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 worn 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.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Dancing with my 'baby' in the summer rain

Who'd have thought it, that the rain would ever cause such excitement.  I've always hated the rain, traditionally the sure fire way to ruin a day for me in the UK  but once you approach the end of the summer and almost 6 months without a drop of the wet stuff and your outlook tends to change!

There has been rain recently in Larnaca and surrounding villages but it had been yet to reach us. Today as the first few drops fell I remarked to Aaron that it would probably come to nothing as the first one usually does.....

Leo who once said 'I don't like raining, we gonna need umbrellas'  (to be precise 3 years ago this week, thanks to the wonder of 'Timehop')   went a little bit crazy and ran around dancing and singing, oh and doing 'Power Ranger' moves - like you do.

I was amused to see look over the balcony and see my Dad standing in the rain, with the garden hose aimed at the gazebo roof, after laughing at him though I did decide to get the broom and start sweeping whilst it was still raining. It took only a minute or so to become saturated!

I've often thought it amusing to see all the Cypriot housewives pop out the second it stops raining to hose down their driveways, and even the pavements and roads, even if it looks like it might continue to rain.  But today, sweeping after the rain I couldn't fight the urge to grab that hosepipe - seems it gets us all in the end!

Louka missed all the excitement by timing his nap badly which is no bad thing as he's not mastered the art of walking around on a slippery tiled balcony.   Leo appeared to have the time of his life though and danced until the very last drops fell.

In true Cyprus style it ended suddenly, and within minutes the sun was breaking back through the clouds.

Ever since I've not been able to get this old favourite of mine out of my head.... Belinda Carlisle's Summer Rain

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Why the hell not! - My first steps in blogging

Five years ago, sat at my laptop in my parents conservatory surrounded by boxes and with a 4 month old Leo sleeping by my side I started a blog.  I'm not sure why I suddenly decided to do it, it was not something I'd previously thought of doing and I didn't stop to think about it in anyway, I found 'Blogger' signed up paused briefly to come up with a blog name - 'Why the hell not?'  (start a blog?, Move to Cyprus?  one of those two!) and started typing.

I had a quick look at the layout and colour options, clicking a couple and I think going with a light brown colour for some reason, no images, no social media, nothing except my first little post - 'Do you want to move to Cyprus?' 

I wrote seven posts that first week, to no-one in particular as I hadn't told anyone or shared it anywhere. Looking back the posts seem so short especially when you consider I was talking about such a big thing in my life - our imminent move to a new country where we knew no-one and nothing at all, leaving our friends and family behind and being new parents at the same time -  hardly any photos, and the minimum of text, and most of the posts haven't even got titles!

After seven posts in as many days, it seems a bit strange that I then only managed two in October and one in November, then not a thing until January but blogging hadn't become a habit at that point and from moving into our apartment at the end of November it took almost months to get online, and even when I did write after all that time it wasn't much more than a paragraph!

I soon changed the name as I didn't like it but struggled trying to think of one, I came to the conclusion that it didn't really matter anyway as I didn't think anyone would read it. 'A matter of choice' comes from my favourite quote -

'Destiny is not a matter of chance, but a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.'
William Jennings Bryan

It had a similar reasoning to 'Why the hell not?'  as in I chose to start a blog, and I chose to move to Cyprus.  I thought a couple of years later about changing it but I can't bring myself to do that now!

I didn't think anyone would be reading it, other than maybe my Mum and a couple of friends I'd be leaving in England but I was stunned to see the numbers gradually going up, I remember coming on one day and being stunned that I had 30 people following my blog, and I didn't know any of them!

Back in the early days I never imagined how much time I would come to spend blogging and writing plus all the other online stuff that comes with it. I probably wouldn't have thought I'd still be keeping it up 5 years and nearly 1000 posts later.  I can't imagine not doing it now, and most of what I do all stems back to that original post - my monthly contributions to Daxi magazine,  my section on and Mums in Cyprus, and of course the Famagusta Parents Network and all that encompasses, plus the other bits and pieces I seem to get myself involved in along the way!

Lets see what the next five years brings then.....

Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice

mummy mishaps

Monday, 22 September 2014

Loukas aged two, loves....

Several years ago after seeing a lovely idea by Lauren at Real Housewife of Suffolk County, I made a 'Leo loves' post and since then I've not missed doing an update post each year.

Here is Loukas now he has just turned two years old...

Brilliant blog posts on

Thursday, 18 September 2014

A Crafty Activity day - Flashback Friday

People always say that you never get something for nothing but Tiny Acorns recently proved otherwise with their first Childrens’ FREE activity day.  

Sam, the creator of Tiny Acorns Mummy and Baby group wanted to provide the children with something completely different to do that all the parents could get involved in without worrying about the cost, twelve weeks school holidays is a long time and it can get very expensive trying to occupy the kids as they get bored and restless towards the end of the holidays.

The aim was to offer the children the experience to try something new, and in the process generate some awareness of the creative businesses that we have in the local area.

Many companies were involved in providing activities for the day, along with the craft table, junk modelling and drawing stations set up by Tiny Acorns.  There was tile painting with the staff from ‘I Parea Mikron Filon' nursery  with donations from The Pottery Place, face painting by St Johns Church, Deryneia, Baby Ballet and Theatre arts by Performers Academy of Dance, pottery making with Askott Pottery and story time with myself as the Famagusta Parents Network.

