When your skin starts to fall off!

So I’m not going to include any pictures in this post, when your skin starts to fall off I don’t think any pics are required (or wanted!!)

Around two weeks ago now I noticed a weird thing on my leg.
This thing was around the size of a 10p piece, and looked like a burn. The skin had just come off. I hadn’t done anything to it, no cuts scrapes bangs etc I just had this weird thing on my leg!

I didn’t think too much of it, it didn’t hurt or anything so I just left it.

I happened to be at the hospital to have Freddie’s eye checked (more on that) and I asked the nurse to look at it. She said i should have it ‘dressed’ so she put some cream on and stuck a massive great big plaster on it (you know that old school red bandage tape stuff)

A couple hours later I took it off. i figured if i wanted this thing to heal it would need to dry out.

Well, turned out I was wrong. It didn’t dry out, it did’t do anything just stayed as a bit of a disgusting thing on my leg.

A few days later I had pretty savage allergic reaction to a kitten we had homed the day before; I came out in a huge hive type rash on my chest neck and arms that was burning my skin. We then of course had to give her back much to my dismay. Ive never had an allergic reaction before so I was pretty freaked out.

The next day it wasn’t looking any better despite having anti-histamine cream and tablets. So I took a trip to see the doctor at the hospital. (Just a regular GP I wasn’t being dramatic and taking myself off to hospital FYI!!)

He said that he could see there was an allergic reaction but that it also looked like I had a Staph infection. He was pretty confident that it was the case when I then showed him the thing on my leg.

So, he packed me off with some antibiotics and some creams and off I went.

Fast forward a week and my antibiotics have finished. The original sore has pretty much closed over but it has been joined by a bunch of new ones. The cat allergy rash had gone though so that was a bonus. I have realised that I can tell when a new sore is going to appear because that area of skin burns and goes very red, like a very small specific patch of sunburn. Then the skin just kinda falls off….nice!

I went back to the doctors on the 3rd, this time I saw a doctor who had once described my skin colour as ‘a bit yellow’ so my expectations weren’t high. I don’t think she initially understood that I had finished the antibiotics I was taking because she kept saying ‘but that is the treatment’. Very helpful.
Once she finally got that I’d finished the tablets she prescribed me more. Different antibiotics this time. So I’m currently on them for another week.

over the last few days the ‘cat rash’ seems to have made a return in random patches. I’m hoping that this is just been brought back out by the fact that I had around a 24 hour gap in antibiotics (between old and new).
It has made me wonder if it was indeed the cat that made me have this reaction in the first place since the cat has been gone for over a week now.

 

anyway it seems that it’s not all fully resolved yet, hopefully it will be by the end of the week!!

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A peek at our new house!

Mark has been made head teacher (proud wife alert!)  The current headteacher is retiring at the end of this term and Mark will be taking over from then!

As part of his new job we got to move to a new house.  It feels like no time since we moved into our last place, it was in fact less than a year!  Regular readers of my blog will know some of the negative things we experienced since living there, but also we have some truly wonderful memories from that house.  It is the first house we brought Freddie home to, Arthur started sleeping in his big boy bed here and potty trained too!  I also will have lovely memories from our great garden there.

We are very excited about our new house.  It’s 4 bedroom 2 (amazing) bathrooms, a big wrap around veranda and a beautiful garden!

Arthur and Freddie are settling in here beautifully, Arthur loves it and keeps proudly proclaiming “new house” with a big grin on his face!

Koopa is beside himself happy, as the house is so open we’ve decided to give up on trying to keep him outside and as I write this he’s lying by my feet next to the sofa!
I’ve shared a few pictures on Instagram, but here’s a few more!  Take a peek at our new house!

A peek at our new house

A peek at our new house

A peek at our new house

A peek at our new house

A peek at our new house

A peek at our new house

A peek at our new house

These are some of my favourite bits, but there’s still lots to get sorted so I’ll share more pictures when we are fully settled in!   I love that there are a few quirks in this house, it’s not new and I love that!  There’s lots we can do to make it our own.

