St Kilda Beach

Mindfulness. Relaxed & Happy = Success+. Bring on 2015!

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St Kilda pier. Christmas Eve. Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group). www.hotndelicious.wordpress.com

Christmas Eve 2014. Kickin’ it here on St Kilda Beach pier with this view. Amazing start to the day and pretty spectacular!

While I am exhausted and still winding down from 6 months of 60-80 hour weeks (between agency work and my own biz), I am at peace.

Agency life has been insane having gone from overseeing the social media for 2 global brands to 6 brands with more on the way in the new year.

In the 2nd half of 2014, my first love and passion project Hot & Delicious Group, has also taken several significant steps with the launch of my “Photographic Tales of an ex-Emirates flight attendant” photography travel series and the “Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet” podcast series, which captures 1-on-1 audio interviews with inspiring people and entrepreneurs across a range of industries that fuel the fire of my own inspiration, personal business ambitions and the desire to inspire up & coming dreamers who aspire to their own success.

I am quite excited for the year ahead and while I’m not a New Years resolution kind-of-guy, I already have a swag of plans for the ‘Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet’ project including ramping up the profile of podcast & guests, kicking back into my own music, holding a “Photographic Tales of an ex-Emirates flight attendant” photo exhibition, creating a new ‘Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet’ website to start tapping into other revenue streams and sounding out global business opportunities.

Now to the outsider and friends who know me a little, this probably sounds like the standard year of unwavering ambition, but in reality, despite being exhausted right now I am at peace and energized all at the same time.

I’m at peace because if there’s one area of self that I’ve developed this year it is this… My ambition for the future is only strengthened by soaking up & living each moment. And what is the one key thing that’s helped me achieve this? Meditation. I shit you not.

In my very first post for 2014, “2 days ago I woke up to a beach sunrise over the ocean, sand & the waves at my feet.. 2014.. I’m ready..”  the final paragraph finished as follows:

Living in the moment is what I want to see more of from myself this year and not a concept that’s new to me, but taking time out to reflect & enjoy is where we get fresh energy, a sense of calm and it’s in this headspace where the fresh ideas & magic flow.. 2014.. I’m ready..

Meditation started for me when I got to a point in my year and my life when exercise alone wasn’t enough to keep me fresh and clear-headed – I realized that despite living a wicked existence and working on many amazing projects over the past 20 years of my life, that I wasn’t happy, craved some quiet in my mind and inner peace in my heart.

Being time-poor and not a true-believer of meditation at the time, I began setting aside 10 minutes every morning after my daily workout and tried out free meditation app Smiling Mind, which was recommended to me by a friend of mine. This meant that the skeptic in me could trial meditation without giving up too much of my time.

After a period of meditating regularly using Smiling Mind, I began to get bored of just using the app all the time; in my life I crave variety and so I brought other styles of meditation in to combine with Smiling Mind so that I could mix it up and keep my meditation sessions fresh. I evolved to trying different forms of meditation including listening to a 10 minute track of waves washing gently upon a beach that I downloaded from iTunes, taking time out on my lunch-break to sit in the sunshine listening to relaxing songs I love and focusing on the music/lyrics whilst breathing steadily or quite simply even meditating in silence with my iPhone on timer.

Almost immediately I noticed the difference and over the coming weeks and months I found myself unplugging from music and podcasts whilst traveling to work or from place to place, varying my route to our South Melbourne office in search of visual inspiration and the peace of a few deep breaths whilst enjoying another Melbourne sunset. Come Christmas and I’ve spent the past 4 days pretty much hanging out by myself doing something new and different every day – chilling by the beach reading books, a long cafe breakfast and the morning paper while everyone else is at work, photography down by the water at St Kilda, lunchtime beers in the sunshine at Ponyfish Island, shopping down at the markets for fresh deli treats, summer fruits and veggies… so many simple everyday pleasures that make me happy.

Thence what started as daily 10 minute meditation sessions grew to me enjoying and being mindful of the peace and joy in everyday moments that can occur multiple times every single day. It’s even got to the stage where I’m conscious of when I haven’t had enough meditation or these moments and know exactly what I need to even myself out.

