Wednesday, 20 December 2017

The one where I panic, anticipate and say goodbye to 2017…

2017 was the year that made me tear up the rule book, knock down the imaginary ladder and let my heart love like it has never loved before.
I had never really believed in ‘how life can change in * a year etc’

Since getting married, everything has been structured. Holidays have been planned way in advance and life goals have been firmly set out. I took a huge leap into the unknown a few years ago and took a brand-new job, which then led to moving to a new house to a new county and a new way of life.

It was stressful, restless, incredible, fulfilling, testing and jam-packed. We continued to travel at pace… hello Vietnam, Malaysia, NYC & Bali. I even ran a full marathon. But, let’s face it – I wasn’t ever truly settled.  

When we arrived back from Bali in April this year, I found out I was pregnant – my sense of self and worth balanced out for the first time in my entire life. I knew that this was what we both had been waiting for… the next chapter.
I’m so grateful for our trip to Bali, and I still believe that all those trips prior to the final big one – made the journey complete.

Pregnancy has been a complete whirlwind, I have changed in so many ways and have finally learned to love and appreciate every part of my body – just the way it is. It’s pretty incredible growing a human being.

2018 is set to bring joy, and with a due date looming, I’m told that babies have a way of coming when they want to, so I’m not tying myself down to my due date. The question is will baby arrive before 2017 is out, or be ‘as predicted’ a very early 2018 arrival. I guess, only fate will lead us there.

As we hit 37 weeks last weekend, the reality of giving birth hit me like a ton of bricks, can I really do this? I’m certain that my strongest trait is determination – so it’s time I put that to the test.

As for, blogging, social media and everything in between, it’s time to turn it off now. I think the final weeks (or days) with my husband will be completely wholesomely valuable without the distraction of a phone or laptop screen.

Next time I appear online… we might just have an announcement.

Thank you as always for supporting this blog and taking time to read my words. 

Thursday, 14 December 2017

The baby name…

I always imagined from a young age choosing a baby name would be a creative challenge for me. Growing up adoring Jacqueline Wilson books made me set on choosing unusual children names too. Star and Dolphin are still on the reserve list, just saying.
But, twenty-something years later finding myself with a growing bump and a husband who is just as much a part of this as me (yes, biology kids), was it really that easy choosing a name?

As with all aspects of marriage, I found the baby name process to be a war of words. Insulting each other’s choice of names lasted for about five minutes, as it soon became apparent that we were walking a fine line between hurting one and other feelings or coming up with the most magical word ever.

Well… we got to choose two names, as we haven’t found out the sex of the baby. I’m certain the other name will be put into reserve for a future offspring/pet/goldfish. But, the two names we have chosen are like the best kept secret in the universe.
Because, however many people ask – my lips are sealed. I have carried around the secret for nearly as long as the bump!

When I spotted the girls baby name on a ‘most popular’ 2018 baby name list, I panicked just a little. What if suddenly there is a boom of ‘****’ – but then I remembered that however popular the name might seem or be predicted to become, it’s the name we chose for our precious little one.

As the ninth month of pregnancy lasts clearly a million days (AHEM years), I am counting down the days until maybe we might meet our baby. I’ve also factored in the pain and every account of labour I have read. Because, right now I’ve got the marathon bean in me – the last leg is by far the hardest, most gruelling, unruly, torturous, and unpleasant. But the one that provides the finish line.

Yes… in sight. 


Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Adventure with Lizi’s Granola

What is it about those memories of simple childhood, doing the supermarket shop with my Mum in the mid-90s. All the excitement always belonged to the cereal aisle, I would gaze in awe at all of the brightly coloured packaging and vivid graphics. Of course, being a 90s child meant I lived through the free gift culture – yes Trolls and Animal Hospital every single time. The anticipation myself and my brother felt when the cereal packet was opened and we poured out the first bowl… waiting for the toy to drop.

If I’m being totally honest, my love of cereal has stayed with me since those early days, but admittedly now it’s the flavour and ingredients that sway my purchase. Wholesome granola was one of the first foods I began eating when I was looking for a healthier lifestyle. 

