Giving up Pinterest

There comes a time in every brides life when they have to stop looking on Pinterest and giving it up completely.

I love wedding blogs I read them on my lunch breaks, bus ride home. Commuting means a few minutes of wedding planning a day. I read them mainly for advice from real brides rather than companies repeating generic shit.

Pinterest crazy

I had about four wedding boards filled with completely different weddings including Harry Potter wedding, a zombie wedding, if I had all the money in the world wedding and the dream wedding! I loved them I poured my hopes and dreams into them. Then a few years ago when I thought that it was never going to happen I deleted them.

I felt like they were mocking me.

Perfect brides with happy faces.

Gone.

Now that I am engaged and am much happier I started my boards again.

I still have a few boards but I have had to cut them down and now I have to stop looking.

A great source

In the first few months I started lovingly filling my boards. The wedding dress was the most stressful, as I said the prices of my perfect dress where way out of my budget.

But the worse thing was the excess! Do I need milk jugs filled with flowers?

Um no, I am not milkmade and sadly was not brought up on a farm. Don’t get me started on Prosecco walls ( it’s called a waiter!!!) donut walls etc etc.

Looking at peoples weddings is great but you don’t need anything that isn’t perfect for you.

You don’t need it!

I don’t need it!

Too many ideas and no clean message!

Pinterest is a great dream to escape into

I still have a private board for my final thoughts but now I don’t go searching for ideas.

Me and Gavin are getting married even without all fluff and stuff!

No this blog shouldn’t contradict with the details blog because that is all about personal things to us!

Have what you want at your wedding. if you need acrylic table plans and hand calligraphered quartz name tags and it’s in your budget then go for it.

Just don’t do it because it’s a trend on Pinterest!

Downside of Pinterest

There is a downside to inspiration and that is achieving the same results within your budget. I have heard of brides you have spent 20k on an Instagram worthy wedding for 40 people!

Great if that’s what she wants! But it’s such a lot of money for one day!

The other downside is people not linking there photos to original sources!

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I have no idea what brand these shoes are. If you know please let me know!

For example I love these shoes!

Can’t find where they are from!

If you know please tell me, I have tried googling, eBay but I don’t know what brand or what country they are from.

I love them but I may never find them.

Pinterest is a great place for dreaming but you don’t need to get bogged down by it, or hyped up by it!

For me it is time to give up Pinterest! I don’t need any more ideas in my head!

Achieve what you want within your budget and time limit!

Enjoy

Bulgaria travel: Snowboarding plans for next year

With all the wedding planning and budgeting, I didn’t think I could squeeze in a ski trip this year. It’s our 10 year anniversary so Gavin is treating me to a week snowboarding in Bulgaria.

I have never been to Bulgaria.

I can’t wait.

Planning the Snow Trip

When our snowboarding group started to talk about where we wanted to go I knew that the Alps were far out of my budget. I turned down the holiday and then they started looking further afield. I am not a great snowboarder but I have been doing it for long enough that I am confident on most slopes and situations. Unless we are talking about a sheet of ice I can pretty much tackle any slope. Just really really slowly.

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Photo by Borislav Krustev on Pexels.com

Bulgaria is cheap, super cheap. We are talking half the price of the French Alps in a hotel as well. We normally rough it in a french Hostel and so far I haven’t missed any luxuries. After 10 years of UCPA’s  its a hotel for us this time. The price tag is also great!

We are planning on renting a Chalet at some stage as most of us have our own equipment. We had a chalet in Samoens 4 years ago and it was so beautiful. I still have the same jacket I bought at the start of my Snowboarding life. I invested in a good coat and its only now that there is a bit of wear and tear in it. I also have amazing armour after I broke my wrist on the flattest slope on Samoens!

Borovets Ski Resort

The Apres ski is supposed to be amazing which I didn’t expect. The town has enough entertainment for us with restaurants and bars. The actual slopes are supposed to be great nothing too challenging so I will hopefully get a few more red slops under my belt. the only downside it the chairlifts as that is what they mostly are. My favourite thing to do each holiday is to board from the top of the mountain to the bottom. Then I reward myself with a nice vine chaud or Peche beer.

