Paradise on a tighter Budget: Exploring The Seychelles

Advice, Planning, Travel

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.

Suitcase for The Seychelles: My clothes Packing list

Advice, Organising, Personal Experience, Planning, Travel

I love packing, love it. Writing a list and creating outfits, remembering what you didn’t use last time. I get so organised packing for holiday it is ridiculous. I don’t really like to over pack and always get frustrated at the end of the holiday if I haven’t used something.

I am such a planner.

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.

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.

I wouldn’t describe my style as minimalist but I hate to over pack. I am not good with rules so I like to have lots of colour in my wardrobe and I think it all works together so I don’t really care. I don’t wear black as a general rule as it does nothing for me. I also tend to stay away from white except on holiday. I love stripes and prints. Especially tropical prints on everything.

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Sun hat, sunscreen and beach coverups!

Basically you need to able to protect every part of yourself.

Mosquitos, in the evening it gets cooler but not cold. I would recommend

If you visit Seychelles you will be spending most of your time on the beach!

Bikinis and cover ups

I am going for ten days so I am taking a swimsuit, classic navy and white striped. My gorgeous Roxy bikini top, with matching cover up and high waisted black pants and then another pink and black bikini top. That’s it for swimwear. Although I think cotton sarongs are nice I feel like you spend for ever arranging them so I have always used a silky shawl instead. You just tie it on your hip I don’t need anything else. I love them.

I also always pack one of those elasticated dresses. The ones that are ruched at the top and made of cotton. You can throw it over your bikini and get on public transport. Rinse out with water let it dry and hey presto you can keep using it.

A hat is a necessity. Sun to stop it bleaching your hair and drying it out. It also keeps the sun out of my eyes. This beauty is from Accessorize and I bought it on the way at the airport.

Shoes

Okay let’s be practical here. You are going to live in sandals and flip flops. I actually hate flip flops on the beach. I find them useless on the sand and even worse when they get wet. First thing I do is kick them off but they are great for slipping on from beach to the bus or car.

Sandals

I love my tan sandals they are plain and smart and go with everything. I bought them from Schuh and they are so comfortable. I have no problem teaming them with a log floaty dress or shorts and tea. I also don’t mind taking them onto the beach either.

Heals

The practical part. I have told my sister not to bother with heals fancy hotels don’t mind you lounging about in wedges so stick to summer shoes rather than stupid heels. Seychelles can be very steep. Short walks may have bumps in the road. If you don’t want a twisted ankle then be practical and save your skyscraper heels for city breaks.

Trainers or walking shoes

If you plan on doing a lot of walking or traveling then comfy shoes are key. You will see the Seychellois walking, climbing and hiking in there flipflops but they know the paths. I am taking some small plimsols that I can walk for hours in. can fly in and still want to put them on at the end of the day.

Seychelles has long smooth beaches however I hate walking on sharp thinks like shells, especaily when I am swimming so I have bought myself some very unsexy swimming shoes to offer a thin layer of protection to my feet.

Attire

Well this is my list you may have more or less. My trip is actually 2.5 weeks in two countries so I need to make sure I have everything I need.

I prefer dresses in the heat. The less clothes that are touching me the better.

My trusted Jigsaw silk Maxi dresses great as a cover up if you are getting too much sun. Perfect for the evenings to hide from the mosquitos. They can be dressed up or down.

Vintage cotton printed dress that has a 50s vibe. It hugs my body so well and the full skirt means I can eat all the food I want.

Black tropical print floaty short dress. I bough this in Tesco’s a few years ago and honestly it is the perfect dress. Looks cute doesn’t cling to your body and washes like a dream.

My palm tree jump suit. Pretty much speaks for itself. Its cream so another good coverup for those mosquitos that love me. I feel like it looks like resort wear! Ha ha

Bottoms

Shorts are key to my tropical outfits I have two pairs from Boden a knee length pale blue pair and a short navy pair. Plus my denim shorts that Gav bought me five years ago. They go with everything and my slightly chunky thighs don’t rub together when I wear them.

I also pack a pare of hareem pants, either my silk ones from jigsaw or my printed pair. Both can be dressed up and down are nice to travel in and breath. I also pack a thin pair of jeans to travel in.

