HHQ Presents | Pilates + Pampering Playdate | 22nd July 2017-4



Holistic HQ is delighted to host this special gathering, guest-starring the wonderful Claire Toone, studio owner and head instructor at Noosa Flow, who will be leading an uplifting and nurturing afternoon filled with energising and restorative Pilates sequences, meditation and pampering – the ultimate girls’ day out!

Join us at a gorgeous urban oasis – Breathe Wellbeing Goldie Place, a beautiful studio hidden away down a laneway off Little Bourke Street, in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD. For three blissful hours, you will enjoy thoughtful sequencing, energetic flows and relaxing meditations; a gorgeous mini-spa pampering experience featuring products from our local partners Perfect Potion and Pressed Juices; and a goody bag filled with special treats to take home with you.

Tickets are only $50 early bird (until Sunday 16th July), or $55 last minute until the day of the event. (Breathe Wellbeing studio members receive a $10 discount).

Grab your girlfriends and book your tickets early for this special experience – only 18 spots available, so get in quick sticks to secure your place.

We would love to see you there!




Claire has been practicing various styles of Pilates and Yoga for the past seven years. After a career in luxury goods sales and marketing, Claire changed direction to follow her passion for fitness and wellbeing.

Her mission is to empower people through moment and wellness so that they can live their lives with confidence, balance and energy.

Claire has taught clients from all walks of life utilising her powerful mix of Pilates, yoga, functional fitness, nutrition and coaching techniques. Her bespoke classes as well as her innately supportive nature have helped her clients achieve bodies, attitudes and lives they love. Claire’s teaching career has seen her instructing in London, Paris and Zermatt, before spending two years in New York City, where she worked for various boutique studios and private clients.


Victoria is a qualified Pilates Mat, Reformer, Barre and Boxing fitness instructor, Personal Trainer, Reiki Practitioner, Meditation Teacher, and the Director and Co-Founder of Holistic HQ.

Nine years ago Victoria completed her Pilates certification with the Australian Pilates Academy, as well as a studio apprenticeship with Matrix Pilates. She’s since completed her Certificate 4 in Fitness and Certificate in Pilates via Breathe Education, and is currently completing her Diploma in Clinical Pilates.

Victoria has trained and successfully competed as an INBA Sportsmodel, winning 2nd place at the Victorian championships in 2010, and has a big love for Pilates, Yoga, stand-up paddleboarding, and… mermaiding! She is a proud Ambassador for Lululemon Athletica, and has a decade-long background in marketing, fundraising and events for some of Australia’s most loved charities and not-for-profits.

Victoria teaches at Breathe Wellbeing in Melbourne’s CBD, White Dog Studio in Footscray, and Armature Pilates in Brunswick, as well as private 1:1 and 2:1 Personal Training sessions throughout the week.


HQ MUSE // Shana Dean, Heart Weaving

Our muses are people in the Holistic HQ community who are brave, creative, big-hearted and inspiring. They are ambassadors for what we strive to achieve – a thriving and joyful wellness collective, built around our shared passions for good health, a balanced lifestyle and spirited, happy wellbeing.

The beautiful Shana Dean is the Founder of Heart Weaving, a community weaving group. Shana says, “I discovered the art of weaving almost three years ago. It served me as an invaluable emotional support & continues to intrigue and teach me in many ways.

“Weaving has played an integral role in the lives of people from practically every culture and level of civilisation throughout time. Before we had written text, many communities used weaving to communicate about who they were, the environment around them and their connection to the spirit world. This practice is ongoing, but sadly in many communities it is an extinct or endangered art form.

When I discovered the art of natural textile weaving several years ago, it fed into my innate curiosity and genuine love of the natural world and the creative process. Weaving drew me into a sacred dance with nature, opening my eyes and heart with a forever deepening awareness of the world around me. It held me as I emotionally unpacked through severe grief, and supported me as I stitched my heart back together again to emerge whole once more.

For this reason I named my teaching practice ‘Heart Weaving’ … Weaving with love, from love and for the love of weaving.”


