A reflection on writing every day for a month

So, it has again been a little while!

I have finished my writing for Culture Trip, if you want to check out the posts I wrote for them you can view them here

If you missed that I was doing that writing, a little catch up.  I was contacted by Culture Trip and asked if I would write articles about the Seychelles for them. The commission was to write 30 articles in month.  This would mean me writing every day for a month, something I’d never done before.

I was delighted to take up the opportunity.  I knew it was going to stretch me out of my comfort zone but I felt ready for the challenge.

They use WordPress which I already use for this blog and so I knew Id be comfortable with the technical side of the writing.

I thought Id share my experience of writing every day for a month, the ups and downs!

writing every day for a month

How did I feel writing every day for a month?

This is something I didn’t think Id have to write about but honestly I found doing this hugely emotional.  Now looking back, I can see that it was really good for me, but at the time there were days when I found it so hard.

Getting real feedback on my writing was something I’d never really had before.  Having it critiqued I found pretty tough at the time.  After one article in particular I had a definite low point.  I felt not good enough, like I had bitten off more than I could chew.  After all I am not a ‘professional writer’ by trade, I don’t have any particular qualifications in it.

But then I had good days.  Days where I sat and thought, actually, who says I’m not a professional writer?  Ive been successfully blogging for 3 years and after all it was them who contacted me to write for them.  I can do this!!


What were the biggest challenges?

There were certainly plenty of challenges for me writing every day for a month.  Having a written commitment to something like this made me put a lot of pressure on myself.

I hadn’t expected to find challenges using WordPress, after all I use that already.   There were some things I had to get used to though with certain requirements of the company both in writing style and procedures.

The thing I found the hardest was getting good quality pictures.  Even with access to things like Flickr, Shutterstock and things like wiki images.  As it was for a business all images had to be copyright free and that was the challenge.

The last week of the commission, Mark was in the UK for work.  Honestly that week was terrible.  But, I got through it.  As soon as the boys were in bed every night I sat down at the computer and wrote for about 5 hours.  It sucked, but I did it!


What did I learn?

I really did learn so much from this experience.  Its only been a couple of weeks since Ive finished and I can already feel myself rose tinting it.

I learned that being a work at home mum is crazy!  I pretty quickly realised that I was only really going to be able to get anything done while the boys were asleep.  This meant that Monday to Friday while Arthur was at school I had two hours in the morning while Freddie napped.  Then I had the evenings.  Weekends were a bit more hodge podge in the day, grabbing time when I could.

Having a deadline was, despite the emotional rollercoaster, really good for my writing.  I found that I could get so much done being under time pressure. I became organised and did very little procrastination – Something I am terrible for when writing my blog!  Moving forward with any writing I do, I will certainly be putting deadlines on myself!

I really learned a lot about where I live!!  Its easy to get a little complacent sometimes, but there was plenty I learned while writing these posts and it has definitely inspired me to get out and learn more.

Reaching out to big companies is not so scary!  I was in touch with some really big name hotels and people who I would never normally have dreamed to have the confidence to speak to, and you know what?  People were really receptive to speaking to me, interested in what I was writing about, and helping me with information, pictures etc.  That was definitely a confidence boost.

I still have lots to say!  I am definitely guilty at times of feeling like I’ve lost my voice.  Blogging obviously does help that, but writing for someone else reminded me that I’m not just a Mum, that there is still someone who can work and get things done!!  *I definitely don’t think being a Mum ever deserves the ‘just’ but its a weird thing I do where I decide thats what people think about me since I don’t work!



The night that I finished my writing, I called my Mum and Dad.  It was around 10pm my time (6 in the UK) and I am not sure I have ever felt more proud of myself.  I had a celebratory rum while chatting with them – I am an island girl after all, so it really did have to be rum! It was a seriously tough month but I got there!!

What I learned from writing every day for a month

Catching up and looking forward

Catching Up and Looking Forward


its been a little while, sorry about that!

Lets Have a Little Catch Up!

There have been a few reasons for my absence!

