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!

Win The War And Organize Your Kids’ Clothes

It’s hard enough organizing our own clothes sometimes. If you’re stuck with just a chest of drawers, finding space for everything can be a nightmare. Even if you’re lucky enough to have a walk-in closet, there can still be times when you wish you’d got more space. Add kids to the mix, and things really start to get interesting. Not only are kids inherently messy in their approach to life, but the amount of clothes they accumulate seems to be never ending.

Despite my kids having spent most of their time in just a pair of pants or their cloth nappies, I swear they still have more clothes than me!

We need a solution to all this clutter. Fortunately, there are things that you can do. Take a look at some of these kids’ clothes organization tips and transform your house from bomb site to serene Zen garden.

Win the war and organise your kids' clothes

Divide Up The Closet

 

There’s nothing worse than standing in front of a closet which clothes overflowing and all piled on top of one another. You can’t find anything. That’s why it’s such a good idea to install closet dividers. They are little pieces of plastic that hang onto the rail and allow you to separate out different types of clothes. What’s more, kids can use these dividers when they’re putting their clothes away, allowing them to separate out their t-shirts, pajamas, pants, hoodies and sweaters.

Put Extra Bins In Your Drawers

When drawers were invented, I’m certain the inventor didn’t have your kids’ drawers in mind. They probably thought that the average drawer would contain two items of perfectly folded clothing at most! Of course, this is nothing like what actually happens in the real world where pieces of clothing are just stuffed into drawers, and they are perpetually overflowing.

Although it’s not ideal, there is a quasi-solution to this problem: put bins inside your drawers. Bins are especially useful for drawers that contain odds and ends, like underwear, socks, hats and winter clothing.

 

Invest In A Shoe Organiser

Finding Belk promo code coupons and saving money on kids’ shoes is the easy part. Actually organizing those shoes is a heck of a lot more difficult. But fear not – there are things you can do. One idea is to invest in a closet shoe shelf. The idea is to line up shoes that your kids use most often on the shoe shelf and then pack the rest into boxes underneath. You’ll find that your children will often go months without using various shoes, like their winter wellies. So, these are best stored away where they can’t cause a mess in the summer. Another box could be for summer footwear, like flip flops.

 

Put All Your Kids’ Costumes On Display

Not all clothes need to be out of sight, out of mind. Some clothing actually helps to complement and even decorate the kids’ bedroom. We’re talking, of course, about superhero costumes, pirate flags, Spiderman hats and so on. Try hanging their costumes either on the back of the bedroom door or beside the bed on a rail. That way they can access them easily without messing up the rest of their clothes!

 

Help Kids Organise With Colours

What’s the first thing that kids learn to do? See, of course. And that’s why it’s so important to use colors to help organize kids’ bedrooms. Because they’re visual creatures, they’ll respond better to organizational cues that they can actually see with their own eyes.

 

So why not try a color scheme for where various items of clothing should go. Socks in the blue drawer, t-shirts in the green drawer, pants in the red drawer and so on. The great thing about using visual cues is that kids are able to tell colors before they’re able to read.  This means that you can get preschool children into good organizational habits from an early age.

 

Keep Some Clothes Within Reach, Others Out Of The Way

Because kids have an uncanny ability to create mess, it’s a good idea to look for ways to limit their capacity to do so. One of the ways you can do this is to create a two-tiered system in their bedroom: some clothes are within reach, and others are out of reach.

In practice, this means segmenting their closet into sections. Seasonal clothing should be near the bottom of the closet and be accessible in baskets, on rails or inside drawers. Then clothes which aren’t needed right now should be tucked away on top shelves, keeping them from being strewn all over the bedroom floor. Keeping all the out-of-season stuff out of the way means that kids can get directly at the clothes they need without making a mess.

The Best Beaches To Take Babies And Toddlers In The Seychelles

A while back I wrote a post with the top tips for taking babies and toddlers to the Seychelles.  I am often asked by people the best ways to entertain their kids while they are visiting the Seychelles.  So, Ive decided that I’ll write a series of posts with ‘the best of’ different activities for kids!

I’ll start off with beaches, a free way to keep the kids entertained while you are here!

The Best Beaches To Take Babies And Toddlers In The Seychelles

There are countless numbers of beautiful beaches and secluded bay’s to visit here in Seychelles.  When I compiled this list I focused on beaches that are:

  • Easy to access – including not needing to go through hotels or resorts to get there.
  • Safe to Swim *
  • Facilities near by

*I must stress that despite there not being a huge temperature change from season to season, you will notice a big change in the water.  Many beaches are crystal clear and calm most of the year but the seasons can bring about strong winds, tides and currents.  The website that I have found explains it best is Expert Africa take a read!  Plan your beach swims around this, and of course knowing your own and your kids abilities and limits in the water.

I have included a google map link to each of the beaches to help you find them!

