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The Wonderush Roundup: February

February is a bit of a weird one. It’s hard to tell exactly what to expect in terms of weather, which makes it hard to decide which events you want to go to, or how many layers you should be wearing to the ones you do want to attend. Luckily, we at Team Wonderush are super-helpful. We’ve put together a list of the events we think it’s worth checking out no matter what gets thrown at us this month.

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Break Your Routine, Lifestyle, Live More Awesome, Popular, Try Something New

Anatomy of a #HappyYouYear: Winter

We went off on one at the beginning of the month about how we kind of resent New Years resolutions and are choosing instead to make 2016 a Happy You Year. Of course, it’s very easy to spout inspirational pep talks like that, but it’s hard to imagine what a Happy You Year might really look like. Well, not any more, folks. Community Manager Nicola is here. In the last few weeks she’s given us examples of what a Happy You Spring, a Happy You Summer, and a Happy You Autumn might involve, and today she is imagining how a Happy You Winter might look:

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Break Your Routine, Lifestyle, Things To Do, Try Something New

6 Crafty Stress Busters

Stress. It’s like our ever-present friend in an ‘Oh my god, why are you still here? Leave me alone, you weirdo” kind of a way. You can be fine for ages, but once it starts creeping in it’s difficult to ignore it. Most people know what we’re supposed to do in that situation. We need to remember to breathe, take some time to relax, and stop focussing on the stress we’re feeling. Real talk, though. That’s easier said than done. Once something’s in your brain it’s very difficult to get it back out again. You sit there and you know you’re supposed to be letting go, but those thoughts just keep turning up again. A bit like a friend you’d rather not see.

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Break Your Routine, Lifestyle, Live More Awesome, Music, Popular, Things To Do, Try Something New

Anatomy of a #HappyYouYear: Autumn

We went off on one a couple of weeks ago about how we kind of resent New Years resolutions and are choosing instead to make 2016 a Happy You Year. Of course, it’s very easy to spout inspirational pep talks like that, but it’s hard to imagine what a Happy You Year might really look like. Well, not any more, folks. Community Manager Nicola is here. In the last couple of weeks she’s given us examples of what a Happy You Spring and a Happy You Summer might involve, and today she is imagining how a Happy You Autumn might look:

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Break Your Routine, Lifestyle, Live More Awesome, Popular, Things To Do, Try Something New

Turn your passion into profit

It’s always difficult to decide whether we should be making our passion into profit. Work takes up a lot of our time, but more often than not it’s the things we do in the spare hours, before, after, and at weekends that really make us happy. You might be an accountant with a penchant for painting, a barista who hula hoops on the side, or maybe you work in sales and have colleagues queuing up for your cupcakes. Or it could be something totally different. The city is full of people who love doing all kinds of things on the side. But what if you don’t want to do it on the side any more?

 

The option that a lot of people choose when they decide to start turning their passion into profit is to teach. Teaching your hobby can be really rewarding. It’s a great way to meet new people who might be into the same kind of thing that you are, or to pass on what you know to total beginners who end up loving the thing you love too. It can be a daunting prospect, but we’ve put together a few tips to help you get started.

Think about how it could fit in

We’re not suggesting that you jack in your high-flying career in neurosurgery straight away. In fact, as a high-flying neurosurgeon, you’re probably smart enough to realise that. We’re sorry. But our point is, we’re not saying you should give it all up tomorrow if you don’t want to. It might be that you don’t want to teach full time. You might just want a little Saturday gig to make a bit of pocket money. Or you might have a total career overhaul and world domination in your sights. Anything goes.

Do your research

Maybe you have a friend or acquaintance who’s already teaching something. Awesome. Take them for a coffee and have a chat. It’s amazing how good meeting an actual person who’s done the actual thing you actually want to do can make you feel. You might just realise that it’s a totally do-able thing for a person to manage. If you don’t have a useful friend, reach out to people who are running classes in your local area. It’s amazing how many people are willing to meet up if there’s a free coffee in it for them. If you can’t meet up with someone in person, we have this super-cool thing called ‘the internet’ now, and you’re bound to find people who are willing to share tips if you look hard enough.

