Nicoletta Revis – Republic of You

Written by Prue; Edited by Mick; Pics taken by Melinda and edited by Prue

“It’s about defining who you are… and whoever you are is ok!  I try to run this moral thread through the whole business… encouraging people to accept who they are.”– Nicoletta Revis

We first had contact with Nicoletta via email, however, one sunny day at the Top Shop we noticed a young woman sitting on the lawn, coffee in one hand, smart phone in the other and little black pooch loyally by her side. The latter caught Prue’s eye, whilst the phone chatter caught Melinda’s ear who quickly assessed the young woman was actually working – she was doing the social media marketing for a business. Naturally interested in all things social media, we patted the pooch and got chatting to its owner, only to discover she was in fact the Nicoletta who had previously emailed us. What a surprise.

Nicoletta and her very cute pooch Darby (Doo)

Two weeks later we reconvened to discover much about this young, social media savvy, vibrant, infectiously enthusiastic, business woman. Continue reading

Hi Everyone,

Long time no hear huh? I would like to say we have been busy planning and re-structuring Very Byron ready for the New Year, but that time has come and gone and our planning has been random, to say the least. It’s been more like chats while waiting for waves at The Pass, followed by more chats over coffee at the Top Shop. Thanks to our inspirational interview with Master Surfer, Alan Atkins (to be posted this week), both Melinda and I have taken to the waves.

This surfing thing started after listening to Alan – his life is surfing – and I thought ‘how can I live here and not surf?’ It was high time to get back in the water after decades of wanting to, but lacking severely in confidence. So I checked in with surfer girlie friend, Vic, who readily obliged when I begged her to take me out and hold my rusty surfing hand whilst I found my way with the waves again. Well, cos there’s no show without Punch, Melinda has of course jumped on the surfing band wagon too! Suffice to say… we have been kind of busy!
Anyway… we are back on the Very Byron job now and looking forward to posting our chat with the legendary, Alan Atkins. Perhaps he will stir your surfing juices too. Look out for it in your in box.
Cheers Prue

Conversation with Glitter – RadioDJ + ReDesigner + RetroCollector

“My real name is Alysa Michele Moysey, but I changed it when a little hummingbird landed on Heidi May, the horse, and said you’ve got to change your name to Hummingbird!” – Alysa GG Hummingbird


Alysa GG Hummingbird at home in her House of Glitter

Alysa GG Hummingbird (AKA Glitter or GG) is one of Byron’s colourful characters who gratefully still exist in our community. She is a reminder of the playful, magical and alternate nature this community once relished before commercialism and tourism seemed to prioritise the look of Byron. Ten or so years ago people like GG were everywhere on our streets… hugging, laughing, playing music, performing and sharing their creative gifts and ideas. Unfortunately a dying breed these days due to busking restrictions and image conscious, identity crisis, business lore. It was a total delight visiting Glitter at her Byron home where we were taken on a magical ride through Elven folk lore and all things not very grown up. Continue reading

Conversation with Deva Nandan – 5Rhythms Dance + Giveaways

Deva Nandan

“For me it was like starting a new path…
Now it is through the 5Rhythms Dance that I express my heart.”

Deva is passionate about following her heart. It’s always been her path. This could also be said about her commitment to the Byron 5Rhythms Dance community. As a qualified teacher, every week, she holds the space with music and heart presence, as people explore themselves and their relationship to others through the expression of dance. 5Rhythms is a powerful tool for increasing self-awareness, and for some like Deva, a spiritual practice. We caught up with her recently to hear about her journey to Australia and introducing her passion to Byron Bay.

We can tell by your beautiful accent you are not originally from here. Where were you born?
In Angola, Africa, to Portuguese parents. Angola was colonised by the Portuguese and my parents lived there for 17 years. We left when I was three because of the colony war. My father was quite wealthy and had a lot of land, which the natives wanted. We fled to Brazil with nothing, lived there (Sao Paulo) for two years, and then went to Portugal when I was six.


