Float Your Stress Away at the Blue Lagoon Float and Spa

Float Your Stress Away at the Blue Lagoon Float and Spa

Adelaide is now home to Australia’s largest luxury floatariums with the opening of Blue Lagoon Float and Spa’s second branch at Hyde Park.

I’m a big fan of spas and I don’t think I’ll survive a single month without getting my deep tissue massages. For some, going to spas is nothing but leisure and luxury. But for me, it’s more of a routine of wellness. As I always say, if I don’t get my monthly massages, I’ll probably fall sick. Like, seriously.

I’ve been to various types of spas including luxury wellness resorts, but a couple of months, I’ve tried something for the very first time: “floatation therapy” at the Blue Lagoon Float and Spa (132 King William Rd, Hyde Park SA 5061).

It was something unorthodox for me: a new age form of relaxation, floating in a pool filled with magnesium sulphate, aka pharmaceutical-grade Epsom salts. The therapy aims to help relieve stress, anxieties, insomnia, and body pain among others.

I came to their spa with my friend, Kyzeen. We were greeted by their very gracious owner, Trina Tramarchi, who ushered us to our floatation room. While walking inside, I was simply amazed by the general vibe and interiors of Blue Lagoon — it was clean, cosy, and stylish.

The floatation room itself was quite spacious with a couple of showers and a pool designed for a maximum of two floating people. Read: floating, not swimming.

I didn’t get it at first. What do you do once you start floating?

My friend, Kyzeen, enjoying her float.

Kyzeen and I spent about 45 minutes in the pool with some relaxing music in the background. We were meant to be silent while floating, but both of us, chatterboxes, couldn’t.

Although I needed to moisturise my skin too after getting marinated in a pool of salt, fascinating enough, I felt “lighter” in every aspect of the word immediately after the session.

On the Blue Lagoon Float & Spa’s website, they’ve listed these floatation therapy benefits:

  • Relieve pain from injuries, arthritis, tension, fibromyalgia, migraines, pms, multiple sclerosis, pregnancy tension, bursitis
  • Improves skin conditions such as eczema & psoriasis
  • Improves blood circulation and the distribution of oxygen and nutrients
  • Reduces blood pressure, pulse and heart rate
  • Balances your metabolism and hormones
  • Accelerates recovery from strenuous exercise and sports
  • Decreases production of cortisol, ACTH, lactic acid and adrenaline
  • Detoxifies the body
  • Epsom salts have a natural anti-inflammatory effect on the body
  • Boosts immune function

Aside from floatation, Blue Lagoon also offers other spa treatments such as massages, facials, spray tans, sauna, and crystal floats.

To learn more about them, visit: www.bluelagoonfloatandspa.com.au.

I’ve briefly interviewed Trina right after our session. Watch the video here:

Other photos supplied by Blue Lagoon Float and Spa and Mercy Me Marketing.

Celebrating my 35th in Adelaide

Celebrating my 35th in Adelaide

Whoever said it’s hard to make friends when you’re older surely hasn’t tried hard enough. Well for one, they should try living in Adelaide.

When most people get contented circling around the same set of friends as they mature, I just keep collecting new ones along the way.

I get it: small circle of friends solidified over time = quality, solid connections.

But I wanted to try and prove a different theory. For the sake of metaphor, let’s like our story to a fisherman: the more you fish, the more mouths you can feed. More chances of winning.

Lucky to have been blessed with new, good friends in the past one year and half here in South Australia. Give me a few more years, and I’ll probably need a park to host my birthday parties. I won’t mind that.

Event: The General Wine Bar & Kitchen, McLaren Flat

Event: The General Wine Bar & Kitchen, McLaren Flat

What a fantastic weekend it was — my heart’s full.

Aside from the fact that I turned 35 recently and celebrated with good friends last Saturday (26 September 2020), I was also invited that same day to an exclusive VIP lunch by Adelaide-based celebrity chef, Helen Mouneimne (The Greek Vegetarian), at The General Wine Bar and Kitchen, Home of Zonte’s Footstep.

Gorgeous Helen will be joining The General Wine Bar & Kitchen team offering regular kitchen collaborations, cooking demonstrations, and exciting workshops for kids. Follow @thegreekvegetarian for regular updates on Helen’s latest projects.