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I will pay for lessons for the first day to act as a warm-up plus it will just be me and my cousin in the glass. we will have some constructive tuition and then join the others on the rest of the holiday.

We are spending our evenings planning routes and looking on tripadvisor for restaurant recommendations. We like to slip out one night and just spend the evening alone. I really looking forward to not spending 40 euros on 4 bottles of beer! The pricing all over Borovets seems amazing value for money.

Living in London means I am used to spending £4-5 on a beer and £10 on a gin and tonic. With wedding planning and budgets I have been limiting my nights out but I still budget for a few.

Otherwise, what’s the point.

I am looking forward to dressing in cosy knits and sampling the sumptuous Bulgarian cuisine. I have already my guidebook as I like to be informed.

If you have been to Borovets Ski resort and have any advice let me know!

France, Mum, Food and Wedding Talk

My mum is my biggest cheerleader. She is impressed by pretty much everything I do which is great and much needed when you are feeling blue. France is one of my homes, her home. An army brat learns to make a home where ever they can!

This little blog is just about me and my mum, France, food and a bit of wedding talk. Hope you enjoy!

Lazy me

When I get to Jarnac I turn into loungy French me. I swan around the house drinking Kronenburg, nibbling of french bread and Port Salut. I am happy as Larry coming back home to France.

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We normally don’t stray to far from Jarnac as my breaks to see my mum are all about relaxation and family not travelling frantically about. We normally end up on the veranda, have big life talks or curled up at night on the sofa chatting nonsense.

Until my parents moved to France I didn’t think of it as a holiday destination which is crazy. I think for couples France is so romantic, chateaus, champagne and amazing food. France doesn’t have to cost a fortune and from Britain it is just a short flight.

Most people tend to go straight to Paris, the French Alps or the south of France and they miss out on all the beautiful cities and towns in between. If you want a relaxing, meandering, brocante filled long weekend then visit France.

I spent a long time on the lawn sipping passion fruit gin and tonics going through my mums floristry books. It so peaceful and beautiful.

All the weight gaining alcohol

This trip was a lovely lazy trip. We went to a vineyard and picked up Cognac Champagne which if you are ever in the area you must try. It is delicious and very rare even in the area. I bought all their stock they had left which was two bottles!

Yum.

My mother is kindly supplying our toasting Champagne from a local vineyard and we cant wait. It is light and not bitter at all, we had it at my brothers wedding in proper champagne glasses ( which I wont be having: tiniest gripe).

All the yummy food

Mum has been learning more french recipes and Eggs Mimosa  is definitely my new favourite. This was one of the best lunches of all time, light and refreshing and enough left overs that I could have it for tea the next day.

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We went to a few restaurants and had amazing steak at both! our aperitif was a lovely Cognac Schweppes.

Although my mum is a wee bit stressed about making my bouquet everything else she is really relaxed about. She cant wait. We had a slightly stressful conversation about the legal part of our ceremony which I am still annoyed about. Annoyed that I have a legal ceremony not the fact that she was talking about it.

It has kind of grown from two people to immediate family but hey, thats okay. It just means our super fancy meal at the Holborn Dining rooms will be at a great affordable London Pub instead.

My sister referenced Kate Winslet’s wedding and I said yes, just like that! Well we all know I love Marianne in Sense and Sensibility!

We also talked about Videographer’s and prices and my brother suggested that I stop focusing on creating these magical Youtube moments and just pay someone to capture the whole day. I think he was right and me and Gav discussed it and we are now just looking for someone to capture our day.

Nothing Fancy

Just withing our budget.

And that’s what I need to focus on. Not creating a stupid Pinterest wedding I need to create a beautiful wedding for me and Gav. A moment in time when our friends and family can drink and be merry.

That’s what we are focusing on, oh and our budget.

At this moment in time I would like to be under our budget not over it!

when I left France and my mum is was so hard. I had to say goodbye to so many of my family in such a short time. My mum is coming over to help with the invites and wedding planning but that’s not till the new year.

Till then it will just be Skype!

Bon voyage mon ami!

Is the wedding dress a waste of money?

