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. 





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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.

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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.


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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.


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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. 
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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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Sunday, 1 January 2017

2017… I can & I will.

New Year is always a difficult one to nail. This is the first year in almost a decade, I’ve not woken with insecurities and a desire to starve myself for the duration of January. It’s also a stark contrast to this time last year – when we were in the process of completing on a house sale. Life was so uncertain, scary and a little bit intimidating.

Beautiful Langkawi
2016 – was a tough old ride. I ran a marathon and went through hell and back to get to the finish line, but something deep inside of me kept me going for the four hours I was out on the road all alone.
We went back and forth with solicitors, but we finally completed on our house and moved to a new home in late April. Settling in took time, and renovations consumed a lot of energy during the autumn months, but we got there in the end.
Work was a massive leap into the unknown, I found myself suddenly embraced in a world I absolutely loved. I stepped foot into kitchen after kitchen, and met some pretty incredible chefs along the way. I was in absolute awe. It’s safe to say my love for fresh produce only grew.
I quit obsessing over my weight – and instead turned my energy into my writing, travel, food and photography.
2016 wasn’t perfect, far from it. But, what came out of it was a feeling of relief, that I got there in the end. I got to the finish line of the London Marathon, I got back to Asia - the place I love most in the whole world, I got to a point where I didn’t worry every single day about my appearance or appetite.
Small steps were made, and I began realising that maybe, just maybe this ride was a little bit more tangible.
That’s not to say my dreams ever dwindled. My experiences and inspiration grew, as did the hunger and passion which still ignites every time I sit down and write.
2017 – I can & I will.
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