Helen (The Greek Vegetarian) with me

Owned by Brad Rey and Anna Fisher, The General was established in 2016 and is currently the home of the authentic and locally sourced Zonte’s Footstep wines. Aside from Helen, The General also features another amazing chef, Gabriel’s Kitchen, with his special menu every third Friday of the month for a “Friday Wine Down.”

Wine maker Brad Rey
Ana Fisher (left)

Spoilt that day sipping beautiful wines and indulging on a culinary feast (three course meal), we also had the privilege of experiencing their “Dine Around The World” offering, a unique program where The General whips a special menu inspired by cuisines from around the world.

That day, we were “transported” to Morocco. Kudos to the team for a well prepared program, complete with cabin crew, in-flight entertainment, and a stylishly decorated Moroccan-inspired venue. I was personally impressed.

The “Dine Around The World” program is an innovative initiative to recreate the experience of traveling to a destination especially during this time when we’re stuck in our little South Australian bubbles. Designed for a group of eight to 20 people, the menus are normally offered AU$99 per pax (Premium Economy: three course meal + four glasses of Zonte’s Footstep wines), AU$110 per pax (Business Class: three course meal + four glasses of Limited Release Zonte’s Footstep wines), and AU$125 per pax (First Class: three course meal + four glasses of Limited Release Zonte’s Footstep wines + Anna Fisher or Brad Rey providing your in-flight entertainment).

Our chef for the day, Gabriel’s Kitchen
Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini and Dates + Zonte’s Footstep 2019 Shades of Gris Pinot Grigio
Chicken Kefta with Chermoula, Green Olives and Basmati Rice + Zonte’s Footstep 2018 Love Symbol Grenache

The team also launched an interactive and educational game perfect for parties called “Taste The Regions.” This blindfold wine challenge features bottles sourced from Langhorne Creek, Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale, and the Barossa.

Special mention to The General’s passionate owners, Brad and Ana — they were fun and extremely generous. Loved both of their vibes! Loved this place! I wish them continuous success with all these initiatives.

The General Wine Bar & Kitchen. 55a Main Rd, McLaren Flat SA 5171.

Hey Paolo Spotlight: Joinery Designer Stefan Vignogna

Hey Paolo Spotlight: Joinery Designer Stefan Vignogna

For Adelaide-based joinery/kitchen/interior designer Stefan Vignogna, clean lines, texture in materials, and functionality are the most essential elements in his designs.

Hey Paolo: What inspired you to become a joinery designer?

As a kid, I was always a creative child. Growing up, I never really had a specific career that I wanted, but I always knew it’ll be something in the creative field.

Hey Paolo: What’s your design style like?

In my designs, I tend to use a limited range of colours and materials like black, white, or even warm colours. I use simpler colours and more organic textures. I also tend to stick to a monochromatic palette.

Hey Paolo: What’s one project you’re most proud of?

I’ve done restaurant interiors, kitchen renovations, bathroom renovations, etc., but it’s hard to say which one is greater compared to the other. As long as they end up as a good functional space for the client, then they’re all pretty good for me.

Hey Paolo: What’s your dream project?

I would love to do the interiors of a hotel because of their volume of rooms and spaces. It will be really nice to have more people experience what I try to convey in my designs.

Hey Paolo: What are the main challenges in your line of work?

Budget is a very common thing in every project, whether it’s getting the client to commit to a steep budget or for me to stick to a budget that’s affordable for them.

Hey Paolo: What was it like designing your own house?

I started building my house a few years ago. It was a lengthy process, but I had a good team around me. My architect gave me a fantastic floor plan to work with. But what I did was to put my own natural spin from the inside. A lot of what you see inside is my own style. It’s really important that it reflects my own personality.

Hey Paolo: What are the key elements that you like adding in your designs?

Lines, texture in materials, and functionality.

Hey Paolo: Who is Stefan when he’s not working?

Funny enough, I’m pretty much the same whether it’s at work or at home. Being a freelancer blurs the lines between personal and work life.

Hey Paolo: Recommendations where to purchase furniture/supplies?

I’m pretty fortunate that my studio is located at Magill Road and there’s plenty you can find in the area such as The Source, Asser & Co, Twopairs, and Outside Square.

