BJJ is better with cupcakes

I’m not the only one who celebrates my birthday for at least a week, am I?

It was pre-birthday rolls with the morning crew today so I brought cupcakes. SORRY to the guys who are supposed to be weight cutting right now for the British Open…

p.s HOW am I 31 in two days?! The past year has flown.


post-jiu jitsu birthday cupcakes at fightzone london

How NOT to remove SNS nails

BJJ and pretty nails don’t mix, not for me anyway, since I clip them down every few days to avoid being ‘that’ scratchy-nail person on the mat. And polish? Meh. I only bother for special occasions. But after getting my first SNS manicure for my sister’s wedding, I found a way to clumsily manage a mani and training. Sort of.

That’s Signature Nail Systems by the way- I had to look it up.

The pretty shot

SNS nails

Aren’t they lovely, plastic fantastic-looking amazingness?! Seriously solid. I was drumming my fingernails along everything. Just because.

Obligatory wedding snap (one groomsman to two bridesmaids! We made it work).

Since my ‘enhanced’ French mani was thick and blunt and really not longer than my natural nail length, I got away with training twice in Australia in the week following the wedding; no scratching anyone or feeling like I may inadvertently rip my talons off.

Back to the UK, and although the SNS was starting to grow out, I wanted to be vain and keep that souped-up nail feeling for a little longer. But how to trim them when they’re too thick for clippers to handle?

Cue manic filing! It was tedious, but it worked.

For a good three weeks I successfully kept my nails short for BJJ, and that French manicure – while it looked a little odd with the white part steadily disappearing – continued to hold with no problem. Mind you, it was swiftly looking worse and worse.

SNS french manicure filed down

So this is where laziness just set in really. Who cares what my nails look like! Buy acetone or go to a nail bar to get the stuff removed? Pah! I’ll just let them grow off.

SNS nail pulled off

All the BJJ gripping started prying them loose mid-roll to the surprise of my training partners; Holy shit I just found your nail…oh it’s fake? Phew..

Thankfully I didn’t feel a thing or lose any real nails in the process but, I do now have half a hand of weird-looking pink stuff left on my claws, and my nails are definitely feeling thinner/weaker, hopefully temporarily.

Glue residue on nails
Don’t worry, that’s mostly glue residue, not ragged layers of nail.

Would weak nails be a thing if I had removed the SNS you know, the responsible-manicure-girl way? Maybe, maybe not, the internet seems divided. Either way it’s probably the route I’ll take if I ever get a proper manicure again.

My sister had a great wedding photographer by the way. You can check out more photos here.

Reflecting, recharging etc.

The start of a new year – and a new diary/planner – is as good a time as any to reflect on the last 12 months. Here are my highlights.

I bought a new Moleskine diary this weekend. But before I shelve the old one and start filling these crisp new pages with plans and appointments, I thought I’d have  a flick through and recap my 2015 highlights because, well, it’s the thing to do as you start a new year isn’t it?



  • I spent some precious time with my Nanna on her last trip to Malta. ‘Last’ because as she’s in her late eighties it’s very unlikely she’ll make the long journey over from Australia again. I also got to hang out with my awesome aunty Anna – she’s always so much fun and we have the best talks.



  • I landed my first full-time job in PR. This has been a goal ever since I quit my radio career and moved to the UK, and a casual conversation at a bar for a friend’s birthday a good 12 months ago actually led me to this role. The next time I consider bailing on social plans, I’m going to remind myself of this wonderful encounter, and reconsider.
  • I flexed the talky – i.e. I did some voiceover work and had a weekly UK/Europe news chat with Justin on i98fm.  It was really fun to get back behind a microphone! I hope to do more of it this year.
  • I went back to Australia for the first time in almost two years. Time truly has flown – how have I been in London for now approaching THREE years?! What struck me when I visited Oz back in May though was how so much hadn’t changed. I mean, friends have rings on their fingers where they didn’t have them before and some girlfriends now have bumps and others babies but, there was something really comforting about slipping back into old conversations with them, visiting the BJJ clubs I used to frequent and feeling like it was just another training session, seeing my dad in his usual chair in front of the TV at home and chatting through the day’s events with mum and my sisters. I was a complete noob on the train and in shopping centres though: if I stood on the right side of the escalator instead of the left once, I did it a thousand times! I was happy to find that while I thoroughly enjoyed my trip home and could have extended it for another week or two, the visit didn’t leave me pining for a move back for good.
  • I turned 30. I’m totally still scratching my head at this, to be honest. How did 30 happen? When did I make it here? Why do I not feel like I should be 30 yet? Is it a total cliche to say that? Maybe it’s societal – and my own – expectations of where I should be and what I should have/own at 30 that I’m clearly not at/possessing, maybe I just really don’t feel “my age.” I have read a lot of comments/articles about how secure people tend to feel in themselves in their thirties. I certainly feel like I have some catching up to do.


