A year in the Seychelles

Late one evening in March of 2015, we decided to move to a little paradise Island called Seychelles. What most don’t know is that we knew no one there, didn’t really have savings and had no jobs lined up. All we had was a youthful travel bug a little cash we made after we sold a few household materials and our car.

This is the most daring thing I have ever done and I must say, It was well worth it.

We arrived in Seychelles on a mucky Friday evening. It was excruciatingly hot as we were not used to the 100% humidity levels.

It was the gorgeous place I had ever seen. I felt like I stepped off the plane and walked into a page in a destination magazine, only better.

We enjoyed the weekend and met a few people but on the following Monday, we jumped straight into finding jobs. It was not easy, I tell you. Seychelles have very strict working laws for foreigners and unlike huge countries like the USA and UK, if you are working illegally in Seychelles the government will know about it.

I got on the phone and called every single preschool listed in the yellow pages and asked if they had a job. After calling almost all the schools in the country, I found out that the Seychelles government does not hire foreign teachers to teach preschoolers. I could only work in private schools which there were all of about 4 on the whole Island.

Fortunately, the last school I called had a position open for a head teacher and they hired me on spot.

We both managed to find jobs and earn a local living within 3 weeks. It was just enough salary to live as locals did. The difference that we didn’t have relatives to share accommodation or bills with and the rent in Seychelles is almost as bad as it is in London. This meant that most of our hard earned money went into paying rent, which we didn’t mind at all because we were living in paradise.

There is not much to do in Seychelles but go to the beach. Restaurants and hotels are so expensive that locals cannot afford to indulge. So for entertainment, we ‘settled’ for the fine white sandy beaches with fresh turquoise blue water and sunsets that just took your breath away.

We had such a great time together. Every Friday after work, we would buy a bottle of wine and go to a hidden beach for ‘sundowners’ and watch the sunset. It was like an extended honeymoon for us. It was quiet, peaceful and the people were delightful.

We followed a dream and it led us to a beautiful paradise Island where we lived for almost a year before we embarked on our Eurotrip.

Were we terrified? Of course! I mean if things hadn’t worked out, we would have taken the walk of shame back home with no house, furniture or a car.

However, we did our best. As much as we didn’t live like royalty in Seychelles, we indeed lived like Island natives, and in my opinion, the latter is so much better.

If you would like to visit/live in Seychelles, here are a few tips for you.

1). Arrange your own travels. Book your own flight and accommodation before arrival. Then you can negotiate with the tour guides on excursion prices. Travel agencies are way too expensive.

2.) If you are a teacher and would like to live in Seychelles, apply to the International School of Seychelles or public secondary schools and you stand a good chance of being hired as they are always looking for experienced teachers.

3). It is extremely expensive to rent a house so you might want to look into Airbnb for short term holidays and sharing with other travelers for longer term stay.

4). There is not much to do. There are one cinema and 1 small mall. You can snorkel, island hop and eat out but all that is tourist activities so expect to pay tourist rates.

5). Things work extremely slowly in Seychelles. I know some of you are thinking “they work slowly in the whole of Africa” but I can assure you, Seychelles is on a whole new level of slow motion.

6) If you are booking on Airbnb make sure the accommodation you are booking with is licensed. This is because when you arrive at the airport, the immigration officer will request to see your hotel/accommodation booking and if your accommodation is not licensed, you might not be allowed to enter the country.

7). If you are looking for work, make friends with the locals. You will always find a guy who knows a guy because that’s how things work on the Island.

Well my dears, I hope this had been an insightful post on our trip to Seychelles.

Have you been? Would you like to go?

Let me know!

Cheers

Xxx

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how we spent our Sundays
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new friends on the island

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Walk in the city
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sunsets in Seychelles
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the little car that gave us A LOT of problems

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treats at the beach
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my little sister posing at the beach
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full on lunch at the beach
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Visiting Cape Town

There is no sunset quite like an African sunset and one seen from one of the seven wonders of the world is an indescribable sight.