Try holding a test workshop

Gather a group of your nicest, least sarcastic friends, and try out your ideas on them. If you want to teach a specific craft, for example, you can make sure you’re able to explain the stages as easily as possible. You can also use your willing volunteers to try out yoga routines, dance steps, or anything else. You’ll get feedback on what you could do better, as well as a chance to practice being in front of real people who view you as an authority figure.

Don’t be freaked out by practical considerations

Yes. You will need a venue. You might need insurance. Depending on what you want to teach you may need certifications of some kind. So did the people you spoke to as research or who run classes you’ve been to. The likelihood is that they’re no cleverer than you, and they all managed, so you know it’s do-able. Make a list of everything you’ve found out in your research that you need to organise, and then work through it point by point. Try not to skip ahead or let yourself get overwhelmed. Point by point. That’s all you need to remember.

Take the plunge

Sometimes this is the hardest part. At this point you’ve done all the legwork and you’re totally ready. You’ve got everything you need. You’re awesome, basically. You’re an organisational wizard. It would be so easy to stop at this point. If you stop now you’ll have a 100% success rate and never have to face failure. But at some point you have to take a deep breath and dive in to actually teaching a roomful of strangers how to do the thing that you love to do. After all, you’ve come this far. Every class you teach might not be perfect. You might have no-shows, or injuries, or unhappy customers. Those things happen, and they happen to everyone. We guarantee the good will outweigh the bad, though. You’ll feel the joy that only comes from sharing something you love with other people, and watching them fall in love with it too. You’ll meet new people. And most of all, you’ll be able to go to sleep at night knowing that, for once in your life, you put yourself out there and made it work.

So. Real talk. Do you fancy sharing your hobbies and passions whilst making money? You could join hundreds of our activity providers today and starting earning from the thing you love doing. All you need to do is bring your passion. Team Wonderush can bring the rest, whether that’s help with finding a venue or selling tickets. Hit us up at hello@wonderush.com and you could be turning your passion into profits sooner than you think.

Break Your Routine, Lifestyle, Live More Awesome, Things To Do, Try Something New

Anatomy of a #HappyYouYear: Summer

We went off on one last week about how we kind of resent New Years resolutions and are choosing instead to make 2016 a Happy You Year. Of course, it’s very easy to spout inspirational pep talks like that, but it’s hard to imagine what a Happy You Year might really look like. Well, not any more, folks. Community Manager Nicola is here. Last week she gave us an example of a Happy You Spring, and today she is imagining how a Happy You Summer might look:

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Lifestyle, Live More Awesome, Popular, Things To Do, Try Something New

The Wonderush Roundup: January

The new year is full of opportunities. It’s all about new starts and getting shit done. And, on top of that, it’s a new month, which means it’s time for a January roundup. There are loads of cool things happening all over the city, and we very much hope to run into you at some of them.

London New Year’s Day Parade

There’s no better thing to do on New Year’s day than to people watch at the New Year’s day parade – the audience is made up on half fresh-faced, admirable people launching into their resolutions with enthusiasm. The other half are pasty, hungover, and willing all of the loud music and screaming children to stop. On top of the amusement there’s also a sense of celebration, community spirit, and all that good stuff. The perfect start to the year.

Lumiere London

We don’t know about you, but a couple of weeks into January we definitely start to suffer from Christmas light withdrawal. After all, we spent the previous month with access to super-pretty displays everywhere we went, and January is pretty grim in contrast. Luckily the Lumiere festival is here to change that. Using traditional displays and projections onto buildings, it’ll be brightening up London’s streets and making us all feel twinkly again.

