Bridget Arsenault and Fatima Martinez Moxon BYT Film Club

A chance meeting and a shared love brought these two talented film enthusiasts together. I’m excited to bring you not one, but two inspiring guests for today’s A Life More interview. Bridget and Fatima have a passion for showcasing up-and-coming talent in the film industry, while making premieres accessible for audiences.

I love their enthusiasm, professionalism and belief in what they deliver. The evenings are always top quality and an enjoyable experience. If you want to see what a BYT Film Club premiere is like, have a look at my post Mayfair’s Secret Cinema: The Bright Young Things Film Club.

Time to get rolling. Welcome Bridget and Fatima.

Lets go back to the beginning. How did The Bright Young Things (BYT) Film Club come about?

Bridget: BYT (pronounced “bite”) started by accident! Fatima and I had a chance meeting at a Vanity Fair event. Fatima had discovered an incredible documentary called Mary and Bill about a 90-year-old triathlete and an 83-year-old high jumper and was so moved by it she wanted to host a screening.

We joined forces and June 26th 2013 hosted our first screening at the May Fair hotel. We sold out 201 seats, had the most fantastic night and afterwards all we kept being asked was “when is the next one”. And BYT was born!

In December 2013 we became a limited company and launched officially as a business March 6th of this year, with an absolutely spectacular American film Afternoon Delight.

Fatima: I had been trying to organise a screening for Mary and Bill for at least two years. I wanted the world to watch the film, but somehow the timing was always off, I would start a new project at work that required all my time, or I would be travelling a lot. I tried many times and got nowhere… and then I met Bridget and things started to click…. the rest is history.

Andrew Napier documentary poster for Mary and Bill

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Fatima had discovered an incredible documentary called Mary and Bill about a 90-year-old triathlete and an 83-year-old high jumper and was so moved by it she wanted to host a screening.

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What was your motivation to start this unique film club?

Bridget: We love films and we sometimes feel let down by the current cinema experience, nearly £20 to watch a blockbuster in a central London movie theatre, where the person next to you spends the whole two hours texting on their phone.

We want to bring back the glamour and fun of the cinema experience at an affordable price and help smaller, independent films have a platform to screen their work to a real audience outside the festival setting.

Fatima: I agree with Bridget. There does not seem to be a lot of variety in terms of the films being shown, unless you consider the BFI. We are both big on trailers and there were so many films we would find online, which would never make it to the UK.

I guess that after a couple of years waiting for these films to arrive, we thought: We are no longer waiting for someone else to screen the films we want, we are going to do it.

Afternoon Delight - Bridget & Fatima - Film Night

Image © Mark Cocksedge

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We want to bring back the glamour and fun of the cinema experience at an affordable price and help smaller, independent films have a platform to screen their work to a real audience outside the festival setting.

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What was the most challenging part about starting?

Bridget: Both of us have events experience and Fatima has experience in PR and marketing and I have some level of experience in the film industry but neither of us had ever run our own business! I don’t want to say it’s been easy but we’ve had so much support and we work with the most incredible and like-minded sponsors, and they make it easy and rewarding.

Fatima: Juggling two jobs at once! Once we decided to organise our first screening, things started moving very quickly and there was a lot to look after… we were glued to our phones/computers most of the day. Being organised was key!

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What are three of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt since starting BYT Film Club?

Bridget:
1. Time is probably our closest ally.
Especially with securing the films it can take quite a lot of time to get all the correct permissions and to find the right person who can get you access to the film.

2. It’s important to talk about what you’re doing. Don’t be afraid to let people know if you’re part of something exciting.

3. Get everything in writing. Everyone is so busy and working on so many diverse projects and with different clients and businesses, avoid any ambiguity, and get everything in writing.

Fatima:
1. You will make mistakes
, and you just have to accept it. It’s part of the experience and of growing any business. Make sure you learn from them and carry on.

2. If in doubt, call your contacts to clarify. Relaying only on email con sometimes result in parties talking about different things without realising it.

Toby Regbo_BYT Film Club premiere Q&A_The May Fair Hotel

Image © Gary Morrisroe

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It’s important to talk about what you’re doing. Don’t be afraid to let people know if you’re part of something exciting.

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What has been key for growing your brand?

Bridget: What is key for us now is growing our audience. We have a strong concept and model. We’ve done five events now, and we have a lot of the base infrastructure in place and fantastic relationship with some very cool and talented brands. We just need to keep getting the word out there.

Fatima: Our enthusiasm and not being afraid to approach anyone, from film directors and distributors to potential sponsors. If we think there is an opportunity for collaboration, we will contact them.

BYT Film Club guest with Propercorn at The May Fair Hotel

Image © Gary Morrisroe

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Describe your major highlight since starting BYT Film Club. What made it personally rewarding?

Bridget: What’s really great about working in an events-based business is that you absolutely do get to see the fruits of your labour. Every time we have a screening Fatima and I leave completely inspired and invigorated.