The wedding dress dread continues with price tag. I am concerned that the wedding dress is the biggest waste of money.

I just can’t get over the price tag!

You are wearing a dress you wear once, once. So the idea of spending £2000 on a dress, it just baffles me. Some of you will have already spent that money or more.

Instagram and Pinterest have a lot to answer for when it comes to dress expectations.

Gorgeous picture from Siobhan Hennessy

Is the wedding dress a waste of money?

I am going to ask you a question, except for a few close friends do you really remember the details of your friends and family’s dresses?

Because I can’t. I remember my favourite, my least favourite and my closest friends but that’s it.

My friend Jess had a gorgeous navy dress that my other friend made. It was beautiful and simple. But what I remember most about Jess’s attire was her shoes and her taco purse. She still wears every accessory today!

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Jess looking stunning

Money Vs Wedding dress

Getting into debt for a wedding is just not on my cards, literally!

I don’t want a black cloud following me around after the wedding day.

We have a house so we don’t need to save for a deposit. We have are trying to be practical but the money is still adding up. Weddings are ridiculously expensive especially when they are just a fancy party!

I know I want to feel amazing I do, but does money really need to be spent to achieve this? I won’t wear the dress again! I won’t cut it up and turn it into something else.

Sam’s wedding, I love this dress!

Memories

When I was a manager in jigsaw I remember a customer coming in with her friends looking for a wedding dress. She was beautiful and pixie sized and was looking for something different. I was at a loss, showed her pretty draped dresses.

she kept sighing at me because I just didn’t get it. So I showed her a beautiful suit dress with a French trim. It was grey fitted and sharp her Friends instantly agreed it was perfect.

I was baffled.

It was her dress, a grey suit dress. She looked beautiful in it but it was just a grey tailored dress. £140 she was happy as Larry.

Now I get it

Today I ordered a wedding dress from a high street store. If it’s not great I will send it back. If it’s perfect it means that a I didn’t have to spend a fortune but b I don’t have to stand in front of my Danettes and feel unhappy. This also means that I will not have that wedding dress experience but hey if it’s perfect I can take my Danettes out for a meal instead!

I would really prefer to have a beautiful pair of Jimmy Choos instead of a gorgeous dress I will wear once.

Is it a waste of money?

No, not if you have the money it is definitely not. I would hate to regret my wedding dress. The bargain hunter in me is hoping that this dress will be amazing. I will miss out on the trying on experience but as you know I am a bit fearful of that as well. If the dress is not right then I will have to hunt for a new one anyway.

Fingers cross it suits me!

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Sams Shoes

Self delusions: weight struggles

I flick through pictures of myself and delete the images where my body looks pregnant. I carry all my weight on my stomach and feel horrendous for it. My weight struggle perhaps isn’t as tough as a lot of people’s by my misery is.

I find a picture where my stomach looks flatter and I say to myself, see, I am not that big.

I am not that big

But I am not that slim either. I hate what I am doing to my body as I cram another sandwich into my mouth. I listen to my self delusions.

I am on holiday!

It’s the weekend!

I am just going to treat my self!

And then I think of my partner and wonder how on earth this man can look at me and want me when I can’t even look at myself.

I am consumed with self delusions and a weight struggle.

I see a picture where I look slim and think yes that is what I look like when it’s not.

Perhaps it is time to face my delusions and tackle my weight loss head on. I am a planner, I love to plan but my execution is simply lacking.

I am simply lacking.

I planned to walk or run at least twice a week and yet I haven’t done it once.

It is too cold, too dark too hot. My excuses are always there. I think I am going to loose weight slowly and sensibly and okay I have been good but then I won’t deny myself a treat.

I need to focus and I need to loose this weight. If I can make it to a size 10 (us size 6) by Christmas I will be extatic. I thought I would be slimmer for this holiday but I failed miserably. So now I flip through photos trying to show my best life when it’s a joke.

I ate salad every day at work before I left but my belly is still there. Still saying hello and wobbling goodbye.

I walk a lot so my legs are pretty toned it’s just my stomach and my head I need to work on. I need to focus my mind on achieving the body I want.

