Top 3 Cheap Green Building Ideas for the Tropics

Top 3 Cheap Green Building Ideas for the Tropics
By Louise Pool
The powers that be here in the Seychelles do a lot of talking about eco tourism, sustainability and the environment and yet I don't hear a lot about building in a more sustainable manner. And there's a lot of building going on. One ugly building after another is popping up all over the islands. I sometimes wonder if we have no architects here (and if we do, they must be either extremely frustrated or out of work). It looks like a couple of construction companies have one set of plans they apply to every new building. They're all built from concrete with little air flow and Roman columns on the verandahs with air conditioning units sticking out on all sides like oversized Tic Tac containers. And then touted as executive apartments or houses. Strangely, we seem to have a lot of executives in the Seychelles...

The Dr. Seuss 12-Step Programme to Living Your Best Life

The Dr. Seuss 12-Step Programme to Living Your Best Life
By Louise Pool
The other day, my daughter was complaining about what she considered to be unethical behaviour by some of her friends. I responded by sarcastically suggesting that they probably hadn’t watched “Touched by an Angel” in their formative years. She figured it was probably a lack of Dr. Seuss.

And I realised that she was right. Dr. Seuss subtly (or not so subtly some might say) incorporates little nuggets of wisdom into all his books for children. Read Dr. Seuss to your kids and they will be forever “programmed” to strive to be their highest selves. If you haven’t read the man yet, it’s high time to do so yourself. I'm not sure if our local bookshops still stock any Dr. Seuss books (I bought all mine at Antigone, but that was years ago.). If you can't find any, I'm sure the lovely people at Chanterelle will order them for you.

Here’s some wisdom from Dr. Seuss and a little translation into Personal Growth Speak (PGS).

Top Five Coolest Beach Bars—And They're Not Here in the Seychelles

Top Five Coolest Beach Bars--And They're Not Here in the Seychelles
By Louise Pool
Anyone for another Seybrew?” The sun is setting and I'm sitting on a giant bean bag squishing my toes in the sand. Slow rhythmic music is playing in the background and all around me is lively chatter. I'm not mingling much tonight; I'm more in the mood for people watching and it's a good crowd gathered here to watch the sunset tonight. Maybe I'll stick around for a couple of hours and see if I can spot a falling star. 
Sadly, this scenario exists only in my imagination. There isn't a single cool bar on the beach in the Seychelles. Once upon a time, the Coral Strand had a good Happy Hour going on Sundays, but we all know what happened there...

The Secret to Retaining Your Virtue in Seychelles

The Secret to Retaining Your Virtue in SeychellesBy Louise Pool
Yesterday I got hit on by a toothless guy in a wheelchair. I was minding my own business, about to enter a small boutik malbar to buy my daily packet of Mahe Kings, when he wheeled over to me at breakneck speed. “Miss, you so beautiful.” he said, wheezing and coughing as he offered me a cigarette. With a smile on my face (I'm not really nasty and I'm not actually beautiful.), I politely declined. He became more insistent and then asked me for my phone number.

Now, if I had been in another country, I might have assumed this was just a lonely guy looking for a chat to brighten up his day. But this is Seychelles. The land where every man thinks he's God's gift to woman. Any woman. So I had to become a little more strident in defending my virtue.

Backpack Me Collaborative Post

View of Silhouette Island from Beauvallon BeachI contributed to a collaborative post at Backpack Me. People from all over have written a few lines about the country they live in. Mine is a little tips an tricks on what to do in the Seychelles. Go on over and take a look. 

Travel to my Country 2/4: Africa & The Middle-East

5 Fun Ways to Exercise at the Beach Even if You're Afraid of Water

fun ways to exercise at the beach - tree pull ups
By Louise Pool
I love hanging out in the water. Floating on my back staring at the sky whilst trying to split clouds is my idea of heaven. Now and again, I'll swim a few strokes just to feel the water lapping against my skin. If I feel like a little more exercise, I'll jump in the waves and have been known to indulge in a bit of body surfing as well.

