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Showing posts from August, 2011

Rosetta Stone World and Studio - Review

I've just finished my third live Studio session with Rosetta Stone .  Studio sessions form a large part of the learning experience with the new TOTALe software and I find them both brilliant fun and nerve racking at the same time! The Studio sessions are where you chat in real time with a native speaker and one or two other students.  The tutor has a webcam so you can see them (they only hear us so you don't have to worry about doing your hair!) and they use various combinations of pictures to ask you questions about and start conversations. I found this third session quite difficult as I had only just finished the lessons leading up to it and had not practised quite as much as I should have done but Maria the tutor was ever so helpful and very encouraging. Along with the Studio sessions you can also visit Rosetta World. which is home to their online games and activities. There are three types, Solo - where you play games by yourself. Duo - where you play with other lear

Guest post - Expat loneliness

Since I started my blog I've enjoyed reading many others. Like most people I follow those who I can relate to so since I found Mum Reinvented   I've been a big fan. As a fellow ex-pat Brit we can appreciate how annoying mosquito bites are and how rubbish BBC Entertainment is among other random conversations.  I was very excited when she kindly agreed to guest post for me and can totally agree with her subject. I'll go and be quiet now though as I'm supposed to be having a day off ....... Expat loneliness Something that nearly all expats are likely to feel in their new home country is lonely, regardless of whether they have emigrated alone or with immediate family. Wherever you move you will always be leaving behind friends and family, not to mention a life that despite perhaps you are keen to leave for whatever reason, will no doubt be very much different to the new life you will be entering into. A new country, new language, new culture, new job or possibly ad

Flashback Friday - This parrot is deceased!

Since I've been on a bit of an ongoing theme this month with my Hen night / Hen weekend and Wedding related flashbacks I thought it would be nice to end on one from our honeymoon. We spent two weeks in the gorgeous Moon Palace resort in Cancun, Mexico. It was the best hotel we've stayed in by far, although the most expensive so that kind of explains it! The rooms were amazing.... jacuzzi at the end of the bed, all inclusive mini bar with optics in the room, etc etc. I've been trawling through the photos, as usual there are so many to choose from. We went on fantastic excursions, and swam with  dolphins   and took many photos of the lovely pools and views we saw. One thing we did come across a lot though were parrots.... A very nice photo, but this has got to be the best... We showed a friend of our this photo on our return and Aaron said "These parrots are dead" she looked at us amazed and said in complete horror how awful it was that we were actually

Guest Post - Out, Down Under, and back

Even before emigrating I have always been interested in other peoples tales of travel and living an Ex-pat lifestyle, so I was very pleased when Cressida from The Book Analyst agreed to write a post about her ex-pat childhood. Out, Down Under, and Back Hi, I’m an ex-expat child – having been brought up in Brussels from aged 2 to 12, before we more or less settled ‘back’ in the UK. The year I turned twelve I went to three different secondary schools in three countries on three different continents in a year.   Actually for most of that year I managed not to be at school at all – sound good?  Not quite so good in reality. The plan was to leave Belgium, where we’d had three consecutive three year postings and return to Australia – as my father was a journalist for the ABC (the Australian version of the BBC).  We packed up the house, let the cat go live on a farm, said tearful farewells to my friends at the big international school, then moved to London for a couple of mo

Guest Post - An expat friend.

Today, I've got Christine, a fellow expat whose blog 'Expat Mum in Portugal' I've been reading for a while.  She has very kindly written today's guest post on a subject I can certainly relate to.  I'll hand you over... An Expat friend. When you are an expat, friendships are a little different.  People are drawn together, especially at first for support and familiarity, often meeting through other expats or expat groups and events.  Less often through work or other social places like playcentres or bars etc.  Expat friends can be quite transient, more so than friends in your home country, as they are more likely to move on, particularly if they are ‘serial expats’ or their job demands it.  Many expats I know spend a lot of time with their families, sometimes just because of the way they are, sometimes because they don’t have the social network that they had at home.  One day you can be a strong friend but once that friend moves on, the fr

What we've been up to this week...

We are halfway through our holiday, (well Aaron's holiday from work but I've been calling it our holiday as it sounds more fun!)  I planned to spend less time blogging during this fortnight hence the recent guest post  and the ones coming up this week but as we are still at home I'm not doing very well at that! I've not joined in with Kate's Listography for a while but this week the theme is "What we got up to last week"  so I thought I'd share some photos of our 'holiday' so far... Building boats on the beach Making cakes! Our wedding anniversary picnic on the beach An evening drink on the Pernera beach path. Right, better get back to it, there's beers to be drunk and stuff!

Silent Sunday

Flashback Friday - the best dressed bear in the world!