We are very lucky here that Mark gets 4 weeks leave in December.  With Arthur now at school too that obviously means he has that time off too!  I try not to, but I also inevitably kind of down tools on the blog front over school holidays!

It’s also been the minor event that is Christmas!  I haven’t written a specific post about it, which is rubbish of me but we did have a great time!  It was the first year that Arthur really ‘got’ Christmas and it was so amazing to really see the magic through his eyes!  Freddie really enjoyed himself too!!

Seychelles Christmas. Catching up and Looking forward

We had Marks parents stay with us for two weeks, and so they were here for Christmas and New Year.   It was lovely to have family here over this time and definitely helped us all get into the spirit of things, which can sometimes be tricky when it’s so not Christmassy here at all!!

So now we are already over a week into 2017 and I’m finally writing my first post of the year!

Looking Forward & The Exciting News!

if you follow me on Instagram (if not, you definitely should be!!) you may have spotted that I mentioned I had something exciting coming up.

No it’s not a baby.

I have been commissioned to write for Culture Trip.  An online magazine style website helping its almost 3 million a month readers discover the world’s cultures.

culture trip

So this month I will be writing a bunch of different articles all about the Seychelles!

I am so proud of myself for this!  I would never have thought for a minute when I started this blog 3 years ago that I would receive an opportunity like this!

So, I will be shouting out on social media about this lots, so keep an eye out for when my posts go live!  Also, if you’re looking for travel inspiration or want to know more about a country you’re planning on visiting, you should definitely check out Culture Trip!


Having an opportunity like this, has made me evaluate my blog a little.  I, for now at least, am planning on taking a break from my monthly blog link up ‘my expat family’ .  It was taking a lot of my time.  Whilst I enjoy reading all the posts I feel it may have run its course a little.  Instead I will focus that time on writing posts.

I want to start writing updates on the boys again (I don’t know why I ever really stopped that).

I also want to ensure that I continue to share lots about Seychelles.  Information for people visiting, and an insight on our lives here.


There, I feel a little more up to date now!!


Make Some Extra Money Testing The Mail

I recently saw a tweet that said about being paid to receive test mail.  I clicked to learn more and found it really interesting.

As an expat receiving mail is such an exciting thing.  Obviously, thanks to the internet, we can keep in touch with the people we love every day. but there is definitely something special about receiving mail.  Therefore, anything that can help improve the quality of the mail service is definitely a good thing for me, plus to get paid for it as well is a lovely bonus!

I thought I’d share the information with you so you can see how you can earn some extra money testing the mail too!  So today, I’m handing you over to George from Quotas to tell you all about it!

 Make Some Extra Money Testing The Mail

make some extra money testing the mail

There are millions of people around the world who routinely check their mailbox everyday. Who love receiving mail from different countries and who collect stamps. Our survey participants get a reward for doing this.
Hello there, my name is George Payne.  I represent Quotas, a quality research institute based in Hamburg, Germany.
What we do as a company is not as exciting as bungee jumping off a cliff on a tropical island.  But, on the other hand does include heavy doses of caffeine and the feel good sensation that because of our work the average Margaret and Joe receive their mail on time. In other words, we send test mail.  Every week, thousands of pieces of test mail are sent out on our behalf from hundreds of cities. From countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and the Americas. Those letters reach participants from over 160 countries. We have participants in countries as big as Russia and China and as small as Seychelles. We have participants in Istanbul receiving letters from Vietnam one day and Argentina the next.

What Do I Earn By Becoming A Participant?

All our participants (who are not residents of Germany) are awarded an amount of points every month. These points, in most cases, may be awarded  in the following ways:

  • Paypal or Skrill money payments
  • Amazon or Globoforce gift voucher
  • Donated to doctors without borders.

You won’t become rich by taking part in our surveys, but you can surely save money for Christmas and birthday presents. It is also important to note that participation in our postal surveys is free of charge.
Rewards aside, if you collect stamps you will love our survey. We also offer our test letters and our entire communication with you in English, German, French and Spanish so if you are looking to practice any of those languages then go for it.

make some extra money testing the mail
How Do I Become A Participant?