This sense of mindfulness and almost perpetual state of peace (with multiple daily sense-checks of course), has lead to one of my most productive years of late despite supposedly having less time to cram it in.

I can honestly say for the first time in my life that instead of spending my days wishing for my future successful self that we all envision and crave, that I am happy and thrive on the pure joy of the here & now, whilst still fuelled with my ambition for the future. And that’s made me a better, more efficient and more successful as a person, colleague, family member and friend.

I am truly excited for 2015 and have many goals that I wish to achieve including a serious increase in travel, personal business growth and a swag of others as stated above, but if I can keep on this path of mindfulness, appreciating and living everyday moments, whilst fuelling ambition for the future, I have no doubt this will be a very, very exciting year indeed 🙂

Thank you one and all for listening and reading, especially those who’ve supported myself, the blog and the podcast this year.

I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

DW

P.S. I will be taking the opportunity to recoup from the madness of 2014 from Xmas to New Years Day by switching off all social media technology and taking the opportunity for catch-ups with friends and little day trips to the beach and countryside to clear my head and get back a little bit of sanity. And yes, if you found this article via Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook, I scheduled this shit so feel free to message me but you won’t get a reply until January 😉

You can also listen to the Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet podcast series here.

Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet podcast series is a weekly podcast interviewing inspiring individuals and successful entrepreneurs from around the planet across a range of industries (incl. music, film/tv, fashion, travel, comedy and more) about what makes them tick as people and drives their hunger for success.

Hot & Delicious Group.. Passion, Creativity & Community.

Culture, travel, music, news & sick live photography from around the planet:

Twitter @hotndelicious 
Instagram @hotndelicious
Facebook.com/HotnDelicious
hotndelicious.wordpress.com

Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group.

 

 

Scrap Xmas/New Year schedules. Go your own way. Me-time ftw!

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Ponyfish Island. Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group).

Christmas time.. grumpy shoppers abound, horns tooting, long queues, very few smiles… everyone rushing around like chooks with their heads cut-off, stressed-out with last-minute shopping and here I am chillin’ at Melbourne’s Ponyfish and soaking up a cheeky Christmas Eve beer in peace. Day 4 of “me-time”… 

Don’t get me wrong, 2014 has been a mad, busy year, but I’ve used a balanced diet of meditation, exercise, healthy food and me-time to get me through the ridiculous hours worked over the past 6 months of agency life + business pursuits in my “spare” time.

How do we define “me-time” and why should we take it?

The answer to the ideal “me-time” is entirely down to each individual. For myself, it means stepping away from the rat-race, eschewing social media, technology, schedules, alarms and tasks that are obligation-based and going with the flow – taking each day, each hour, each minute and soaking it up as it comes.

4 days ’til Christmas – I feel like escaping to the country on a road-trip. Do it. 
3 days ’til Santa comes down the chimney
– snoozing solo on St Kilda Beach and reading a book? Why not? (p.s. I did this and towards the end of the afternoon a pod of dolphins rocked-up playing and splashing not 20m from shore).
2 days to go
– wandering Melbourne’s backstreets with a camera without a destination or plan except retail therapy (buying shit for myself!), delicious food, coffee, a cheeky beer and getting off the beaten track. Yep, sounds good.
Christmas Eve
– early morning beach walk, long breakfast & the sports section and lunchtime beers at Ponyfish on the Yarra River which has some of the finest views in Melbourne. I’m sold!

Mental-health days when every other mofo’s exhausted from rushing to this party and that, book-ended by wrapping up work for the year and last-minute gift-excursions to 24-hour shopping centres… Screw that! Time for a sense-check.

Honestly, it’s not that revolutionary. You don’t have to give-up Xmas drinks friends or precious time with family, but just imagine… an extra 4-5 days off work b4 Christmas to recharge for Christmas… seriously… #heaven

Just one day out from St Nic and as hectic+++ as my year has been, I am so relaxed… I’d usually reserve the crucial period between Boxing Day – NYE for sleeping and recovery, but instead I’m not nearly half as exhausted as usual, quite looking forward to Christmas Day celebrations with the family and actually doing a bunch of fun shit from the 26th onwards including road-trips and more (there will still be plenty of snooze, cricket and couch-time 😉 ).