This time seven years ago I was preparing excitedly for my wedding tomorrow, I have blogged about my wedding day before so for this week's Flashback Friday I'm just sharing a different aspect... Me in my wedding dress In the run up to the wedding I was trying to think of an unusual thank you gift for my Mum. Flowers are lovely but I really wanted something that would last. As Mum is the worlds biggest teddy bear fan  my plan was to go to the Build a bear shop and get her a bride teddy.  Great idea in theory, but have you seen the price of those bears, and the accessories!  The wedding dress wasn't even floor length! My Mother in law was making my dress so I went to her and asked if she could make a little dress for a bear and maybe just add a touch of red somewhere on it to link it to mine... Look what she came up with, an exact replica of my dress. Isn't this the best dressed teddy bear you've ever seen! We presented the bear to Mum after the spee

If not now, When?

Back in February I was getting really stressed with Leo's constant refusal to drink anything other than milk and only drinking out of a bottle . I realised that we would work it out eventually and he wouldn't be still doing in months to come but I had no idea how to go about it.  I thought I'd end up forgetting what a nightmare it was and how much I worried about it but not so much - I remember it all! In the end I cut the top of one of the teats on his bottle, which made a really big hole and told him it was broken. He wouldn't drink from it happily as the drink came out too fast. I gave him a new cup and we went 'cold turkey'  For one day I offered the 'broken' bottle then only the new cup in case he decided it was ok to drink out of a bigger hole in the teat  It all ended up working very well and only took a couple of days for it not to be a problem at all. ! I still don't know if it was the way I went about it or if it was a timing thing as I

The Gallery - Feeding time.

This week's Gallery theme is Black and White - not a duplication as Tara puts it of last years Black and white prompt, "more of an extension of a great theme." I love black and white photos but rarely take them, I'm actually using photos taken at the same time as the some of the ones I used last time .  I'm being a bit brave (especially as many people I know read my blog) as I hadn't even put this photo on facebook.  It was taken when Leo was about 8 weeks old at feeding time. When Leo was tiny, I was asked more than once "Are you feeding him" now me being me chose to ignore what I 'knew' they meant (as in are you breastfeeding him) and generally replied in a jokey way, no I thought I'd let him starve. Maybe I was being over sensitive but what difference did it make to them? Sometime bottle-feeding Mum's can be made to feel so bad about their method of feeding, one that might not have even been their choice.  I actually p

Guest post - It's all about the Photos

Way back in my early days of blogging one of the first blogs I started reading was It's all about the photos , being a bit a a photo fan (but not great photographer) myself I've been reading ever since.  I love the simplicity of her blog and the fact that it is literally 'all about the photos' I asked if she would be kind enough to guest post for me, and as so many ex-pat Brits (but not me this year) make a hasty exit from Cyprus during August I thought I'd see if she could find me a little bit of my old home. I'll hand you over to Photopuddle ..... When Emma asked me to do a guest post for her I was thrilled as I love reading her blog. She’s asked me to show you a picture which says “ English Summer ”.  I wanted to use one of my own photos and it was actually really hard to decide on which one. I was very close to using one I took of tea and scones but I thought that might be a little stereotypical. I also thought about using one I’d taken in Brighton

Holidays are here!

Today, 15th August is an important public holiday in Cyprus. Assumption Day , a feast day related to the death of Mary, mother of Jesus. Legend has it that when she died her body as well as her soul went straight to heaven. I'm not 100% sure but I believe this day is the second most holy day of the year for the Greek Orthodox church.  It marks the start of the standard August shut down. Most places (not tourist obviously) shut down for at least a week if not two and everyone seems to be on the move. Brits and other ex-pats often escape the soaring temperatures and head 'home' for a while and many Cypriots leave the capital and head to the coast. We are staying put and holidaying at home, Aaron has two weeks off work and we are going to join the tourists. We have pool and beach trips planned plus a few nights out and of course a celebration for our 7th wedding anniversary.  I plan to take a little blogging break, and maybe even talk to Aaron in the evenings rather than p

Silent Sunday

Flashback Friday - My Hen Night

Last week I "flashed back" to my Hen weekend, a school disco weekend at Butlins. Due to my girls' commitments this happened several months before my wedding so obviously I had to have a Hen night as well! As night's out in my previous life (pre-baby!) go, this was actually one not one that would make 'my top 10 but it was my hen night and therefore quite special.  My bridesmaid and I picked a cabaret night in a local hotel, they had a reputation for being very good (and busy) nights and I had been to several already. I think we may have even booked without knowing the theme. Me, Mum & Mum in law to be That would be where we went wrong I think!  It was a Caribbean Night and apart from our group there was only one other, another hen party! The food was not great and due to a lack of people was not the best atmosphere on the dance floor.  Despite this it was still an enjoyable evening, my highlight being the very last song - the DJ started playing &quo

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3

I'm not just choosing to be cheerful this week, I actually am! Only 2 days until Aaron's off work for 2 whole weeks - yay! As we already happen to be in a great holiday destination we are staying right here and holidaying at home. We are going to join the tourists every now and again and take Leo to the beach and various local pools, and have some late nights on the balcony no doubt drinking homemade cocktails and arsing around on youtube. (a great way to spend an evening!) Am also hoping that the last bits of decorating can be done so Leo's bedroom is finally finished. Although I have said that when it is we'd move him out of his cot so I haven't been pushing to get it done as I'm sensing trouble! We have some friends of ours over on Sunday with their 2 kids for a BBQ,  apparently Emma (yes, another one!) has wanted to drink on our balcony admiring the view for a while so should be a good night! On the same day our lovely neighbours come out for a 2 w

You can lead a toddler to water...

