Lets Ride

Burlesque and Some BodyLove.

by Lori Dwyer on May 8, 2013 · 9 comments

This month’s RedBalloon mission was quite exciting but slightly intimidating. Four one hour burlesque classes in Sydney, taught by a real live burlesque performer who goes by the name of Satin Spitfire.

Satin is hot. Not to mention crass, funny, loud, sweet, accepting and inclusive, and about a million other kinds of awesome. The class was small, the dance moves relatively easy, and the music loud and sexy.

The idea of burlesque dancing is so appealing to the lush, heady side of creativity. It’s all sparkles and glitter, velvet and feather boas, champagne and sex, and something inherently feminine and powerful. It’s so commonly confused with stripping, but getting naked is not the point. It’s all about the tease.

While certainly not enough to turn me into any kind of sexy, sensual performer (a la Ms Spitfire); four one hour-long classes were just enough to get a taste of what burlesque is like; an introduction to the ins and outs of the theory, attitude and basic moves behind it. There is absolutely no experience necessary- the first class begins with the very basics of a ‘burlesque walk’ and choosing a stage name. Going with my theme, I am now officially (kinda) known as Lilly Bean (like jellybean, only…. not?).

Out of the class of five, only one of us had any prior exposure, having done pole dancing and been to quite a few live burlesque shows. She even had a kick-arse pair of stripper heels to wear. Along with comfy clothes and drinking water, ‘high heels and lippy’ are essential requirements for burlesque classes. I, of course, wore my favorite black and white heels. And when it came to Week Three- Tassle Twirling- I was delighted to discover Satin had a pair of black and white pasties for me to borrow.

Pasties, in case you’re wondering, are the things worn to completely cover your areola and nipples, to which your tassels are attached. You can either tape or glue them on. We played with a stack of props, including gloves and fans and feather boas. And there was no pressure to undress- the option to wear your pasties over bras or even a shirt was there. All but one of us stripped off anyway.

By popular request... a pastie photo. Ta-da!!

By popular request… a pastie photo. Ta-da!!

Just for the record- I suck at tassle twirling. The objective is to get your tassles to spin, just by shimmying your shoulders. Despite being assured that boob size and shape makes no difference, and everyone can twirl… I really don’t think my boobs are big enough. I did get some twirling happening, but only by putting my arms straight up in the air and jumping up and down. And I’m not sure that’s sexy.

Having put on a bit of weight recently, the timing for this one was perfect. I badly needed some self esteem boosting and body love, and this was perfect. All sizes and shapes are celebrated in burlesque. The vibe of the class was lovely- there was no judgement here; no bitchy poking and snarking about weight and lumps and bumps. The instructor was easily a size sixteen, and she was one of the sexiest woman I’ve ever seen. There was something confronting about feeling like a veritable stick figure, and not at all desirable. It was probably a good thing that I found myself looking sexier and slightly fuller-figured as the months worth of classes ran on, and appreciating what curves I do have.

As much as I hate to disappoint you all… I don’t think I’ll be making the transition to burlesque performing any time soon. I’d have to do a lot of work on twirling first. But I highly recommend burlesque classes. They’re a work out- you’ll leave sweating- but the moves are relatively easy. It’s the attitude that takes time to perfect.

And in terms of body love- this has been one of the most positive experiences I’ve ever had. I left every week loving my body, feeling sexy and womanly. And given those ten kilos I’ve quite comfortably put on, that’s been exactly what I needed.


As we’ve discussed, sometimes Mother’s Day just sucks. Do yourself a huge favour and invest in some burlesque body love, for you or someone else, this Mum’s Day. Red Balloon gift vouchers are available here.

Red Balloon Blogger

Thanks to the team at Digital Parents  Collective for inviting me to be a part of the RedBalloon Experience Program. Stay tuned- more awesomeness over the next few months. As always, all opinions are my own (because no one else would want them…?) however the experiences are complimentary.
And, just for jellbeans, there’s a special offer for RRSAHM readers- Spend $129 or more on any RedBalloon experience, and receive $30 off.
To redeem: Visit www.redballoon.com.au and enter the promo code
REDMUM06 at the checkout to receive your discount.
Terms and Conditions: Offer valid until 31/12/13. Promotional Code can
only be used once per person. All purchases are subject to Red Balloon T’s and C’s.


