Monday, 27 October 2014

Halloween in Wonderland

After the success of last years Halloween event at Cyherbia Maze and Herb Gardens I was really excited about this year's offering.... yes I know it's for the kids really but I'm just a big kid at heart!

Keeping it fresh, and offering something different for this year the theme was 'Halloween in Wonderland'. Inviting everyone to 'jump down the rabbit hole' and explore the 'Magic Maze' the 'Haunted Herb Garden' and discover many more suprises along the way.

The Queen ordered her Royal Guards, the Aces to keep watch in the maze.  Our task was to find them, answer their question and collect a card from each of them.

Leo and his friend love the maze and Louka ran around happily behind them, not having the pushchair for the first time was a huge bonus for us as pushing it around on the gravel is hard work, especially when you keep going the wrong way!

As well as the Aces, the maze was hiding some spooky suprises too...

Scattered body parts, spiders and lots of cobwebs made it all the more interesting, fun for the boys but nice that it was not enough to genuinely terrify the litte ones.

Once out of the maze we headed for the tea rooms to enjoy the pumpkin treats and special Halloween snacks.  The boys also got to exchange their cards collected in the maze for a prize from the Creepy Cauldron.

As well as the treats they all enjoyed the games which included Broomstick Racing and Bobbing for Apples.

No more time to rest though as they were eager to explore the Enchanted Forest armed with their clipboards and puzzle sheets, where they had to find seven images out of a possible twelve which were hidden in the trees, The Cheshire Cat was also found here hiding in a tree.

For older kids (meaning Aaron and I!) it was time for some detective work as we located seven gravestones and found the clues as to how each person died.

Loukas doing his best 'scary face'

Lastly we headed into the Haunted Herb Garden to play 'Eye spy with my little eyeball'  and to find all the tea cups hanging in the trees to be able to work out the riddle written on each one.

Of course, I couldn't let the kids have ALL the fun though....

Once again, Cyherbia did a fantastic job and arranged another great family day out. It's a rarity in Cyprus to find events such as this, especially ones which are as organised and well promoted.  Well done Cyherbia, keep up the good work!

For more information on Cyherbia, visit the Famagusta Parents Network. 
All images originally taken by Klik Photo CY

Friday, 10 October 2014


Growing up I always hoped I would have two children, I was an only child and I often envied my friends with siblings.   I never really understood the bond between them, and how they often seemed to absolutely hate each other yet obviously still love them.

Aaron is one of three children, and many years ago told me that he'd like to also have three - quite understandably he's now reconsidered this and agrees with me that two is just fine!

I'm sure that had I only had one child, that in some way I'd have always wanted another one, and would have felt sad as so many of my friends went on to have a second.  Now at least I know, (and just in case for some strange reason I forget, am writing it down)  that I don't want another, they don't get easier the more you have, and anyway, I don't like odd numbers and being outnumbered by kids is probably just asking for trouble!

There was a point when Leo was about 2 when I thought there was no way I could do it all again, the sleepless nights, the 'terrible two's', the never ending need to have eyes in the back of your head.

Louka, like his big brother before him had never been the easiest of babies although it's starting to improve slowly. Aaron and I often asked each other why we thought no.2 would be a good idea when he NEVER slept and was full on crazy baby all day,  you know they say you never get two babies the same...... they are right, the 2nd one was worse!

As much the boys drive me mad, and I'm often rolling my eyes, gritting my teeth and trying to refrain from bashing their heads together, I do look at them (mainly when they are asleep) and think how brilliant they both are, how lucky I am to have them and how brilliant it is that my plan came true in the end.

They are really becoming a little twosome now, Louka looks up to his big brother and copies all he does and Leo loves to teach him new things.

I love to see them playing together, especially when we are out (and not just because it finally makes my life a lot easier - although it does help!)

It amuses me to hear them chatting away when they don't think I'm in earshot, Louka joining in with his games and really starting to understand what's going on. 

I marvel at how similar they are, how much Louka looks like Leo at the same age and yet how different they are too.

I wonder how they will change over the years and hope they remain as close friends as they are now.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Just keep swimming

Once upon a time I dreamed that I might have my own swimming pool, it seemed like the ultimate luxury and something I'd only have if I won the lottery. Whenever I went on holiday the pool was where you would find me, well, there or the bar!