Get Into London Theatre

London has been following Broadway’s example lately in making theatre tickets horrifically expensive. Fortunately that’s where Get Into London Theatre comes in. For the whole of the month of January they’re giving Londoners the chance to get their hands on affordable tickets to most of the top shows in the West End. It’s a perfect distraction from the grim weather and lack of jazz hands in everybody’s lives.

London Art Fair

This is the perfect event for anyone who made a resolution to be more cultured in 2016. The London Art Fair gives loads of galleries a chance to showcase a variety of different work. On top of that there are talks, workshops, and networking events. We also can’t ignore the fact that you’ll sound extremely highbrow to anyone who tries to make small talk about what you did over the weekend.

Adventure Travel Show

It’s a scientific fact* that everyone starts daydreaming about having some kind of travel-based adventure every January. The Adventure Travel show will have exhibitors offering all manner of trips from those for people who aspire to take after Bear Grylls, to those for people who like things a little more comfortable. There’ll also be talks, and workshops and a chance to brush up on essential skills like photography and writing.

London International Mime Festival

Whether you’re a fan of creepiness or comedy the London International Mime Festival will probably have something to suit you. Running for a month you’ll have the opportunity to see established artists and newcomers to the scene. You’ll also be able to attend discussions and film screenings, meet some of the artists, and try out some of the skills you see on show. We see a career in clowning in your future.

Burns Night

January 25th will see restaurants across the city offering up Scottish delicacies to celebrate Burns Night. It’s a very exciting time of year that – if you’re doing it right – is bound to feature haggis, neeps and tatties, and no small amount of whiskey. It’s the ultimate comfort food and – provided you’re not on a 2016 healthy eating kick – will fix what ails you in no time at all. Yum.

 

*Not really a scientific fact.

Festive freakout
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8 Ways to Conquer Festive Freakouts

Aaaaah, Christmas. ‘Tis the season to be jolly. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. We wish it could be Christmas every day. It’s just that sometimes it can get a bit, well, stressful. It’s not always easy to admit that you suffer from festive freakouts, since there’s that Scrooge accusation that tends to quickly follow, but it’s finally time to come clean. Sometimes it can all get to be a bit much. Case in point: One member of team Wonderush has had (and talked about) nothing but Secret Santa present delivery drama this week. This is not what Santa and Cliff Richard envisaged when they invented Christmas. So, in honour of the occasion we’ve been thinking about ways we can switch our focus and make sure we enjoy the season. And we’re so nice we decided to share them. You know, because we are the human embodiment of Christmas spirit.

Mulled Wine

‘Tis the season, and ‘twould be a crying shame not to take full advantage of that Christmassiest of drinks. If mulled wine doesn’t tickle your fancy there’s always mulled cider, or good old prosecco with a price tag higher than the North pole. Or if that’s not your bag just have a gin and hold a piece of holly. Basically what we’re saying is that there are hundreds of Christmas-specific drinks out there, and alcohol might help solve your problems. Just remember we are not doctors giving actual medically-approved advice (shocker).

Food

Going hand in hand with alcohol is obviously food. December is the one time of the year that you can graze for three weeks straight without anybody batting an eyelid. It’s also acceptable to eat a gigantic roast dinner, followed by seconds, followed by dessert, followed by a couple of chocolates, followed by a rogue pig in a blanket that ‘fell off the plate while I was washing up’, followed by a full-on cheese plate a couple of hours later. Embrace this time, for it is beautiful. And remember, we are still not doctors so this is all fine.

TV

Nothing says ‘Christmas’ quite like getting suddenly and deeply obsessed with Eastenders, just in time for their epic, seven-hour, live, Christmas day episode featuring at least 4 deaths. Or maybe you’re more of a film type, in which case there are loads of bad ones on over the Christmas period. And now that Netflix has been invented, well. Our Christmas lives have been changed. Sometimes all you need is a distraction from festive freakouts and TV is there to be just that. We wouldn’t normally advocate spending all of your time sitting in front of the telly, but since it’s a time to take it easy we’re making an exception.

