Inspiration Explanation 

(Please note before reading, that a lot of this was very hard to write, but it has helped me heal – skip on if you find paragraphs hard to read. Thank you xxx)

You are an inspiration. 

Since the biggest challenge of our lives, Haydn and I have heard this phrase from friends, relatives and people who we don’t really know who we’ve inspired in some way. I never really know how to respond, except to say I am glad and that I hope this helps you in your journey through life!

The hurdles we have scraped over in the seven 1/2  years we have been together have been tough, but we have always supported each other and kept pushing through the shit storm thrown in our general direction.

From my near death experience 11 months into our relationship through peritonitis, being told we couldn’t have kids then successfully conceiving without trying, to losing our little miracle before we could meet her properly. Then moving to America so Haydn could persue his career in DDPYoga. Who knows what’s next! (You’ve probably gathered we don’t do things by half measures…)

I guess the big thing is the fact that through all of this we have remained positive, even in our darkest hours. Our vision since losing Rey has been to spread the positivity she left us and to let it blossom. We didn’t meet our girl with cries and nappy changes (I was actually so excited by it) but I know the legacy she has left us means she is still by our sides and having an effect on the world.

We made the most out of every last moment we could experience with her – going on a “family” Christmas holiday to Hamburg whilst the kicks were still happening, reading George’s Marvellous Medicine in utero, taking advantage of seeing her on scans – my favorite was seeing her make a swipe for an amniotic needle!

We were even there for her after death and were determine to be the best parents we could be. After I gave birth, I got to hold her straight away, Haydn cut the cord. We had cuddles aplenty, and even got to bathe her. The hospital was amazing. There was a cold cot which meant we could stay with her overnight and we had breakfast in the morning with our girl in between us!

Every day we visited Rey, the hospital chaplain had her laid out ready for daily visits where we would tell stories to her about ourselves, relatives, aunties and uncles through friendship! I would sing her songs and Haydn would always read to her. We continued to do this for the two weeks before her funeral.

This was a big deal for us. Many parents don’t want to be involved with organizing their child’s funeral, but it was possibly the best decision we made. We organized every little detail. From the order of service, to the flowers, to the songs, the prayers, Rey’s coffin, her little dress we had made. My girl was tall for 24 weeks old, and she didn’t fit any of the premmy clothing at the hospital. So we had her dress made. She wore a blue and purple kimono made from the fabric left from my wedding dress. She even had little blue booties with mini pearls on the end. It was perfect.

The funeral directors told us that the funerals they remember are the ones where the family goes that extra mile to make it special and we put in plenty of mileage! The hardest. It was working out what to do with Rey’s ashes after. I know many mums experience aching arm syndrome, so we asked a seamstress to make a little heart pouch for us. This was to be put in “ReyBear” who was one of her teddies nana walden gave her. We had a little zip sewn in the back of ReyBear and that’s where she now lives. Because of this, the funeral directors now offers this service for stillborn/latemiscarrige/miscarriage parents.

Some people call us inspirations, but  in truth, all of our inspiration comes from Rey.

And with this, I hope you; my valued readers understand the blogs title – Adventures on a Rey of Light.

She is that beam of light we travel on, and it may have taken me a few months to gather the courage to finish this post, I now look forward to sharing many more adventures with you that are in the planning!

Much love to you all

Laura xXx


Distance made shorter

Hi everyone! I know it’s been a while since I blogged, there will be more soon. This one needed to come out today, and I think it will help lots of other expats living abroad.

Today was a little surreal and it’s hard to write and necessarily understand, but go with it….

This September, whilst I’m living in America, my dearest Auntie Mary died peacefully during a nap, and today was her funeral in the UK. We couldn’t afford the flights back for the funeral, but thanks to modern technology and an awesome family, I joined the congregation through FaceTime. I thought it would be weird at first, but my cousin’s wife really wanted me to be there too, and I’m so glad I was able to sort of be there 😊. I’m sure some people thought it was weird, but it felt right. And it felt great seeing my family together. If you find yourself unable to attend a family members funeral – I can highly suggest doing this!

Auntie Mary was a driving force in our family and she has been there for me in more ways than I can think of. She was so loving towards me all through my childhood, into teenage hood and into adult hood. There is stuff I shared with her as a teenager, that I would never share with my mum! I would sometimes catch the bus and come in for a cuppa just to see her and Uncle Gar, and catch up – there was always time for you and she would always make sure I’d eat! I’m so glad she got to see me marry the love of my life and  I know she would be so pleased that we have done some of the incredible things we have been able to do and will continue to do.

