Bali: Part One

Naively I had every intention of blogging my Bali trip as I went along but it was so jam packed that any down time was strictly for napping or full body massages.

So now I’ve been in Oz a while and more or less recovered from the Bali whirlwind, I’m playing catch up. Here’s part one:

Day 1: Arrived in Denpasar airport after a stopover in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. As you saw in my previous post the aeroplane food was pretty decent until the last leg when I had a Malaysian curry which wasnt too great and shrimp paste which they use alot in their foot smells SO bad! I went to sleep to avoid having to smell it!

Had to wait an age for my bag to come out and in the meantime I admired all the decorations in a sleepy daze. Eventually it made an appearance and I made my way out to arrivals to meet the driver.

Facing a sea of faces all holding name signs at varying heights would have been a challenge at the best of times but after being awake for well over 24 hours I could hardly face looking at another human being. I found the driver and we made our way to the car park. It was so hot and I was so out of it that I did not see a puddle and did a fairly impressive backward somersault which definitely woke me up. Silver linings.

Zig-zagging through the traffic, I took in Bali craziness as we ventured towards Canggu (prounouced changoo) where the Koa surfers hotel is tucked away. I couldn’t believe the driving, there’s four lanes of ever changing traffic across two actual marked lanes. No speed limit. No rules. Basically they drive where they want to drive and don’t slow down when the traffic ahead is slowing instead they find an alternative route. Dodging in and out and the bikes even going up on the pavement if necessary. It was madness!

When I finally made it to the hotel in a bit of a jetlagged daze, my roomate for the tour, Trish, had left a note saying she was at the pool and wouldn’t be back for a few hours so I could have an uninterrupted nap. Well I could have but for the life of me couldn’t fall asleep so after a few hours laying with my eyes closed I just gave up.

That evening, we went and waited on the rooftop and had a look around up there until some more people congregated and we all got to know each other.

A bit later we decided to head to the beach to go to a bar. In Bali, the typical going out procedure consists of pre-drinking outside a newsagents that also sells alcohol and much cheaper than the bars. By this point I was slightly delirious so didn’t need or want a drink but figured I’d go anyway and tire myself out so that I’d be able to sleep.

Though I was beyond tired it was a good time and we danced the night away right by the sea and under a full moon. It was a stunning spot.

Everyone looked like professional surfers and very tanned so I felt a little under dressed and dancing in the uneven sand is actually quite difficult lol. After a few hours we got bike taxis back to the hotel. When in Bali 😂 it cost the equivalent of about £2 and you could fit two people on the back so was a very economical travel choice. It was quite refreshing to feel the breeze and drive through the streets in the moonlight with dogs roaming in and out of houses and crickets singing all around us. We ordered room service pizza for so cheap and decided it would be a good idea to eat it on the roof. It was not! We got bitten to bits by mozzies!

The next day, the tour official started and we visited two temples Tanah Lot and Tamun Ayun. They were both very busy as multitudes of both tourists and local families were attending en mass to receive blessing and show gratitude to the Hindu gods. For a small price you could wash in the Holy Waters and receive a frangipani flower blessing, or if you wanted to you could visit the holy snake in a cave. We also met a luwak and were offered “shit coffee” which has supposedly been through the luwaks intestines. People pay through the roof for this stuff ( anything up to £400 a kg) there’s a whole history behind how it came about you can look up but essentially the luwak coffee market has been industrialised to make money and the poor animals are caged and force fed coffee cherries all day so if you ever go, dont bother buying any. It’s probably not genuine and if it is has an added dose of animal cruelty. If that didn’t convince you not to then you should read more here.

That night we walked into Canggu and passed so many beautifully decorated restaurants I could have stayed there a few days and tried them all. We ate at a really cool food court with all sorts of different cuisines on offer. I opted for chicken satay which was to remain a theme. It was delicious! Oh and one of the stall owners had a pet rabbit which was really cute.

Day 3 started with a bus ride just up the road to Kuta beach where some very chilled locals gave us a surfing lesson. I managed to stay up a few times but not stay up for long. The act of pushing oneself up from laying on the board was certainly an arm workout. More to the point I felt sorry for the instructors having to have their faces right in our arses as we got on and they turned us around ready for the incoming wave and then told us when to get up.


t was really sad to see all the plastic in the ocean and washing up on the beach. At one point I even got up after falling off the surfboard to find a plastic wrapper stuck to my leg. Gross but honestly unavoidable there was so much of it.