But I know there are countless islanders who can't swim. Maybe they're not really aquaphobes, but the thought of being out in the deep blue sea where feet don't touch the ground will trigger a minor (or major) panic attack or at least get that adrenalin coursing through the veins with no thought of a fight response.

Fear not; there are other fun ways to keep fit at the beach. Here are some ideas:

Just for Fun: The Beach Personality Test

You Are Quietly Passionate
You like people, but you're careful about who you get close to. Friendship is important to you... so important that you aren't just friends with anyone.

You fall in love with ease and confidence. Even if you've had bad experiences in the past, each new love is a reason to start completely over.

You are a deep and contemplative person. You are as passionate as everyone else, but your passion is not always apparent.

Your sense of humor is intellectual and obscure. Only really well educated people get your jokes.
Blogthings: Learn Something Surprising About Yourself

This is fairly acccurate... How did you fare?

How to Decorate with Sea Glass Even if You're Totally Craft Challenged

Call it sea glass, beach glass or mermaid's tears, it's just plain beautiful.
By Louise Pool
I love sea glass. Call it beach glass, mermaid's tears or verre bouteille as it's known in Seychelles, it's one of my favourite materials to work with when crafting. I collect shells and driftwood whilst beachcombing, but what really makes my day is when I find a particularly lovely piece of beach glass. In Seychelles, we get mostly green (Keep them coming Seybrew drinkers!), white and brown sea glass, but once in a while I come across a rare piece of violet or blue sea glass.

I know that not everyone enjoys making things, but that's no reason not to use sea glass as a decor accent in your home. Here are some ideas for the non-crafty on how to use these beach finds in your home to celebrate the beach lifestyle.

Create the Sacred Space You Need to Survive Daily Life

Create the Sacred Space You Need to Survive Daily Life By Louise Pool
Virginia Woolf said that every woman needs a room of her own to be able to write. I would go further; everybody needs some sacred space of their own to survive daily life. We all have to retreat from the mundane at times and get in touch with our spirit.

As a child, I always wanted a treehouse. It seemed like the perfect sanctuary to me, high up and hidden away from sight. In my imagination, I decorated my treehouse with exotic wall hangings and huge fluffy cushions. Unfortunately, my father had two left thumbs and couldn’t put up a shelf, let alone embark on a dwelling, however minor. Ever the resourceful child, I looked for the next best place and found it behind the Freemason’s Lodge. Nobody ever went there and it seemed sufficiently magical to qualify as a sanctuary. I spent a lot of time just sitting and dreaming and also set up a graveyard for dead birds there. I particularly enjoyed holding funerals for the poor birds. My mother called me a morbid child…

Did You Know You Can Eat Coconut Sprouts?

Coconut sprouts are delicious and nutrional powerhouses
And that they taste like manna from heaven?

Coconut sprouts are called uto in the Cook Islands, o'o in Samoa, manzanas de coco (coconut apples) in Latin America and here in Seychelles we call them koko zerm (or coco germes if you wanna be a little more high falutin'). In Hawaii, this food was considered so powerful that only the royals were allowed to eat it.

Who Needs Kite Surfing When You Can Ride in a Tata Bus?

Tata bus in Seychelles
By Louise Pool
I do not and have never indulged in ice climbing, bungee jumping or any other extreme sport, although I do seem to be drawn to the type of man who does. I get my thrills vicariously by watching my man take the risks or from watching serial killers and vampires on tv. I'll also get my adrenalin surges by taking adventurous (some might say stupid)  decisions in life.

Alas, there is one area of my life where I cannot avoid putting myself in physical danger: riding a Tata bus in Seychelles.

Sweet and Sour Pork with Tamarind and Mango Recipe

gluten free sweet and sour pork with tamarind and tomatoBy Louise Pool
Good pork is always available here in the Seychelles. I've bought imported pork fillet a couple of times and it just can't compare with our local meat. I wonder if it's all the breadfruit the pigs are fed?

Since we have such a mixture of cuisines making up our Creole cuisine, sweet and sour pork is available in most take aways. Sometimes it's good and sometimes it's, well... What it always is, to my taste, is too fatty. Now I enjoy good pork crackling, but I can't stand mouthfuls of fat (and bits of bone) in my pork dishes. I like lean filleted pork, not pork that's looks like it's been attacked with a machete. (This goes for chicken, too. Those of you who have eaten chicken curry take aways in Seychelles will know what I'm on about.)