Uncle Gar, Chris, Andy, John, Paul, Sarah, mum, dad – love you guys to the moon and back xxxxxxx

Reigniting the Creative Spark

I’ve lost a lot of my passion for music – well at least for teaching it. Some of my students were fab, but I know I no longer want to be pulling 50 hour teaching weeks like I was in the UK. It drained me! So with our new adventure starting in America, I thought it was high time to express myself creatively via art class – and I’m so glad I did! 

I met some lovely ladies on the course, all with different backgrounds and ideas for their projects. Over a seven week course we would start to bond  over brushes and canvases, and it was marvellous. Our teacher, Emma helped us with all the little challenges we faced and gave me the confidence to put those colours on.

Here is my finished project- Durdle Door from the Jurassic Coast in Dorset, England. I used acrylic paints. 

The value of art as a therapy is second to none. It really helped me deal with a lot of the raw grief I experienced from our loss of Rey and relit my passion for creating. Whilst we don’t have a huge income, I’ve taken up sketching in the mean time. I haven’t done “art stuff” since I was 16, and I am so glad to have rediscovered this vent for creativity! Maybe this is something I should have kept up a long time ago and should keep doing for a long time to come! 

Art is something you breathe- with a different kind of happiness

(Here is the collection of pictures week by week as my painting grew!)

No political opinions are in this blog! 

I’ve voted. I’ve voted in the UK election from over the ocean. I’ve voted because I have the right to vote thanks to efforts of the suffragettes 104 odd years ago. I remember as a 10 year old learning about the sacrifices these women made in order to give us future generations a say in politics. It resonated so deeply with me, that I have voted since I was old enough. In fact it was 104 years ago to this very day that Emily Davidson died fighting for the women’s vote.

After the brexit vote, I was astonished to hear that so few of the population had taken the opportunity – and there were many people I knew! And many had the excuse of “I couldn’t find the time, I was too busy, I was working”. Gaaaaaaahhhhh!  

So with this thought in mind, I want to highlight to people that they can vote by proxy – it’s easy! You nominate someone else you trust to cast your vote in the way you see fit.  You can sort it on your phone! You don’t have to even leave the house! You don’t even need to leave the couch! 

But is it too late?


We had to sort out ours a few weeks back, but we did it. SO SORT IT NOW!

In the words of the Beastie Boys, “You’ve gotta fight for your Right!” Now Go and Vote!

The BEST Way to Wake Up…

…Is a video conversation with your best friend to learn that her scan results for cancer shows it’s gone! 
“All clear” are perhaps the two best words we had hoped to hear for quite a while. All I wanted to do is give her the biggest hug in the world, but unfortunately a whole ocean separates us at present! The last time I saw this gorgeous lady, was the most emotional goodbye for both Haydn and I, because we so desperately wanted to be there for her, Russ and the kids throughout the experience. When we lived in Bognor, the 60 mile drive was a pain, but at least it was doable – now that is not an option. 

In this generation with the dawn of Face Time, Messenger video, emoticons and gifs to get our messages across, this has made the distance much easier. 

I have been so inspired by Lindsay’s bravery, and strength, and ability to deal with the most horrid of situations. I especially, have learnt so much from her. It’s true! Life throws curve balls (sometimes several at you all at once – in different directions!). In the last year, seeing all the personal battles that us, and many of our friends have endured, I feel we are all so much stronger than we were! We survived the darkest of days and at the end of it all, can still laugh, still enjoy what we have, and look ahead to a brighter future.

It’s easy to look back negatively and question why certain things happen to certain people: 

The “why me?”

“Why us?”


Is it because we are strong enough to cope in tough situations? Perhaps in the face of adversity, some of us are more equipped emotionally than others. Maybe those we consider “lucky” who don’t endure it are possibly incapable of dealing with a rubbish deck of cards, so don’t get dealt them. Maybe we are being tested…. who knows right? 

I’ve learnt NONE of these questions provide answers and IT DOESN’T MATTER. What matters is although we can’t always prevent situations we are put into, INSTEAD we can respond in ways that then determine our outcomes.

Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.

Accepting and overcoming these challenges we face, makes us appreciate the good that follows. But it is exhausting. It takes everything out of you and can wear you down to the ground. BUT you must just get on with it. When Lindsay and I spoke about initial reactions you have, it’s hard because you have to just get through it. For her it was making sure she survived so she could be here for her gorgeous family. You just have to keep going forward and push through.

She knew it was going to be a challenge, fuck it, a full on mountain to conquer but she showed super resilience and emotional strength to push through. I can’t imagine the constant pain she went through during chemo. For sure, Lindsay is probably the strongest woman I know! 

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

We love you Lindsay! Xxx

I’ll just grab my hiking boots…

I have learned today that mountains in Georgia, are not necessarily mountains – more like hills! We spent a glorious Sunday afternoon with the Russells and Garett, hiking up Kennesaw Mountain, taking the trail from the visitor centre. It was quite a busy Saturday afternoon, but the weather and company were exceptional! 

