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Showing posts from April, 2012

Trying to perfect my 'Angry Voice'

Like many Mums, or probably all Mums I've been having some 'terrible two' issues with my darling boy. Trying to work out the best strategy for dealing with these problems is not the easiest thing in the world and I've tried various combinations of raising my voice, talking quietly, ignoring, distracting, reasoning, removing toys/ treats, actually removing him, and have yet to come up with the solution that works every time.  I think what I need is a decent 'angry voice'  As a child I was rarely smacked but I knew the 'angry voice' and I knew that was time to behave. I'm not very good at the voice myself tending to be ignored by Leo, I guess because he hears it all the time. It's rare that I perfect it but this week when I thought he was about to tip the TV off its stand I nailed it! It could have been the danger or it could have been the the fact I know that replacing such equipment would not be cheap, not only due to an empty bank ac

Silent Sunday

Famagusta Orange Festival

Whilst out and about this week I noticed the sudden appearance of these fantastic dolphins made from oranges at the Cultural Centre of Occupied Ammochostos (Famagusta)  I was intrigued and wondered why they were there.  It turns out that up until 1974 when the Turkish invasion of Cyprus took place there was an Orange Festival held each year in Varosha (the part of Famagusta which is now under UN control)  Because of its proximity the cultural centre apparently commemorated the event this weekend with a visit from the Agricultural Minister and Defence Minister of Cyprus.  There was little information to be found as if often the case with events here but after a bit of digging I found a website with some great photos and information about the 1936 Orange festival.   The last festival took place in March 1974.  Looking through the oranges towards Varosha Written as part  of my Discovering Cyprus posts.

The answer to my prayers!

When I found out I was pregnant this time round I was absolutely dreading the fact I would be going through the pregnancy and giving birth in Cyprus. My experiences of the hospital up until this point have been mixed, they do speak English and they are generally very helpful but I find the procedures sometimes confusing as I'm sure any foreigner would in the UK and I was very nervous about it all, particularly giving birth.  Aaron said he would be with me despite wishing he hadn't been at Leo's  as he wouldn't make me do it alone. I was most worried about the lack of pain relief and the fact I might have to have a caesarean that I might not need (two things I had heard were very common) as well as struggling with the language (although they speak English they obviously talk in Greek amongst themselves and sometimes I find it hard to understand anyway)  Then via Mums in Cyprus I was contacted by Claire who is a Doula / Childbirth educator in training looking for

Flashback Friday - Mr Noisy!

As mentioned before our family have a huge love of books and we have passed this onto Leo, like his toys his favourites vary from day to day but a some he always comes back to are the classic Mr Men series.  He can name nearly all of them and as well as reading them he likes to spend time looking at them all and arranging them all over the place, I think he's so impressed that he now owns so many of them! I then remembered that his first ever fancy dress costume when he was 9 months old happened to be a Mr Man, long before he had any idea who they were.   It was brought at the last minute from the only place I could find here to sell them and it was one of a choice of two outfits. It was also for a 5 year old to be worn as a top with red trousers but it was that or nothing so we gave it a shot! These days although Mr Noisy certainly suits him a lot of the time,  I'm sure he'd protest and want to be a different one, currently his favourite is Mr Bump wh

Eczema? Rosea? Who knows!

I'm writing about this, not because I particularly want to remember it but in case someone can help! Each year of his life my poor little man has suffered for a period of time with an unknown rash.  I don't know if it has been the same thing each time but I guess it must be, it never occurred to me to take photos each time (can't have developed the blogger mentality at that point obviously!)  so I can't directly compare.  The first time he got a rash at 7 months old in December we took him to the doctors, they didn't really know what it was but gave us some cream (no idea what it was) and within a couple of days it went.   It came back a couple of times and eventually I realised that each time he got it he'd been wearing polyester.  He was then rash free until June when just after his 1st birthday was ill with a fever, as the fever went the rash appeared and spent ages trying various different creams and potions until it eventually it went within a

