Friday, 18 July 2014

Schools out for Summer

As we are already 6 weeks into the summer holidays this post is a little late but we've been busy with an unexpected visitor, birthdays and plently of swimming!

The schools in Cyprus break up mid June and the long holiday runs until the second week of September.   This September Leo will start his compulsory year of Prodimodiki (pre-primary school), he will be in the same school as the last two years although possibly in a different class as he completed one year of kindergarten there and an optional year of Prodimodiki already.

Leo has done well at school this year, improving on his Greek and coping with the change of class and teacher with no problems. As the only child with two English parents (and therefore having no real exposure to the Greek language out of school) I think he's done pretty well mixing with the rest of the class, there are just a couple of other children who speak English as well as Greek in his class but he plays with most of the other switching between the languages without much problem.

At the start of the year he became best of friends with a boy called Alex (English Mum, Cypriot father) and they have been inseparable all year.  Every day at home time they would run together to the end of the road and back, causing his Mum and I to stand there for ages trying to coax them into the car!

Unfortunately Alex is slightly older and therefore will be moving to the next school this September meaning Leo was devastated to be losing his best friend, I'd never seen him so upset as he was at the end of term and there be nothing I could do about it.

Leo ended the year with a fantastic performance in his school play with Alex as a clown (a great bit of casting for the terrible twosome!) and enjoyed a final week of fun and games, including a trip to the local fire station and soft play centre.

The last day of term was a party day, all the children took food - sweets, cakes, biscuits and crisps and had a fun morning of games and dancing.  I loved the excitement in the air at home time (could have just been all the sugar!) when they all came out clutching bags of work and paintings along with presents from the teacher and a certificate.

Leo is now loving the school holidays and saying he doesn't like school and wants to stay on holiday forever but we have a few more weeks of freedom before having to reign him in again for the start of the next school year.   Luckily here in Cyprus summer doesn't end when school starts, and we'll have plenty more beach and pool afternoons left before the season ends!

Linking up to Flashback Friday

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

'Half Syn' Roulade - Slimming World Cake

Yes, you did read that right it's a 'half a syn' cake, and not only that, its really nice!

Over the years of Slimming World I've tried many different dessert recipies and I've always been hard pushed to find a good one.   I find they are either not that nice, or not worth the effort or the syns but since trying this at a taster session in the group I attend I've finally found the answer!

I'd put off making it for years, thinking it would be difficult but I've made it several times now and it's always turned out fine!

  • 4 medium eggs, seperated
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • Fat free Greek yoghurt
  • 3 tbsp of sweetener (level not heaped)
  • Raspberries (or any other Syn free fruit)
  1. Add yoghurt, sweetener, vanilla essence & baking powder to the egg yolks
  2. Whisk until creamy and put to one side
  3. Take the egg whites and whisk until stiff
  4. Add half of the egg whites to the egg yolk mixture and stir in gently
  5. Then fold the other half of the eggs whites into the mixture
  6. Take an oven tray, line line with grease proof paper and spray with plenty of fry light to avoid the cake sticking to the paper
  7. Pour the mixture on the tray/paper
  8. Bake for 10 minutes until golden brown 180c (it doesn't take very long to bake so keep an eye on it)
  9. Whilst warm gently peel the paper from the cake and then leave to cool
  10. Once cooled, use a big knife to gently remove the cake from paper
  11. While cooling take the remainder of the yoghurt and add sweetener to taste
  12. Spread the yoghurt onto the (now cooled) cake and add whichever fruit you are using
  13. Then gently roll the cake up into a roll (like a swiss roll)
  14. Cut into 4-6 pieces - or eat the whole cake yourself for just ½ a Syn!
Easy Slimming world cake

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Messing about with 'Gloop'

It appears I've accidentally scared my children and given them a dislike of being messy, although you'd never believe it if you saw the state of my floor most days!

Although it was never my intention, messy play has never been something that I consider fun and as I realized the boys may be starting to agree with me I decided to get over myself and re-do an activity (one that was messy, but also fairly easy to clean up!)  that I first did with Leo almost three years ago

It didn't go brilliantly all those years ago but I thought it would be different this time, and it was just not at first!

