Category Archives: Lifestyle

Snails colours

Arty Snails

Snails: Artist Run Space is a unique one, an ‘all-sorts’ collection of eclectic, cutting edge, avant grad and grunge. We talk to Kirsty Porter, one of three creatives behind the gallery and workshop, to discover what makes it tick.

Snail writingSo for those not in the know, what makes these guys so interesting? In a sentence – its their model. It’s right there in as the name says – artist run. The Snails space enables freedom for artists, with them able to display and sell their work in a central city location at a low cost. “We exist outside of money really,” says Kirsty. With two unique locations in the urban heart of the city, the cheap rent is covered by Kirsty and her two cohorts Sarah Bingle and Miriam De Oude, giving the liberty to do with the spaces whatever they wish. Just like any true artist, costs are kept to the smell of an oily rag so that they can keep the fabulous galleries up and going long-term for all walks of life. “We aren’t like a commercial gallery,” explains Kirsty. “No commission is paid out of the sales of the artist’s works, they just cover the power bill for their time in the space and they can sell as much art as they want. When we have exhibitions, we get the artist to take on the responsibility – the hanging, sitting and sales etc.”

Paint me a rainbowThe fun doesn’t just stop at visual art though – not only are the galleries fantastic for the community’s artists, but also musicians. At the Taonui Street workspace they have hosted bands from Palmerston North, Wellington and even Australia, playing gigs, bringing artists, enthusiasts and creatives alike together in a shared space.

For anyone who wondered, we asked the question many think – why the name Snails? Kirsty confesses the truth: “I’m a gardener, I kill snails all the time.”

Freda Kahlo“So it’s kind of my ‘I’m sorry guys – in honour of killing you all the time, I’m honouring you by naming a gallery after you.”

If you are interested in going to have a look at these gorgeous spaces, go for a stroll and head down to 88 George Street, or the corner of Taonui and Cuba Streets. Every month they have a new artist in residence showcasing new art, bringing a revolving scene of colour and talents to the coffee and arts quadrant of the city.

Find out more on Facebook.

Nick packing for a climb

Mountain to Climb

Nick Allen is a man with conquest on his mind – first the Himalayas, then the seven summits. But far more important is conquering himself, and the multiple sclerosis that would try to keep him grounded.

It’s been nine years since fatigue, muscle cramps, balance and bladder problems and restricted mobility started occurring, and five years since Nick Allan was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). Nick had childhood dreams of climbing Mt Everest, so with his symptoms under some sort of control, what better place to start than tackling the Himalayas?

Always smilingNick will soon start the two 6,100-metre climbs, Stok Kangri in India and Island Peak in Nepal, mixing mountain climbing and trekking. The climb will raise awareness of and also fundraise for people living with MS. It will even go ahead with or without his doctor’s approval – “perhaps I should have it, but it was sort of a case of well, it’s do this, or die. Not doing it was not an option”.

As if the Himalayas weren’t enough, “if it goes well and I can manage the altitude okay, I would like to do the seven summits.” The seven summits are the tallest peaks on each continent, including Mt Everest. Nick hopes to be the first New Zealander with MS to conquer the seven summits. Nepal is just the trial run for bigger things to come.

Everything in me didn’t want to step into that wheelchair because I sort of knew that that was like surrendering my legs

“I am grateful for MS, I wouldn’t change it – well sometimes I would, but more often than not I wouldn’t. I think that when you’re fit and healthy and focused you don’t stop to enjoy and appreciate things.” Having been in a wheelchair and unable to do what the majority of us can, he admits there was a lot he took for granted.

At 19 Nick started experiencing symptoms of MS, especially with his bladder and legs. “I was too embarrassed to say anything about the bladder problems! But with my legs I just thought I was unfit so I started training harder.” Having a shower became a herculean task, leaving him wiped out.

MedsIt wasn’t until Nick was 25 that he was finally diagnosed. “In some ways it was a bit of a relief, because there had been all of this stuff that was going wrong, so finally there was a reasonable answer. Then it hits you, that this is it. In that first year I was in denial of the fact I had MS, I wasn’t adopting any solutions.

“But then I was like, hang on a second, I’m going to end up in a wheelchair and I’m never going to get out of it. And at 25 I was like, man, do I really want to spend the rest of my life like this?”