Apparently it was particularly bad that day as it had rained which brought all the trash in from ocean land fills further out, but still, peeling it off myself and also watching people raking endless amounts of plastic waste from their beautiful beach is a sight that will always stay with me, and make me alot more conscious of buying single use plastic and recycling wherever possible. Its so easy to just mindlessly purchase and dispose of plastic when we don’t see the consequences first hand.

After surfing we had the afternoon free so we all decided to wander the main strip and do some some haggling. I bought some Haiviana flip flops and some fake birkenstocks for the grand total of 200K rupi (£10).

Day 4 we said goodbye to Kuta region and headed for Ubud,stopping off at an epic waterfall on the way. There was a bridge made out of bamboo we had to cross (in FLIPFLOPS!) to get to the main falls and it wasn’t high but was narrow, wet and above fast moving water and having jittery granny legs I was quite nervous about crossing but lived to tell the tale.

Also saw this comical sign that I laughed at and then actually felt quite sad that this was maybe widely believed in Balinese culture. Everyone’s journey is different and this sign just makes tick boxes of peoples lives. Not cool!

That brings us to about half way on the tour so part two to follow.

Lauren x

Three years on: a reflection

There’s something about any event that marks the passage of time that’s both unnerving + exciting. How did so much happen since this time last year? What will happen by this time next year. But it’s also easy to get sucked into the past.

With my birthday yesterday & Christmas only days away this time is always reflective.

Three years ago today I was plunged into sudden darkness when I found out Eoghan was cheating and decided he wasn’t ready for marriage. I don’t say that to make anyone feel sorry for me. I hope only to be hope for anyone feeling like they are too broken to carry on. Anyone feeling a future is unthinkable. Anyone desperate to hold on to some resemblance of themself but feels it all slipping away.

Traumatic events are often downplayed. Sometimes others don’t know what to say so we avoid talking. But pain stays silent + underground until faced. They say shit happens to everyone. Some curveballs knock you down so hard you literally have to rebuild from scratch. Pain has forced me to grow in unseen ways. Ways I sometimes didn’t feel ready for but with the help of those around me I faced and I’m endlessly thankful for that.

3 years on, kindness continues to move me forwards. I stand here knowing I’ve survived the very pit of depression and can finally look forward to the future. There’ll be hard times but there is always hope.

Christmas+ birthdays have been so hard bringing reminders + fresh heartache. This year I was determined to not be stagnant in sadness which tries its best to define me. So here I am, literally upside down, pushing outside my comfort zone. Learning to truly care for myself and I’ve felt so free.

I’ve spent a lot of time near the sea. The sea doesn’t celebrate Christmas. The tide comes in. It goes out. It washes away your footprints as if you were never there. Every few seconds a clean slate. There’s something so incredibly healing about that. The past is gone. Even when I feel sad it reminds me that I truly loved + that was a blessing, the future holds so much hope, adventure + possibility.

Christmas is alot of things to alot of people. This Christmas is perhaps the first time I’ve really believed everything is going to be ok.

Here’s to that. 2019 I’m ready!

[Travel] An adventure, a celebration, an ever growing hope

I’m writing this on the plane as my first 13 hour leg has given me an abundance of time to reflect. Though I tried, I haven’t slept at all as I’ve been buzzing with adrenaline and thoughts and ideas whizzing round (no change there really) but it’s been a great opportunity to just sit and chill after a suspenseful, busy week.

My flying time is 13 hrs with a layover in Kuala Lumpur followed by another 3 and a bit hours to Bali. If you’re interested here were my plane meals haha.

Pretty good as far as plane food goes actually. Been really lucky amongst a packed plane to get an empty seat next to me which you would think would mean I’d be comfortable and so able to sleep. Hahahaha nope!

I’ve watched two movies; Red Sparrow (a film about a young Russian woman using her unfortunate situation to win back her freedom) and Meditation Park (about a devoted wife having an epiphany about her life after discovering her husband was having an affair) . I found both really resonated with me in very different ways and that’s what got me in a really reflective mood so I thought I’d strike while the irons hot and get writing . Jet lag will likely hit when I land and have been awake for over 24 hours so I’m making the most of this time and thought explaining a bit about this trip might be a good place to start.

So last week I was meeting with a dear friend of mine and they asked me:’Why are you taking this trip?’ Not that anyone needs a reason to have an adventure really, but I told them I needed to stoke the fire in me and dream again. As the week went on and I grew increasingly anxious to the point of overwhelm, dizziness and nausea, I tried to accept and question those feelings in order to “let them go” and as part of accepting I remembered just how significant a trip this is for me.