The kitchen sink might just be my favourite thing of all, the kitchen in general has a real industrial feel to it!

The house is huge and it’s definitely going to be a lot to keep on top of.  Our cleaner has stopped working for us as she got pregnant and it was too much for her to do (understandably, I struggled cleaning my own house when I was pregnant let alone someone else’s!) so we are in the look out for someone new to help us out!!  In the meantime I’ll tie mops to the kids feet, I’m kidding….I think!

 

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When it rains…

When you picture the Seychelles, I imagine you probably think of something like this

Seychelles

Well, it’s not always like that of course!!  We get some pretty spectacular rain here.
Generally I love it when it rains here.  However, since August we have had SO much rain, I’m getting sick of it!

It’s nothing to do with the temperature, it’s still very warm when it rains.  In fact, the slightly lower temperature is often very very welcomed!

The biggest problem is that we can’t get out of the house!!!
Apparently our house is built on an old lake so when it rains it’s very quick to flood…brilliant.
We are lucky that our house doesn’t flood but our whole garden does, I’m talking like completely underwater!

When it rains in Seychelles

That picture was taken in August, it’s generally dry at that time of year!
That wouldn’t be so bad on its own but the little path out to the road goes completely underwater too meaning that getting out with two kids is impossible!!  You can do it in a car but during the week Mark takes the car to work.

Initially Arthur was surprisingly cautious of it.  He didn’t go in it at all.  Until one day, actually it was the day my parents arrived in September, he got in and had a fantastic time! The water level had gone down a little from the photo above. He went in barefoot, true island boy style, but I was not too excited about that so I didn’t join the fun!

When it rains in Seychelles

Mum and Dad bought Arthur a new pair of George Pig welly boots and so Arthur now gets excited by the “puddles” and runs upstairs to get his welly boots on!

When we get a tiny bit of rain, or when the heavy rain starts.  The puddles are perfect for Arthur to splash around in.  Koopa likes to play around with him too!

When it rains in Seychelles When it rains in Seychelles When it rains in Seychelles

The morning after I took those photos Arthur wanted to go out in his boots again.  It had rained through the night.

When it rains in Seychelles

When it rains in Seychelles

When it rains in Seychelles
Arthur initially had lots of fun but when he got to the deepest part the water was higher then his wellies and he was not so impressed with that!

Notice the absence of Koopa in these pictures?  I tried to get our big brave guard dog to go out and play with Arthur but he was having none of it!!

When it rains. Puppy in the rain

As I write this our garden is underwater again, it rained a lot in the night!  It’s not raining right now though so fingers crossed it will drain away soon….that’s one of the benefits of island living, the soil is very sandy so water does tend to drain away quicker than you might normally expect!

 

Life Unexpected
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The darker side of expat life in the Seychelles

Two weeks ago we were burgled.

I’d love to say that it was the first time since we’ve lived here.  Sadly, it isn’t.
It’s taken me all this time to write about it.  This blog is usually reserved for all the nice things in our lives.  A record of our sons growing up and all the beautiful things about living in the Seychelles.  But, I need to write this down, as much as I’d rather forget it, I think that it’s starting to become a worrying part of life here so it would be wrong of me not to record this. The darker side of expat life in the Seychelles

The darker side of expat life in the seychelles

When we moved to Praslin, our little island in the Seychelles, we were naive.

We felt so safe, in a little beautiful, tropical bubble.
The darker side of expat life in the Seychelles
Our house was a little one level two bed place.  We left our doors unlocked, and curtains open a lot of the time.  We forgot that there are bad people all over the world.

Things started small.  Our neighbours and us had some flip flops stolen from the front of our houses, our hammock was stolen from the front of the house while we were away on Mahe, things like that.

