The Merrymaker Sisters, Emma and Carla Papas, have been changing the way Australians see health and wellness since 2012.
The infectiously upbeat pair are passionate about helping people live their best lives and, following their own advice, moved to the Gold Coast just last year.
We had a chat with the girls about what we can all do to improve our health right now and how we locals rate in terms of a healthy living city.
How long have you two been Gold Coast locals?
We moved here from Canberra in February 2016.
Why did you move to the Sunshine State?
Well, why would you want to live anywhere else?! It’s amazing that we’ve created a business where we can work from anywhere, so we wanted to live by the beach. Sydney was a little too big city for us so the Gold Coast it was! Best decision ever 😉
How do you think we Coasties go in terms of health and wellness?
We think if you looked up the healthiest city in the world… Gold Coast would be there! We love how everyone is outside, walking and soaking up the sun! It’s a high vibe place that inspires us to smile, eat well and move in a way that makes us feel amazing. So yeah, you guys do VERY well!
What is the message you want to share with people?
One of our biggest inspirations is the philosopher Joseph Campbell. He said, the privilege of a lifetime is being who you are. We’re all so unique, so let’s shine light on that, love who we are and be 100% ourselves every single day.
How did you come to be where you are today?
Oh! We will try answer succinctly, as we could go on for days! Every little step has been part of the journey and brought us to where we are today. But it all started with the simple idea of starting a blog. Then creating an eBook. Then a hard copy book. Then a mobile App. Then a podcast. And so on and so on!
We really believe it’s about action, taking one little step after the other… and just keep on stepping. We’re not saying that we haven’t had ‘failures’ we definitely had our fair share but it’s about believing that every no is just preparing you for a bigger and better yes. Our other value is fun, so we always try and follow the fun too, if something isn’t feeling right or we’re not enjoying the process we’re really quick to change it up and make it into something we do enjoy.
Merrymake means to bring joy to, so in every business and life decision we keep that in mind!
What are three things people can do to improve their health right now?
Be kind to yourself. Drink lots of water. Focus on adding more good to your plate (rather than restriction).
What are three things we should incorporate into our daily diets?
For us we always include avocado (they make EVERYTHING better), cacao (because chocolate = yum!) and lots of colourful veggies!
What exciting things are you two working on right now?
As of this minute we’re making delicious sweet potato and bacon bites for the Get Merry App! YUM! But our next big project is Merry Mind, which will help Merrymakers create a balanced mindset with simple action steps and guidance.
What’s the best piece of life advice you’ve ever received?
Follow your bliss. The stuff that brings you joy, do MORE of that.
Being a Gold Coast local, we have to ask your favourites…
Beach: Nobbys Beach
Restaurant: Hellenika or Bonita Bonita
Weekend hang: Essence of Living pilates/yoga, followed by Burleigh Farmers Markets, followed by beach time, followed by BSKT coffee, followed by chill out time back at our epic home we call Blissland with our two amazing housemates.
A new week means a new excuse to treat yo’self and there’s no better way to do that than with some sweet local brands. From threads to swimwear and accessories, we’ve rounded up a collection of Gold Coast goodies that we know will knock your socks off.
Olas Supply Co.
Established in 2016, Olas Supply Co is the product of two people with a shared loved for travel and adventure, wanted to branch away from their regular Monday to Friday jobs and try something different. Inspired by the founders adventures and grown from the soul of traditional villages along the coast of Central and South America, Olas Supply Co. offer a unique style Gold Coasters love.
Violet Gray is the love child of Australian Designer, Alexandra Olsen. Her pieces are simple, delicate and created from high grade metals (soon to be 100% recycled and fair trade) and genuine gemstones. The concept for each piece is deeply rooted in spirituality, connection, romanticism and symbolism, making them sacred and powerful to wear. Alex and Violet Gray started their journey at The Village Markets five years ago and since then has grown to be loved worldwide.
What started as a daydream in 2009 quickly turned into an independent Australian lifestyle brand that has since been featured in the pages of Instyle and OK! Magazines. The Gold Coast based bohemian fashion label specialises in exotic handmade leather bags, wallets and clothing inspired by local designer Brie Shinn’s love of travel and exploration. The colourful and unique pieces resemble every creative women’s wanderlust, bringing a sense of mystery and adventure into the lives of wearers.
Created by Ellie Hopley, Shuturp is a quirky fashion label that has quickly become much-loved the world over. With hand drawn art adorning t-shirts, caps and clothes for the kiddies, the brand is easily recognised and very colourful. Many of the pieces also have uplifting slash hilarious slogans on them too. Everything is part of a limited drop so get in quick.