While over in the United States Nick’s worst fear came true; he did end up in a wheelchair and lost his vision. “When I moved there stuff started getting really bad, I was struggling. I started to have those thoughts of, ‘What’s even the point of continuing to live?’

“Mum dropped everything, booked a ticket to come pick me up then flew me home.” With Nick in a wheelchair the family relocated to Palmerston North. To get out of the wheelchair his Dad had to massage Nick’s legs every night because he was in so much pain. “Everything in me didn’t want to step into that wheelchair because I sort of knew that that was like surrendering my legs. It was the very opposite of how I wanted to be perceived.” It didn’t take him long to trade the wheelchair in for a camera – how else could he capture the view from the top?

If it goes well and I can manage the altitude okay, I would like to do the seven summits

He was able to get his symptoms under control with a drastic change in food and exercise. He credits his new lifestyle to the Jelinek diet, designed by a man who has MS himself. The diet includes very little fat, no sugars and no dairy. Initially Nick wasn’t so set on the idea of having to give up his sweet tooth. “Now if I have sugar it’ll just kill me, I’ll get headaches.”

Along with his diet and fitness, Nick has painkillers to manage tingling, a common symptom of MS. He says it is “as if you were being shock-blasted constantly. I felt like I was going to rip my skin off my face”. To control the spasticity and muscle cramps he has to stretch every morning, midday, afternoon, evening and night. As for fatigue, he chooses to not be decimated by the symptoms of MS; instead he has slowly built up stamina by exercising within his body’s limits. “Without being all airy-fairy, I’m sort of more in touch with myself and can sense my body’s limits.”

If they fit, pack themAfter being diagnosed Nick didn’t go tramping with anybody for fear that he would slow them down and become a liability. So a huge milestone for him was last year when he and a friend completed the Ball Pass on the side of Mt Cook. “What was crazy was Dad had said to me don’t overdo it, and I was like I’m going to do it come hell or high water and I got to the top and was smashed. I sat there for about an hour recovering.”

With a glow in his eye, Nick describes the unbelievable feeling he experiences when reaching the top of a climb. That moment alone explains why all the struggles, defeats, training and pain have been worth it. “My absolute favourite thing is when you reach the top and there are all these clouds beneath you and this real sense of just being on top of everything. Then in the distance you can see peaks that you wouldn’t normally be able to see and it’s just the sense of ‘I’m on top of all of this, but also look at everything there is out there’.”

www.masteringmountains.org

Student-Budget-1

Saving Students from Themselves

The Facebook superstar set up her Healthy Eating on a Student Budget page in March 2014 after demand from friends grew for more pictures and recipes of Lauren’s inexpensive, Paleo-inspired meals. In less than a year the page’s popularity sky-rocketed, gaining nearly 275,000 followers.

“To tell you the exact reason why it’s got so big, I have no idea,” says the twenty-four-year-old. “I think people connected with the fact that I was a money-strapped student and not a supermodel or a nutritionist telling people what they should and shouldn’t eat.”

Creating magicA Bachelor of Applied Visual Imagery graduate from UCOL, and former Massey student, Lauren developed a passion for food on migrating to New Zealand from her native England eight years ago. Fast forward to the present day and Lauren is totally committed to a diet of the freshest, best-quality, local food that inspired her passion – well, mostly.

“I’ll still eat carbs every now and then. I’m not trying to tell people you can’t have those foods,” Lauren explains. “My friend has celiacs disease and said her life was over because she could never have KFC again. So I came up with a recipe for gluten-free and dairy-free KFC. Instead of saying you can never have that food again I’m saying if you want a healthier option, here it is.”

I’m not sure that parents and older generations really understand how little their kids know

The Paleo diet is a lifestyle that excludes processed foods, dairy and cereals, and encourages people to eat only what early humans could catch, kill or grow. Lauren became attracted to the concept after a long battle with weight loss. “I was a chubby kid, a chubby teenager, and a chubby adult. I know now that I’ll never be the size six I always wanted to be. When I started following the Paleo guidelines it was the first time I’d thought to myself, ‘I’m not doing this to lose weight, I’m doing this to be a healthier person’.

“I was feeling absolutely miserable when I was studying and I thought I’d feel that way forever. But when I changed my eating habits I began to feel so much better mentally and physically. I think people still struggle to see food as an issue – that what you eat affects your mood – but it’s completely relevant.”