The feedback we get about the films we choose and listening to audiences laugh along with the films and enjoy them as much as we do is so incredible. It’s also such fun working with the different filmmakers. We typically work directly with the directors of the films and that is exciting and always such fun.

The other exciting thing about running your own business is how quickly you can put your own ideas into motion. Fatima and I can brainstorm an idea, or a company we want to work with, a film we want to screen and then we just do it. No red tape.

Fatima: Nothing beats knowing that people have enjoyed the event you organised. It’s wonderful to see people smiling or talking about the film after a screening.

The charity Women for Women International contacted the director of a film we screened to collaborate on a fundraising project after watching his film at one of our events.

Jill Soloway and Bridget Arsenault_The Bright Young Things Film Club Director Q&A_The May Fair Hotel London

Image © Mark Cocksedge

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Break everything down into chewable tasks so you don’t overwhelm yourself and know that it absolutely gets easier, the more experience you have and the more your confidence grows.

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Starting something new can be equally exciting and scary, and a time when many of us can be overwhelmed with self-doubt and personal fear. How do you overcome these feelings?

Bridget: It’s cheesy but you need to just forge on and try to banish those thoughts because they never do any good. We only work with films that we unwaveringly believe in and I think that gives us a strong foundation to feel secure in what we’re doing.

We also are lucky enough to work with some of the coolest and most talented brands in London. We couldn’t ask for a better venue than the May Fair hotel, we can always trust in Ciroc ultra premium vodka to make incredible drinks (so good they make us look and sound better on stage) Metcalfe’s, Propercorn, Green & Black’s, UNOCO, we are so proud of all our partners. It’s that age old piece of advice about surrounding yourself with clever and talented people and everything else will work itself out!

Fatima: I completely agree with Bridget. I also think having a good business partner is essential. There is only so much you can do by yourself, having someone you trust 100%, whom you know will have your back no matter what is really important.

Propercorn and Unoco sponsors BYT Film Club

Image © Mark Cocksedge

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Timing is everything. Don’t give up. Sometimes the right conditions are not there, don’t be discouraged, your break might be around the corner.

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What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own business and create a career out of what they love doing?

Bridget: You can do it! Set realistic deadlines and just jump on in. Another good thing about an event-based business is that you can’t procrastinate too much, you have a date that you need to work to and if you don’t get everything done by that date, it’s simply not going to happen.

Break everything down into chewable tasks so you don’t overwhelm yourself and know that it absolutely gets easier, the more experience you have and the more your confidence grows.

Fatima: You are doing something new, be patient and unassuming, nobody expects you to be an expert; be willing to learn from those around you.

Finally, timing is everything. Don’t give up. Sometimes the right conditions are not there, don’t be discouraged, your break might be around the corner.

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What does living A Life Less Beige mean to you?

Bridget: People! My friends and colleagues and all of the incredible people I get to work with every day.

Fatima: Not knowing what opportunities lie around the corner.

The May Fair Hotel Cinema Guests

Image © Richard Wallwork

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Quick fire questions

Best breakfast/brunch spot:
Bridget:
Providores or Berner’s Tavern  l  Fatima: Lantana or Cecconi’s

Favourite place for coffee:
Bridget:
Everbean  l  Fatima: Kaffeine

Best local activity off the tourist trail:
Bridget:
John Soane’s museum  l  Fatima: Visiting Muswell Hill and Alexandra Palace

When you’re not busy working, you can be found:
Bridget:
Psycle! Or at the Royal Court  l  Fatima: Hampstead Heath or Heartcore

Favourite travel destination:
Bridget: Anywhere in the south of France  l  Fatima: Bhutan

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How do you see BYT Film Club evolving over the next five years?

Bridget: We really want to keep doing what we’re doing and keep doing it well. We would like to work more with distributors and in the future perhaps help the films we showcase secure distribution (if they don’t have it already).

Fatima Martinez Moxon. BYT Film Club at The May Fair Hotel

Image © Gary Morrisroe

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What do you think of this glamorous cinema experience?

If you are in London and interested in coming along to a BYT Film Club premiere, check out their website, or follow them on Twitter to keep up to date with all the latest info.

BYT Film Club  l  BYT Film Club Twitter

Lights, camera, action,

Cestr cow In Prague

Eating my way around the world is one of my favourite things about travel. Sampling different cuisines, seeing how different cultures come together around food and tasting new flavours.

It dawned on me that nearly every meal I eat gets photographed and documented, but I never post about restaurants I’ve visited and would recommend to others. With several friends visiting Prague this year and offering the same advice of where to eat (with positive feedback), I thought it made sense to write a post of my 5 best local places to eat in Prague for others visiting.

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Delicious lunch at Cestr In Prague

Čestr

Meat lovers, listen up. You need to go to this steakhouse. While not a stereotypical steakhouse, Čestr is spacious and bright with incredibly delicious, local Czech food. It does not get much more fresh than here. With their own in-house butcher, the cuts of meat on the menu changes daily depending on what they have that day. Diners can even watch the butchers hard at work behind their glassed work area within the restaurant.

