One Wave Is All It Takes

 One Wave Is All It Takes are a group of fluorescently dressed people who meet on the beach every Friday morning at 6.30 am dressed in fluorescent colours, lighting up the beach along with the sunrise.
FullSizeRender 8
They are a charity, doing this to raise awareness of mental health issues and get people talking. Called “Fluro Fridays’, the idea behind this is that people will see them and ask what they are doing, and have a conversation about mental health, the stigma of which is crazy.
As a sufferer of anxiety, I think this is a great idea. People don’t like to speak about mental health issues, which plague probably every second or third person you meet in a day. In a day where we are all internet and social media addicted, pressured by society to aim for a level of perfection which we should portray online and in real life to others, there is a lot to talk about.
Image result for one wave is all it takes
OneWave meet on the beach and sit in a circle, and they talk about different things  depending on who wants to speak for about 10-15 minutes. They talk about the fact that it’s okay not to be okay, and people share stories or just how they are feeling that day. There is no pressure to speak and it’s just nice to sit in a circle of like minded, kind people. Who are all incidentally dressed up in a very cool manner – there are tutus, mermaid outfits, fluro pink suits, bowler hats, you name it.
The last time I went there was an elderly man named Cedric who read out a list of inspiring quotes and it was so great to witness. I was taken down by Eve, otherwise known as the Bondi Mermaid who does incredible mermaid swimming lessons on the beach afterwards – find my post on those here.
img_8491
The other half of OneWave’s philosophy is salt water therapy. After the chat most of the group go into the ocean to surf. As their website says, ‘It doesn’t matter whether you’re riding a wave for the first time or the hundredth time… you never forget the feeling of being on a wave, letting everything go with a massive smile on your face.’
Image result for one wave is all it takes
If surfing’s not your thing, you can also dip in for a swim, and there is occasionally free yoga held on the beach.
Image result for one wave is all it takes
Generally they go for breakfast afterwards over the road too so you can fuel up for the day ahead.
It’s an amazing, unique idea and I try to join when I can. They’re a very friendly group and it is also a great way to meet new, interesting people. Not to mention getting you out of bed for the sunrise!
 FullSizeRender 9
One Wave hold over 50 meetings  worldwide, so check out if there’s a Fluro Friday near you here.

Skyline Drive In Cinema

If you’ve been in Sydney the past Summer you will know all about the moonlight cinemas – they’ve been popping up everywhere from Bondi Beach to Sydney harbour. As awesome as they are, they’re slowly starting to shut down as the warmer nights begin to fade away, officially closing March 31st. The only one still open is Centennial Park so get down there before it shuts, it’s a pretty amazing experience watching a movie beneath the stars!

Image result for moonlight cinema sydney

However, if you can’t face going back to the indoor ones just yet, I’ve got a great answer for you.
Image result for skyline drive in cinema sydney
Last week I discovered a drive in cinema in Blacktown and it is even cooler than the moonlight one! Best of all, it’s rain-resistant. Just flick on the windscreen wipers, it even adds to the atmosphere.
Drive-In Cinema, Blacktown | 16 Perfect Places In Sydney To Go On A Date:
It’s about a 40 minute drive from central Sydney and in a huge field. There are two giant screens, with daily showings at 8pm and 11pm so you can catch two movies in one night. It’s next door to Atura hotel so if you feel like drinking (BYO) and not driving you can ‘crash’ there. The movies change weekly, I saw Logan and as a complete X-Men virgin it was not as horrendous as I thought.
 In the late 60s as colour television became the ultimate status symbol for aspirational consumers and movie theatres offered an appealing alternative to drive-ins, more and more plots disappeared from the map, replaced by malls and parking lots:
It gets better. There is an incredible vintage American diner on site that serves  up everything you’d expect it to – shakes, fries, wings, burgers, even banana splits. The food is good and it’s a 5 minute walk from the cars, so you can pop to the bathroom or top up on gigantic buckets of popcorn whenever you need to.
Image result for skyline drive in cinema sydney
Image result for skyline drive in cinema sydney
How does it work? You just drive up between two speakers and connect your car to the radio frequency and the movie comes through your speakers. Park up backwards, grab a blanket and crank open the boot or just watch through your windscreen if it’s raining.
Image result for skyline drive in cinema sydney
 This cinema has been here for over 50 years, since the days of hooking up a portable speaker to your car. It’s also ridiculously cheap, at $12.50 per person it’s cheaper than a normal cinema ticket!
Drive-in Theater, Chicago, 1951. Spring Fever was a Terrytoon cartoon starring Gandy Goose. via bellecs:
Find them here for the perfect nostalgic cinema experience.

