Arthur and Freddie June 2017

Yep, I’m late with this again!!!  I know, I know, I suck!  I don’t even really have an excuse!  These last 2-3 weeks have gone by in a total blur!  If you missed last month’s update check it out

Anyway, better late then never (again) here is my update on Arthur and Freddie June 2017

 

Arthur at 4 years old

Arthur at 4 years old

Aggghhhhh it’s here, it’s happened, he’s 4!   I do cringe when I read the cliches from everyone (including myself) but they are all true, the ‘how did this happen’ ‘it’s gone so quick’ etc etc, it is seriously ALL TRUE!!  I do feel like he was a baby just yesterday and now he’s a full blown 4 year old!

Okay, i’ll stop with the cliche’s for now (but be warned Freddie’s birthday is in August and you WILL hear them all over again!).

Arthur has really changed this month in so many ways.  He’s looking so grown up now.

Now obviously, he still has tantrums about things and he still throws strops about things like having to eat dinner instead of sweets and all that stuff. But, he asks ‘why’ and is interested in  your response.  I guess it’s coming down to his speech and understanding improving further still.  We can have proper conversations and I love it.  I think back to when I started having concerns about his speech, when he was 2 (if you read that note me trying to cover up my concerns!!!), and he has come on such an incredible amount.  We really couldn’t be prouder of him for that.

Arthur is waking up at ridiculous times at the moment. He has always been an early riser, but he’s been waking before 5 the last week or so. I’m hoping that it’s a hangover of all the birthday excitement and it passes soon!

He is enjoying school at the moment, and is barely taking a second to say goodbye to me at the door!  I think he’s going to love the long school holidays though, it’s less than 3 weeks now until they start!

Arthur 4 years old

Arthur’s party!

I couldn’t not include a little section about Arthur’s 4th birthday party in this update!  It is the first year where he has really got the idea of a birthday party.  With being at school, he’s got friends that he wanted to invite.  Actually, he invited the whole class.  I love that he wanted to invite everyone, even those that he doesn’t particularly have a good relationship with.  I hope he is always so inclusive of everyone!!

In the end we had around 10 kids come and that was a really nice number.  We were really lucky with the weather, it wasn’t too hot and really overcast making it perfect for all the kids playing outside!

He also invited our neighbours who he’s known since he was only a few weeks old, our best friends (but totally his best friends too!)!

We borrowed a little bouncy castle off a friend and we had the waterslide which mum and dad bought out for the boys.  They went down a storm!  We had planned to do some games with the kids but they were having so much fun we just kinda left them too it!

Arthur's 4th birthday party

Anyway, he told me he wanted a ‘road cake’ (i don’t know either) and then he decided on a farm cake.  I tried to be all pinterest-y but as usual, it didn’t really turn out that way!  I was excited to find cadbury’s fingers to put round the edge, but they had all melted and stuck together so they didn’t really look so pretty by the time i got them on the cake #islandproblems!  Anyway, it still tasted good and Arthur was delighted with it!

Arthur's 4th birthday party

 

I decided right from the offset I wasn’t going to pretend to try and do any healthy food, it was going to be good old fashioned ‘proper’ party food.  Triangle sandwiches (cheese and ham, so thats kinda healthy I guess!?), cupcakes, cookies, crisps, marshmallows with extra glittery sugar on, the lot!!

4th birthday party food

 

He had an amazing party and I was so proud of how all the kids behaved! I was a little nervous of how Arthur would cope with everyone playing with his toys but he was great!  Everyone seemed to have a great time, and I’m sure its something he will remember forever!!  It’s definitely a day we will remember, our little guys first proper birthday party!!

 

Freddie at 22 months old

Freddie June 2017

 

This boy!  He is something else let me tell you!!!  So stubborn (goodness knows where that comes from…..!), SO independent, and so bloody clever!  To say he keeps me on my toes is an understatement!!!

