Friday, 24 June 2016

What the EU referendum means to me.

So the UK is now set to leave the EU, almost half the country voted to stay but the majority of voters wanted the hell out of it and now they will hit a long period of uncertainty, and debate and an endless stream of tripe in the news constantly.

I very rarely talk about or even think about politics and I've certainly never considered writing about them but as an expat blogging Brit living in Cyprus I felt I should at least say something about the biggest political event in my lifetime so far.

I've always avoided politics, having never really understood most of it and always thought it to be a load of old waffle.  (much like this blog but I'm not trying to change the world!) I did vote once, just so I could say I'd done it but I can't remember when or even be 100% sure who for.  (It may have been Lib Dem on the assumption that Tory and Labour were both talking bull and they seemed a safer vote but I couldn't be sure now)

I assume that if I still lived in the UK I'd have had more of an opinion as the majority of my friends seemed to have voted yesterday, despite not having and political preferences as far as I know before. Many people I know were sharing news and opinions (with a smattering of complete rubbish here and there) on the run up too so I guess I would have had a definite opinion and done too.  None of my friends here have spoken about it at all as far as I know, and I don't know of anyone who voted. (of course they just might not have mentioned it!)



In all honesty,  I was only vaguely aware of the upcoming referendum over the last few months.  Of course I knew about it but I don't generally watch the news or read papers - I get the gist of most stuff via facebook / twitter (but I do actually read articles rather than the headlines!) and just tend to pop over to the BBC news site if something sounds interesting.

I did go to a meeting back in March which was open to all Brits in the Famagusta area, with Ric Todd, the British High Commissioner of Cyprus.  Of course the referendum was brought up and he explained that no-one could accurately predict what would happen in the event of a vote to leave, but also that it would take a minimum of two years for any changes to come into effect. People understandably worried about the changes that may affect their pensions, and healthcare etc and many spoke passionately about the Winter fuel allowance (that's a whole other story - don't get me started on that!)  He explained that Cyprus has always had reciprocal agreements with the UK and of course people from the UK lived and worked here before Cyprus joined the EU in 2004.

It was interesting to a degree, I was, I think, the youngest there but mainly it didn't feel relevant to me.  I don't think of the UK as my home, and haven't done for a long time now.  I live in Cyprus,  I have a Cypriot residence permit and a medical card.  What happens with the NHS, schools etc sometimes feels about as relevant as what happens in any other country to me.

I couldn't tell you 100% whether I thought it best for the UK to remain or leave.  It has been assumed that I would have wanted them to remain being as that I live in another EU country, but I can't say I'm worried about what will happen to us anymore than I was this time last year.

I didn't think for a second they would actually leave but what will be will be. What has surprised me more than anything is the split I've seen between my friends and family in the UK - such opposing views and such passion.   That has upset me more than anything else, the thought that there are families and friends so divided on the issue and the thought that many people will have voted on misinformation and scaremongering rather than actual facts.

There are some amazingly stupid questions going around, along with jokes, memes and everything else. Some are funny some are annoying but ultimately no-one really has any idea what will happen when they leave, or what would have happened had they stayed.  I have seen many people today say they are sad / scared / worried for their future, or dancing with joy that they will 'get their country back'.  Seeing as it will be at least two years before the UK officially leave  I would like to respectfully suggest that everyone has a cuppa, arranges their stiff upper lip and forms an orderly queue to put their best foot forward, keep calm and see what happens.


One of the most sensible quotes I have seen on facebook today from a friend...

Ok, a decision has been made and will not be changed no matter how much the 'remainers' whinge and moan. If times are harder we'll manage it, if they are better we'll enjoy it. It's that easy. And if everyone can stop f*****g asking each other how they voted there'll be a lot less agro between ourselves

and another I saw online

The country is full of people who don't know what's going on asking people who don't understand, a question that no-one knows the answer to!