It stepped up a notch when there was a pevert at my window while I was at home alone with Arthur one night when he was small.  I was stupid for leaving curtains open I know, but in my defence my bedroom was at the back of the house and there was a big garden behind for a house I knew was empty.  Therefore someone had to come looking to see in which I wouldn’t dream about happening here.
The worst thing about it for me was that he tried to get my attention.  What was he expecting to happen, I’d let him in?!  Anyway I screamed at him and he ran off.  The next morning we discovered that he had moved a gas bottle had been moved so that he could look through the bathroom window which was quite high so he’d watched me in the shower as well.
I honestly felt truly violated and it took me a long time to sleep properly again.  I also don’t think it wasn’t coincidence that it was at this time I got a taste for rum!!

We decided to move house after our neighbours also had incidents along similar lines and our landlord was not prepared to do anything to improve security.  We were pretty certain it was just one disgusting guy targeting us all so moving away from the area would help!

So, we moved into our lovely new house, it was fenced in and we felt so safe all over again.

A couple months later my bike was stolen from the garden.  We were annoyed and upset, but had left it unlocked so had to accept that it was sort of out on display asking to be taken!   However, this was the most valuable thing we’d had stolen, before that, as I mentioned it was minor things.

Then nothing happened to us for another few months.  Our new landlords also own the house next to ours and they had been renovating it, they went away one weekend and came back and the TV had been stolen, they had broken in through the patio doors.  We have two sets of patio doors in our house, our landlords put extra bolts on one set but the others worked differently so they left those while they decided the best way to deal with those ones.
We had no problems until we went away to Mahe to have Freddie.  We were gone for two weeks.  Fortunately for us, as long as we’ve lived in the Seychelles we have locked our real valuables away in a safe place away from our house whenever we’ve gone away.  We were recommended to do this because we have been told petty theft is a problem here although originally we’d never seen it as an issue ourselves.  I’m so pleased we took that advice now!
Anyway, someone broke in through our patio doors.  They raided our alcohol cupboard and took about £200 worth of spirits and wine.  (We aren’t big drinkers by the way but we do like nice bottles of spirits!!)
They were even brazen enough to drink a whole bottle of Whisky while they were here and put the empty bottle back into the box!!  Randomly they also took 4 pairs of Marks shorts, but like old ones he would only wear round the house!!
Again, we were really upset with this.  We did know however that the patio doors were a weak spot on the house.  Annoyingly our landlord had put deadbolts on one set of our patio doors before we’d gone to Mahe but not another.
The whole thing was a surreal experience, it was the day we were bringing Freddie home from hospital and all of a sudden we were dealing with police and security.  Such a shame to have to deal with that on what should have been such a special day.  The good thing was that the police did get fingerprints from the bottle of whisky that was put back in the box and so hopefully something will come out of that – although that hasn’t happened yet!

Even at this point we didn’t feel too concerned for our security, we figured that these people had been watching the house, the same as what had happened next door, and knew that it was empty.  We also knew it could have been a lot more costly for us had we not locked things other items away!!

Then last week while we were all asleep someone came into our house.
Freddie woke up around 1 so I got up to feed him.  I reached for my iPad like I do every night to check the time and it wasn’t there.  I was sure I’d put it on charge on my bedside table but figured I must have left it downstairs.
After being annoyed that I couldn’t use my iPad while I was feeding I woke up more and realised that I was really sure I’d had it when I went to bed.  I then went downstairs to have a look around, I couldn’t find it anywhere.  I went back up to bed and tried to see if I’d accidently left it in the bed before I went to sleep, this woke Mark up.  He confirmed that I had definitely had it upstairs, we looked around the room and realised that a few other things were also missing.  We had definitely been burgled.
They had came upstairs into our bedroom, they took my iPad and a portable speaker and emptied our wallets (luckily there wasn’t much in them) they also took our external hard drive which had all our movies on.
We discovered that they had come in through the back door which was unlocked.  We never use this door, ever.  It could have been unlocked for ages, we know it was locked when we came back from Mahe as we checked all the doors then.  We don’t know who unlocked it, it really could have been anyone.
The thing is, is that someone came into our garden with the intention of breaking in.  As I mentioned, our garden is fenced so you don’t just stumble upon the back door.  This person would have had to come up to the door to test it, you don’t do that in the middle of the night unless your intention is to break in, it just so happened that their job was made a little easier by our negligence.