I’ve been a fan of Lizi’s Granola for years, the granolas were my staple especially when eating wholesome breakfasts ahead of marathon training. Combining the balance of nuts and flavour (Mango Macadamia being my favourite).
When I saw the release of Lizi’s Adventurers I was so excited, because a) I love Lizi’s b) I’m a big kid at heart 3) I’m going to have a little mouth of my own to feed soon – and just how important is it that nutrition and health are a part of everyday life. 

So, I guess you could say this is a little nod to my own childhood, because I absolutely adore the story behind these granola’s and the design of the packaging. Encouraging children to use the energy from their bowl of breakfast granola in their own adventures.

I tried the strawberry flavoured granola which is a mix of toasted oat clusters, ground almonds, coconut and strawberry pieces. The flavour was super strawberry with the wholesome taste of oats and goodness. The best part was that the milk tasted just like milkshake afterwards!

I hope my love of cereal is passed down to my little one (because breakfast is the most important meal of the day) and maybe we might see a reoccurrence of anticipation and excitement at the supermarket in years to come.   

Lizi's granola was gifted to me as part of a prize.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Unpopular to blog, blog to be popular

I started this blog nine years ago, I was aged nineteen and had always had a passion for writing down everything that happened to me, via endless teenage journals and diaries. Writing was a creative outlet for me.

Tranquility in Ayutthaya - Thailand
I remember when suddenly blogging became quite a thing, and I connected with hundreds of like-minded people, who were interested in sharing their world with others. I blogged lots of charity shop and car boot sale finds and I loved interacting with others. Oh heck, I even went on a blogging holiday to Norbury Manor.

Back then, I was incredibly shy and hadn’t really experienced much life stuff. I was in a steady relationship, but still trying to figure out who I was.

It was in 2014 and subsequently the years that followed that the biggest changes of my life happened so far. I got married, travelled the world and relocated to a brand-new job. It was a busy time in my life and blogging came and went. I didn’t have as much time to shop second-hand anymore and my job in food marketing took up a lot of my creative space.

Phuket - Thailand
Travel also consumed me. There was a desire to see so much of the world before a certain age. It wasn’t planned, it sort of just unfolded that way. I always updated my blog with travel snippets and declarations of wanderlust. Some of them posts still remain my favourite.

But, since taking maternity leave I’ve found the desire and hunger for blogging come back in floods. Except, there’s a little ‘expiry’ tag floating in my mind. Is blogging over? Am I five years too late to the party? Does anyone out there even read blogs anymore?

My gut says, ignore the doubts. Just do it. Cause, maybe we have all fallen out of love with blogging in some way, maybe we are all a little older, wiser and dare I say guilty of giving up in the blog race. But, I know from my own experiences in life that not everything is a race.

Lime time - Bali
Unexpected things can happen, pouring passion and dedication into something doesn’t always mean success, but it does show commitment. If there was such thing as creating your own destiny, then why not just give it a go anyway. 


Wednesday, 22 November 2017

My Tropical Fruit Themed Baby Shower!

There is no denying that I am a self-confessed fruit addict. When it came to organising a baby shower I was certain of two things: I would host it at home and it would be tropical themed.

So, over the summer months I managed to gather together bunting, balloons and quirky pieces to put my stamp on the tropical theme. It was then in September I went out on a dedicated baby shower shopping spree with my friend. It was the most fun I had in months, we explored all the novelty shops including Poundland, B&M, and Home Bargains! Pineapples turned up everywhere.

As the theme fell together, I was soon buying watermelon marshmallows and tropical Jelly Babies!
But, let’s not forget the principal reason here… I’m having a baby! So of course, there was lots of baby themed ideas thrown into the mix. I created my own quiz, and gender guessing game, which everybody got to vote whether they think it’s a boy or girl and then submitted their vote into a giant pink or blue plastic cupcake. (results will be revealed when we know!)

 I was gifted a beautiful cake from my sister-in law, once more playing on the boy or girl theme. On top she had carefully written 'Baby Taylor' - which made it all the more real! 

I’d dreamt up this day a long time ago when we first found out I was pregnant.  I was nervous as I’ve never been Ms Popular, so wondered if anyone would even come. But, it finally dawned on me, that I do have some special family and friends around me. Those friends may not be in their masses, but they are the ones who have stuck by me through thick and thin. They know me inside out and I’m so excited for them to go on the whole baby journey with me!