Hey Paolo: What’s the future of joinery design in Adelaide?

Adelaide has talented designers. There’s a lot of people nowadays trying to push the envelope a bit more. With a lot of businesses moving to online, it opens up the Adelaide designers to interstate enquiries and projects. It’s really exciting to see the future of Adelaide design.

Hey Paolo: What is “home” for you?

It’s more of a feeling that I have as opposed to a general practical space. I try to find home wherever I am.

Hey Paolo: Why is there a need to create beautiful kitchens?

A kitchen is a unique space for many. It’s not just a space where you can cook; it’s also a place where work and where you gather people around. It really gives me pride to help people create a really good space to facilitate growing relationships with their family and friends.

STEFAN VIGNOGNA, Joinery Designer. Website: https://www.stefanvignogna.com.au/. Instagram: @stefv23.

Hey Paolo Spotlight: Silas Ulbrich of The Pantry On Egmont

Hey Paolo Spotlight: Silas Ulbrich of The Pantry On Egmont

For cafe owner and head chef Silas Ulbrich of The Pantry On Egmont, kindness and giving back to the community are as equally important as great food and excellent service.

Hey Paolo: What is the The Pantry on Egmont?

We are a small suburban brunch cafe in Adelaide. We have a strong focus on giving back to the community and serving quality food & drinks.

Hey Paolo: What’s on your menu?

Our menu is eclectic. We have the classic brunch staples like eggs, burgers, and our house specialty (gnocchi). Most of our specials draw influence from the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

Hey Paolo: What are the key changes in your cafe over the years?

Our dinner events have grown significantly. Our dinner events give an opportunity for me to also plan different interesting menus compared to our standard brunch food. Adelaide brunch market has definitely grown significantly in the last 10 years too.

Hey Paolo: Why do you call yourselves a “Good Karma Cafe”?

I try to operate this establishment by the Golden Rule: “treat others the way you want to be treated.” For me, I like engaging with all our guests and we treat them with kindness.

Hey Paolo: How do you support local artists?

We rotate them every six weeks by showcasing their work (paintings, prints, sketches, etc.) in our cafe.

Hey Paolo: How do you give back to the community?

We try to give back as much as we possibly can. We also have our “Pay It Forward Coffee Campaign” and people can have coffee on me.

Hey Paolo: What is your “War Against Waste” campaign?

We try to be environmentally responsible. Very little gets wasted here and food scraps go to the compost. All our takeaway packagings are compostable and anything that can be recycled gets recycled.

Hey Paolo: How important is a vegan menu?

I think it is important, but for me, what’s more important is how we can be inclusive of everyone. In our cafe, we do have a significant number of vegan options. We try to cater to all dietary requirements too as best as we can.

Hey Paolo: How important is it to be a pet-friendly cafe?

A lot of our guests bring their pets with them. We don’t allow the pets inside the cafe, but we have the outside sitting where pets are more than welcome.

Hey Paolo: What are your best sellers?

Probably our housemade gnocchi which has been on the menu for several years now.

Hey Paolo: Your personal favourites?

I really think we do a good burger here and our smashed pumpkin is also one of my favourites.

Hey Paolo: How does Silas relax when he’s not at the cafe?

It can be hard to relax when you’re a small business owner. I just like spending time with my wife and kids.


The Pantry On Egmont: 2 Egmont Terrace, Hawthorn SA 5062. Website: https://thepantry.net.au/. Instagram: click here.

Hey Paolo Spotlight: Zak Antoniou of Zacary Desserts

Hey Paolo Spotlight: Zak Antoniou of Zacary Desserts

Adelaide-based baker Zak Antoniou recently joined Zumbo’s Just Desserts (Season 2) and is now back in his hometown running his own cake shop, Zacary Desserts, specializing in delectable mirror glazed mousse cakes and his signature Evil Eye cakes.

Watch the video to learn more about his baking inspirations, his baking style, his challenges as a baker/business owner, and his journey joining Adriano Zumbo’s dessert competition, Just Desserts.

Instagram: @zacarydesserts. Website: www.zacarydesserts.com.au.

 

Ordering Delicious Asian Food in Adelaide via Foodee Grocer

Ordering Delicious Asian Food in Adelaide via Foodee Grocer

Foodie Grocer is Adelaide’s newest online foodie store where you can order your favourite Southeast Asian dishes such as Pho, Rendang, and Laksa. Website: https://www.foodeegrocer.com.au.