Deva returned to her family in Portugal recently to walk some familiar streets
and take in the magnificent views of Lisbon

You came to Australia with your husband, Amito. What brought you both here?
Amito and I were living in Grand Cayman in the Caribbean. He was a dive instructor and I was a jewellery sales person making lots of money selling gold and Rolex’s (laughs). We lived there for 11 months until a category five hurricane wiped the place out in 2004. So we moved to the UK where the second module of my dance training was being conducted. But I wasn’t happy there – the people are very closed unlike the Caribbean paradise we had just come from. We knew we wanted to live in an English speaking country but we didn’t want to live in South Africa where Amito is from and we ruled out the States… our intuition led us to Australia, which felt really right. Amito is a civil engineer and since Australia needed them it was easy for him to be sponsored in a job.


Deva’s husband, Amito, travelled with her to Portugal… umm which one is he? 🙂

How did you come to be in Byron Bay?
I first heard about Byron from a guy I met whilst travelling through India. I went there to do a Vipassana meditation retreat. We travelled for three months and he was always talking about Byron, how amazing it was and especially the dance parties in the forest. When Amito and I came to Australia in 2006, we were looking to establish ourselves in a like-minded community. We first went up to Crystal Waters on the Sunshine Coast but we didn’t find it there so we ended up coming down to Byron. I instantly fell in love with it… the beaches, the beauty, and the weather.
Even though we both loved it here, Amito needed to be in Brisbane for work, so he based himself there whilst I stayed one night in a backpacker’s, and then went to Samaya Retreat in Rosebank. A month later I moved into Byron and started teaching in the scout hall. I was teaching on a Friday night and getting 70 people… the hall soon became too small! Meantime, the Civic Hall in Mullumbimby was being done up, so when it was complete I took the classes there. It is bigger and has a sprung floor…it’s really nice… perfect for dancing.


Some of Deva’s Indian travel shots – where she first heard about Byron Bay

What is 5Rhythms dance?
5Rhythms is a personal growth practice. It is a tool to experiment and reflect on who you are, through dance. My passion is to teach this practice. This is something the founder, Gabrielle Roth, teaches us… it’s a mind-body-spirit practice accessible to everyone.

What are the five rhythms?
The five rhythms are called – flowing, staccato, chaos, lyrical and stillness. They come together to create a ‘Wave’. They relate to different moods, life-cycles, emotions etc… which are expressed through different ways of moving, using five distinctive styles of music. As you dance you tend to find one rhythm that you are most comfortable with. This practice really frees you from conditioning and invites you to embody your truth.

Where did you train in dance?
I moved to London in ‘94 and discovered the classes there. I danced regularly for nine years before training as a dance teacher. The training involved three different modules… each one in a different place. I trained in New York, England and California for one and a half years under the tuition of the 5Rythms founder, Gabrielle Roth.

Deva dancing
Deva dancing 2
Deva in action – expressing her heart through dance

Some people who come to Byron, particularly on a spiritual path, decide to change their names. How did you come to take the name ‘Deva’?
I had friends in London who were Sanyassin so I was exposed to their way of being. It is based on the spiritual teachings of a guru named Osho. So I went and learnt about Osho and the meditation practice he teaches. In India, I stayed in an Ashram, a beautiful environment where I meditated every day. The people really lived fully and celebrated life. They primarily follow their hearts and I too have always followed my heart so it felt completely natural for me to be in that environment.

Is that when you changed your name?
Yes. I was given ‘Deva Nandan’ which means Divine Garden.

Who gave you your name?
At that time in the Ashram there were three options. One was to keep my birth name but do the ceremony to become a Sanyassin, the second was to take a mysterious name… which is what I chose, and the third was a list I could choose from. The mysterious version was where they had a team of people that meditated on your photograph and the information you provided, and they would intuitively feel the name for you.

Did taking this name change your life in any way?
For me it was like starting a new path. I had been bought up in a very conservative family so following the heart, like the Sanyassins, really resonated with me. Now it is through the 5Rhythms Dance that I express my heart.


Everybody can dance the 5Rhythms of life!

What sort of path were you on before you found 5Rhythms?
It’s funny but I originally trained as an industrial and jewellery designer, which I did for 15 years… but even when I was designing jewellery I was following the philosophy of 5Rhythms… I was already bringing movement into my designs and mixing them up. I can feel that I have a longing to come back to jewellery design but now I am studying Kinesiology, which is a whole new area that I love. Once again, it is healing and working with people.