Meditation

If you’re not the type of person who can just sit in front of the TV, or drink your feelings, that’s also fine. Meditation is a great way to take some time for yourself and unwind, and trying a meditation class is a perfect way to get started if you’re a first-timer. You’ll clear your mind, you’ll focus on your breathing, and you might finally being able to stop worrying about whether the carrot-to-sprout ratio of your Christmas dinner is going to be adequate.

No guilt

It’s easier said than done, but you could just try promising yourself not to feel guilty this year. We worry about the gifts we’re getting people, the cards we have or haven’t sent, the charity donations we haven’t left ourselves room in the budget for, the allergies our guests might have that they may not have mentioned, whether everyone’s going to have something that they like to eat… Guess what? It’s too much. Everyone will have a lovely time with you and will accept the free stuff they are given with a grateful heart and if they don’t, they are not worth feeling guilty over. The Christmas elf has spoken.

See some lights

Festive freakouts make the whole of Christmas seem like a massive, overwhelming mess, and quite possibly one that smells a little bit like turkey. So go out. Go to a city centre, or just walk around the streets near home, and take in some lights. It’s quiet, and it’s dark, and things are pretty still. We guarantee that while you’re gone nothing disastrous will happen to your piles of unwrapped gifts and un-written cards (provided you lock the door to your house) and it’s a nice way to take a break. After all, people worked hard to put lights up, it’d be rude not to take time out and enjoy them.

Revel with the best of them

Sometimes we just have to let the crowds go and get into the spirit of things. Christmas markets look hellish from the outside but often end up being quite fun once you get into the swing of it. Work Christmas parties can seem like the last thing we want to go to (spend more time with these people? Really?!), but the same thing happens. Christmas celebrations are never quite as bad as we expect them to be, and at least this way you have a few memories of the festive season that aren’t just about panicking over whether to sign off a Christmas card to your in-laws with ‘love’ or not.

Last-minute gifts

There’s always someone who you either forget, who’s just impossible to buy for, or who gets you a gift so much better than the one you got them that you immediately enter festive freakout territory. Not fun. But luckily there’s now a super-quick way to buy a really good gift and have it ready immediately, even if you’re on the fly. We’ve introduced a series of gift subscriptions so that you can give the gift of fun (cheesy but true) to your nearest and dearest. After all, homes in London are so tiny these days that nobody has the space for any more physical stuff. With a Wonderush gift subscription your loved ones can make the most of their free time any way they choose, without having to worry about extortionate prices for individual activities. That sounds like a fantastic idea to us. They’ll love it.*

 

*Yes. We are biased. But we’re still confident that we’re right.

Break Your Routine, Lifestyle, Live More Awesome, Things To Do, Try Something New

8 Activities you can do straight after work

There are days when you just can’t be arsed. I say this with no judgement, because we all have them. in fact, those who know me might argue that I have more than most. but that’s neither here nor there. On those days when we just CBA it’s hard to make the most of our time. We don’t want to carry exercise clothes all the way to work, or lug a bunch of materials and equipment all the way across town, or battle our way through rush hour with extra luggage. In honour of that fact we’ve listed just a small sample of activities you could try with no preparation, planning, or packing whatsoever – just decide on the day, turn up in your work clothes, and have at it.

Activity 1: Pottery

potters-wheel-2-2This one’s a little risky, but what’s life without a little risk? (I feel like there’s a shark diver somewhere, shaking his head at the idea of doing pottery in one’s work clothes has just been described as ‘risky’, but this is a nice skirt, dammit!) You’re given an apron to cover most of the splash zone and, as long as you don’t go overboard on the Patrick Swayze-ing, you should remain relatively splatter-free.