Thursday, 16 November 2017

Why you should visit Bali. Once in a lifetime.

I had been curious about Bali for many years, it was the faraway place I had pinned to my bucket list repeatedly. My heart warmed to every ideal that Bali proposed: exotic climates, tropical fruit, spirituality and wellbeing at the heart of the island.

I remember proclaiming my love for Bali to my husband in less than 24 hours of arrival, I had stepped into a picture-perfect postcard – it was serene, green and just so transparent.

Ubud – Was a hub of happiness, like Elizabeth in Eat Pray Love had discovered before me, it was healing. There was no escaping the hustle and bustle of central Ubud and its broken pavements, but a few steps away, you are a stone’s throw from beautiful rural countryside. Mile upon mile of never ending rice fields, hidden guest houses and yoga studios. Bliss.

Then there’s the ~infinity~ pool scenario. I mean don’t get me wrong an infinity pool isn’t going to be the make or break of the trip. But, if there is one place to swim in an infinity pool in your lifetime, then it sure is certain Ubud. Taking infinity pools to the next level, immersed within the rain forest. 

Beji Ubud Resort
For the adventurer, Bali is full of its own landmarks and quirks. Hiring a scooter costs less than £5 a day and the roads lead far and wide. I remember passing hundreds of little shops, cafes and places I could happily have spent months exploring.

Then there is of course the food. I knew Bali would be full of the tropics that always excite me: dragon fruit, pineapple, mango, papaya and of course fresh coconut!

Lazy Cats Cafe, Central Ubud

But, I had no idea about the foodie scene which was so diverse and electric. I mean, where else can you find traditional Balinese alongside funky Japanese inspired sushi? Bali reminded me in many ways of Thailand, but the food scene had been given a lick of paint almost. Everything was fresh and had inspiration from all over the world. No word of a lie, I was in food heaven most days.

Sol Bowl @ Seeds of Life, Ubud
There’s the raw and organic side. I had researched a lot about the health scene in Bali – as it always got recommended as a whole food kind of place. My lust for a healthier lifestyle never dwells, and what I found in both Ubud and Seminyak was just delicious. Pure, organic and wholesome. The encouraging part of this was that the cafes were booming with people – locals, gap year students and tourists descended on the cool spots to grab lunch and read a book. So, so underrated back home.

The final piece of the Bali dream for me was the spirituality. I cannot even begin to describe how I felt when I reached Pura Ulun Danu Bratan – all the feels. Something passed over me, and out of all of my landmark travels, this was the one that meant the most to me. 


Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Liberty Dreamin'

I don’t know any girl growing up who wasn’t into Barbie, my group of playground pals loved her, and so did I. I brushed her perfect blonde locks, dressed her in my favourite pint-sized outfits, and played her life out for her. Basically, I grew up in the 90s, I think it was only a right of passage to idolise Barbie at some point...

Twenty-something years later in a New York gift shop on Liberty Island I found myself venturing over to the novelties when I came face to face with my childhood hero. An immaculate and empowering display of Limited Edition Liberty Barbie dolls. I couldn't help but hide the excitement, and pure joy at finding such treasure.

It was the same magnetism I felt towards many childhood character of mine, I was one hundred and ten percent infatuated with this doll. So, there was no question of doubt that Barbie was coming home across the pond with me.

Only in New York there’s a certain kind of magic that allows a grown-up woman to buy a Barbie doll.

When I was younger there was one friend of mine who would receive a Barbie doll every year without fail since birth from her parents. I fell in love with the idea, and always stored it as a sweet memory. Maybe, I might pass Liberty on as a gift one day to my little one (if she's a girl), but for now she's all mine.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Taking Maternity Leave

at 32 weeks.

The most beautiful flowers from my work colleagues.
I left work for Maternity Leave on friday at 32 weeks pregnant. This was a decision myself and my husband had reached early on in my pregnancy. Commuting two hours a day was a struggle that began early on in my first trimester. I remember waking up with morning sickness, and willing myself not to be sick the entire journey to work. It’s almost laughable now, but at the time force-feeding myself custard cream biscuits at 6 am in the morning was a challenge.