  • I went to another BJJ Bonanza. Yes! The super fun women’s BJJ camp in Copenhagen that I did in 2013 is still going strong, and I was able to make it back in October. This time the camp featured Mackenzie Dern and she is seriously the nicest, most grounded 22 year-old I have ever met. Along with teaching us some great moves over the course of the weekend, what sticks out for me about Mackenzie is just how chilled she is. Between sessions she would sit around with a group of girls, happily sharing stories of her notable fights and telling us the ‘real stories’ behind some of the headlines. And if she wasn’t doing that, Mackenzie was taking charge of the gym’s speakers, flipping through her favourite tracks on her phone and generally just being rad. I also got to catch up with a bunch of ladies that I met at the BJJ Globetrotters camp in 2014.


  • I ended the year with the same guy I started it with and in the same place, Strasbourg, where I spent the Christmas and New Year break. My relationship is totally a highlight and continues to be. I’m looking forward to whatever’s up next in this long distance adventure of ours.

Oh, hey there

Stuck between tube stops due to a signal failure on the district line… what a perfect opportunity to play catch up on the blog!

Belated Happy New Year – I made a simple BJJ related resolution, and I am proud to say that I have stuck to it so far:

Make it to training at least twice a week.

Two sessions as a base is extremely achievable, and I find I’m beating myself up much less than when I was getting to four classes one week (huzzah!), but then sometimes none the next.

In happily averaging three times per week at the moment, and trying to really focus on retaining more of what I’m learning. Moving off one stripe in 2015 would be kinda nice. I do still have the short term training memory of a fish though, sadly.

What else is occupying my time? Well, I’m job hunting – I mean proactively job hunting as opposed to just wishing a new gig would fall out of the sky. Crossing fingers and toes a shiny opportunity presents itself soon (well spoken EA/Project Manager and media type for hire, just sayin).

Happy 18 months in London to me!


HOW have I been in the capital this long already? Ashamedly I am yet to see the inside of any museums bar the Hunterian, and have only made it to one musical (Urinetown, odd title but a good show).

While many of my Aussie friends here are now realising they have under a year left on their working holiday visas and are frantically trying to tick off their euro travel bucket lists, I am wondering when I should start compiling mine.

The beauty and danger, of an EU passport.

I’m really keen to make this year count – on and off the mat, in my career and in my personal life. The latter part of 2013 was very much a career holiday. 2014 saw me jump into a bunch of new things including my first Gi competition (I did enter a second Southend Open in November, annnnd let’s just say I didn’t surprise myself but I DID learn a lot).

It’s time to build now. Oh, and I’d also love to find a new flat.

The truth about chicken parmigiana

Not BJJ related … just a little truth bomb that was dropped on me by my Italian flatmate while at the pub the other night. I JUST ASSUMED IT WAS PROPER ITALIAN!? Mind blown..

Learn Italian with Lucrezia

Hello everyone!!

I want to tell you a secret today… (I’ll write in English for the sake of all of you understanding!)

Chicken parmigiana is NOT an Italian meal. I’ve never eaten it, I’ve never seen it in Italy and I’ve never even imagined it!!!

I don’t know where it all started, I mean the legend about chicken parmigiana being Italian, and honestly I don’t even want to know! But the thing which is pretty annoying is that you will find it in every “Italian” restaurant abroad and it makes it even worse because it makes you think that the recipe is Italian. I’m probably stressing it too much, but I just want to let you know that if you go to a restaurant and order a chicken parmigiana thinking that you are eating Italian food, well… you are wrong. The same goes for spaghetti with meatballs, I’ve only seen…

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Gi Weaves 101

Brilliant post on different types of Gi materials – it’s nice to have it all explained, I am totally guilty of the smile and nod “oh I totally understand the difference between pearl weave and gold weave…”

BJJ For Women

womancallingWe get a lot of calls asking which one is our lightest gi, and what is the difference between weaves. When talking about the weight of the fabric, textile industry uses gsm, grams per square meter, measurement. This however is rather meaningless to the consumers who will never test the material for gsm. It is easier to use the weight of the full gi set, jacket and pants, when choosing a gi.

Our women’s gis range from 2 lbs 8 oz for an A0 to 4 lbs for an A4. The minor differences in weights between different gis can be contributed to the design elements: pants loops, cord or flat drawstring, collar thickness, extra embroidery, and variances that happen in cutting and sewing. Half an inch extra in jacket or sleeve length as well as added reinforcements, patches, and decorative tape can add some extra weight.

The trend in the gi…

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Greek Island Flexi Hopper Wrap Up

Really good read for fellow travellers weighing up paying for a tour vs DIY. I have used Busabout before and had a fantastic time – but yes you will be paying more than if you organise everything yourself.

How would YOU tour the Greek Islands? With a group like this or independently?

elly b

So we have finished our Busabout Greek Islands Hopper and my what an experience it was. When it came to deciding how to travel the Greek Islands there was an easy option for us… BUSABOUT. Having booked the North and South loops with them and having researched a variety of different ways to see Greece, we weighed up our options and Busabout was by far the most flexible, suitable and appropriate way for us to see this beautiful country and with the deals that you can get with Busabout- 2-4-1, 10% and 15% off its a great deal!! .

Why did we choose Busabout?
Having had friends who have organised their own way around the Greek Islands it was something that we considered. But with mixed opinions on organising a trip around the Islands on your own, Busabout took the organisation out of my hands but still allowed for…

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