  1. What drew you to the craft of weaving? How has it impacted your life?

I discovered weaving through another amazing local woman weaver, Renee Bahloo, and took on a six-week course shortly after my dad passed away. I was also struggling to raise two small children and a five month old. It was a time I gave myself each week to sit down with other women and focus on feeling, connecting and just processing what that week had been like. I fell in love with it. Once you got into the pattern and rhythm of the weave, it was incredibly meditative.

Being able to intentionally take time each week to sit in circle with other open hearted women is a beautiful experience, for me it is incomparable with anything else. Weaving has me on a journey – it’s been like a best friend to me, it’s provided me with opportunities to meet some lovely people, to travel to some really special destinations. I have further plans to travel although I haven’t had the chance yet. I have also been repeatedly surprised and blessed by the community of weavers here and in places I’ve travelled to. I think what has also driven my passion for weaving, besides its deeply therapeutic benefits, is my ever growing understanding of the importance  weaving has as an art form in so many ways – culturally, environmentally, historically, as a communication tool, it’s just got so many layers to it and I just want to protect, nurture and promote this beautiful art form.

  1. What does it mean for the women who come together for your regular weaving circle?

I’m constantly surprised by the pieces created in my workshops, it’s so diverse. Even with first time weavers, once they get going, something innate kicks in and you can see it in their eyes. They go back to memories of their childhood, their grandma, their neighbour weaving things. Or it might be something else they have ability in, but didn’t attribute to weaving, such as knitting, or crocheting, or plaiting. They hadn’t felt connected to this art form. I get to nurture and facilitate that connection, and I love seeing that lightbulb go off. I also see the community aspect of coming together being nurtured in these gatherings, this was much more commonplace in times past and it’s a positive thing to keep alive in our current busy lives, to find time to sit and connect with each other person to person.


  1. What’s your favourite piece that you’ve woven so far? Why is it so special to you?

I’ve got two! One of them is my sculpture mermaid. I love her because she’s big, and she’s pretty … and she’s a mermaid! But unwittingly, she’s also a representation of my journey through weaving.  She’s a depiction of the Yemanja, a water goddess from Brazil where I have family connections. Just prior to my dad’s passing I travelled there and I fell in love with her image and story. Yemanja is a very present image in Bahia where I visited – she is depicted everywhere in Salvador, the capital city, even in the amazing street art graffiti.

A year later I was gifted this huge reel of beautiful pandanus fibre whilst on a weaving retreat in Nusa Penida, Bali. I used it to create her body. I accidentally made her arms different lengths, and it also happened that her slightly broken left shoulder reflected my own injuries. Sometimes you don’t consciously realise what you’re doing, but there’s always something that comes out of your weaving that helps you heal or laugh at the synchronicities.

The other piece I love is a little coil weave bowl. I used pieces from the beach that I collected after cyclone Marcia came through a while back, as well as some vibrant fair trade hemp string I purchased. It was a mixture of plant debris as well as rope that could have otherwise caused marine damage, but instead it came together as this beautiful bowl.

It was the first piece that I did where I wasn’t learning from someone else’s style or ideas, or following a particular method, but rather it is my own expression. It’s called Marcia, Marcia, Marcia. When I display it, it’s a great opportunity for discussions about what elements are involved, and the issues underpinning them – environmental issues, fair trade and other issues that are close to my heart.

  1. You have three gorgeous children who also keep you busy. Has it been a juggle to find time to work on your craft, or have they been involved in the process?

Yes, no, maybe – all of the above! There have been times where I have had to not weave, and put it aside because it’s just not going to happen. But I try to spend my free time well. When you are a single mum of three, and you reach for weaving in your spare moments, you know it’s a passion because in truth you don’t have much time spare! They do get involved, especially as they get older – when we’re at the park, they’ll go off on their own accord and find materials for me, which is really cute.

Lately my son is most interested in sitting with me and making his own weaving and I love that time spent together. What I do know though is that I parent better when my needs are met, and weaving just happens to fill my creativity cup till it overflows.