Paleo FishcakesLauren rolled her Paleo lifestyle, photography degree, and love of food together when she established her Facebook page from her Palmerston North flat. She posts healthy recipes that she creates for students, along with tips and tricks on how to maximise their food budget.

But the internet phenomenon is generating some big plans for beyond her Facebook wall. “I’m really interested in setting up cooking classes for students. There are so many of them out there who don’t know to boil carrots!” Lauren laughs. “It’s really scary what you see in a student flat. Having come from a home where I was taught how to cook I just assumed people could do the basics like me.

I think people still struggle to see food as an issue – that what you eat affects your mood – but it’s completely relevant

“I didn’t even know that mince on toast was a thing until I moved into my first flat. “I once lived with someone who grilled a sausage on the electric element. No pan, just the element. They thought that was how it was done. I couldn’t understand how someone who was so intelligent, studying something really complicated, could do something so out of this world to me! I’m not sure that parents and older generations really understand how little their kids know.”

The finished productOther projects up Lauren’s sleeve are a recipe book that she wants to be “universal, not just for university students”, and after a successful appearance at Palmerston North’s Festival of Cultures in March, Lauren is keen to get on stage for some more live cooking demonstrations. “It was amazing to have met Nici Wickes and Ray McVinnie at the Festival. I’ve admired them for years. I was cooking just before they were on and I was scared I’d ruin the demo before they came on! I didn’t pass out or burn my food though, so I think I’m good to do more.” Lauren has also been hitting the road, travelling the country and cooking for a very exciting secret project.

This girl is certainly one to keep your eyes on for the future as she continues to dip her fingers into many more (Paleo) pies.

www.facebook.com/budgethealth

Tom's pad

Tom Shannon

A heart for future generations – Tom Shannon is connecting people and ideas.

High up on the hill, Tom Shannon has always had a perspective from above. It would be easy for him to separate himself from the world below, but Tom is devoted to his home, the Manawatu Region. “It’s home in the broader picture of the region,” says Tom. “My family came from different parts, I married into different parts. My roots move deep in the town of Shannon, south of Palmerston North, which bears the name of my grandfather’s grandfather. I am the eldest son’s eldest son’s eldest son!”

Tom at homeAs Tom puts it, “I was raised as a dog on the Tararua hills.” It was this upbringing that made Tom fall in love with the region, and despite studying down south and spending a year traipsing the globe, his love brought him back as a family man. With the children now grown, Tom is making a name for himself as the man working quietly away building relationships and getting things done.

It was a desire to leave something for future generations and the community that encouraged Tom to bring local parties together to create positive change. “In a previous career I was a sharebroker, and as a sharebroker you’re in the middle. I think that the business of brokering understanding is why I came out here. I left sharebroking because I didn’t like the conversation, and I left it with the view that there was more security in knowing and getting on with your neighbours than there was in a number on a piece of paper. I had been trying to foster conversations with authorities and the community as part of a river liaison committee, and I was getting frustrated with that, with how authorities engaged with communities and how communities engaged with authorities. The drive is in me, and I wonder why sometimes, but I wanted to see if I couldn’t champion a conversation in my community. I was trying to broker understanding.

I don’t think we need more research to do things, we just need to apply what we know

“In terms of what’s motivated me to put myself up there, to stand up and say things and encourage others to go past themselves – it’s a lot to do with wanting to live in a place that is peaceful and harmonious. We can’t escape, we can’t get out of this place, so that’s where our limitations lie, in the social dimension and communicating. I don’t think we need more research to do things, we just need to apply what we know.”

Entrance to the Manawatu GorgeOne of the most notable initiatives is the Manawatu Gorge Biodiversity Project that Tom was instrumental in getting off the ground. This brought together Crown representatives, three iwi and a number of other important local participants, ranging from local government to community groups, businesses and individuals all working in a collective and equal partnership. This group has led the charge to improve, preserve and highlight Te Apiti – Manawatu Gorge, to great success. Visitor numbers to the area are increasing dramatically year on year, with more activities and attractions available, and more organisations getting involved.

“The dream for the place out here was established and agreed pretty easily, pretty quickly. We all appreciated how deeply it could go. It was in my mind that we could all work together without ownership changing, to create an environment that the region and the district could be proud of, and that as individual landowners we might also be better off. The mix of organisations and people out here was very diverse, and as that grew with time it became clear to me that there was no project out here without iwi. Not token iwi, because everyone can see through that, it had to be genuine involvement.

