Will Date For Charity (and myself)

*Not BJJ related, but I am up for a BJJ related date!

A bit of shameless self promotion all for a good cause. In a nutshell, I’m dating for charity. Three Australian non-profit organisations in fact that help fight homelessness and poverty. I’m dating for me too, mind you – maybe I’ll have better luck in London!

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Photo: Birdman Foxglove Photography

Five in Five is an annual event that signs up singles to go on five dates in five weeks, raising funds along the way. I took part in 2012 and my mum (among others!) sponsored me $10 per date. She was quite excited just to see me dating. I had six very lovely dates over the five weeks, one guy I saw again but it didn’t go anywhere. “Just not feeling the zing” seems to be my frequent reasoning for pulling up stumps.

But you’ve got to feel some kind of connection, right?

Lining up five dates (no dating sites/hook up apps allowed!) is a tad harder when you’re away from your main friendship/colleague pool, but through some new friends I’ve made in the capital I already have a few date leads, and am going on my first one tomorrow. He has chosen a really cool location, I’m pretty excited.

If you’re interested, you’ll be able to read about my dating adventures on TNT Magazine‘s website – they’ve given me a column! Carrie Bradshaw eat your heart out! (I wasn’t a SATC fan mind you).

And if you’d like to support three incredibly worthwhile charities in Whitelion, Kids Under Cover and St Kilda Gatehouse, you can do so here. 

I’m still looking for a couple more dates and suggestions of things to do in London on said dates.. trying to get away from the usual dinner or a drink, so would love your ideas.

P.S Was paired up with a very encouraging and helpful brown belt in BJJ class yesterday. Oh the thrill!

A Gracie in the Building

It’s not every day you walk into the cafe upstairs from work, to be told Roger Gracie will be taking a BJJ class in the building.

Maloca moved in a couple of months ago, and Roger was dropping by as part of their grand opening weekend.

Photo courtesy of malocauk.com
Photo courtesy of malocauk.com

Roger took us through submissions starting from knee on belly (lapel choke, baseball bat, far armbar, kimura). It’s a position I have never been very confident in, despite having the weight to make knee rides quite effective.

Photo courtesy of malocauk.com
Photo courtesy of malocauk.com
Photo courtesy of malocauk.com
Photo courtesy of malocauk.com

So with regular Jiu Jitsu classes literally above my office, I really have no excuse now, do I? =D

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London Learning

The longer I spend here in London, the more I realise how naive I was when I first started plotting my big life upheaval.

Everything will be bliss in the UK was my thought – especially BJJ. Freed from the increasingly emotional pressure I was feeling in my job, I’d have more time to focus on training, improving and really enjoying everything jiu jitsu has to offer.

In reality, mostly the opposite is true – while I have no regrets about leaving my radio career the transition into a new one in PR has been much tougher than anticipated. 

Working longer hours for less £ leaves precious little time to make classes. Factor in the extra travel time being so reliant on the tube, and I count myself lucky if I make it in to the gym twice a week!

Still plugging away on the career front, my thought for the past six months has been “work goal first, THEN you’ll be able to really focus on training!”

But a heart to heart with a teammate last night has made me realise there is no leaving it for later in this city – you just HAVE to make it work, and now .. because London life will ALWAYS be getting in the way.

I am about to begin quite a challenging work month, but one essential for my new career – and it’s going to leave me with even less free time if that’s even possible..

Dogged determination will get me through though. That and supermarket £3 meal deals.

A Grrr-y But Merry Christmas

Belated Chrissie love to you and yours!

I had a wonderfully chilled out time with relatives in Horsham – my Great Aunty Mary, Uncle Pio and their family. Getting there from London on Christmas Eve was a task though, thanks to storm action knocking out train services (floods, landslips, trees down and power cuts will do that).

But I have to say I was fortunate not to be among those who missed spending the day with their families completely, or spent Christmas Eve, Day and beyond with no power due to widespread outages in the south east of England.

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  • The desperate crowds at the Coach Terminal quickly ruled buses out as a last minute alternative option, after I arrived at Victoria to find pretty much all southern rail services were cancelled. I was seriously considering paying the stupidly huge cab fare or just having a lonely old East London Christmas with a bottle of mulled wine and some cheese, when I saw a train to Three Bridges.

“Three Bridges, is that anywhere near Horsham?!” I asked a random older couple also staring up at the screens. “Well, it’ll get you close” was the answer, and that was good enough for me!

My original ticket had been for the First Class carriage – and I did travel in that section, just standing up crammed against other stressed out people and their luggage, most desperate to reach Gatwick Airport for flights home/to Chrissie holiday destinations.

There was this anxious silence as our train trundled along at a reduced speed (for safety) and more anxious silence when we stopped for an extend period at Purley station… the driver finally announcing “ladies and gentlemen, we’ll have a decision in five minutes..”