Then the latter, the final few weeks came the panic and stress of making it home without wetting myself, of course there was a traffic jam just when I needed the loo the most. Cue becoming a regular at the services.
So, leaving work is a funny one. Because, when you are in an established 42-hour routine, suddenly, I have ALL the time. But, I’m sure all expectant mothers experience this at some point leading up to giving birth.

But, how about this:

I’ve definitely got a least 10,000 travel photographs to sort and edit.

And those blog posts I always wanted to write, but never got around to.

Also, that dusty K-Mix that hasn’t been used since… forever.

Those recipe books that I once poured my heart into reading.

And of course, that camera I once took everywhere with me.

It’s a funny one. It’s not unemployment, not a summer holiday, not an endless amount of inset days… rather a completely unknown.

But, I’m ready to sit down. Soak up all the baby love that consumes me every single day. And enjoy the final 8 weeks (who knows if we might get a Christmas/New Year baby), but I know that right now, it’s time to adjust and delve back into the hobbies I once loved. 

Monday, 23 October 2017

Pregnancy Truths, Anxiety, Love & Maternity Leave

Well hello 29 weeks. Let me tell you one thing I have learnt… that your pregnancy to everybody else will seem like the quickest thing ever, but when you are pregnant it is the slowest thing ever. I feel as if I have been pregnant forever! Pregnancy has confirmed I am truly an impatient person.

But, let’s remember that although it might seem a long time to me, I haven’t sat down and poured my thoughts out in a blog post since the beginning of this journey. Post-Bali, blessed with happiness, and feeling totally wholesome.

Physically – everything has changed. Now my body is no stranger to change, and I truly believe the non-existent stretch marks are due to my weight loss 5 years ago. Basically, there was extra skin from when I was much bigger, so my stomach already had some ‘give.’ But gosh, the belly. Now, I know it’s so cliché to say this, but I don’t think I ever grasped how slim I was pre-pregnancy. I look at photos from this YEAR – ahem New York City and look unrecognisable. Yet at the time I never felt that confident in my body shape.

But, that’s where the beauty of pregnancy lies. Because, since I became pregnant all those insecurities and worries I carried with me, were left behind when I saw the positive line on the pregnancy test. Strangely, I have felt the most confident in my body and appearance – I am in love with my bump!

I remember one evening brushing through my hair and realising suddenly, my hair had gone crazy. Like super shiny, natural wavy, thick and bouncy. I was amazed. Was this the blooming all my pregnancy books had told me about?

My skin and complexion has been great too – I’ve spent more days without make-up than wearing make-up. It’s a hormone surge and I know it’s made me realise that there is far more beauty in natural beauty.

But, then there’s the anxiety. I have struggled with anxiety a lot though this pregnancy, due to various circumstances I have been battling those niggling worries. It really is a bonkers thing – being pregnant and I’m going to admit it’s sent me a little crazy. In the sense, that I snap at everything, I have no patience for anyone or anything, I can laugh so loud people think I am going to wet myself, then the next minute feel at an ultimate low.

This is the time in my life I wish someone had prepared me for. Because, every day is full of worry. Combining a full-time job, with a long commute has basically tipped me over. (I’m a 28-year old professional woman and have now cried at work at least a dozen times IN FRONT of everyone). But, my maternity leave is on the horizon and I know by the time I leave work, I will insanely miss it.

Although my belly and brain may well be on another planet, my love has remained sincere. Every single day I feel a surge of love for the tiny baby inside of me right now, every kick and movement makes me fall deeper and deeper in love.

The next 11 weeks may see a long way away, but because this baby’s arrival is right at the start of the New Year, it kind of means we have Christmas first. Hurrah. So, I reckon baking, wrapping, shopping and eating are going to keep me occupied for the final stretch.


Monday, 24 July 2017

Dear Tiffany...

I recently found myself buying a black coffee and croissant on my way towards your flagship store on Fifth Avenue. Of course it was no coincidence, I was emulating a moment I had dreamt of since I saw the first fifteen seconds of Breakfast at Tiffany's over 15 years ago.

When I approached Tiffany’s my coffee had spilled onto my dress and my croissant was stone cold, but that didn't matter as I had finally arrived at the window I had visualised my entire life.

