Get hands on at POT, Tugun’s newest pottery studio

If you’ve ever felt the undying urge to recreate that scene from Ghost (yep, I’m talking about the one on the pottery wheel), this one’s for you.

POT in Tugun is a pottery school designed to teach you all things clay.

Learn the art of pottery at POT studios four-week introduction courses in either hand-building techniques (HAND) or wheel throwing (THROW).

Get the low down on how to use the clay, tools and equipment – and in just four short weeks’ – you’ll go from a block of clay to a glazed pottery piece that will undoubtedly go straight to the pool room.

Image supplied by POT

Once you’ve completed either of the HAND or THROW courses, you’re invited to the MAKE sessions, where you get full use of the equipment and guidance from a pottery mentor.

To attend POT workshops there’s no experience required – just a fun attitude and the willingness to get your hands dirty.

To enter into POT Studios, founded by Cindy Hamrey, is to ascend into an urban sanctuary in the quietly humming creative community of Tugun. Image supplied by POT

Visit their website to find out more.

Editor’s Note: This article is for general information and entertainment, and is the expressed opinion of the author and not a paid advertisement. Be sure to check current addresses, opening hours and contact information directly with the venue/service in advance of any booking/purchase.

Yoga Beach

How yoga can help your mental health

Before I tried yoga I thought you had to be super bendy and skinny to even think about walking through the door. For many years various friends had told me I should try it but, being me, I stubbornly refused.

Now I can see that they were trying to guide me to a place that could help my mental health.

Some people practise yoga for physical fitness, and there is certainly that element to it, but we can actually resolve emotional issues through our practice too.

Fear, anguish, loneliness, self-confidence, self-esteem, relationships, setting healthy boundaries, self-compassion – can all be helped. And learning how emotions live in our bodies rather than rule us is important work to apply to daily life too.

Yoga isn’t just about the poses; it’s the mental and emotional benefit of the deeper practice that many love. After the physical release of stiffness will come an emotional release.

I tried a variety of different classes, with a range of different teachers, before really finding what worked for me. Some classes are more strenuous and challenging, which will give your mind plenty to focus on rather than worrying about your to-do list. But there are plenty of less strenuous, more relaxing practices too.

Research from Harvard Health found that “yoga appears to modulate stress response systems. This, in turn, decreases physiological arousal – for example, reducing the heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and easing respiration. There is also evidence that yoga practices help increase heart rate variability, an indicator of the body’s ability to respond to stress more flexibly.”

It also found “for many patients dealing with depression, anxiety, or stress, yoga may be very appealing to better manage symptoms”.

Interestingly, studies have also found that yoga can improve symptoms of schizophrenia when practised alongside medication therapy. And a UCLA study showed how effective it could be for caregivers; those taking care of loved ones with dementia for instance.

Learning breathing techniques and beginning to understand how you can change your mental state through slowing down your breathing is a game changer. Anyone who struggles with stress or anxiety will appreciate the benefit of beginning to change from a state of fight-or-flight to rest-and-digest.

Stepping away from the armour you place around yourself to face the world is important too. You start to see that you are worthy as a person and build the crucially important sense of self.

Feeling less stressed and anxious by the end of a class is a feeling that you learn to carry with you.

Becoming less reactive can lead to fewer regrets and that can improve mental health too.

Beginning to own hurt rather than lashing out and blaming others paves the way to living more mindfully.

Jersey Day

Have the Conversation – Make it Count

On the saddest day of my life, I never expected to also have to make the biggest decision of my life.

My Dad, my hero, my person, passed away unexpectedly and within a few short hours of losing him the phone rang – it was a counsellor from Donate Life.

“We are so sorry for the loss of your Dad but we need to make this call because there is a possibility with organ donation we can save someone else’s.

“Your Dad hasn’t indicated whether he wanted to be an organ donor, do you know what he would want?”

I clenched the phone to my chest and with a broken heart called out to my Mum and sisters to ask whether Dad had ever told them.

Everyone was too devastated to talk and could only manage to shake their heads to indicate they didn’t know. I had no idea what my Dad’s views were about organ donation, and I had to give an answer then and there or else there would be no time to donate any viable organs.

My Dad was a generous man and what was his was yours if you wanted it, so through an ocean of tears I blurted out, “If there’s anything that’s any good, then take it, I’ve got doubts about his liver though as he didn’t mind the occasional beer.”

The lady on the other end of the line chuckled, thanked me and went about organising the paperwork.

