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?”

“WHY NOT THEM?”. 

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!

Erasing the Stigma

After Rey died and we were left without a baby and all the dreams we had made, we decided to create new dreams, and share our experiences with the world. I know not everyone would do what we have, but for us it was the right thing to do. Even though it’s been a short time, I am so glad that we have spoken aloud about our experiences with late miscarriage and infant loss. We have met some amazing people who have similarly gone through the pain we have . Some of these people have been so relieved that we have, that they now feel they can talk about their losses openly too! 

There is unfortunately a social stigma around being an Angel Parent. I don’t know what causes it, I don’t know why it is such a taboo. I do know that too many of us go through this horrendous experience, and feel isolated and withdrawn, because losing a baby is an “awkward topic”. So we chose to share our story for this stigma to disappear, because  talking about it helps us, the parents to deal with it. Also it hopefully helps others understand what we are going through, and to not feel awkward or unsure around us.

Being a U.K. Expat in the USA means that I have the joy of two mothers days. The American one is this month, and I’m not looking forward to it. But there are glimmers of society changing the stigma around. 

I fortunately got to watch this video for Mother’s Day featuring my gorgeous friend, Christina and what I love is that it encompasses us angel parents too into Mother’s Day!  Watching it warmed my heart and I actually felt like Mother’s Day can encompass us reguardless of whether our babies are with us physically or in our hearts.  Thank you Christina for sharing you experiences 😊

Fellow American and UK angel parents, we are thinking of you this Mother’s Day. Know that there is strength in our numbers! And if you ever want someone to talk to/listen/share experiences, Haydn and I are here for you. I’ve also put in a link to various charities below who you can contact. You are not alone! 

“No child and mother ever live apart. No matter the distance between them” 

With special floaty kisses for all our little angels xxxxxx

Pregnancy loss directory 

The Wrestlemaniacs

I know the blogs are a bit wrestling heavy currently – this is the last one of these for a while! 

I’m hooked! Shit! I never thought it possible! Experiencing Wrestlemania weekend was nuts – especially when you are with a group of mostly guys for the whole weekend, some of whom are obsessed with sports entertainment and WWE,  but nonetheless I love them, heck I married one didn’t I?! 

We have had so much exposure to the inner workings of wrestling this weekend. It has been non-stop. From the Hall of Fame, watching DDP get inducted [see the blog Diamond Hall of Fame], various after show parties, Project OM, Wrestlecon, Wrestlemania itself, and finally the Raw after Wrestlemania – that had to be my favourite event of the weekend.

Don’t get me wrong, Wrestlemania itself was insane!!!! We had awesome seats, the crowd was electric, all the stops had been pulled out and it was a real show stopping, jaw-dropping, body-popping extravaganza. But… I fell in love with the more intimate setting of Raw. It felt more personal, and as a punter, you felt you were part of the story. Much more so than when we watch it on the box at home.

I’ve watched enough wrestling thanks to seven fabulous years of being with Haydn, and heard booing of bad guys before, but not to the crazy extent we witnessed that night. I wanted to feel sorry for the sheer amount of booing Roman Reigns was getting, but I really couldn’t! It was fun!  I lost my voice! He played it out so well and the crowd lapped it up. Every time he put the mic to his mouth, the booing intensified. After what felt like 20 minutes, He mic bombed us with “this is my yard now” (the previous night he retired the veteran wrestler, the Undertaker – a heart breaking end to the show). What a start to Raw and he didn’t even wrestle! 

Instead we had a tag team match featuring my old teenage crush, Jeff Hardy, his brother Matt (I love the delete chant!) against Anderson and Gallows. We were seated near the entrance and I can’t believe I actually got to clasp his hand! (Giving myself a self high 5 for that one). The high flying moves were awe-inspiring and the showmanship was second to none. That was certainly my favourite match of the night.


Later on I even got to touch the Diva, Baileys hand too (sorry Garett) as she met everyone on the way to the ring. As a punter she comes across as so sweet and lovely that  she has my entire fan-girl support. Charlotte Flair however, is in a league of her own – not only did she have the coolest peacockesque robe, she is a force to be reckoned with. She might be playing a heel at the moment (for my friends who might not know that means the baddy), but she has everyone’s respect.

Now I know many of their names, but I’m not entirely kosher with the moves, so I’m not going to comment on my thoughts on the matches, apart from that they were all exhilarating, emotional and enthralling. My appreciation for sports entertainment has quadrupled since going to the wrestlemania weekend, and we were so lucky to hav

Next time we are in Orlando, if we are  going to be that close to Disney and Universal, we will actually be going there next time (husbands dream is fulfilled; mine next!)

With Rey always in our hearts wherever we go xxx