Pulling my head out of the sand

So its been a while.  Well, longer than a while actually.

 

Every time a long school holiday comes around I make these plans that I’m going to continue blogging through the holidays….. And of course every year I never do.

It’s not like I don’t have anything to blog about, quite the opposite in fact.  Of course its during the holidays when most of our fun adventures happen so there is LOADS to write about.

But maybe thats the problem.  Too much to write about, not enough time to do it justice.

 

Then comes the overwhelm.

 

And thats when I burry my head in the sand.

 

Usually, as soon as Arthur is back in school and Mark back at work I snap out of it.  Jump straight back into blogging.

This time I didn’t.  I’m not really sure why.

 

I love blogging.

Really I do.

I don’t like some of the crap that comes with it though.

The pressure

To join blog link ups and spend hours reading and commenting on other blogs.

The pressure to then sit and write some deep and meaningful comment and worry if you don’t you may as well not comment at all because it’s then a *thoughtless comment*

 

Ugh.

 

Then there’s the pressure I put on myself. Sticking to a constant blogging routine, because if you want to be successful you MUST blog consistently and regularly.

So I make these big plans for myself, I make little blogging schedules and timetables.  Then I never fill them.  Ever.

I start to hate that I ‘have to get this blog post finished today’.  If its a sponsored post, I don’t mind because I feel like that’s productive work.  But, *having* to finish a post about a trip I made to the beach or about my kids or whatever, is on reflection ridiculous.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I know that these systems REALLY work for some people, and clearly they thrive off it and are, as promised often successful.

Pulling my head out of the sand

I’ve decided, I need to give myself a break.  Remember, why I started blogging.

  • To give my poor brain a bit of exercise after it turned to mush staying at home with kids.
  • Enjoy the community that blogging can bring.
  • To document and share our lives here in this beautiful country.
  • To remember special moments in our kids lives

 

Everything else is a bonus.  I have been lucky enough to write for some fantastic companies and I’d love to do more of that.  In the meantime I’m going to focus on really enjoying writing again, and nurturing this rather neglected little blog of mine!!  I’m officially pulling my head out of the sand, and here I am, blogging again!  When I feel like it, and whatever I want to write about!  Hopefully you enjoy it!!

Here’s a, frankly gratuitous, picture of me and the boys with the world’s largest tortoise!  He lives on Bird Island where we vistited over the summer break, I do intend on blogging about that at some point….I’m just not going to set a date on it!!

pulling my head out of the sand

 

Making home more beautiful with Abodent.com *with 10% discount for readers*

If you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know that while there are lots of amazing things about living here, shopping is not the easiest!

Yeah yeah I know, first world problems right!? But, when it comes to making a house feel like a home it’s nice to be able to shop for little things here and there! Being far away from home makes it feel even more special when you get some lovely things for the house.

Making the house more beautiful

So, I was super excited when the lovely people at Abodent.com got in touch with me and asked if I’d like to check out their products!
They describe their style as contemporary vintage.  ‘Shabby chic’ definitely springs to mind too (do people still say that??!)
I couldn’t help but pick out the starfish and seashell coat hooks, they are so perfect for our beachy life!!
I also loved the picture frames, we don’t have enough pictures up in the house so now there’s no excuse…… Now just to find the perfect picture to put in it.

adding beautiful touches with abodent.com
Very few companies ship here so it really always is so exciting for me to find companies that do!
When my box of goodies arrived I was so pleased!! Everything is so beautiful and amazing quality, the hooks are really sturdy and aren’t just going to fall apart when you hang something on them!  I am totally in love with that slightly distressed feel.

beautiful coat hooks and home accessories from abodent.com

They had been packed really well, so no damage even after travelling all this way.  It’s so upsetting than post you’ve been excited about getting damaged on the way
I actually decided that my hooks are too pretty to have a towel or something hanging off it. They need to be out for everyone to see! So I’ve put them out on our veranda to hang our mason jar solar lamps on!  It looks pretty doesn’t it!?

adding lovely touches with abodent.com

Arthur was pretty excited about the whole thing too and insisted on a picture, such a cheeseball!

adding beautiful touches with abodent.com

 

I’m really happy to share that Abodent.com are very kindly offering readers of my blog a discount for the next month.  Use Coupon code ‘Seychelles’ at the check out to receive 10% off all your orders.

