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10 Wonderush activities which are also Pokestops

Pokemon Go has been taking the world by storm, and it’s- Sorry, hold on. Just catching a Jigglypuff. OK. Carry on. Like we were saying, Pokemon Go has been taking the world by storm, and it’s become a bit of a craze at Wonderush HQ. We’re constantly in need of our nearby Pokestops so we can replace all the Pokeballs we waste on the huge number of Drowzees that seem to be resident in our office. But when we’re out and about of an evening it’s also useful to know if we’re going to be able to stock up on the necessaries. So, we put together a list of the Pokestops we can find at Wonderush activities. It’s always good to know where your next poke-goodies are coming from, after all.

Wonderush Pokestops #1: Urban Coterie

Yoga with a view

There doesn’t seem to be a pokestop directly in Urban Coterie, but there are definitely some great ones just outside. And what better way to make an awesome morning than picking up some essentials before and after a great early-morning yoga session with included breakfast?

Wonderush Pokestops #2: The Good Ship

Comedy Club

Everybody likes a laugh, and TheGood Ship has some of the best comedians in the country. It’s an awesome venue with a great atmosphere, and now comes with added pokeballs. What could be better?

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The Wonderush Review of Reviews: Part 1

We love our partners. We really do. And, as it turns out, you guys do too. We’ve been struck recently by the number of positive reviews you’ve been giving out, so we decided it was high time to showcase some of your favourites and an example of some of the love they’re getting. You can find all of these guys running a whole range of awesome sessions, from tea tasting and art classes, to pole dancing and pottery.

Tea Studio

tea brewing

Tea Studio run activities from tea tasting to Alice in Wonderland-themed afternoon teas, and everything in between. Basically, if you like tea, you need to pay them a visit.

“Amazing little place, lovely atmosphere and the owner is very passionate about tea. I really enjoyed the experience and I’ll be going there for more!” – Natalia

“Lovely guy and very knowledgeable. If you like your tea, don’t miss his events!” – Penelope

To and TO

Drink and Draw

ToandTO run the ever-popular Drink and Draw, which is fairly self-explanatory. During the course of a really relaxed and creative evening you’ll meet loads of new people as you show off your artistic ability (or lack thereof – there’s no pressure here.)

“What a brilliant concept! Dragged a friend thinking it would be less awkward to meet absolut strangers that way, but what a fantastic casual way to mingle and meet cool people, and best of all, forget about the stresses of daily life by getting creative and sketching! Will definitely recommend to friends and go back, with or without them! P.S. You get to keep the sketchbooks and I’m gonna be framing one of the portraits!” -Sahar

“Very fun experience even if you can’t draw at all! :)” -Kate

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The Wonderush Spotlight: Gabriela Szulman

Gabriela Szulman teaches brilliant decoupage workshops. We know they’re brilliant because the reviews for her sessions on Wonderush are overwhelmingly positive, and our members are a discerning bunch. So, given the fact that she’s so popular, we decided it was high time to catch up with Gabriela to find out more about her:

How did you get into decoupage?

My work is all about the reassembling and layering of images through a combination of media including collage, but I got into decoupage in a big way a couple of years ago when one of my sisters showed me how to upcycle an old pair of boots with just paper and glue. Soon I was hooked and started decoupaging trays, picture frames, chairs and even old suitcases which I use for display at craft fairs and other selling events. I recently finished decoupaging a wall with an old French dictionary, my biggest project so far.

How would you describe your teaching style?

I know what works and feel it’s important that people get the basics of decoupage right, so quite directive, at least initially. At the same time, I’m passionate about bringing out creativity in everyone that comes to one of my workshops which means I also encourage experimentation and play once participants get to grips with the technique.

Why would you recommend your activity?

Decoupage is a very affordable and easy way to upcycle and personalise anything from a pair of shoes to a wall: anybody can do this at home with just paper, brushes and glue. No special set-up or tools are required, which gives it a great advantage over other crafts: the two main things you need in order to succeed at decoupage are time and patience. There is a meditative quality to this kind of work, and the end result is often very satisfying.

Can you tell us something surprising about yourself?

Aged 11, I was almost expelled from primary school for writing an essay criticising the teachers. Not many people know that…

What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not at work?

I’m a film addict so I go to the cinema as often as I can – a couple of times a week and even a couple of times a day during the London Film Festival.

What’s your favourite part of London? Any places you’d recommend there?

I love South London where I have lived for a long time. Brixi, Circus, and Diverse are fabulous independent shops in Brixton. My favourite local food haunts include The Camberwell Arms, Shrub & Shutter and Peckham Bazaar, and I can’t resist bread from The Hill Bakery.