Whilst getting parked, we were caught off guard by an unexpected b-b-bang! Obviously for us brits not really used to gunfire, we automatically assumed someone had a shot a gun. Thankfully it was a canon demonstration and reenactment taking place in the lower field. They had gentlemen dressed in civil war attire, looking like they were having a jolly, good time!

Garett led the way up the hill through the laid pavement, then onto the trail. It was quite steep in places, and both haydn and I were huffing and puffing, realising we were out of practice. The last time we did a serious walk was before I was pregnant. But at least we weren’t carrying extra baggage – poor Ronnie was carrying Ana in her new baby sack, complete with canopy – this girl is a fashionista and she doesn’t even know it yet! 

It works out that the trek is only about a mile up, but the incline does make it feel longer. However what struck me especially was the friendliness of everyone, and all the kids had great manners. Everyone says hi as they pass you, even the joggers and runners.

We got to the top and after many photos, finally settled for a while. It was perfectly stunning. The Ariel view was magnificent to observe and we could clearly see the Atlanta skyline, which was a first for us.

There were a couple of birds of prey making their presence known. One was a hawk circling around to the right of us, and he seemed fine with the sheer number of people hiking that day. So confident in fact that he landed in the tree that sheltered us from the sun. He was so close! It soon became clear his intentions were not so friendly as he made his way closer to a nest. All I can say is he’s a bird of prey – what he was doing kind of goes with his title. None the less it was a stunning bird, and I am so grateful that we witnessed him up close.

One thing we really like to do is breathe in all the beauty around us. I love being filled with the beauty of things – from birds of prey, to the city sky scrapers and beyond. This is something Rey certainly left us with was to be appreciative of the world around us. It’s lovely to pause and take note and reflect – it gives like so much more value.
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” — Maya Angelou

Beauty is all around us so be present in the moment and be happy – Anne Frank 

An evening with the Dames

One Friday, we abandoned date night for some prime time with our genders! Haydn went on a lads dinner out, I went for my first night out with the ladies affectionately known as the ThunderDames! So the title kind of makes us sound like a bunch of warrior super heroes to me, but the name in fact has origins of a completely different nature. The Thunder Dome is a hub in Atlanta for up and coming film directors and editors alike, where this little clan of guys live, work and breathe film 24/7 with every intention of bettering themselves so they can get further in their careers. 

The place has been alive now for quite a few years and the men eventually got girlfriends and wives, but still held a strong relationship with the Thunder Dome and the new generations coming through its doors. The ladies would come along to these events and could see the commeraderie of the brotherhood, so the idea was thrown about of the possibility of having a sisterhood evening every so often. And there the Thunder Dames idea was born!

My lovely friend, Lanae hosted the evening with around 8 of us attending. We had plenty of pizza, snacks and wine to go around in this makeshift cinema. The conversation was flowing and it was refreshing to discuss the arts and life in general with new faces.

This first official night focused on a film called the Secret Life of Bees. I assumed this would be a documentary with a title like that…but it wasn’t in the slightest! The film focused on a girl (Lily) who accidentally killed her mother when she was 4. She struggles with the guilt and decides to run away to a honey producers. I’m not going to give you the whole synopsis, but so you have get the concept, it takes you through her life and emotional struggles as she strives to be a stronger woman. 

“People who think dying is the worst thing don’t know a thing about life.”

This notion resonated deeply with me, as being strong is something I feel I must be a lot of the time. The film shows that regardless of how strong a woman you feel you must be, you don’t have to hold back your emotions, you can be open, you can talk, you can cry you can release and should be able to feel safe in showing this side. I do this most days, and I always feel better for doing it!

I really recommend you watching the film or buying the book, as it is so powerful and has a really sweet message. We all cried! I loved that at the end we discussed at length how in some way at least one of the characters resonated with us personally, and that it felt comforting to observe how they handled the situations. The characters have fine individual stories which bind them together in the most unlikely of ways and you can certainly find one that you can relate to as well! 

With Rey in our hearts always and forever xxxx

A Taste of Marietta 

As we had the parents over from the UK, we wanted to fit in some local cultural activities. Fortunately the annual event, A Taste of Marietta was taking place on that weekend, and I thought this would be great for them to experience some American style foods and music.