What do you love about Byron?
I love the beaches, the dolphins, and the whales. I lived in Main Arm for two years and I love the forest there…I love walking to Devils Hole which is a bit of a secret… it’s near Mt Jerusalem. I love walking in nature. Minyon Falls is another beautiful walk. I also like the craft at the markets. I love the people here and how relaxed they are. Everyone seems happy. You walk down the street and people smile.
And even though I don’t do much of it, I love horse riding on the beach… Oh and I love going to the farm to get milk…

Where is this milk farm? We keep hearing about it.
It’s on Myocum Road between Mullum and Byron. You go there with your container and pay a dollar for a litre. The farmer is about 90 and he allows people to help themselves to the milk and leave the money.

It’s easy to talk about all the things we love about Byron and we know you are now moving to base yourself in Brisbane to be with Amito; what have been some of the challenges of living here?
OMG… the challenges of renting! Being at the whim of landlords you get moved around. I was in a place that I didn’t know was an illegal dwelling and the landlord informed me recently of a council inspection so I had to move out of there. It was really annoying but in this case it worked for me because I was ready to move back to Brisbane to be with Amito. I also found it hard to have stable friendships because of the transient nature of the place. You make friends and lose them because they have to move on. This can be a bit sad sometimes.


Markets, beaches and horseriding… just some of the things Deva loves about Byron

And what we say is…

If you haven’t explored 5Rhythms Dance and have been thinking about it… do it! Speaking with a friend the other night, he was saying how dancing two nights a week in Melbourne was like dancing for his sanity. Deva is the original deal of 5Rhythms in Byron and brings to this community a world of experience, professionalism and a compassionate heart. Every Tuesday night you will find her at the Mullumbimby Civic Hall setting up the audio equipment for the thoughtfully chosen music, and creating artistic installations with subtle lighting for atmosphere. She smudges the room with sage for clarity and sacredness so that when the music begins at 7pm and people step into the space, the best of intentions have been set. The rest is up to you… to take the ensuing guidance and opportunity of movement to free yourself. You won’t regret it.

Giveaway – 5 passes to 5Rhythms Dance, Mullumbimby
Deva is kindly offering five single passes to five of our readers to attend one of her classes on Tuesday evenings, 7pm – 9pm, Mullumbimby Civic Hall. If you would like to receive one of these passes please leave a comment at the bottom of this post. Five winners will be chosen at random.


Just love this photo of Deva taken in Portugal…
too many skulls can make a girl feel a bit nervous!

THE BYRON QUESTIONS:

Do you have a favourite café?
Not really. I don’t really hang out in cafes much.

What about restaurant?
Milk and Honey in Mullum

Do you have a favourite shop?
The Piece Gallery in Mullum. I always love going in there. So many beautiful things.

What is your local’s tip for a visitor to Byron?
For sure the lighthouse walk, the markets… and a vist to Bangalow. Oh, my dance class (laughs). It is a really unique thing to do. I love Kiva Spa…I go there often, and also have a massage with Leslie who works at Mullum Herbs… she is great. Oh, and Lucy the ceramicist at the Wheel of Life in Brunswick… I love her work. I bought tea cups recently as gifts for my homecoming in Portugal. I love cats so I love hanging out at the Cat Adoption Centre, too.

What would we find you doing on a typical Saturday?
(Shrugs shoulders)…I don’t have a typical Saturday. Sometimes I’m doing workshops or going for a really long walk. I mean a really long walk… usually along Brunswick Beach. I walk till there is no one around and I feel the space. After coming from Europe where it is so populated I love the space here in Australia.

Conversation with Fiona Hunter – There’s Always More

I just love the choices we have here… we are close to airports, the coast, Brisbane… we’ve got the lighthouse, beaches, markets, great food…everything at our finger tips… – Fiona Hunter


A stylish woman + good listener + great cutter + a wicked sense of humour
= a girl’s  bestest hairdresser

Fi welcomes us into her Ewingsdale home with enthusiastic husky tones of ‘Hi…come in… wanna cuppa?’ Instantly we are taken out onto the verandah and settled into large comfy lounges to enjoy sweeping views of manicured lawns, melalucea trees and even their own private  billabong. The birds are singing, flowers are doing their pinkest best and everything seems to have this  relaxed vibe of… ‘whatever’! Ahhhhh…. Very Byron. Fi has successfully made the sea-change from Sydney to Byron in both lifestyle and business. Her hairdressing salon ‘There’s Always More’ has been established here for nearly 10 years. She gives us a few good pointers on how to kick start a small business in Byron…