That night, after the realisation sunk in that someone had been in the house while we were there, my heart broke and I burst into tears.
I couldn’t stop thinking about what would have happened if one of us had woken up, would they have ran away, would it have got violent, did they have a weapon with them in case that happened?  I feel physically sick at the idea of it.

It’s been two weeks now and I can’t get over it.
Every time I wake up to feed Freddie I can’t get back off to sleep, I hear noises that sound like someone is in the house, I swear I see movement out of the corner of my eye.
I know that eventually, this will get better, but I wonder if it should get better.  Should I always be this alert now, just in case?

We now have a puppy, Koopa, who sleeps outside.
The darker side of expat life in the seychelles
He is here not only as our family pet, but also as our alarm, to bark if someone comes onto the property.  Right now he’s not really a force to be reckoned with but any noise is a deterrent to thieves.

Last week, we found out that our friends living near by were burgled.  They broke in through a window while they were out.
Another of our friends has just moved house to the other side of the island after being broken into on numerous occasions and having hundred of pounds worth of stuff taken.

It is becoming increasingly clear that expats are being targeted.   There is a growing drug problem here.  Unfortunately that results in an increase in petty crime to fund drug habits.
Aside from the drug problem though, we have been told on numerous occasions that there are many who feel no stigma in regards to theft here.  That it’s ok to steal from those who have more than you.

We are stepping up security in our home to help protect us from people getting in. We know that, in reality if someone really wants to break in, they will always find a way but we want do make it as difficult for them as possible.
We are also seriously considering moving house as for some reason, there seems to be dramatically fewer problems with crime on the other side of the island.  However, we don’t just want to rush and move anywhere, it’s obviously a big deal to move house with two small children and a puppy, and we have to ensure we move into a place that can meet our needs.
I don’t want to feel like I’m running away, like these people judge won but our family’s safety must come first!

I want to add that by no means had this made me feel that we should leave the Seychelles. Theft and other similar crimes are unfortunately a side effect of living somewhere where there is a large economical divide. This is something that we have now experienced first hand and through our friends. It’s a sad thing, however we do still love living here and there are so many wonderful things about living here.
We are using it all as a lesson to never be sloppy with security, wherever we are in the world, and to remember that as much as we don’t like it, there are ‘bad’ people wherever you go, including a tropical paradise!

 

***update 10/05/2017 I have written a post reflecting on this and about crime in the Seychelles, take a read**

 

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Hospital Diary part 1

I wrote a little diary while I was in hospital having Freddie, so I thought I’d share it on the blog!!

I’ll start off with part one, my admission into hospital the day before my Caesarian.
Seychellesmama hospital diary part 1
Hospital Diary part 1:
10/08/15
This morning at 10am I came to hospital for admission.
The maternity ward has been moved up a floor since when I had Arthur.  It’s not perfect by any means but it’s a lot better.  There is air con, and the walls are A LOT fresher.

