I DO! 6 Honeymoon destinations newlyweds WANT to travel to

I DO! 6 Honeymoon destinations newlyweds WANT to travel to

Many brides to be will tell you that choosing their honeymoon destination is almost as difficult as the wedding venue!  Whether it’s a far flung beach in a stunning, tropical location, a city that’s full of culture and bright lights or maybe something that’s a little more budget friendly.

If you’re struggling for inspiration then don’t worry.  Check out these 6 top honeymoon destinations that newlyweds want to visit!

Seychelles

Seychelles is undoubtedly one of the ultimate honeymoon destinations.  I promise there’s no bias  because I live here!  If you are dreaming of white sandy beaches, ultimate luxury, and relaxation, then look no further!   Island hopping here is a must, as each island offers something unique!

If you’re looking for a little adventure during your stay, try Scuba Diving, or one of the many beautiful hikes across the islands.

Seychelles is also a must visit for honeymooning couples with an interest in environmentalism.  There is a vast array endemic species to discover – many of which are endangered.  Eight national parks, six of which are marine parks, mean that there are many unspoiled and protected areas to explore.  There are also two UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Vallee de Mai and Aldabra.  Many hotels, and resorts have their own environmental programmes, and actively encourage their guests to get involved.  The government is working hard on environmental issues too, plastic bags have been banned for more than a year, and plastic straws are also soon to be banned.

Niagara Falls

Everyone should see the beautiful and dramatic falls at least once in their lifetime.  So, why not incorporate it into your honeymoon?  The crashing, cascading and roaring water has attracted couples in love for centuries and it’s still ever popular.

There are plenty of places to stay around the area, each with an abundance of honeymoon and romance packages.  Check out Marriott on the Falls for a little inspiration.  While many people travel to distant lands with white sandy beaches, some prefer the magic of being close to nature whilst not leaving the city to far behind. Just don’t forget your rain coat!

Alaska

If you picture spending your honeymoon in a bikini and little else, then perhaps this one isn’t for you.  Alaska calls to couples of an adventurous spirit – for those who prefer their beaches icy cold and bracing!  Take your own guide across a beautiful ice capped mountain and a glacier or two!

With its abundance of wildlife at Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, including humpback whales, bald eagles, puffins and even bears, Alaska is the honeymoon that just keeps on giving.  Just be sure to pack plenty of layers!

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

You might be thinking of Amsterdam’s famous coffee shop scene or of course it’s liberal Red Light District, but if you think that’s all Amsterdam has to offer then you’d be wrong.  Steeped in history with beautiful architecture this blissful city will swallow up honeymooners with it’s rustic and laid back charm.  Walk or cycle through the city’s historic streets, have a drink and a bite to eat at one of its many open air cafés and restaurants and enjoy 5* cuisine at the canal side.  One thing is certain – you’ll be back!

Cotswolds, England

If the idea of the romantic English countryside makes your heart flutter then a honeymoon to the Cotswolds is calling.  This breathtakingly rural area filled with rolling hills, charming Medieval villages, gorgeously thatched cottage roofs, not forgetting meadows as golden as the local stonework that will simply take your breath away.

With hotels and charming Bed and Breakfasts housed in 18th Century buildings you can experience the very best of what the English countryside has to offer.  From homemade jams, cheeses and preserves to idyllic country views and vistas that are straight out of Jane Austen novel.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Another destination for adventurers or those that want to see nature at it’s most beautiful.  Endless opportunities for trekking and hiking, bathing in hot, steamy springs and lagoons and of course, the ultimate in romance – the Northern Lights.

 

 

I hope that this gives you some inspiration if you are planning your honeymoon!  I’d love to know if there is anywhere you would add to this list?

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!!!

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!

 

 

Freddie’s first walk

We recently went for a walk in the Vallee De Mai.  Not an unusual event for us, we go at least once a month!  It is without doubt our favourite place to go for a walk.

If you don’t know, the Vallee De Mai, is famous for being the home of the Coco De Mer, the largest seed in the world!  It really is huge, apparently weighing up to 30KG at full size!!

Freddie’s first walk

This visit to the Vallee De Mai though, things were a little different!  This time we ALL went walking!  It was Freddie’s first walk, as opposed to being in the baby carrier!  This kinda blows my mind, It seems like just a minute ago it was Arthur’s first time walking around there!!

We had such a great time.  With Freddie walking around too, the whole dynamic changed so much, but only in a good way!

Arthur was absolutely delighted to get to run around with Freddie in there and Freddie was so excited to finally be able to get down and really explore the place as opposed to just being in the carrier!   It was amazing to see them exploring together!

Walking amongst giants, my boys look tiny in there.  Perhaps thats why I love going so much! This is one of my new favourite pictures!

 

Arthur took great pleasure in being Freddie’s personal tour guide.

 

They both are becoming so confident and independent, it’s amazing to see them running around without a care or fear.

freddie's first walk

dsc_0127

As always, we stopped at our favourite spot, to look at the river, of course throw a few sticks and stones in, and to look for crabs!

It was also a big trip for another reason as it was the first time Arthur walked round the whole way without needing to be carried.  As you can see, he was very proud!!

 

I have blogged about coming here before, and I am certain I will blog about it again!  So, apologies if it seems a bit repetitive, but it really is such a special place to go.  If you are visiting Seychelles it is an absolute must (with or without kids!)

I am so happy to have such an amazing place for our kids to explore.  We are so lucky to have so many amazing memories (and pictures) of the boys having the best time here.  They are true explorers, and I hope that they will forever love the outdoors as much as they do now!