My recommendation: Try the steak tartare. While raw mince doesn’t sound too appealing, the meat here is so fresh which brings out all the flavour. Rub the garlic on the toast, then top with the mince and egg mixture.

Location: Near the Muzeum metro.

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U Veverky

A little further out from the usual tourist haunts, U Veverky is a true local Prague restaurant. This was recommended to us by our Airbnb host as one of his favourite Czech restaurants and the food certainly didn’t disappoint.

It’s pub style, laid back and by no means a fancy night out, but the food is worth making the trip for.

They do have menus in English and we massively over ordered (the meal sizes here are very generous) to the waiter’s amusement. We took the rest to go though and enjoyed the remainder the following day.

My recommendation: Everything we ordered was delicious, so take your chances. The boys loved washing the food down with the Pilsner too.

Location: Near the Hradcanska metro.

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Best Pork Knuckles In Prague_Mlejnice Sign

Best Pork Knuckles In Prague at Mlejnice

Mlejnice

Another one for the meat lovers. Mlejnice is arguably the restaurant with the best pork knuckles in Prague. We literally found it by searching online for ‘best pork knuckles in Prague’ during our first visit.

Tucked behind a few cobbled streets not far from the Old Town Square, this restaurant gets very busy (others are in on the secret as well). They’re so popular, they even opened up a second restaurant nearby, though we continue to return to the original (Zatecka 17).

The meals at Mlejnice are huge and great value for money. I would recommend booking and if you can’t get in for dinner, head there for a hearty lunch.

My recommendation: Pork knee roasted in beer with horseradish and mustard. The chicken wiener schnitzel is also my favourite.

Location: Near The Old Town Square.

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Lokal

A modern Czech beer hall, Lokal is popular amongst locals, so be sure to book, or arrive early for a casual dinner.

The meals are smaller than Mlejnice, but it serves some delicious, traditional food.

My recommendation: Prague ham with creamy whipped horseradish is a tasty local starter.

Location: Near the Charles Bridge.

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Death by chocolate at Choco Cafe Prague

Choco-Café U Červené židle

If all of that meat and potatoes has filled you up, you may want to satisfy your sweet tooth?

If chocolate is for you, then you will think you’ve died and gone to heaven at Choco Cafe. The ultimate death by chocolate with hot chocolate, chocolate milkshake and horrice rolls. Fill up to your hearts content, though you may want to lie down afterwards.

Location: Between Charles bridge and Old Town Square

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If you are a real foodie and want an even more traditional experience, head along for one of the Taste of Prague food tours. Friends recommended this walking tour and we enjoyed the Prague Food and Culture Tour. A great way to get a lot of local knowledge, try food at several local restaurants and get a little bit of history thrown in.

Food heaven,

Bright Young Things - The Dog Documentary - The May Fair Hotel

There’s something I need to share with all you Londoners. In the heart of Mayfair – The May Fair Hotel to be exact – a unique film club has been taking place, showcasing up-and-coming talent in the film industry.

Bridget and Fatima, the leading ladies behind The Bright Young Things Film Club (or BYT, pronounced ‘bite’) have been running monthly premieres in The May Fair Hotel’s own glamorous private cinema.

Bright Young Things Cinema at the May Fair Hotel London

On arrival, guests are welcomed with a drinks reception where you can nab yourself a sweet Ciroc cocktail (or three) in The Salon.

Bright Young Things - Sweet Dreams Screening - Mayfair Hotel

Afternoon Delight - Bridget & Fatima - Film Night

The Bright Young Things Film Club_Luciana Bellini Quince Saloon Pre Theatre_The May Fair Hotel

Everyone mingles, engaged in conversation and swapping stories while enjoying the cocktails on offer. I’m sure these four walls have heard plenty of stories…

Afternoon Delight - Bridget & Fatima - Film Night

For those who are a tad peckish, other delicious nibbles and sweet treats are served. My favourites have been these gorgeous miniature cakes from Tea America. Looking like art, they almost looked too good to eat (almost).

Bright Young Things - Sweet Dreams Screening - Mayfair Hotel

For any movie to be thoroughly enjoyed, the girls know you need ice-cream, so luckily the team at Green & Black’s are on hand to make sure everyone’s ice-cream needs are met as they make their way into the screening room.

You feel like you are part of a secret club as you go below ground and settle into the spacious, Italian-leather seats. It’s more like being in the privacy of a friend’s home than being at the movies (a rather large home).

Christian Moore and Adam Sumner at The Bright Young Things Film Club

Bright Young Things - The Dog Documentary - The May Fair HOtel

Nicole Bass_Mike Tyson and Andrea Kamanga_The Bright Young Things Film Club

Seated and ready, everyone chatters excitedly comparing Propercorn flavours in their goodie bags waiting for the lights to dim.