If you could try any experience in the world, what would it be, and why?

I’d love to visit Nek Chand’s Chandigarh Rock Garden in Northern India: Chand was a road inspector with no formal education who spent two decades creating a sculpture garden in secret, using rubble collected from the city’s building sites. A real pioneer who saw art and beauty where others saw junk, something which is very current now but not in in the 1950s when he started his amazing project!

We can’t wait to get down to another on of Gabriela’s sessions. Tickets can be found here. We’ll see you there!

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The Wonderush Roundup: July

Another month is upon us, which is scary. What’s even more scary is the fact that we’re now in the second half of 2016. Man. Remember the beginning? We were so young, and naive, and so full of hope. And now we’ll be in December before we know it, and the whirlwind of life will carry on ad infinitum. But putting our minor existential crisis aside for a moment, July is a great month. It’s sunny, people are going on holiday, and we’re all so determined to ignore the political chaos we’re currently in that we’re working extra hard to have a good time. So, here are a few of the best events across London this month, to help you do just that:

Festival of love

love

What the world needs now is love, sweet love. Never has that been truer, and luckily the Southbank Centre are bringing back the Festival of Love starting this July. There’ll be shows, outdoor attractions, and family events galore, all on the subject of love. All together now: Awwwwwww.

Lambeth Country Show

countryside

This is the perfect event for anyone who fantasises about living in the countryside and then gets put off at the last minute by things like lack of public transport or fields. Taking place in Brockwell Park, there’ll be animals, performances, and even homegrown vegetable competitions.

Thames Lates

boat

You know how sometimes you’re on a boat on the Thames and you find yourself thinking ‘this is great, but it could stand to be a little bit later…”? Well, you’re in luck. Thames Rockets are offering the chance to get out on the river closer to sundown for the whole of July.

London Wonderground

cabaret

London Wonderground is a place to see all of the best Fringe acts in the city, from circus performers, to comedians, to cabaret. On top of that, you have the opportunity to sit in old bumper cars with your friends and drink Negronis in the sunshine, and opportunities like that can never be underestimated.

Camden Beach

beach

Bringing a whole new element of fun to spending the night hanging out in a car park, Camden Beach is a sandy oasis (if such a thing exists) in the middle of London. If you’re not going away this Summer it’s your chance to chill and feel some sand between your toes and,if you are, it’s your opportunity to practice.

Great British Pram Race

pram

Show off a full range of skills, from keeping calm under pressure, to racing ability, to pram decoration chops in this charity event. It’s open to everyone so whether you want to bring your kids or your work colleagues, you’ll be able to show off your very specific, buggy-based skillset.

Ride London

bike

Cycling is a great way to get around, but cycling in London can be scary AF sometimes. Luckily, Ride London are closing off an 8-mile loop of roads past some of the city’s biggest attractions so you can have a go without the pressure from angry lorry drivers.

So, what do you think? Will you be getting out and doing anything cool this month? If you’re after more to do than just these few events, don’t forget to check out everything we have to offer on Wonderush – we’re your passport to pastimes this Summer. And, indeed, any other time of year!

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7 Activities for competitive people in your life

We all have competitive people in our lives, but they can be hard work sometimes. The competitive contingent of Team Wonderush are a nightmare when it comes to playing any kind of board game and we don’t care who knows it. It doesn’t mean we don’t love them, but sometimes us not-so-competitive types just want to relax, and it’s really difficult to do when the person we’re with is trying really hard to show that they can be more relaxed than us. We get it. You’re great. So, when all you want in life is to tire out the people in your life who are trying to outdo you, here are some events you could try sending them to:

Gamepad Summer 2016

Put a competitive person in a room full of games consoles, and it’s very likely that you won’t see them for a while. It’s even more likely that you won’t see them for a while at Mayamada’s Gamepad Summer 2016. There’ll be actual, organised competitions going on all day, as well as a cupcake-based Euro 2016 prediction system, which all sounds like a competitive person’s dream.

Karaoke Rumble

Perhaps the competitive person in your life is more of a performer? Lucky you. Fortunately there are events like Karaoke Rumble in existence, which can help them to exercise every facet of their personality as they compete to stay on stage for the longest time in a room full of booing. You could even quietly join in with the booing, if you felt like it. They’d never know, and you need a release too.

Quiz -n- Chips

Sometimes you want to arrange something special for your friendly local competitive person, and that’s when interesting locations come into play. After all, who wants to go to a boring quiz night when you could go to one on board a ship? And, on board none other than Sir Francis Drake’s old ride. It’s a great way to make a competitive person feel special. Or more special than they often think they are anyway.