Their food packs come with the basic ingredients you need for the dish and easy-to-cook recipes for you to follow. The Foodee team asked me to try their service and I ordered the Chicken Rendang food pack from their website. Watch the video to see how my Rendang turned out…

Love is Love: David and Adam Rocca

Love is Love: David and Adam Rocca

ROCKIN’ UP WITH THE ROCCAS — More than the fight for legal rights, acceptance, and equality, marriage for David Rocca (34; videographer/content creator ) and Adam Rocca (26; real estate agent) is nothing but a celebration of union and love. 

Hey Paolo: What were your individual “coming out” stories like?

David: I was a late bloomer. I didn’t come out until I was 23 years old. Before that, it was just one big secret. I had a big Italian and Catholic family. Back then, coming out is a scary thing to do.

Growing up, it wasn’t accepted at school. I saw a kid one day and he got extremely bullied when he came out. He had to leave school and I never saw him again. That set me back.

I was lucky though as everyone around me was very accepting of my sexuality. Even though in my head I thought they weren’t going to be…

Adam: Mine was pretty easy as I was very easy-going and I had a laidback family.

David Rocca Adelaide Videographer Photographer South Australia
David Rocca

Hey Paolo: How did you both meet?

David: We’ve always known each other for the longest time, but the timing was never right. We were both in a relationship with our ex-partners at that point when we first met and it never really worked out. He was based in Port Lincoln while I was living in Prospect. But eventually, it all just happened.

Adam: We first met through mutual friends. We decided to have coffee one day — and the rest was history.

We built a relationship based on coffee.” – David

Hey Paolo: How did you guys get engaged?

David: I proposed to Adam and I did it, as cheesy as it sounds, at the Eiffel Tower in Paris back in 2016. We were on a European holiday for about a month. We had a backpack then and I had the ring inside the backpack the whole time. He was carrying the backpack during the entire trip, but he didn’t even realise that there was a ring inside.

Adam: It was so funny to get engaged in Paris. You’ll think that you’re having this really unique, special moment, but when you look around, there are about 10 other people also doing their own engagements at the same time. It was nice sharing that moment with other engaged couples.

adam rocca real estate agent adelaide south australia
Adam Rocca

 

Hey Paolo: How did your families and friends react to your engagement?

David: My parents knew as I told them prior. When we first posted on social media about our engagement, some people got really shocked while the rest were really excited for us. Although same-sex marriage wasn’t legal yet here in Australia at that point, I still wanted to go ahead with our marriage anyway. I wouldn’t let anyone stop me from doing what I wanted to do.

Adam: We were really lucky as we have very supportive families and friends. I personally don’t know any other gay couples who have been engaged prior to ours. Five months before our wedding, same-sex officially became legal here in Australia and it got us really excited. We got married in April 2018.

Hey Paolo: What’s the importance of same-sex marriage?

David: For me, it’s about commitment, love, and building a family. I wouldn’t want to share my life with anybody else.

Adam: Marriage for me is about being able to go through life together and to have that recognition that you’re just one unit as a couple.

 

david and adam rocca prospect adelaide (1 of 1)

Hey Paolo: What is LGBT PRIDE for you?

David: Being me, being loved, and equality in all forms. Having that freedom not to ever worry about where I go, what I do, and what would other people say. It’s about acceptance.

Adam: It’s about feeling safe and being truthful to who you are.

Hey Paolo: What’s the future for LGBTs here in South Australia?

David: It needs to be more openly celebrated. It needs to be more than just a gay club or some gay festivals. We need to have more gay-friendly places. We have to move more freely within the community without worries. I feel in certain places like Queenstown, New Zealand, everyone’s welcome. When we were there, I can hold Adam’s hand down the street without any hesitations, but here in Adelaide, I couldn’t really do that here…

Adam: Adelaide is always quite conservative — it will always be. I would like to see more diversity and LGBT faces in our government who will help form legislation so that everyone’s spoken and accounted for.