Tops I just choose a selection of tee shirts and vests normally 3 of each. I am into my slogan tees at the moment so there may be a few in my packing this year.. A white linen shirt for a beach or coverup or tied at the waist and you get tropical elegance.

With underwear that is pretty much it.

I will be taking my pale blue rain mac in case it rains in France or England on the way back. A thin cardigan for the flight I wont need it in Mahe.

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What does a girl with big curly hair pack for a trip: Skincare and grooming products

Beauty, Make Up, Organising, Planning, Travel, Uncategorised

I thought I would share with you what this curly hair girl packs for a trip. Now a few years ago my grooming products would have been Boots curly cream, sunscreen, after sun, shower gel, shampoo and conditioner. Now my skincare and grooming products now take up a shelf in my bathroom Gav calls them my Potions.

I basically transformed from a bathroom minimalist to having products overload.

This is all preparation for my wedding day and also just because I need to take care of myself in general.

So what am I packing for a long trip?

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Protective Skincare

Sunscreen

So this is the most important section well that and my hair care. I have thick curly hair that can drink all the moisture in the air and treble in size. My skin is pale (thanks mum) so I like to have different protection levels of sunscreen. So, I have factor 20, 30 and a 50! For my body I wear what ever is on offer but when it come to my face I wear La Roche Posay Anthelios XL ultra light fluid SPF 50+. Light on your skin and super protective.

The Seychelles can reach high temperatures: that breezy coastal air and sometime cloudy skies can be misleading. Reflections from the water mean the sun can get to you from every angle.

You need to top up all the time.

Never miss the back of your neck and the back of you hands.

Aftersun

I like to use this every night even if I don’t get burnt. It sooths my skin moisturises and this also has mosquito repellent in it so I don’t have to smell horrible when I sleep.

Mozzy spray is key to surviving the tropics. I am not taking perfume because there is no point. I hate putting chemicals into the air however none of the natural remedies work.

I have tried tea tree oil, bracelet you name it.

I was eaten alive.

Now I can handle a few mosquito bites but my body doesn’t like them. I get huge egg size lumps on them. I hate mosquitoes, but scratching drives me mad.

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My Skincare Routine, with Manhattan 11.

Skincare

Day

Even though this looks like a lot of products it really isn’t. I have my cleanser and toner are both Elemis, Lovely and light on y skin. I will use them morning and night. I also have The Ordinary’s Rosehip oil which is good for soothing the skin and Matryxal which is great for wrinkles and pore shrinking abilities ( I am a convert). Tata Harper diamond moisturiser that is very light and smells like heaven. I have a small travel size rose exfoliator from Elemis which is my favourite. When my skin is ready for makeup I used la Roche Posey tinted SPF 50 which I love.

Night

For night I have my Elemis night cream which makes my skin sing with pure happiness. Burt’s Bees for my lips. Sunday Riley’s Luna for a night time treatment. Decleor’s Balm oil again for a soothing treatment. Elizabeth Arden anti ageing serum which I am saving to buy the bigger one. This stuff is ridiculously good with a ridiculous price to match.

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Hair Care for Curly Hair

May as well get a gripe off my chest. If you have slightly wavy hair you do not have curly hair. I hate it on adverts when they get a model with beautiful perfect curls, call it frizzy and then straighten them. Curly hair is not the same as frizzy hair. Because if there is moisture in the air my hair will absorb it and become frizzy hair.

The different between silky wavy hair and curly hair is when you wake up in the morning you may have slightly fluffier hair. My curls have matted and felted together to create what ever shape my pillow has moulded them in. Unless I sleep on my face my hair needs to be washed or at least conditioned everyday or it looks like crap.

If you think I look like sideshow Bob before I go to bed you should see me in the morning.

My curls are full on curls. I love them but they are a nightmare. My fair is dry, frizzy, curly and prone to itchy flaky scalp. Very sexy.

This summer I have had a lot of good hair days.

I have battled with my curls my whole life and now we are in a good place. I now brush them in the shower (Controversial I know).

