Friday, 22 January 2016

Geocaching in Larnaca

Every year in the winter months the Salt Lakes in Larnaca are host to thousands of migrating flamingos, am impressive sight to see in all the many photos which pop up online every year but one I'd never seen for myself.

So just before the boys went back to school I suggested we drive to Larnaca and have a look or ourselves.  After our recent geocaching adventure I thought I'd take a look at the app to see if there were any near our destination, and the boys were excited to see that there were several. 

There was a geocache at the Kamares Aqueduct which caught my eye and we decided to head there first.  I'd seen photos of the aqueduct and always fancied going to have a look but always decided it was a bit pointless to drive there and then have the boys moan there was nothing to do, plus the fact I didn't know where it was!

Of course, having set the GPS on my phone for the cache finding the aqueduct was not a problem. It was quite interesting driving round backstreets and road of Larnaca I'd never been to before. 

(I've spent very little time in Larnaca and I had no idea the aqueduct was so close to the big cinema!) 

It started to rain on the way there, something that would usually have me in a bad mood before arrival but I was unusually optimistic and to my surprise the rain stopped by the time we got out the car. We were dressed for the weather though for a change and the boys were surprised that we let them go walking ankle deep in clay like mud!

Roman aqueduct

We walked along following the GPS but along the wrong path, running parallel to the cache but on the wrong path as we got down to 60 metres before it started going up again.  Aaron took a walk across the long grass and found he was getting closer but we came to the conclusion we wouldn't be able to get to the cache due to the wet overgrown bushes. 

Closer to the cache, but not close enough!
Retracing our steps and discovering we were on the wrong path we decided to give it one more try, plus the boys were desperate to run over the bridge we had passed.  As a child I loved steps, and demanded to go up any we saw, for my boys its bridges!


Look at the happy faces!


Of course, I don't want to spoil the search for you, should you wish to try and find the cache yourself but we found it in the end,  it involved a bit of an off path adventure for Aaron while I tried to stop the boys following him and slipping but there was much excitement as we located it and thanks to the GPS we even found a short cut back to the car!


By now we were starting to lose the light but we decided to swing back past the salt lakes on the way home, stopping to find another two caches on the way!

After all that, we never did get to see the flamingos as it started to rain just as we reached the lakes and we thought it time to quit while we were ahead, and everyone was still happy. 

I just had time to take a quick photo of the lakes...

salt lake in the rain


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

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

A Super Super Hero Party!

I've always been a party person, and looked forward to partying with my friends - although previously the main ingredients to the event would have been alcohol, and music.  If you spoke to the 20-something me I'd have been amazed that a 7 year old's birthday party would be just as entertaining.

I've been to many of Sam's parties and Tiny Acorns events over the years and they are always brilliant  but this took it to a whole new level - it was a Super Party!


In actual fact, it wasn't a party - it was a Superhero training academy. 

The trainee superheroes took part in many activities,  from jumping through the ring of fire, defeating the baddies and learning to identify the other superheroes and more. 


The games were played in teams so the older kids could assist the little ones and they all worked very well together.  There was a bit of adult assistance when it came to wrapping the baddies but mainly because we wanted to play too!


As well as the lively activities, our little superheroes got to have a rest while they designed their own superhero masks and created their own super hero character, deciding on their special power and coming up with a suitably super name for themselves. 

After all their hard work of course it was time for food - and I've never seen kids so enthusiastic about eating fruit, especially when there are biscuits and cakes on offer as well!



While all this was going on,  Aaron was busy inside working his magic on his photos. As the guests had arrived, each stopped for a photo taken against the green screen.  During the party Aaron got to work editing them and produced some amazing souvenirs for everyone to take home. 


green screen superhero image
www.klikphotocy.com


All our superheros passed completed their training successfully so as well as the photos, and their goody bags they all took home a certificate to show they were now an official superhero!

Photo credit - Klik Photo CY


Sunday, 17 January 2016

2015, the final flashbacks

After all my flashback posts so far this month, we have made it to the end of the year finally  and before the end of January!  

October is my birthday month, and last year I was determined to have a party, a proper party with dancing!  I considered going for a 'big night out' like we did in July for Sam's birthday but there would be to few people who were able to come so we went for the ever popular BBQ at home option, with the addition of some DJ equipment and lights to create the party balcony!

DJ AJ and his little helper!

October also saw the first ever 'Daxifest' - a family festival organised by the Daxigroup to raise money for local charities.  We went, expecting to only stay for a couple of hours while the kids were happy but in fact ended up being there nearly 8 hours!

It's amazing what a couple of bouncy castles can do!


I managed a few blog posts for the rest of the month, including how Louka broke his arm while playing in the park and the Halloween fun we had.

November...

The highlight of the month was Loukas Baptism, which after years of debate finally took place on the 22nd, by coincidence exactly 6 years to the day that Leo's was held in England.


The preparations for Christmas started soon afterwards as Tiny Acorns and Santa's Cyprus Postbox joined forces providing Christmas treats and magic.