....but you can't make him wear armbands! Due to the heat, we spend lots of time at the pool, and I spend lots of time trying to get Leo to wear armbands. All the other toddlers we know wear them and it must be much less scary for their Mums when at the pool. We have tried floats, float suits, rubber rings and the long foam things (think sometimes called woggles) and he will not use any of them, well except the woggle to blow water at people! The downside is that you have to hold on to him constantly and he is such a wriggler you end up bruised and batter from little feet in your legs. Also watching him walk round the side of the pool is quite worrying, we have drummed it into him I think not to run but I am constantly worried he will fall in. He likes to jump in but often forgets the "1, 2, 3 jump" we are trying to teach him, therefore giving us warning that he is about to launch himself at you. The other day I caught him as he jumped unexpectedly and we

E is for England

When I started my A to Z posts  I knew that 'E was for England'  I had started this post in draft some time ago but couldn't quite decide how to write it. England is my country of birth, I haven't missed it too much since my move to Cyprus and I didn't want to write a post that ended up running it down for fear of offending my fellow Brits.  Aaron has been saying for ages that the country is going to s**t and he didn't want to bring our son up there. He has always said there is no discipline any more. Parents, teachers and Police have no power to stop kids and that they should bring back National service.  Health and safety has gone mad and the Government is rubbish. I hadn't planned to write about any of that in my post as  I used to generally bury my head in the sand and assume it would all be ok.  But you know what, he's right. I've been shocked by the events unfolding in London and all over the UK over the last few days. What the hell is the co

Silent Sunday

Flashback Friday - Back to school

Later this month Aaron and I will be celebrating our 7th wedding anniversary, and so I've been having a look back through all my wedding stuff and thought I'd dedicate August's flashbacks to the theme. As you may know I don't generally need an excuse for a party, so when I have one I like to make sure I get my money's worth. Therefore I didn't just have a hen night, I had a hen weekend (and a hen night later but that's a different post!)   A few months before the wedding (well, you never know how bad a hangover might be!) myself and 9 of my old school friends headed off to good ol' Bognor Regis on the South coast to Butlins for a School Disco party weekend, and we did indeed party... It was a great weekend full of dancing, drinking and eating Burger King at 4am in the morning!  We were even really lucky with the weather and had an afternoon on the beach reading the papers and talking weddings (three of us were engaged at the time) among

My birth story - the part with the birth!

You can read the first part here.. Leo was due on May 16th 2009, for some reason I was convinced he would be on time if not early. as we don't do late!  It turned out he was quite happy where he was and was waiting until the last moment,  I was booked to be induced on the evening of the 28th, in fact by then I was having mild contractions so on arrival at the hospital after monitoring me for a short time they broke my waters just before midnight.  Now looking back most of the night is a bit of a blur and I look back and think it was not THAT bad - I think this is some clever trick or nature though designed not to put you off having more than one!  After my waters were broken we moved to the delivery suite, Aaron nipped out for a cigarette and I can remember being stood bent over the back of a chair thinking' Oh bugger, this actually quite hurts!'   I can't really remember time scales but after a while I asked for gas and air, I thought it wasn't working and was

My Birth story - better late than never!

Yesterday I joined in with Tara's Gallery , and said how I'd never blogged about Leo's birth. As I started to give it some thought and begin to write I realised I could never fit it into one (or two!) posts.... so to stop your bums going numb or your laptop batteries dying here goes with the first instalment and a bit of the conversations that led up to it. Many years ago way before we were even thinking we'd be together long term, let alone get married and think about babies Aaron and I were having a conversation about births and he said there was NO way he would be present at the birth of his child. I was a bit taken aback by this as I thought most Dads these days probably would be but I didn't think too much about it, I was only 19 after all and babies were not yet on my mind. As my pregnancy progressed we discussed it, or more accurately I mentioned it and was met with the same answer - no way was he going to be in the room.  Being pregnant and hormon

The Gallery - Birth

Considering the amount of time I spend online, reading different blogs or randomly wasting time it does come as a surprise to me that I have never got round to writing Leo's 'birth story'.  I suppose as time went on it seemed a bit late and then when he was 5 months old we emigrated and it kind of distracted me! This week's Gallery theme is Birth,   and reading the many other birth stories and lovely photos entered into it prompted me to think about writing my own. It was, I think a reasonably straight forward birth but in writing it I had to think about more than just the actual birth. I've not blogged about it before as Aaron and I had different thoughts on what we wanted - me being the pregnant one ended up getting my own way and I think I maybe still feel bad about it! I've never blogged about my birth story but feel that it is something that should be in this ongoing record of mine so have started giving it some thought. I had no detailed birth pla