Assassin’s Hunt

This event doesn’t expressly state that there’s a competitive element to it. However, there are teams, and there’s a murderer, and there’s running around after clues, and I think we’ve all met a competitive person who could take a no-necessarily-competitive event and add that little extra something. Even if the only competition really is between teams and a murderer, that’s still pretty high-stakes.

Yacht Retrotainment

You remember the thing we were saying about rooms full of games consoles? And remember the thing we were saying about (to paraphrase an earlier point) boats being better locations than dry land? Well. This marries both of those things to create the boat-based games console event of every competitive person’s dreams. That ought to keep them occupied for a while.

Last Man Standing

How have we got this far through a list of competitive person activities without including a quiz? Well, strap in, because that’s about to change. This is a quiz. It comprises true/false questions (good winning potential for probability fans) and on-stage challenges, which range from Swingball to “drop ‘n’ pop”. It’s basically a steady, balanced diet for the competition fans in your life.

Snooker Coaching

There’s nothing competitive people like more than showing that they’re better than everyone else at something involving skill. Ping Pong is a prime example at Wonderush HQ. But snooker is definitely up there too. By learning to play properly not only will the competitive person in your life pick up an actual skill, but they’ll be able to double up by also competing over who is the fastest learner. It’s a great way to tire them out.

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

The Wonderush Spotlight: Speed Dater

Dating in London is tough. Luckily, there are companies like Speed Dater events to help us all to navigate the choppy waters of the dating scene. After all, who wants to spend their evenings looking at a screen when you could be sitting in front of some real people and actually getting to know someone? Since we’re always looking for new ways to get social we thought we’d find out more from Dani, the Speed Dater Date Whisperer:

Speed Dater sounds like a great company. How did you get into what you do?

More than a decade ago (gosh I’m old!), I helped out a big Valentines singles party in London. I fell in love with the concept immediately and found the dating industry fascinating. I had only recently moved to London and knew no one, so being surrounded by hundreds of new people chatting/flirting was very appealing! Soon after, I joined the SpeedDater head office and have now personally introduced more than 42,000 singles at a variety of events – from wine tasting to vegan speed dating. Every event is different and I am never bored!

How would you describe and recommend your activity?

Speed dating is a fun and fast way to meet new people. You meet around 15 people in a series of 4 minute dates and the following day you can see who you match with. Nothing beats face to face chemistry – if you have ‘swipe fatigue’ and just want to meet real people, you should most definitely give it a go!

If you were on a speed date, what interesting anecdote would you tell about yourself?

I would talk about my travels tales – I am forever in a state of either ‘just back from a holiday’ or ‘about to go on one’. Dating someone who also shares the desire to travel and experience new cultures is a deal breaker for me, so I’d make sure I weave some travel chat into each 4 min speed date.

Can you tell us something surprising about yourself?

I am the only Australian in the world who isn’t interested in watching sport, playing sport or talking about sport.

What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not at work?

Dining out / bikram yoga. One cancels out the other! I have a very long list of restaurants to try that I probably couldn’t get through even if I dined out for lunch and dinner 7 days a week. I’m giving it a good try though.

What’s your favourite part of London to go on a date? Any places you’d recommend there?

I am a big fan of first dates which are cheap and quick (1 hour maximum). I often met my dates in Soho as it’s a central meeting point and has loads of options for drinks/coffee. A personal favourite of mine is to stop in at the Hanover Square Dirty Martini for a happy hour mango and chilli martini.

If you could try any experience in the world, what would it be, and why?

I’m really keen to do the Inca Trail.. or snowboard in Japan. Both are right up there on my bucket list.

If a Speed Dater event is right up your street you can find the next one here – we hope to see you soon!

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

Wonderush Spotlight: London Dance Company

The London Dance Company are awesome. Instead of the same old workouts they offer super-fun activities in a range of unexpected settings. Barre at the Bar, anyone? We really like people who shake things up and try new things, so we couldn’t wait to catch up with Aaron, who created the London Dance Company, and find out more:

How did you get into what you do?