A huge thanks to Abodent for sending us these lovely things and helping us make our home that much more beautiful! I’ll certainly be ordering again soon….I’ve got my eye on some of those cupboard and door knobs too!!

Visiting the Vallee De Mai With kids

If you are a regular reader if my blog you will know that we are huge fans of the Valllee de Mai.  It is definitely one of the best things to do here with young kids.  We go with the boys ALL  the time!  It’s undoubtedly our favourite place for a family walk!

The Vallee de Mai

The Vallee de Mai is a UNESCO world heritage site that is managed by the Seychelles Island Foundation (SIF)

It’s home to the world famous Coco De Mer (the one that looks like a life-size bum, no i’m not joking!!) , the worlds largest seed and many other endemic plants and animals including the Black Parrot.

 

Visiting the Vallee de Mai With Kids

From the impossibly tall trees, the musical whistle of the black parrot, lots of bugs and reptiles to look out for and of course the world famous coco de mer. There is so much to see for kids in the Vallee de Mai!  Parents can relax knowing the paths are well maintained throughout, its a welcome relief from the sun, and there is nothing living in there thats dangerous!

visiting the vallee de mai with kids

 Ticket Cost

For tourists the ticket price is 20 euros each.  It is free for under 12’s (with proof of ID)

Opening times

The Vallee de mai is open every day from 8:30am – 4:30pm

How long is the walk

There are 3 main trails.  They are advertised as taking 1,2 and 3 hours.
Honestly I would say even with kids those times are rather generous! I guess maybe if you stopped and read every sign and did a selfie with every Coco de Mer tree you walked past then you could take that long!
Also if you decide to take a tour guide that will obviously increase the length of the walk (more on that further down)
When we go with Arthur and Freddie we tend to do the shortest route (cutting through Ceder Path, see the map below) as their legs won’t hold up to much more than that.  With a long stop at the little bridge to throw stones into the river we probably still don’t quite take an hour to get round.  To be fair though, apart from the stop, they do pretty much run the whole rest of the time!
There are benches dotted throughout all of the trails so you can stop and take a break if the kids get tired.

Map

Here is a digital version of the map you receive in the Vallee de Mai.  You can see the different trails.  It would be great if you saved this image to your phone so you don’t need to use the paper version! Map of the Vallee de Mai

Thanks to Seychelles Island Foundation for allowing me to share this map

Tips for visiting the Vallee de Mai with kids

  • Earlier is better, it’s a bit cooler and quieter in the mornings.
  • Don’t take a pushchair. While the trails are very well maintained, they are not pushchair (or wheelchair) friendly.
  • Get the kids to use the toilets at the entrance, there are no others once you are inside!
  • The whole area is shaded by the trees so you don’t have to worry about sunburn!
  • The guided tours are fantastic and very informative. They may not be suitable for young kids that could get bored listening to someone talk.
  • Mosquitos are not as much of a problem there as you might think, but you may want to use some spray just in case – citronelle is a great natural mosquito repellent if you’re worried about using chemicals.
  • There is no smoking in the Vallee de Mai (not that i’m suggesting your kids smoke, but you might!!)
  • At the entrance there’s a nice cafe selling snacks and drinks, the prices are pretty reasonable.

 

I hope you have an amazing time visiting the  Vallee de Mai with kids.  Id love to hear your experiences, or if you think I’ve missed anything off?