Awaken Full Moon Party

One of the more ‘alternative’ things to do in Sydney, these parties happen on the full moon of each month and they are the epitome of unusual.
First things first, they are non alcoholic. It’s a dance party with no alcohol or drugs whatsoever, instead building a spiritual energy off ‘sound meditation and a cacao ceremony’.
13123179_1718152925140421_5638637152016436637_o
Held at a different location each month, the one I attended was in the Bondi Pavillion.
Lots of amazing superfood options greet you as you walk in to the sounds of live bongo drum players and people dancing. I unfortunately missed the memo, which is WEAR WHITE! I was the only one in a pink velvet dress, everyone else was dressed up in white and looked beautiful.
IMG_8214
IMG_8216
After the initial chatting, drinking tea and eating vegetarian dhal, everyone congregates in the main room. We were welcomed by Sandra Treydte, who is an incredibly inspiring speaker and amazing singer.
IMG_8228.JPG
She called on people to help others if they feel such a calling and hand out cacao. There were lots of cups of cacao available – I drank four cups, just to make sure it was working. The effects of raw cacao are heavily praised – it’s extremely high in antioxidants and magnesium. Personally I am just obsessed with chocolate so unlimited pure chocolate sounds good to me!
IMG_8230
Everyone sat around cross legged as Sandra spoke, sung and chanted, guiding the meditation. People were singing along, listening intently and really getting involved.  It’s hard to explain exactly what happened during the meditation, I’d like to say because I was lifted into a spirit of unconscious energy transcending the universe, but unfortunately I fell asleep! (Can’t take me anywhere..)
IMG_8233
After the meditation ceremony wild music started to play and everyone danced away under the neon lights.
FullSizeRender 7
Take along some friends, an open mind and empty stomach for an experience you won’t forget! Sarah (pictured) took me along, check out her blog http://www.thenaturalvirtue.com.
FullSizeRender 6
Follow Awaken here to find out about the next event and have your ultimate ‘hippy’ experience!

Silent Disco Yoga

 

I’m not particularly ‘into’ yoga as such, but I seem to have done quite a bit of it in Sydney. I didn’t think you could get any more alternative-yogi than hanging upside down against a wall, but last weekend I found myself at a silent disco yoga class.
IMG_7077
This one was held in a popular bar in Sydney’s rocks called The Argyle and there were about 20 people stretched out on their yoga mats amongst the disco balls and DJ sets. Everyone was given a pair of headphones and I was kind of disappointed to see that they didn’t have the option to flick between channels (I am a massive fan of silent discos and cheesy music). Anyway, despite just having one channel they were very good headphones and didn’t slip off my head once, which I would say is pretty good going.
IMG_1626
The instructor, Jess, was great. Her cheerful, encouraging voice filtered through the headphones and into your ears, creating a very spiritual experience when the chilled beats started playing alongside her. There was a DJ in front of the class spinning some extremely relaxing music directly into our ears. It’s like having a private yoga teacher in your mind, with some great music alongside.
IMG_1811
Jess took us through a vinyasa style class (in non-yogi speak, that means a quite relaxing normal kind of yoga linked with your breathing) and was an excellent teacher. Starting out with some quite typical yoga moves, the class ended up very unique as everyone was on their own ‘journey’ with their headphones creating their own little world, focusing only on themselves. We were encouraged to close our eyes for most of the hour, so it was much easier to switch off than your average class.
IMG_0393
I found the class pushed me a lot harder than the average yoga that I do, probably because I was so focused on my own practice. After the class there are a range of (free!) amazing fresh juices available as you enter back into reality.
To find out when the next class is, keep an eye on this page.  The perfect rainy Saturday morning activity!