I was taken to a little room with Mark and had the monitor strapped to me for around half an hour.   The view from the window was lovely, we were looking right out onto the botanical gardens!
Mahe botanical gardens, view from admission room Victoria hospital
The nurse didn’t really look at the graph when it was finished, anyway it was pretty unreadable as the machine was pretty much just chewing up the paper!!
I was asked a few questions about my health and then came the question on religion!  I said I had none, the nurse seemed ok with this but then pointed at me and said “but you believe in God right!?”  Cue me feeling very awkward “ummmm no……sorry”  He didn’t say anything.  We’ve been here before, everyone is religious in the Seychelles, mostly catholic, and no one can understand that we are not.
The nurse disappeared off for a little while and I was then taken to what I can only describe as a waiting room for women waiting to have their babies.
I remember how bored I was last time on this day when I had Arthur.
I’m sure it’s dragged even more this time, I passed the time by doing a cross stitch I’ve been meaning to do forever!  My plan was that I would really make the most of this time alone and prep lots of blog posts (no internet!!) as its a rarity and soon it will be even more so, but I’m feeling nervous and anxious and not very motivated to do anything.  Writing this is helping my nerves though!

Last time I was in a room by myself all day, this time the room has been full on and off all day.  There’s three other women who have been here since I have and two other women have come and gone, not sure where they certainly weren’t in final stages of labour and weren’t prepped for surgery or anything!
I remember that it was hot in the room last time but I am so relieved there is air con now!!   There’s no nice view in this room, we are looking out on the back of the building and onto another hospital building, the space between the two frankly looks like a bit of a dumping ground!
I’ve been told I can eat and drink until midnight.  I’ve also been told that the anaesthetist will be round to see me at some point this evening.
Mark, his Mum and Arthur came to visit for a couple hours this afternoon.  Apparently Arthur had been as good as gold all day but it was lovely to see how excited he was to see me when he got here!   We gave him his Pirate Pete I’m a new big brother
book to read while I’m in hospital! He read it at bed time with daddy and loved it.
The rest of the day was very dull!  I was told the  anaesthetist would come and see me at some point, that never happened!
Midwives came to do their last checks at about 11 so got to sleep sometime after that.  My sleep, unsurprisingly was very broken after all the next day I’d be having our second baby!!!

I’ve had a lot of pregnancy ‘guilt’ this time around, fueled entirely by my worry for how Arthur would cope, firstly being away from me for a few days which he never has been before and secondly how he would deal with the huge change becoming a brother would entail.

I realise that it sounds sort of ridiculous to worry so much about how Arthur will ‘cope’ without me. I’ll be honest, I think it’s just as much a sadness for me to be away from him!!

Soon I’ll share my hospital diary part 2 aka Freddie’s birth story!!

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Having a baby in the Seychelles as an Expat

I wrote a post with a guide to expat pregnancy in the Seychelles so I thought I’d follow it up with a post about having a baby in the Seychelles 

Having a baby in the Seychelles as an expat

As I mentioned last time, I ended up having to have a Caesarian with Arthur due to him being breach.  

Now, I can only speak from my experience and that of people I know who have had their babies here too…
But, there’s an opinion that expats are ‘encouraged’ towards having a Caesarian anyway.  I’m not 100% sure why this is the case but I think it’s to guarantee what doctor you will have!  
Cynics will also tell you that it’s because you have to spend more money (cost of the operation plus a longer stay in hospital!) 

Saying that, as long as there are no medical reasons for having a Caesarian you’re not going to be forced to have one!

As my experience is in Caesarian section that’s what I’ll discuss here! 

CHECKING IN 
As I mentioned in my post about being pregnant here in Seychelles, we had done a hospital visit, had the shock that the hospital was pretty dated looking (to be nice) and could definitely do with at least a lick of paint!! I do want to say though that this was 2 years ago and they was a lot of construction going on so this may well no longer be the case….I’ll do an update to this post after we have our little boy bump next month!!

So I had to ‘check in’ to the hospital the day before my Caesarian at midday.  I met the anesthetist who discussed the different options with us, we settled on having an epidural as opposed to general anesetic.  He made me feel very positive and relaxed about the whole thing.  I had never actually considered general anesetic being an option to be honest but it was weirdly reassuring to know that different options were actually available.
I then went up to the ward where the baby was monitored and I was checked in.  I was asked a bunch of questions including some about my religious beliefs!!
I was taken to a bed in a big shared room but there were no other people in there.  
By around 2pm I was left to my own devices.  Not allowed to leave the hospital, no wifi, no AC…..boring to say the least!!  