My roots move deep in the town of Shannon, south of Palmerston North, which bears the name of my grandfather’s grandfather

“It did occur to me that at different times we might have said, ‘This is too hard’, but there was no project at all if we couldn’t break through it. So it was persistence – there are a couple of us in the group who are persistent! From the government there was also support, because they had a responsibility and a role too.”

What a view!The persistence has paid off, and the relationships in the group have been strengthened over regular cups of Tom’s favourite ‘gumboot tea’. However, despite the fantastic success that Te Apiti – Manawatu Gorge has experiencing so far, Tom is realistic about the challenges and what is necessary to prosper. “I feel very proud of what has been achieved, but like any relationship you can take none of it for granted. Partnership is only as good as the last conversation,” laughs Tom. “I think in the past few years I’ve become an organisational psychologist!

“I’ve listened to many sides of things, and there is this sense that being vulnerable and being yourself are what people are drawn to. It’s also important to protect oneself, to keep oneself safe, and that’s what I am learning now. To be in that place and stand and call others up, it really has to be a blank page. No clever tricks. ‘No shit, no kidding’, as someone once said to me. I am learning to do that myself, and that’s part of the personal journey.”

It's all about the bass

Well and Truly Made

“The name came from a Levis t-shirt that said ‘Truly made in the USA’. It was at the moment of ‘this band needs a name’”.

Two years ago and one song writing project later, seven musicians came together to form what we now know as the original band Truly Made.

DeanSince then the band have performed, recorded and written their way to success. “Being part of such a small music scene you just get to know people and make connections with them. We just asked people if they wanted to have a jam around a few songs.”

It all clicked for Jon Bowen, Dale Brider, Brandon Lauridsen, Hayden Lauridsen, Graeme Parker, Dean Parkinson and Matt Soong, the current band mates.

If the band ended tomorrow it’s been a really great band to be in

“The different people add something unique to the band. New singers and new instruments over the years have completely changed the sound of the band,” Jon believes.

As a result, the group don’t see themselves performing under one genre. “Soul, funk, ska, the band doesn’t fit into one style. We have a reggae feel but it’s not reggae and a bit of ska but it’s not ska. All sorts of bands influence what we sound like.”

The bandAs one of the main songwriters of the group, Jon focuses passionately on lyrics and music. “I start with a thought, which usually begins with an experience or something that I read just walking around town. What goes in usually comes out, so I start with a single phrase or a melody. But you can’t force creativity, songs are probably five per cent inspiration ninety-five per cent perspiration.”

Part of their success over the past two years is a result of the members’ musical backgrounds and passion. “I’ve been playing in bands since I was fourteen, so music was a natural thing to me no matter where I was,” Hayden remembers.

2014 was a particularly successful year for the band after releasing their debut extended play, ‘For the Summer’.

Hayden“The intention has always been to get our songs into a format, so when things started to evolve we thought we would get something committed in the studio. Then the money we made from gigs went into a recording fund.”

“We have had great feedback. Although people say we could have done things differently, we are all at different stages of life and shifting units is not our thing. It is about being creative with music and finding a space where we can happily continue being a band,” Jon believes.

Being part of such a small music scene you just get to know people and make connections with them

Playing local gigs is important for the septet. “2014 started really well for us, we played New Year’s Eve in The Square, which was great because the songs went down really well. It is encouraging when you get good feedback because a lot more people know about us now and we have got a fan base, rather than just Mum and Dad,” they joke.

“We try to perform every four to six weeks and that’s enough, because it means even though we play locally people still come and see us. It’s not busy, which is great because we can sustain our own interest.”

JonAside from world domination, the group want to see Truly Made keep going and evolving. “For musicians it is hard to go beyond what we are doing. We are passionate about being creative, which is the point of the band. Whatever we have created in Truly Made no one has ever done before, which is the amazing thing about music; it is always new. Music as art is amazing because you can never have it the same way twice.

“Music is a funny thing, you look at it like life. There are all sorts of twists and turns. If the band ended tomorrow it’s been a really great band to be in.”

Stephen and Mary Barr

To your family, from ours

At a glance this family farm is no different from any other dairy farm, but Stephen and Mary Barr are making a name for Arran Farm thanks to their quirky new on-site milk shop.