He is being an insanely fussy eater right now and it drives me nuts!  The mornings are especially bad, he only wants cookies, sometimes I can pacify him with toast, if not, it’s giant tantrums all morning until he has a snack around 9-10ish.  It’s safe to say he’s not a morning person, but when he sleeps until at least 7 every day I can’t really complain too much – now i just need him to have a word with Arthur about 5am wake ups!!

I’ve had a mild attempt at potty training this month, he’s showing lots of the ready signs but I’ll say to him do you need a wee ‘NO’ and then he will look down and wee. I’ll sit him on the potty he will get up and then ‘wee’ and tell me ‘wee wee’!!!  I think this may be more of a battle than we had with Arthur!!  I’ll try again in the holidays when we are not having to go in and out for the school run, and I’ll have Mark to help!!

Freddie is talking SO much and is so outgoing.  He loves saying ‘bye, see you’ whenever we leave anywhere! He loves talking about Arthur and Daddy as well as pretty much anything else around him.

My favourite thing about Freddie at the moment is how cuddly he is.  It’s nice for Mark and I that he wants to cuddle us, especially when he is having his milk!  It’s a nice reminder that he does still need and love us!!!

Freddie at 22 months

 

Together

Still the best of friends, Arthur and Freddie really love doing everything together.   They are both huge Daddy fans right now too.  It’s super cute to see how excited they are when he gets home from work. Freddie spends a lot of his day telling me Daddy is at work and Arthur always wants Daddy to play toys with him.  I’d say I felt a bit neglected, but I still get plenty of love too!!

Arthur Freddie Daddy

 

Ive started to see glimpses of the trouble these two are going to get into together, there’s some serious mischief planning going on already!

Arthur and Freddie June 2017

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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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UK Trip Summer 2016

We have been back for a couple of weeks now and our UK trip already feels like a long time ago.

 

Jet lag has now worn off (We are seriously missing the jet lag induced 8am lie ins from the kids!)  and we are getting used to it being just the 4 of us in our house!

 

Mark is back at work and next week Arthur will be back at school (he will be doing full days now but perhaps thats for another post!).  Its been a while since I’ve had both boys by myself and I had definitely forgotten how much hard work that is!

 

I want to take the time to write about lots of different parts of our trip as separate posts as there really is so much to share!  We certainly squeezed a lot into our 6 weeks!

So look out for posts about our time in

Leamington Spa with Mark’s family

UK Trip Summer 2016

 

our trip down to Plymouth  (and Freddie’s first birthday!)

UK Trip Summer 2016

and a week away at a beautiful cottage in Cornwall with my family.

UK Trip summer 2016

We really had such an amazing time, it was great to catch up with everyone and to see the boys experience so many things that they don’t get to back here in Seychelles.  We were so lucky to be able to spend 6 weeks there.  It meant we got about 3 weeks with each of our families, which was a really good amount of time for everyone to have with the boys (because lets be honest, its them that people really want to see!!)

I have a couple thousand (eeeeek) pictures to go through before these posts get done.  We got a new camera and so we were even more snap happy than usual!  So I have lots to be getting on with!

I do love going through all the pictures though so its not a chore!  Its like living the trip all over again!

 

 

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Our first crop!!

It’s taken almost 4 years but we finally have had our first crop of Bananas!!
We have attempted to grow bananas once before but it failed….which is pretty impressive considering they grow wild here!

When we moved into this house there were already banana plants growing here so I don’t think we can take too much credit for these, but hey we didn’t kill them so I think we will take that for now!

About three months ago we noticed that one of our plants had flowered and there were teeny tiny little bananas growing.
After a quick search online we discovered we would be waiting for around 3 months until they would be ready to eat. It seemed like a really like time, and a lot of time for something to go wrong!

This Friday, Mark came home from school and very excitedly proclaimed that there was a yellow banana so it was time to chop them down!
We had learned that you just have to wait for one banana to be yellow to chop them down, not all of them!

Our first crop of bananas

So we got the machete and the camera and we headed out to the garden- yep it’s totally normal to have a machete here!

Our first crop of bananas
The bananas here are about half the size of ones you get in the UK but with twice the flavour!! They are so so delicious and are a perfect size for baby led weaning! The boys absolutely love them!