As I mentioned none of these beaches require you to go through any hotels or resorts to get there.  There are lots of beautiful beaches where the main access is through hotels or resorts, they may not allow you access though.  However, many hotels do allow you to use their facilities, including access to beaches if you are going for lunch.  Call ahead to check and book in!

The Best Beaches To Take Babies And Toddlers In The Seychelles

Beau Vallon, Mahe

A large and sheltered beach with areas of shade provided by the trees lining the beach.  The best thing about this beach is that there are shops and restaurants a stones through away, which is not all that common here.  There is often street food stalls set up in the car park.   If its on when you go, check it out.  There will be a good atmosphere and you’ll get a good taste of real Seychellois food for cheap!  The water is nearly always calm and often really shallow, perfect for splashing around with the kids.  One downside of the beach is that it is probably the busiest beach around.  Still nothing compared to beaches around Europe in Summer, but for here it is pretty busy!

The Best Beaches To Take Babies And Toddlers In The Seychelles

Map of Beau Vallon Beach

Anse Á La Mouche, Mahe

A quiet beach on the South West coast of Mahe with extremely flat and calm water.  The surrounding area is pretty quiet with not a whole lot going on, but the beach is nice for a day trip.  You will probably want to hire a car if you’re not staying near by.

Map of Anse Á La Mouche

Port Launay Beach, Mahe

This beach is part of the Port Launay Marine National Park.  It backs on to the beautiful 5* Constance Ephelia Hotel.  The beach is very sheltered and secluded, with shallow and calm waters.  It’s not a huge beach, but there is plenty of shade to be found.

Map of Port Launay Beach

Anse Volbert, Praslin

My favourite place to take the boys for a swim on the beach.  You’ll see plenty of pictures of this beach on my instagram feed! There is not a whole lot of shade to be found in the heat of the day. However, early in the morning, or early evening this beach is beautiful!  You will find calm and shallow water, with very few rocks for a long way out, giving rise to the most beautiful of blues.  There are lots of boats to see (past where you would want to swim, especially with kids) always popular with kids!

The view is beautiful out over to St Pierre and Curieuse islands.  The beach is really long so, kids will have lots of room to run around.  At the far end of the beach you will find Paradise Sun Hotel, a great hotel for kids, and my favourite place to go for lunch (more on that in another post)

The Best Beaches To Take Babies And Toddlers In Seychelles

Map Of Anse Volbert

 

Anse Lazio, Praslin

Anse Lazio can always be found in ‘best beaches in the world’ lists, with good reason too.  It really is beautiful!  For a day on the beach, this is our go to!  Trees line the whole of the beach, so you can grab a shady spot and make camp for the day.  Big granitic boulders dotted around the beach provide great climbing frames.  The water is often very safe but there are times where the waves can get up and would be too rough for kids.  My kids still always have fun splashing around in the shallows.  You can find two restaurants, Bon Bon Plume serves particularly good Creole food.

 

The Best Beaches To Take Babies And Toddlers In The Seychelles

Map of Anse Lazio

Anse Severe, La Digue

While Anse Source D’Argent is without doubt the most famous beach on La Digue (probably the most famous in the Seychelles). It is actually not so great to spend a whole lot of time there aside from getting a great picture!  It’s crowded and the water is not ideal to swim in.

Instead, head to Anse Severe.  Trees provide plenty of natural shade throughout the day.   There is a small snack bar which is always useful too.  If you can stick around until sunset, you will be rewarded with an unbelievable view of the sun setting over Praslin!  The water is shallow and sheltered so great for swimming and paddling most of the year round.

The Best Beaches To Take Babies And Toddlers In Seychelles

Anse Severe Map

 

 

Have you visited any of these beaches with your family?  Are there any you would add to this list?

Stylish Summer Dresses via the Post

Stylish Summer Dresses via the Post

As you know we rarely travel back to the UK, but when we do, one of the things we enjoy is shopping. After being away for so long the thing that strikes you the most when you visit a British High Street or shopping centre is the scale of everything. There is so much choice. If you are not used to it actually feels a little overwhelming.

Here, on the islands, life is a lot simpler. Most of the stores are small, so choice is limited, but you can usually find what you want. We dress casually most of the time, but every now and again it is nice to wear something a bit different.

This is especially true if you have a special party to attend, so I have been online looking at the dresses, on this site. Having friends and family still in the UK gives me the option to buy something and have it sent over. It takes a while, and postage is expensive, but if I see something I really like it is worth doing.

stylish summer dresses via the post

Lightweight maxi dresses

There are some lovely dresses there, so I must admit to being sorely tempted. It is nice to see that t-shirt style maxi dresses are still in fashion in the UK. Most of the time you would be too hot wearing a long dress here, but some evenings it gets cooler. In that situation one of the nice lace style maxi dresses would be ideal for a special occasion. Soft, simply cut, and figure hugging they look really elegant, without being too formal.