Being a Seychelles mama (the harder bits) 0-8 months

This post is all about the harder bits about being a Seychelles mama to a 0-8 month old.  These things do not outweigh the positives of living here for us.  I’m not looking for sympathy here (and know I won’t get it!!!) but I thought it might be nice to share that living in the Indian Ocean does have its drawbacks!!   Being a seychelles mama (the harder bits) 0-8 months

  1. I’ll start with the obvious!  Being away from family and friends.  I won’t get into this too much, it speaks for itself really.  There are days that are harder than others!  To be honest though, I lived about 5 hours drive away from my parents before we moved here and okay tack another 10 hours to that to get here by plane but its safe to say that the views are a lot better here!!  Another reason why this is hard is for help with Arthur.  Mark and I really have raised him by ourselves, which I’m not complaining about but there are days where you would like to drop him off at grandparents for the afternoon and take a little break!
  2. Weather.  Yes its glorious, and yes it makes getting Arthur dressed very easy however for the last month he has had perpetual heat rash and that sucks!!!
  3. Availability of anything.  To me this is the hardest thing.  This isn’t just baby stuff, although that effects us most these days.  You can not consistently get anything here.  The thing this bothers me most with is nappies.  The shop at the top of our road is generally very good and does order things for us but if it runs out on Mahe (the main island) then we have to wait a few weeks/months until another shipment comes in from whatever country.  There will always be some sort of nappies that we can get but for some reason people here prefer cheaper brands that are really plasticy and horrible 🙁 to me buying nappies like that are false economy, although they are cheaper you get through so many more because you have to change them every 5 minutes!
  4. Medical care.  So this has only been highlighted in the last month where I took Arthur for the doctor for heat rash and a second time where we went to hospital.  We have to pay, it’s not America expensive, but its not cheap!
  5. There are no groups/classes.  I’m talking parent and baby groups, I do always feel a pang of jealousy when I read on twitter about mummies going to different groups or classes with their babies.  It seems like a nice way to meet other parents and its something thats missing here.
  6. There are no pavements in most places.  This is a bit of a pain for going for walks.  The roads are mostly very quiet and so its not too bad but it’s not ideal!

Okay so I think thats the main things covered, can’t really think of anything else right now!  I’m not sure how this list will change as Arthur gets older, i’ll be interested to look back on this!!

Seychelles Mama

Being a Seychelles mama (The good bits) 0-6 months

Thought I’d share a little bit about being a seychelles mama (the good bits):

Being a Seychelles mama (the good bits) 0-6 months

Getting Arthur dressed

is never really a chore he pretty much lives in bodysuits.  It’s too hot for anything else, so no layers required.  In fact often he is just in a nappy during the day.

He gets to be outdoors – a lot!

I always wanted to have kids somewhere where we could spend a lot of time outside, somewhere hot basically .  We definitely get this here.  I find it amazing how a walk in the fresh air can do a grumpy baby so much good (and a grumpy mama too!).  The view is obviously good too which is another bonus for us both!  At 6 months he’s just starting to get to an age where taking him to the beach is fun.  He can sit up by himself and so can have a good look round at everything.

Being a seychelles mama (the good bits)

Health and Safety hasn’t gone mad here.

I guess the most obvious example I can think of is how baby walkers are now so frowned at as they are ‘dangerous’ due to the injuries they can cause.  They have even been banned in Canada.  Now I bet that nearly all of us had baby walkers when we were little and we are all just fine!!!  Surely common sense needs to be used here, if the baby is supervised these things are perfectly safe!!  Sorry I’ll get off my soapbox now I just get cross when ‘health & safety’ steps in when a bit of common sense just needs to be used!!  Here people get along just fine without all of the health and safety overkill that happens elsewhere!

I don’t feel judged.

I’m not saying everyone feels this way in other places, but we really are pretty much left to it here.  We had a health visitor come round once for about 5 minutes and we go down to the clinic once a month to get him weighed.  His 6 month check up consisted of them asking if we had started feeding solids yet, seeing he could sit up already, seeing if he could crawl (he can’t).  We briefly spoke about his sleep and  that was pretty much it!  I can breastfeed wherever I like, without any weird looks or comments.

There’s no ‘x-box culture’.  

I guess this partly goes hand in hand with my second point.   I know Arthur is too young for this to be an issue yet.  It’s still it’s something that scares me and is one of the reasons we wanted to have a baby here!!

Swimming.

There is a small hotel thats a two minute walk from our house that we can Arthur swimming in all the time.  It’s my favourite thing to do with him.  He loves being in the water (just like me!).  We have started taking him to splash his feet in the Ocean too.  It’s rainy season here right now.   This means its a little chilly by Seychelles standards so we haven’t taken him in for a full dip but it won’t be long….I can’t wait.

Being a Seychelles mama (the good bits)

The expat community.

It’s been amazing how helpful people have been.  We had a lot of stuff given/loaned to us that has been so useful.  To name a few, a bumbo, a changing table and we even got our cot (actually this was from a Seychelleois family)…..Its at least 20 years old and handmade.  It was in a bit of a sorry state as had been kept outside and kind of used for storage so me and Mark did it up and now its beautiful.  We had to order a custom mattress as its an unusual size but it will last until Arthur is ready to go into a proper bed as its really big.  I even got thrown a baby shower which was just so lovely considering by that point we hadn’t even been here a year!

Baby love.

People here LOVE babies.  Everywhere you go people want to give Arthur cuddles, he gets a lot of fuss made of him!  If we go out for somewhere to eat there’s always been someone offering to hold him/play with him while we eat….amazing! Also there is more availability of baby things then there is anything else which is of course very useful!

 

There are also some challenges in being a Mama in Seychelles.   Read all about the harder bits of being a Seychelles Mama!

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