Free Fitness @ Kings Park and Perth Foreshore

This is the first of many Free Fitness Features (otherwise known as a FFFs here at Burn & Learn headquarters).  There’s so many reasons to get outdoors – the sunshine, the air, the space, the incredible views. There’s also another … Continue reading

….a very boho beach breakfast

There’s a few things I love in this world…. and when they mesh together, its perfection! This morning’s journey to Scarborough married up some of my great loves: exercise, beach time and a beautiful breakfast.

A 45 minute walk along Scarborough Beach is such an awesome way to start your morning. Walking is amazingly good exercise…. and with the right diet it’s just about all you need to do exercise-wise unless you have a desire to look like Miss (or Mr) Universe.

45 minute beach walk followed by stillness with a view

45 minute beach walk followed by stillness with a view

Beach Kit: lulu shorts, haviana thongs, towel, sunscreen & water..... beachtime mandatories

Beach Kit: lulu shorts, haviana thongs, towel, sunscreen & water….. beachtime mandatories

After my walk, I usually try to find a cafe where I feel completely comfortable in my gym or beach clothes, with sand stuck to my feet and hair a mess. I stopped caring long ago about how I look in a cafe. I’m not completely sure if I ever did care! In any event, Boho Espresso fits the bill.  You will be surrounded by equally shabby and happy diners.

I spoke with the owner Donny Collins who told me he fitted out the restaurant himself, making a lot of the furniture by hand and commissioning other custom made pieces. The result is a stylized beach shack, with quirky bohemian theme.

Boho Espresso is a great place to chill after a morning at the beach.  The Carribbean music had me jiving into my coffee

Boho Espresso is a great place to chill after a morning at the beach. The Carribbean music had me jiving into my coffee

Boho Espresso juices & smoothies are first class.  Try the Scarlet Pimp or the 'Ranga' (an ode to all things orange!)

Boho Espresso juices & smoothies are first class. Try the Scarlet Pimp or the ‘Ranga’ (an ode to all things orange!)

The juices at Boho are definitely worth a try. Try the ‘Scarlet Pimp‘ ($7.80) – apple, celery & beetroot; or the ‘Ranga‘ – orange, carrot & lemon; or maybe the ‘American Psycho‘ will quell your hangover – tomato, lemon, celery & tobasco.

I have not tried the smoothies yet, but with names such as ‘Ooh La La‘, the ‘Fuzzy Nut‘ and ‘The Poet‘, I’ll certainly give them a go next visit.

Sometimes it's the simple things in life!  Poached eggs, greens & toast

Sometimes it’s the simple things in life! Poached eggs, greens & toast

I avoid grain all week.... so  weekends are a special time reserved for dietary cheats

I avoid grain all week…. so weekends are a special time reserved for dietary cheats

Breakfast options are plentiful. Bircher muesli ($15.50) includes poached pears, rhubarb, blueberries, toasted coconut, honey and homemade yoghurt.  Interesting dishes such as the ‘Cha Cha Boom‘, compiled of poached eggs, hummus, smashed avocado, dukka spices, caramelised ham & watercress ($20) tickle my fancy also.

I usually avoid bread all week (as I do not believe grains should be a staple in the diet). However weekends – they were designed for cheating!  I spoilt myself with the ‘Boho Avo‘ – crispy ciabatta toast, avocado, house made labneh, lemon and black salt ($16.50) and my friend kept things simple with poached eggs on toast.

There’s all manner of temptations at Boho, and its always great to see dietary sensitive options such as gluten free on the menu. Knowing as I do that gluten free means very little healthwise for the average person (although very important for the gluten-sensitive or coeliac), I managed to avoid this delectable dessert this time. I’m not sure if I will be so strong the next time.

Just one of the many temptations at Boho Espresso, Scarborough Beach

Just one of the many temptations at Boho Espresso, Scarborough Beach

You can find Boho Espresso at 241 West Coast Hwy, Scarborough Beach in Perth, Western Australia.

Rott Up Dog – lululemon

I fell in love with Rottnest Island as a child… all the children holidaying would instantly form BMX bandit style gangs and roam freely exploring the unique island with its cute rat like quokkas. For me, a visit to Rottnest Island encompassed the essence of summer and freedom and still does to this day. So when I heard about the yoga and fitness day being conducted by athletic clothing brand lululemon on Rotto, the inaugural Rott Up Dog, I didn’t hesitate to register.