While not wanting to put too much pressure on myself for this trip, honestly it is like an emotional landmark in my life. I have no idea where this crazy analogy came from but weird analogies are my language so here goes. It’s like a rounders match where after several humiliating misses you’re exhausted and feeling like giving up. Somehow you actually manage to hit the ball and surprise yourself…and you’re legging it round the pitch thinking ‘what now?’ with little to no hope of reaching first base. But then you do, and then second base is even in sight and you have this hope growing inside of you for more.

That’s me right now, thankful that I am able to begin moving forwards when I’ve been stuck batting off curveballs for what feels like forever.

So I know a 6 week holiday is just a holiday in some people’s mind, but more than that it’s a chance to celebrate the gap between where I was and where God has brought me to now.

I’ve always been free spirited and often done things in life that were wayyy out of my comfort zone. Going off to America, jumping out of planes, making friends with strangers. I used to embrace it all and think I’d done it in my own strength but that was naive and also that was when it felt like a choice.

Things totally changed when I had the rug pulled from under my feet and I found myself a few months after marriage abandoned and alone. Fear and anxiety dictated my daily existence and my mental health really suffered in the following months and years and in many ways I imagine lots of things will be a trigger for those insecurities for a long time to come. But i have come to know a God that will never abandon me and is guiding me forwards to other things, to the purposes he has for me.

There are some things that happen in life we just won’t ever get over. Yet somehow slowly we can pick up the pieces and move forwards. Always forwards. With the people He places around to pick you up. There are so many times it will still feel like there’s no reason to fight against the hurt and the darkness but that’s when you take the tiniest baby step forwards. A week, a month, 365 days of babysteps. It goes on. . Shine the smallest light into the darkness and it begins to lose its power.

Slowly but surely you will learn to hold on to the glimmer of hope, people will help lift you up and eventually you will start to see that there’s a future worth hoping for. That’s what this trip is for me, finally beginning to hope for my future and celebrating the distance behind me.

Like a seed in the ground, surrounded by darkness. But day by day still unknowingly growing towards the light.

Learning from Nature

Autumn-Leaves-in-sunshine“Oh how nature acquaints us with the nature of patience.”

This season always reminds me of how seasons in our lives also change. I know if I look back, I can remember when it felt that frustrating or difficult feelings would last forever. So I try to take comfort in the changing of the seasons. The leaves turning all shades of yellow, red and orange. Soon the trees will be bare. We too have times that feel void and empty of meaning. Yet we know, Spring is in the distance, there is still so much good to come. So today’s reflection is an encouragement really.

For anyone hungry to overcome, struggling to accept, eager to grow, desperate to heal or fighting a battle you fear will never end. I just want to urge you. Keep. going.

Redirect that frustration into something that will actually help you move towards your aim. Seasons change and just  like the leaves change colour, so will the way you feel and in turn the impact this has on your life. You won’t stay like this and your pain can grow from it new things if you let it happen. Keep the faith; we are all learning how. Let nature remind you that a new season is coming.

A letter to 2017

dear 2017

In typical me fashion, but perhaps more so than ever, I’ve been thinking. About life and about the past. It’s impossible not to when you’re somewhere you never expected to be in life. Divorced, without children, having left a job I spent years preparing to do. I’ve had my head down for quite a while (741 days to be precise) since the day my husband of only 4 months suddenly decided he wasn’t ready for marriage. I didn’t see it coming, though in hindsight I guess I should have and I wasn’t prepared for how the shock and grief would affect every aspect of life.  Having not spoken to a fair few people in a long time, I wrote the letter below to reach out to them. What started out as a catch up note became a reflection on my year that felt only right to put here, given this is where I have sporadicly written out the inner workings of my mind at various scattered points in the last 12 months. Writing has somehow helped me find my way back.

By default, in hard times people try to put on a brave face so others think they’re fine when that’s just not the case. When you wear your heart on your sleeve and cannot act to save your life it is easy to just hide. Now I see that was a mistake. One of the most significant but hardest things to do is learning is how to be vulnerable and the power of being honest, with your self and with others.

It has begun to free me in a way I didn’t think was possible two years ago.

This year I’ve been able to connect with and relate to people I’d never otherwise have met or got to know. We’re all human and none of us are perfect. We know that, yet often it takes a big metaphorical smack-round-the-face-with-a-fish to remember that if we just stop striving and be real with each other, that’s where the magic happens. This has been a hard but magical year from which I’ve come out of my cave. If you’re not mentioned it’s not because I don’t think you’re awesome. In fact I want to connect with you.