The Lobster Shanty
Now something for the fashion-savvy men amongst us, introducing The Lobster Shanty. Jarro Dartnell is the brains behind the Australian beach-oriented fashion label and clothing store. Inspired by his Granddad Jims’ love of the sea, Jarro created his own boutique range of signature tee shirts and snapbacks while the store offers a wide array of seasonal essentials for the like-minded adventurers with brands such as Brixton, Obey and Santa Cruz.
Grace Loves Lace
For women of style, substance and originality, Grace Loves Lace specialise in unique, free-spirited and timelessly sophisticated luxe wedding dresses handmade from only the finest French and European lace and silks. When it’s time to slide on that ring and pop the champagne, you can’t be in any ordinary dress, you NEED Grace Loves Lace! Only the best on your big day, Sweetheart!
Tourism on the Gold Coast has reached a whole new level with the recent launch of The Undercurrent, a fashion label dedicated to showcasing the city through the eyes of locals. The brand made its debut with a collection representing five suburbs (Burleigh, Mermaid, Surfers, Currumbin and Coolangatta), each of which is printed with a local artists’ work depicting iconic landmarks and incorporating the things they love about their area.
The Gold Coast is known as the bikini capital of Australia and for good reason with labels like Myra Swim producing the goods. Bianca Elouise launched Myra Swim in 2014 and since then she hasn’t looked back. Inspired by the sun, surf and the sea, Bianca wanted to create a swimwear line for curvier women and as such, has developed an international following including the likes of the one and only Kim Kardashian.
The Weft is a recent addition to the Gold Coast design scene and it’s a goodie. Created by Caitlin Verall, The Weft is all about subtle, beautifully crafted pieces that transcend the seasons in natural colour palettes and fabrics. The latest range Outliers offers everything from the classic Smith ‘90s Dress to the statement Ithica Wrap Dress. It’s a beautiful range of timeless, laid-back silhouettes, with matching separates emerging for the first time.
Born out of a life long love affair with the ocean, boutique Australian swimwear label peony fuses bohemian nostalgia with refined femininity to create swimwear made for chasing the sun. First making an appearance at The Village Markets and now an internationally-renowned brand, peony epitomises summer’s simple joys – diving into the ocean, the smell of coconut oil, the feeling of sand under bare feet and the first bloom of peony flowers, which signal the beginning of summer.
Words by Louisa Ingelheim
Takeaway could well be the greatest thing ever invented and if wasn’t so bad for you, you’d probably get it every day right? WELL GUESS WHAT! According to this very article, takeaway food doesn’t have to be bad for you and that could be the greatest news ever not invented.
Here’s a list of the top 9 restaurants offering healthy takeaway options. Happy days.
Raw Energy, Coolangatta and Burleigh Heads
Located on the corner of Marine Parade in Coolangatta is Raw Energy, a healthy food and lifestyle café that started on the Sunshine Coast. Their focus is on fresh food, served fast in a funky environment. Raw Energy’s got you covered, offering anything from healthy smoothies or juices to macadamia and lentil burgers, YUMM!
Where: 110 Marine Pde, Coolangatta
If you haven’t been there yet, put this one on your ‘to do’ list! The Pocket in Burleigh’s Connor Street is an absolute favourite amongst locals and offers a great range of healthy take away options (with an extensive vegetarian/gluten free menu). The Pocket aims to be a conscientious restaurant serving locally sourced, wholesome food, often using produce grown by owners David and Michelle.
Where: 13 Connor St, Burleigh Heads
Marie Anita’s Gluten Free Health Cafe
Marie Anita’s offers a solely gluten free and sugar free menu designed to provide dairy free, vegetarian, vegan, and raw alternatives. With the aim to source from local suppliers and to use as much organic produce as possible, Marie Anita’s challenges the image of healthy eating.
Where: 2364 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach
Greenhouse Canteen & Bar
A personal favorite is Greenhouse Canteen & Bar, the holy grail of all healthy food. With the motto ‘anything you can do, we can do vegan’ they’re onto something, because they are busy every day of the week. But not to worry, they do take away, too! All produce are sourced from trusted suppliers and farmer’s markets – food is medicine and it should nourish the mind, body and soul. Amen!
Where: 1916 Gold Coast Hwy, Miami and 1/140 Griffith Street, Coolangatta
BSKT Cafe (Biscuit) was founded with the belief that people care about their health. They just needed the right place to deliver these health options in an indulgent and accessible manner.
All products are designed to inspire through nutritional quality, taste and a global conscious. Made from high quality plants and free from refined sugar and anything artificial. All products are hand crafted with love using traditional methods busting the myth Vegan and Paleo products can’t be delicious as well as nutritious.
