How to Juggle Expat Life, Family, and the Need for Sleep

How to Juggle Expat Life, Family, and the Need for Sleep

Moving to a new country poses a whole bunch of challenges. This is even more true when you are moving with your family.  The transition means uprooting almost every part of your lifestyle and routine.  This can be stressful for everyone. While the adjustment requires time and effort, adapting to the new way of life will happen sooner than you think. Follow these tips to make this monumental move smoother for you and your loved ones.

How to Juggle Expat Life, Family, and the Need for Sleep

Do Your Research Comprehensively

Avoid mistakes and mishaps through thorough preparation.  Be prepared way before you step onto the plane!  There’s all kinds of things to consider, from organising the best living conditions for your family to understanding the country’s culture.  Experts for Expats suggests that making a moving-abroad checklist is more than just a helpful hack.  It’s all about lists!

You should include the family too, find out what they want to get out of their new life abroad.  This helps reduce the load for you, and makes everyone feel included! Win win!

How to Juggle Expat Life, Family, and the Need for Sleep

Go Out and Explore

You can really only get used to a living in another country by getting out and exploring it.  The Spruce advises that spending time in your new neighbourhood and outside of it is imperative.  Familiarise yourself with the local spots, to discovering what clubs and classes you and your family might be interested in.  This will help you learn the local language, as well as immersing yourself in the people and culture.

Seeking out the expat community can really help too.  Look online for expat bloggers in the area, as well as expat groups.  If your kids are school age, this will be a perfect way to strike up social connections – for the kids and for you!

How to Juggle Expat Life, Family, and the Need for Sleep

Manage Your Family’s Stress and Sleeping Habits

Adjusting to the expat life can be overwhelming. Between being homesick and getting used to everyday life in a foreign land, it’s easy to bury yourself in all the distractions.  However, you don’t want to find yourself working too hard and depriving yourself of sleep in the process.  Leesa stresses that when you don’t get the appropriate hours of sleep, you tend to harbour a more unenthusiastic outlook towards life. Not only are your systems compromised, but you are also twice as likely to form negative memories more than positive ones. Needless to say, making sure that everyone in the family consistently gets the right amount of sleep is a top priority.

 

Stay Protected

As the old saying goes ‘health is wealth’.  Moving to a new country can really bring that into focus.  You’re in an unfamiliar environment which can definitely make you feel more vulnerable. Gain back some control by knowing which healthcare facility would serve you best should an emergency arise. Expatica underscores that looking for your medical providers via the help of your embassy will prepare you for almost any situation.  Apart from knowing your healthcare options, it’s also smart to have local emergency numbers in your directory. Being this forward thinking will definitely help lessen your healthcare worries!

How to Juggle Expat Life, Family, and the Need for Sleep

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Moving Overseas? Make packing easier!

When you’re moving long distance, especially if you’re moving to another country completely, packing can be a complete headache. What do you take? What can you leave behind? How are you going to get it all done? These are just some of the questions that plague your existence as you plan the packing stage of a life-changing move. But you know what? Packing for an overseas move doesn’t have to be all that difficult.

make packing easier for moving abroad

Here are some simple tips to help you make your move easier:

 

Enlist Help

If you don’t want to go into total meltdown, then you’ll want to ask a few good friends or family members to help you out. Not only will they be able to assist you with the physical aspects of packing, but they’ll be there to help keep the kids occupied and encourage you to get rid of the unnecessary when you really don’t want to, which brings us to…

 

Declutter

If you’re living in a house that’s brimming with stuff, it’s going to be really, and I mean REALLY expensive to ship it overseas. In most cases, it just isn’t practical to take everything you own. This is why you need to get serious about your stuff.

 

Go through your house making an inventory of what you have.  Sit down and hash out what you NEED to take with you, what you would like to take, what can be left behind and what might be difficult to transport. Making Sell, Donate, Trash lists are super helpful.  Feeling organised is so empowering when you’re moving abroad.. If you plan to move back sometime, keeping your stuff in storage is also an option. Just bear in mind it might be tough convincing the kids to give up their much-loved toys!

 

Hire an Experienced Moving Company

make packing for moving abroad easier

Hiring a long-standing moving company who has experience with moving long-distance, like the ones at https://www.mybekins.com/locations/oakland-ca-movers/ , is essential if you want your stuff to reach its new destination, and in one piece. Of course, you’ll have to do your part by very carefully packing it up with lots of bubble wrap and the like to minimize the chances of it getting broken on its long journey.

 

Use Vacuum Bags

For all your clothes bedding and even soft toys, use vacuum sealed bags. They hugely reduce the amount of space these things take up. There’s some great ones at Bed Bath and Beyond.  It’s often volume as opposed to weight that you run out of first, so this really helps!  

 

Embrace Being Unburdened

make packing for moving overseas easy

 

If there’s one thing that will help make packing for an overseas move easier for you, it is embracing minimalism. There’s a certain feeling that comes with unburdening yourself of possessions you thought you’d always have that is so liberating. This makes it much easier to leave stuff behind. So, put the focus on your new life and remind yourself and the kids that you can always replace stuff if you really need to and packing should become very easy to you very quickly.

 

Good luck with your move!

 

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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

 

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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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