  1. You’re also studying a degree in counselling. Do you feel that this links in with your work with Heart Weaving?

Yes, I do. It definitely does. I’ve known even pre-weaving that I wanted to work in creative therapy, and I’ve found that sitting in a circle with supportive people around you – it holds a space, and a commonality. It’s amazing how it just naturally flows and you can see people overcoming obstacles, little ones or bigger ones, in their ability to create.

Sometimes they come in clearly thinking that there’s no way that they’re able to grasp how to weave. Sometimes they’ve gone through something difficult, and to come to the circle and be genuinely heard is incredibly healing. You might be creating a piece, and you go through the different stages of learning – from unknown through to understanding and  as you travel that path you may get to  points of frustration and these quite often cross over into other parts of your life.

Different forms of metaphors might come up through the weaving process that reflect the issues in your life – it can be ironic, and it can be humorous. I usually say to people at the start: if it’s pissing you off, that means it’s working.

  1. Weaving is an incredibly meditative process. Describe to us your ideal space for weaving; who you’re with, where you are, sights and sounds and feelings…

My ideal space for weaving is in the shade (because I often get sunburnt!), by the side of a babbling creek, with rock pools around me. Ideally somewhere where nature is flourishing in a balanced way, where it hasn’t been interfered with, and I can show the people I’m with how to find materials from nature. Mid-morning or mid-afternoon – I like those times. I’m not overly concerned about gender or age etc., but I love sitting with people who value the connection with the earth and with each other. You can’t get a much better spot then beside the creek, experiencing nature, seeing birds, it’s amazing how being in a space like that brings up reminisces of childhood and simpler times.

I love the blessing of elders in the workshops as well. When I was running a workshop on the Gold Coast, I had the sweetest woman who was 92, blind and in a wheelchair come up to me to share with me about her time teaching weaving in a rehabilitation home to returned soldiers after World War Two. There was a man she taught who had suffered a stroke, and she told me how she had figured out a way to teach this man who was really struggling to cope, how to weave his own basket. When he was leaving the respite centre she recalled presenting him with his basket, she told me “I still remember that he put his hands on my face and he said “very good miss, very good”.

It was the end of the day and I had hardly any materials left, but I gave her a small coiled basket I had with me to take home, just to hold in her hands and experience the memory tactilely.  It was a really humbling moment. Weaving has given me moments like this of pure connection with other human beings, and I don’t think I could have experienced that depth of commonality without weaving.

  1. What would be your ultimate weaving piece that you dream of creating?

I’m really inspired by forest sculptor Spencer Byles. I’d love to do a big woven installation piece somewhere unexpected, for people to happen across and just enjoy.

  1. What was the one moment that you feel has defined your life so far?

Hmm.. It wasn’t really one moment – it was more of a five-year moment. The last five years have been incredibly testing, managing as a single mum, studying for my degree, losing a beloved parent and surviving a big health scare amongst other things. It’s been an intense journey of self-discovery, finding who I am, in all my facets.  It’s forced me to reach out to my amazing friends who loved me when I wasn’t terribly loveable.

That time has come to an end in many ways. I’m not really a single mum anymore – I’m a single mum supported by an amazing partner. I can see in hindsight that it has crafted me into a much more rounded, empathic, and compassionate and real, very real person. I got over a lot of ideas of what I thought mattered.  These days I just focus on my lovely kids and partner and the great team we make, and on our wonderful friends and the new path ahead….

  1. Where in the world do you dream of your weaving taking you to? Who would you love to work with or study under?

I would love to connect with my indigenous heritage. Throughout history, everyone wove. We wove before all this plastic, before modern technology. Therefore, every culture has their traditional weaving. I’d love to go back to Scotland, and tap into my heritage – I’m a proud Gordon! There’s a touch of Viking there too.

I’m told there’s a beautiful weaving community in Scotland, and I’d love to visit with them, spend time on that land and learn those traditional weaving techniques. I’d love to be able to bring that back here and share it with others who share that heritage and anyone else who would like to learn it as well. Because, we all have connection to land; we all have traditional weaving heritage, but all of that was cut from our history with the to-ing and fro-ing across continents. I’m sure I’m not the only the one with a desire to connect in with our ancestors in this way.