For an evening meal, in a restaurant near the beach, a nice sleeveless cotton dress would be a practical option. There are some really lovely floral patterns available, which are simple enough to fit in with our beautiful islands unique style of dress.

Skater dresses

It is also good to see skater dresses coming back into vogue. For this climate, they are a more practical option. Most are cut just above the knee, so your legs are left bear, which really helps you to stay cool. The way the skirt flares slightly from low on the hip, which creates a particularly pleasing silhouette.

Flattering swing dresses

If you are looking for something that doesn’t sit so tight around your tummy, you can get a similar look by opting for a swing dress. This cut hangs a little looser, and has no defined waistline. Usually the folds start just below the breast bone, which means that the dress material skims over the stomach area. Unfortunately, most of the swing dresses I have seen online, this year, have long sleeves, so I doubt I will be ordering one.

Choosing the right style

If you are interested in shopping for dresses online, you will find this page particularly helpful. The article you will find there will help you to determine which cuts are best for your body type, and sense of style.

What’s your go to summer dress style?

Crime In The Seychelles – A reflection on being the victim of theft.

Crime in the Seychelles

It’s been about a year and a half since I wrote the post The Darker Side of Expat Life In The Seychelles and it’s still the most viewed page on my blog.  I read it again the other day. It made me reflect on how I felt about being broken in to, and about crime in the Seychelles in general.

I thought I’d start writing those feelings down. I know that many of the people reading that post are researching if it’s safe to live in Seychelles and about crime in the Seychelles in general. Hopefully this post will give a bit more of a rational insight into how safe it feels to live here.

The original post was written a couple weeks after our house was broken in to while we were all asleep. Despite waiting those couple of weeks, I was still feeling very raw and vulnerable about it all.

At the time of writing I was wrestling with wanting to move from the house we were in. We have now moved. I must stress that the main reason was that Mark was promoted and we needed to be nearer to school. I was happy to move though, despite the house being made a lot more secure. When something like that happens it’s difficult to forget it. I was not sleeping properly and was paranoid about any person around. That would be the case wherever in the world it happened, of course!

crime in the seychelles

 

Is it safe to live on Praslin?

I feel safe here. If I didn’t feel safe we would have moved on by now, without a doubt. No matter how much we love it here, or how well Mark’s career is going, our family safety will always come first.

We are all living safer though, which is important. By that, I mean we are all more aware of keeping ourselves and our valuables safe. That seems a bit ridiculous to read. I don’t mean that we ever felt like we weren’t looking after ourselves properly, but we have certainly been guilty of living naively of the fact that crime existed.

At night I still wake up thinking I can hear someone in the house, I hate that. I don’t know if that will ever go away. Maybe it’s best if it doesn’t though. Perhaps living with that fear will help to keep us safe. I hope so.

Do I think expats are targeted for crime? In short, yes.  Someone did comment on the post saying that I was arrogant to think that (I chose not to publish that one!!!) I don’t think that all expats are targeted, it is a generalisation, and of course Seychellois are also victims of robberies too.

Crime in the Seychelles

Is there a safer side of the island?

We have been in our new house for over a year now and I do feel pretty safe here. There was a feeling at the time that the side we are living now is safer. Honestly, I don’t think that is the case. I know of break ins all over the island.
Sadly a house very near to ours was recently broken into. It was a reality check and a reminder that it can happen anywhere.

crime in the seychelles

What type of crime happens here?

I’m pleased to say that on Praslin (I don’t want to say for Mahe as I really don’t know!) I have not heard of any violent crime towards expats. There is very little violent crime at all. This definitely helps in feeling safer.

The main type of crime undoubtedly is theft. Mostly it will be for small easy to sell items such as hard drives, tablets, smart phones and jewellery.  Perhaps the saddest thing is that things stolen are mostly sold for drug money.

Drugs are undoubtedly, a growing problem here.  I’m told its worse on Mahe than Praslin.  I will say that it is, by no means, at the point where you can feel or sense that when you’re out and about.  I don’t ever feel unsafe when I’m out.  Of course, you wouldn’t want to leave valuables lying around anywhere, but that is no different to anywhere else in the world.

Will it happen again?

I spoke to Mark about this and if he felt it would ever happen again. Sadly, we agreed, the answer to that is almost certainly, yes.  The house we are living in is a lot more secure, and as I mentioned we live a lot more aware of the possibility of theft and act accordingly.  But, no house is perfect and we are not perfect.

We don’t live in fear of it happening again, we lead normal daily lives.  Now we just live with our eyes more open to the fact that theft happens.  We keep our valuables secure and have a bit of a routine to ensure that no doors or windows are left unlocked while we are out, or at night.  Nothing major, just normal sensible security.  We should have done it from the start, but I don’t mind admitting that I did love that little safe bubble we felt like we lived in for the first couple of years here!