Odd ends – from today

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1. It began last night. I woke up to the pitter patter of drops…

2. …and oh, how I love thee, rain.

3. Breakfast.

4. I have had this wreath for over six years.It is handmade, unique and I can’t remember where I got it.

5. There are currently five different light strings on my tree. Only two of them work.

6. The rain did stop just long enough for me and my boy to pop out for hot chocolate and a walk down Christmas Avenue in Nicosia. Which was DESERTED! Come on people, it’s only rain!

7. Winter textures.

8. From our garden.

9. He sings ALL day and pretend-reads ALOT. I love him.

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Christmastime and the theatre

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Georgie’s introduction to the world of theatre took place a few months ago when papa and I took him to see The Little Prince. I absolutely adore the book and knew that despite Georgie’s young age I wanted it to be the first memory he has of the theatre. Needless to say, he loved the experience and has been requesting another trip to the theatre since.

Obviously there are many ways to obtain information about what’s playing but I like to regularly check Cyprus Events hoping to find something suitable for him. They have a kids and families section which just happens to be jam-packed this month. Go ahead and add some magic to Christmastime.

Gourouniasmata 3: I can’t say I’m familiar with Gourouniasmata 1 & 2 but they must have been a massive success for a third installment to be on the table. The show has an anti-bullying message and follows eight performers on stage dancing and singing LIVE. Gourouniasmata 3 will be showing from Friday, December 13 until Saturday, December 27 at the Melina Merkouri Hall in Nicosia. Cost: 10 euros. Tickets are available at all SoEasy kiosks and at soldoutticketbox.com. For more information and timetables click here.

The Snow Queen: I am hoping to catch this performance with Georgie as I am always super excited about the Pop Up festival taking place on Makariou Avenue. We all know the story of the Snow Queen, written by Hans Christian Andersen but this time it’s told by two local actresses as part of the Pop Up Festival. Should be interesting and a lovely change for kids like Georgie who don’t get to listen to stories being told in Greek, very often. The Snow Queen is on this Sunday, December 7 and Sunday, December 21 at 10:00 and 12:30. Cost: 5 euros. For reservations call 99849598 or 96670490 or email eidekanou@gmail.com. For more info click here.

Kastanomallousa: This is a follow-up to the successful Ara-Mara-Koukounara, a fairytale written by Nearchos Clerides. You can catch shows all the way through to February at the Latsia Municipal Theatre. Tickets are available at SoEasy Kiosks and at soldoutticketbox.com. For more info and timetables call 70000146 or click here.

Tarabouska, would you like a place in my heart? This sounds like a fun play, suitable for all ages with a peculiar title to suit its adventurous style. Held at The Little Worry People Art and Drama studio, the production is nearing its end on December 21 and tickets should be booked in advance. So if you’re up for something different, call 99-358663 or 99621669 or 22-590197 and book your seats. Cost: 5 euros. Also click here for more information.

Hello!: Aimed specifically at pre-school children probably means that Georgie and others his age will comfortably enjoy this other production at The Little Worry People Art and Drama studio. You can catch the last show on Saturday, December 13 at 17:00. Cost: 5 euros. Call99-358663 or 99621669 or 22-590197 to book your seats or click here for more information.

The Envious Owl: Yet another production from the art and drama studio The Little Worry People, the Envious Owl play has an objective: to help children rid themselves of the negativity that comes with jealousy. It’s all about an owl who goes for a walk in the park and although I am not exactly sure how things turn out for said owl, there is mention of children coming into contact with musical instruments. This one is as interactive as they come. Catch the last show on Sunday, December 14 at 11:00. Cost: 5 euros. For more information click here.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – The Royal Ballet: Bound to get you into the Christmas spirit, The Royal Ballet will be showcasing an outstanding performance that the whole family can enjoy. This is one I am hoping we can catch despite there only being one date. There are two shows, however, at 15:00 and 19:00 on December 20. At the Rialto in Limassol. Cost: 10 and 15 euros. Call 77777745 or click here.

The Little Match Girl (Christmas performance): This is actually inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s story and brought to the stage by the Limassol Arts Theatre School and its students. There are only two performances scheduled on Friday, December 12 and Sunday, December 14 at 15:00 and 18:30. Cost: 5 euros. For more information call 99784927, 99324123 or click here.

As usual, this month is becoming busier with every passing day but I hope we do manage to catch at least a couple of these shows. I hope you do too.

Kiddie shop alert: Boyz & Girlz boutique

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When it comes to dressing Georgie every new season, I tend to rely on high street stores like Zara and Mango. Both stores stock basics that I like and that Georgie can usually wear for more than just a few months. But I can’t say I am fond of the lack of originality, which means that I am always on the hunt for something different, softer, funkier and cooler. Quality, of course, is my top priority. His clothes need to be able to withstand constant laundry washing and everyday use. All these requirements seem to be fulfilled by a new shop I have sourced out. The Boyz & Girlz Boutique in Engomi, Nicosia is an absolute gem and seeing as I am totally obsessed with my new findings, the lovely owner, Aliki, has allowed me to share some photos.