The body that will make me proud and keep it up.

I love food and drink but I need to be smarter because what I am doing right now isn’t good enough.

Exploring The Seychelles; My Recommendations

I try to explore Seychelles every two years.

I have family and friends who live out there and it is my heritage so I want to live and learn as much as I can. So, I thought if you were venturing to these beautiful set of islands that maybe you would appreciate some recommendations from me.

Yummy Food

La Perle Noire Mahe

Food recommendations

Gavin isn’t a big fish eater but he will happily eat fish every day over there due to how fresh it is (caught that day)! And how it is prepared, either grilled, baked or fried. It is just gorgeous.

Just off the beach you will find fisherman with their catch of the day. Parrot fish and snapper will be bound together and you will see the locals gather and buy them. You can find saltfish samosas at most grocery stores, along with breadfruit chips (eat them and you will always return to the Seychelles or so the saying goes!) fresh fruit and cold beer.

Each shop will have their own prices but they are much cheaper than the big supermarkets in town.

This is my favorite food in the world and no one makes it better than my dad! For you guys you will have to try the restaurants and hotels. Traditionally food is served in bowls in front of you and you help yourself. No waste.

This is how I was brought up.

Lunch at Carana Beach

Seychellois have a very healthy attitude when it comes to food, they eat pretty much what they catch and they live of the land. My favourite dish is octopus curry or fried octopus it is just delicate and meaty all at the same time.

My favourite places for food

  • Café Solei holds so many memories, I told Gavin about this place on our first date. We visit every time
  • Sunset Beach Hotel ( just ridiculously beautiful we basically we live here during the day) Cocktails and fish and chips is insanely good. The views are magical, I am hoping my sister will get married here!
  • Carana Beach hotel, when we were there the waves are pretty big which was fun. It is so instagramable there!
  • La Perle Noire (Black Pearl) —————- just yum. Hospitality is like coming home, I cannot fault this place at all
  • The boat house great traditional food at a great price
  • Pizza places on Mahe – honestly we haven’t had a bad pizza there
  • For snacks we eat all the samosas we can find, fresh fruit. mmmm

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Seychellois hospitality

English is taught in schools and you will often find someone who speaks German, Spanish, Italian and Russian. They are a very well-educated people.

Okay, tricky subject. Seychellois will help you if you need it but you may find the service a bit slow.

I like to visit hotels for lunch then eat at home with my friends and family.

On more than one occasion and in multiple places I have found the service very relaxed. Waiting an hour to get served a drink. Waiting 45 minutes for a cold beer then another hour before the pizza was served. Don’t get angry get used to it. My tip is order two drinks so you don’t have to wait.

Some places you won’t find any issues, but don’t expect the same over friendly help you get in other countries.

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Boat trips

My dad has a little boat and we go across to Moyenne for lunch.

When we went with a group of friends we decided to do a boat trip to the same place. Because there were ten of us, we were the only ones on the glass bottom boat and it was great. They let us play our music, went really fast so we all got sprayed with water and were really fun guys! They dropped us off in the ocean where the swells were much bigger. There were a lot of boats bopping up and down and lots of people in the water but it was great.

The fish get bigger the further out you go. Then we waded to shore hand lunch then had a little walk round the island. Photographed the giant tortoises, visit the pirates grave and drank a fair few gin and tonics!

Grand Anse

Take your Pictures but please don’t swim here!

Explore and listen

Every islander will have their favourite beach so listen and explore. They will also know what the waves are like at that moment. I have been known to take my book into the ocean and just float along in the shallows.

There are plenty of walks in Seychelles so comfortable shoes are an absolute must!  Anse Major is an impressive hike around the coast half way up the mountain you will see some incredible views the coral and sea life there is beautiful. I followed a family of squid around for hours. it is hot and sweaty and there are a few sketchy bits (I am terrified of heights). My top tip for this hike is to get a taxi back, a taxi boat that is!

Again the views just cannot be beaten.

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Bloom Gin, in Seychelles

Night life

There isn’t that much to do, sun sets around 6-7 depending on what side of the island you are on then it goes pitch black.

