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!!!

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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!

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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.

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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?

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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!

 

 

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Things To Prepare For When The Baby Arrives

Things to Prepare For When the Baby Arrives

Having a baby can be an exciting time for everyone involved. However, there is also a lot of planning, preparation and anxiety that might also come into play. What needs to be done before baby’s arrival? How are you going to handle your current load of tasks? What will the baby be like?

Instead of working about everything together, it is strongly recommended that you take it one step at a time. By taking care of multiple things, you’re easily able to enjoy all that comes from having a baby and not the stress you feel about getting everything ready.

Here is a short list of things you should consider taking care of prior to baby’s arrival. This way, everything is set to go for that big birth day to come!

things to prepare for when baby arrives

Work Out Things with Work

Whether you’re the mother, or father-to-be, it is important to consider working with your place of employment. Setting a specific time off, come back date and other financial worries ahead of time can put everyone in the best mindset. Having this taken care of before the baby arrives also ensures that you’re not stressing or running around worrying about work and things that have to do with work.

Get Baby’s Items in Order

Making sure that you have everything for the baby when it comes home is also a big plus. You want to make sure you have enough diapers, clothes, wipes, a car seat, bed and so on for the baby. Having the proper breastfeeding or bottle feeding supplies is also a must along with the Best Sit and Stand Strollers of 2017 to get baby home. Generally, you may have a baby shower which is where you’ll get most of these things, but if you’re missing some items or if you didn’t have a shower then it may be time to head out and grab the necessities.

Clean Up the House

A lot of women tend to ‘nest’ which is when you clean every ounce of the home. This is something that you might want to do just to make you feel better, or something that you have to do before baby’s arrival. It is important to think about cleaning the big areas of the home where they baby might be. Clean the baby’s room, organize and put away everything. Go through a checklist of rooms while you clean to stay organized and make sure everything is where it should be.

Prepare Other Children

If you have other children, now is the time to think about preparing them for their new sibling. With this in mind, you’re going to want to think about being able to show them the baby and have them know what is going to happen. Babies take up a lot of the parent’s time, so preparing them for this new change is a good way to go. Make sure to let them know that they’re always welcome to help with the new baby and how special this is!

Consider Parenting Decisions

You and your partner should be on the same page when it comes to decisions. If this is your first baby, it is important to lay down these decisions before the baby comes and ask for help from you nurse during the first moments of your baby’s life. How do you want to feed baby, what do you want to do sleep wise, how is this baby going to fit into everything that happens within your lives? You need to have a clear plan as a parenting couple on what is going to be done and how it is going to be done.

Preparing for baby is a great way to prepare yourself for the long journey ahead. Enjoy parenting when baby arrives and congratulations on your new bundle of joy!

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Sleep is So Important for Children: Nail the Bedtime Routine

There are statistics that show that children, all over the world, are getting less sleep than ever before. This is an alarming trend which some devastating consequences. Not being able to concentrate and focus in school is just the tip of the iceberg. Tired children could develop behavioural problems. In addition, family lives become disrupted and parents become distraught and stressed. There are a number of reasons that children aren’t getting enough sleep. Take a look at this post to see what the problems are and how to solve them…

Why Aren’t Children Getting Enough Sleep?

Why aren't children getting enough sleep

 

 

It is recommended that those aged around three years old should have about 11 hours of sleep a night. This drops to 10 hours for ten-year-olds, and nine hours for 15-year-olds. Often children aren’t getting this amount of sleep.

 

Some of the most common reasons for this lack of sleep include poor diets, dependance on technology and parent working longer hours. All of these can contribute to the problem of poor sleep and have to be tackles.

 

How Can We Improve Our Child’s Sleep?

How to improve our children's sleep

 

 

One of the main things to do is switch off all electronics and hour or so before bed. You may think that watching cartoons or playing on an iPad is calming your child down, but it’s not. What technology actually does is keep us awake. Basically, the light that comes from the TV or your smartphone or computer disrupts the production of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone which is released as the sun goes down. It makes us feel tired. This is part of the problem. The other problem is that children are becoming increasingly ‘addicted’ to technology. It’s difficult for children to switch off both mentally, and literally, from the piece of tech they’re using before bed. When they do tear themselves away their brains are still working overdrive and they haven’t calmed down.

 

Poor diet is another problem. If our children are eating the wrong things before, or too close to bed, they won’t settle. Avoid any sugary foods before bed. This will cause an energy spike and make them restless. Instead, a healthy balanced meal is best. Give your child time to digest before bed. This means they won’t be up during the night needing the toilet.

 

Another way to improve sleep is to focus on the small things. Make sure your child has a bath before bed. Hot soapy water is a great way to relax a child. In addition, it will make distracting them from screen easier. Once they’ve had a bath make sure you have comfortable pajamas for them to slip into. Kids Fendi have some great options which are soft on children’s skin and comfortable. Avoid anything too restrictive. Then read a story or have some quiet time before bed. No overly stimulating play or computer screens. Get your child into this routine so that they know it’s coming up to bedtime.

 

sleep is so important for children: how to nail the bedtime routine

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