Cornflour and water mixed together becomes a non-newtonian liquid - in other words a liquid which acts like a solid when you hit it. 

Cornflour gloop (a much better name for it when you are one or five!)  is so easy to make, in fact I didn't even make it. I measured the flour into two tubs and added a little colouring to the water and handed over to the boys. 

You need: two cups of cornflour and one cup of water coloured with a little food colouring. I split mine into two and added a different colour to each.

Louka looked on with interest as Leo asked if he could put his hand in the flour, probably not the first question a child should ask when presented with a messy activity.

He then immediately wanted to wash his hands!   Why is he not that bothered when making a cake or eating his dinner?!

They eventually got into it, pouring the coloured water in and mixing the gloop together with their hands. Louka was unsure at first but was laughing at Leo and saying 'yucks'

Leo wasn't entirely enthusiastic and didn't really like the feel of it as it run through his hands but was very interested in it and enjoyed watching me do it, which was kind of missing the point but kept him happy! He did however enjoy putting it all up my legs which I smiled at through gritted teeth so as not to put him off!  

Eventually the colours got mixed together with Leo guessing correctly that it would turn purple, and Louka excitedly shouting 'urple' as it changed.

Leo soon got bored and wandered away but with the addition of a small spatula and toy frying pan Louka sat there scooping and pouring for ages. It was fascinating to watch him with such a serious look on his face.

All in all, it was a success and I'll certainly be on the look out for more ideas, especially while it's still warm and we can do them outside wearing minimal clothing!

Monday, 7 July 2014

Personalised in Cyprus - product review

Leo's party theme this year was the subject of much debate between him and I, originally going to be 'Superheroes' and then eventually (after a quick peek on pinterest!) became Lego. 

With a bit of teamwork going on, Aaron and I came up with a brilliant Lego Party for him and he enjoyed every second of it, playing with his friends and receiving some lovely presents. 

One of his favourties was his very own 'Leo / Lego' superhero t-shirt from Personalised in Cyprus 

Like on the invitations Aaron made using the Lego font for his name and featuring one of his favourite superheroes, it was always going to be a winner with him.  Leo is most impressed that Leo is Lego without the G!

We were already fans of Personalised in Cyprus since receiving two of their products for review by the Famagusta Parents Network and it was the first place I thought of for presents from the boys and I for my Dad when Father's Day and his birthday approached.

A metal 'dogtag' keyring, with a message from the boys on the back, and a drinks coaster went down a treat with my scrabble loving Dad.

Each time I've used Personalised in Cyprus, I've found them to be helpful (especially as I never know what I actually want!) and the turn around on the products is very fast, not that means you should wait until 2 days before you need them of course when you were aware of the event coming up for weeks  *ahem*

Personlised in Cyprus are located in Pernera, but will deliver island wide via AKIS express
They sell a huge range of products from mugs, to mousemats, drinks bottles, iphone covers, money boxes, cushion covers, bags and loads more,  in fact they can print pretty much anything on anything!

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Interview with a 5 year old

I've been a little behind on keeping this little blog of mine updated and my little man has been 5 for several weeks now without me posting his yearly interview!

Its a couple of weeks old now so knowing him the answers would be different even now, in fact I did video him twice as the first one was a bit of a disaster with him not really paying attention and Louka causing even more chaos than usual. 

After watching the lovely calm videos from my fellow bloggers The Boy and Me, Lauren and Jenny, I did think about retrying it without Louka in the background, but then I realised it was quite a good representation of this point in time and decided to go with it!

I realise I sound distracted, which is due to trying to work out how to keep Louka quiet - I must point out he wasn't crying because he was hurt, he was just being stroppy and he was trying to give Leo a kiss, he just tends to over react!  I also have no idea what Leo was singing in Greek, so if you speak Greek and it was rude I can only apologize!

Note to self, must try harder next year!

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Remembering a younger me....