You want to make sure you get to try all the flavours of course. Mike was clearly getting the best of both worlds. I’m rather fond of the Sweet Coconut & Vanilla myself.

Afternoon Delight - Bridget & Fatima - Film Night

It’s all very well organised and on cue. With lights out, Bridget and Fatima welcome the audience and introduce the evening’s movie, then it’s show time!

Since the film club started, I have been inspired, wowed and entertained. I’ve laughed and cried with the room at the mixture of touching documentaries and debut films presented by BYT.

Bridget and Fatima who are both passionate about film, decided to start BYT to share emerging talent with red-carpet type events for other fellow film enthusiasts. If you ask me, these ladies have done a fantastic job at selecting a wonderful variety for their audiences.

I’m still in awe and amazement at the 90-year-old triathlete and 83-year-old high jumper from the UK premiere of Andrew Napier’s, Mary and Bill. If you ever think you are too old to try, or start something new, you need to see this documentary. Mary, the 90-year-old triathlete only started racing in triathlons at the age of 76!

Other previous films have included The Dog, uwantme2killhim? Sweet Dreams and Afternoon Delight.

Jill Soloway and Bridget Arsenault_The Bright Young Things Film Club Director Q&A_The May Fair Hotel London

Following the premiere, what is extra special about this film club is the live Skype Q&A with the director/s afterwards.

What better way to experience a film, than to personally hear from the person who created it afterwards. Hearing their thought process, vision, behind the scenes stories and sharing their pure passion for their art is fascinating.

The mic is opened to the audience, so if you have any burning questions, you can ask the director, right there yourself. Now you don’t get that in your standard cinema ticket!

The Bright Young Things Film Club_Q&A_The May Fair Hotel London

At the screening of Uwantmetokillhim? some of the actors even made a surprise appearance with the directors during the Q&A.

Bright Young Things Film Club_ The May Fair Hotel Cinema London Audience

So, what are you waiting for? The last screening for 2014 is happening next Wednesday, finishing the season with A Birder’s Guide To Everything. This film won second place in the Audience Award at the Tribeca Film Festival and is bound to be another fantastic evening.

Get your tickets here (I hear they’re selling fast).

For £17.50 (+ service charge) you get a pre-movie reception with bespoke CIROC cocktails, a goodie bag with a bag of Propercorn, a bottle of UNOCO raw coconut water, ice cream from Green & Black’s, as well as access to the live Skype Q&A and exclusive post-event entertainment in The May Fair Hotel’s Quince Salon.

Here’s a sneak preview of what to expect at a Bright Young Things Film Club premiere:

Keep an eye out on Monday when both of these ladies behind The Bright Young Things Film Club will be interviewed as part of the ‘A Life More’ series.

Hollywood glamour,

Bevan James Eyles Waterfront

I am so excited to introduce today’s guest. Bevan James Eyles has energy and it is infectious. You can’t help but be drawn in and feel inspired by his motivation and drive to support others achieve their personal goals through exercise and healthier living. It is his mission to continually improve himself by trying to help others in health and fitness.

Three time New Zealand fitness instructor of the year, International Les Mills Presenter, Ironman winner and more recently, author are just a few of his career accomplishments. Once on a destructive path, Bevan found a love for fitness and now leads a much healthier lifestyle – both internally and externally.

Not only has he taught classes to thousands of people, travelled the world and reached the highest level in his industry, he is also very generous with his time and sharing his knowledge.

Let’s meet this inspiring man. Hello Bevan.

You’ve been in the fitness industry now for 15 years. Let’s go back to the beginning. After you made the decision to stop drinking and taking drugs, what was your motivation to get involved in this industry?

It was more an opportunity that presented itself. When I gave up drugs and alcohol, I was playing rugby league and I joined a gym to get bigger and instantly became obsessed with weight training.

While I had been doing weights at the gym, one of my friends said I should do a circuit class one day, so I turned up and did this circuit class, which I thought was kind of cool. A few weeks later, he said I should try a Body Attack class, which was like an aerobics class and I just loved it. As time went on, I was doing more and more classes.

I was planning on going to University the next year to do Law and Politics. I thought, it would be cool if I could teach part time at the gym while I was studying. I managed to learn to be an instructor at the same time I started University. I did my first year of University, but it was pretty obvious that fitness was the career path I wanted, so after my first year I gave up studying that and then totally changed my direction and went towards fitness.

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You mention on your website that all your focus at that time was to be the best at your job in the world. While most people are happy to settle with ‘good enough’, what drove you to want to be top in your field?

I’m a pretty obsessed kind of person. I came from kind of nothing and had not a lot going for me and I found this thing that I loved that I was actually really good at instantly.

The idea that I could be the best was actually realistic as well. I could achieve this goal if I was willing to work hard at it. The thing that I learnt at that period of my life was that hard work helps me achieve big things and I just became obsessed to be honest. The desire was just so high. I don’t know if I can say I’m the best instructor in the world but I’m fortunate that people enjoy my work.