  1. You’ve created a safe space, a sense of community and a beautiful artistic outlet for those in your weaving circle. What are your hopes for Heart Weaving down the track?

More adventures. Meeting more beautiful people. Expanding my knowledge of the land and other cultures, of what people are willing to share with me. Weaving to deepen community connections. I’d like to facilitate more social experiences.

For instance, through a current collaborative project I’m working on with Thriving Families, the ‘Nambour Community Quilt’ we are providing an opportunity for community members to come together and weave not only artistically but socially and emotionally.

The end result will be a lovely art piece to display as well as a deepening sense of community connection and belonging. It’s also been a lovely way to document an expression of who we are as a group at this time in this place. That’s the beautiful story-telling element of weaving right there at its best.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/heartweaving/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heart_weaving/

Photo Credits: Natalie Owens, Global Pearls


Seasonal eating and how to get the most from it


Now that we are well into summer, there is an abundance of juicy stone fruit, you can smell mangoes everywhere, the salads are out in force in cafes and eateries, and avocados are added to almost every breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Although it may be harder these days to spot the foods which are out of season, because most foods are now grown all year round, there are many benefits to eating for each season. You get the chance to experiment with foods you otherwise would not have considered before.  Here are a few reasons to eat seasonally:


The taste of fresh fruit and vegetables at their peak compare to nothing else. Their juiciness and flavour are out of this world. I’m sure you know how much better the flavour is of a tomato in Summer or a vibrant juicy mango compared to eating it in other seasons. What’s not to love about biting into a fresh watermelon on a hot Summer’s day!


When you choose to stick to seasonal foods, you naturally lean towards produce which is grown locally. Seasonal eating also encourages you to get out and explore farmers markets as the local growers will have an array of fruits and vegetables.  This also means the food you are eating will have lower carbon miles and as a bonus, you get to know who grows your food.


Best of all if you incorporate seasonal produce into your eating it will be cost effective too! Prices will naturally be lower as fruits, vegetables and herbs come into season due to transport costs being significantly less.  This is good news as the savings get passed onto you.


Foods that are grown in season are at less risk of  nutrient loss such as vitamin C.  Long term storage of fresh food reduces vitamins and other antioxidants and phytochemicals which are protective and help support cellular metabolism.  Choosing a seasonal diet ensures you are maximising the nutrition content of those foods.

Eating for the seasons enables you to consider your eating habits if you tend to buy the same fruit and vegetables week in week out.  Below are some great reference charts for checking what is growing in season for Melbourne.  If you are living in any other region in Australia simply go to seasonalfoodguide.com.

Get out there and start exploring some new fruits, vegetables and herbs that you may not have cooked with or eaten before.

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Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 4.48.31 pmImages: seasonalfoodguide.com

New Year, New You // Join Us for FREE Pilates in the Park

happy new year!


HAPPY NEW YEAR to all of our lovely friends! We’re super excited to be bringing to you FREE Pilates in the Park sessions this Summer, all across Melbourne.


Early morning sunshine. Dewy green grass. Soft light filtering through the leaves above. Summer is coming, and the parks of Melbourne are calling…!

Get outside this Summer and enjoy one of our FREE Pilates sessions in one of many parks across Melbourne. New locations to be announced via the Holistic HQ Facebook page here.

Paint&Create (1)

Our very first session is coming up shortly on Saturday 9th January, at 9.00am at the Outdoor Amphitheatre, behind the Footscray Community Arts Centre (next to the Maribynong River).

Please register for each pop-up event via the Eventbrite page here, and don’t forget to bring a water bottle, comfortable fitted clothing, and a mat or towel.

We’ll keep an eye on the weather as the date approaches and keep you updated on the morning in case of any last minute changes.

See you in the sunshine! xx


This should be preventable. You can help save lives.

In February of this year, my heart was utterly broken. My darling Dad passed away from prostate cancer. This was a preventable, otherwise treatable disease, if caught early. We were too late. Over five years, he fought long and hard before his body finally succumbed.