I haven’t booked in Xmas/New Years holidays for 2015, but I can tell you this… for me Xmas is all about having the time to feel grateful for what I have and soaking-up moments of joy with those that I treasure most, so I know what I’ll be doing with this time comes around again.

Love every single minute, lose the Christmas Day family arguments, Fuck the stress… go on… Try it!

You can also listen to the Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet podcast series here.

Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet podcast series is a weekly podcast interviewing inspiring individuals and successful entrepreneurs from around the planet across a range of industries (incl. music, film/tv, fashion, travel, comedy and more) about what makes them tick as people and drives their hunger for success.

Hot & Delicious Group.. Passion, Creativity & Community.

Culture, travel, music, news & sick live photography from around the planet:

Twitter @hotndelicious 
Instagram @hotndelicious
Facebook.com/HotnDelicious
hotndelicious.wordpress.com

Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group.

St Kilda Festival Sunday you complete me.. I feel free.. I feel happy!

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Luna Park - St Kilda
Luna Park – St Kilda. Image – Nikki Williams (Hot & Delicious Group).

There’s nothing better than a cheeky pint at The Esplanade Hotel as the sun goes down over Port Phillip Bay.

Whenever I think about St Kilda & St Kilda Beach, I get a warm fuzzy feeling about one of Melbourne, no Australia’s premier live music venues, The Espy, and the iconic summer street party that is St Kilda Festival Sunday.

Every year the streets of Melbourne’s bayside suburb are blocked off in preparation for 300,000 – 400,000 people flocking to it’s precinct for 9 days of culture & entertainment. The pinnacle of the event, Festival Sunday, features 8 stages, countless busking performers, open-air cafes, street markets with all sorts of trinkets and restaurants/cafes boasting a delightful array of delicacies from around the world.

As always last Sunday was an amazing day with blue skies and temperatures hitting the mid-thirties (that’s 95 Fahrenheit for all my USA friends), tempered by cool breezes blowing in off Port Phillip Bay. I started the day with Kingswood playing the main stage by the beach on St Kilda foreshore. Smashed a few cheeky ales in the new temporary bar area on the hill and checked out the latest killer tunes by this Melbourne rock band who have been in Nashville recording with Jack White’s producer, Vance Powell (also Arctic Monkeys, Kings of Leon).

St Kilda Festival Sunday 2014

Not wanting to be fenced in all day, myself and my buddy Nick took an American friend along St Kilda Esplanade to show her the iconic sights like the Luna Park, the Palais Theatre, McDonalds, Grey St.. oh wait.. take a few pictures and telling her tales of St Kilda’s history (and our own drunken exploits) before wandering back to The Espy for a drink. Back in 2009, I held my 1st of ever Hot & Delicious event at The Esplanade Hotel’s Gershwin Room, so it holds special memories for me and I love this joint, but $10 cover charge.. where was the music??

After a few cheeky jugs of Bulmers, we were craving the open air and sunshine, so we cruised outside and down along Fitzroy St where we sat in one of St Kilda’s many outdoor eateries, soaked up more cold refreshment, afternoon rays and long chats putting the world to right.

A small part of felt like I should have seen more of the live indie Australian music that St Kilda Festival is known for, but in reality for me this day is all about going with the flow and soaking up what is one of the most fantastic events on the Australian summer calendar… 

St Kilda Festival Sunday you complete me.. I feel free.. I feel happy! 

Article by Dan Wilkinson. Images of St Kilda Festival vibe captured by fantastic Hot & Delicious shooter, Nikki Williams. Probably the best & most complete St Kilda Festival Sunday gallery that you’ll see.

Hot & Delicious.. music news & sick live photography from around the planet:

Twitter @hotndelicious 
Instagram @hotndelicious
Facebook.com/HotnDelicious
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St Kilda Festival Sunday 2014

Hot & Delicious.. music news & sick live photography from around the planet:

Twitter @hotndelicious 
Instagram @hotndelicious
Facebook.com/HotnDelicious
hotndelicious.com

Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group

2 days ago I woke up to a beach sunrise over the ocean, sand & the waves at my feet.. 2014.. I’m ready..