A different holiday

I've said before on my blog that one of the things I miss most about the UK is the canals, we spent many a lovely weekend on board and Leo had his very first holiday on the boat too.   I was a very reluctant convert to narrow boating, in fact I was sure that I would hate it! My idea of a good holiday was 2 weeks all inclusive on a sun bed by a pool. It did not involve any kind of manual labour, small living space, cold or rain, it would involve late nights and no early mornings, and certainly no children. Then I was 'persuaded' to spend a long weekend on a narrow boat with 6 children (none of them my own) and 5 adults, this seemed like a bad plan - apart from the reasons mentioned before, being outnumbered by kids can never be a good idea surely! It turns out it was a great weekend and although a completely different holiday to what I was used to, one that was great fun and good for all ages. Saying that the youngest child was four and although many people do I'm n

Then there was trouble.... Tantrums and 2 year olds

Before I had Leo I was adamant that I would not have one of 'those' kids - you know the kind that run riot, throwing toys, kicking and generally misbehaving. I would also not be one of 'those' Mums - the kind that shouts at their kids who don't pay the slightest bit of attention, the kind who ignore some bad behaviour as it's not that bad, and the kind who generally can't control their own children.  I feel bad now but I always blamed bad parenting as cause. In some of the places I've lived in the UK there were plenty of those parents and kids about, but equally I knew (some!) friends and family who had perfectly lovely well behaved children.  I just assumed that I'd make damn sure I brought up similarly lovely offspring. 'They' say it's not easy being a parent, 'they' say a lot of things though and I think I may have not been listening to all of them.  Whilst pregnant, and even before I read probably every childcare book in

The Gallery - Action

This weeks Gallery prompt is Action ,  and what else could I use but a photo of a very energetic toddler! This was taken a couple of weeks ago in our local park, it's not the best park in the world but it's a very good one for Cyprus! It has a small playground - a slide that Leo cannot climb up on his own, a couple of rocking toys and a see-saw,  a cage with some birds in it (not very good conditions for the birds but Leo like to have a look at it each time as he doesn't realise this!)  and several paths and sections which are great fun for a toddler to explore. The park is only a few minutes walk from our apartment which is nice and we've often met up with other Mums and kids for a picnic there.  It's nice for him to have a place to run around in, and the novelty of grass to play on which none of our friends have in their gardens!

Silent Sunday

A new chapter

To me time always seems to fall into little chapters, most of the time you don't realise them going by but when you look back it seems that there is always a phase which you can define.   From a job you had or a place you lived, a pub you drank in or a group of friends you spent all your time with before gradually drifting away, to moving on and having children - you have the newborn phase, the time where you turn a corner and realise a routine is starting to form or that they are sleeping through the night. We have been in Cyprus now for almost two and a half years and even that slots into different chapters - The two months before Aaron started work. the next phase where Aaron worked 12 hours a day while I looked after a baby for the first time on my own and knew only one person to talk to, and then the bit in the middle where I tried to figure it all out and I gradually made friends.  Last year my parents moved over which was another big change and then in August Aaron lost

Flashback Friday

It's Friday and that means it's Flashback time! As this week Aaron started his new job (Branch manager 'Easy Riders Bike Hire'  Agia Napa ) so when I come across this photo I thought it quite apt.  I'm going back to 1996, when we were on holiday in Gran Canaria. Aaron saw this bike in the foyer of the Hard Rock Cafe and jumped on for what was my favourite photo of the holiday.  I've never been a big fan of bikes personally, but he loves them.  I did go out on a couple of his bikes over the years but generally not enjoyed it.   He has had 4 sports bikes and later on brought a Hyusung (kind of like a Harley, although he'd probably tell me off for describing it like a girl!) which was an improvement as it was a little more comfortable but I still wasn't a fan! He sold the bike just before we moved to Cyprus and still misses it all the time, I'm sure he will get another one day when he can afford it!

22 weeks Pregnancy Update - Cyprus vs UK

Today I had my 22 week scan and am pleased to say that all is well. Bubs is currently breach but so was Leo up until the last moment so I'm not too worried about that at this point. All limbs and essential parts are present and correct and I was impressed that I remembered my parts of the body in Greek as I could almost follow what they were saying as the nurse made her notes.  We found out we are having a boy at the last scan but as I was only 16 weeks I was eager to double check today, and was happy to have it confirmed that he is 'still' a boy and they have no doubt about it due to the fact he was busy waggling his bits at us. For me the antenatal care so far has been good and I was initially terrified at the thought of having a baby here. Not being able to speak the language to any good level and generally not really understanding the procedures at the hospital was daunting to say the least. My usual lifeline in times of crises (the internet)  let me down and I