Monday, 13 June 2016

My 'Tourist' day at Nissi Beach, Agia Napa

Last month I got to act like a tourist for a week when my friend came to stay with us from England and I finally got round to having a proper trip to Nissi beach in Agia Napa.  I had been once before with Leo as a toddler but it was unsuccessful due to a temper tantrum (him not me!) and we ended up staying only 15 minutes!

It's a gorgeous beach, and recently voted one of the top 5 in Europe, very busy in the summer and packed full of tourists every day.  As I prefer to visit quieter beaches when I take the boys out it's not one that I fancy taking them to, so I thought my visitor gave me the perfect reason to go and explore.

We went on a Wednesday morning, not that the day of the week matters to anyone on holiday, it was heaving with people by mid morning, all ages and families with kids were there but there was a distinct younger crowd  - after all it is known as the party beach of the town and THE place to go.

Nissi beach viewed from the island
We sat and had a drink when we first arrived and I commented that it was like a whole different world - miles away from my usual Wednesday morning of school runs / supermarket trips or work.  You forget that only 10 minutes down the road people are oblivious to these every day activites going on and are happily holidaying in their own little bubble.

It may be busy this time of year but you cannot deny it is a stunning beach, with its white soft sand and clear blue sea.


I was adamant that we had to go onto the island, after all its the where the beach got its name (Nissi means 'island' in Greek)  I've seen pictures that suggest at certain times of the year you can walk over to the island without getting wet but at this time we had to wade over (just over knee deep for me)

Again it was quite busy with people walking up and down the hill, selfie sticks and people posing everywhere you looked but we were rewarded with the view from the top.



We were about to head back to the beach for a spot of sunbathing when we found this little cove in the rocks on the island.


One end of the beach is the 'party end' and the other is quieter without DJ's and loud music, the island is at the lively end and it was nice laying listening to the music (but not as loudly as it would have been on the beach - we are getting old apparently!)

We stayed a couple of hours then we had to go in search of shade, it was a lovely morning and I'm glad we went but I think I'll leave it until winter before returning - then we'll have the beach to ourselves!


#CheckOutThatView
Linking up to #CheckOutThatView 

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

A Star Wars Party

Leo turned 7 last month and we celebrated in style with a Star Wars party.  Although Leo hasn't actually seen all the films he has played the Lego Star Wars game on the Wii many many times and is a bit of an expert at it so he loved the idea of a Star Wars theme. 

I am somewhat ashamed to say that I'd never properly watched the films myself  (I had tried several times but they never grabbed my attention) but who needs the exact details when you have pinterest on your side!

It had been a very busy week for us work wise but I'd been surprisingly organised and got most things ready in advance of the day itself. It was a small party with just my/ his closest friends and so I was very relaxed about the whole thing luckily. 

There was a big countdown to the day by Leo, I'd given him little tasters of what we were going to do but he mainly wanted it to be a surprise so on the day they played inside while I prepared food and set up the 'Jedi Training Area' outside. 


Jedi training star wars partystar wars party game

Our Jedi's in training had to negotiate their way across the lava pit, practise their balance and test their endurance by surviving the asteroid belt.  

It was a huge hit with the young Padawans and they went back several times to do the course again. 

Next up on the training schedule was 'Shoot the Stormtrooper' 

shoot the stormtrooper

nerf gun party game

As predicted this was loved by all,  and even some of the adults couldn't resist having a go too!

star wars party game

After these activities our Jedi's were ready to receive their light sabers, just in time to fight the Storm Troopers that had invaded the balcony. 

This turned out to be one of my best ideas yet (by 'my' idea I mean - one found on pinterest obviously!)  - having something to hit greatly reduced the amount of times they hit each other!

star wars theme party

Next up was a mission to free Han Solo frozen in carbonite (ice).  I printed and laminated a lego Han Solo picture for each of the kids and froze them in old butter dishes, gave each of them a water pistol and let them get on with it.  Of course they ended up wet but it was warm and they had loads of fun in the process.

Han solo party game

By this point they were all hungry, and as the balcony needed to dry out we all went inside for food. Leo loves a party tea, especially when the food gets named to fit the theme, of course 'Ham Solo' sandwiches are so much better than regular boring ham aren't they. 