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At the boutique you can find brand names such as Shampoodle, a line of comfortable everyday clothes with the added bonus of being made from organic cotton, which is perfect for my little dude and his sudden bursts of eczema. Having some sort of experience with clothes made from organic cotton and hefty price tags that go with, I am happy to report that this is not the case with Shampoodle. Boyz & Girlz also carry Ferrari Junior Collection, Oh Baby London and Natural World Eco Friendly amongst other brands. Along with Shampoodle, the Chalkboard Tees by Class Attire are another favourite of mine. I think this would make an excellent Christmas gift although you should probably hurry as Aliki has informed me that stock is low. Boyz & Girlz boutique carries sizes for kids aged 0 to 14 and also the Linea Mamma Baby product line that includes shampoos, bath soaps, shower gels, creams and oils, all free from harmful chemicals.

Boyz & Girlz boutique: 67C, Agiou Nicolaou street, Engomi, Nicosia. Tel: 22-658550

You can also keep up with the new arrivals and offers on Facebook.

 

 

Georgie wears Shampoodle …with several paint marks after a busy day at school.  

 

 

In the kitchen// Proper custard

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On one particularly chilly night in between episodes of The Walking Dead, papa requested custard. I searched through my pantry only to discover a tin of expired custard powder. Bother. A bowl of warm custard was not destined to be eaten that night, however, I thought it was the perfect excuse to finally make my own. From scratch. I turned to trusty old Jamie Oliver because custard is, after all, a traditional English dessert, referred to by the French as crème anglaise, and who better than Jamie to ease me into my first go.

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What you’ll need:

500 ml whole milk

565 ml double cream (for those living in Cyprus, the only type of double cream I discovered is Tesco’s at Alpha Mega supermarkets)

6 tablespoons caster sugar

8 egg yolks

1 vanilla pod, scored lengthways

 

What you do:

Mix cream, milk and four tablespoons of caster sugar into a heavy-based saucepan. Also add the vanilla pod after you have scraped out all the seeds. Add both seeds and beans. Stir with a wooden spoon until it reaches the point of boiling. Turn off the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. This way you are also allowing the vanilla to infuse the mixture and soon you’ll be smelling that sweet aroma.

In a separate large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and the remaining two tablespoons of caster sugar until pale yellow in colour.

Remove the beans from the mixture (you can wash them and reuse them to infuse sugar or milk) and slowly add one ladle of the cream to the eggs. Whisk well then add a couple more ladles until the whole mixture is in the bowl of eggs. Make sure you whisk well with every addition. You DO NOT want the eggs to curdle which they tend to do when they come in contact with hot liquids.

Then pour the yolk mixture back into the saucepan and stir over medium heat. As the eggs cook, the mixture will thicken. You’ll know its ready when its thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. When its shiny and thick remove from the heat and serve hot. Of course you can eat it cold too but I prefer it nice and warm poured over apple or rhubarb pie.

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The outcome was heavenly. The custard did turn out somewhat thinner than I was hoping for but I think that is due to the low heat I applied as opposed to medium heat. I feared the mixture would curdle so being too careful brought on a lack of thickness.

 

 

 

The recipe was taken from Jamie Oliver’s Cook With Jamie: My Guide to Making You a Better Cook. 

 

 

Five games to play in the car

DSC_0677Many precious minutes are spent in the car every morning since Georgie started school. It’s a 30 minute drive so instead of wasting that time listening to boring morning shows (me) and shooting dinosaurs on the iPad (him), we play games. Options are limited due to Georgie’s age but I have managed to find five games he loves playing and I don’t mind them either.

I Spy: Obviously Georgie can’t play I Spy the way it is meant to be played but we’ve found a system that works and keeps him entertained. Instead of picking something that begins with…I describe that ‘something’ to him. I use colours and other forms of description that he can understand. I Spy with my little eye something that is big, blue and has lots of wheels. BUS!

Stories: If Georgie had his way I would be telling stories all the way to school and back again. Don’t get me wrong, as a writer, I love making up stories but there are mornings when creativity just isn’t churning. So instead I start telling a story then I stop and he picks up from where I left off.

Spot the car: We focus on different car models or colours. Whoever spots the most cars, wins.

I’m thinking of an animal: Like Georgie, I’m guessing your kids are suckers for animals too so why not give this one a go. Just like I Spy, give as much detail to description as possible.

Rock, paper, scissors: We’ve only played this a couple of times because it isn’t always easy when driving but since papa and I use this method often to fairly decide who will be popping to the shop or picking up dinner, it’s only natural that Georgie gets in on the action. Perhaps we can have him pick up dinner next time.