The first step is to register on our website with the survey code GMS 1319. Please note carefully that the act of registering does not warrant you becoming a participant. Our clients provide us with very specific lists of postcodes and locations where we may recruit around the world. By all means, feel free to contact us at panel@quotas.de with your city, country and the survey code GMS 1319 and we will be more than happy to let you know if we are offering a postal survey in your area at the moment.
If that is the case, then we will send you an invitation with our offer. Then its just a short questionnaire about how you will receive and/or send your mail.

make some extra money testing the mail

How Can I Learn More About You?

Well, a good place to start would be our company website  as well as the website of our participants.

If you would like to see what other people have to say about us, then our Facebook page  is the place for you.
If you are a philatelist and want to get a taste then please do pay a visit to our blog and twitter.
I would like to express my gratitude for being able to post on this wonderful blog and to thank Seychelles Mama for her lovely internet hospitality. Seychelles, among other countries, has only recently been added to our panel of countries.

If you are interested in becoming a participant just register on our website (survey code GMS 1319) or send us an email at panel@quotas.de and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Have a great day and kind regards from rainy Hamburg.
George Payne

Tree Change: Do I Need To Live Near The City?

Tree Change: Do I Need To Live Near The City?

We decided long ago that we did not want to live the city life so we decided to emigrate from the UK to the Seychelles.

Do you ever have days when you question if you should still be living in the city or if you should up sticks and move to the country?
There is no ‘one right answer’ to this question. A Large number of people have been going for ‘tree-change’ because of many reasons. However, it all depends on your choices and preferences

Tree Change: Do I need To Live Near The City

What is Tree Change?

The phenomenon of ‘tree-change’ has gained popularity as of late. This entails giving up on city life and moving to a countryside location.

There are varied reasons why different people opt for tree change, including:

  • Low cost of living
  • Healthy lifestyle
  • Less pollution
  • Less traffic
  • Closeness to nature

Do I need to go for tree change or live near the city?

The answer for this question varies from person to person. Both, the supporters of tree change and those who prefer to live in the city, have their own reasons. Both types of lifestyles have their own pros and cons which need to be considered carefully before making a decision.

City Life

Life in big cities means dealing with different kinds of stress all the time. Also, as the population keeps on increasing, the competition for jobs for having a better living has increases day by day. The increasing population also causes an increase traffic, which ultimately causes more traffic jams and more pollution.

The cost of living in a metropolitan city is very high and for many families, it is becoming more and more difficult to sustain their lifestyle.

Living in a Countryside Location

Due to the natural beauty, less pollution, less traffic, a healthier environment, and the apparent low cost of living, countryside locations attract many people. As the phenomenon of tree-change has gained popularity, many people have been shifting to countryside locations in the hope of resolving their financial and health problems.

But, many people fail to realize that every style of living has its own issues and demands. Tree-change will not take away all your problems; it will just change their nature. While you will gain access to super fresh fruits and vegetables, clean air, and will not have to pay a huge amount of money in terms of home rent compared to the city, you have an increased threat of natural disasters, such as floods and bushfires, which are common in countryside areas. Not only do they cause property damage, they also can result in fatalities and the spread of various diseases.

What about travelling long distances everyday to reach your workplace? Living in a rural area sometimes means lesser opportunities, poor communication services, and poor infrastructure.

Have you thought about the healthcare facilities available in the countryside? Also, what about higher educational institutions?

Does your insurance company cover losses and health problems due to floods, bushfires, and other problems associated with rural living?

Life in the countryside has its own set of challenges and problems and it is really important to consider them before you decide to settle down in countryside.

Evaluate and Then Decide

Whether one needs to go for tree change or should live near the city depends on their lifestyles, preferences, and expectations. If you are considering tree-change, it is important that you consider and evaluate all the pros and cons associated with both types of living and then take the decision.

Also, before you decide to go for tree-change, make sure to consult your insurance company and ask to what extent it can cover a countryside life.


So do you think you’ll be moving away from the city anytime soon?

Playing Or Cleaning: Why Do Whales Breach?

Playing Or Cleaning: Why Do Whales Breach?