To this day I don’t know whether that was what Dad truly wanted. What I am absolutely certain about is that my Dad would have never wanted me to have to make that decision, particularly when I was in a state of overwhelming grief.

At Maurice Blackburn we have the honour and privilege of assisting families who have a lost loved one in tragic circumstances. These families only want to act in ways that honour the wishes and memory of those they have sadly lost. Where this becomes difficult from a legal point of view is when those wishes are unknown.

Discussing your wishes with your family is one of the most important conversations you can ever have. Donate Life report that around 1500 people are on Australian organ transplant waiting lists at any one time and the single most important thing that helps a family’s decision is knowing the donation decision of their loved one. One organ and tissue donor can transform the lives of 10 or more people.

On Friday 31 August 2018 I encourage the Gold Coast Community to wear their favourite sporting jersey to show their support for the Donate Life network and begin the conversation with their friends and families about Organ Donation. Jersey Day has been inspired by the story of Nathan Gremmo who was tragically lost in an accident in May 2015. Nathan’s family chose to give the gift of life to others to honour the legacy of Nathan’s generous personality.

I have to end this on a positive note, as that was something my Dad always did. About a year later I got a letter in the mail advising me that Dad’s eye tissue had been donated and someone who had lost their vision could now see. I will forever be heartened to know that the kindest and wisest eyes I have ever seen are still helping to keep an eye on this world.

So this Friday I will proudly wear a maroons jersey which belonged to my Dad and I will have the conversation with those closest to me about organ donation.

For more information about Jersey Day and Organ Donation visit and #makeitcount #donatelife

Life Drawing Class

The power of life drawing as a tool for self-acceptance

Fancy getting your kit off in front of a group of artists keen to draw your every curve?

Before you shout “hells no”, there’s a chance you could be swayed after getting the goss on the Gold Coast’s latest initiative led by two passionate and inspirational women.

Bobby Napier and Jesse McDonald are the brains behind Sketch Marks, a unique program of empowerment designed to liberate ladies battling body image and self-esteem by incorporating the art of life drawing.

Sketch Marks is all about finding self-love, body confidence and power and both Bobby and Jesse have poured their heart and soul into this project.

Their ‘Reframe’ program is designed to change the way women perceive, and relate to, their body. Using mindfulness techniques and lessons derived from Acceptance Commitment Therapy, Bobby and Jesse are so confident in what they teach; they believe there’s no doubt they will have you seated in the artist’s studio completely naked and comfortable in your own skin!

On completion of the four-week program, participants pose as an artist’s muse for a small group of professional and emerging artists, and receive some of the artworks created on the night, to see themselves interpreted, rather than represented; appreciated rather than advertised, and understand their body is a work of living art.

During the life drawing session, the model is encouraged to share her story and her struggle openly to break down the barrier between artist and model.

If you’d like to join the Sketch Marks movement – as a life model or an artist – be sure to follow Sketch Marks on Facebook.

Editor’s Note: This article is for general information and entertainment, and is the expressed opinion of the author and not a paid advertisement. Be sure to check current addresses, opening hours and contact information directly with the venue/service in advance of any booking/purchase.

Botanical Bizaar Community Garden Talk

Botanical Bazaar is the hottest gardening festival to hit the Gold Coast

The Coast’s biggest gardening festival rolls into town this September – and Botanical Bazaar is proof, gardening isn’t just for grannies!

Designed to educate and inspire, Botanical Bazaar will showcase urban gardening, sustainable living and the best botanicals to hit the market this season.

Browse over 100 green exhibitors’ including homewares, bee-themed vendors, kokedamas, flowers, vegie pods and hear from celebrity gardeners on how to keep your outdoor garden or indoor jungle flourishing.

Get creative with workshops including flower crown classes and meet succulent sisters and insta-sensations – KT & Biddy – with hints and tips on how to design your own indoor urban jungalow.

Grab your posse, head along and enjoy a relaxing day at Nerang’s beautiful community gardens with live music, food, drinks and more plants then you can poke a stick at.

Botanical Bazaar is on Sunday September 16, 9am to 4pm at Country Paradise Parklands, Nerang.

Avoid the queues and pre-purchase your tickets online now at

Editor’s Note: This article is for general information and entertainment, and is the expressed opinion of the author and not a paid advertisement. Be sure to check prices, addresses, opening hours and contact information directly with the venue/service in advance of any booking/purchase.