That chirping noise you can hear is the geckos, don’t hate them they eat all the bugs.

As there isn’t that much to do at night so be prepared to make or take your own entertainment! Beau Vallon often has little festivals with food and stalls which are great, there are a few clubs and Seychelles do great cocktails. We always bring gin to the island and get tonic and limes in the shops. If they don’t have limes then we get the Seychelles local oranges which are sweet and sharp and taste so good with gin!

Hotel do put on shows and event nights so you are welcome to attend those, I love a good Saga night.

This is a place ripe for relaxation. The pace is slow here so leave your city legs behind and go with the flow. If things take a while don’t worry you are on holiday not in a rush. I love a nice light beer Sey Brew and lovely rum Takamaka which I prefer with lemonade rather than coke!

You are on holiday/ vacation so relax sip your ice-cold dink and watch the sunset and its incredible skies.

Seychelles is full of beauty and magic so explore it.

If you have been to the Seychelles then let me know places you have been and loved!

I hope you enjoy!

Dana

Mahe

Swimming at Beau Vallon Beach

Paradise on a tighter Budget: Exploring The Seychelles

Firstly, you can travel anywhere on any budget it is all about flexibility and knowing what you are prepared to put up with. Seychelles is a paradise but trust me when I say you can visit it on a budget.

As you are reading this I should be sitting on a beach with my niece nephew sister and dad in the glorious Seychelles. Otherwise known as home, well my second home. But even though my family are from here I don’t always stay with them. I have stayed in a lovely BnB in Beauvallon and also a house on the beach in Praslin, la Digue and also a shack on Mahe.

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These are my hints and tips of exploring Seychelles

Rainy season is always cheapest and I have been twice during this and suffered just two days of rain! So, I basically got to catch up on a good book for a day and didn’t have to leave my room. Not so bad when you have family and friends around you, but we also took a trip into Victoria and had a mooch around. If you don’t want to risk the rainy season just don’t book during the school holidays, flights double in price.

Packing for the tropics is easy

All you need is light breathable airy clothes. Floaty trousers or dresses for the evening mosquitos are every wear and love me. And beach casual clothes for the evening.

Natural materiels like silks linen and cottons will let your skin breath and keep you cooler. Please check out my blog on packing tips for more inspiration.

You can check our me Clothes and Skincare recommendations here.

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My family are based in Mahe the largest island in The Seychelles and to me the most beautiful. The tiny islands offer pristine beaches tropical hang outs expensive hotels and incredible waters.

Guess what?

You get all of this on the main land too.
It’s the people who make the place not just what nature has created.
Most people who visit or honeymoon in The Seychelles, land and then fly out to a tiny island missing some great places. If you can sit on a beach or by a pool every day and not do much then fine, I can’t do it, I like to explore and take in this exciting country.

Mahe is glorious and it is really, really hard to find an ugly beach. It is also a lot cheaper than the smaller island and has a lot more to do.

Accommodation

Air Bnb , apartments, hotels with special offers you can kip for cheap, you just have to shop around. Booking.com lets you reserve a room, search for bargains etc and cancel without paying fees. Like I have said before if you are flexible then you can find a bargain I am going to recommend two is where we stayed Georgina cottage, Eddie the manager was a fountain of local knowledge for that side of the island. It wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t plug my uncles apartments http://www.chezpayet-guesthouse.com/ which are near to the airport and a short drive to some gorgeous beaches.

Hindu Temple

Hindu Temple Mahe

Getting around

Yes, do book your airport transfers so you don’t have any stress but after that, taxis can be expensive and I live in London. My sister and I stayed in a gorgeous guest house in Praslin, the beach was just incredible. We decided to go visit one of the exclusive hotel for cocktails and booked a taxi there. When we were done for the night we tried to order a taxi home (there were three on the island) and they wouldn’t come and pick us up!
The bar manager said that if we were still there at the end of the shift then he would drive us home ( he was so lovely). His shift didn’t finish till 2 and it was 9.30 and we were ready to go back.

The sun set at 6.30pm
We had to walk back through the tropics late at night night.
Luckily, nature wise nothing really can kill you here.
It was still scary but actually made one of the best memories I will ever have,  me and my sister on that incredible beach lit up by the light of the moon.

