Friday, 29 May 2015

Now you are 6 {Leonidas}

Dear Leonidas.....

You wouldn't have known that I have written you a blog post every year since your first birthday but I realised that this year you would understand them for the first time!

Of course, today's the day you turn six, it's your birthday today, and that means it's party time!  I think I may be just as excited as you are this year and I am really looking forward to it - I hope you enjoy it as much as I've enjoyed planning it!

Now you are six
It's been a busy year for us hasn't it, with our new family business starting up and Daddy and I doing lots of work, I know you sometimes don't like the fact we have lots to do but you are becoming a good helper and I love that you are enjoying using your camera and want to work with Daddy when you are bigger.

You are doing so well at school, and I am looking forward to seeing you in your school play next week.  I am so proud of you trying your best to do your homework by yourself and even if you don't think your drawings are good enough, as long as you do your best then I am happy.

We know you are good at reading of course, but your writing is getting very good too, its hard to learn to write in two different languages but you are managing very well.

This year you have started to wear glasses, and they make you look very handsome, but also like a certain wizard, especially when you are holding your wand or wearing your robes.

I hope you have a brilliant birthday, and you enjoy your party.

Love you 'everywhere'

Mum xxxxx

Thursday, 28 May 2015

On this day.....

I love a bit of nostalgia and one of my favourite things at the moment is the flashback apps 'timehop'
and more recently 'on this day'  on facebook.

If you haven't gathered by now, its an app which shows you your photos and statuses from 'this' day in previous years, and via the facebook one even posts to your wall and comments on stuff.

It is strange to read things that I'd written so long ago and to think of how much things have changed, and the random rubbish I used to post too when my friends were just a small handful of only 'real life' people.

Of course, the most interesting comments (alongside the 'moving to Cyprus month) to me now are the bored, ramblings of my overdue big fat pregnant self during May 2009.

'Emma is drumming her fingers impatiently'

'Emma has washed every single item of clothing we own and it turns out that they don't all fit in the cupboard if they are clean at the same time'

I was on facebook a lot back then, although surprisingly not as much as I am now - but I can use work as an excuse these days, and it's a lot easier now I have a decent phone!

These little glimpses into the past fascinate me and I love the reminders of days gone by, sometimes it seems like a whole lifetime ago looking back on ordinary memories and pictures of something that no longer exists - a childfree life in England!

Last night, 8 years ago for example I was debating whether to go to the gym or the pub - I didn't mention which I chose but I'm fairly sure I could accurately guess!

Now if only someone could invent time travel for real!

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Supporting the Opening of the Deryneia Checkpoint

Since the launch of the FPN I am often invited via facebook to all kinds of different events,  by all sorts of people, which are often only written in Greek.  As much as I try to translate if I can't figure it out I won't share it (it could be anything!)  and I usually dismiss them until if and when it becomes apparent what they are. 

Once such event was the 'ΝΑ ΑΝΟΙΞΕΙ Η ΛΕΩΦΟΡΟΣ ΤΗΣ ΕΠΙΣΤΡΟΦΗΣ'   It was only once I realised that many of my contacts had been invited and after reading an article in the Cyprus Mail that it got my interest and I realised it was an event to try and get the checkpoint in my village Deryneia opened. With the peace talks between the Cypriots leaders having just restarted I excited to see another positive step being taken towards the future and I knew I had to be there. 

I quickly put together an piece for the FPN website using information from the Cyprus Mail and the event pages on facebook to spread the word in English and in the process I realised that a simultaneous event was to take place on the other side of the checkpoint just 800m away. 

 According to the organisers, the event will take place on both sides of the check point simultaneously.
“Such an opening will reduce the distance, improve intercommunal relations, meet humanitarian needs and improve the market potential of the economic actors in the region as it will be allowing them to trade their goods and services,” organisers said.f"We have to raise our voice, as both south and the north of Famagusta area, facing with shrinking economic climate, the shops are going bankrupt each and every day, youth are leaving the region or migrating to other countries.
At the moment we need to take additional 17 kilometers in order to reach Deryneia from Two and a Half Mile / Strovilia check point. If Deryneia crossing point opens, this will reduce to 800 meters uniting Deryneia and Famagusta with new ties. Such an opening will reduce the distance, improve the intercommunal relations, meet the humanitarian needs and improve the market potential of the economic actors in the region as it will be allowing them to trade their goods and services.