The cows coming home to here are unique, and are a key part of the shop’s success. Most dairy farming cows carry the standard A1 gene, producing the ordinary A1 milk that is sold in stores. However, Arran Farm breeds rare A2 cattle, which produce milk that contains the purest form of milk protein and is found by some to assist in resolving or limiting allergic reactions such as eczema. This milk is then sold through their milk shop, as Stephen Barr says, “ready to drink the way nature intended”.

Fresh MilkStephen and Mary started out in Taranaki and farmed there for more than 15 years before they bought a Manawatu farm in 1998. Taking advantage of the opportunities found here, Arran Farm has grow from 150 acres to 1200 acres and the new milk shop is heralding a new era, with the farm becoming a centre of community activity.

The farm has become a community centre, with the onfarm milk shop’s self-service milk vending machine enabling consumers to fill up their milk bottles as they wish. The Barrs summarise the store’s creation as, “We saw a vending machine in a magazine a few months ago and just went for it”.

However, it was not easy putting the shop in place. A range of challenges arose to ensure they complied with legislation.

Arran Farm operates as a sole trader; Stephen and Mary had to be really careful in their planning, as they were not protected by a company structure. Although this was testing, the Barrs knew they were on to something. “We believe in the milk, we enjoy it and there is a market for it.”

We believe in the milk, we enjoy it and there is a market for it

Having now opened their doors, the Barrs are thrilled with their success. “When we were making the plans for the shop, we didn’t factor in that it is a fun place to come to, because people are actually choosing to come here for the experience,” Mary shares with a smile.

“Our customers refer to it as the village well and there is a whole community that is building around the shop. People of all ages come here: the elderly, families, young people and even concerned mothers who buy milk for their flatting children. It’s a very positive place that seems to make people happy.”

The community support is prevalent, with a wide range of customers frequenting the shop, with people travelling from Palmerston North, Foxton and Levin and even Wellington.

Vending MachineAs the milk cannot be legally transported without pasteurising it, the Barrs are unable to sell the milk away from the farm gate. However, being grounded has been nothing less than beneficial for the community and the farther reaches of the country. A gem has been created in this spot on Taonui Road, near Feilding.

The community cherishes the milk shop and it continues to motivate this family to bring their raw, non-homogenised milk to the people who have grown to love it. “People in the market are always asking, ‘Are you selling enough milk?’ ‘Are you getting enough people?’ They are willing to bring their friends and family to the shop to help ensure the business is sustainable.”

Stephen foresees the shop growing “to be an even bigger part of the farm once we get more customers.” For now, the Barrs are just focused on doing what they do best and to keep offering good milk from their family to yours.

Smart Exchange

Fish to Fashion

It was a fish and chip shop for 38 years, but since setting up shop 18 months ago Smart Exchange, preloved designer boutique, has replaced fish with the best of fashion for its visitors.

Louise ChilmanOwner Louise Chilman had seen how popular preloved designer fashion was back in her home country of England, so when she saw a shop free in her Hokowhitu neighbourhood she knew just what would work there. “It just made sense. I knew a lot of women like me who had beautiful clothing in their wardrobes.”

“Sustainability really appeals to me; I’m a great recycler, right down to my worm farm,” laughs Louise. “I thought it was ridiculous how much wastage there is in this world, and what happens to these clothes”.

“You can pick up a beautifully designed quality item for a third or a quarter of the original price in here. You’d pay those prices in the chain stores for something ordinary.”

Beautiful goods to be boughtWith everything from Trelise Cooper to Gucci and casualwear to ball gowns, the store prides itself on having something for everyone. All clothes are sold on behalf of the previous owners, and Louise sees time and time again the emotions and memories that are often connected with them.

“Every garment means something to them… and for everybody who I sell these articles to, hopefully it will mean something to them too.”

www.facebook.com/smartexchangepreloved

Freya Thompson

Small Powerhouse with a Big Attitude

Size really doesn’t matter when it comes to the determined Freya Thomson. You can find her in the early hours of the morning at the gym training her clients and in the late hours of the evening being trained herself in the kickboxing variant of Muay Thai.

“I was the sporty girl at school. I loved going to the gym, and was very passionate about eating healthily and having a healthy lifestyle. I was the girl who would try to get the overweight girls to go out for a walk and not drink Coke. So I was that girl, the annoying one,” Freya Thomson laughs.

Fighting fitEver since she can remember, Freya has been doing some form of sport. “When I was ten I decided to go vegetarian then, later on, vegan and I just noticed how much that changed and helped me. I became a better athlete and it meant I persevered with sport, rather than it just being a thing you did after school.”

