Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2014 - it's been nice knowing you!

2014 has been an interesting year, full of change for us and new beginnings.

January was a quiet month for us, same old stuff and no real hint of the things to come. Looking back to remind myself of anything interesting I may have forgotten I see that I only took a handful of photos and wrote very few blog posts, something that continued all year unfortunatly.

Creating with Daddy.

February saw the launch of my website - the Famagusta Parents Network and I threw myself into launching the site and all that goes with it. It's been a lot of work but I've enjoyed it so much (and still am!) and I've been really pleased with the support and contributions I've received from the community.

March was carnival time and we got to join our friends on the Performers Academy float in the parade which was great. Blogging was sparse again as I was spending all my free time working on the FPN site and planning the first Family Fun Day which was brilliant fun but somewhat time consuming! Although it was the month I wrote my favourite blog post of the year - 'Time changes everything - eventually'.

April's highlight was definitely the FPN Fun Day, which was a great success and I can't wait to do it all again in 2015.  It was attended by hundreds of people and raised €550 for a local charity in the process. It was also the month that Klik Photography was launched, then known as 'Aaron's Klik Photography' and the start of what was to become the family business by the end of the year.

Of course the highlight of May is always Leo's Birthday, and this year was no exception as everything was awesome. We celebrated his 5th birthday with a Lego party which I think I had as much fun arranging as he did on the day!

It's hard to pick just one highlight of a whole year but for me it happened in June with the surprise arrival of one of my best friends for her first foreign holiday. We had such a fantastic week and it was like being on holiday myself - beach, pub, beach, and pub some more and I even sunbathed!

July is the first full month of the summer holidays after the end of term in June and the temperature had well and truly risen. It was a month of daily pool trips either to our own shared pool or meeting up with friends at the hotel pools.  The boys really did well with their swimming this year, Louka swimming around happily with armbands and Leo, who stopped using them last year started diving and swimming underwater with ease.

August was Loukas 2nd birthday and we had our first pool party as it was just too hot to spend the whole party on the balcony.  We also celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary and Aaron wrote me a lovely poem as a throwback to his wedding speech.

September was a nice, fairly non eventful month for us. In Cyprus, the temperature drops slightly after the huge peak of August (well, at least towards the end of the month!)  and although the schools return as they finish at 1pm there is still plenty of time for pool and beach trips or long weekend evenings out and about.  We had various trips out most in the name of 'research' for my website!

In October I celebrated my birthday with a lovely afternoon at a favourite restaurant of mine with lots of friends and our assorted children. We also got in a few more beach trips which are much easier now Loukas is getting a bit older,  and treated the boys to afternoons in the Luna park and at the mini-golf.  We ended the month with several Halloween parties and various costumes for each one! I also was excited to learn that I have been nominated for an award at the Daxi Business Awards to be held in January! 

November saw the start of Leo wearing glasses and unfortunately having to wear an eye patch for several hours each day. He is happy with his glasses but getting him to wear the patch is a daily struggle, we have been told however that it is working and his bad eye is improving from wearing it so hopefully we won't have to do it for too long. 

December of course means all things Christmassy, and we did all we could.  School fete, Christmas Avenue, Paralimni's 'Christmas Wonder', Christmas crafts, school play and more.  We had our first ever Christmas dinner out this year at our 'local' and it was a lovely addition to our usual Christmas day.   We also took delivery of the new Klik Party Booth - the ultimate party gadget and the new addition to what was originally just Aaron and a camera.  We have attended our first two events, with another on New Years Eve and are looking forward to many more in 2015. 

Me and Mine - A family portrait project

Over the last year I have seen some of my favourite blogs taking part in the 'Me and Mine' family portrait project, it's something I've enjoyed seeing and but not got round to taking part it.  It's rare that we get a photo of the four of us, as one of us is always behind the camera but I treasure the few photos we have together.

With the start of our business Klik Photography it feels even more important to get the family shots, we had plans for a festive family photo shoot using Aaron's new mobile portratit studio but Christmas and work unfortunately distracted us.

All is not lost though as we have been busy setting up our new addition to the company for 2015, Klik Photography now has the PARTY BOOTH, a digital portable photobooth for events, wedding and parties. The boys have wanted to be involved in all the excitement of unpacking the boxes and building the booth on our practice runs, and of course who could stop them from diving into all the props we are starting to acquire.

After taking on their important roles of Chief Prop Testers we all piled into the booth for a test shot after they informed us exactly what we would be wearing of course!

I am looking forward to taking part in 'Me and Mine' in 2015 although maybe not all in silly hats!

dear beautiful

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Chasing my tail and trying to make a plan.

Where is the time going to?

How have I only managed to write 63 blog posts this year!   I know I've had the Famagusta Parents Network as well for the first time this year but still it's a huge departure from the 256 and 287 posts of 2011 and 2012!

I miss my blog but the less I write, the harder it seems to get into it. I have so many posts in my head but they are vague and I am struggling to get them out there, being far to easily distracted by facebook, youtube and even the time sucking wast of time that is!

I've always dipped in and out of twitter and gone through phases of loving it and ignoring it for weeks on end but with the temperamental piece of junk that is my phone I've even lost my love of instagram, both of which keep my blogging habit up without too much effort.