The popular theory of why whales breach is either because they find it to be fun, or because it is part of their cleaning ritual. People think that there is a specific reason why whales jump out of the water. The truth is that they don’t do it for one reason. Whales jump out of the water, whirl in the air, and then slam back in the ocean many times in a row; then, there are those times when they only do it once and then, you don’t see the whale jump out again. Here I am sharing the possible reasons why a whale jumps out of the water.

why do whales breach
Sending Messages

It is possible that the humpback whale uses this technique to communicate with the others. They might want other whales to know that they are going to change course, or an attempt to woo a potential partner. It is thought that the breaching is done because the environment under water is too noisy for the other whales to make out what the other whale is trying to say, especially if the other whale is too far away.


Breaching can be a routine case of the whale cleaning itself. It is possible that with cleaning, a whale is using motion to get rid of pesky parasites that are on its body. That is probably why it whirls once it gets out in to the open air.


Breaching is done by whales as a form of a territorial action. It means that a whale may be sensing an approaching intrusion or a threat. Breaching works as a good way to intimidate the intruder to retreat and therefore, the method of breaching also serves as the whale establishing its own turf. The whale may be trying to scare away a group of other sea animals, or a ship. It is also a way for them to chase away other predators from their prey.

Looking Around

Breaching may be done by the whales as a way of checking the surroundings. If a whale hears a noise that is bothersome, they might breach as a way of simply looking out over the horizon; it is as simple as that. If it is jumping out of the water only once, it is possible that they are doing it just to confirm what’s approaching, which could be a vessel.

For Its Own Entertainment

It is possible that a whale jumps out of the water for its personal entertainment. Many times, whale watchers notice that whales usually breach when they are all on their own. However, you also see two or three whales doing it on a landscape, which means that they might just be enjoying a play session.
Apart from breaching, a whale might even hit the top of the water with their heads, tails, or fins. Whale acrobatics is the undisputed star of whale watching.

Bambeado teething necklace review

When Arthur was a baby I never understood why people complained about teething. His teeth kinda just popped up with very little fuss!

So imagine our shock when Freddie started teething and he REALLY struggled!!  I won’t lie it’s been tough!

You can imagine how delighted I was when I was contacted by the fab people at Bambeado asking if I wanted to review one of their products.

Bambeado Teething Necklace Review

I checked out their website and they have a huge range of teething products.  It was their Silcone teething necklaces that I was immediately drawn to.

Anyone that knows me, knows that I’m really not a jewellery person.  I have always wanted to be, but never really thought anything looked all that nice on me. Added to that, I think since having the kids I never wanted to spend money on jewellery that the boys would just break or hurt themselves on.

Bambeado has SO many different styles and colours to choose from.  I live mostly in shorts and a vest top, so I wanted something that was going to look great dressed down but that I could dress up if I needed to.

I decided to choose the Black Seed Necklace.

bambeado teaching necklace review


Isn’t it pretty!?

We have been testing it out lots. The thing that I think I like about it most is that it’s not just for when your baby is teething. My boys at least, have always liked to play with other people’s necklaces when they are holding them.  So they have BOTH been loving having this one to twiddle with while we are cuddling!

Bambeado teething necklace review
I have found this a great distraction on the school run.  Freddie is always so keen to run after Arthur in to the classroom, but I’ve held him off with this.

So, Why Not Use A Normal Necklace?

Using a Bambeado silicone necklace means that you can know 100% that your necklace will be safe for your baby to bite and play with.  It’s super easy to keep clean and is 100% PVC and BPA free (that means no nasties!)  There is a safety clasp so if your little one pulls too hard, the necklace will open, not break!  If they really go to town, each bead is knotted individually so only one bead will come off.  Both Freddie (15 months) and Arthur (3 years) have had access to this and they’ve not managed to break it! A pretty good rest if you ask me!


As I am writing this post, my necklace is on the Bambeado website at $29.95 (around £24).  I would certainly not begrudge paying that for myself or a friend as a gift for a friend.  Speaking of gift, I think this is a great gift for a new Mama to be.  Something for Mama and baby is a definite bonus, don’t you think?!