The story below (excerpts from this lovely piece by Blake Foden) rings so familiar to me in many ways – a beautiful soul taken away without real reason, by a preventable, treatable disease. Natalie Paterson-Green, 28, lost her battle with cervical cancer earlier this month, almost two years after being diagnosed.

Natalie and her fiancee Caleb on their wedding day in August.

“If she had listened to doctors’ predictions, Natalie would have lost her two-year battle with cervical cancer several days before her wedding. But she was never one to show pain, and she wasn’t ready to go. Not yet.

Described by friends and family as “beautiful inside and out”, the couple met about seven years ago at a party in Dunedin. She was by his side through his battles with thyroid cancer in 2011 and testicular cancer a year later. He had not long been given the all-clear when Natalie was diagnosed in 2013.

“When she was going through chemo I could actually say to her, ‘I know how you feel’,” Caleb said.

“But if she was having a bad day, she didn’t want to ruin anyone else’s day. She just wanted to keep soldiering on with a big smile and she was there through all of it when I had cancer. She was always more worried about us than herself.”

After being given two days to live, Natalie defied doctors and kept fighting for more than a month, enough time granted to walk down the aisle with the man she loved.

Natalie surrounded by her friends and family on her wedding day in August.

“For that one day she was so much better,” her sister Tammy Paterson said.

“I can’t believe she managed to walk … she even got up to dance with Caleb and then with Mum and Dad.

“She was so happy. It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. It was incredible, better than any movie. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. One final, beautiful, beautiful memory of Nat.”

Natalie lost her battle with cervical cancer, surrounded by friends and family in early September, a month after marrying Caleb in their living room.” (You can read the full story here).

We don’t realise how lucky we are to have a health system and support services here in Australia that provide free bi-annual reminders for check-ups, and can treat and respond to first signs of the HPV virus and developing cancer cells.

Most of us also don’t realise that every two minutes, somewhere in the world, a woman dies of cervical cancer. In fact, cervical cancer is more than 10 times more common in countries without cervical cancer screening programs than in Australia. Cervical cancer can be effectively treated when it is found early. Most women with early cervical cancer will be cured.

The Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation (ACCF), is a young charity with a big vision: to eliminate cervical cancer. ACCF works to protect and enhance women’s health in Australia and in developing countries. Check out their work here.

We’re so proud to be working with ACCF this month as their official Wellness Ambassadors, spreading the word on their crucial work and encouraging others to take up the challenge to help win the fight against cervical cancer.


Give up your technology for 12, 24, or 48 hours and help countries that struggle to access basic health needs (most of which are even cheaper than a mobile plan).

The Tech-No Challenge takes place this weekend on the 19th and 20th of September, but challengers are welcome to pick their own date during the month of September if the chosen weekend doesn’t suit.

The money you raise by turning off your screen provides women in developing countries the chance to get screened for cervical cancer. Despite being mostly preventable, 800 women die from cervical cancer worldwide every single day. That’s one woman every two minutes.

This year you can change that, by taking on the TechNO challenge. It costs ACCF just $5 to screen one woman for cervical cancer in a developing country. Every $5 you raise could save a life. You can start your own page, or make a donation to our Holistic HQ team page here.

Each donation goes towards:

ACCF will screen one woman in a developing country for cervical cancer. Less than 2% of women receive cervical screening in developing countries.

ACCF can fully screen and treat a woman for cervical cancer in a developing country. With no access to screening 280,000 women die each year from cervical cancer.

• Vaccinate one girl in a developing country against HPV, the virus which causes cervical cancer. Here in Australia, we receive this vaccine for free.

• Pay for the running costs of the ACCF‘s Banepa Women’s Clinic for 2 weeks. This Clinic is a hub for women’s health resources and training of nurses and vaccinators in this region.

For more information on ACCF and the Tech-No Challenge, visit the link here, or please visit our Holistic HQ team page to make a donation to this truly worthwhile cause.