Our first crop of bananas

Arthur has been giving a running commentary on the bananas pretty much every day since we first spotted them and loved to tell us about the “green bananas” so it was cool to show him that they had now started turning yellow!
Our first crop of bananas

After they had been chopped down, we showered off the bananas to make sure there weren’t any beasties living in and amongst them – luckily there weren’t!   Arthur had the honour of having the first banana from our first crop.  We have all since had one and they are so good!

Bananas are super cheap to buy here so it’s not like having them will be saving us lots of money but it’s definitely satisfying to know that these have grown in our garden!  It’s been fun to show Arthur how they grow (and for us to learn about it too)

There is already another lot of bananas growing in the garden, we think they will be ready just in time for us coming back after the summer!!

 

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Arthur has started school

The time is here, Arthur has started school.

Arthur has started school

We are so proud of how our little man has got on.

I have taken Arthur in to school to play at get used to it for a while now, but it has only ever been for an hour or so and never on his own.

So I’ve said before but the international school here on Praslin starts in reception 1 (3yrs old) right up to 6th form where they do A-levels (18yrs old).  Reception 1 is essentially nursery.  The school follows the British curriculum so kids are doing as they would be in the UK.

To help get the little ones settled they are allowed to start in Reception 1 in the half term that they turn 3 years old.  So Arthur is starting this last half term of the school year
We agreed with his teacher that Arthur would just come in for the mornings for now.  He will go full time in September.

So, on the 30th May Arthur got his little school uniform on and off we went to school.  I tried to get lots of obligatory first day of school pictures, Arthur was not all that interested in that though!!

Arthur has started school

 

Arthur has started school

It is a moment I’ve been trying to prepare myself for for what feels like ages now.  I won’t lie, I’ve got myself upset many times just thinking about it all!!

arthur has started school

arthur has started school

We walked into school and his teacher met us outside, she took Arthur to the classroom and off he went.  He gave me a kiss and said “bye bye mummy!”  I was so proud at how he took it all in his stride!

I managed to hold back my tears until I got to the car where I allowed myself to have a couple minutes before telling myself to get a grip!!!

We are in the amazing situation that we know everyone at school really well and everyone has known Arthur since he was born so I knew that there were so many people there looking out for him…..including of course Mark, being the headteacher!  I think he found a few extra reasons to pop down and have a little peek in the class for Arthur’s first day!!

I had lots of texts from different people, updating me through the morning letting me know what Arthur was up to which I loved!

Freddie and I had a nice quiet morning together, we had lots of stories and cuddles before his nap.  I then had a couple hours to myself for the first time in AGES!!  I didn’t really know what to do with myself and as a result wasn’t all that productive!!

When I went to pick Arthur up he was really happy to see me and Freddie but didn’t want to go home, a good sign for sure!!  We managed to get him in the car and then we had a lovely quiet and cuddley afternoon at home.

That evening, we got an email with lots of photos from Arthur’s first day by his teacher, it made my day to get a peek into what he had been up to that day!

Arthur has started school

Arthur has started school

P1010838

Arthur has started school

After a couple of days we’ve got into the swing of it  now those couple of hours when Freddie is napping flies by as I get as much done as I possibly can – I had visions of being able to spend more time blogging, that REALLY hasn’t happened!!

It’s now been 2 weeks of school for Arthur and he’s absolutely loving it.  He is settling in so well, we really couldn’t be more proud of him.

His teacher tells us that he’s joining in with activities more and more every day which makes me really happy to hear.  Arthur comes home and sings songs he’s learned at school, it amazes us how quickly he’s picked things up!!

Arthur has been napping again in the afternoon most days after school, he comes home so happy but tired.

I know that starting school has been so good for him in so many ways but particularly for getting to socialise with other kids his own age!

For me its really nice to see him coming out of his shell with other people, he has always been quite shy around people he doesn’t know. I can see his confidence growing in even this short time.

I felt really sad at the ‘end of an era’ of having my now not so little guy at home with me every day, but seeing how happy he is and how good it has been for him has really helped me to get over that. We are now celebrating the start of the school era for Arthur!