Believe it or not, I used to hate dance! My dream was to be in musical theatre, and it was when chasing this dream that everyone told me that as a boy in this trade I needed to be a triple threat – I had to be able to act, sing and dance. I failed the first time I applied for a performing arts school but this was the push I needed to raise funds myself to realize my dream and so my love of dance began. I trained as a professional dancer at one of London’s top performing arts schools, Laine Theatre Arts. After graduation I was lucky enough to go to America and perform in three shows iBroadway, Celebrate The World, and Boogie Wonderland. When I returned to the UK I was asked to choreograph for a production company, alongside beginning to teach a few classes in and around London, and also coordinating and running dance workshops for all ages across the UK. I fell in love with what I do, the variety, the places and meeting great people and haven’t stopped since. I have worked and accomplished so much since college and I love building my brand. Recently I’ve travelled to China to teach at three ballet institutions and also Italy where I taught a three day Disney on Broadway workshop. Currently I run three of my own classes and also teach at Pineapple, London Studio Centre, Dance Works, and  some of London’s top gyms and fitness centres.

How would you describe your teaching style?

There is no point coming to a class if you’re not going to reap the rewards, I therefore make sure every part of your body gets a workout yet you also have fun. All of my classes are different depending on the style of dance; Zumba is high energy (some have been known to call me crazy) and a complete body workout. Being a professional dancer I use choreography to your benefit which actually provides you with a great core and muscle engaging workout. Barre is a class run at a slower steady pace, but don’t think it’s a breeze or any less of a workout as I use the techniques from ballet and put them into an easy to follow workout which caters for everyone, from the absolute beginner right up to the professional. After all, we all would want to have the strength, stamina, and body of a professional ballet dancer.

How did you think up ‘Barre at the Bar’? Why would you recommend your activity?

We at The London Dance Company love to try new things and think outside the box. We want customers to have fun and some people can feel intimidated in gyms and dance studios. Basically, it’s not about the barre – it’s about you so this is where Barre@the Bar came from. For the class all you really need is something to keep your balance and rest your hand on, so what better place than a bar? Everyone loves a bar! Therefore, we have just taken the traditional ballet class and set it up with a modern twist in a relaxed and accessible location for everyone! If you’re looking to tone sculpt and just have fun then this is the class for you!

Can you tell us something surprising about yourself?

1. I was born with a hole in my heart

2. When I was younger I was regularly on Eastenders and The Bill, playing a thug. When you meet me you won’t believe it!

3. At the age of 21 I travelled from Alaska all the way down the west coast of America to Antarctica (Canada, America Mexico, Peru, Panama, Chilli, Argentina)

What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not at work?

I love traveling and sightseeing so jumping on a train; whether it’s to take a walk along the Thames, going to Richmond, Greenwich, or going further a field out of London and just picking north, east, south or west of the UK for a few days. I just see where I end up and what different cities and towns have to offer. Or, even better, I love jumping on a plane and travelling to another country – I love to explore!

What’s your favourite part of London? Any places you’d recommend there?

So many to list but my top three places in London are: Sunday evenings @ Dirty Martini, Pineapple Studios (I go every Tuesday and Thursday to train and keep up on my game, Pineapple is thriving with talented individuals and is a great place to network), and finally I do love London’s Parks: Hyde Park, Richmond Park, St James, Chiswick Park, Holland Park – they all have their own charm, appeal and individuality.

If you could try any experience in the world, what would it be?

Would have to be to fly a plane!

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Wonderush Spotlight: Mindfoldness Origami

The world is a busy place these days, and we’re all getting increasingly frazzled. Sometimes it’s nice to take some peaceful time out, and mindfulness has become all the rage. But if yoga and colouring books aren’t your thing, how about a bit of Mindful Origami? Yes. That’s a real thing. We caught up with Sam Tsang from Mindfoldness to find out more:

How did you get into origami?

It was probably due to my primary school teacher who folded me a flapping bird. It wasn’t until after university that I got more serious. I placed a bouquet of origami flowers on gumtree.com on a whim, to see if I could sell it. It sold, and the number of sales slowly began to escalate until I got banned from the site for using it as a selling portal. Then I set up my own website. From  there I regularly sold origami bouquets for weddings and first anniversary presents. A customer asked me to teach them how to make a flower as a paper anniversary gift for his wife, and from there I started to teach. At first it was just individuals, and then it was  for groups, and corporate workshops, and hen-dos.
In April 2015 a journalist from The Guardian contacted me for a quote about origami being mindful for an article she was writing. In September a book publisher saw the article and asked me if i would be interested in writing a book about mindful origami! I naturally said yes and that book, The Book of Mindful Origami, was released on the 7th April. My second book – The Magic of Mindful Origami – will be out on 8th September.

How would you describe your teaching style?

My teaching style depends on the workshop I’m running. I teach several different kinds. There’s a team building one with a modular origami model, a hen-do origami flower bouquet workshop, a mindful origami workshop which focuses on the use of origami as a relaxation and meditation aid, and a general fun and educational origami workshop. In all of these I try to make it as relaxing, fun and as entertaining as I can but at the same time tell you some interesting facts and encourage you to learn a new craft.

