this can be a comfortable position to watch tv in but Leo was like this for ages!

281 - Leo really likes my Mum's new rug!

282 - Feeding time!

283 - My birthday

284 - Admiring their plants which they planted a few weeks ago

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Monday, 7 October 2013

Big Mac and Fries - Slimming World style!

As much as I love 'good' food, there are times when you feel only a Mcdonalds will do, something that I obviously try and steer clear of when sticking to the Slimming World plan with a Big Mac being something like 3 days worth of syns alone!

I had heard of the 'Big Mac in a bowl idea doing the rounds online and in groups so thought I'd give it a try...

Big Mac in a bowl, slimming world style

You need - 

Extra lean mince beef
chopped onion
pickled gherkin, chopped into slices
3 slices extra light cheese slices cut into chunks (use your Healthy extra A choice for this)
Shredded iceberg lettuce
2 tbsp light thousand island dressing  (2 syns) 

Cook the mince and onion, add the gherkin and serve on a bed of shredded lettuce.  Place the cheese slices and thousand island dressing on top and you're done!

Slimming World chips are just as easy - 

Par boil the potatoes, 
Spray a baking tray with frylight, add the chips and spray again.
Cook at about 180c for approx 30 mins

The whole dinner is just 2 syns on extra easy  and is much more filling than a real Big Mac, plus you're not tempted to add milkshakes and apple pies to your order!

It even got the seal of approval from Aaron and that's always a very good sign for a SW dinner!

For ,more Slimming World recipes and my SW story see my Slimming World page.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

365 Project - week 40

272 - Taking Nana for a walk in the sea

273 - Leo's painting on the wall at school.  (The writing says 'I love school')

274 - Cooler and sometimes darker mornings now on the school run.  Leo actually asked to wear a coat today - never mind that the temperature was 30 degrees just an hour or so later!

275 - Louka was more interested in taking the crayons out of the pack and putting them back than doing any colouring!

276 - Painting a tree, we drew round his hand and arm and he painted that brown for the tree trunk.  I suggested the colours for the leaves and he wanted blue - I questioned the choice and he sighed and said 'Stop telling me what to do all the time'!   Blue leaves it was then!

277 - Not the best photo by far but  I love it as it was taken at our friends wedding. It's been a long time since Aaron and I have been out and it was lovely to see so many people we've not seen for ages.

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Slimming World - Staying at target

Way back in my early Slimming World days someone in my group reached their target and I heard someone say 'This is the hard bit now, staying there'. I've heard it said many times since and I always thought it a stupid statement,  how can staying the same weight (or maybe losing a 1lb or 2) be harder than losing 4 stone or whatever you had to lose to get there??

I hate to agree but I kind of see what they meant now!

I reached my target, (well a target, ideally I'd like it 1/2 stone lower) at the start of the summer.  I stopped going to group but somehow managed to stay within the target range (3lb above or below the actual target weight) for almost 10 weeks.

In the last couple of weeks before returning to group it all seemed to catch up with me and when I weighed last week I had put on 6lb, putting me 4lb over target. This gave me one week to lose at least 1lb or I would have to start paying to attend group again.

I left all determined and had a good few days of sticking to the plan like glue but lost the plot towards the end of the week. Somehow though despite a couple of meals out I still managed to lose 2lb putting me back in the 'safe zone'

Great - although I know I'm right on the edge and I don't like being at this top end with nothing to play with but why am I finding it so hard again!?

Image credit
Why is it that sometimes I can be on a real SW misson and find it so easy to stick to the plan 100% - I KNOW it works and I KNOW I could lose that extra 1/2 stone if I just did it but what is it that flips the switch in my head and gets me back on it?

I see what is meant when people say its hard at target, No it's not harder than losing a huge amount of weight but when I had a lot to lose I had my head in gear and ploughed on week after week,  when you take your eye of the goal I think I lose momentum and find it really hard to get back on it.

The temperature has dropped here and very soon cooler days will arrive and I know I will not yet fit into most of my winter clothes - is that not enough to motivate me again?

I need a big kick up the (slightly too large) backside!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The bright lights of Agia Napa and fun at the fair

Earlier this year Leo noticed Parko Palitso,  the Luna Park / Fun Fair in Agia Napa for the first time, and had been asking to go every time we drove by it for weeks now. It's taken him a while to ask, considering we've been there to the indoor soft play area several times, and he never seemed to notice all the rides we walked past to get there!

Having never taken him to a fun fair before I think I may have been almost as excited about it as he was! 

The park doesn't open until 6pm, including the soft play area - a fact which annoys me (especially the soft play bit!) but I guess holiday makers prefer to spend their days at the beach.

Entry to the park is free and you buy tokens or a wristband for the rides, which is handy if you have people in the group who don't intend to go on anything.  

The amount of tokens varies between the different rides from 1 token (for the small kiddy rides) to 4 tokens so the price can quickly mount up although the wristband (priced at €25) gives you unlimited goes on most of the rides.   I think the tokens were €1 each or €10 fo 12 tokens  - we decided to go for the wristband so we didn't have to worry about how many goes he wanted!

It was a bit disappointing that there are some rides the band isn't valid for, which could be a waste of money if they turned out to be the favourites, but on the upside you don't have to pay on most rides to go on with a child if they want / need an adult to ride with them.  My Dad and I managed to put the band on loosely enough that we could swap it between us too which meant we got away with just buying one!

Leo's favourite ride was the Caterpillar roller coaster, which I think we went on 8 times in total, it was great fun, especially sitting with him in the front car and watching him wave his arms in the air as we 'raced faster than Spencer' down the hill!

Caterpillar coaster Luna Park

My highlight was the big wheel, for the brilliant view of Agia Napa. It was a little nerve racking, especially the second time when it was just Leo and I, and we stopped for what seemed like forever at the top!

I've never been on a big wheel before and I was a little surprised to see no safety bar or cage, or anything to stop you falling over the edge if you stood up. I did wonder if UK health and safety would allow such a thing! Leo was moaning that I was holding onto his leg every time he moved but it was quite scary!

Agia Napa Luna park big wheel, Parko palitso
The bright lights of Napa!

Apart from the main rides, there are tons of coin operated machines which could add a whole lot more to the spending money but apart from a game of Air Hockey we steered Leo away from them.

A big plus point is the large indoor play area which is free, the usual soft play jungle with trampoline, slides and a large bouncy castle - it's just a shame you can't use it during the day.

For big kids - or more accurately mad people there is the famous Sling Shot.

Agia Napa sling shot

You couldn't pay me to have a go on it!  It's a landmark you can see for miles around but it's only when you get close to it (and listen to the screams of the nutters having a go) that you realise how terrifying it must be!

There's several other adult rides which thankfully I had to avoid due to being with Leo, although the 5D cinema looked like great fun - fact Dad and I wanted to have a go so much that we went back a couple of nights later on our own just to have a go!

5D cinema   Agia Napa Cyprus

All in all, a fab evening out, not a particularly cheap evening,e specially when you combine with the neighbouring Mcdonalds or the restaurant or many food places in the park but then when have funfairs ever been cheap!

Leo had an 'awesome' night out, proved by the fact he was still going at almost 11pm, he did fall asleep the second we got in the car though!

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