Fulfilled fitness at Rott Up Dog, 2013

Fulfilled fitness at Rott Up Dog, 2013

Our day started at gentlemen’s hour with a 45 minute ferry trip. Once on the island we took advantage of the subsidised bicycle rental on offer (Rotto is a car free zone) and enjoyed a leisurely beachside lunch at Hotel Rottnest. Suitably energised, we then joined the masses of people cycling between events and activities. Some of the events of interest included multiple styles and variations of yoga, acrobalance (reminiscent Cirque du Soleil) and beach fit.

A highlight for me was definitely the chance to experience stand-up paddle boarding for the first time. I was expecting a core workout but the aspect that surprised and thrilled me most was the view. Not only did it strengthen my core – the elevated view was like staring straight into a tropical aquarium.

My blogging buddy Melinda, with the lululemon guests trying some Stand-Up Paddle Boarding at Parker Point, Rottnest

My blogging buddy Melinda, with the lululemon guests trying some Stand-Up Paddle Boarding at Parker Point, Rottnest

The crew at lululemon managed to capture the local’s love of the surf, sun, socialising and fitness by creating Rott Up Dog. The diversity of classes and inspirational instructors provided a great introduction to these activities and a really fun day. For those of you that would have liked to have participated but couldn’t make it, here is list of the instructors that kindly hosted the classes.

Rott Up Dog Instructors

Classes

Ash Lau and Trevor Aung Than

Acro Balance

Phoebe Jones

Vinyasa Yoga

Jo Harvey

Bikram-Style Yoga

Sandy Duxbury

Beach Fit

Laura Carroll

Rolling Yoga

Amanda Noga

Balancing & Binding Vinyasa Yoga

Carolina Obara

Core Yoga

Ceinwen Roberts

Beach Fit

I spoke to Dusty Allen, Community Connector for lululemon, who kindly provided some feedback on the event.

How did the Rott Up Dog concept originate? What were your goals of the day?

The intention for the lululemon athletica event ‘Rott Up Dog’ was to provide an escape from the everyday and an opportunity to bring together the entire community in celebration of yoga, sun, surf, music and being active – all things that we love about Perth.

Community Spirit at Rott Up Dog

Community Spirit at Rott Up Dog

The name is very quirky. How the name was created?

We wanted to give our event a name that would stand out, whilst encompassing everything the event was about – bringing yoga to the community in the form of a one-day yoga getaway on Rottnest Island.

We combined the location name, Rottnest Island, with the yoga pose ‘Upward Facing Dog’ and the popular term ‘What Up Dog’ to create a cheeky play on words which captured the fun nature of the event.

Practicing Cirque du Soleil moves during the Acrobalance (www.circusconditioning.com)

Practicing Cirque du Soleil moves during the Acrobalance (www.circusconditioning.com)

Can you explain how you selected the events and instructors? I also noticed that some of the instructors were also lululemon Ambassadors.

We chose to offer a variety of activities that encapsulated our event goal of creating a one-day yoga festival celebrating yoga, sun, surf, music and being.

We wanted to highlight the inspiring ambassadors and instructors from each of our four store communities of Applecross, Cottesloe, Perth City and Karrinyup.

Our ambassadors are leaders in the community that attract, inspire and guide our communities on their path to yoga and fitness. Rott Up Dog provided the perfect opportunity for us to share our ambassadors with the entire Perth community by having them lead the day’s yoga and fitness classes.

Amanda Noga leading "Balancing & Binding Vinyasa"

Amanda Noga leading “Balancing & Binding Vinyasa”

Will lululemon support this event in future?  If so, when should we expect the next event to be held and will there be any new activities to try?

We are passionate about opening doors to yoga through our community events and in-store yoga classes, and being a hub for yoga and health in our communities. While I don’t know if we will be hosting Rott Up Dog again next year, I can confidently say that we will definitely continue hosting community events in our stores and communities.

Perfect way to end the day, live music at Rott Up Dog

Perfect way to end the day, live music at Rott Up Dog

Check out the weekly complimentary in-store lululemon events at the following West Australian stores:

Cottesloe

Applecross 

Perth City

Karrinyup

For more information on lululemon events Australia wide, visit the local store pages on lululemon.com.au.