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Expat family guilt

Expat life can be AMAZING, but there are times, when expat life can be tough.  I think adding children into that mix can make the highs and lows even more extreme.
 

Expat family guilt

Without doubt we are really happy with our choice to have and live with our boys abroad; if you’re a regular reader of my blog I think that’s pretty obvious to see.  We love the life that we have here.

Expat Family guilt

We are lucky that we don’t really get external guilt put on to us by our families, its just the guilt we put on ourselves!  I know that some people’s families don’t hide their displeasure or disapproval at the expat life!

But the days when it is hard, it really is hard.  Well often it’s not even days, but moments, when the expat family guilt kicks in.

Moments where the difference in timezones mean I can’t just pick up the call for a chat.

Moments where our restricted internet means I can’t just video call if the boys are doing something fun!

Times where I’d love to send the boys off for an afternoon to spend time with their grandparents (and give me an afternoon off!!)

Times when I feel truly awful for how much our family is missing out on with the boys growing up so fast.

This month I’ve been feeling some serious expat guilt.  I think it comes from Arthur getting older and being able to communicate more.  I’m pretty sure that our upcoming trip to the UK this summer is  having an impact on it too.

It hit me really badly the other day when after a Skype chat with my Mum.  Arthur got really upset and said “see nana please mama.”  I can’t express how awful I felt.  I would have loved more than anything at that moment to be able to pop round to visit her so Arthur could see his Nana.

Arthur really likes planes and so I tell him whenever we send something to the UK or someone has sent something to us how it has been put on a plane.

I think he’s starting to comprehend that our family doesn’t live close by.  That we can’t just go and see them whenever we want.  When he asked to “see nana” the other day, it made me realise that his understanding is more than I had given him credit for.

The moments may be fleeting, often they are just thoughts that are coming to the forefront of my mind.  But it’s undeniable.  Expat family guilt is real.  The best way I have found to deal with it is to take advantage of something that you couldn’t do at ‘home’.  For us that can be something as simple as getting out in the garden and enjoying some sun for instant gratification, or take a walk to the beach or the pool.  Even just looking at some pictures of the boys and appreciating what opportunities they get here that they wouldn’t get elsewhere.

How do you do deal with your expat family guilt?

Seychelles Mama
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Knocked up abroad

Back in June of last year I received an email in my inbox from Lisa Ferland.  It was an invitation to contribute towards a book.  The book was to be called Knocked Up Abroad and it was stories of pregnancy, birthing and raising a family in a foreign country!!

Knocked up abroad book

I was so excited, I was pregnant with Freddie at the time and of course had already had Arthur here so this was a perfect project for me to get involved with!

So, I wrote my story all about my pregnancies, my experiences with the hospitals and birthing here in the Seychelles!  With various drafts and edits I’d had Freddie by the time all was finished so I could also include how I felt about it all second time around!

It was actually quite emotional spending so much time thinking about my experiences, realising that some parts were less than perfect, a little scary, and some quite ridiculous!  It was also beautiful to sit back and think about it all, despite the imperfections it was still perfect!  Our boys are healthy and are now living and growing up in an environment that we love!

Whilst I was writing my story, 23 other stories were being penned, well typed actually, but you know what I mean!  Our stories are based in 20 different countries, from all over the world such as America, China, Malaysia , Sweden and Togo.  There really is a story that I think any expat mama (and daddy) can relate to.

Flash forward to now and our book is out there in the world!  How amazing and exciting!
If you want to buy it you can get it in paperback here:
Knocked Up Abroad: Stories of pregnancy, birth, and raising a family in a foreign country

Or e-book here:
Knocked Up Abroad: Stories of pregnancy, birth, and raising a family in a foreign country

I think it’s a great read for anyone considering having or taking children abroad; or has had or lived with their children abroad.
Actually though it’s just a good read full stop (and I’m not just saying that because I’m in it!!) there are 24 truly heartfelt stories of mamas (and two daddies) that I think you can really connect to aside from the living abroad side of it all.

If you’ve read it I’d love to know what you thought!

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