We had a lovely family day out to Paphos - which was so good it turned into 3 blog posts!  and a nice afternoon at Agia Napa harbour.


December...

December, was the first month in 2015 where I took a decent amount of photos!

Before Christmas got under way properly, we went to the most awesome birthday party ever! So awesome that it deserves its very own blog post, but here's a photo of the beautiful birthday girl.


Christmas was lovely as always, despite the fact that half of us were ill.  The sickness bug started as school was about to break up, and it had just about left us in time for the big day.  Apart from the lack of whisky being drunk it was still good, they boys had a brilliant time, and the dinner was gorgeous!

Boxing Day was spent at the beach with friends after a big breakfast at a local pub and then the evening at ours for our traditional Boxing Day dinner of bubble, cold meats, cheese and pickles - yummy!

I have too many photos to try and decide which to share so I'll finish up the 2015 flashbacks with this one - it's possibly even my favourite from the whole year!



Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Summer of 2015

Moving onto July in my look back over 2015 I notice that I took very few photos that month, we were out a lot with work but the boys love that, in fact they are unimpressed we are now in the quiet period and keep asking when we are working next so they get to have Nana and Grandad come up to look after them!

I had a blog post in my head for a long time, titled something like 'Summer 2015, powered by Shark and Mcdonald's' as for a while it seemed that we were living on drive through takeaways on the way to Paphos and Limassol and energy drinks.  Apparently the shark drinks didn't give me enough energy to actually write the post as well though!

The highlight of the month was my lovely friend Sam's birthday night out, where we literally danced until dawn!  Starting the night off with a civilised dinner at a chinese restaurant, followed by drinks in Rock Garden (far too loud and shouty for my liking but don't tell anyone!) and then ending up in Car Wash where we partied untill the sun came up.  We drank shots, danced on the bar (and managed not to fall off), got blisters and other dancing / drinking related injuries and left the club to find it was light outside!

I got home as my neighbour was hanging out her washing and crept passed my parents front door holding my shoes before sneaking into bed 15 minutes before Louka got up!  Needless to say Aaron was on parent duties that day!

We look surprisingly good for 6am!
In other, more sensible grown up news, Louka was brilliant in his first school play....


August...

Oh so hot of course, so the pool was in use pretty much every day. We had a few family days out to local hotel pools for a change of scenery and of course the ever popular trips to restaurants with bouncy castles which keep the boys happy for hours!


Loukas turned 3, and we had a small birthday party at home after an hour in the pool downstairs.

We also got to try out the fabulous Swimfin which helped Leo's confidence in the water a lot. I'm looking forward to trying it with Loukas later this year.



September...

All good summers come to an end, and soon enough it was time for the new school year.  The year didn't start that well, with neither of the boys being happy about going to school each day. But thankfully it started to get better towards the end of the year.


The best bit about school in Cyprus though, is the fact that the school day finishes at 1pm leaving you plenty of time to enjoy the rest of the day, and the boys favourite activity of the month was playing chess..


It was probably the best summer we've had so far,  working but with time off to enjoy family time, no nappies, no buggy and the kids usually sleeping until a sensible time in the mornings.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

The one where we go Geocaching

As we approached the end of the holidays and after the excitement of Christmas and New Year, the boys were getting restless and I was running out of ideas to amuse them. The last few days were dragging as I was eager to get 'doing' and get on with the new year, I wanted to do something and to get them away from the tv and games consoles but with very little cash (and patience when it comes to arts, crafts or baking with kids) I was stumped.

I turned to facebook, as you do for a moan inspiration and a friend of mine suggested geocaching. Initially I dismissed it, it sounded like hard work, and well, we'd have to leave the house!

In case you are wondering, here's a quick explanation of geocaching... (taken from www.geocaching.com)

Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.
At its simplest level, geocaching requires these 8 steps:
  1. Register for a free Basic Membership at www.geocaching.com 
  2. Visit the "Hide & Seek a Cache" page.
  3. Enter your postal code and click "search."
  4. Choose any geocache from the list and click on its name.
  5. Enter the coordinates of the geocache into your GPS Device.
  6. Use your GPS device to assist you in finding the hidden geocache.
  7. Sign the logbook and return the geocache to its original location.
  8. Share your geocaching stories and photos online.
I had read about geocaching years ago but I'd never really looked into it, but the boredom was high and so was my curiosity so I googled it and soon discovered that our nearest cache was just a couple of streets away from us.

It was a very cold but lovely sunny day so we wrapped up warm and went in search of treasure!

I wasn't that worried about the GPS on my phone (I'd always assumed it needed to be in wifi range to work) as I knew the location and after reading the hint I thought we wouldn't need it.  I was surprised to find that in fact it doesn't need wifi as I found out when my phone bleeped to tell me we were very close, much to Leo's complete amazement!

Of course, we has no idea what we were actually looking for and I was not convinced we would actually find anything, as the cache had apparently been there for years. There was a clue on the listing, but it didn't narrow it down much.