Cape Town! The most beautiful city in the world, in my opinion.

A little while ago, my family and I went on holiday to Cape Town South Africa, and man was it an amazing one.

It was not my first time in Cape Town. In fact, I went to college there. I lived there for 3 years so I knew exactly what it looked like. My experience when I lived there and when I vacationed there are definitely two separate worlds.

First off, when I lived there I was on a student budget. I don’t know where y’all come from but where I come from, student budgets are slim to none. The parents pay for everything in advance and give you a small allowance at the beginning of each month in which you have to fit all your monthly expenses. This was definitely not a time to enjoy the wonderful luxuries that Cape Town had to offer.

Don’t get me wrong, we had our fun- loads of it. However, the fun was always limited by our broke student budget and we definitely didn’t get any luxuries.

Fast forward 5 years and I ended up planning a trip to Cape Town for a friend’s wedding. Fortunately, my friend told me her wedding date early on in the year so time was on my side when it came to saving and budgeting.

We started booking as early as June for a trip we would take in December.

We found a great price for flights on jet cost.ie and once we booked the flights, everything else fell in and around our arrival and departure dates.

In July, we booked our accommodation on Airbnb which cost us about €50 per night for the first five nights as my husband and I were to move to a bigger house when my family joined us. We then hired a rental car on Budget Cars which we paid for in August. Now that our biggest expenses were taken care of, all we had to do was save our spending money, and save we did.

It was a glorious Thursday afternoon. Not glorious as in it was a lovely day as it was the start of a really icy winter and that particular day was cold, dark and gloomy. It was glorious because I was leaving on a sun holiday for a month and it felt like we were never coming home.

We flew with Turkish Airways. The flight was not too bad save for the fact that we were confined in it for 13 whole hours on end. I thought I was going to die of old age before I ever stepped foot in Cape Town.

We finally reached CPT International Airport and this is when the story got interesting.

I must warn you that immigration in Cape Town is pretty slow so be prepared to stay in line for at least an hour especially in peak times like December.

Another thing you should be aware of if you are renting a car from the airport is that the lines are also really long and extremely slow moving so prepare to be frustrated a little.

We checked into our Airbnb which was in an extremely lovely suburb called the Marina Da Gama in Muizenburg which is on the southern peninsula of Cape Town.

Our accommodation was a small but very cozy bedsit which opened up onto the vlei (river). It was the most glorious sight to wake up to in the mornings. Definitely a welcome change from my daily European city suburban views.

The first place we visited was the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock. If you have only one Saturday in Cape Town and are wondering where to spend it, this is the place, guys. The food here is to DIE for! Not to mention the beautiful live music playing and the rich vibrant culture oozing all around you.

One thing to keep in mind at the Old Biscuit Mill is that the neighborhood is a little rough so be careful when walking approaching from your car. Parking is a bit of a tight squeeze and you will need to pay someone to attend your car and keep it safe.

*TinyTip- take a taxi cab and you will avoid all the parking drama.

Other than this, you will not regret spending your Saturday at the Old Biscuit Mill.

The Monday after we arrived, we spent the morning in Camps Bay. First on the agenda was breakfast in La Belle Bistro and Bakery. We had a full English breakfast which was quite decent. The cocktails here are some of the best I have ever had and would definitely recommend them. The view of the beach was incredible and for that reason, we were happy to part with a little more cash than we would have in another restaurant.

After a heavy breakfast, we strolled down to the beach and had a lazy lie on the beach sunbeds that were rented to us for R70 each and 1 umbrella for R50.

**TinyTip- take your own umbrella.

The next day, we went to Boulders beach to see the famous penguins. Oh, what a lovely sight! To be honest, it was lovely to see the family of penguins showing off as they were clearly aware that they had a whole beach of tourists watching them. I was honestly bored within fifteen minutes so we left for the Chapman’s Peak Drive which was yet another marvelous view.