This coming year I want to see more of people, like actually in the flesh! People still do that right? Friends are such a blessing so foremost I’m remembering this and honouring it, building beautiful friendships and actually being in each other’s lives is wonderful and will make my 2018. You read it here now lets make it happen!

Anyway, I did a wee search about what’s included in a “newsletter” and apparently I shouldn’t discuss religion, politics or fitness routines and shouldn’t brag about my kids too much. Well I did get baptised this year but haven’t won a Nobel peace prize, I’m well into a two year comfort eating regime and don’t have any kids to brag about, so we should be fine. This is just an update on what I’ve been doing lately, my travels and what I’ve learnt along the way. Apologies if it’s boring or turns into a bit of a photo essay but hey, if you know me then you’d have been expecting an essay anyway. If you’ve accidentally found yourself in the wrong place then click the red X at the top of your screen now. Life is busy but we all have choices daily about how to spend our free time. That is our prerogative. I’m using mine to write this. I also spent a lot of this year on this inflatable banana!!



TRAVELS: Last December, when I turned 30, I didn’t really know what to do. I sure wasn’t where I thought I would be at 30. Anyway a good friend mentioned she had a 30 in 30 goal: to have been to 30 countries by the end of the 30th year. I thought, I’m gonna do that, it would give me something to focus on and toasted the idea with plenty of prosecco. In reality it was a squeeze but I did everything I could to make it! To meet that goal, 2017 has been quite a travelsome year. Yes, that’s a word! (IT IS NOW)

Unfortunately my biggest planned trip to Cuba couldn’t happen, but never mind, I still made my goal by including our own fair country. The beauty of not being tied to school holidays anymore is I can go away whenever I want now which is exciting! ( N.B. travelling in hurricane season is not advisable)

First up was Iceland. Wow, was it pricey! We mostly ate at our cabin but on our last night treated ourselves to a Ruby Murray (put that in especially for my American fraaands). £30 for a vegetable curry with about three singular veg in it. Rice not included. They were the first veggies I’d seen all week which is why I’d opted for that and they were gone in seconds. Undoubtedly, for anyone that’s seen me hangry, you can picture my sad, disappointed face after that.

TOP TIP: Never go to Iceland unprepared. Fill your suitcase with food! In another financial escapade, my friend Maya found a lovely £5 hat while we were in a gift shop, so she bought it and it wasn’t until later she realised it was actually £50!! So that’s now going to be passed down as a family heirloom. Despite the painful prices, Iceland was beyond beautiful. Sadly we didn’t see the Aurora Borealis in her full glory as it was too cloudy, but we did see our fair share of amazing waterfalls, which made up for it. The black sand beaches were stunning; we petted Icelandic ponies; sat in our hot tub while it was snowing and made Pat do a snow angel; saw hot springs and rainbows, swam around the Blue Lagoon in the dark and set a record for our shortest stay in a hotel (3 hours, ironically in the most luxurious hotel room any of us had ever set foot in. Thanks red eye flight!).. it was complete with in-room hot tub and colour changing shower, huge kingsize beds and a colossal wall mounted TV. None of which we used as we’d sat up for most of the night willing the Northern Lights to make an appearance before we went home!



A little closer to home ( but taking just as long to get there) I went on a half term road trip to Cornwall with my parents. It was great fun. I haven’t been on holiday with them for years, so it was nice to really spend time with them. We visited loads of places: Port Isaac, Mevagissey, Charlestown, Fowey and more. I took it upon myself to take on a CREAM TEA CHALLENGE, which consisted of, you guessed it, a different cream tea each day. Someone had to do it!! I can now happily reveal that the best Cornish cream tea of the seven that I sampled was: The Eden Project café. Sublime! Perfect ratio of cream to jam. Warm scone. Ideal size. Winning! Naturally I left my 5* TripAdvisor reviews to spread the word 😉




Next, I had an American adventure in Denmark. I flew to Copenhagen to meet my favourite Texan Rebecca, who I met when I was studying abroad in ’07. We stayed in the coolest AirBNB apartment with two of her American friends Blake and Adam and another friend Buddy (not the elf) showed us around the city as he’s been living there for 6 months working as an architect. It was SO MUCH FUN!!! We did loads of cool things but my highlight was PAPER ISLAND, the Old Paper Mill that houses Copenhagen’s street foot scene. We all chose our own preferred cuisine (I had Korean) and we sat outside with a beer/cocktail watching the sunset. Adam & Blake then very impressively made a fire and we chatted til our fingers turned blue.

Magic memories!