“I feel everyone’s more open-minded during the Adelaide Fringe festival in March, and when that’s over, everything’s back to the way it was.” – Adam

adam rocca and david rocca couple adelaide south australia

Hey Paolo: Recommendations for…

Brunch:

David: Cotto (112 Prospect Road) and Exchange Specialty Coffee (1-3/12-18 Vardon Ave).

Adam: FRED Eatery (220 Mount Barker).

Dinner:

David: Pizza e Mozarella Bar (33 Pirie Street) and Bangkok Boulevard (Tea Tree Plaza)

Adam: Madame Hanoi (Adelaide Casino, North Terrace) and Mrs. Q (1/128 Gouger St)

Nightlife:

David and Adam: Henessy Rooftop Bar (Mayfair Hotel) and any of the bars at Peel Street/Leigh Street.

ON INSTAGRAM: David Rocca (@davidvincentrocca) and Adam Rocca (@adamrocca_)

 

 

 

 

Hey Paolo Meets: Radio Producer and 5EBI 103.1 FM’s President Juan Paolo Legaspi

Hey Paolo Meets: Radio Producer and 5EBI 103.1 FM’s President Juan Paolo Legaspi

Radio, as a communication medium, has undeniably evolved over the years. With a new batch of talented and passionate people who constantly aspire to share their voices, knowledge, and stories to world, radio will always have a place among people. 5EBI 103.1 FM’s Juan Paolo Legaspi, 33, shares his radio journey story. 

Hey Paolo: How did you start a career in radio?

My mum is also a volunteer radio presenter at 5EBI 103.1 FM until now. When I was younger, I used to help her and the rest of those in the radio station do some online research for their new segments.

Hey Paolo: What is 5EBI 103.1 FM?

5EBI celebrates cultural/linguistic diversity and it’s a fulltime multi-cultural community radio station here in South Australia. It doesn’t rely on commercial advertising, but instead, it’s managed by the local community and is funded by various donations. We have radio programs in 44 different languages — and Filipino is one of them.

Juan paolo legaspi radyo pilipino 5ebi103.1 fm radio dj

Hey Paolo: Who is your target audience?

5EBI 103.1 has been around for more than 40 years now. Back then, it was primarily to present news and information coming from the motherland and we share it here to our South Australian audience. At present, our mission has somewhat changed. Now it’s also about sharing cultures, music, languages, ideas, etc.

Hey Paolo: What are the main challenges working in this field?

The biggest challenge is always finding the right, consistent talents who will be able to run the shows. Majority of our presenters at the momemnt come from an older demographic. A lot of them have been doing it for decades now and they still love doing it up to today. We constantly need younger talents.

juan (1 of 1)-4

Hey Paolo: What’s the future of 5EBI?

We want to create a platform and a network of people who can potentially become radio professionals in this field. It’s a training ground and an opportunity to nurture talents.  Community radio can play a bridge between those who want to do it as a hobby and those who want to do it professionally in the long run too.

Hey Paolo: Recommendations for…

Breakfast: A Mother’s Milk (105 Unley Rd) makes really good baked eggs. My Kingdom for a Horse (191 Wright St) also creates good shakshuka.

Lunch: I wanted to keep this secret to myself, but my favourite is Contemporary Japanese Deli (22/68 Grenfell St) and they offer delicious $10 authentic Japanese bento boxes.

Dinner: For consistency, I like Wasai  (9/15 Field St). Their sushi bowls are always fresh. I also love Borsa Pasta Cucina (1/25 Grenfell), especially for their puttanescas.

 

Hey Paolo Meets: Entrepreneur and Entertainer Shania Twatt

Hey Paolo Meets: Entrepreneur and Entertainer Shania Twatt

They often say, “real queens fix each other’s crowns.” For Matthew Bruno, 35, he might have learned his lessons the hard way, but he is now ready to push himself once again to return to the scene and to bring his fab alter ego, Shania Twatt, back on track. 

Hey Paolo: What inspired you to become a Drag Queen?

When I was younger, I was very much into music, drama, and performing. I have always been good at making people laugh. I can easily mimick/perform different characters and I always feel comfortable being in front of people.

Here in Adelaide, I also grew up with all the drag queens at the old Mars Bar (a defunct gay nightclub) and I always loved how they perform. But at that point, I never really wanted to become a drag queen of my own.