***A TinyTip about visiting Boulders beach is to arrive early and get the nice shady spots of a sunny day or bring an umbrella.

In the evening, we met a few friends for sundowners on Clifton beach. It was unusually windy for December so we got a nice spot behind a huge rock. I must say, guys, the sunset here was the gorgeous sunset I have ever seen- unspoiled and uninterrupted.

On Wednesday, We went to the V&A waterfront. Now if you love shopping as much as I do, this will be heaven for you. Oh, what an experience!

We also went to the Sevruga restaurant which was really lovely. If you are a seafood kind of person, This is probably one of the best seafood restaurants in Cape Town.

On Thursday we didn’t do much as we were exhausted from the week of traveling and tourist activity. We also needed a little rest as the rest of the family was arriving on Friday and we needed to regain our energy for that situation.

As this post is already long enough, I shall only list the rest of the places we visited while we were in Cape Town.

1. Ratanga Junction– Definitely recommend you go as a group. It is great fun and such an adrenaline rush. Sadly, they are closing in 2018.

2. Beau Constantia– wine farm- Lovely experience tasting different wines and dining out on a lovely summer’s day.

3. Cubaña Restaurant Claremont– has only the BEST chicken wings in the whole wide world.

4. Mugg & Bean – Best breakfast menu in my opinion and great prices. Save for a restaurant in Camps Bay and one in Hout Bay, we had breakfast in Mug & Bean every morning.

5. Jakes on the Common in Noordhoek was a fantastic family restaurant with a great outdoor space and amazing food. It was so good, we went for lunch three times.

6. The Cape Wheel– an experience that gives you a 360-degree glimpse of the marvel that is Cape Town.

That’s all for today folks. We had a great time in the mother city and hope to be back very soon.

Cheers

Xxx

Signal Hill views

Table Mountain
Table Mountain
Posing at the V&A Waterfront
Breakfast in Camps Bay

Outside our little bedsit home

Fun at Ratanga Junction

Cape Town Ribs are to DIE for
Fun at Ratanga Junction

In the beginning

Fashion has always been in my blood. I was always that 8-year-old girl that was caught red-handed with her feet in my mum’s heels and a handbag bigger than my own head.

I LOVE fashion. I always have and always will. Of course, growing up in Africa nurtured a particular warm weather friendly fashion bug in me. I mean, it is not hard to dress well in warm weather even for those with the worst of fashion senses. Sundresses, sandals and sun hats have always been second nature to me. In warm weather, all you have to do is throw on a pair of shorts, a multicolored Chiffon blouse, a solid colored pair of sandal shoes with a matching color bag of choice, accessories as desired, style hair appropriately and you are good to go.

Things changed when I move to Europe. Suddenly, I found myself more obsessed with being warm than smart. For the first year of living here, all I cared about when dressing up was being warm. I piled the layers on top of each other before I finally played the final brick of my fashion grave with a thick coat that was sure to keep me nice and toasty, just how I liked it. I shudder to think how far gone I was.

In addition to wanting to be warm, I had no clue how to style myself in the world of black, grey, black, cream and the occasional red clothes. How could I have known which cardigans matched with which top or coat? For goodness sake, I didn’t even know the difference between a cardigan, a sweater, and jumper or the difference between a coat and a jacket. I didn’t know what materials were warm and which ones weren’t, so I would buy loads of clothes that weren’t warm and ended up having to layer up even more.
You laugh now! But I am sure I am not the only warm climate immigrant to ever face this kind of problems.

So what did I do? I started getting observant. Other women I saw looked gorgeous in their clothing. So gorgeous that they even made the dull winter colors look really attractive. I had to learn how to go from looking like the bird woman in the second Home Alone movie everytime I left my house and to looking like Queen Bey.

This started my Boujee struggle. I had redefined myself with a mission to be a stylish curvy black woman in a street somewhere here in Europe.

Till next time!

Xxx