Countdown To Borneo: 13 Days

by Lori Dwyer on May 7, 2013 · 3 comments

Countdown to Borneo: 13 days to take off.

Anxiety Level: Moderate

Organisation Level: Moderate to High


I’m existing in a bubble of my own self-inflicted anxiety. The things I’ve been meaning to do before I left for Borneo are piling up, one atop another, in a heap marked ‘Later’. (Visiting both the shrink and the dentist, toilet training my daughter…. all the best of good intentions that can certainly wait).

I am going overseas for the first time (kind of) in less than two weeks. The days are toppling onto one another like a pile of dominoes. A clicking, sliding house of cards that disappears flat into itself with such startling rapidity you barely have time to catch your breath before the next rows fold into each other.

Don’t think about it, just do it. I’m terrified. But, if nothing else, I’m an expert at just putting one foot in front of the other. And that’s how I’m choosing to approach the next thirteen days. One thing at a time. One task at a time, as it becomes important. Try not to forget anything. Especially breathing, in and out, and reminding yourself you will be fine.

I’m in a good head-space for it. I know this feeling- it’s bizarrely nostalgic, reminiscent of a another time when I was so terrified all I could do was one moment at a time, one task as it became important. But this time around, it’s laced with magic and adventure and excitement. I’m focusing on that- the exquisite, exciting apprehension of it. Because if I don’t, I may just find myself paralysed with crippling fear. And that won’t do, not in this situation. Not at all.


“”You are exactly where you are supposed to be, in this moment, right now,” Our yoga teacher said to us. My racing mind immediately came to a screeching halt to digest this new and profound information.”

Paula’s Story, published at Carly Findlay’s blog

“You know, I’ve been thinking, everything is…just comes together. It’s me. I chose this. I chose all of this. This rock…this rock has been waiting for me my entire life. It’s entire life. Ever since it was a bit of meteorite a million, billion years ago. There, in space. It’s been waiting, to come here. Right…right here. I’ve been moving towards it my whole life. The minute I was born, every breath I’ve taken, every action has been leading me to this crack on the out surface.”

127 Hours

I like to think sometimes the Universe presents you with tiny nuances, recurring themes to remind you that the world is much bigger than you can conceive. Signposts, perhaps. to tell you that you’re on the right path. To present you with tools you may need to do what you have to do.

Or maybe I just look too hard and put far too much significance in the blog posts I read, and the movies I watch.


I am exactly where I need to be, right now.

Things roll out the way the do for a reason.


I’m Afraid Of Aeroplanes. #BloggersToBorneo

by Lori Dwyer on March 4, 2013 · 4 comments

”I’m afraid of aeroplanes,
Even though I like the way
It feels to be a person in the sky…”
A320 Foo Fighters


I don’t like to fly.

We know this, I know– we’ve discussed it before. It’s something I’ve been working on, and a fear I think I’m in control of.

But I still pray every single freaking time I get on a plane. Actually, prayer never seems to quite be enough– during turbulence I often wish I was Catholic, so I knew how to say a Hail Mary or something else appropriate, without stuffing it up and acting like a blasphemous idiot.

Religion aside, it seems I’ll soon be spending an as-yet-undetermined length of time on a plane in just a few months time, winging it all the way to Borneo. And back. Cross country trips to Melbourne are one thing. International flights are totally something else.

In an attempt to lessen my own anxiety, I’ve made a slightly obsessive habit of researching aeroplanes and aeroplane safety. Some of the stuff I’ve discovered is fascinating.

And a lot of it is just damn… terrifying. In fact, it’s gotten to the point where I question the sanity behind my own thinking that ‘knowledge is power’, and the more I knew the less afraid I’d be.

But, perversely, that theory has actually worked. A least if the plane does come down in the ocean, or come down in a field, or catch fire in the middle of the tarmac… I’ll be prepared.

Kind of.

Whatever. Anyway– I figured, in the spirit of sharing, I’d fill you all in on what I’ve learned. The comforting, the terrifying, and the urban mythologies.