DAY OF CAESARIAN 
The day of the operation I got to have Mark and my parents with me before I went in.  In the Seychelles no one is allowed in with you for the operation itself. So in I went all by myself!
I wrote more details of the operation and how it went in my birth story if you want to know more.

They used staples as opposed to stitches, I think this is uncommon in the UK. Not sure as to the benefits or drawbacks of either!
I was given morphine and paracetamol when I needed it afterwards.  

AFTER CARE: IN HOSPITAL 
I stayed in hospital for a total of 5 nights and In that time I had 3 different rooms.  It was pretty annoying having to move but I understood why, the first night in the “waiting room” as it was, the 2 days following the Caesarian in a room right opposite the midwives station and then I was moved right down the end for the last two nights.

When I had Arthur in 2013 there was 1 private room in the ward but it was not available.  They were in the process of a big renovation project and so I assume that there will be more.  However, I am not sure if that work has been completed yet.

In the night times they would take Arthur so that I slept.  At the time, this mortified me.  I felt like they thought I wasn’t capable of looking after my son.  I felt very vulnerable and upset.  Looking back on it now, I think the reasons behind it was because I’d had a Caesarian they wanted me to get rest.

I had a little trouble getting the hang of breastfeeding and the midwives were very supportive of me and helped whenever I needed it (although taking Arthur at night would have done nothing to help my milk supply!!!).  In the end, I was given a little bit of tough love.  I think that’s what I needed.  Honestly, I was an emotional mess while I was in hospital and I think I needed them to snap me out of it.

CHECKING OUT
So on my 6th day I knew I wanted to go home and had decided that I would be going home!!!  I had to wait to be ‘released’ by a doctor.  I was checked over and was given the ok.  I then had to wait for a paediatric nurse to ‘release’ Arthur.  He had lost a little weight but they said it was okay.

I called Mark and told him to come and get me, I was desperate to leave!!

The midwife then asked me if I’d have someone with me, aside from Mark.  When I said my mum would be there she told me
 “Good, otherwise I wouldn’t let you leave”
Essentially saying Mark and I couldn’t be trusted on our own…..great for my self esteem!
Again, looking back on this it makes perfect sense but at the time all I could think was that I was being judged as not good enough!!

We were given our bill that we had to pay, although we couldn’t pay it that day as it was a public holiday so the office was closed!

The bill is kind of hilarious, we couldn’t believe how literally EVERYTHING was individually itemised and charged for, right down to individual capsules of paracetamol! 
So it ended up coming to around 15,000SCR-roughly around £750 for 5 nights stay, my operation and all aftercare including meds and food-the hospital is most certainly NOT high on my recommended places to eat, I must say!

AFTER LEAVING HOSPITAL
Before we could leave Mahe, we had to register Arthur’s birth. Mark dealt with this, I did not need to be there!
As we had booked our accomodation based around having a natural birth we had extra time left at our apartment on Mahe. I had my staples checked and then taken out a few days later at a little health centre near where we were staying. There were no checks on Arthur for the rest of the time we were on Mahe which I thought was strange!

We took a flight back to Praslin, it was one of the more turbulent inter island flights we had. I was told I had to hold on very tight to Arthur! He was awake an decided he wanted to be fed and so screamed the whole way (luckily it’s only a 15 min flight) until I could feed him once we had landed safely!

Arthur was more than 2 weeks old before he had his first check. The midwife came to us and did a really quick check, looked round the house. Measured him (by hanging him upside down by his feet….no, really!) and then left again!
That was the only home visit we had. There wasn’t a whole lot of support post hospital I have to say.

From then on we went to our health centre for weight checks and vaccinations, none of which we have had to pay for.

A Cornish Mum

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