Tents lined the square, offering all sorts of delicious delicacies for you to try ranging from $1-$5. Different restaurants and eating establishments from the loacal area provided the food, from Taqueria Tsunami to The Freakin’ Inca, there were cuisines from all over the world, so we weren’t short on choice!
We made our way around the circuit first to check out what was on offer and also what was gluten free (we’ve been gf for just over four years now). This proved a little tricky as there were no signis to say what was allergy free, but after a little investigation we settled on a lovely dish called the cowboy stack from the Andretti Grill and it was beautiful! Pulled pork, spring onions on a sweet potato waffle. It was superb, I could have eaten many more! 
Being British, we just had to stop at the British Cornershop for supplies! The lady who runs the shop has been here for nearly 20 years! She was originally from Caernarfon, but she hasn’t been back for a long long time and had no intentions of it either. It was lovely to hear her accent, although, it was jumbled with a lot of American twang in between! So I stocked up on Ribena and thought long and hard about the Dairy Milk, but didn’t give in! 
Back on the square, we tried out some of the ice creams on offer, and Brusters Real Ice cream came up trumps. Their mint chocolate chip was simple, yet divine, and all of us were suitably full after with smiles on our faces afterwards. We are normally dairy free as well, so it was such a treat to have some proper ice cream. It reminded me of the Hampshire ice cream back in England. 

The parents loved the fact that there was music on all the time, and took a particular shine to the band, Men in Blues. They played an eccentric mix of songs from the 50s, 60s and beyond. People were toe tapping, head nodding, and dancing during the entertainment in the heat of the day. 
We had such a blast (as did the parents)! If you ever find yourself in Marietta at that time of year do go! It was a really well organised event, and it gave us a great education in what the local eateries have on offer.

The making of a music video – featuring Fozzys “Judas”

Canons, wolves, bunnies, clowns, confetti, a little dwarf dressed like one of the Blues Brothers, a guy on fire (WTF?!). These are just a few descriptors of the crazy yet simplistic shoot for Fozzys music video Judas.Nathan Mowery (director) and Chris Jericho reviewing one of the takes.
Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of the DDPYoga performance center, where much more than just DDPYoga happens! The center also turns into a studio where normally items for the DDPYoga Now app are filmed, but today it took on a different beast. 

Nathan who works in the production department was directing the shoot, and invited Haydn and I to come along and watch. This was going to be quite exciting as I’ve never been on a music video shoot before and it was so lovely to be a part of. 

Here is the link to the video Judas – it has had over 1 million YouTube views in its first week!

The concept was to have Chris Jericho the bands singer, in the center of the screen with a microphone being the main focus whilst a freaky circus scene takes place in the background. The beauty of this video is in Nathan’s execution of it as a director. The piece was deliberately filmed at half speed, with the band playing and singing along to the slow track, but their actions were normal. So once the video was at the songs original speed, the actions looked jittery and almost robotic /mechanical in places. It was to be shot in one whole take, so who knew how many run throughs there would be! 

We had the pleasure of even getting hands on in the process – shooting confetti canons after the bridge section and throwing streamers afterwards. That was fun! Nathan was so calm and positive as a director, so everyone contributing felt great around him. It was such a great atmosphere. The band were so friendly and down to earth, it was so nice to chat to them about all sorts of things. 

In one of the takes that didn’t make the final cut, Frank the drummer was unfortunately laden with streamers all over him and the kit, before you ask neither haydn or I were responsible for that – for a start I can’t throw that far! I think there were 3 takes in total, and as you can see in the video  The Making of Judas, there was a lot more going on behind the scenes. You can even spot me ready to fire my confetti canon!

Secret Bowling Skillzzzzzz

We finally got to book in some quality time with our marvellous U.S friends, the Russell’s for a night of bowling and arcade fun – I felt like I was 16 all over again! (except this time it wasn’t in some scabby smoke-filled basement known as Bournemouth Super Bowl (good times!)) 

The Russell’s vs the Walden’s (and yes I’m holding a kazoo I won!) 

We went to Bowlero up in Kennesaw, and it was the nicest, cleanest bowling ally I have had the pleasure of playing in. Haydn and I  totally recommend going there, because not only was  it well presented, but also the staff were polite and accommodating. The wait time for an alley was relatively short too. 
Now I’m rubbish at bowling and I know it, but I just love the quality time you get with your friends and the commeraderie it encourages! We were having a blast and the first game results were so-so, but we didn’t really care! The beers were flowing and for Haydn, the coffee was generously flowing too – the joys of being a designated driver. 

The second game starts and there is a distinct difference in the results… all we’re doing much better, but especially one person. So it turns out Haydn is pretty good at bowling! He is a man of many talents, but I was quite unaware for 7 years about this one! 

1st strike – yes well done! 2nd strike – that’s some good karma happening there… 3rd strike – what’s going on here? 4th strike- really? REALLY?! 

You get the idea. AND there were more strikes to follow this direction.

None of us had the foggiest idea of how this anomaly occurred, perhaps it was the copious amounts of caffeine in his system, who knows! BUT I am now sure if Haydn takes on another career change at any point , it should be as a pro bowler – I’m sure he would do pretty well at it! 

Such a bunch of fitties!