The glorious New York sunshine shone down on your shop front, I couldn't help but find myself gazing into your windows, as my husband became my photographer, chaperone, and partner in crime. My very own Fred.  

There is nothing quite as iconic as Breakfast at Tiffany's, like Hepburn had taught me ‘nothing very bad could happen to you there.

As I entered the store, I dug out my copy of Truman Capote’s novel and proudly tucked it under my arm. I'd arrived at Tiffany's and couldn't be more happier.

As we entered the lift we were greeted by a huge smile from the chaperone as he saw my book he showed excitement. As the elevator door opened I couldn't help but find myself browsing your much-loved collections.

And then a welcoming voice asked if I would like any help, as I approached there was a sincere ‘wow, you wore Tiffany blue just for us!’ I blushed as the other assistants all looked round and smiled.

Return To Tiffany Bead Bracelet 
As you probably know, a girl can't really visit Tiffany's without leaving with a little something. I chose a bracelet with a tiny blue heart, to add to my Return to collection.

As we were approaching the exit I was drawn towards the iconic Hepburn photograph and letter she had written to you. I felt a huge overwhelming sense of admiration and sadness for the legacy Audrey had left behind.

As we left, I turned around and smiled because I had had the best time in Tiffany's (Golightly was damn right). 


Wednesday, 5 July 2017

The biggest adventure. I’m pregnant.

Once upon a time I fell head over heels in love with Asia and never looked back. I fell madly in love with the world, devoured every tropical fruit on the land and never looked back. There were so many highs: arriving in sun-drenched Fiji as a newly-wed, bathing an elephant in the rain in Chiang Mai, wandering around the streets of Hoi An in my own little picture-perfect story, flying to New York all by myself and living out my own version of Eat, Pray and Love in Ubud. Of course.

Whilst I lived for ‘the moment’ – the moment I returned home I felt absolutely drenched in regret. Because each time I wanted more. More travel, more stamps in my passport and all the time beating myself up that I hadn’t found what I was looking for.

Bali had been etched in my heart for years, drawn up on a bucket list compiled on the final leg of our 2014 honeymoon in Los Angeles three years earlier. I always had my heart set on this one. Well, my feeling was right. Because twelve days in beautiful Indonesia, was everything I had dreamt of. It felt grown up, and adult. All those trips before this one, had aided the knowledge of stepping foot into a completely different culture. Bali was magical, raw, authentic and just so beautiful. A real peace keeper, up-lifter and healer.

The moment I realised this was more than just a feeling, this was much bigger, was when we reached Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, arriving after being caught in a typical tropical storm, most of the day was gone, but we had got there, despite having to shelter underneath a tree, and riding miles on a scooter, we made it.

As we entered the park, and caught sight of the Temple, I felt butterflies in my tummy. This wasn’t just another tourist spot, this was more. When we got close, I remember being speechless and just absorbing the beauty in front of me. I counted each pillar with my finger, and then took some photographs on my camera. But, within seconds the sky suddenly changed, and the biggest rain cloud and mist drowned the backdrop. It was both surreal and eerie. This was real. I felt the most alive I had ever felt, this was NOW and I honestly believe that was the moment it hit me…

I’d found what I was looking for. 

I’d waited so long for this, naïve me believed it would have come on my honeymoon at sunset, or perhaps trekking in Thailand, or stood in-front of Tiffany’s in New York channelling Audrey, or swimming in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland, but it turns out all those times had contributed to this point. But, had only ever touched the service. Up until this point they had all become somewhat void.

When we arrived home in late April, the jet lag was fierce. But, something happened. I didn’t feel the same pain I had felt so many times before about wanting more, wanting to travel to another destination. I had overcome my own selfish attitude to life.
Maybe, just maybe Bali had changed my perspective on my own life. And all that desire had finally been let free.

A few weeks back into work, I felt an incredible tiredness, but I still put it down to jet lag. It felt as if it could have been a long overdue period. But, my period didn’t come that month…

The shock and numbness when I took a pregnancy test one Friday night and saw a positive on the digital display was sheer disbelief.  I had never believed it would be an eventuality one day.