Like many of us, you too, are a sea-changer to Byron Bay. What was it about this place that had you decide on here?
Dolphins… (laughs)…  when I sold my business in Sydney ten years ago, both Craig, my partner,  and I became unemployed because he had been working for me for 2 years. At the time I was treasurer of the Hair Society and since we put on shows every month, I got to know all my peers…  I’d known them for 15 years. Anyway, lots of them offered me a job in Sydney but it just didn’t feel right to work for someone else there. So one night, over a bottle of red, I said to Craig “We’re getting out of Sydney.” He said, “Are we?” I told him how I felt and that I wanted to be closer to my family. He asked where we were going and I said “north”… so at about two in the morning I’m on the Internet looking for places to rent in Byron Bay. This was ten years ago and the rents were affordable then…  especially compared to what we were paying in Sydney… like $500 was cheap rent. My dad was staying with us at the time, so I woke him up at 3am and said, “We’re moving.”  He said ‘That’s the best darn news I’ve heard all year…  now piss off and let me get back to sleep.”  So the next day we drove up here, looked at about five places and stayed overnight in Kennedys Lane. Then we headed straight back to Sydney, packed up, and two weeks later we were living here.

Fi's Ewingsdale home
Fi and Craig have settled into a beautiful property in Ewingsdale surrounded by melaluceas

Why were you selling your Sydney business?
I’d had enough. Fifteen years in Lane Cove… 17 staff… I had done everything I wanted to achieve there.  I was tired and not excited about going to work every day like I had been. That year the salon won the North Shore Small Business Award for the second time, so it was a good note to leave on.

Did you intend to start up your own business here?
No, I intended to work for someone else, but that only lasted six weeks before I realised how much I like to call the shots.

A few of Fi's favourite things
Fi’s treaures have an ancient earthy natural tone

How did you go about drumming up clients?
I joined the Byron Chamber of Commerce and started doing the Business Women’s luncheons, which I still do to this day… it’s very rare that I don’t pick up at least one client at those lunches. Initially, I spent a heap of money on advertising… that was really dumb. In hindsight, that money would have been much better spent having coffees or going shopping and taking the time to talk to people while handing out my business card… if I had spent my money in town as opposed to advertising, I would have recouped faster. People say to me all the time… if I hadn’t met you I wouldn’t have come to the salon. There is a place for advertising though… I just over spent, and far too quickly. Word of mouth really works.

Did that adjustment from busy city to small town freak you out?
My first week, I had one customer… it was demoralising. I felt like I was really watched for the first six months to see if I was going to be a stayer, and in those days there weren’t many hairdressers in town. I felt people were a bit afraid to change, just in case it didn’t work out… then it would be hard for them to go back to their old hairdresser. It was a bit of ‘small town mentality’ in those days. But I knew I would be able to build a business because I had done it before. It would just be a matter of time. I never had a fear of failure.

Fi and the surrounding garden
One of Fi’s fave spots at home is out on the verandah where she can relax in the surroundings

Well you’ve been in Byron Bay for ten years so you are certainly well established. What do you love about living here?
Well…everything… not much I don’t like. I just love the choices we have here… we are close to airports, the coast, Brisbane… we’ve got the lighthouse, beaches, markets, great food…everything at our finger tips… but I do agree with Stephanie Dale’s (post) comment about the ‘No’ attitude here. It feels like we are living in a ‘No, you can’t do that’ community sometimes. I felt she really nailed us on that one.

So what are the major challenges?
I don’t have any, anymore.

Anymore?
Well, it was overcoming my Sydney mentality in relation to business… accepting high rents as being normal.  I paid a fortune in my first five years… which was ridiculous for one hairdresser with an off street frontage. I kick myself now that I didn’t look at other rental options.