There's so much I want to write about, the opening of my friends new venture - 'Tiny Acorns Creativity Centre', the Christmas events we've been too,  Leo's new glasses and the saga of having to wear an eye patch for a session each day, our nights out, the trips to the park and puddle jumping,  not to mention the launch of our new business...  'Klik Photography  and our new photobooth - the Party Booth.

Cyprus Photo Booth
The new Party Booth by Klik Photography

Just before Christmas we  launched the booth after it's arrival 3 days before our first event, and now it's all hands to the laptops to get the website finished as soon as possible plus we have another two events this year.

I will not abandon my baby, my original blog despite all the new things that have developed since it's birth but I will need to focus a little more on a plan,  and stop wasting time doing nothing online!  I miss my blogging friends and the interaction that comes with a busy blog and I know I will miss the record of our lives that this blog creates.

I have a list (of course, you can't make a plan without a list) and I will play catch up, ignoring the fact that the time has passed - my blog, my rules!

Now I have a nice new shiny phone  thanks to Aaron (who made me believe he hadn't got me a Christmas present until the last minute!) so hopefully that will help, if I don't get distracted by silly games and pinterest of course!

Monday, 22 December 2014

Home for Christmas

Recently I was asked the question 'Are you home for Christmas?'  I replied that yes I was although for the first time we were going out for Christmas dinner.  The reply threw me,

'When do you leave?'

Um, well I think they are serving dinner at 2pm?
Ah.... they were asking me if I was going to England for Christmas,  I'd completely missed the point of the question!

I don't have anything against going back to England for a visit, in fact I'd love to be able to go (not now, far too cold!) to meet up with friends and replenish our wardrobes but I wouldn't fancy going back for Christmas.

I know that having my parents here means that I don't have the pull and the same reason for wanting to be there over the festive season which is the obvious reason for many to return. I've heard many people here say that Christmas in Cyprus just isn't the same and it doesn't feel 'Christmassy' but I disagree.

Maybe it's the fact I have children which gives me the reason / excuse to attend all the Christmas events but I'm guessing the same would apply in England too.

Maybe it's the lack of 'Christmas food' in the shops and the endless boxes of pre-packed party food and 'Christmas treats' -  but it's easier not to blow half your years shopping budget on one month here when you have to make most of it yourself.

Maybe it's the temperature but after being here for 5 years it feels more than chilly enough for me now.

Maybe it's the sunshine but trees and tinsel look prettier in the sunlight than through rain (and we've had several grey rainy days lately - it's  novelty but I don't get the excitement they create here)

Maybe it's the lack of festive programs on the TV but I don't know many people without internet streaming, web TV or an equivalent now.

Maybe it's the calmer approach to Christmas and the lack of aggressive advertising from October onward,  but surely that's only a good thing!

Maybe its the lack of things they need to be doing and people they need to visit, but many people hate the chaotic business of all of that.

Maybe it's just that they miss their friends and family and their own traditions - that one does make sense to me, but for me we have new traditions and they are all based here.

Five years ago, it didn't feel like Christmas here for me but we were fresh off the plane, having left shops full of Christmas goods, songs and decorations starting to appear through the streets and houses (even though it was NOVEMBER!)   The sun confused me, and our 6 month old Leo had no idea what was 'supposed' to be happening anyway.  I missed Christmas meet ups and events that had been arranged while I was still being invited to them with people not knowing that I'd have left the country.

There didn't seem to be much to do either with the exception of the school fair on the British Army base of Ayios Nikolaos, and the switching on of the Agia Napa Christmas lights,  but I don't know if that was because there were not many events or because I didn't know where to look to find out about them.

The events are increasing each year it seems and this year there has been a huge choice which was great to see.  (I was also able to list them all in one handy place on the Famagusta Parents Network which I hope helped some people find out about them.)  There has been Christmas markets, Craft sessions, pantomimes, shows and carol services in Greek or English,  each town has had an event to mark the switching on of the Christmas lights, and most have had extra attractions like trips on the red buses or pony rides and visits from Santa.

I love Christmas, especially the lead up to it but I like to do it my way. I like that it's quite low key here in Cyprus compared to England and for me I like that we do what we want to do, there's no competing for the best decorations, the most 'party food' you can buy, the stresses of buying presents for a long list of people and the visits all over the country that many people have to make.

Not long to go now...... we're getting excited!

What about you?  Do you prefer to spend Christmas at home or away?   With lots of people or do you prefer it quieter?

And especially for you expats,  does Christmas feel like Christmas in your new country?

Sunday, 21 December 2014

'Life's a climb, but the view is great'

Photo by 'Klik Photo CY'
Konnos Bay, Cape Greko, Cyprus..... one of my favourite beaches.

This photo was taken from the top of Konnos Bay before you negotiate the often busy, twisty turning road leading to the beautiful beach.

I'd never have thought back in 2007 when this photo was taken (by Aaron I now realise after accidentally taking the credit for it for all these years!) that it would be so well used!

When I started this blog I used a standard template having no idea what else I could do, and figuring it didn't matter as no-one would notice I was writing one anyway.  After sometime I figured out how to add header, and even created a posh little badge.

The  blog was originally going to be called 'Why the hell not?'  but I think the quote suits me and it quite well....


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