Recently, UN Human Rights Committee supported the efforts for the opening of the new crossing points and emphasized that increasing number of checkpoints contributes the intercommunal trust and dialog.
Both the local and international dynamics are emphasizing the opening of Deryneia crossing point. Now, YOU have to to push for it."

My post got lots of views and I hope it at least raised some awareness of what may happen, I had hoped that it might have got a few more expats down on the day but I saw few non-Cypriots.  It surprises me as I'm sure they would all be straight through for visits when it opens. 

Anyway, I digress..

Crowds gather to show their support.
The roadblock consists of barbed wire at the front and a short distance after that is the barrier and stop sign. Initially a cameraman and some photographers stepped through the barbed wire and joined the policemen standing casually behind it, and were taking photos and filming the crowd, but gradually everyone was able to step through the wire and join them right next to the barrier itself.

There was a good turn out on the south side, maybe over 400 people at its peak.  It was a peaceful and positive crowd, with music and even some dancing! 

We were there for just over an hour and then the crowd started to disperse, I was pleased that I went and joined the numbers, and I hope if they do it again we will see even more support and soon we will be able to walk the whole road. 

This video taken by drone not only shows the gathered crowds but allows us to see the road stretching into the distance, the road we hope we will soon be able to use.

And just 800 metres away, another crowd gathered in support of the same cause. They were also singing and shouting in the hope we could here, and I'm sure we could have done if it had been arranged to stop the music for a moment on each side.  

Same banners, same stickers, same island, and same goal......

Thank you to Hulusi Kilim for the photos from the northern side.
It would be a fantastic step forward for this crossing to be opened and it would enhance the lives and businesses of so many people and bring growth to Deryneia.   Although of course there are many bigger issues to resolve, not least Varosha itself but you have to start somewhere.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Klik Photo CY, and our Photo Booth - where it all began...

In 2014, after a few casual photo shoots for a local pub and guesthouse Aaron set up a facebook page initially for ease of sharing the photos. He has always been a keen photographer with a good eye for a photo and before long it became an enjoyable sideline for him.

The word started to spread and some work trickled in from various places, birthday parties, shop opening and product shoots to name a few,  'Aaron's Klik Photography' as it was then known started to be a 'thing'. 

Just before Christmas 2014 we rebranded to become known as Klik Photo CY and  it became a family business as we took delivery of a brand new digital photo booth.  The Party Booth as it became known was now available to hire, island wide across Cyprus!

We were starting to spread the word, and let everyone know what we were about. 

Our first events were held in local pubs, after numerous practice runs in my parents front room while we learnt the trade, building and setting up the booth, operating the equipment and testing the settings for all eventualities and locations. 

The quality of the photos was of the utmost importance to us and we tested and tweaked and tested again making sure the lighting was right, the photos were sharp and the colours were vibrant on every photo that the booth produces. 

Between us Aaron and I built our website ourselves, insistent that like with everything connected to the Klik brand it would be professional, and good quality.  With all the information you need, including prices that were clear and easy to understand, examples of our work and options to customise the whole package to each event. 

We attended our first birthday party, a themed 'Alice in Wonderland' event and it gave us the opportunity to showcase our some of our custom options. With a themed template and 6 themed backgrounds to choose from and a personalised video running on the photo booth external screen using photos from the birthday girls childhood. 

Aaron is in charge of all things technical, camera settings, lighting etc, and the design of the customised photo templates, digital backgrounds and many other things that I sneak onto his 'to do' lists.  I write the Klik Photo CY blog (obviously!) and manage the social media, bookings and more.

Our photo booth is great fun, and I love my new job!   We have it to hire for any event and it provides the guests with a lot of laughs and some great souvenirs of the day.  Included with the hire is the use of a huge selection of props, hats, glasses, signs and more and it not only does it make for the brilliant pictures but it is great fun getting to play with them all!

Being a family business it is also important to us that we are explaining to the boys where possible what we are doing and why. Of course they are our chief prop testers - what better way to test fun and durability than two young boys!

It is the perfect business for us, and we have such a passion for what we are doing, we make a great team and enjoy being able to work together. 

For more info find us at  or on facebook at klikphotocy

Sunday, 17 May 2015

The Cyprus Problem and why I've never mentioned it

Although I have a huge interest in the division of Cyprus, and fate of Varosha, opening of the dividing line etc it's something that I have very rarely mentioned on my blog.  The reason being is that although I try and find out as much as I can, I am by no means an expert and I wish to avoid getting anything wrong.