Next I flew to Belfast to go on an Irish roadtrip to County Galway with my friend Natalie. In my teens I was obsessed with Westlife and ever since seeing the ‘My Love’ music video set at the cliffs of Moher I’ve wanted to go there. So that was a teenage dream realised (the other dream about Westlife’s Shane Filan is yet to come to fruition) Plus we drank Irish beer by the river, listened to amazing live music in Galway and went crazy singing along to Ed Sheeran’s Galway Girl every time it came on, which was a lot. That reminds me, (slight deviation) back in Iceland the radio only played the same 7 or 8 songs on repeat. So if you go, make sure you take some CDs with you unless you wish to die from overexposure to Sean Mendes.



Our AirBnB hosts happened to have a kitten, which in our books was a BONUS!


In November, I went to Poland with a school friend. I’ve always wanted to visit Auschwitz, ever since learning about the holocaust years ago. Many people think that’s a bit mad, but it’s such a horrible thing I think everyone should witness it, to honour the people that actually lived through that. It was great to fulfil something Sophie and I talked about doing so long ago and also felt like a liberation to be freeing her from her role of supermum for a couple of days for the first time since having children 9 years ago. We had lots of intellectual discussion while hiding from scary Polish women in toilets! We learnt so much history on the trip, not just about the camps, but also about those who did what they could to help. It’s that which will always stay with me. The smallest acts of kindness can save not just lives but generations. On my return I ordered a great book called The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, a holocaust survivor who has forgiven her torturers. I really recommend it!! As do I recommend spending time with your oldest friends. It reminds you who you are and where you’ve come from when you need it most. One to note if in an identity crisis 😉


DOINGS: This year has been crazy busy. I got to live with not one but two amazing housemates who have hugely inspired me and filled my days with much joy! I started creating again and designed a whole new set of greetings cards and some postcards for sale locally and online. I also joined a ladies business network with some super supportive women and that’s given me a huge confidence boost. It’s so nice to see women raising each other up rather than tearing each other apart. We’re all in this thing called life together. I also somehow ended up offering to dog sit for various friends for most of the summer and fell in love with a Chihuahua named Roo. Hilarious attempts at selfies with various doggy friends definitely happened! One day, I’m definitely getting a little dog. I loved the dog walks, they were so calming even in the wind and rain              (EXCEPT FOR PIPPA THE PUG WHO REFUSED TO WALK ANYWHERE)


Summer was busy with work but it was also a lot fun! I swam in the sea as much as I could and spent lots of quality time with friends old and new. This year I also started having singing lessons which really helped build my confidence back up. I bloody love singing, and the power of music is AMAZING! It was my weekly fix. Medicine for the soul for sure! In July I performed in a showcase, like actually in front of people, which was both wonderful and terrifying all at the same time. Sadly my lovely teacher has now emigrated to Oz with her lovely Australian husband but my sessions with her are just one of the many things that got me through this year. As did my awesome group of friends from City church who welcomed me with open arms. They have accepted me, encouraged me to be who I am and for that I am beyond thankful for this crazy bunch of humble characters. Plus they’re a barrel of laughs and I love them a lot!



One of my old air cadet friends Mike got married this year and I did a reading at the wedding which was a big honour. I also sang karaoke with my cousin at her 40th birthday party and went to an ATC reunion. These things probably sound like trivial events but knowing where I was even a year ago I honestly wouldn’t have dreamed I could do either of those things and the point is, I couldn’t have done without some great people cheering me on in life! My biggest achievement this year though was getting divorced. I’m definitely not bragging here. Divorces are so shit… and never what I wanted. Having had enough of being miserable, I started writing down my feelings in this blog simply to get it out of my mind. It’s been very important and helpful to do that  but it is a slow process and still really tough to move past what happened. So filing those papers was a hard step that I managed to put off for ages. The thing about grief is it can be overwhelming and never really goes away but finds a home in the nooks of your heart and settles down quietly. Still, being a divorcee beats being married to someone with no regard for your heart. With each day that passes I learn more about forgiveness and grace. I can only focus now on that! My family and close friends are heroes for putting up with my divorcee alter ego Ms Misery! Sorry! You can’t help it when pain takes over your personality but I’m making steps in the right direction. Love and support in your worst days shows you what your friendships are made of.