All photos courtesy of lululemon.

Unassisted Kayak Adventure at Ningaloo

In 2006, my girlfriend (Lauren) and I would begin our mornings kayaking on the Swan River.  It was my favourite activity to do before starting work and always enjoyed being on the water whilst the sun rose and seeing the dolphins playing.   In these mornings, I would also imagine possibilities that kayaking could bring… kayaking in remote areas where you wouldn’t see a single soul except of course the marine animals that may show themselves along the way.

After a couple of trips to Ningaloo reef in my late teens, a love of NW Western Australia was born. Despite trips to some of the most sought after dive areas in the world, from the Great Barrier Reef to the Red Sea, I still craved the unique sea life, corals and desert that define Ningaloo reef. The idea of exploring through an unassisted multiday kayaking expedition from Coral Bay to Exmouth, Australia developed slowly until it dominated my aspiration bucket list.  This unique region of Australia definitely meets the criteria of being remote. Exmouth is located 1260km north of the world’s most isolated city, Perth.  The Region is dry and harsh with temperatures that can exceed 47 C in summer and there is no access to fresh drinking water except in the town of Exmouth. After initial planning I realised that for this trip to be successful, a whole lot more work and planning would be required. The initial investigation also revealed that a trip would need to occur between April to July:

  1. to mitigate the heat and exposure risks, and
  2. to coincide with Whale Shark session.

Sounds easy right?? For years, this limited period presented issues due to conflicting work commitments for both my partner and I. Finally, we decided that this year we would finally do it! Planning the trip was relatively easy compared to finding the time to do adequate training together. Working long hours, renovating our house and attending necessary social commitments made finding a full day to train difficult. Although we hadn’t trained as much as we should have, we decided that our combined experience and knowledge would see us through.

However, some things never travel smoothly and two weeks before we were to leave for our expedition, my husband degloved his finger. The surgeon strongly recommended that we cancel the trip due to the risk of infection and further injury.  Luckily, after negotiations with our respective employers, we were able to reschedule for what was literally the last week of the whale shark session. We ended up re-scheduling, just before the whale session finished.

The final piece de resistance occurred when two weeks prior to departing, when we thought nothing else could possibly complicate this adventure further, we were surprised to find that we were expecting our first child!! After considerable soul searching and Google research combined with an increased emphasis on safety and contingency planning we departed on the adventure.

Swimming with the Whale Sharks

kayak-wThe day before we started our expedition, we went swimming with a whale shark in the waters of the outer reef of Ningaloo. Waiting in the deep blue water, my heart started to race from the moment I saw the murky grey object in the far distance. As the object glided towards us, I noticed the ever bigger object approaching with its distinctive markings and big open mouth. It was a whale shark! The whale shark moved at a constant pace and looked so tranquil and majestic. Once it had passed us, we began swimming slightly behind it. This approach prevents the whale shark from becoming stressed and also allowed me to watch the whale shark move through the water. For me it was a truly memorable day and from the first glimpse I couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day!!  If you haven’t had an opportunity to swim with the whale sharks I would highly recommend adding it to your “bucket list”.

www.whalesharkdive.com

Unassisted Multiday Kayaking Expedition

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As we drove from Exmouth to Coral Bay through the Cape Range National Park, I couldn’t help but marvel at the spectacular place we were travelling through with its rugged limestone ranges, breathtaking deep canyons and bouncing rock wallabies and kangaroos. My excitement subdued and was replaced with doubt and worry.  Although this place is spectacular, it was also remote, arid, unforgiving and the vast distance that we had just traveled will soon need to be done via human effort on a kayak. This doubt was negated by the contingency equipment and procedures we had in place.

We finally arrived at our start point, we unpacked our car and waved our support driver goodbye. Other than two locations along the way that were necessary to replenish our water supplies (we dropped them off on the way down), we would not see a single person for the next 6 days.