There was also a free raffle with prizes donated by Personalised in Cyprus and Banbao building bricks as well as Tiny Acorns craft packs. Home Sweets Home were there selling  wide variety of retro sweets which was very popular with kids and adults alike, and my hubby was there as Aaron’s Klik Photography to capture the fun on camera!

The day was a great success and well attended by families of all ages. I took both my boys who are huge Tiny Acorns fans, Leo (age 5) having attended throughout the summer holidays with Loukas and I and loving every second. 

I asked Leo what his favourite bit was and considering he never seems to have a huge amount of imagination I was surprised to hear him say it was the junk crafting station, where he made a 'sword’  from a tube, tape and a paper plate!  I loved to see the children having fun and the parents getting involved as well, a real community event and an outstanding achievement from Tiny Acorns.

I loved being part of the event as the Famagusta Parents Network and helping to support Sam in arranging the day, it was great fun and I think our concepts work really well together, hopefully the attendees did to, and I look forward to future FPN / Tiny Acorns collaborations!

Linking up to Mummy Mishaps 'Flashback Friday' and 'Loud and Proud'

mummy mishaps
Mama Owl

Thursday, 11 September 2014

First trip to the dentist, and a blogger in training!

Like many people, a trip to the dentist is not on my list of fun things to do and something I have always put off until really necessary. Over the years I have had a lot of work done and as an adult its not only been an unpleasant experience but also an expensive one!

When I moved to  to Cyprus I was even less enthused about it, leaving the subsided NHS behind, figuring out a new system and probably paying more for the privilege  and then I eventually did battle with the general hospital for an appointment after losing half a tooth whilst pregnant.

I've used the general hospital since being here for everything from the kids injections, general doctors appointments and giving birth, going private has never been an option when the kids injections are free, and the everything else was just €2 (now €3 for general doctors and €6 to see a specialist).   The treatment itself was ok but the fact you cannot make a appointment is a nightmare and saw me sitting on a hard plastic chair outside the dentists's door for almost 5 hours.

Writing his own name on the registration form

When it came to the boys, this filled me with dread - knowing that Leo would possibly refuse to co-operate in the best of circumstances the thought of having to sit him there for so long first would never be a good start. Although I thought it would be good to get him in early before anything would need to be done I decided to put it off until 'another day'

I continued to put it off, including any more visits for myself until the last minute when I had such bad toothache I 'wanted to rip my own head off', I declared this one Saturday morning on facebook and was instantly directed to Loukia Stylianou, a local private dentist by a friend of mine.

After such great treatment I mentioned my un-enthusiasm to bring the boys for a visit and Loukia assured me that it would be fine to bring them and there would be no pressure on Leo to do anything.

Our first visit, several months ago was just Leo and I, and as predicted he was not that happy about it, he liked Loukia and spoke to her quite happily in Greek, and he was surprised and pleased when she gave him the form to fill in rather than me, but refused to get in the chair, and he refused to open his mouth. Not at all fazed by this Loukia let him 'drive' the chair, making it go up and down and back and forth. As well as that she gave him a mirror and got him to check her own teeth!

That was that for our first visit, but I was keen to improve on this so we recently went back, this time with Loukas and I explained to Leo that I needed him to help me write an article for the website. He took his camera and willing sat in the chair for a photo 'for the site'.  Loukas was loving it, and climbed on too a ride on the chair and Loukia was great with them both, putting on cartoons on the ceiling mounted tv and letting Leo press all the buttons and even work some of the equipment.

It didn't take long for him to open his mouth - all the while I was taking photos, and in the end he happily let her clean his teeth with the special whizzing toothbrush!

Loukas wasn't at all bothered by the chair or the noises but didn't want to be left out of anything so spent most of the time trying to climb up Leo and sit on him, this actually helped as Leo was keen to show his little brother what to do.

All the while Loukia spoke to Leo, rather than me and I think this made a big difference to him and he was pleased (as was I) when she told him he had good teeth and he must have been brushing them well, after a good discussion about how the tooth fairy had collected his first baby tooth, and a present of a small tube of toothpaste he left happily agreeing to go back in 6 months time, no doubt with his camera again for another blog post - who knew that my blog was going to be so useful!

Leo's mentioned his visit to the dentist several times since and I'm sure he'll be more than happy to go back next time.  I'm glad I took him before any problems he may get so his early dentist visits are positive ones.

Brilliant blog posts on

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

September Sky

It's almost mid September and you can feel the change in seasons approaching, the skies are still blue, the sun is still hot and temperature are still high during the day, but the schools have gone back and the tourists numbers slowly start to decrease, there is more of a breeze in the air and the white fluffy clouds start to reappear in the sky.

The swimming pools start to cool, and the wind gives you goose bumps when you get out, the sea no longer feels like stepping in a too warm bath.  The nights are drawing in but it no longer makes me sad like it did many years ago, it makes me look forward to a Cyprus autumn with its slightly cooler days and the chance to wear clothes long discarded to the back of the wardrobe.

It's a chance to walk again, to go to the park and to not worry about the intensity of the sun and to always be on the lookout for a bit of shade.

It's the chance to enjoy the beautiful September skies.....

Linking to The Gallery - this week's theme is Sky

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