Having a baby in Cyprus

Since finding out I am pregnant I've realised that there is very little information on the internet about pregnancy and birth in Cyprus, there are a few websites with a little bit of 'what to do' info but it's mainly directed at giving birth in a private clinic and usually just a few comments on a forum - never an actual birth story. Along with sharing my experiences as I go I thought it would be good if I could speak to others who have already experienced it for themselves.  I think it would be interesting not only for me but maybe helpful for others expecting babies here in Cyprus.   Obviously no two pregnancies or births are the same and also procedures can vary between care providers so every woman experience will differ but hopefully with enough feedback I can share some varied accounts of birth in Cyprus. So,  I'm  looking for women who have had a baby in Cyprus who would like to share their experiences for a new series of posts here on my blog. I am

Easter Weekend and a Name Day.

This weekend was Easter here in Cyprus as it's rarely the same time as the UK  and despite some mixed weather and potty training it's been a lovely long weekend.  On Good Friday my friend Sam had one of her always brilliant kids parties with an Egg hunt and a couple of games for the kids.  Last year was good but Leo, being a year older really enjoyed it this time. He relived the entire party on the way home in the car and was even talking in his sleep about it for half the night! The (unplanned) highlight had to be watching the kids play with a huge bowl of cornflakes and listen to their squeals and laughter.  The cornflakes had been part of a mini chocolate egg lucky dip but as much as they loved the chocolate throwing huge handfuls into the air and running about was much more fun! Weather wise Easter Sunday started of promising and was looking good for our first BBQ of the year for seven people but as the day progressed it got a bit darker and chillier and in the end

The week we ditched the nappies!

Last Sunday we decided to start potty training Leo - well Aaron decided after I'd spent months faffing about it!. After a few attempts we realised the potty was no good and so got his trainer seat for the toilet and went straight for that.  The first few days weren't too bad - a few accidents but to be expected then Wednesday was not so good. I'm not sure if he got bored with our constant asking if he needed to go but he started saying he didn't want to go and unlike the previous days he would not even go and try, only to have an accident a few minutes later.  Any attempts to get him to sit on the toilet resulted in a big tantrum despite the promise of stickers for his chart, and second present after his second line of 10 stickers. Thursday was a slight improvement and he spent the morning down at my parents, so it was a lovely morning for me!  He tends to listen to my Mum so he used the toilet several times and had only one accident.  In the afternoon he had on

Silent Sunday

Flashback Friday - At the beach

Due to living in Cyprus Leo has probably been to the beach more times so far than I did in my whole childhood, at least he can't be that far off it.  For me beach trips for on holiday or if you were really lucky then those rare English summer days that coincided with a day out! My Dad was always great fun on a beach, we used to spend a lot of time in the water usually on ' the hand' (the best inflatable I've seen!)  and we made some great boats, cars and of course sandcastles. Looking back I now suspect that I may have had minimal input into the design of these creations and have the feeling that my role in making them could have been limited to digging and 'patting down'.  It does kind of ruin my Dad's 'reason' for building them which was so he could get the sun on his back as they are much more impressive than strictly necessary! Not that I'm complaining of course, they were great fun to do and I'm sure he is lookin

Being cheerful again!

It's been a long time since I last joined in with Michelle's Reasons to be Cheerful as although I haven't been sitting around being miserable (well not all the time!) I just ran out of things to write about - there's only so many ways you can write the same thing! It's been a long winter for us, Aaron lost his job last August, all the family has been ill at various points, it's been very cold, electricity prices are sky high so heating has been costing a fortune and we'd done nothing much for ages.  After the initial surprise of finding out I was pregnant  I have been cheerful about that but it was also thing to worry about and give me nothing to wear! However.... I'm back and newly cheerful, here's why.... 1 . Aaron. Has. Got. A. Job.    After months of searching, emailing, calling, sending CV's, calling random numbers just to find out they only want to employ women who speak Russian or something etc he has finally got work. Not o

The Gallery - Easter

Cyprus celebrates Greek Orthodox Easter which this year falls this coming weekend, one week after Western or Christian Easter.  Some years, like the previous two by coincidence it falls on the same weekend but I was intrigued to find out why its not often on the same day. By the wonder of the interweb I discovered that The formula for Easter—"The first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox"—is identical for both Western and Orthodox Easters, but the churches base the dates on different calendars: Western churches use the  Gregorian calendar,  the standard calendar for much of the world, and Orthodox churches use the older,Julian calendar. Easter is the biggest religious festival in Cyprus and is celebrated more than Christmas, for most people it lasts from Good Friday until the following Tuesday.  Decorations come out a few weeks before and can be found by churches, street corners and on many roundabouts! On Easter Saturday people he

Not 'Going Potty' - skipping that part!