We totally love our Bambeado teething necklace.  Thank you so much Bambeado for sending us this to review for you!


What do you think, would wear  a teething necklace?

bambeado teething necklace review

The Top 10 Non Tech Gifts For Your Kids This Christmas

With the festive season already upon us (yep my instagram feed is full of christmas trees already!) and shockingly, Halloween already behind us, we are all awaiting the arrival of Christmas.

From adults to young adults and even toddlers, everyone is tingling with anticipation as Xmas draws nearer, not only to celebrate the holidays but also to spend some quality time with family and friends and surprise each other with presents and affection.  This year we have Mark’s parents coming to spend Christmas with us which is exciting!

All over the world, kids are starting to write their lists to Father Christmas.  While we all want to make sure our kids get what they want, as parents, sometimes its nice to have a few extra ideas of our own!

I’ve lined up a few classic non-tech toys for your little ones this christmas check it out!  The best thing about this list is that everything on it can be as high or low budget as you wish!  It’s easy to go over the top and spend loads at Christmas but you really don’t have to!

The Top 10 Non Tech Gifts For Your Kids This Christmas

The Top 10 Non Tech Toys For Your Kids


Kids love books, right from early on they love to be read to, just to hear the sound of your voice.  This later develops into a love of the pictures and then later understanding and enjoying the story!  We always make sure there are books on for our kids under the tree at Christmas!

Colouring Books

colouring books stimulate development of skills that are not only associated with mental activity but also physical such as fine motor skill as well as coordination and decision making skills.  Great for keeping the kids quiet for a little while and encouraging their creativity!

Musical boxes

These are attractive little boxes which produce mellow melodies. This develops the child’s hearing capabilities and also helps them in differentiating between bitter and sweet sounds.

Stuffed toys

These toys are always in popular demand. They are soft and friendly to use. They also help the child play pretend games and develop a sense of nurturing in them. This makes the child considerate and affectionate in older age.

Buckets and spades

Sand buckets have always been a classic choice for outdoor games.  They help in muscular movement and are engaging. Often played with peers, this toy subconsciously develops a sense of acquaintance within the child, helping them socialise.  Buckets are great for collecting all kinds of things you find in the garden, at the beach, or anywhere!  They can often end up in a bit of mess, especially if your digging in the garden, but hey I didn’t promise a mess free christmas list!


Puzzles are quick mind games that stimulate mental activity and sharpen the brain. Colourful and vibrant, they are fun to solve and often on the hit list of children as preferred games.  Perfect for creating a little bit of quiet time for parents that doesn’t involve the TV!

Kitchen Sets

Perfect for every budget, kids kitchen sets can range from the simple to the elaborate.  I love that these days there are so many unisex versions available, as its not just the girls who love to play in the kitchen, my boys absolutely love cooking!! This pretend game helps them understand the need of being helpful with chores and the importance of kitchen tools in order to feed.

Stacking Cups

A must buy for toddlers!!!  We bought Arthur stacking cups for his first Christmas and he still plays with them now!!!  This effective learning toy is used in order to stimulate mental activity through understanding and development of coordination among the children. Not only is the child using their muscles to add or remove a stacker, they are also using their brain to decide when to use which stacker.

Magic Paint Pads

Magic paint pads are really cool.  Arthur was given one of these by some friends of ours and he really loves it, I totally recommend them!!  They are no mess, for a total bonus and this makes them great for travelling, or as a way for keeping kids entertained when you go out for dinner!  They help kids to recognise and differentiate between paintings and colours. With a swipe of the water brush, colours and paintings are revealed, improving the child’s memory.


Scooters, are so great for kids.  It gets them outside, and tires them out…perfect!  Scooters foster kids muscular activity as well as strengthen their stamina and heighten their energy level, helping them grow into healthier and more tolerant people.



Looks like Santa will be extremely busy this Christmas with lots of requests to fulfil! Who knew things children ask for can actually play vital role in their character development. Santa sure has a busy month up ahead!

What non tech toys are you planning for your kids this Christmas?