The bar Manager said when you book a taxi, make sure you arrange your pick up and on the smaller island only pay them half, they can pick up the rest when they collect. I am not sure you will have that issue on Mahe but on Praslin it is a gem!

Use the Tata

My top tip though is the bus, get the Tata. It goes everywhere around Mahe it is beyond cheap. You can take it from any bus stop and they have a main bus depo in Victoria. Its less than a pound and are fairly regular but there aren’t many night buses so just watch the times.

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Carana Beach, those waves were fun!

Beach Life

My last trip to Seychelles I invited a group of friends with me and Gav. It was great there were ten of us in total. We spent most of the time in the water. If you love snorkeling or diving then this truly is the place for you. Most days we swam for four hours watching the fish, exploring the corals.
You need to pack your snorkeling gear!

Knowledge and Safety

All the beaches in the Seychelles are for everyone, there are no private beaches. But there is private land. There is nothing wrong with hiring a boat (and skipper you don’t know the water so don’t be foolish) and parking it up on a tiny beach. We have had many a BBQ on a beach where it has just been us!

Listen to the locals there are two main beaches in Seychelles that have warning signs about not to swim there. Yet every year a tourist drowns and lives are destroyed because of foolishness. There are hundreds of perfectly safe beaches on Mahe and on the smaller islands please use them.

Grand Anse

Take your Pictures but please don’t swim here!

Respect the Water and the locals

Waters and beaches change all the time. In the rainy season your favourite beach maybe a bit rough and the rest of the year it is like a mill pond. So a general rule of thumb is if it is rough on one side of the island just go to the other.

Grand Anse has a sign up all the time warning of the rip tides, so paddle your feet, take your pictures and drive 10 minutes down the road to find a glorious safe beach to swim at. Rip tides are dangerous and more people drown or get into trouble by going out to help!

If you choose to swim in an area where you shouldn’t then you need to know this. Rip tides generally don’t last long, so float with them don’t fight them!

Intendance in la Digue is worth a visit but again not worth a swim. We have a great photo of my sister in the surf as a toddler. Two seconds after my mum put the camera down a wave took my sister off her feet and dragged her out to sea. My dad new the waters and was near her when it happened but he still had to jump in to save her.

Seychelles is a pretty safe place.

Because tourism is there bread and butter you will find security on most beaches even the obscure ones that you have to hike to get to. They want you to be happy here so they provide it. That doesn’t mean be obnoxious and leave your iPhone and iPad everywhere but just that you should always keep an eye on your stuff but there is generally security on the beaches.

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Sunscreen and cover up

Everywhere in Seychelles you can buy it and it is not that expensive. You will need it whether it is hot or overcast. Seychelles is fairly close to the equator so the sun is hot all day long!

I was burnt to a crisp once when on a very overcast day.

Too little to late and sunstroke to boot!

If you are by the water all day then please sure you top up constantly.

Food

Like the people Seychelles food is a mix of all the surrounding countries Kreole food is so good. If you love fish then you must try the Red Snapper or bourgeois, fresh tuna, octopus and parrot fish. Seychelles food is often fried or grilled and served with lentils rice and a salad/ salsa. I am so hungry typing these words.
You will never have fish and chips like this!

Island hopping

Please do this, please do visit the other island. I know I said Mahe is beautiful but hire a boat or do a trip to the other islands. Praslin and la Digue are expensive so it will be a treat. But Moyenne is pretty for lunch, we also go snorkelling there then have lunch it is all included in the price. Going during the weekday means they will be less crowded and sometimes they do special offers.

The Capital

Victoria is a tiny capital but here you will find pretty trinket shops along the streets but the liveliest place in Victoria is the market place. If you go early you can see sharks and the huge fish. This is a real market and no they don’t mind you taking photos but try and stay out of their way.

Seychelles it totally achievable if you do your research, check flights and boats and just budget for it. We found we could eat lunch in the most expensive places then save our pennies for dinner in the cheaper places.

I hope you enjoyed and let me know if you have been to the Seychelles.