When I began looking at dates and visited my doctor, the maths added up, it all pointed to one place… Bali. That moment when I stood in front of Pura Ulun Danu Bratan and the eternal happiness had washed over me, was now something SO much bigger, much clearer.
But, there it is. The proof that I have been searching for my entire life, all twenty-eight years… that dreams do exist. That they can surprise you even when you think you’ve used up all your dreams and you still want more.

I never knew how I would really feel about becoming pregnant. But, in a heartbeat, everything changed. I realised that life is far greater and precious than we know.

This is truly the next chapter... 

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Bali, falling in love with you.

I had spent years researching Bali as a destination to visit and longed to visit the island of Indonesia one day.  I knew it was only a matter of time before my heart intervened and took me to another part of Asia.

I had imagined a place: sun drenched, tropical, spiritual, and full of healthy food. Well let me know tell you this… I was so entirely wrong. Bali was all of the above, but so much more. I feel naïve to have just presumed that I would have found this. Bali was full of surprises at every single corner, I feel overdosed on travel love right now for a place just so, so very beautiful. 

Travel always manages to capture my heart unknowingly, with every adventure I take the greater the hunger and desire to see the whole world becomes. I remember declaring to my husband how I had broken my own record for falling in love in less than twelve hours of being on the island.

I am a dreamer, there is no denying that. But, something about Bali felt incredibly grown up and responsible. I’d chosen this destination, I'd saved hard for this trip and all my gut instincts about Ubud and beyond were so incredibly close to how I'd hoped I'd feel when I was there.

Thailand two years ago first gave me a glimpse of a life I then could only dare imagine, an intrigue and glimmer of something far magical. It's true travel pulls at my heart strings, the desire grows and the love for culture blossoms.

I know a two-week trip to Bali is not a story of ever after. I am only the same woman, in the same life I was before. But, what if this trip is the one that sets the seeds for the future? And all of those dreams, that have been so unsettled for years can now become the focus of my life.

If there is a dream stored deep inside of you, the only way to ever settle it is to unravel it piece by piece until you find the clues you are looking for. Maybe the answer isn't inside of you, it wouldn't be that easy.

All I know now is that, Bali has restored my faith in finding that destiny, which haunts me every single day. 


Tuesday, 11 April 2017

I'm going to Bali. Today.

I know there is one thing in this world that drives my ambition more than anything else. My passion to travel is one attribute in my life I have carved out entirely myself. I used to fear travel, but then I jumped into the complete unknown and started believing in challenging myself. It felt the most exhilarating feeling.
When I travelled to Thailand, my entire life changed right in front of me…
I followed my dream to write, quit my job and took a different role 100 miles away, I stopped obsessing over my weight and I fell in love with a whole different me. I loved the girl who came back from Thailand.

I try every day, to bring that part of me out in my personality, the raw ambition, the genuine desire and the love for culture so rich and nourishing. Some days it shines brighter than others, but it’s still there deep inside.   

Going to Bali was inevitable one day. I began researching Ubud some years ago when I first starting my weight loss journey. It kept popping up as a topic of conversation, and of course I fell head over heels in love with the idea of visiting Bali around the release of Eat Pray Love. (Rome and India still firmly on the bucket list too, just saying).

What do I want to find in Bali?
Tropical fruit, every kind, every variety. That’s a given.
But I want to find time. Time to enjoy my surroundings, my marriage, my fitness. Maybe along the way my truest ambitions might just service again.

I promise to give it my everything, because that’s the thing with travel – it’s such a rare occurrence in our mundane lives. It’s magical, rare and so so beautiful. 
See you soon.


Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Oh, Carrie. Why are our dreams so real?

Usually when it comes to travel, I have it planned via months of endlessly Pinning and trawling through guide book after guide book.  But given the true spontaneity of my trip to New York last week, I left for the airport with a case full of mix-matched clothes, a notepad full of work memos and a wallet of pounds not dollars. I figured I’d figure out the rest when I arrived.

As I left for the airport, I remember calling my Mum and exclaiming how unorganised I was – and she just replied:
 ‘Think like Carrie’.
And that was it, a reference to my youth. Carrie Bradshaw was my absolute hero in my teens. There is no denying I was absolutely obsessed with Sex and the City. It was all that played on repeat on my television set...  