Cork and Chroma

Remember art classes at school, where you could just sit and paint for a couple of hours and feel the stresses of life fade away? Now – imagine that but with 90’s music and alcohol.

fullsizerender-4 

fullsizerender-5

Cork and Chroma is the epitome of fun – BYO alcohol, unlimited supplies of paint and friends. Each class has a different painting to follow that you can choose when booking and the teacher guides you through mixing the right colours, application, creativity – they basically ensure you walk away with an art piece you can (potentially) hang on your wall as opposed to hidden away in the attic.

img_8472

At first you sit down in the studio with your blank canvas and pencil out a stencil, then go up to get your paint. The teacher leaves you more or less to your own devices in-between teaching, and walks around chatting and offering advice as you sip on your wine and get down to painting.

img_6149

90’s hits play out and you more or less retreat into your own world of painting and sipping on wine. If you’re anything like me, I’d advise not to drink too much wine because I ended up washing my paintbrush in wine and consequently drank quite a bit of paint*. But I’m sure it just contributed to my creative spirit that evening (see above – quite a lot of painting with wine too…)

img_8477

At the end, everyone stands up at the front to compare and take pictures and is encouraged to chat to the others in the group and ‘tell them something nice about their painting’ which I really like. In the above picture me and Phoebe went to a ‘Pop Art Class – Paint Your Mate’ which is a great idea, though particularly as she has now left to Melbourne. Not sure how much my painting looks like her though!

fullsizerender-3

Based in Surry Hills, this is the perfect way to catch up with friends, do something different and have a LOT of fun. Find them here.

* Cork and Chroma’s tagline is actually ‘Drink. Paint. Just don’t drink the paint’. 

Wall Yoga at Elixr

Of all of the bizarre things I’ve done in Sydney so far, I think Wall Yoga tops the list.

IMG_8181.JPG

It’s at Elixr Gym in Bondi Junction, which is essentially the equivalent of an Indian holistic yoga retreat. They do classes all day of yoga, reformer pilates, boxing, aerobics, even meditation and I absolutely love going there. Since coming to Australia I’ve turned into one of those annoying people that really enjoy working out, because the culture here is so outdoors and healthy.

Wall Yoga is hard to put into words because it’s unlike anything I’ve ever done. On my first class, I grabbed a mat and tried to fit in with everyone picking up bizarre hammock type things, cushions, blocks and blankets.

Don, the incredibly kind, patient and lovely teacher immediately spotted me out as a wannabe wall yogi and came over to help me set up. You use the straps hanging from the wall and adjust them according to your height and flexibility to strap in various limbs and hang around from different poses.

15cbaed9358bbdc4fb1503a701863bc3

The class is taken step by step by Don and he makes sure everyone is comfortable. We normally start off with a downward dog stretch where your legs are in the straps.

The entire class is pretty much variations of ordinary yoga poses but using the straps, and gives a ridiculously intense stretch to your body. People who think yoga doesn’t really do all that much (guilty!) – this one is definitely for you.

I won’t give it all away, but the final 15 minutes is the best. After stretching out all your body and feeling the burrrrn, you are manoeuvred into a position that basically leaves you hanging upside down.

img_9040

The first time Don put me into this position I literally burst out laughing. I kept opening my eyes and looking around the room of dedicated wall-yoga-goers who were peacefully hanging upside down like sloths. It reminds me of when I used to spend hours hanging upside down from my apple tree in the garden growing up in England.