A few weeks ago I posted about 'not' potty training  I knew the time was approaching or maybe had approached ages ago and I chose to ignore it but I've been putting it off for ages now. It's not the first time I've put making a change off, last year there was 'the battle of the bottle'    - where I bored everyone silly for months about the struggles of getting Leo to ditch his baby bottles and I did the same with moving him from a cot to a bed . You'd think I'd know better by now and realise that I might as well just get on with it, and it's probably not going to be that bad! On Sunday I had a lovely lie in while Aaron got up with Leo, when I got up we were unexpectedly in full potty training mode. Leo had asked for a new nappy minutes after getting one as he had done a wee, something he had never done before so Aaron asked him if he wanted to wear big boy pants instead and tell us if he wanted one.  He agreed and sat on the potty a couple of t

Silent Sunday

The things they say

A while ago I wrote a post 'They really do say the funniest things'  and although there is a chance that Leo might not appreciate it later on I intended to do it regularly (working on the theory that it's cute and I'm sure he'll realise that eventually!)   As I hadn't got round to blogging but knew I'd forget these hilarious words of wisdom I've been scribbling the odd one down in a notebook so these are now a little bit old but complete gems! Back in the depths of winter (which is surprisingly cold in Cyprus with no heating and marble floors) I was trying to persuade Leo to put his socks on, we had to fight all through the winter to get him to wear more than a t-shirt - I spent most of it wearing three jumpers, thick socks and slipper boots.  It was early in the morning and at the time of the 'sock debate' we were watching 'Barney' which had African dancers in it.   'Why I got to wear socks Mummy' 'Because the floo

Change is as good as a rest?

For most of my life I have had my hair in pretty much the same style, sometimes long, sometimes a bit shorter but that's about the most to have changed. Back in 2007 I went for a more drastic cut after reading somewhere that it's time to get a new hair cut if you have had the same one since school or if you have lost or gained more than 3 stone. As both of those thins applied to me I decided to be brave and put myself in the capable hands of a hairdresser friend of mine.  I was still not brave enough to consider having it all chopped off but I went shorter than I had ever done before and it was graduated at the back so for the first time ever there was no way I could put it up  any more! It was to date my most favourite hair cut but since then I've not really been able to repeat it, especially since moving to Cyprus.  My problem is that although I like it short like in the picture above I can't stand to not be able to tie it up in the summer, I also

A peaceful winter

When we decided to move to Cyprus it didn't take us long to decide that we wanted to live on the east coast, at first however we found it hard to convince the property companies of that!   We went to a big property show in the UK and we found time and time again that sales agents would either try and sway us towards the west coast or not even deal with the east at all, every company it seemed assumed we wanted to live in Paphos.  One company even told us that the East was no good to live in as it 'closes' in the winter...... it closes?  Completely? What a stupid statement - surely people live there all year!   What they meant was parts of it close and apparently they were under the impression that we wanted to live like tourists 365 days a year.   Protaras in winter Protaras in particular does 'almost' close for the winter, the main 'strip' I believe only has one bar open all year.  Venture away from that street though and you will find a co

Teddy Bear Picnic Party

Regular readers will have gathered by now that my Mum is a bit of a teddy bear fan, so what better way to celebrate her birthday than with an Teddy Bear's picnic! Leo was involved in much of the preparations despite not being a fan of the theme at first, trains are more his thing and had to be persuaded that Nana prefers bears! In the week leading up to her birthday we made Teddy Bear holders for the cutlery...Bear shaped cut outs with paws and feet stuck on, then glued to empty toilet roll holders which we painted brown.  We also decorated cut out teddy bears to make a banner for the window. The cake was a teddy, baked by Leo and I but decorated by me... the first 'novelty' cake I've done. (Usually I bake and Aaron decorates!)  Party food was a selection of sandwiches, salad and homemade onion dip (first time I'd made that and it was yummy!) crisps, and bear shaped cheese pastry bites.  I also made 'paw print cupcakes to go with the mai

Silent Sunday