So, Carrie’s apartment was a life-long must see. Now, true to location Carrie’s apartment is located on 66 Perry Street. I’ve got to admit, as soon as we were nearing the Grenwhich neighbourhood I felt an overwhelming sense of familiarity. I couldn’t help but gaze around at the locals, drinking coffee, going about their normal days.

It turns out after 19 years since the first episode of SATC broadcast it’s not just me who still fangirls over Carrie Bradshaw. The true giveaway came when I spotted a group of girls outside a doorway. Definitely not just me. The fashionista in me couldn’t resist a photo a la Carrie – just for those seconds breathing in the NY air, wearing an over-sized corsage, pink skirt and gazing into my own fairy-tale...

A doorway might not seem a big deal, the actual set was studio based … but the fact Sarah Jessica Parker had stood there, and that doorway had been featured in SO many scenes was enough to make my heart warm.  

Now, basing your entire vision of a city around a television program may seem unfair. But, standing on the steps of New York Public Library a few days earlier, where Carrie never got married, instead jilted by Big, felt real. I remember thinking GOSH, what a place to get married. If, only...

Travel makes you think, not only about your own future, but your past. It lets you process all your dreams at once...
My dream, for as long as I can remember has been to write

A couple of weeks ago I found myself in a situation at work, which transpired into me declaring I no longer wanted to ‘write’ – now let’s face it, that was a barefaced lie – said in the heat of the moment. And, I think my boss saw the lie written all over my face.

As each day passed in New York, I figured the truth was the same truth it always has been, right from my first journal entry. I want to write.

Surely if there was any place better to realise a real dream. It must be New York? Right.


Sunday, 26 February 2017

Why all my dreams came true in New York City.

I’d always romanticised with the idea of visiting New York City, but never dared imagine it. In my teens, it was a faraway dream and in my early twenties, I was so engrossed in travelling to Asia and back, it was always reserved on my bucket list. But, that’s the thing with bucket lists – if you sincerely dream of a place, then you must do your upmost best to visit, are they really only for reserving for milestones?
An Empire State of View
This trip was very much a surprise – my husband took it upon himself to surprise me just after Valentines. I found out I was going to New York with less than 48 hours until my flight. My ambition for a while now has been to fly alone, I guess from being around so many travellers, you gain a sense of aspiration towards the lifestyle.
So, there was one condition … I had to get to New York entirely by myself. One taxi, train, and flight later I was waiting anticipating my husband’s arrival at Newark airport. As soon as I caught sight of him, I ran towards him with the biggest smile upon my face, I proclaimed how happy I was that I had done it. Now, let’s get this straight I hadn’t done anything out of the ordinary for most people, but to me – this was completely a moment I had dreamed of. I had travelled entirely alone and arrived in another country by myself and it felt brave.
Next stop. New York City.
My first glimpse of The Big Apple was through the train window, eagerly anticipating the skylines and warmth of a city famed for its humongous warmth and love. We took our first yellow cab to our hotel on route and there it was… The Empire State Building. It was like a figure in the distance, I was a little bit in awe, overcome with sudden infatuation.
A quiet evening settling in and soaking up the jet lag, I knew this was only just the beginning. It felt so different to anywhere I had ever travelled to before, but I couldn’t sum up why. I went to bed with a heart full of dreams and woke with true excitement for days ahead filled with exploring, walking and spending time in such a famed place.
Now, I’ve got to admit that I am most probably a cliché. Because, I went to New York and fell in love with the coffee, the pancakes, the mac and cheese, and of course the architecture. I had a picnic in Central Park, walked across Brooklyn Bridge, gazed up at the Statue of Liberty, got drunk in a bar, went shopping in Bloomingdales, stood in Times Square and so forth. You must get the picture by now… I did ALL the things that millions before me and millions after me will.
But, that’s the whole point that I think I finally grasped about travel. It’s a pretty amazing thing, the opportunity to visit places alien to us in the sense that we’ve never experienced before.
It’s true, all my dreams DID come true in New York, and I guess that’s the truest gift I will take from this trip. I finally realised that dreams can come true at any time, in any place. They can come true once, twice, three times. Dreams don’t have to be put onto a list to be possible. Because, if you can dream it… then it is possible.