I’m very goal orientated and everything was about being the best Body Attack instructor in the world and I was just really driven towards it and every angle it took to achieve that goal.

Bevan James Eyles Studio

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I don’t really say, “I have to achieve this thing in three months.” It’s more who I have to be every day and in three months from now I’ll be achieving big things.

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Do you find personally writing down goals that it helps you stick to them and achieve them?

I think I’ve evolved. I don’t necessarily focus on the outcome so much now days. When I was younger, I very much needed the outcome at the end to drive me. I needed the goal of being the best instructor in the world, or a goal of finishing an Ironman. Whereas, I’ve evolved to more; “What’s the process I live in in my day to day that helps me perform at the highest level every day, which leads to great outcomes?”

I don’t really say, “I have to achieve this thing in three months.” It’s more who I have to be every day and in three months from now I’ll be achieving big things, so it’s kind of shifted. I’m more how I Iive in the day to day, so it’s a bit different.

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Where do you draw inspiration from?

My driver has always been my evolution and my understanding of wisdom. I did Ironman for seven years and it was always about, ‘how do I learn a higher level of self?’ I committed a lot of energy and time and achieved some pretty cool goals, but then I got to a moment where I realised there was no more evolution for me. There was no more growth and I just stopped overnight and moved my life into a different direction.

For me, my drivers have always been how I can have a bigger impact on my world, so I don’t necessarily look for outside influences. If there’s anyone I do admire, it’s a guy like Paul Newman who was in an industry that was very image focused, and always focused on the right things; he never got plastic surgery. His work towards the end was charitable work. He was a wise man and for me, that’s the kind of thing I want to chase in my life.

I worry about our society’s focus on youth. You see so many people, especially people my age who are trying desperately to hold onto their youth and you just can’t win that battle. It’s such an unhealthy thing to chase because age is a part of life.

I want to be someone who stands comfortable in my different ages, but also age gives you wisdom, so that’s actually what we want to be chasing.

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Your business has certainly diversified and evolved over the years. While still teaching fitness classes and presenting with Les Mills, you are also involved with personal coaching, speaking, writing, podcasts, running groups AND you recently released a book, The Fitness Attitude. Phew!
What do you find the most challenging part about business and juggling so much?

I’m pretty lucky because I get to do everything I love, but not too much of any of it. I love mentoring people, but I only restrict it to about eight people a week. If I did 40 hours a week, it would do my head in, but eight people is a really nice number.

I love writing, but I only really write about three hours a week. I get enough of everything, but not too much of anything, so I’m very lucky that way. I’ve learnt really great time management skills and so I have this ability to be able to put my mind on the thing I’m doing right now and not worry about anything else, and then when I switch to the next thing, I switch.

Ultimately I think time management skills are one of the most important things, but to also then know what you want to be doing with your work.

Everything about my work fundamentally comes from how I help people evolve themselves through movement. While I’ve got different outlets for my message, everything kind of is the same thing and it’s just different ways of exploring that.

Bevan James Eyles with running group

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I worry about our society’s focus on youth. You see so many people who are trying desperately to hold onto their youth and you just can’t win that battle. It’s such an unhealthy thing to chase because age is a part of life.

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What are three of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt during your journey so far?

1. Awareness is probably one of the most important tools we have. When I talk about awareness, it’s to have tools in your life that help you be realistic around where you really sit in the different areas in your life.

When most people change, it’s because they’ve had a dramatic event, but the change happens well after the fact that they need it. It’s the break up, it’s the job loss, it’s those types of things.

For me I’ve always had great awareness tools in my day so that I never slip that far away from what’s important to me, whereas I think a lot of people slip far away from what’s important to them and then they wake up in a life that they don’t like. Then a big thing will happen that creates awareness, but I think if you have good awareness in your day-to-day that’s important.

2. I’m actually quite generous to myself. I’m definitely an optimistic person and I’m not someone who’s hard on myself. I think people think that when you achieve, you must be really critical and hard on yourself, and I’m actually far from that. I don’t tend to beat myself up.

I find it’s really interesting when we get new runners – people who haven’t exercised in a long time – and they’re so hard on themselves. They think that beating themselves up will help them achieve. We let them be kind to themselves and we remove the beating themselves up and that’s actually what helps them to be successful. While we want expectations around levels that we’re trying to achieve, I actually think being kinder to yourself is a much better approach.

3. Be good to people. Even in a selfish way, the reward is massive. I’ve been fortunate to create this life where it’s always about helping other people, but the reward I get back is so much more than the investment that I put out.

I often think that if you can help one person change, it often helps other people change. That small impact you have with one person actually has a massive flow on effect.

Bevan James Eyles Park Run

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Awareness is probably one of the most important tools we have. When most people change, it’s because they’ve had a dramatic event, but the change happens well after the fact that they need it. I think a lot of people slip far away from what’s important to them and then they wake up in a life that they don’t like.