Activity 2: Learn about the media

A poster on the wall of a block of flats in Mbare. Robert Mugabe celebrated his 88th birthday this year. He has been in power since the country gained independence in 1980. Zimbabwe’s first high-density suburb, Mbare, was established in 1907. It was originally called Harare Township, a name later used for the capital city itself. Harare is a corruption of Haarari, meaning 'One who never sleeps'. To accommodate men coming to the capital for work the council built Matapi flats and Mbare hostels. They would work for a few days at a time and then return to their families in the rural areas. Today those flats are dilapidated and severely overcrowded. Many rooms are occupied two or three families. The area was the centre of a lethal cholera outbreak in 2008. Significant portions of Mbare’s ‘informal’ structures were destroyed by police and military forces during the operation Murambatsvina in May 2005. It has been one of the most politically volatile areas in the country. The notorious mafia like Chipangano gang, a Zanu PF aligned militia, patrol the suburb extracting bribes and intimidating residents especially around election time. Mbare has become synonymous with diseases, fear, crime, and political violence. Photo Robin Hammond/PanosThe Frontline Club host a whole range of talks and events where you could find yourself learning about anything from the life of a renowned photojournalist to Russian drama. If you’re a note-taking-inclined person you might want a pad and pen (and you probably carry one anyway) but otherwise there’s nothing to bring, except open ears and maybe an interested nod once in a while.

Activity 3: Life Drawing

Life DrawingProvided you are slightly more careful than certain members of Team Wonderush (i.e. Me, who managed to smear charcoal all the way up one arm and onto my face) life drawing is great. It’s fairly easy on the clothes and doesn’t require you to bring anything special, as materials are usually supplied. You simply turn up, do as you’re old, and try to focus on the model without getting flustered. Piece of cake.

Activity 4: Belt out some tunes

Piano singalongThe piano singalong at Phoenix Arts Club is the perfect place to sing your heart out; and if that episode of friends where they went to the piano bar taught us anything, it’s that you can do it without worrying what kind of clothing (barring any transparency issues) you should wear, or bringing any stuff. Just a willingness to get involved and a strong set of vocal chords.

Activity 5: Shop ’til you drop

fashionYou can do it online, you can do it at the weekend while wearing sweatpants, and you can do it in your lunch break, so you already know shopping doesn’t require anything particularly special. Well, except for money, or a willingness to abuse one’s overdraft. But once you have that, you’re away, and probably looking super-stylish.

Activity 6: Watch a film

Shorts on TapAnyone who has ever tried to sneak-watch Netflix at their desk (definitely not me. Ok, fine. Me.) will be able to confirm that there is no effort required for film-based events, like Shorts on Tap and the Conclave film festival. You can drop in straight afterwork, take a seat, and watch things. It’s like being at home in front of the TV except that you might occasionally talk to other people. And while clothing isn’t generally a huge issue, they may complain if you remove your jeans.

Activity 7: Experiment with booze

White Wine#This is not the thing where you go home and test how many glasses of wine you can sink between dinner and bed time. This is actually educational. With wine tasting or cocktail making you’ll pick up skills that’ll make you the most popular person at your next dinner party. Unless you become that person who tries to teach everyone who didn’t ask the correct way to hold a wine glass. Please don’t become that person.

Activity 8: Get a glimpse into someone else’s life

Comedy ClubMuch like with watching films, there’s nothing special required to attend an after work storytelling event, except an open mind and a willingness to listen. Every night is different, and you might learn something new or end up looking at something from your own life in a new way.

The other bonus to heading out after work and trying any of these (or any other) things to do is that you totally avoid having to travel home during the rush hour, which is just a little extra win from us. We hope there’s something here to catch your fancy, but if not, don’t forget to follow the link below for a whole load more activities to try.