I know New York City has most definitely opened my heart up to possibility.
Life is full of them.


Monday, 6 February 2017

The Truth about Food.

Why is it when you are not looking for the truth, it will confront you when you least expect it...

Whilst rummaging through an old box of belongings I’d brought with me from our old house, I found an old smartphone I’d used before I got married. The vibrant purple exterior showed off my girly side. But, is it ever a good time to turn on an old mobile device?

Most people probably cringe reading back old text messages to lovers. The texts that were left in this inbox were nothing out of the ordinary, girly dates and back to planning my wedding circa 2013-2014.

As I flicked through the apps, and gazed at my unchanged wallpaper (the ever-enchanting Eiffel Towel snapped in 2012) – I clicked onto the gallery, ready to laugh at the things I photographed (before the days of my iPhone and Instagram).  

What I found was ugly.

There were months and months’ worth of daily snaps, each taken of myself in the mirror. Wide-eyed and endlessly staring at my reflection – lifeless, unrecognisable and empty. From changing rooms, to my old bedroom – the same pose, the same gaunt frame, the same ghost of the past…

So, here’s the truth. When I lost weight in 2013 – the year before my wedding, I stopped eating properly, over-exercised and became obsessed with my weight.

I was never diagnosed with an eating disorder clinically, nor did I fall so ill I was seen by a professional – but just looking at these photographs, I wonder if there was something much deeper that none of us realised at the time, myself included.

As soon as I’d seen these photographs again – I remembered the time in my life vividly, exactly what I was doing – taking on one unfulfilled job after another, trying to prepare for the biggest day of my life, and trying to get fit and turn my life around. But, did it have to be this way?

Would have I still managed to run a marathon, get married and find a job I enjoy without the painstakingly hunger and struggle?

I guess I will never know the answer to that nor will I never know what would have happened – if my obsession with losing weight had transpired any further. I know that some days I have flashes of regret, and moments of clarity when I realise how far I’ve come.

I came back fighting, and began seeing food completely differently, started enjoying life and quit obsessing over the number on the scale. I took a job which revolves around food, and fell in love with not just ingredients, but fresh produce at its best. 

I turned off the phone for one last time. And then picked up my iPhone. It’s safe to say, this girl >>> has a passion, a purpose and yes… more weight than she did before.

I think if anything this is a fierce reminder for anyone going through a tough time. I was lucky, I came out of the other side. Stronger, wiser and braver.

But, it really can happen to any one of us. 
Stay brave. 

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Seeing it without the rose tint.

My desire to travel only grows with every adventure I take. If I had never travelled to Thailand, I would have never grasped the ability to believe in possibility. Travel is surprising, charming and utterly irreplaceable.

When we drew up our wedding plans three years ago, I was asked the question: Where do you want to go on honeymoon? Well, I replied simply with: somewhere tropical. And that was it… Fiji was chosen.
We saved hard and got hitched in the May of 2014 – when we left England to embark on our honeymoon I truly didn’t know what to expect.

Fiji, was every part perfect. Sun drenched, tropical and so beautiful. We stayed at a luxury resort, which was well maintained. I couldn’t pick fault at our stay there - 7 nights of bliss. True romantic, honeymoon style, bliss.

But, the journey back to the airport – left an unanswered question. As we passed through the outskirts of town, I was absolutely blown away by the hustle and bustle of the streets, the open-door ways and small town restaurants, the locals going about their normal lives, a glimpse at the most enlightening temple. I had spent seven lovely nights dining at my hotel – if only I had dared to explore…

What I realised that there was SO much more out there. Take away the bliss, there is far greater stories out there. Real people, real heartache, real love, real culture.
It’s hard to describe exactly what I see in a destination, but I can’t help but dream of seeing the world without the rose-tinted glasses, without the luxuries we are so quick to choose (myself included).

From then on in, nothing phased me.
I remember stepping foot into the old souks in Marrakesh, surrounded by swarms of people. Every part of Vietnam was a different page of a book, one moment stuck between traffic in Hanoi to buying local fruit from a street seller.

What I’ve learnt is that my desire to travel is far greater than anything else. To meet people, to eat incredible food and to learn more about the world. 

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