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Many of us struggle in day-to-day life to get everything done. How do you achieve so much?

I don’t know if I achieve that much more than everyone else. I just think that the world gets to see that I achieve a lot, because I think there are a lot of people achieving some amazing things. It’s probably a little bit of self-promotion helps the perception of my achievements.

One thing that I do have; I’m never afraid to try. I think a lot of people are afraid of trying and so those first steps are always the thing that holds them back. I’m never afraid to put myself in an opportunity where I can be vulnerable.

For example I play music, it’s one of my hobbies. This year I decided I wanted to be in a band – I’m okay at best – and I got an opportunity to play with these guys who are amazing musicians. I was very vulnerable, insecure knew I was the weakest link and was worried about my skill set.

I still went towards that opportunity because it’s something I desired in my life. It turned out that it’s worked out really well and it’s a really awesome life experience I’m having. If I was afraid of vulnerability and insecurity, I would have never have moved towards that. Like writing a book. I wasn’t a guy that would ever have considered writing a book, but then I was like “Well, why can’t I?”

A lot of people have these big barriers that stop them from that first point, and for me I don’t necessarily have that, so that definitely helps me a lot.

Bevan James Eyles_The Fitness Attitude Book in store

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They think that beating themselves up will help them achieve. We let them be kind to themselves and we remove the beating themselves up and that’s actually what helps them to be successful. I actually think being kinder to yourself is a much better approach.

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Do you have any advice for someone that does feel overwhelmed and feels that personal fear before they start something new?

If we look at our runners; we’ve got different levels and we’ve got this product ‘Get up to Five’, which is just getting people who have done no exercise – often people who haven’t done exercise in 30 years and are overweight – successful with exercise.

One of the keys to making them successful is finding what we call ‘correct entry points’. For those people, the entry point is a really, really low-level entry point. It’s still a bit scary for them, but deep down they probably know they could do that entry point.

For them it’s a three and a half minute walk with a thirty second light, light jog. Now these people will look at that and they’ll be scared, but deep down they’ll go “Well, I’m scared, but maybe I could do that”. If we were to say they have to run twenty minutes, they’d fail, because the entry point’s too high.

They get there, they do it, they feel successful, then you stretch them in a way, so that the next step is again a bit of a vulnerable step, but not too big so you manage their psychological growth as well as their physical growth.

So for those people who struggle, one thing is to really explore what’s an entry point based on the current skills and current ability in this area.

Often we see the biggest failing with exercise is that people’s entry points are just way too high. When I personal trained, you’d see people who hadn’t exercised and they’d come along and they’d tell you they’re going to do four sessions a week and an hour each time and you just knew they were going to fail. Often people’s expectations are well above their current skill set and their ability and they set entry points that are too high.

In any area of your life: where do you want to develop yourself? Where do you currently sit and then what’s an entry point that would be a good entry point based on that?

I figure, I don’t know much about the next life, but I know I get this life, so I want to make sure it’s pretty awesome.

Bevan James Eyles Running Group Runners

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One of the keys to making them successful is finding what we call ‘correct entry points’. They get there, they do it, they feel successful, then you stretch them in a way, so that the next step is again a bit of a vulnerable step, but not too big so you manage their psychological growth as well as their physical growth.

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Do you have a particular career highlight so far?

I’ve been very fortunate to achieve some pretty cool things in my career, but actually the biggest highlights are the connections you have with people.

It’s when you’re dealing with the people that you see every day and you actually see their growth. I’ve always been a people person and for me that’s the thing that I find the most rewarding.

The ultimate compliment I can get is “I’m a better person because of the work you’ve done, or the exercise in my life”. That’s what exercise can offer, so for me that’s pretty rewarding.

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Is there anything that’s been particularly key for helping you grow your business from where you first started?

Having key people are really important. My partner Jo, she’s a legend.

Ultimately for a small business; one thing to always be thinking about is ‘What’s the wisest next step?’ If you have unlimited resources, there’s so many things you could do, but as a small business, you don’t.

A lot of people put focus into things that are steps they should be looking at in five years, or further on down the piece. What you’ve got to think about as a small business person is, ‘I have limited time and resource. Here’s where my business is right now. What’s the most important steps that I can make, to make sure that in three months from now we’re in a much better position to taking us towards the ultimate goal that we’re trying to achieve?’

Stay focused on the right priorities at the right time within the evolution of your business.

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What does living A Life Less Beige mean to you?

People, fitness and music. Those are my passions and I’m very fortunate because every part of my day is one of those.

I teach group fitness classes, so it’s people, fitness and music all in one. I did a running session today – it’s fitness, people and exercise. I’ll play piano this afternoon. Every moment of my day are those three things.

It’s who I am. I love exercise. I think it’s one of the best things in life and I love music. So for me, if my days are filled with those things, I’m doing life right.