If you have any questions feel free to contact me

Arthur and Freddie June 2017

Yep, I’m late with this again!!!  I know, I know, I suck!  I don’t even really have an excuse!  These last 2-3 weeks have gone by in a total blur!  If you missed last month’s update check it out

Anyway, better late then never (again) here is my update on Arthur and Freddie June 2017

 

Arthur at 4 years old

Arthur at 4 years old

Aggghhhhh it’s here, it’s happened, he’s 4!   I do cringe when I read the cliches from everyone (including myself) but they are all true, the ‘how did this happen’ ‘it’s gone so quick’ etc etc, it is seriously ALL TRUE!!  I do feel like he was a baby just yesterday and now he’s a full blown 4 year old!

Okay, i’ll stop with the cliche’s for now (but be warned Freddie’s birthday is in August and you WILL hear them all over again!).

Arthur has really changed this month in so many ways.  He’s looking so grown up now.

Now obviously, he still has tantrums about things and he still throws strops about things like having to eat dinner instead of sweets and all that stuff. But, he asks ‘why’ and is interested in  your response.  I guess it’s coming down to his speech and understanding improving further still.  We can have proper conversations and I love it.  I think back to when I started having concerns about his speech, when he was 2 (if you read that note me trying to cover up my concerns!!!), and he has come on such an incredible amount.  We really couldn’t be prouder of him for that.

Arthur is waking up at ridiculous times at the moment. He has always been an early riser, but he’s been waking before 5 the last week or so. I’m hoping that it’s a hangover of all the birthday excitement and it passes soon!

He is enjoying school at the moment, and is barely taking a second to say goodbye to me at the door!  I think he’s going to love the long school holidays though, it’s less than 3 weeks now until they start!

Arthur 4 years old

Arthur’s party!

I couldn’t not include a little section about Arthur’s 4th birthday party in this update!  It is the first year where he has really got the idea of a birthday party.  With being at school, he’s got friends that he wanted to invite.  Actually, he invited the whole class.  I love that he wanted to invite everyone, even those that he doesn’t particularly have a good relationship with.  I hope he is always so inclusive of everyone!!

In the end we had around 10 kids come and that was a really nice number.  We were really lucky with the weather, it wasn’t too hot and really overcast making it perfect for all the kids playing outside!

He also invited our neighbours who he’s known since he was only a few weeks old, our best friends (but totally his best friends too!)!

We borrowed a little bouncy castle off a friend and we had the waterslide which mum and dad bought out for the boys.  They went down a storm!  We had planned to do some games with the kids but they were having so much fun we just kinda left them too it!

Arthur's 4th birthday party

Anyway, he told me he wanted a ‘road cake’ (i don’t know either) and then he decided on a farm cake.  I tried to be all pinterest-y but as usual, it didn’t really turn out that way!  I was excited to find cadbury’s fingers to put round the edge, but they had all melted and stuck together so they didn’t really look so pretty by the time i got them on the cake #islandproblems!  Anyway, it still tasted good and Arthur was delighted with it!

Arthur's 4th birthday party

 

I decided right from the offset I wasn’t going to pretend to try and do any healthy food, it was going to be good old fashioned ‘proper’ party food.  Triangle sandwiches (cheese and ham, so thats kinda healthy I guess!?), cupcakes, cookies, crisps, marshmallows with extra glittery sugar on, the lot!!

4th birthday party food

 

He had an amazing party and I was so proud of how all the kids behaved! I was a little nervous of how Arthur would cope with everyone playing with his toys but he was great!  Everyone seemed to have a great time, and I’m sure its something he will remember forever!!  It’s definitely a day we will remember, our little guys first proper birthday party!!

 

Freddie at 22 months old

Freddie June 2017

 

This boy!  He is something else let me tell you!!!  So stubborn (goodness knows where that comes from…..!), SO independent, and so bloody clever!  To say he keeps me on my toes is an understatement!!!

He is being an insanely fussy eater right now and it drives me nuts!  The mornings are especially bad, he only wants cookies, sometimes I can pacify him with toast, if not, it’s giant tantrums all morning until he has a snack around 9-10ish.  It’s safe to say he’s not a morning person, but when he sleeps until at least 7 every day I can’t really complain too much – now i just need him to have a word with Arthur about 5am wake ups!!