I have just discovered Body Shops Ginger Shampoo which smells like heaven and looks after my scalp. I may be able to start wearing dark colours regularly. I am using Muai conditioner which is hydrating for my curls. I just keep it away from my scalp.

Then I use Boots Curl Cream which is the best thing for my curls. And a comb.

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Shower and grooming

Shower gel I will use whatever is at my dad’s house I am not fussy. But I have a got an exfoliating glove to help get rid of all the dry skin.

Venus travel razor is beyond cute and super sharp blades.

Hair grips and bobbles. I keep my hair grips in a large tic-tac box. I saw this hack on Pinterest and it is the only hack that has ever really worked for me.

I am also packing my foot cream and pumice stone. Having your feet exposed all day in the heat or soaked in sea water can lead to super dry feet. Lets face it no matter how small you feet are they are never perfect.

Make Up

I don’t wear a lot of make up at all. I generally don’t wear anything heavier than a tinted moisturiser. My makeup bag generally holds about 10 items but what I am taking on holiday is:

  • Pretty pink Lancome blusher
  • Blusher brush
  • Lancome mascara which is lovely and holds a curl
  • Eyeliner is L’Oreal one which helps me create a cat eye look
  • Elizabeth Arden eyebrow pencil
  • Lano lips moisturiser
  • Lancome pink

I am sorry if that was slightly boring. But when it comes to blogs I am really nosy. I like details and lists and just generally finding out what people pack. I find that they sometimes don’t give me enough information. Having big curly hair means that in the tropics I can sometimes end up looking like Monica From Friends . We all know the hair, yup that’s me.

So if you want information please let me know!

That it from me.

Enjoy your holidays and let me know what you pack. When it comes to shopping for products I tend to shop around to find the best price. I am not loyal to one particular shop. So this is what a girl with big curly hair pack for a trip: Skincare and grooming products hope you liked it.

Dana

For Elemis 

For Lancome 

For La Roche Posay

Planning and Organising 3 Hen Dos

Advice, Organising, Planning, Travel

 

Have you ever tried to plan a hen do? A group of relative strangers who are all linked via one person. It is not easy.

The older you get the more difficult it is to plan things.

To organise x amount of people with different things going on in their lives, sometimes it is practically impossible.

I have about 6 Whatsapp groups where we all try and meet up. Most of the time it is a text from Jess saying are you still up for Saturday. I have completely forgotten that I had plans but then I just end up going.

I used to be worse!

Completely dysfunctional; I forgot everything. But this isn’t anything this is my hen do.

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Snow Boarding group!

 

I am having a few: one in Madrid (my favourite city at the moment), A Hag do in London/France Skiing and another Hen in Essex. This way all mine and Gavin’s friends can attend the ones they are available for and can afford.

It sounds excessive but my sister lives in New Zealand so won’t be there until a week before the wedding. She is a bridesmaid so that’s why I am having an Essex Hen Do. Plus, the elders can attend that one.

Hen Dos are expensive

We are having a few, goodness knows how I am going to save for them.

I don’t really believe in your hens brunting all of the cost. I don’t mind them paying for drinks and the odd meal but not flights and accommodation.

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Becky’s Hen do Edinburgh

I have organised one hen do, been part of the creative side of my sister in Law and attended a fair few myself.

My best friend gave me a list of 44 people.

I was freaking out about what that many people could do and stay. Luckily it was a small group of us that went away and a larger group that attended the London hen do.

Still there were cross words, tears and I am pretty sure one hen never paid me. Guess that’s my fault for not being more organised.

One of the biggest issues is people not getting back to you. Dongle the organiser was a great help for picking the date but still I only had people’s emails to deal with.

Nightmare

My dyspraxia means that I tend to read an email and answer in a very straight forward way. Which can come across as abrupt, blunt sometimes rude. I don’t mean it. I read emails at face value, without a tone and certainly not between the lines. Some of the hens didn’t understand this.  I had to explain myself to them and as soon as I talked about my dyspraxia they understood my reply’s.

All in all, we had an amazing Hen do in Edinburgh, caught up with old friends, drunk lots of booze in our old haunts. Walked up Arthurs Seat! Had afternoon tea at the Dome (you have to do this) did some touristy bit too. Scotland rocks!