The dreaded decision was to make eight packed carriages disembark, and head to the station car park for the one 50 seater bus to Gatwick.

Lining up in the tunnel waiting to escape the crush and get outside, I got talking to a woman – Susan, who was also bound for Three Bridges – she’d convinced her brother to come rescue her from Purley station instead –“Oh you’re going to Horsham? Well we’re headed just beyond there, as long as you don’t mind riding in the back seat with the dog we’ll give you a lift. Let’s get out of here and grab a coffee while we wait for my brother.”

Oh the relief! Oh the gratitude! Paddy the dog was a delight to snuggle next to for the car trip, and on a whim that morning I had bought a big box of chocolates, which I gratefully gave to Susan as I was delivered to my Great Aunt and Uncle’s front gate – Mary was waiting there for me, and tried to usher all inside for a cup of tea.

My Christmas Eve Angels understandably wanted to get home themselves though and so we waved them off – and I said a silent thank you for the kindness of strangers.

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Non BJJ Related Bloggin’

Occasionally I might post something here that isn’t related to Jiu Jitsu, but I’ll always make it clear at the start for those of you not interested in my life off the mats!

Here is a review of an East London street art bike tour I wrote for The Working Holiday Club – it’s the company I used when I moved to London as a bit of a safeguard because let’s face it, moving to the other side of the world indefinitely is damn scary!

Hope you like, I can’t recommend the tour highly enough.

** And for the record, TWHC shouted my ticket but the review was otherwise unpaid, and neither they nor Alt. Ldn influence my opinions.

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Happy Little Noob.

Ok, at 72 kgs I’m not ‘little’ – but right now I’m happy being a noob on the mat … mostly because I’m just happy to be rolling!

Yay nooby me!

One month after arriving in London, I finally got my big butt to an MMA gym. Why the delay?  A few stressy ‘life’ set up things I had to prioritise – but I have also been enjoying the slight break that packing up and moving overseas has afforded me.

It’s this irresponsible, inconsequential feeling akin to the first little moment you have as a grown up, when you realise you don’t need to ask for permission to go somewhere or to eat dessert before dinner … just being away from home again is so freeing.

It was actually the second time I ate a whole tub of ice cream for tea that I decided I’d better get back to BJJ.  Judging by the tightness of my gi pants, it’s lucky I didn’t leave it much longer.

I know, clean eating FAIL.

I walked in, then straight back out of one MMA gym I found quite close to where I’m living. There’s something about a big dog lounging around on a visibly dirty (black in parts) mat, that’s just not very appealing.

I had much better luck at my second stop – Fight Zone London in Bethnal Green.

Marco Canha (Checkmat) is head instructor, with beginner and intermediate/advanced BJJ classes on offer.

There’s also the all-important S&C along with Muay Thai, Boxing and MMA.

You get the family vibe as soon as you walk into this gym, kids classes obviously help amplify the feeling – as does the sight of adorable gi-clad littlies burning off post-class energy, running about inside the cage!

There were a good 30 people on the mat in my first beginner lesson including four ladies, which was fab.

I’m told white belts regularly stay in the mix for the intermediate/advanced class that follows, but I’m happy hanging in the newbie sessions for now. While not ‘new’ I’m inconsistent, so have a lot of basics to work on along with overall fitness.

Friday night I hit class then stayed back for the open mat – just music, me and a bunch of guys who were pulling moves all over the place while I did something hopefully resembling defending!

I was a red faced, sweaty, crazy-haired, blissed-out mess by the end.

Bring on the next class.

If The Bunk’s A-Rockin’…

I have a new-found appreciation for hostels that sell ear plugs and eye masks.

For cost effectiveness and the social aspect, I chose to base myself in backpacker accommodation when I first moved to London. I’ve never been a fussy traveler, and have previously only had really great experiences staying in hostels. Girls dorms, mixed six, eight, sixteen bed – they’ve been fine. Rowdy on party nights sure, but nothing I couldn’t handle.

After this past fortnight though .. I may be putting conditions on my future bunk bed stays.

From randoms crashing – to dorm mates screwing randoms in bunks at night, in the middle of the day, in shared bathrooms.. I thought I was finally free of the shenanigans when I switched hostels after the first week. But the final straw came (heh) on my first night in the second hostel … when half asleep I automatically handed up a dress that had fallen from the top bunk onto mine.

I later realised the girl above me had a friend, and wasn’t just changing into her pyjamas.

Really, I should have seen it coming when I saw this in the ladies loos.

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‘Stiky’ Boob, anyone?

And this in the stairwell.

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“Wanna come back to my bunk bed?”

Though this message was on the dorm room door – “We have a strict one person per bunk policy.”

Just a tad hypocritical, you know.

** On the jits front – I am FINALLY getting to trying out a few clubs this week! Finding a share house and starting some kind of work has been the priority, then I picked up a cold .. but now I’m kinda settled it’s time to roll – and find me a new home club. *rubs hands together in anticipation*