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Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson

2 days ago I woke up to a beach sunrise over the ocean, sand & the waves at my feet..

This year I went from 80% self-employed in my own music industry business, Hot & Delicious Group to coming out the other side of winter working full-time for America’s #1 Digital Agency, SapientNitro, driving social strategy for one of Australia’s largest brewers.

A year of contrasts & definitely not a quiet one, but coming through my 3rd brain tumour operation in 15 years just a year & a half ago, looking back on previous years and knowing all the cool shit I’ve nailed over the past 3 years, it definitely feels like one where I’ve treaded water a little more than usual [to put it in perspective I’ve still created sponsorship partnerships for The Aussie BBQ series of international music showcases with Virgin Australia and Studios 301 in the USA, travelled to LA and Austin (Texas), captured images of Australia’s top musicians/providing social media services for The Aussie BBQ/Sounds Australia at the world’s largest music conference SXSW, project-managed Federation Square’s Helix Tree – Light In Winter installation and starting working with a range of beer/cider brands (incl. Miller Genuine DraftPeroni Nastro AzzurroCarlton Dry, Sweden’s #1 cider KopparbergBulmers and Strongbow cider)] to name but a few projects. Treading water’s not the right phrasing.. a better one would be working in the thick of projects, rather than keeping the eagle eye view from above..

The new job’s been hell-for-leather since Day 1, but I am excited about the team we’ve built, working with people who inspire me, the prospect of being in a position now to present wicked new ideas & game-changing concepts in the new year, access to global resources/networks to achieve our goals and a regular salary (vs working contract-to-contract), which will help allow me to focus on an as of yet unfulfilled music career and a bunch of new Hot & Delicious Group projects in my “downtime”.

The craziness of the past 5 months in particular means I reached the Xmas/New Years holiday period completely exhausted and ready for a solid mental break. As a result, I took the measure of banning myself from all forms of social media for a week from Xmas Day – New Year’s Day. That rest from social channels, family holiday at Portarlington, camping/fishing/skindiving with a bunch of mates on a beach down the Great Ocean Road and today’s trip down to Republica Cafe (St Kilda Beach) to soak up the 25°C blue skies, led to clarity and this explosion of thoughts on paper, which may or may not make it to my Hot & Delicious blog (I’m leaning to yes.. Ha ha.. :D). 

That insight is that during the ups & downs on the roller-coaster of life this year, I’ve managed to have amazing experiences, but these “Good Times” have been accompanied with “Capture this, Update that, Tweet this person, read this article, write that article, watch that TV series…”. It’s true that Sundays have pretty much been kept for me and generally-speaking I’m broadcasting/checking social less on Sundays, but in reality there’s been very few times outside of work or on days off where I’ve made an effort to go out, do something fun & just soak up that particular moment in time for what it is, without feeling the need to update one of my social channels. Connected, Connected, Connected.

I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve created for myself through hard work & the ability to see opportunity in the gaps of the patterns & differences of the world around me, but my #1 goal for 2014 is to soak up the joy of this life by taking more time out for me including chilling & focusing on projects that I love. More passion, energy & happiness will no doubt ensue. Sure.. Capture this, share that is a big part of who I am and what I do.. the reality being that social media is a big part of my life at play/work and an extension of my personality, but it doesn’t define me. 

Living in the moment is what I want to see more of from myself this year and not a concept that’s new to me, but taking time out to reflect & enjoy is where we get fresh energy, a sense of calm and it’s in this headspace where the fresh ideas & magic flow.. 2014.. I’m ready..

Dan Wilkinson.
16:04pm, Tuesday December 31st, 2013.
Republica Cafe, St Kilda Beach
Melbourne Australia.

Hot & Delicious.. music news & sick live photography from around the planet:
Twitter @hotndelicious 
Instagram @hotndelicious
Facebook.com/HotnDelicious
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