Shania Twatt was really born in the Philippines. When I was working there managing a BPO company, I have visited a few gay clubs and made friends with people. One of the venue owners asked me to emcee for them for a night.

“What should we call you then in drag,” they asked. Shania Twain’s song was playing at that time and that inspired me to call myself Shania… (but as a Twatt.)

Shanai Twatt Pony Adelaide Drag Queen South Australia HIndley Street

I never called myself a drag queen. I classify myself more as an entertainer or as a character. If you see me in drag, it’s always for business; it means I’m working. It’s not like I go out wearing all these every night. 

When I came back to Adelaide, I kept asking myself: what does Adelaide need at the moment?

I created an agency called Man Netic Entertainment to manage a pool of talents (drag queens and adult entertainers) to serve and entertain different demographics, cultures, ages, and genders. We then initially started performing at Mars Bar, Madame Josephine’s, and a couple of other venues — and these all started successfully.

Hey Paolo: How has Shania evolved through the years?

I bought Mars Bar (which was later turned into OZ Nightclub) with a couple of others at that time but our club had to fold up as it was really difficult running it.

Shania got caught up with all the gossips, drama, and bright lights of the gay scene. Business-wise, I’ve made a lot of mistakes in the past. But I don’t regret anything now because I’ve learned a lot from it. As a drag queen, I’ve made a lot of friends and enemies too. I’ve made some enemies because of my own actions and wrong decisions in life. But you live and you learn.

With the closure of the club, I felt I was left in a really dark place. I stopped performing and hated doing drag shows. I got really depressed and I felt burnt out. I couldn’t find Shania anymore. I couldn’t even look at my costumes.

I took a time off, but I also felt I wasn’t done yet. I come from a family of entrepreneurs who run successful events and restaurants. With the support of my mum, I told myself, one day I’ll come back.

Now, I’m ready to come back. I’m ready to bring events again to Adelaide.

shanai (1 of 1)-15

Hey Paolo: Who is Shania Twatt?

Shania is #hookerrealness. She’s a lady of the night; a madame. She is big, bold, and beautiful. She’s courageous and she never holds back. She’s a big girl who loves to move. She supports big girls and she’s an advocate of body positivity.

I guess I was the Lizzo before there was fucking Lizzo!

Hey Paolo: How different is Shania Twatt from Matthew Bruno?

With Matt, there’s a sense of sensitivity and shyness still. Shania is a bit braver and she doesn’t care. Shania is my armour. I can be personally moody, while Shania is always happy and ready to party. I can be pretty private too, while Shania doesn’t really hold back.

Hey Paolo: How important is Shania Twatt for you?

It has been a tough past six months for me with COVID and the end of my relationship, which caught me off guard and I’m still healing from. So Shania has become more of an escape from the reality of disappointments and heartaches.

However, it was my ex who has also encouraged me to go back out there in the limelight. I still hope that one day though, my ex and I will be able to be friends again. For now Shania allows me to channel my emotions into a creative outlet.

Hey Paolo: What does Adelaide’s LGBTQ community need at present?

Adelaide needs a venue that will celebrate the diversity of the LGBTQ community while catering to a variety of cultures, curiosities, fetishes, and demographics. I just want to see everyone come back together and party like how they used to.

shania twatt drag queen adelaide pony hindley street 2

 

Hey Paolo: What’s next for you?

We opened up PONY (146 Hindley Street; male cabaret and drag show in Adelaide) last January 2020. At PONY, it’s a destination and a nonstop show featuring gorgeous men, drag queens, performances, visual effects, games, and lots of drinking & partying. Usually after our shows, the same venue turns into a nightclub.

I’m also planning to start a series of new gay events/parties in the near future (tentatively called “Bar Gaga”).

Hey Paolo: Where would Shania go for…

Lunch/Dinner: Of course, it’ll be at my mum’s restaurant, B Social (246 Foster Rd, Oakden). Shania likes drinking refreshing cocktails such as Aperol Spritz or Pineapple Malibu.

Weekend Spot: It’ll probably be at a random beach. She’s probably hangover or partying there.

Vacation: I would love to go back to a place where I have good memories of, like the Philippines. Or maybe Mykonos, Greece because I also have a drag queen friend there.

Shania Twatt’s Instagram Page: https://www.instagram.com/shania_twatt/