The brace position is not designed to snap your neck. Rumour has it, a la the movie Fight Club, that the brace position is designed to effectively snap your neck on impact, thereby killing you quickly. So as not to leave a planeload of horribly injured  moaning passengers wandering around the crash site. Because really, that would be a PR disaster.

That one’s not true. But there is a very correct way to ‘brace’. If you look closely at the (remarkably un-detailed) infographic on your aeroplane safety card, you’ll see either both hands tucked under the poor doomed passenger’s legs, or one hand placed over the other on the poor doomed passenger’s head. Left hand over right hand, if you’re right-handed, or vice-versa. Why…? Because if all that luggage contained in the overhead compartments does come piling down on top of you, you’ll want at least one set of unbroken fingers with which to unbuckle your seatbelt.

The brace position Actually not designed to kill you.

The brace position Actually not designed to kill you.

Speaking of seatbelts– they’re stupid. It’s apparently extremely common for passengers who have to ditch the plane to lose valuable seconds attempting to unclipping their seatbelt from the side. Logically. The way you would do in a car. Because your body just does that in times of extreme shock– muscle memory takes over. Best practice says to buckle and unbuckle your seatbelt a few times in order to give your muscles a better chance of retaining that information in an emergency situation… I’m not entirely sure it would help.

And speaking of shock…. A few years back, you may remember a commercial lane ditching into the Hudson River. Only a small percentage of passengers even remembered to grab their life jackets from under their seats. Because your brain is just awesome like that.

No... life jackets. Really. Ditchin'.

No… life… jackets. Really. Ditchin’.

“Please keep your window blinds open..” this directive has never really helped with that whole fear-of-flying thing. ‘For pity’s sake… why?!’ my internal-sensible-entity-who-likes-to-keep-her-feet-on-the-ground asks. Well– if you’re sure you want to know– it’s so you can tell them if something untoward happens. Like a wing catching on fire.

“Lights will be dimmed during take and off landing…” Annnnnnd this one always baffled me, too. Of course, there’s another morbidly curious explanation. It’s so your eyes adjust to the potential darkness of the tarmac at night. Or the fug of a smoke filled cabin. Dilated pupils are all the better to evacuate you with.

The morbidly curious question… do the oxygen masks really get you high? Well… ‘hem. Funny you ask. Oxygen masks are a necessity if the cabin suddenly depressurizes. But, having sucked on pure oxygen before, I can personally validate the theory that ‘pure oxygen calms you down and promotes a sense of peace and well being’. Logically (again with the logic, I’m even impressing myself here) oxygen should produce the totally opposite effect to the ‘panic and fear’ chemicals our bodies produce given the slightest whiff of carbon monoxide. Authorities strenuously deny that oxygen masks on planes are there to make you forget that your plane is currently plummeting toward the ground, a la Fight Club…. I am not so sure.

Bare feet get burnt. Potentially. If you have your shoes off when jump from the big bouncy slide onto the tarmac, you may find your socks covered in burning jet fuel. Unpleasant. So the ‘shoes on’ warnings are more for reality than anal–retentiveness.

You are your Captain’s personal responsibility. And, so the theory goes, therein lies the reason he introduces himself to you at the beginning of the flight. Because now, he ‘knows’ you, and psychologically, feels more responsibility for your life. And perhaps that means he (or she) will be less inclined to have a lapse of concentration at a vital moment.

“Please listen carefully to the safety warnings, even if you fly often…” As if you have a choice- you may have noticed that no matter how much you try to tune out the “exits are here, here and here…” spiel… you can’t. It’s not your fault. Listen carefully to the air steward giving your safety speech next time you take off. You’ll notice that every sentence they say ends with a…. downward….. inflection… of… tone. People don’t usually talk like this– the unfamiliar rhythm forces your mind to pay attention, even if you actually can repeat the entire speech word for word.


Uhhhhh. Well. I do hope we all enjoyed that. In order to send me on a great big tin can that logic tells me shouldn’t actually be able to fly, you should throw your spare change my way and donate to the BloggersToBorneo appeal.

Because for some insane reason, even after writing this post… I still really, really want to go.