Screen Shot 2018-01-19 at 01.14.06

What did I learn this year? To not worry about not being in control of everything in your life. It has a weird way of guiding you where you’re meant to go, even when you don’t want to go there! Whats in store for you may not be  what youre expecting but resistance is futile as they say. My new mantra: Doubt yourself less, take more risks. This year I left my job and I think some people thought I was insane! Even I thought I might be mad…but I knew school was draining me of the little energy I had and I felt unsupported and unappreciated so when my contract wasnt renewed I decided rather than put myself through the ordeal of looking for a job in another school, I’d increase my private tutoring. I love working 1:1 and in teaching there is little if any of that. I worried there wouldn’t be enough demand to make it viable but thankfully I’m currently fully booked , getting great feedback and working less hours than I was before for more money. I’m glad I followed my gut rather than go with a SAFE but miserable option. YOUR GUT INSTINCT IS USUALLY ALWAYS RIGHT!

With more free time I’ve had the chance to really think about how I want to live life. I’ve just said a bittersweet good bye to my home by the sea which I adored but will always have a place in my heart. I’m gathering my thoughts and saving while mulling over whether I should try to get a deposit together for a place or go and live in a mud hut in the middle of nowhere. I’m still designing cards and stuff and creating is really my outlet so if you want anything designed give me a shout. I get lost in it for hours. Photography has been purely personal this year while I found my passion for it again and I really, really want to be brave and dive in again next year. I’ve got a pile of great books I’ve been meaning to read but in all honesty all I have really done with my extra free time so far is sleep in and watch way too many YouTube videos. Don’t get me started on Netflix series….



2017 has been a year of big change and mindless distraction from those changes. It has given me experiences to reflect on and move me forwards. If I haven’t mentioned you, I’m sorry, but it’s not because I don’t care. There’s so much more I could talk about but for the sake of not taking all year to read I didn’t want to cram any more in. I didn’t realise until writing this that I’d done so much this year so I recommend doing your own reflection. I feel even more thankful than I was when I started writing it. In 2018 let’s keep pushing forwards to be the best versions of ourselves and to bring out the best in each other. I am determined to find myself again. One step at a time. So if anyone wants to go on an adventure, my passport is ready! At the very least, let’s catch up. Over the phone. Skype. You name it. Social media is great so if we’re not connected definitely send me your username or message me on whatsapp, but real life is where the magic happens.


I would love to hear what youve been doing or learnt in 2017…

Wishing you a BRIGHT, HEALTHY and HOPEFUL 2018, Lauren xxxx

Adventures: Kimchi making

One thing I can’t recommend enough for taking your mind off whatever crap you might be experiencing and helping you practicing some mindfulness is what i like to call an adventure of the mind! Diving into a project and experimenting with new things!
It might be a Pinterest hack you’ve had your eye on, a recipe you’ve been meaning to try or just something you have always fancied experimenting with. It’s good for the soul and I absolutely love it. So here’s the first of many adventures in new things I’m going to share with you! If you like pickled onions you need to try making this stuff,it’s magical!
The back story
Years ago I was staying in London and tried Korean Barbecue for the first time. There I tried the delights of kimchi which I had never even heard of before. Since broadening my culinary horizons (thanks Joel) I’ve had lots of different kimchi and love the stuff!
Recently I was recommending to a friend they try some as fermented foods are reportedly really good for digestion. Check me out being all knowledgeable haha! You can’t really purchase it as readily as other pickled vegetables and it’s best freshly made so I decided I would just make some myself, because why not? It is honestly super easy and I’ve tested out some variations, spice levels and alternative ingredients. 
If you fancy making your own kimchi I highly suggest following a simple basic recipe to start and then experiment with your ingredients to find what you like and please your tastebuds. If you try it, or any other experiment, I’d love to hear how it goes!
So here it is:
Prep Time: 20 MINS  plus 1 hr salting and overnight fermenting
No cooking time
You will need 1-2 air tight jars
Will serve about 15 side portions
  • 1-4 tbsp chilli paste /red pepper flakes  (according to spice preference- I would go with 2 or 3)  (Ideally use SRIRACHA CHILLI SAUCE, a tangy red chilli pepper sauce you can find online or in Asian supermarkets/online.)
  • 1 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed or grated
  •  Chunk of ginger about 1 inch grated
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 8 radishes grated
  • 2 carrots cut in think sticks or grated
  • 4 spring onions cut finely
  • 1 cabbage (preferably chinese, but normal red or white cabbage will work too)