Kayaking in the inner reef of Ningaloo was like sitting on top of an aquarium. It is a protected sanctuary from the wild Indian Ocean winds and swell.  You could see through the beautiful turquoise waters to the white sands and coral reef formations. Turtle heads began popping their heads up for air occurred every few minutes, after grasping for air they would then swim down and dart away. Ningaloo Reef is an incredible aquatic environment filled with an amazing variety of marine life and we were luckily enough to see several species of dolphins, turtles and sharks as well as humpback whales, manta rays, and lots of tropical fish.

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One day, we decided to venture into the outer reef in the hope to see more humpback whales and to do some ocean kayaking.  This journey is definitely not for the faint hearted or non-prepared kayaker.  It is essential to understand the winds, tides, currents and also have a GPS as there are only a few access points along the reef and you kayak out some 10 nautical miles from the shoreline. Our trip was worth it as we saw humpback whales emerge on their migration north and also heard their “songs” throughout the day. We also saw the research vessel which was studying orcas attacks on humpback whale calves.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/science-wins-as-orcas-opt-to-linger/story-e6frg6nf-1226713588633

After a fabulous day of offshore kayaking, we had arrived at our planned entry location (break in the reef where you can re-enter). Unfortunately the winds had changed from the original weather forecast. We had to make the decision to head back to where we had started the day or brave the barrelling waves that were crushing over the reef. As the first option meant kayaking for at least another 8 hours, we decided on watching the waves for sets then to perfectly time our dash to correlate with a break.  Within moments, we both started kayaking at considerable pace and determination.  We both caught a large wave which took my husband to safety but I was still above the reef system, some 50cm beneath me. He turned around to find me, only to see me in my kayak parallel to the next set of imminent barrelling waves. I heard him loud encouragements at me to paddle hard. I promptly rotated my kayak and paddled with every bit of energy I had left in my body and mentally prepared to be crushed under the waves. Fortunately, I ended up getting passed the reef and caught the white wash to the sanctuary of the inner reef area. It was an exhilarating experience.

Eating and Sleeping

One of my favourite foods is fresh fish and nothing beats fish that you personally catch and eat within minutes. We took a fishing hand reel each and in the recreational fishing zones, we would throw out of line and lure. If we caught a fish we would kayak back to shore and then cook and eat it on the beach.  Even the best seafood restaurants wouldn’t be able to compare with views, freshness or value for money ; )

Other than fish, we survived on dehydrated meals, fresh fruit, tinned fruit, fruit and nuts and juice.  By this stage I was six weeks pregnant and was experiencing nausea and exhaustion (something I never considered that I would get… mainly as I never imagined getting pregnant). I was very thankful that my husband had not listened to me, I had tried to convince him that all we needed was coffee/tea/nuts/fruit and condiments for my fresh fish – tamari sauce/salt& pepper/coconut oil/pickled ginger.  Having biscuits, vegemite and lollies greatly reduced the impact of morning sickness that was becoming my constant daily companion.  The other pregnancy observation was that I could no longer defeat exhaustion… at lunch times I would arrive on shore and after eating I would need a 30 minute sleep and on the last days of the expedition I found myself closing my eyes and having to ask my husband for assistance (towing me along). This concept of not being able to work through exhaustion is still abnormal to me, I have previously done 24 hour adventure races, endurance swimming and half iron man competitions. I was forced from a person who hated bed and stopping to a person who would and could sleep at any given moment, whether I liked it or not!

That brings me to one of my favourite things to do… getting ready for bed.  Everyday we would plan our journey and then closer to the each days destination, we would start scouting the coastline for protected areas from wind and places we could safely dismount from our kayaks. Then we would cook our dinner (with any luck a fresh reef fish!). Then we would pack everything away and savour the speculator sun set whilst sipping a mug of tea. It really was an experience that I can never see myself boring of.

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We slept in a bivvy bag with our sleeping bag inside on the beach sand. Just in case you are wondering, a bivvy bag is a waterproof fabric shell that is designed to slip over a sleeping bag and provides a barrier against wind and rain. The bivvy bag was vital for us as the winds would become very strong each morning from 2:30am. We used our buoyancy vest as a pillow (though not very comfortable). So far I am probably not selling our sleeping conditions, but there is something that makes up for it a thousand times over. After dark the night sky was simply spectacular, and with no roof to hinder the view we would find ourselves waking each other up to share the spectacle above. There have only been a handful of locations that I have been where the Milky Way is revealed as an amazing band of light across the sky through the brightest constellations.

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