But I made a lot of mistakes.

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Abi’s Hen do Munich

So, with this info I am going to aid my organiser

Becky told me where she wanted her hen do one drunken night so when it was my turn, she asked me where I wanted to go. First place I thought of was Madrid.

Hot, sunny, beautiful Madrid. I loved it there and can’t wait to go back. Gav is off to Krakow which I also adore but there is something magical about Madrid.

Flights and accommodation can be sorted out for less than £200 so it would be the same price staying in the UK.

Things I learned from hen Dos I have been to

  • Organisation is Key
  • Let people pay for themselves
  • Respect people budgets
  • The hardest part is finding a free weekend
  • People don’t respond to people they barely know
  • There is a lot of pressure on the person organising
  • We are adults, let people be

 

Organisation is key

in planning a Hen do it doesn’t matter if you have 3 or 44 people leaving things to the last minute doesn’t work.

Let people pay for themselves

I get that sometimes people find it easier to pay on one credit card and then people can pay them back later. But that puts the stress on one bank account. I couldn’t afford to do that so why should other people.

Respect people budgets

We all have different pay check and budgets, respect that some people can’t afford everything. You invite them because you love don’t make them feel bad if you can’t afford it.

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Sam’s Hen Do, Penfest, yes those are dark clouds!

Finding a free weekend

I have set the date and given everyone 11 months’ notice. If they can’t make it I understand but almost a year should be plenty of notice especially for dates and also to save.

People don’t respond to people they barely know

I have also taken it upon myself to invite the guests on my Facebook account. I have done this so Becky doesn’t have the hard task of chasing everyone up. After collecting money, I found this the hardest. The yes/no’s the last-minute cant makes it’s made me book a place, then cancel it loosing my booking fee and paying for a cancellation.

The person organising is gold

Becky is just looking after one hen do. She is then organising with the girls to see do the final details that I am not allowed to know about she has two rules, no strippers and no penis anything!!! She is a super star but I know it will be work for her.

 

Sorry Becky.

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Sam loves Tennis, Penfest

We are adults, let people be

I mean it. If you can’t make, I totally understand. If you can’t afford it, I really do understand. If you just don’t fancy another hen do then don’t come. If people want to go to bed early, let them. If they don’t fancy dancing till 3am I don’t blame them.

 

My bed time is normally 10pm.

 

I am not getting involved in my hen do anymore. I will leave the planning to my bestest.

All I want is lovely wine, great food and my friends.

That’s it

A perfect hen do for me.

Have fun with your hen do and treasure those who are helping. They are gold.

Dana

Jess and Crispin’s Hag Do, Drink Shop Do

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Madrid and Engagement ring shopping

Advice, Personal Experience, Planning, Travel, Uncategorised, Wedding

I honestly thought this would be easy, I mean it is shopping for my engagement ring?

I kind of knew what I wanted, something vintage or unique? I thought I would love shopping for jewellery, I didn’t expect it to be filled with pressure.

 
Having to pick a piece of jewellery that sits on your finger forever is hard.

 
With every ring I tried on I felt the price tag and the weight of my decision.

 
I have a new respect for partners choosing the ring. This isn’t my favourite necklace or bracelet. This is something that will stay on my finger permanently. And with that come a massive amount of pressure to get it right, so I will be happy forever, without regrets.
When Gavin asked me to marry him, those words were all that mattered but still.

 

I would like a nice ring on my finger at the same time.

 

We won a competition to Madrid through Brockman’s gin, see being a gin drinker really pays off! So we decided when we were there we would do a bit of ring shopping. Madrid has a lot of emeralds and I knew I wanted a green stone.

 

The first ring I tried on was a beautiful emerald cut emerald with two diamonds at the side on a gold band. It was expensive and beautiful and when I looked at it, it really wasn’t me. I felt strange knowing that this expensive ring wasn’t me and Gavin looking at me with his big beautiful eyes.

 
He just wanted for me to be happy and a drink.

 
We were in glorious Spain.

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Engagement shopping in Madrid this was google maps helpful reminder

 

We all wanted a drink!