The subject is fraught with difficulty as you try and remember the correct way to mention it - its very confusing for someone who is essentially an outsider to remember that the difference between saying border / checkpoint,   whether you say the north of Cyprus, or North Cyprus,  the Republic of Cyprus or Southern Cyprus,  the Green Line / the dividing line / the border / the buffer zone / Atitila Line and the list goes on.

This is of course because it is a very sensitive subject and so close to many peoples hearts, even though the troubles had been brewing for years it was only 1974 that the island was divided, a long time to be separated but in living memory for those caught up in it.

I live in Deryneia a village which is split by the dividing line and about 75% of which is in the occupied area.  My balcony over looks Varosha, the town which is cut off from the world and closed to all but Turkish military and UN personnel, so every day I see the sad sight of the crumbling hotels and one of the most beautiful areas of Cyprus missing it population and tourists for 41 years.

I love Deryneia, for what was essentially a random choice of somewhere to live we chose amazingly well. It really has grabbed a bit of my heart and if we ever leave this village it will be a sad day!

But despite my reasons I can't presume to understand the depth of feeling for those who have lived their whole lives here, who have land and houses in the controlled areas and who cannot return to their town.

This week talks have resumed (again) between the politicians and there was an organised event to push for the opening of the checkpoint in Deryneia. (more on that later) and at least where I can see there seems to be a renewed optimism in the air.

Of course there is no easy solution for years of troubles but I hope with baby steps, the country can move forward as Cypriots, whether they be of Greek or Turkish descent (and us foreign supporters!)

I don't know how many of my fellow expats are interested in the situation or to what extent,  apart from the papers, mentions online tend to be avoided in the forums and facebook as more often than not they descend quickly into nit picking or full blown arguments, (this is why I've never written about it before, politics and religion and therefore the Cyprus Problem have never been my thing - random ramblings about nothing in particular is more my forte, much less likely to offend!)   but maybe they are not talking about it in case they 'get it wrong' or accidentally offend someone?  or maybe they just don't know anything about it, before thinking about moving to Cyprus I had no idea.

But my sincere intention is never to offend and really I want to shout about it, let the world know and support in any way I can, and as ever for me my blog is the place to start - so here I am, foot probably poised to put straight in my mouth but we can but try!

As ever I welcome your comments on posts on my blog, but please keep them positive and constructive,   offensive and argumentative comments will always be removed  ;) 

What we've been up to......2015 so far

You may have noticed that I have been blogging less frequently than I used to and there's a whole host of reasons why, I miss it though and it makes me sad to realise that my poor little blog has only 23 posts so far this year, previously I'd have done that many in just one month!

I've got photos taken last year saved in folders awaiting the accompanying blog post, and I am part way though writing my 'Move to Cyprus' story which came to a sudden halt several months ago.

It sometimes seems to late to post about something when that moment has passed but after recently reading through the Matter of Choice archives I realised that I would regret it if I didn't cover at least some of our adventures since the start of the year.

There is of course the big one - the fact that Aaron and I now run our own company, Klik Photo Cy, that of course is at least one whole blog post in itself, as is the fact that I I recently arranged the 2nd Famagusta Parents Network Fun Day.

Party time with one of our Klik photo booths.

We've been involved in the creating of the Daxi Holiday Guide to Cyprus, with me writing a section on family fun in Cyprus, Aaron doing several photo shoots and us all trying out some great local attractions in the process.  We also went to the Daxi Business Awards earlier in the year, which was a fantastic night although rather hazy looking back on it now!

Image courtsey of Costas Kyriakides

We've had our first swim in the pool, our first trip to the beach and numerous trips to my friend and the boys favourite place - Tiny Acorns Creativity Centre where we have been on a Indoor Camping adventure, Easter celebrations and made all kinds of crafts over the weeks.

Easter was a busy time, and a lovely break, with a visit to Cyherbia for an egg hunt in the maze and lots more, and family and friends BBQ on Easter Sunday followed by traditional Cypriot games in the village and a traditional English carvery on Easter Monday!'

There have been family days out, to the camel park, Agia Napa Sculpture park, Lovelock Bridge and Achna Animal Park, and I'm sure many other things I've fancied blogging about but not had the time (or inclination )

Oh, and we got Netflix - which may have contributed to the problem some what!

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