Thanks to the beeping phone, we narrowed the area right down and I wandered up and down looking at bits of rubbish feeling confused, but just as we were about to give up I spotted it!



I'm not going to go into detail as I don't want to spoil it if you are going to go and give it a try but it was a great little find! As the listing has said it was a small cache with no SWAG ('stuff we all get' - many caches have small treasures inside which you can take, leaving something of equal or greater value)  we hadn't brought anything to swap, but on opening we discovered there were in fact a couple of items along with the log book.


Leo was understandably excited about the treasure so he chose one and returned later to replace it with something else.

We then signed the log, and replaced the cache for the next person.



Having realised that the GPS was working I realised that there was another cache close by, but this one was a virtual cache, meaning that its about discovering a location rather than a container. It may be that you have to answer a question, or take a picture to 'discover' the cache.

The task was to discover the letters and numbers painted on a building just over the green line, knowing the area quite well I was fairly sure I knew the building it mentioned, it was just a case of getting high enough to check the numbers.

Despite the visitor centre being closed I knew the steps to the roof are on the outside so we climbed up for a look,  it was no good, we were just too far away to be able to make them out.   We jumped back in the car and got a bit closer though and managed to figure them out!

Not bad for our first geocaching adventure at all - 2 finds to start us off!



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

Thursday, 7 January 2016

2015 Flashbacks - Part 3

My last post where I looked back to April ended up a bit longer than I planned as I had forgotten what a month it had been, so part 3 will just look at May and June (so it doesn't mess up the pattern!)

May...

May, of course is Leo's birthday so most of the month was focused on that, and planning for the best party we've had so far!

I even managed to blog about it!
A Magical Birthday Party, Potter Party Preperation and our Harry Potter Potions Class,

Image credit - Klik Photo CY

We had lots of after school playtime in the park.   Leo's school (now Loukas) is opposite a small park so every day it was hard to to get straight in the car at lunchtime, but mostly I was not in any hurry so a bit of a run around and a couple slides made life much easier!



We spent a lot of time at Tiny Acorns which my boys are now sadly too big for (they still run Mummy and Baby group every week).

Making lemonade
One of the many activities the boys took part in was junk modeling and they made minibeasts from boxes and other 'junk'.  Leo made a slug, which I thought was quite brilliant - a brown box with two eyes!   It was named Sluggy and became a favourite toy for a long time, in fact he's still on display next to his bed.

It was brilliant watching Leo play with Sluggy, I can't believe how much enjoyment a simple bit of cardboard brought for so long when he rarely plays with any toys at all these days.

He loved it so much that they boys, with a little help from me, made a birthday party for Sluggy, complete with decorations, party games, food, and homemade cards and presents. It was a very enjoyable morning watching them play like kids should do!



June...

June was one of the busiest months for work and as the temperature rose we started spending most afternoons at the pool so there was little to blog about.

Leo took part in the last school play before leaving his pre-school at the end of the summer term, and Loukas had his first school event when he was involved in the nursery school Olympics along with many schools in the area.  I was surprised and pleased to see him happily joining in despite his reluctance to go to school!




Leo was sad to leave his school when the term ended mid June, but of course he was distracted by the excitement of the summer holidays - I was not looking forward to September!

Louka continued going to school much to his annoyance as his did not close for summer. We did decide though to take him out from July as he would also be starting a new school in September (the one Leo had just left!).   It meant that Leo had several mornings at home without his little brother, something that he could not remember from before he was born. At first he loved it but I was surprised to see that he did actually miss him, and by the time Louka finished for the summer he was pleased to get his playmate back!




Tuesday, 5 January 2016

2015 Flashbacks - Part 2

Continuing from the first part of my look back at 2015

April...

I'd forgotten how busy April was, looking back through my photos I see that we actually got out quite a bit for us and with other things going on it's no surprise that not much ended up on the blog!

We had the first proper trip to the beach for the year, and I took the boys on my own, something that I had always avoided doing when Louka was smaller.


We went to the Camel Park, our second trip there but the boys had enjoyed it so much the year before. This time we went with friends and they loved it even more having an extra person to play with.




We went exploring, and found Achna Dam, and the animal park that is next to it. It was a nice trip that ended up being cut short by a last minute photo booth booking (for that evening!) so we went again the following week!



It was also Easter so we joined in the village celebrations (and took no photos!) went to the annual Cyherbia Easter Egg Hunt and had a  BBQ with friends.




and these were just the highlights,  we went to an Easter party at Tiny Acorns, and took part in their World Earth Day celebrations at a local garden centre.


Of course, the biggest thing was the 2nd Famagusta Parents Network Family Fun day!


Months of preparation culminated in a great day which raised €650 for a local charity.

We had more than 20 stalls, food and drink, face painting, pony rides, childrens crafts, dancing and more.  I got very sunburnt, blisters on my feet and was exhausted for a week afterwards but it was great.  Not so sure about doing it all again though!

You can read more about the day over on the FPN website - 'Famagusta Fun Day - thank you!'


May and June coming up next.... stay tuned!

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