 

This continued in about five shops, the green was too green. The gold was two yellow.
Then we found a street filled with antiques… oh if I had a bigger suitcase!

 
I doubted my decision and my preference. We walked a minimum of 16000 steps a day. This was broken up with wine cheese and a bit of site seeing so I am not complaining. I really fell in love with Madrid a little bit.

 
We eventually found a gorgeous 1920 diamond ring. It fit perfectly. Was an unusual shape but I just wasn’t sure?

 
I couldn’t commit to it.

 
We were in Madrid not in London and leaving the next day it was not as though I had a lot of time to think about it.

 
I felt pressured to make a big decision

 
At first, I was grateful that I got to choose but then it started getting stressful and I started resenting the options out there.

 
So, I had a think.

 
Looking around shops was getting crazy.

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We had eaten a lot of churros!

My plastic ring was broken due to its fragility.
If you havent read about my proposal please find it here  Gav bought me a replacement in Sainsburys for £6. Yes, it turned my finger green, then black but after that it was fine. It was simple and pretty and I had lots of complements on my sparkling £6 ring.

 
Finding the real thing was proving tricky and stressful. I couldn’t commit to what I wanted.

 
I now admire men who go out and see the perfect ring for their partner and buy it. There is a reason that so may people just like a diamond solitaire.

It is simple and elegant.

 
Green is my favourite colour so I knew I wanted green stone. We have a running joke that my favourite colour is purple when it is green, Gav constantly tells me it is purple. So, when I was looking at stones I came across a green amethyst. It suits us! It should be purple but it is green.

 
I have a Pinterest board called hint, hint Gavin. Filled with pale green rings on white gold.

 
So, we planned a trip into London’s Hatton Garden.

 
I popped into a shop in Romford and they had some nice stones in the window. I had a two-minute chat with the girl who was working there and was told to come back when the manager was back at the weekend.

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We were busy that weekend so didn’t come back for two weeks. Hatton Garden was waylaid due to birthdays and parties that kept getting in the way. I took Gav with me and as we approached the window there it was. A pale green cushion cut amethyst with a white gold band and little diamonds on the side.
She had got it.
It was perfect.
How was it possible. It even fit me. They had made it so easy, I thought it was going to take forever. She had even found me some matching earrings and a pendant. The woman was a genius!
And that its.
A two-minute chat and a lady who knows what she is doing and I have my beautiful engagement ring.

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My Green Amethyst Engagement Ring

It’s probably not your cup of tea.

 
I love that it is not traditional. This little beauty is going to sit on my finger for the rest of my life. It wasn’t lovingly selected by my fiancé but we did pick it together.

 
Finding it was a journey, in a stressful first world problem kind of way. Our trip to Madrid was heavenly, I have never felt so at home in a place I have never been to before. So although we didn’t find my ring there it we cant wait to go back. I did start to think that my £6 ring was in it for the long haul.

 
But nope, here is my ring. In all its simple elegance.
Now to find the band!!!
Dana

Heartbreak, Hero’s and Wedding Plans

Advice, Personal Experience, Travel, Uncategorised, Wedding

When we got engaged everyone said “you wait for the drama and family issues”. A wedding really does bring out heartbreak but it also shines a light on the hero’s in our lives. I smiled politely at them, I thought we would be okay with our wedding planning. Although both our parents aren’t together now I still didn’t see any drama coming.

But then I caused it.

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My brother’s wedding

My sister’s birthday is in July. She will be turning 40 so it is a big one. Two years ago, we decided we would all fly out to see her and celebrate it together in New Zealand. Then a year to the date came up she suggested that she came over, instead of all of us going out to see her.

All of us were grateful that we didn’t have to travel for such a long way for two weeks, plus the money we would save. It was perfect.

Then we got engaged

My sister was over the moon- she couldn’t believe it and was super happy when we said it wouldn’t be for another 18 months as my family are spread all over the globe.

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Me and Vicky in Mahe, Seychelles

Payet’s love to travel

My sister is going to be one of my bridesmaids. Not because we are related but because she is my friend, she means so much to me.