After promising to get back to blogging basics what better timing to join in with the Gallery for the first time in goodness knows how long, with the perfect prompt for the moment 'A younger me'

Last week I had the surprise of my life when Aaron came home late Sunday night with my friend of 33 years!  I last saw her on my very short trip to England in February 2013 and the other time I went to the UK in August 2010. I constantly badger her to stay in contact via skype but hadn't thought for a second she would be able to actually come and visit, with family, work and voluntary commitments, plus the cost of flights, and the fact that she'd never traveled before, I always thought it was a far off possibility.

Let me share with you, the younger 'us'

From pre-school, to primary, secondary and then (briefly) college we did it all together.

Five children between us, with her eldest and my youngest having almost a 17 year old age gap, makes no difference, a initial move to the other side of the country 15 years ago made no difference, other than the ability to walk up the road to let myself in her house.

Moving 2000 miles away, kind of made a difference. for the first time in our lives we are not just a car drive away, but it turns out it still makes no difference when we actually get together.....

A night without the kids, a bucketload of beers and a bit of karaoke and plenty of dancing, and all of a sudden we're 18 again!

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Going back to my roots

There's no passports or plane tickets involved, I'm not going back to those roots but I am planning to get back to where I started back in the blog world and revitalize this poor neglected blog of mine!

Back in September 2009 I started my blog on a whim with my first post 'Do you want to move to Cyprus?'  and a few more surprisingly short posts following it up, Our first trip to Cyprus 'What if?, and 'Not long to go'  I think they were probably so short as I didn't really expect anyone to read them!   Another thing then on my ever increasing 'to do' list, I'd love to have a more detailed account of the biggest thing I've ever done, especially why it's still recent (ish) enough to remember it!

There was a big break from November until January when I announced we were 'All settled (pretty much)'  and it wasn't until the May of that year that I managed more than 2 posts in one month.  At that point I was yet to 'get' blogging.  Most posts had no photos, tags or all the other things that come naturally to me now and I didn't give it a moments thought. 

I didn't realise it would come to be such a big part of my life in more ways than one and I had no idea that it could lead anywhere else,  I just ambled along, chucking up a post here and there as and when I felt like it. 

Onwards and upwards we went until 2012 with not far off 300 posts in 2011 and 2012, it was never a chore (well almost never!) and I enjoyed being a part of the community and taking part in various blog link ups.

With the arrival of Louka the entries began to slow down as I seemed to spend most of my time getting him to sleep, or stay asleep and the other times it seemed my brain had turned to mush. 

It started to become a struggle to post, the ideas were not coming as easily and I suddenly had to think about it for the first time. It was still my baby though and never far from my mind, always on the look out for a good post, although by now I'd discovered pinterest as time wasting rival to facebook!

Earlier this year saw the start of a new project for me, something that had been bubbling away as an idea for several years. In February I launched my new website the Famagusta Parents Network along with the associated social media presence us bloggers love need!  

Along with setting up the website, and very quickly going self-hosted AND trying to figure out wordpress for the first time, I had an absolute ball arranging the first FPN family fun day, something I'd had no prior experience in doing. Although I've loved (almost) every minute sourcing information for the new site, starting to offer advertising and running the facebook group and page it has meant that my 'big baby' my original blog has been left by the wayside.

I miss it though, and I miss the interaction with the blogging community- as every blogger knows - only bloggers comment on blogs (oh, and Mums!) 

I started my blog as a companion to our new life in Cyprus, initially as a kind of diary of our move and it gradually turned into a series of snapshots of our life with growing children. Looking back I see so many good memories captured on these pages and I'd hate to look back in the years to come and regret not keeping it up.

After a week off 'work'  when my one of my oldest friend came for a surprise visit (I'd say offline but we know that would never willingly happen!) it's time to find a balance between the two sites,  that and learning Greek, making at least a vague attempt to exercise, cook decent meals,and what was the other thing???   Oh yes, look after the boys and talk to my hubby!

So,  what is the answer?
Fellow bloggers, how do you manage it all?

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