I’ve had a mild attempt at potty training this month, he’s showing lots of the ready signs but I’ll say to him do you need a wee ‘NO’ and then he will look down and wee. I’ll sit him on the potty he will get up and then ‘wee’ and tell me ‘wee wee’!!!  I think this may be more of a battle than we had with Arthur!!  I’ll try again in the holidays when we are not having to go in and out for the school run, and I’ll have Mark to help!!

Freddie is talking SO much and is so outgoing.  He loves saying ‘bye, see you’ whenever we leave anywhere! He loves talking about Arthur and Daddy as well as pretty much anything else around him.

My favourite thing about Freddie at the moment is how cuddly he is.  It’s nice for Mark and I that he wants to cuddle us, especially when he is having his milk!  It’s a nice reminder that he does still need and love us!!!

Freddie at 22 months

 

Together

Still the best of friends, Arthur and Freddie really love doing everything together.   They are both huge Daddy fans right now too.  It’s super cute to see how excited they are when he gets home from work. Freddie spends a lot of his day telling me Daddy is at work and Arthur always wants Daddy to play toys with him.  I’d say I felt a bit neglected, but I still get plenty of love too!!

Arthur Freddie Daddy

 

Ive started to see glimpses of the trouble these two are going to get into together, there’s some serious mischief planning going on already!

Arthur and Freddie June 2017

The Expat Tag: UK to Seychelles

There has been a lovely tag going around recently called ‘The Expat Tag’ where expat bloggers around the world are sharing their answers to the same 10 questions.  Its a great way to share a real insight into what expat life is like all around the world!

Ive been tagged by Adventures Of A Jersey Girl and by Wandermustfamily thanks ladies for the tag!  I have to say, that normally, I am terrible at keeping up with tags and things.  But, I really liked the idea of this one, plus I’m on a ‘be a super organised blogger’ mission right now!

So, here are my answers to the 10 expat tag questions!  Hope you enjoy 🙂

The Expat Tag

1. Where were you born, where did you grow up and where do you currently live?

I was born in Wales, UK.  I lived there until I was about 6 and then moved to Plymouth in the South West of England and stayed there until I was 17.  At 17 I moved to San Diego California with my Mum, Dad and Brother for a military posting for around 2 and a half years.  After that I went back to Plymouth for University, that’s where I met Mark.  We moved to Seychelles together in 2012 and have been here for almost 5 years now!

2. What made you leave your home country?

Having lived abroad for a couple years already, I knew that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life living in the UK.  Mark is a teacher and was working just ridiculous hours.  He definitely needed a better work/life balance.  We also knew we wanted to start a family at some point, and that we wanted to raise our kids somewhere abroad.  We started to look for teaching jobs abroad for Mark as that seemed like the best, and most straightforward way for us to be able to move.

3. What type of reactions do you get when you meet new people and tell them where you are from?

When we tell people we live in Seychelles there tends to be one of these reactions:

  • You live in Paradise! You are so lucky!
  • Where is that? (I’ll admit, I didn’t know where it was until Mark got the interview for the job!!)

4. What was the easiest/hardest part in adjusting to your new country?

The hardest part was how terrible the internet was!  Coming from the UK and having unlimited internet at home and pretty much free wifi everywhere, it was so tough to get used to having only 9GB a month!  It was really expensive too!  Thankfully, it has improved in the 5 years we have been here but its still no where near unlimited and we would love to be able to call home more often than we can.