Why didn’t you move?
I loved the location (upstairs in Jonson Street)… but then the town started to change with increased traffic… trucks going past which created a lot of noise…  and black grime from the road meant I was always cleaning.
Now I say we are in the ‘nicer’ part of town (Cnr of Middleton and Byron Streets) surrounded by Targa, down to Anna Middleton, Zest, Succulent, the Byron Organic Kitchen, Heart and Halo… and  Espressohead has now moved just around the corner. This section of town now has quality shops with no franchises. It’s quiet, and has four hour parking… it’s great.

Many people in Byron have to diversify to make a living. Do you do anything else besides hairdressing?
I’m also a make-up artist and I do weddings. I’m really into ARBONNE skincare and cosmetics. I needed a new range recently and a friend of mine gave me her samples to try. I did a wedding with it and was so impressed I’ve become a consultant. I have been using it for three months and have my kit set up in the salon for people to try. Generally, I make enough to pay my bills… but I don’t want to work like I did in Sydney. I came here to be closer to my family in Brisbane. I had a very close relationship with my father, so coming here ten years ago gave me loads of quality time with him before he passed in 2007…  I wouldn’t have got that if I had stayed in Sydney. When we moved here he could come down in his camper van… we had great times together.

Arbonne skin care & cosmetics
Left: Fi has recently introduced Arbonne cosmetics & skin care into the salon
Right: ‘There’s Always More‘ offers a calm, cool place to relax in its neutral greys & olive

Is there any one person who has particularly inspired you?
My first inspiration was the person who trained me. I started with her when I was 13… working weekends and after school before starting my apprenticeship at 15.  She was from London and I was in a small country town… Rosebud on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. She was really a city girl… quite funky…  so every month we would go to the hair shows in Melbourne. We were the first to have Redken which was very high end and sooooo expensive. Because they were the first to explain the technology behind hair and hair products we could talk to clients in a way they had never heard before. They really were pioneers. It was considered prestigious then and I still use it in my salon today.

Did you always want to be a hairdresser?
Yeah, since I was about 4 or 5. Don’t know where it came from but when I was little I remember my grandpapa promising to buy me my first salon.

What’s the best hair product?
Nature’s Rescue by Redken… it’s sulphate and parabin free… in blue packaging … very Byron. They have a scrub, sort of like a facial scrub, which removes all the product build up and impurities from the hair. When you rinse, it feels like you’ve done a treatment… great for people who use a lot of products, straighten the hair, swim a lot etc. I’ve never seen a product like it. It’s awesome.

There's always more salon
Top: Maria D’Angelo holidaying in Byron from Melbourne gets some pampering with Fi
Bottom: Fi has been using Redken since it first arrived in the 1970s
There’s Always More’ salon is located towards the end of Byron Street

Is there a current look for this summer?
It’s hard with looks because it varies so much. There is a lot of 50’s influence like the waves on hair.  The 70’s centre part is big at the moment and the 90’s hard geometric structure look, the short impish look like the girl from Harry Potter…  and of course straight hair is still everywhere in the cities… we’ll never lose that.

What about in Byron… are the women fashionable here?
The women here are less into fashion and more about ease. We swim a lot so we don’t want a style that requires fussing. And as we get older we need to have a lift in our hair…it helps us look younger.

Who cuts your hair?
Helen (associate) or I do it myself.

Is it strange cutting another hairdresser’s hair?
No problem, but I hate other hairdressers cutting mine. I get so uptight my nickname is ‘over it’. It’s the same when I paint with friends… I’ll get bored really fast and either move onto another canvas or sit back and have a wine and watch the others.

Buddha & art
Fi loves colour in art… paintings by N. Washington (1989) & a ‘Very Byron’ Buddha by F. Hunter (now)

Where do you paint?
In my art room which you can’t have a look at!  Sometimes I paint three times a week…  sometimes not for two weeks. I started art classes with Siobhan Oliver which I really enjoyed, but found I couldn’t get inspired every Wednesday night at 7pm because maybe I was inspired at 8pm on Tuesday, or 10pm on Thursday. It’s a mood thing.

How did you and Craig come together?
We were match-made by my nail artist. She kept saying we should meet. So when I organised a party for a friend’s 30th she invited Craig without telling me.