Don said ‘if you feel dizzy after two minutes, come out’. I remember laughing again because I had expected to stay like this for roughly 30 seconds! However he leaves you like that for TEN MINUTES. It’s a full on meditation session, just upside down. You feel the blood rush to your head and around your body and weirdly… really relax into it.

img_8189

Afterwards you have a somewhat ‘normal’ vinyasa, only you put your head in a little hammock and get tucked up with a blanket. The only thing I can compare it to is having designated nap time in school.

42c13f93d9886c3edd5b695037886057

Go and give it a try – you won’t regret it!

Wall Yoga is on most days at Elixr, and you can go for free with a free trial if you click here.

 

Dancing in the Dark – No Lights No Lycra

yeah-hackney-com_-2
When was the last time you danced like nobody was watching?
And I mean nobody. Dancing these days seems to be reserved for:
  1. awkwardly shifting around trying not to spill your $17 g&t in a club/get hit on by creeps/bump into people
  2. desperately trying to follow the steps in a zumba class (filled with people who seem to know all of the moves?!)
  3. extremely drunkenly whipping out your best moves before being told off for bashing energetically into everyone around you

14344269_1123235927756368_5083808381561187597_n

No Lights No Lycra is a party in the dark – drug and alcohol free, it offers a space to go dance however you want to without being judged by anyone at all for that weird thing you do with your arms or your twerking habit. You can sing your heart out and dance however the hell you want like nobody’s watching – because no one is!
Take a dark room, a collection of fun loving people ranging in age from small children to grandparents and everything in between, some great music and let them all go wild  however they feel fit for an hour in the dark.
53addc293fedcd31bdd41fe535884758
The lights are off and you can express yourself however you want to – you can see the faint outline of people which is helpful for not bumping into them but that’s about it! For the first two minutes it feels kind of bizarre as your senses adjust, then you’re elevated into a spiritual place where it’s all about moving however feels good and singing along to the killer tunes. The energy that fills the room is indescribable, everyone is just letting loose and letting off the weeks’ steam.
 e37c5f412afdd6e4c296d85938ae4e6e
The music changes weekly and ranges from old favourites (think Grease, Britney, Whitney etc) to house music to music in different languages.. it just becomes natural. As someone who finds real trouble listening, let alone dancing, to any music that is not nineties pop/top 40 chart of today, I love the completely different take on music.  You can dance however you want to, there is no teacher and everyone is really inclusive.
img_8649
Incidentally, it also happens to be a GREAT workout. I rarely sweat (probably due to not working out hard enough..) but within minutes of being in the NLNL zone I am drenched.
It does get extremely hot, which is why it’s advisable to take a big bottle of water along and keep clothing to a minimum. I normally wear shorts and a sports bra but you can wear whatever you want.
Without a doubt, NLNL is one of the most fun things I have EVER done. It is truly an escape from real life, an amazing way to de-stress and work out while boosting your feel-good endorphins. It makes me excited for Mondays!
img_8634
In Bondi, they are held at the Bondi Pavillion (above) on Mondays 7.30-8.30pm. They’re also held in Newtown on Thursdays. Just look for all of the lycra clad enthusiasts outside!

img_8635

Take along your friends, grandparents, strangers from the street – it is honestly one of the BEST stress relievers ever and so much fun. I also have committed myself to going every Monday as it makes me feel so great, so drop me a message on the Meet Ups  page if you want to join.
 No Lights No Lycra operates worldwide, so check out their website at http://www.nolightsnolycra.com to find out if they’re near you! If not, they also have a pretty cool app that’ll send you a song to dance to everyday – download it on the app store at ‘DanceBreak’.

“Shake it like a bowl of soup, and make your body loop de loop. Put your hands on your hips and kinda let your backbone slip. Move your body like a whip and just shake!”-  Sam Cooke