Why would you recommend origami?

In recent years there has been an immense uptake of people practising Yoga, Pilates, Tai-chi and meditation. There has also been a massive resurgence of the arts and crafts fields – the immense popularity of Etsy and adult colouring books is testament to this.  I believe that the increase in popularity of both of these fields is due to a reaction to our digital lives. Many of us spend over 8 hours a day sitting in front of a computer screen creating virtual documents that are read once and never seen again. From the moment we are awake to the moment we sleep we are connected to the world, answering queries on multiple devices or glued to social media.

We all need to be able to quieten our minds and to find some inner peace to balance out the constant noise of our modern digital lives.  Many of us also need to have a creative outlet to express ourselves, and to make something tangible, something we can touch. Origami is a relaxing and peaceful hobby, a beautiful art, a craft, a science and a meditation all in one. When you are folding paper, there is stillness, calm and an inner peace. There is something beautiful in turning a plain, flat piece of paper into an amazing three dimensional object with just your own hands.It’s one of the simplest art forms in that it just requires a piece of paper and your hands – there’s no need for tools such as pens, brush, inks and paints.

I call origami ‘yoga for the mind’ as it allows you to stretch and exercise the creative and artistic areas of your brain that most of us don’t utilise on a day to day basis.

Can you tell us something surprising about yourself?

My other passion is cooking and I have actually appeared on three TV cooking programs the first series of Masterchef Goes Large, Chef versus Britain with Gino D’campo and Britain’s Finest Dish. I did want to pursue a career as a celebrity chef but found that Origami was far more interesting.

I was also the main organiser and adjudicator for the Guinness world record for the largest origami elephant display.
We had 34,000 of them and it took six hours to count!

What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not at work?

I actually have a daytime job working at a Bank! So origami is very much my hobby. I might consider switching careers one day, but at present I enjoy the stability of a day time job alongside my fun and entertaining origami hobby that has led to my own business, being involved in a world record, and publishing two books!

What’s your favourite part of London? Any places you’d recommend there? (Shops, businesses etc)

Tricky question as I have lived and worked in a lot of London. As a foodie Soho and Hoxton are close to my heart as it has such a diverse restaurant scene. In Soho, I like Patara for the best Thai food, and Joy King Lau and Hakkasan for the best Chinese. Atari-ya has the best sushi. In Hoxton, Taydo cafe does amazing Vietnamese food. Stickywings on Brick lane do the best buffalo wings, and I like Beigel Bake for 24-hour salt beef beigels!

If you could try any experience in the world, what would it be, and why?

I’d probably go to Japan so that I could visit the Tsukiji Tokyo fish Market and eat the freshest sushi on the planet, and also do origami!

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

8 Childhood rules we can totally help you break

Once upon a time, we were all children. For most of us – unless you were Harriet The Spy, one of the kids from Goosebumps, or a character from the Beano – there were at least a few childhood rules to stick to. These obviously varied by family, but there were at least a few old favourites that cropped up time and time again. The great thing is that now we are adults and we can do what we like. With that in mind, and because we are super mature grown-ups, we came up with a few ways that you can stick it to the adults in your life who were always telling you what not to do:

Childhood rule #1: No fighting

Boxfit

Actually, childhood authority figure, I can fight as much as I like. It’s called Boxfit, and I do it to stay active. Remember when you used to tell me off for sitting around all day and not going outside? You can’t have it both ways.

Childhood rule #2: No staying up late

1 big night out

I see your point, rulemaker, but I bet you’d prefer to see me on a pub crawl at 10pm rather than 10am. Am I right? I mean, of course you’d rather not see me on one at all, but you don’t own me!

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6 Edinburgh Fringe 2016 acts you can see in London first

The Edinburgh Fringe brochure was released yesterday. It was a momentous occasion. The Gimp Owl (Just wait until you see the cover) looked majestic, and the over 3000 shows happening this August comprise the usual mix of the genuinely brilliant-sounding, and the so-bad-it-might-be-great. Luckily for us some of the acts in the programme will even be performing in London in the next few weeks as they get ready for the Fringe, so we put together a list of the ones we can’t wait to see.

The Miserables

The MiserablesWe’ll declare our bias right now. Our very own Community Manager Nicola is bringing a show to Edinburgh. The Miserables is a parody of Les Miserables, which is set in an office where the employees hate their jobs. She has promised us it is not about us and we have decided to trust her. The Miserables can be seen at Just The Tonic at The Caves. Or, for those not travelling to Scotland, it’ll be at The Etcetera Theatre in Camden in July.

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