How to Make a Mini Beaded Dreamcatcher

Mini beaded dreamcatcher with a piece of seaglassBy Louise Pool
This isn't a traditional Seychelles craft, but I've given it an island touch by adding a piece of seaglass. You could make it more beachy by using shells instead of glass beads.

A traditional craft among many groups of native North Americans, dreamcatchers are hung above the head of a sleeping person to ensure a good night's sleep. The web traps bad dreams, while the hole in the centre allows good dreams to pass through.

My son used to have nightmares until I made him one of these, but since he hung up his dreamcatcher, he enjoys peaceful sleep. Don't know if it is the power of suggestion, but it definitely works. And looks nice, too...

9 Easy Come By Benefits of a Walk on the Beach

By Louise Pool
Living right next to the beach, I do a good amount of walking on the beach. I'll go in the early morning for exercise and in the evening to beachcomb.

We all know walking is good for you; what makes a walk on the beach even better for you?

9 Easy come by benefits of walking on the beach infographic

What Everybody Needs to Know About Coconut Oil

virgin coconut oil from the Seychelles
By Louise Pool
Living on a tropical island, I am lucky to have a large supply of one of nature's most beneficial foodstuffs. Coconuts have always been a mainstay of the Seychelles diet and once upon a time, long long ago, most people cooked with it as well. Nowadays, it's mostly palm or sunflower oil and I have to admit I, too, am guilty of this. I use coconut oil for frying if I'm making a Kari Koko (coconut curry) as I don't like the taste of it in all foods. It's great for adding to smoothies, yoghurt and puddings, though. (The picture on the left is a bottle of coconut oil sold for massage purposes, but coconut oil is coconut oil...)

Coconut oil is a food, and is one of the best cooking oils you can use. Unlike most vegetable oils, coconut oil's chemical structure is kept intact even when used in higher cooking temperatures and is therefore resistant to mutations of fatty acid chains. Research shows that the fatty acids found in coconut oil raise the body's metabolism, boost the immune system, and help provide greater energy which can also lead to weight loss.

Hoop Earring Madness

Handmade black stone and white seaglass hoop earrings
Hoop earrings are all the trend for summer 2013. I don't usually like hoop earrings, but this year they're not just the plain Creoles, so I though I'd have a go at designing some that I like. These large hoop earrings are not the usual run of the mill plain hoops; I've used semi precious stones and my favourite material, seaglass. As usual, each piece is one of a kind and makes a statement.

I haven't uploaded them to the shop yet, but feel free to get in touch if you're interested in buying a pair (or two). They are all the same price: Euros 17 or SCR 250.

10 Reasons to be Beside the Seaside

10 Health Benefits of a Seaside VacationFor most of us, images of clear blue skies and turquoise tropical oceans conjure up fantasies of ultimate relaxation and well-being. Some of us, including yours truly, are lucky enough to live it.

It’s not just clever advertising. Nor is it just our atavistic urge to return to the ocean whence we came from. There are actual health benefits from being near the sea. Seawater and sea air are good for both our bodies and our souls.

Homemade Ginger Ale Recipe

homemade ginger ale on the rocks
By Louise Pool
Ginger is one thing we have an abundance of here. I've always chewed on ginger if I had a headache or was feeling slightly nauseous (think Cat Cocos in August), but recently started making my own ginger ale as a more pleasant and refreshing alternative painkiller. It works better than paracetamol and will save you hours of waiting at the clinic.
Of course, aside from the medicinal effects, it's also a refreshing drink to be enjoyed anytime. This homemade version tastes a lot better than commercial ginger ale and has the advantage of using fresh ingredients and probably less sugar than the pre-bottled variety. Everybody who has tasted it is addicted...

New Necklaces with Seaglass and Semiprecious Stones at 20% Discount for Facebook Page Likers

Seychelles Earth statement necklace detail
I'm back to incorporating seaglass into my work. This time 'round I've been mixing semiprecious stones with my beloved mermaid's tears.