Thank you endlessly for your support. ❤

With love,

Victoria xxx

TOP FIVE // Wellness Apps

There’s a lot going on in the App Store lately, with a plethora of wellness-themed apps to choose from. Whilst we encourage you to seek out what works best for you and your lifestyle (an app may be the last thing you want dictating your routines!), we’ve curated our top five apps for nurturing mind, body and soul, just for you.


NIKE TRAINING CLUB // Released in 2009, this app has only gotten better with age. Designed for women (but equally worthwhile for men to use), it breaks workouts into four categories: Get Toned, Get Strong, Get Lean, and Get Focused (15 minute short and sharp workouts).

This app was a personal savior for me whilst travelling through Europe. Joining a casual class felt a little daunting where English wasn’t the first language, so I used Leah Kim’s yoga workouts to keep me strong, stretched and totally chilled out at each new location.


Highlights: so great for 15 to 60-minute do-anywhere quality workouts with some of the worlds top athletes. Each move is accompanied with a 10-second demo video so you’re guided each step of the way.

Lowlights: each workout needs to be downloaded individually (you only need do this once), and will take some time to load. We recommend a good wifi connection, so plan ahead before your travels and have a few favourites ready to go.


CALM // For instant calm, just add this app to your phone. Within seconds you are instantly transported to the sights and sounds of a serene woodland lake; the stillness of late afternoon by a peaceful ocean; or the drips of evening rain on lush green leaves. There are also options to add a guided meditation in blocks of 5, 10 or even 30 minutes – meaning you can take five and refresh your headspace anywhere, anytime.


Highlights: we love the beautiful, crystal clear scenes that bring your screen to life instantly. One of the most engaging meditation apps we’ve experienced.

Lowlights: it’s hard to fault…! You’ll need to purchase further meditation packs as you continue with your practice, but you’ll naturally be wanting more.


YUMMLY // This app will change the way you think about your weeknight dinners. The powerful search engine pulls up some of the best recipes from the interwebs, with the capacity to filter the endless results by prep time, dietary preferences, cuisines, courses and even tastes (salty, savoury, sweet).

It also prompts you with meal suggestions based on your preferences, which you can tag ‘Yum’ and file into your own personal recipe collection. With a built-in shopping list, there’s no reason why you can’t eat well on Wednesday night anymore.


Highlights: all recipes come with a detailed nutritional breakdown, which can even be sent to your Apple Health app. What’s more, there’s no need for manual writing of shopping lists – one click adds all ingredients for your meal to the recipe list.

Lowlights: if only we could add our own recipes! That would truly make this the best app ever.


MOVES // The pedometer for your phone, Moves is a great little app that tracks your daily steps, run or cycle (and can even keep track of your gym visits or time on the mat). The neat timeline interface makes it incredibly easy to understand and monitor, with steps updating in real time as you walk, and distance, time and calories also tracked.


Highlights: we love the simple timeline overview of your day, tracking your travel, workouts and more. You can edit locations so that Moves will automatically recognise your home, work and gym – if you usually hit the treadmill at the gym, for instance, you can even flag your regular routine at the gym so that your caloric burn is recorded.

Lowlights: given the nature of the data they collect to track your daily moves, you might feel a bit squeamish regarding privacy issues, especially since the app was last year acquired by Facebook.

That said, Facebook have issued a statement confirming that they are not sharing the data collected for any purpose other than improving the app, but if this is something that bothers you we’d recommend sticking with an old-school pedometer – with daily use, the results are the same!


PEAK // this brain training app is the bomb – we gave it 5 minutes each day over two weeks, and could actually track an immediate lift in our results and performance, despite playing new challenging games each day. It’s fun, interactive and brain-bending – a no-brainer (so to speak) for killing time on the train to work.

peak 2

Highlights: you can track your progress daily, which provides a breakdown of your brainmap (based on your Peak Brain Score tallied from the games you play each day), a 30-day progress tracker, as well as a comparison of you vs. your age group.

Lowlights: the hardest thing for me was realising that I couldn’t play my favourite game on demand – you’re given a selection of games each day to play, but with the Pro edition you’ll have access to each and every game, any time.


We’d love your thoughts – what are your favourite apps for helping you with your everyday wellbeing?

V x