New Zealand’s culture surrounding health, exercise and lifestyle is “pretty slack” in Freya’s eyes, with her message being for people to get off the couch and start moving. “It doesn’t have to be high-intensity, scary stuff, it is just about moving, changing one unhealthy lifestyle choice. Swapping juice for water or a herbal tea is enough. It doesn’t need to be this dramatic drop that you are never going to maintain.”

“You go to the supermarket and see the obese, really unhealthy looking people and look at their trolleys and it’s chips, white bread, pasta, fizzy drink and juice. You can just see the difference.”

The day I wake up and not want to go to the gym is the day that I need to find a new job

“It’s the Kiwi culture of ‘it’ll be right’ or ‘that’s too hard I just won’t bother’ that has created this thing where the gym is only for fit people. So it’s really hard for people who have never been before to come into the gym and acknowledge that they need help. If it’s not one week it’s two weeks, then a month, then six months and all of a sudden you are overweight with heart disease.”

Helping clients to reach their goals, or make significant lifestyle changes, is the most rewarding part of her job as a personal trainer at Massey Rec Centre. “It’s when clients come in and are so stoked about their lifestyle changes, especially ones with quite severe medical conditions. When they come in and say, ‘My doctor said I can drop this medication’, those cases are highlights. It’s cool to know that I have made that kind of change to someone’s life.”

Time offImproving a client’s lifestyle one bad habit at a time is all in a day’s work, but for Freya it doesn’t stop there. She’s also passionate about training in Muay Thai, a combat sport that uses stand-up striking and includes various hits and blocking techniques that aim to injure or incapacitate, which she converted to in 2009.

“I changed to Muay Thai from Taekwondo because I only wanted to spar, and I joined a local Muay Thai gym around the corner just to get in some sparring practice. I then really wanted a Muay Thai fight, but my trainer at the time wouldn’t let me until I quit Taekwondo. It seemed like the right time and after the first fight I was hooked.”

Freya’s first title fight was back in 2012, when she went in as the underdog and came out a national champion. “When the authorities match you up for fights they don’t ask you about other styles, so I was fighting other people who had only had one or two fights and I was doing really well against them because I had ring experience from Taekwondo. I very quickly got to the point where I was fighting more experienced girls and there was just no one else around my weight for me to fight, so the only way was to challenge for a title.”

Her recent trip to the Muay Thai World Championships in Malaysia in May is something that Freya says was a great experience. “They have a rule over there that there is no blood, which is very different from New Zealand. In my first fight the girl got a good hit in, I got a bleeding nose and it was all over. But the team got some really good results.”

It’s when clients come in and are so stoked about their lifestyle changes

Sport is a mental game, according to Freya. Going into her last fight after three losses in a row would have been enough to mentally drain the best of them. “You get the physical injuries but it is nothing like having to get your head mentally there to be able to train and still be able to fight. I made the decision that if I lost this fight then that was it, so as the ref held my hand up that was a good moment.”

“You have to have mental strength. You can teach someone how to hit but you can’t teach the heart or the passion, it has to be within the person. It is pretty scary stepping into a ring where you know someone is trying to knock you out. But that’s why I quite like it, because it’s making me go outside my comfort zone. Once that final whistle has gone there is such a huge amount of respect for each other. Amongst fighters, we are like a little family.”

World Champ in actionThere are times when work does get the better of Freya, but she takes it all in her stride. “I’m lucky that I love my job. I have a cool client base whom I get along with really well. There are days when I find it hard to go to training, and when I’m coming up to a fight clients do find that I push them a lot harder. I love both jobs and I wouldn’t be able to choose one over the other.”

In her spare time Freya relishes working with the horses she trains and spending time with her much-loved dogs. “Again I’m one of those really annoying people who exercises in their spare time. But when I have the spare time that’s when I can take my dogs for a longer walk or go to a park. It’s mostly about mentally relaxing and winding down. I love going to get a facial and a massage on the weekend, so as much as I like getting dirty with the horses and punching people in the face, sometimes I like to do girly stuff too.”

In terms of the future, Freya is a “go with the flow kind of person”, and is happy with life as it is. “But the day I wake up and not want to go to the gym is the day that I need to find a new job. Until then I love my job. I live a good life, why would I change what I’m doing?”