The easiest part for us was that we came out with a group of other people.  There were 4 other new teachers starting at the school the same time as Mark.So, we had each other to lean on for support, and to bounce excitement, frustrations, fears and everything else that comes with moving to a new country off each other!  Of course, moving to a beautiful country didn’t hurt in making the transition easy too!

expat tag: beautiful beaches

5. Images, words, or sounds that sum up the expat experience you’ve had so far

5 years have gone by in a blur, i feel like we arrived, had kids and are now a family all in 5 minutes!!  So here is our first glimpse of our new island home Praslin, arriving on the inter island flight from Mahe island,the expat tag: arriving at our new home

Me just before my c-section with Arthur!

expat tag

Finally, here is us pretty much as we are now….This was taken on Christmas day 2016 on the beach near our house!

Expat Tag: being out with the family

6. Your favourite food or drink item in your new country?

My favourite local food is without doubt grilled fish, especially Red Snapper.  Always super fresh and locally caught, you really can’t beat it!  People that know me, know how weird it is for me to say that.  I never ate fish before we moved to Seychelles.  When we moved here, we really didn’t get much information about the place at all.  We genuinely bought fishing rod out thinking we were going to be having to go fishing for our dinner every night! We were over the moon when we went to the shop and found some frozen chicken and minced beef!!!

 

7. What is the one thing you said “yes” to in your new city that you wouldn’t say “yes” to back home?

Aside from eating fish, seriously that was a big deal for me!!  I guess

8. Are there any cultural norms/phrases in your new country which you can not stand?

The thing that annoys me the most, is also something that I really love about Seychelles.  I know, that’s weird!  But it is that EVERYTHING closes at midday on Saturday and all day on Sunday!   Even on weekdays the banks close at 2pm!  It can be frustrating getting things done here, there are no direct debits or online payments for things.  But, as I said, I do also love that about Seychelles.  It means that there’s no waiting on the phone for hours to speak to a call centre. If you have a problem with something, you go to the right people and get it sorted.  That of course, becomes easier the longer you are here and the more people you know!

9. What do you most enjoy doing in your new country?

Without doubt my favourite thing is being out as a family.  It always reaffirms why we moved here!  To have a great outdoors life with our children!

 

10. Do you think you will ever move home for good?

Honestly, as much as it will upset my parents and mark’s to read this, I can’t see it.  I would be foolish to say that we will definitely not go back, because who knows what the future holds.  Right now, the Seychelles feels like home to us.  Its a lovely place to raise kids in a relaxed outdoors lifestyle, that is exactly what we wanted when we had kids. I don’t think we will necessarily be in Seychelles forever, but again who knows!?

 

So that’s it for my expat tag!  I hope you enjoyed!  Because i’ve been a little slow on the uptake of this, I tag any expats that want to join in that haven’t already!!!

Shopping with UncommonGoods

Today I am writing about UncommonGoods, an online gift shop that I’ve recently discovered.

Living here, the shopping is limited at best. Online shopping is pretty much the only way I can buy gifts for friends and family both here and at home.  Mine and Mark’s wedding anniversary is coming up so I’m looking for something for that!  I loved reading their Uncommon Anniversary Gift Guide for a spin on both the traditional and modern recommended gifts for anniversaries

Shopping at UncommonGoods.com

 

Shopping at UncommonGoods.com

I always find shopping for men to be particularly hard.  I find that there are so many gimmicky gifts out there for men….what is it with the Moustache thing?  Do you know any men that would actually like a novelty moustache pillow or tie, I don’t!!  Phew, rant over!  Anyway, I don’t know what this says about me, or the men in my life, but I was particularly drawn to the huge array of different home brew kits they have.  Theres all different spirits, beers and wines available and they look SO nice!  There’s lots of foodie things on there too which I always think make a good gift for men!

There is also a lot of really beautiful jewellery on there, the handmade and personalised pieces are especially pretty, these are especially nice for special occasion gifts like milestone birthdays, bridesmaids, or anniversaries.

Why choose to shop at UncommonGoods.com

The reason why I like UncommonGoods is that they promote and support small artisan businesses and people.  They aren’t selling products from big companies mass producing countless numbers of the same gifts.

I love their ‘Better to Give’ Programme.  Every time you shop with UncommonGoods you can select a non-profit organisation to receive a $1 donation from them, they have already donated over 1 million dollars through this programme alone.