Take a look and let me know what you think. (I've uploaded these to my Dawanda shop, but, if you're interested in buying in rupees, just send me an email or leave a comment.
I've called this first statement necklace Seychelles Earth. The green stones are malachite, the black is dyed stone and the seaglass pendant is hanging on a leather cord.  The necklace is princess length (ca. 45 cm) and hangs nicely just below the collarbone.

Get High on Life the Bollywood Way

get high on life by dancingThere's been a lot of anti Indian sentiment on the islands in the last couple of years. Yet, our cinemas are owned by a (local) Indian company and whenever there's a Bollywood movie on I see a lot of locals standing in the queue. The fact of the matter is, there are plenty of similarities to our island way of getting high on life.

Bollywood movies are definitely my drug of choice and have the additional advantage that you're not going to have the National Drug Enforcement Agency knocking at your door.
The Indian sub-continent has blessed us not only with yoga and the Bhagavad Vita, but has given us another path to enlightenment: Bollywood movies.

A True Islander Lives in the Moment

Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.
I grew up with this little wooden placard hanging in our kitchen. These words of wisdom accompanied us from Japan to Switzerland and, when my mother recently moved back to the Seychelles, she brought the sign with her and hung it up in the kitchen. The strange thing is, although she is a Seychelloise (in other words, an islander), she never embraced the insight; my mother is a worrier. Big time. This is the woman who stayed awake chain smoking all night worrying about the next day and still does (worry AND chainsmoke).

Strawberry Coconut Smoothie Recipe

strawberry coconut smoothie
I love strawberries! Much as I enjoy tropical fruit, I occasionally get a craving for summer fruit especially strawberries. The little local shops stock apple and oranges (strangely, no tropical fruit) and once in a while you can find a half rotting basket of unripe strawberries next to the mouldy packet of mushrooms.

A couple of years ago, frozen strawberries started appearing in the shops. Not regularly, but once in a while and they taste heavenly... They aren't much good for strawberries and cream, as they go mushy as soon as they are defrosted, but are great for use in cooking and, straight from the freezer, in smoothies.

7 Absolutely Gorgeous Hammocks to Inspire You to Chill Out

hammock on beach under palms

There are few things better in life than chilling in a hammock with some good music or, even better, the sound of waves in the background. Here are 7 of my favourite hammocks to inspire you to decorate your own space...

Why I Love Beachcombing

North East Point Beach, Mahe, Seychelles
By Louise Pool
I live right next to the beach. (Yes, this is the post designed to inspire envy amongst all you inland folks.)

All that separates me from the seaboard is a not too busy "main" road, so on most days I can be found wandering the shoreline at some point during the day. Once in a blue moon (I'm aiming for more often) I'll be out at 6 am, walking briskly alongside the beach before stopping to watch the sunrise. Mostly, though, I venture out towards the evening to indulge in one of my favourite pastimes: beachcombing.

A mini holiday at home

Mini vacation at homeLiving near the beach in a holiday resort, I often pretend I'm a tourist and go on a mini holiday. I usually take a book with me, some sun tan oil (which I never use otherwise), a colourful pareo and go plonk myself in one of the sunloungers at a hotel. It's lovely to while away the afternoon sipping (sometimes laced) coconut water and going for occasional dips to cool off. The people I meet invariably think I'm on holiday as well and I've struck up some really good conversations and met many interesting people from all walks of life.

Why don't we have a beach shack at Beauvallon?

beach shack restaurant
Blanchard's Beach Shack in Anguilla
We have a couple of take away stands, mainly on the weekends. We have a few restaurants. We have some hotels and a new "architectural masterpiece" is being foisted upon us.

What we don't have is a cool beach shack.

The dogs ate my blog...

Puppy dogs in Seychelles

Yes, it's been years and I don't have a decent excuse.

Of course I've been busy, but who isn't?
Of course I've been employed, but how many are?
Of course I have a family, but how many others do?
Of course I (fill in the blank), but (fill in the blank)?

So, in lieu of a decent excuse: the dogs ate my blog.


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