Star wars party food

star wars party food

After refuelling we finished off the games with 'Pin the light saber on Yoda' and the obligatory pass the parcel. 

pin the lightsaber on Yoda

Once the games were done, I handed over the ipod to Leo and they proceeded to party and dance on the balcony whilst the adults retreated to the safety of the little balcony. The party was a huge success, and I was quite pleased with the result considering how quickly I'd thrown it all together! 

Leo ended the day by saying he couldn't wait until his 8th birthday party!

Star wars party birthday cake


Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Now you are Seven.... {Leonidas}

Dear Leo,

I hope you had a very happy birthday, we had a very busy weekend of celebrations this year!  You all seemed to have great fun at your Star Wars Party and we had a lovely family BBQ afternoon on Sunday - with 'Daddy's Yummy Chicken' and halloumi and pringles at your special request!



Starting First Class
The biggest milestone for you this year was starting big school and going into first class. It took you several weeks to get used to it as it was a big change but you love your teacher Loukia and now have lots of friends at school.  You are very good at your lessons, especially maths and your Greek language is amazing.  I am so proud of how well you speak and understand the language.

Homework is still a challenge for you, although you very good at it when you put your mind to it, you still need quite a lot of encouragement to get on with it!

English lessons are your least favourite thing about school, as naturally you find them far too easy! You were very unimpressed that your first couple of lessons were spent learning how to say 'Good Morning, How are you?'   and learning the names of the colours!

It's been great to be able to spend time with you at your school and see what it's like.  I visited for the Tsiknopempti celebrations and also spent a day with you in your lessons. You were very helpful explaining what was happening and what everyone was saying!

Earlier this year you had to spend a night in hospital after suffering from neck pain, although you were upset to start with you were very good and patient while we stayed there.  We spent many hours playing games and reading stories together.


You still love to play on the Wii whenever you get the chance but it's great that you are now old enough that we can play lots of different games together.  Your favourite for a while now has been Avengers Monopoly, which you brought with your own money, but now you also have the Star Wars version I think that might change.

It's great that you are grown up enough to play games properly and (mostly!) be gracious in defeat, you understand that the fun is in playing the game and winning isn't everything.... although of course it's better when you do!

Good game Daddy!
You can be very grown up these days (although you have plenty of silly moments when you forget to listen) and you are often a great help with Louka now,  understanding that he is not quite as grown up as you and needs a little patience.   I love seeing you be such a protective and caring big brother to him. 

Thank you for being so understanding about the times that Dad and I have to work and for being a good boy for Nana and Grandad.  I know you are looking forward to the day you are big enough to come and work with us.

It's not long now until the summer time,  only a couple of weeks of school left now, and we will have lots of time together, pool times, film nights and game tournaments - I'm really looking forward to it!


I hope you have enjoy being seven years old and that you have a wonderful year!

Lots of love, 
Mum xxxx

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Blink and you miss it....

So much for my renewed enthusiasm for blogging and my promises to myself that I would set aside time at least once a week to writing here again.  There is so many things I could write about but I just can't get them from my head onto the page, and then when I get the chance I don't even know where to start!

For so many years I've had so much time, I never understood those who didn't have enough time.   Well, to be honest I still kind of don't!   If you want to do something enough I reckon you can always find a way to do it even if it's hard work.   I want to exercise / write a blog post / cook a healthy dinner etc.... but I just don't want to do that more than check facebook or sleep  - it's not that I CAN'T do those things.

So the month of May has flown by in a whirlwind of stuff, all good stuff but it's confused me and I could do with a little lie down now.

All the things that I would have once written about and now the time passes and they will be forgotten.   It makes me sad when I read the early years of this blog now and I relive things that I don't even remember now, the stories and carefully chosen photos to accompany them.  I don't take as many pictures these days, unless you count wearing a silly hat for a photobooth test shot - I've got hundreds of those!