For me (selfishly), the best bit about UncommonGoods is that they actually ship worldwide, and I mean really worldwide!  I can’t tell you how few places ship to places like Seychelles, and that is super annoying!  So, extra brownie points for the worldwide shipping!!

 

This Article is sponsored by UncommonGoods.com but all views are my own

Arthur and Freddie May 2017

Arthur and Freddie May 2017

It’s been all back to ‘normal’ with school starting back up again, after having an amazing Easter break together last month

I feel like only this week are we starting to settle back in to the routine of the school run!  It has certainly been tiring (for me at least) getting back into routine but it feels good now that we are back in the swing of it.

So anyway, here is my update on the boys this month.

 

Arthur aged 3 years 10 months

Arthur in May 2017

It has certainly been an interesting month with Arthur.  The first few days back at school he couldn’t wait to be there. He ran in happily and barely had time to say goodbye to me.  Then, in the mornings he started saying he doesn’t want to go to school, he wanted to stay home.  He wasn’t saying he felt poorly or that anything was wrong, I think he has been worried about missing out on something going on here.

We weren’t too worried though, because once we had left the door he was fine about it and once we get to school he still goes in very happily.  He is always happy when I pick him up and I’m loving how much he tells me about what has been happening at school.  We know he’s having lots of fun when he’s there.

I’ve been reflecting on how far Arthur has come since he started school, and it really is immeasurable.  The progress he’s made, in his communication particularly, is so amazing.  For him to be able to tell me about his day, is just the best!

He is definitely still being super bossy, with plenty of back chat and ‘this is rubbish’ ‘i don’t like that’ and so on!!  I had hoped being back in school might have calmed that down a little, but….no!  Never mind! He still in general, is a pleasure to be around.

Arthur really is an emotional little guy.  Aside from being bossy he genuinely is such a loving boy.  He wears his heart on his sleeve and can make you feel like the most important person in the world.

Freddie aged 22 months

Freddie in May 2017

My favourite new word that Freddie is saying this month is ‘happy’  every time it literally makes me want to burst with all of the gooeyness!!  It really is that cute!  He is really loving his words right now and new things are coming out all the time!  I’m trying my best to watch my language!!

I am loving having some special one on one time with him again.  It feels like we are closer than ever.

Freddie and I went to check out a nursery this month.  I had considered the option of taking him once a week.  I thought it would be nice for him to have some socialisation with other kids and, perhaps selfishly, I quite fancied a day to myself!! The place we went to really impressed me. Unfortunately though, they would only consider full time kids.

In a way, seeing the nursery has made me enjoy having Freddie at home even more.  I felt guilty for wanting that time to myself when I know how soon Freddie will be starting school for real.  Then i’ll be longing for days with the kids at home, I’m sure!  It did make me reassess how I can make the most of my time with Freddie at home though, which can only be a good thing!

Together

Arthur and Freddie in May 2017

As ever, these two are close as can be.  Freddie definitely wants his own space when he first wakes up, but otherwise they are the best of friends.  Arthur does and Arthur just wants to make Freddie laugh, and Freddie wants to do everything his big brother is doing.  Freddie really likes ‘this little piggy went to market’ and now Arthur has started doing it for him, its even more fun….I’ve totally been dismissed from the game!

I love that these two go into their own little world together, they make each other laugh more than any one else can.  They go off, often into Freddie’s room, and play together for ages.  The bond they have is everything I could ever have hoped it would be.

Arthur and Freddie in may 2017

I’ve had some sneaky ‘mama wins’ this month with some hidden veg.  In particular with Banana, Spinach and Oat muffins from The Nourished Seedling and with Carrot Stars from Healthy Little Foodies

I’m all about sneaking in some extra goodness into my kids right now, they can be so fussy! If you have any other sneaky veg recipes I’d love to see them!!

 

I think thats all for now, i’ll be back again next month with another update!