Five years here and still the novelty has yet to wear off of having our own (communal for the apartment complex) pool. It was top of my wish list when looking for our apartment after all those years of dreaming of being able to swim whenever I wished.

It's the place we visited most this summer, the only way to cool down briefly in the middle of summer, and so convenient being just downstairs.

At the start of every year Leo would take a while to get back his confidence but with each year that passes it takes a lot less time.  Back in May, when I was being a big girlie wuss and refusing to get in the pool because it was cold,  I insisted he wore his armbands when I wasn't in with him, it quickly changed to him being allowed to take them off as long as he stayed in the shallow end.

Within a just a few days however, with me sat on the edge, I relented and let him take his arm bands off completely. Since that day they've not been on again!

Just chillin'
Leo's swimming has come on brilliantly, and his confidence in the water. Since letting him in on his own (always with one of us sat on the edge though obviously)  he's improved no end, and it's 'forced' him to swim rather than just clinging onto someone because they are there.

When it comes to jumping in, Leo is crazy!   Always happy to show you a never ending array of different (yet surprisingly similar!) jumps, from the favourite 'Spiderman jump'  through 'Rock star jump' and Power Ranger jumps.

Also this year he surprised us by suddenly swimming underwater, and picking up things from the bottom of the pool - as he discovered he could do when on one occasion I dropped my sunglasses and without a moments hesitation he was collecting them from the bottom.

From then on, our homemade dive toy (a plastic orange pot with a rock inside it) was the most popular toy at the pool!

Loukas was in on the action as well,with no fear of the water, which has both good and bad points! Always desperate to copy his brother, he finally mastered jumping in at the end of the summer after much encouragement to actually jump, rather than meekly step of the side with the danger of banging his head on the way in.

With his armbands on, Louka was happy floating around, and starting kicking his legs and getting across the pool with a surprising amount of speed.  His favourite thing was the lilo though, and we spent a lot of time lifting him onto it for him to throw himself off again with peals of laughter.

Leo's been a bit sad that it's now just a bit too cold to enjoy the pool (the weather is fine, the water is cold!)   but now he's just got a bike so it's onwards and upwards with a new challenge for him!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

The Cyprus bucket list

Many years ago I sat with Cyprus guidebook excitedly flicking through the pages dreaming of all the places I would visit when it became our new home, no need to pick the best few things to fit into a 2 week holiday, I was anticipating going everywhere and doing everything.

Of course, when we first signed our 'UK' lives away and made the decision to move we were yet to have children - footloose and fancy free with no consideration to driving distances, nap times, pushchairs or little toddling legs on uneven ground or whining children.

Five years on and I still feel I am yet to see the 'real' Cyprus, or even the 'real Cyprus' as portrayed in the guide books,  the museums, archaeological sites and traditional villages.

With absolutely no intention to do so, most of our friends seem to be fellow British expats and on the still rare occasions we go out we end up in 'expat pubs' as that's where our friends are which doesn't really help in getting to know the real Cyprus.  I'd love to know more about the history of the area, and how much it has changed over the years, I really need to improve my Greek - or at least increase my confidence to even try to speak it. My problem is that even when speaking to Cypriots who speak good English they struggle to understand me as I talk too fast!

I've been saying for years I'd love to go to a Greek wedding (especially as I've only been to about 5 weddings in my whole life and one of those was mine!) Of course, with the way Greek weddings generally work I could have been to many by now as we often get invites in the postbox to weddings happening in the village but I don't want to go that much to be on my own without knowing anyone!

Going places is slowly getting easier though and with the launch of my other website (Famagusta Parents Network) it's been the perfect excuse to get out and about and start to work my way through the list in my head - all for the purpose of 'research'!

With this in mind I've started to create my ultimate 'To Go' list based on how much I enjoyed my 101 in 1001 challenge.  There is no time limit on the list like there was before as it mainly depends on having the finances to fund all these excursions, either that or the realisation from these places that it might be a good bit of advertising for them!

My wish list ranges from easy, inexpensive local visits to not so cheap or island wide jaunts requiring a bit more thought with a demanding 5 year old and a 2 year old.

You can see the list at 'Must See Cyprus', let me know if I've missed anything you'd recommend doing in Cyprus.

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