When my ex told me he no longer loved me after I moved out to Australia to begin our new life, it was my sister who booked my flight out to New Zealand 4 days later so I didn’t have to face him. I stayed a month with her moping around the house, crying in my pillow, using up her phone bill to text him. She just let me go through the motions. She booked my hair cut so I could chop off my hair (the most therapeutic way of getting over heart break). Considering how devastated I was, I had a really great time. We had so much fun watching Harry Potter on the couch. Reminiscing about British Christmas and that Lamb is not the same as roast turkey.

First cut is the deepest, but my sister stood next to me with a giant plaster

A month later I had to face my ex and get my stuff sorted to send back to London. We tried and we failed. As I had absolutely nothing to go back for, no Job and no home.  I decided to visit my Dad in the Seychelles and my mum in France. It took me two months to get back to London but I didn’t have any jet lag. I tried to look for the silver lining.  The plane stopped off in Thailand.

5 days all by myself.

I was heartbroken and stuck in the hotel. Not wanting to spend my money because I needed it when I got home. The first day I barely left my room but I was getting so bored. All I could think was that if anything happened to me here no one would know. I was scared to leave the hotel. So I listened to the voice in my head saying come on Dans you can do this. It was my sisters voice telling me not to be afraid. Telling me I could do this, just go for a walk around the block. Explore, be brave and take advantage of the situation. Off I hopped into an illegal cab and did some exploring.

My sister is often the encouraging voice in my head.

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Me and Vicky wearing Gryffindor when I am actually Hufflepuff

She is my hero

And my life moved onwards and definitely upwards.

Then I got engaged.

So when she facetimed my to let me know she couldn’t come over for her birthday it felt like a stab in my heart. I felt a lump rise in my throat and the guilt was overwhelming, I couldn’t look at her. She just stared at me as my eyes filled with tears. I couldn’t see and I couldn’t face her.

I wouldn’t see my sister this year because of my wedding.

She would be alone (not really, she has a family out in New Zealand) but without us.

And because she was coming over no one had saved enough……….

Gavin called me. My sister had called him to ask if I was okay (she wasn’t getting her birthday but she was worried about me) I cried down the phone to him in hysterics. I called our wedding stupid on numerous occasions. My brother helped me calm down (also a good voice of reason) I hadn’t seen her in 3 years. My niece and nephew are proper people now not just little ones.

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3 hero’s here, my bro Sister and Dad

I called my mum so she could tell Vicky how I was feeling. But I still couldn’t face her.

After a while we started calling again. I was saving for a wedding and she understood but the guilt didn’t go away. My bestie suggested I fly out to see her but Gav said we really can’t afford it. He said that my sister didn’t mind and that I shouldn’t either.

I am not going to New Zealand.

My dad suggested that Vicky take the kids to Seychelles and she agreed. Cocktails, sunshine and family: perfect.

Decisions

I didn’t have the time off so I couldn’t go.

I didn’t have money to spare so I couldn’t afford the flight.

I was already going to France for two weeks to see my mum it is her 60th! I also didn’t have the holiday.

So, I booked my flight to Seychelles stopping at Paris on the way back for my mums birthday.

Screw it, I will just have to Ebay all my clothes.

I can’t wait.

My sister has already filled my suitcase with harry potter cushions and clothes for the kids. Thank you, Emirates, and your 30kilo allowance.

We are going to visit all our favourite places. Dad is going to cook us our favourite meals. We are going to drink ice cold Seybrew on the beach and drink gin all night long.

So we do have family issues, I am sure there will be more to come. But right now, family is more important than my bank balance.

This one is to all the hero’s in my life.

In this blog I mentioned a lot of them.

Dana

Honeymoon Planning

Advice, Honeymoon, Personal Experience, Planning, Travel, Wedding

Here is some advice for planning your honeymoon. Maybe the best part of the wedding is the fabulous little rest at the end of it, with all the stress you will have gone through you will need it.

You can go to the most exotic parts of the world: Maldives, Seychelles, Barbados or you can go to romantic city’s like Paris, Venice, Rome the Greek isles or you can explore a place or country you have never been to before and always wanted to.

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Climbing Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh

Recently my friends decided to honeymoon around the iconic UK. They drove to the quirkiest quintessentially British hotels all with a slight Art Deco theme from Land End to John O’Groats, yes that way around.