What was your deal about not having children?
I’m pretty much an all or nothing person and at the age I would have had children, I chose career. I’m a bit old fashioned and realised if I had children I would have wanted to stay home and look after them. Also, I had young apprentices so I did the whole mothering thing at work. I was a psychiatrist, nurse, mother, you name it… which is why I got involved in the Byron Youth Services… I’ve always worked with youth and children’s charities. While I love kids I just didn’t want them myself. I love playing with them… they’re much more fun than adults. (presumably present company excepted!)


Fi and Craig in their Ewingsdale home

Top:  A splash of red brings life to the loungeroom
Bottom: Fi with partner Craig Ching, and in the kitchen with Prue making us cuppas

And what we say is…
Fi is a woman that knows what she wants… in a good way. From an early age she knew she wanted to be a hairdresser and has successfully expressed this in life. In a town where many people come to find themselves… and rightly so… it is refreshing to meet someone that knows herself in a very real and grounded way, and inspiring to see her confidence and strength is being used to help others through our Youth Services programs. She is a woman that naturally extends herself to helping others. Thanks Fi for being who you are.

THE BYRON QUESTIONS

What’s your fave café/restaurant?
Heart and Halo. They have the best food and everything is made with love. I also like Fishheads Restaurant on Main Beach… for the view.

What’s your fave shop?
Salvos… ‘Sally’s Boutique’ we like to call it. My friend Jenny recently bought three dresses from there for a wedding at the Savoy Hotel in New York. We were laughing when she was having her hair done because she was worried about what to say if people asked where she got her dress. So we nick-named it ‘Sally’s Boutique’ in Byron Bay.

What’s your favourite thing to do in Byron?
Come home, get off my feet, sit on the balcony and read a good book. I’m not going to say the lighthouse walk because it’s too damned hard…but it is one of the best things to do. I do it 5-6 times a week in the mornings – I’m a wine drinker in the afternoons!

What would we find you doing on a typical Saturday morning?
Going to the lighthouse and then working.

What local’s tip would you give a visitor to Byron?
I love walking the gardens of Crystal Castle. They’re so beautiful and tranquil.

Favourite blog?
Very Byron (laughs)…it is the first one I have ever gone into.

(Welcome to the world of blogging Fi.)

There’s Always More Hair Salon

Shop 5/14 Middleton Street, Byron Bay, NSW, 2481 Ph: (02) 6680 7922
www.theresalwaysmore.com.au  Email: fiona@theresalwaysmore.com.au
Google Maps  – (Cnr Middleton and Byron Sts, near Succulent Cafe and next door to Heart and Halo Cafe)

Conversation with Paisley – Intuitive Artist

Over a cup of Byron chai and the most exquisite lemon tart ever, we ask Paisley her full name. ‘Paisley’ she replies. Paisley? Yes… just Paisley. It’s a beautiful name and one that certainly matches the intricate, intuitive and passionate nature of this artist, mother of four, wife of fab local baker Andrew, and former elite Australian athlete… now enjoying the quiet hinterland life of Federal. Here she shares reflections of her childhood and motherhood, and the influence these now play in her equally beautiful artwork.

Paisley

How did you come to be living in Byron Bay, Paisley?
We had been travelling overseas while Andrew worked on setting up internet service providers. The plan was for the family to live in France for six months, but we got stuck in Malaysia for nine weeks. That was nine weeks in hotel rooms with a three, five and eight year old… we all went a bit stir crazy. We needed a break and I couldn’t think of anywhere better than Byron. I knew it well from holidaying here as a kid. As soon as we arrived everything came flooding back… the smells, the sounds, the colour. Oh, the colour… even the kids noticed the colour… and the people… they seemed so free. It was like I could breathe again. It also made us realise we were over the materialism of cities. I didn’t want to leave. Continue reading

Very Byron Very Broken

Recent adventures inland to interview another fab local took Melinda and Prue along St Helena Road. Now we all know this road is a pothole ridden disaster and we do promise, we were driving very byron, very slow… but alas our first love (Prue’s newly acquired VW Golf) fell victim to one of them. STOP!!!!… well the car did of its own accord and left us stranded. A knight in ‘not so shining’ four wheel drive armour, aka Matt the turkey man (from the Byron Farmers Market), thankfully stopped to give two bloffers (fluffy bloggers) roadside assistance. A few hours later, with lots of laughter, we bring you a bit of video fun and our first You Tube post. (Note… the delicious muffins were from Byron Muffin Men)