Where: 4 Lavarack Rd, Mermaid Beach
The Shack Superfood Cafe
The name says it all, the Shack Superfood Café in Nobby’s is a health freaks paradise with real and fresh food that tastes great and is nutritious! On offer is quinoa, acai, smoothies and juices, breakfast, takeaway lunch and dinner boxes, plus tea and coffee. If you are looking for a hassle free, convenient and easy takeaway option look no further and go give the team at the Shack a visit.
Where: 2221 Gold Coast Highway, Nobby Beach
Cardamom Pod in Broadbeach is a vegetarian and plant-based restaurant inspired by the art of creative and tasty cuisine. With an extensive salad bar and delicious hot meal options such as curries or lasagne, Cardamom Pod is the perfect place to get some tasty and healthy takeaway, and word on the street is there are opening one in Brickworks! But be warned, their desserts are out of this world, especially the raw peanut butter cups.
Where: 2685 Gold Coast Hwy, Broadbeach
Govindas is without a doubt one of the most popular vegetarian, eco-friendly take-away restaurants on the Gold Coast. They offer a variety of pure vegetarian foods (vegan and gluten free options available) including vegetable dishes, basmati rice, dhal, potato bake, samosas and a variety of salads, desserts and drinks. Veggies are sourced locally and all dishes are prepared daily using the freshest produce. The buffet style approach lets customer create their own meal at reasonable prices. YUM.
Where: James St, Burleigh Heads
Giri Kana Cafe
The Giri Kana Cafe is a fresh take on vegan and vegetarian food, with a wide selection of freshly made vegan / vegetarian items (many organic and gluten free options also), including an extensive dessert menu. Their emphasis is on fresh and wholesome foods, which are good for the body, as well as the mind and spirit – and to this end, food is cooked with love and devotion. Try one of their signature tofu or vegie burgers served on turkish bread or as a gluten free option the Open Burger on rice. All so good!
Where: Cnr of Nind St and Gold Coast Highway, Southport
Words by Kirra Smith
No matter how you’re feeling right now or what you’re current situation is, there’s no doubt we can all use a little bit more health and happiness in our lives. So we’ve collected the five top tips to ensure your week is that little bit healthier from now on in. Take care of yourselves Gold Coasters.
Get up an hour earlier
It doesn’t seem like much but you’d be surprised how much you can fit into an hour. There’s nothing worse for your brain than waking up, going to work, going home, watching TV and going back to bed – where’s the relaxation? Instead of reaching straight for your phone the minute you wake up, roll straight out of bed and into some sort of exercise or stretching routine, play with the dog, cook yourself a healthy breakfast and ease into your day. You’ll soon see that starting your morning in a slower, more relaxed way sets the tone for the rest of your day.
Plan your meals
It sounds a little bit like something your Nanna would do but trust us, planning your meals will make life a million times simpler and healthier. Everyone knows what happens when you go to the supermarket after work, usually on an empty stomach and with very little willpower – you end up with an entrée of cheese and biccies followed by garlic bread and a big old bowl of spaghetti bolognaise. Delicious sure, but not so much on the healthy side. Planning allows you to choose healthy options, buy everything you need at once and not be tempted by the lure of excessive carbs.
Ahh the ever elusive shut eye. It’s highly likely you aren’t getting enough of it what with work, exercising, eating and those all-important Netflix binges taking up so much of your time. Something’s gotta give though and usually that thing is your health, or your sanity. They say you need at least eight hours but in truth, you need as much as you need. If you’re tired, sleep more, it’s imperative to both your mental and physical health (and the people who have to put up with you). If you need a nap through the day, go for it, this is your permission slip.
Take time out
You’ve been hearing people bang on about the miraculous benefits of meditation for awhile now and those people aren’t lying. It is one of the best ways to calm your mind, find out the answers to life’s big questions and generally just take time out from the chaos of day to day life. Seems overwhelming though right? Sitting down in silence and trying not to think. It can be simple though, start with five minutes of deep breathing and don’t be discouraged if your mind wanders, just stay there and enjoy the serenity, before you know it you’ll crave that time out.
Move your body
Although it’s easier said than done to get up off the couch when it’s cold out, the benefits are about three million fold. Even if you just go for a short walk around the block or do some easy stretching, your body will absolutely thank you. There are plenty of online workouts and yoga classes to choose from too so you don’t need to spend money on exercising to see the benefits. Morning is probably the best time of day to move, it’ll make you feel good all day but anytime will do. You’ll be happy you did.
Words by Kirra Smith