They ate in the best restaurants and basically had a 1930’s honey moon that was Instagram perfect.

They made me reevaluate everything I wanted to go along with them.

Honey moons don’t have to be exotic, but they should reflect what you want and what is within your budget.

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Saint Brelade, Jersey

Budget

Modern weddings aren’t what they used to be.

The whole point of the wedding list was that people bought you things for your new house to start your new life together. Nowadays many people live together before they get married so they already have the guest list filled.

Me and Gav have been together 9 years, 10 when we get married. We have bought our own house and filled it up with things we love. And although I would love some new appliances I can’t ask guests to buy me a £1000 Smeg fridge but we will be asking for money/ vouchers to put towards our honeymoon.

We can afford a honeymoon by ourselves but every penny helps.

For my best friend’s wedding she wanted Honeymoon money, so using her travel company we bought her a trip to the Cai Rang floating markets of Vietnam.

She loved it and we didn’t have an issue giving money as a gift and nor should you!

A wedding gift is optional, we always give money so they can buy what they want.

There doesn’t need to be an etiquette uproar about this. The older I get the more I understand that people would prefer you to be more upfront about gifts.

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Beau Vallon Seychelles

Honeymoon Planning

So, work out how much you would like to spend on your honeymoon.

Like with your wedding you need to sit down and discuss what you want to do, ten days on the beach/ by the pool. An active honeymoon where you backpack/hike across an undiscovered part of the world. Live the American dream and drive route 66, Vegas New York.

Do you have enough holiday allowance to go for longer?

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Drinking in the Beer Library Vilnius, Lithuania

If you book your honeymoon out of season then the flights will be so much cheaper. I mean ridiculously cheaper, I have never paid more than £700 for a flight to Seychelles and this year I am going in August and have been quotes £1700. I can’t avoid the times but I did have to shop around for a slightly cheaper flight.

We always go snowboarding before or after the school holidays. The only thing you have to be aware of is the weather in that country. Monsoons and Seasons differ everywhere you go.

My family are coming from all over the world for our wedding, so I want to spend a lot of time with them. I will be taking time off work to be with them, then we will have a mini moon somewhere in Europe for a few days after our wedding,  to rest relax and take in the time spent on our day.

I am slightly in love with Croatia and Montenegro at the moment so some time by the water would be great, plus the food is supposed to be amazing.

We plan on a two-week honeymoon the next year, this will give us approximately 5 months to save for the proper honeymoon.

I have always wanted to go to Japan- I love the food, the cultures of old world versus new, the etiquette and politeness contrasted with the chaos. Gavin is a big geek and loves the Japanese cultures as well.

Plus, we can snowboard for a few days with Mount Fuji in the back ground, oh and did I mention that Japan has amazing gins? Oh yes, we will be in heaven.

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Val D’Isere, France

Honeymoons can be expensive or not- just like your wedding you can make it as unique as you are.

We plan to rough it for the first week then have a bit of luxury to relax on the second week and stop off somewhere on the way home fore a few days. We don’t mind going economic if it means we can spend our pennies and eat in gorgeous restaurant like Tapas Molecular Bar in Tokyo.
Honestly, I cant wait. I am going to eat Sushi every day!!! Drink Gin and saki. Sleep in a Shoji (paper house) snow board down the mountains, visit the Cherry blossom trees ( if they are blooming) stand in a Japanese garden of perfection in Minami-Ku, Kyoto. Eat amazing food from vending machines and visit a cat or hedgehog café.

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Carana Beach, Seychelles

Go shopping in the stationary shops Tombow’s, Mitibushi and Pentel are all from here and I plan on filling a suitcase full of washi tape!

Can you tell that I am excited? I am starting to think that two weeks just won’t be enough but that is what wedding anniversaries are for.

This really should be the stress free bit as no one should interfere or have an opinion on your honeymoon ( not that they should on you your wedding but hey ho.)
Have fun with it!

Keep within your budget! And don’t forget that you can visit the most exotic places on a shoe string budget.

Trust me I have done it!

Have fun
Dana

All the pictures I have taken on my trips abroad

Chamonix, Mont Blanc, France