Bevan James Eyles with running group in park

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Quick fire questions: Christchurch, New Zealand

1. Best breakfast/brunch spot: The Raspberry Cafe.

2. Favourite place for coffee: C1, but I actually drink tea. They give big cups of tea.

3. Best local activity off the tourist trail: Get in some nature. There are some beautiful walks. Go up to the top of the hill and do one of the walks like Crater Rim, or Harry Ell, it’s so beautiful up there.

4. When you’re not busy working, you can be found: Outside running on a trail.

5. Favourite travel destination: Spain. I love what they prioritise in life. They seem to have their priorities right around what’s important and just their attitude to life.

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Finally, where do you see your business evolving over the next five years?

The ultimate goal is really how many people we can help.

Five years from now, if we could be everywhere in New Zealand helping thousands of people each week, that would be pretty awesome. That’s our ultimate aim.

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What an inspiring man! I came away from our Skype interview feeling so energised and motivated. Bevan is generous and full of practical knowledge and advice.

If you are interested in effective ways to create change and learn to love keeping fit, Bevan’s first book, The Fitness Attitude has just recently been released filled with loads of practical tools and strategies.

For more motivation, you can also follow Bevan online:

Bevan James Eyles  l  Bevan James Eyles Facebook  l  Bevan James Eyles Twitter  l  IMTalk Podcast

Images all courtesy of Bevan James Eyles.

Healthier living,

My ABC's of Travel

Themed posts make their way around the internet. I’m not sure of the origins for this travel prompt – it looks like it was popular back in 2012, but is currently making a comeback (perhaps due to a new wave of travel bloggers).

I saw this post on Amy and the Great World and thought it’s a great way to learn of new places and experiences amongst those of us who are interested in travel. After a bit of online searching, I’ve enjoyed reading others who have taken part, so thought I too would share my ABC’s of travel.

A // Age you went on your first international trip?

I was 9 when I went on my first international holiday to Australia with my Mum. We did a road trip up the East Coast and went to all the theme parks – Movie World, Sea World and Dreamworld – in the Gold Coast which were huge highlights. I also got to ride my first camel.

B // Best foreign beer you’ve had and where?

I’m not a huge beer person, but I love fruity beers. I had an amazing peach flavoured one in Amsterdam that I would love to try again.

C // Cuisine. Favourite?

Probably Thai food. I love all the fresh and delicious flavours. Ginger, or garlic chicken type dishes are my favourite.

Bonj Les Bains Beach Club Hvar Croatia

Relaxing at Bonj ‘Les Bains’ Beach Club in Hvar, Croatia

D // Destinations. Favourite and least favourite? Why?

Favourite: I fell in love with Croatia after visiting last Summer. It’s incredibly beautiful. The water is crystal clear, people friendly and the food delicious.

You can see more about Croatia in my posts:

Summer Love – Croatia  //  Relaxing at Bonj ‘Les Bains’ Beach Club, Hvar  //  Pinch Me In A Croatian Paradise

Of course I am biased, but New Zealand is also my favourite country. It is beautiful and offers so much landscape diversity for such a small country. You can find mountains, glaciers, plains, geysers, mud pools, lakes, waterfalls, natural hot pools, beaches and sand dunes… need I say more?

Least favourite: Possibly controversial to some, but Krakow in Poland. I had perhaps expected a lot more after visiting other European cities.

Great Wall Of China Marathon Finish Line with medal Yin and Yang Square

My first half marathon completed on the Great Wall of China.

E // Event you’ve experienced abroad that made you say “WOW!”?

Running The Great Wall Of China Half Marathon was an incredible event to be part of. I had always dreamed of visiting the Great Wall one day, but never imagined that it would be combined with running my first half marathon on it!

It was certainly one of those ‘pinch me’ moments in life.

After learning to dive in Nha Trang, Vietnam, scuba diving in Egypt also completely took my breath away. It’s a whole different world.

F // Favorite mode of transportation?

I was already a fan, but after experiencing luxury Christmas cruising on the Queen Mary 2 sailing from Southampton to New York, I fell in love with cruises even more.

You can’t beat flying either. There is always something exciting about arriving at the airport, boarding and getting to kick back and relax for a few hours watching movies.

G // Greatest feeling while travelling?

Freedom and discovery. Everything is new for you and you have no care in the world except enjoying the experiences.

H // Hottest place you’ve ever travelled to?

South East Asia in the peak April heat was intense. Being out on our motorbike during the day in 43 degree heat and 80% humidity was scorching.

Al fresco dining at Hotel Hippocampus, Kotor Montenegro

Al fresco dining at Hotel Hippocampus

I // Incredible service you’ve experienced and where?

Easy. Hands down it was at a small boutique hotel I stayed at in Kotor, Montenegro – Hotel Hippocampus. The Hotel Manager, Ranko was amazing. His service was outstanding especially during dinner and breakfast. He was really helpful and made our stay there so welcoming and memorable.

The hotel and rooms were beautiful (see for yourself on their website) and it is right in the old town of Kotor.