Peopple with their umbrellas up as seen through rainy window
Break Your Routine, Fitness, Groundhog Day, Lifestyle, Live More Awesome, Things To Do, Try Something New

7 Uplifting Activities For Times When You Need That

November can be kind of rubbish. In fact, winter in general can. It’s grey, it’s probably raining (or, god forbid, snowing),  it’s cold, and you often can’t walk from point A to point B without being hit by wet umbrellas every ten paces. Add to that the fact that nobody else seems to be in a  good mood either, and, well, things start to look pretty bleak. That’s why we’ve made a list of seven suggestions of uplifting activities you might like to try. We can’t guarantee that they’ll work for everybody, but it could be better than nothing.

1. African Drumming

Uplifting African drumming classNow hear us out. While a room full of people making a lot of noise doesn’t immediately sound like it’d be uplifting, this is a room full of some very cheerful people. There’s a certain amount of teamwork that goes into the whole thing that really makes you feel part of something cool. While you make an effort to keep time with everybody’s rhythm you’re left with very little brain space to think about other things. Plus, if you’re feeling annoyed all you have to do is bash that drum just a little bit harder. Everyone’s a winner.

2. Yoga

Uplifting ashtanga yoga classWe have all kinds of yoga classes to suit all tastes, whether you want to sweat out your problems, experience anti-gravity for a little while, or take it more gently. Yoga is renowned for making people feel calmer. It emphasises breathing techniques and focus on posture which, if you’re anything like us and slightly erratic, leaves little room for thoughts about anything else. Plus there’re all of these other thoughts that tend to invade your brain at inopportune moments, pushing out the bad mood.

3. Boxfit (or anything else where you get to punch things)

Uplifting boxfit classIt could be boxfit. It could also be a martial art, or a long walk in a rough neighbourhood. Although actually, we categorically do not recommend the last one. But there’s a great deal of satisfaction to be gained at the end of a rough day by really letting loose and hitting something (or someone who is wearing pads) repeatedly. Boxfit is the acceptable face of that. The heart rate increase doesn’t hurt either, and the endorphin rush afterwards is an added bonus.

4. Meditation

Uplifting meditation ClassIt almost goes without saying, really, but meditation is a great way to calm down and refocus your energy when you need a lift. While focussing on your breathing and your surroundings sometimes feels like the most difficult thing in the world, it can be surprising how easy it is to get into the swing of things. Not that there is a swinging element to meditation. If there is you might find you’re in the wrong class.

5. Music

Uplifting jazz clubWhether you’re the kind of person who listens to music that enhances your feelings or whether you try to use music to change them, it’s a great way to cheer yourself up. We could even take that further and suggest you try learning an instrument (more on creative pursuits later) or getting all of your feelings down on paper by writing a song. There are all kinds of music-based activities out there, whether you’re looking to create or simply to listen, and it could be just the thing.

6. Comedy

Audience at an uplifting comedy clubThe need for laughter is something that runs deep in human nature. It’s a genuine, evolutionary thing. It makes us feel connected to those around us, and release endorphins like nobody’s business (#science). Sometimes, after a crap day, the best solution is simple: Call a few mates, get a few drinks in, and have a laugh. The one thing that can really help with that whole ‘laugh’ part is a trip to a comedy club. They’re dotted all over London, and you never know what amazing acts you’ll get to see.

7. Anything creative

Wax crayons mounted on a board and melted down with a hairdryer to look upliftingWe touched on this when we talked about music, but sometimes the best solution is just not to think about whatever it is that’s bothering you. (we’re not advocating ignoring your problems, but nor are we actual professionals in this field, so here we are.) It’s very difficult to do that if you have nothing else to occupy you, and that’s where creative activities come in. Whether you’re putting your energy into something crafty, something arty, something writing-y, or something else, it’s nice to take your mind off things.

If we’ve tickled your fancy with any of these, or if there’s something else you’re looking to try, you’re welcome to hit the ‘browse’ button in the top corner and have a look at everything we have going on. Don’t forget – if there’s something you particularly want to try but you can’t see, you’re welcome to get in touch and let us know. We love suggestions.