In an ideal world I will be back on and blogging about the things we've got up to in May (and after having a quick flick through the photos on my phone, the things I've not written about Feb, March and April) but I realise it may take a while and by the time I get round to it, it might just be too late to do them justice, but in the mean time

The personal highlight of the month was the visit from my friend Nic who came to stay for a week at the start of the month.  A brilliant week which went so fast and consisted of plenty of wine, breakfasts at the beach, a little bit of dancing and a whole load of chatting.

Family highlight is of course Leo's 7th birthday, which is today  (and as yet I've not written my traditional 'Now you are 7' post,   that one will be coming up soon for sure!)  We've had a full on weekend starting with the Deryneia Strawberry Festival on Friday, Leo's party yesterday and a family birthday today.

Business wise, it has been one of our busiest ever weeks with 3 weddings in the last 5 days and 6 more coming up just in the next week.  It's fantastic that we are this busy and I love every moment but it does explain why I've not been able to even think about blogging!

Added to that we had Cypriot Easter at the start of the month, trips out to the beach, Easter events and even a few days of looking after our friends dog.

I've not got round to sorting out the chaos of my utility room,  editing and sorting my phone photos from the last couple of months and many other things that I can't even remember right now.    But it's all good,  my emails are up to date,  I have no unread messages, only 4 emails in my inbox to sort. The kids are ok and I'm still managing to meet up with friends and still arse around online or watch a bit of tv each day so it could be worse!

Where do you even begin to find photos for such a rambling blog post as this one......   so random picture of the sky it is!

Thursday, 5 May 2016

One Good Reason to be Cheerful!

I used to love joining in with Mich's Reasons to be Cheerful but it's been such a long time that I have - joined in that is, I've been cheerful of course!   When I noticed the other week that it was going back to her blog this week I realised there was no way I couldn't join in...

Tomorrow sees the arrival of my oldest friend,  my playgroup buddy from the age of 3, school friend, college, (no not college that didn't really last very long!) and general drinking / partying / getting into trouble friend!

Almost two years ago she turned up on my doorstep in Cyprus for a surprise visit and it was just brilliant to catch up after all the years and show her my new home - especially as it was her first trip abroad and not only her first solo flight, but her first time on a plane at all!

This year the trip was planned, and like a kid at Christmas I've been counting down since the flights were booked!

I've been searching for some old photos of us, but all I can find is the really early ones, the cute primary school photos and the birthday parties.  The teenage years and early adult years are very few as it was in the years before digital cameras and smart phones.....  thinking about it, this is probably a Very Good Thing.


So while if I stopped to think about it I could come up with more reasons to be cheerful, this week they are all based around one.....



As you can imagine, I'll be quiet on the blog next week.....  plenty of catching up to be done with my girl.  
R2BC at Mummy from the Heart

Monday, 25 April 2016

Summer Sunday Afternoons

I'm sure it comes round quicker every year but it seems that summer is now pretty much here in Cyprus, the weather has been improving slowly and steadily over the last few weeks,  getting a little warmer interspersed with a few storms or windy  / cloudy days.  I tried to be organised this year and actually sorted through our summer clothes a bit earlier rather than wondering where my shorts and strappy tops are when it 'suddenly' tops 30 degrees outside!

We've been out and about a lot more this winter than in previous years, and recently had several trips to the beach but not armed with swimsuits and towels so far. Leo and I have both been ankle deep in the sea but Louka will not go anywhere near it - far too cold for him yet!

I think it's pretty much time now though (watch the temperature plummet now I've said that!) 

Last week we went to a new beach for us and met up with several friends, it was a perfect afternoon and the kind I'd dreamed of before we moved here. 

On a quiet beach on the outskirts of Agia Napa, we have may just have found one of our local hangouts for the summer.


The kids were happy playing on the beach and refueling with milkshakes / crisps / ice cream / hot dogs (not all of the above of course - there were quite a few kids!) and the adults happy enjoying a drink or two and some rare uninterrupted conversation. 



If you are local you can find the facebook page for Stekkis No.1 Snack - but sssh don't tell everyone, I'm liking having the beach to ourselves!


Linking up to Country Kids at Coombe Mill
Country Kids
from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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