Also our week Transatlantic crossing on the Queen Mary 2 was incredible. Could not fault a single thing from our rooms, service, food, entertainment. LOVED the whole trip. There is a reason why it has the title of being the most magnificent ocean liner ever built. The fact it was Christmas and there were decorations everywhere, really added to the buzz.

J // Journey that took the longest?

I would have to say travelling between the UK and New Zealand is pretty far; about 30 hours worth of travel is a long time. I’m doing it again this Christmas.

Writing a postcard from Shanghai China

K // Keepsake from your travels?

I send a postcard to myself back in New Zealand from every destination I travel to. I like getting the stamps and post marks from each place. Once I return from my travels there is going to be a lot of reminiscing as I read them all again. It will be nice to keep as a collection from over the years.

L // Let-down sight. Where and why?

The Mona Lisa. It is so much smaller than you would expect and you have to fight your way through the crowd, which makes the experience of appreciating it less enjoyable.

M // Moment where you fell in love with travelling?

I set off from New Zealand to New York on my own when I was 18 to work as a camp counsellor. After the most amazing Summer, I remember sitting with friends near the George Washington Bridge one night looking towards the New York city skyline all lit up and thinking how incredible that very moment was.

There have been so many others, but that really sticks in my memory.

Hotel More Swimming Pool and Views

The hotel pool and views from Hotel More, Dubrovnik.

N // Nicest hotel you’ve ever stayed in?

That would be a tie between our Lux Apartment at the Hotel Hippocampus in Kotor, Montenegro and the Executive Suite at Hotel More in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Both were fantastic boutique hotels with great service. Hotel More even has its own bar in a cave that was discovered when they were building the hotel.

O // Obsession. What are you obsessed with taking photos of while travelling?

Everything! I take thousands of photos on every trip. My partner has the most incredible patience.

P // Passport stamps. How many and from where?

In my current passport I have 64 in total (New Zealand passports only last for five years). They are from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Egypt, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Portugal, Singapore, Thailand, United States of America and Vietnam.

There are also a couple of unreadable stamps in there.

Q // Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where?

Hmmm… An abandoned village in Hvar, Croatia was really eerie.

Also, Vinpearl Land in Nha Trang, Vietnam. It’s a huge resort island with an amusement park, water park and an aquarium. You have to get the longest over water gondola in the world to get to the island and we thought it would be quite cheesy, but loved it and spent 12 hours there!

We recommended it to friends who were visiting Vietnam not long ago and they really enjoyed it as well.

R // Really frightening. One place you’ve visited where you felt unsafe or uneasy?

Luang Prabang in Laos. After an incident with our room being broken into there we felt very uneasy and watched by the locals. It was a pretty town, but we were happy to leave.

S // Splurge. Something you have no problem spending money on while travelling?

Experiences. Without a doubt.

I love staying in beautiful accommodation, but I would much rather spend money doing as much as I can in each place to see as much as possible.

Lowenbrau House at Oktoberfest Munich Germany

Oktoberfest celebrations in Munich, Germany

T // Touristy thing you’ve done?

Loads. Often the main sights are tourist attractions for a reason. It’s only when you get a chance to spend more time in a place that you really get to experience more local things to do.

I really enjoyed Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany.

U // Unforgettable travel memory?

There actually are too many. That is what I love about travelling. Every place leaves you with unforgettable memories.

V // Visas. How many and for where?

There are a total of 7 in my passport for Cambodia, China, Egypt, Japan, Laos, Vietnam, United Kingdom.

W // Wine. Best glass while travelling?

On my recent trip to Nantes in France I spent an afternoon wine tasting at the Château du Coing vineyard in Saint Fiacre sur Maine.

My new favourite wine is their beautifully sweet Audace du Coing. Unfortunately it isn’t available in the UK, but I would happily return to buy this wine by the box load.

Top of Kings Canyon_Northern Territory Australia

Top of the world at Kings Canyon, Australia

X // eXcellent view and where from?

There have been so many views during my travels from both up high and ground level. The world never ceases to impress me with amazing views.

From above, standing at the top of the World Trade Centre, two weeks before September 11 gave pretty breathtaking views of New York. Also being at the top of Kings Canyon in Australia and looking down was incredible.

Y // Years spent travelling?

I left New Zealand for New York 13 years ago when I was 18 and have boomeranged around the world since. I’ve also lived in Sydney, and been on a couple of trips that lasted several months before returning to New Zealand.

Now living in London I haven’t been home in nearly 3 years, so that is the longest I’ve ever been away.

Z // Zealous sports fans and where?

Arriving in London two weeks before the Olympics starting in 2012 was the best. There was such a great buzz everywhere and it was great getting to go to some of the Olympic and Paralympic events.

Your turn to take up the challenge! What are your ABC’s of travel? Write your own and leave me a link to your post in the comments. I’d love to read your travel experiences.

Happy alphabet-ing,