  1. Slice the cabbage: Remove the core and cut into quarters then again into 2-inch-wide strips.
  2. Salt the cabbage: Place the cabbage and salt in a large bowl. Using your hands (gloves optional), massage the salt into the cabbage until it starts to soften a bit, then add water to cover the cabbage. Put a plate on top and weigh it down with something heavy, like a jar or can of beans. Let stand for 1 to 2 hours.
  3. Rinse and drain the cabbage: Rinse the cabbage under cold water 3 times and drain in a colander for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse and dry the bowl you used for salting, and set it aside to use in step 5.
  4. Make the paste: Meanwhile, combine the garlic, ginger, sugar, and seafood flavor (or 3 tablespoons water) in a small bowl and mix to form a smooth paste. Mix in the gochugaru, using 1 tablespoon for mild and up to 5 tablespoons for spicy (I like about 3 1/2 tablespoons).
  5. Combine the vegetables and paste: Gently squeeze any remaining water from the cabbage and return it to the bowl along with the radish, scallions, and seasoning paste.
  6. Mix thoroughly: Using your hands, gently work the paste into the vegetables until they are thoroughly coated. The gloves are optional here but highly recommended to protect your hands from stings, stains, and smells!
  7. Pack the kimchi into the jar: Pack the kimchi into the jar, pressing down on it until the brine rises to cover the vegetables. Leave at least 1 inch of headspace. Seal the jar with the lid.
  8. Let it ferment: Let the jar stand at room temperature for 1 to 5 days. You may see bubbles inside the jar and brine may seep out of the lid; place a bowl or plate under the jar to help catch any overflow.
  9. Check it daily and refrigerate when ready: Check the kimchi once a day, pressing down on the vegetables with a clean finger or spoon to keep them submerged under the brine. (This also releases gases produced during fermentation.) Taste a little at this point, too! When the kimchi tastes ripe enough for your liking, transfer the jar to the refrigerator. You may eat it right away, but it’s best after another week or two21222658_10100396921261274_417748665_o


Everything is going to be okay!

Herne bay-2524Sometimes we struggle. We’re all the way up and then all of a sudden we’re all the way down. Life can throw obstacle after obstacle at you and you just feel like giving up. You might fall kiddo but here’s the thing, you get back up. You might get hurt. Your heart might be in pieces and your mind is a mess but somehow you survive and keep going. Never forget all you have managed to get through.  EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OKAY. Whatever miserable situation you might be in, it’s not forever. All things are temporary. You will overcome it. Everything is a journey and darling you are on it.

Really you can transform your thinking. The silver lining is you cannot technically go wrong because even failures are an opportunity to learn something. Everything is a lesson. Sometimes ‘wrong’ decisions can lead you to something so great. Keep showing up, keep being grateful for everything in your life and the universe will guide you.

So you’re feeling shitty? Can you just take a moment to think about all of the amazing things that you have done.  Now think of how many more are awaiting you. Breathe in. Breathe out. Be still and know. Live in the moment. Focus on one thing at a time. Do not worry about the future or the past, be here now. Forget what happened yesterday or what is happening tomorrow. Trust the process. It will all work out in the end. Remember everything is going to be okay and if it’s not okay, it’s not the end.



I wish there was a way to fast forward this part. But I think that’s the whole point. The only way out of anything is THROUGH. You can’t go around it, you can’t go over it or under it, you have to go through it to get from it what you are supposed to learn. I know I have come a long way but still feel that I’m totally lost in so many ways. I don’t feel like myself anymore. Who am I? In the meantime there is just putting one foot in front of the other, taking it day by day and trying to remember who I am underneath all this hurt, instead of believing who my insecurities and fears are trying to make me.


Babysteps: Why I started this blog…

I started this blog because my life has ended up very different to how I expected it would a few years ago. I needed a way to try and process that. I couldn’t afford more therapy so I figured a healthy idea would be to write down my feelings to get them out of my system.

Some days I wake up and think maybe it was all just a bad dream. On Christmas Eve 2015,  my husband of only 4 months decided he wasn’t ready for marriage after all. It didn’t seem possible when only the day before that, he’d been telling me he loved me and given me a bracelet engraved with our wedding date and ‘always and forever.’  Now here I was and this was it, after 5 years of investing my love and energy in the belief that my future was with this man that I adored, it all just disappeared before my very eyes.  Everything I had known, believed and hoped for was suddenly no longer true. It completely broke me.

I don’t know who I became but it was not someone I had ever been before. I had too much hurt, anger and shock raging in my veins to even contemplate what to do. I absolutely could have killed him and then something in me just clicked and I realised he wasn’t worth spending my life in prison for. Somehow I’m alive to tell the tale which probably sounds awfully melodramatic if you haven’t been left before, but if you have, you’ll know the feeling of abandonment I’m talking about. A part of me definitely died that day. A part of me that I think I might never get back.

The last 18 months has been some sort of attempt at trying to piece back together and rebuild a life.  There have been countless hurdles but many small victories. Some days are easier than others. I remind myself every day that I am loved by my family and friends and blessed in many ways and this in itself is a long way from the worthless void of a person I became 18 months ago. She did not know her worth. She was broken and empty.  I know I am strong, so much stronger than I thought but every once in a while I get tired of being strong. The weariness escapes through, and that’s okay. I’ve realised that we need to hurt in order to grow, but to make the pain worthwhile we must learn  the lessons life is giving us.

First things first, please don’t think this is an intentional pity party! I think if you’ve never experienced heartbreak you are probably not going to relate to anything I am saying so please just be compassionate as sharing my most painful life experience is scary and raw. I do not intend to play victim and I do not wish to be defined by a heartbreaking experience. I know we all go through shit in some form.  But I think it’s so important to share real experiences and to be open about hard times. I started this blog just as a way to get some of my thoughts out of my head. They were so exhausting.  A counsellor recommended writing down feelings as a great way of healing from traumatic experience.

For some reason, anytime I tried to put pen to paper it was just impossible to know where to start. I don’t think any of it made sense to me and if I tried to make it make sense I would just end up doubting myself and feeling even worse….  I think I was afraid to write it down because it made it more real. Things came to a head and I decided enough was enough. I knew that there was no shortcut to the healing process  but above all else I was entirely fed up of feeling so utterly shit. I was willing to do anything to feel like I was making some sort of progress.  Even if they were babysteps.

So on the first day of 2017, I reflected that I wanted 2017 to be nothing like the year before. I was starting to realise things about my grief , and what I was learning through hurting, was worth writing down. Partly so I can avoid ever going through this again but also so that when I next faced adversity I knew that suffering didn’t mean the end of the world, it just meant a learning curve and a journey to find what needs to be learnt from every experience, good and bad. I’m kind of hoping this may help me in the future, to be proud of the adversity I’ve faced and survived, to remember to always expect the unexpected but more importantly to always be thankful every step of the way.

I started writing this privately but I have since experienced first hand the power in sharing real life experiences openly and think it can be empowering both to the writer and to people reading. If sharing my pain and experiences helps even one single person feel that they are not alone, stops them giving up, or lets someone out there know another human being feels the same as them, then that would make it worthwhile.

Have courage, dear heart.

Lauren x

Dark Vs. Light

© laurenbythesea
© laurenbythesea

Aren’t we our own worst enemy at times? I really need to stop giving myself such a hard time and allow myself to grieve. I know this but I seem to slip back into bad habits. Kicking myself for not being/ feeling more. I need to remind myself that it’s because I’m a caring person that this relationship meant a lot to me and that isn’t a bad thing that I am still so upset by what’s happened. It just means I’m hurting because it really mattered to me! I didn’t take any of it lightly, I knew what I was doing and I loved him with all of my heart and everything I had. So now I am starting to accept that a part of me will always feel brokenhearted that this didn’t work out the way I hoped. I just pray that the grief gets easier and that the sadness fades because I really do not like the feeling of overwhelming sadness. It’s so shit!

Being in a relationship with someone that couldn’t ever be honest with me was entirely draining. I developed awful anxiety that went through the roof. Over 5 years later, by the time it was over, I don’t think I had an ounce of energy left to repair myself and so recovery has been like a slow rollercoaster. Can you imagine a SLOW rollercoaster? A ride without the exhilaration because you’re going slow enough to see how high up you are and how far there is to fall. Finally realising and accepting I have anxiety has really helped me to better cope. I am more self aware than I’ve ever been. I have done a lot of work on myself and I’m ready. I want, I need, to feel like I’ve made progress.

This relationship ending has emotionally destroyed me, I can only try to handle it with grace and dignity but at the same time, feel like I could burst into tears and endlessly wondering when things actually changed and what went wrong. I beat myself up for it, even when friends say ‘it was him not you.’ Anxiety makes you feel that you’re unloved and not good enough.

Day to day it is just exhausting. I’ve got fight left in me yet and I’m determined to learn to cope, to better myself. Reading articles and books increases my self awareness; give me a way to understand, to empathise , to try and make sense of what’s going through my mind and for that I am so grateful. People have recommended counselling but I’ve tried it before and it was emotionally quite harrowing. I don’t really want to bring negativity back to the surface, so I’m sort of doing it my own way. Accepting that there are going to dark days, but I think, I hope, that if I accept the darkness then it may be easier for me to start seeing the light.