The inspiration of Lex
At Island Feather we are inspired by the people around us and through our blog we are able to celebrate and share the stories of women across the globe. These women are strong, beautiful and brave, and have created a life they want through finding their freedom.
We had the pleasure to catch up with Lex Balladon. Lex has followed her dreams and is still pursuing more exciting ventures.
"Hey Lex, thank you for taking the time to catch up & sharing a little more about the exciting things that are happening for you. So before we ask some questions, CONGRATULATIONS on securing your National Title as Women’s Masters Wakeboard National Champion".
How does it feel and can you tell us a little bit about what made you challenge yourself one last time?
"Hey Island Feather! Thanks! It was insane! It still feels absolutely amazing to be the Masters National Champion. Its like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders to be honest. I have wanted it for so long and came 2nd a couple of times, but have never won before. I think my first nationals were back in 2005 and ever since then I’ve liked having something to aim for and know my ranking. I actually wasn’t even going to compete this year but then it was announced that they were being held at Liquid Leisure, so I kinda had to, I love that park, and I suck at air tricks, especially after two kids! "
What does this win mean to you and has it changed your plans/ goals for the future?
"Its just topped off my riding career really nicely. I’ve competed for over a decade, hosted, headed up and been a guest coach on various Ladies Mornings, Kids Clubs, Girls Days, Girls workshops, British Team Development Camps, you name it. And I qualified as a BWSW Level 3 Wakeboard Coach a few years ago and two of my athletes have been ranked number 1 in the world, which is pretty cool. And this title just kind of put a really big juicy cherry on top! Future Goals? Watch this space.. "
So on top of your outstanding achievements as a national wakeboarder - you have a gorgeous family, have a full time job & have now also set up a new business - WAKE DAZE. You manage to fit so much into your life! Can you tell us what a day or week in the life of Lex looks and feels like and how you keep motivated?
"Ah you guys are too lovely! Life is pretty sweet at the moment. I’m coming through the other side of having small children. I had to cram everything into just two full days when the kids were in childcare, but now ones just started school and the other is doing some more time at nursery.
So were up at 7am and all have breakfast together. (I can’t function without tea with milk, two sugars and cereal). 8:15am we’re out the door and I drop the kids off at nursery / school. I’m either at home or in the office by 8:45am to start work on whatever I have on that day. Property work, wake work, modeling work, coaching work, Wake Daze work… I like to keep it interesting! 12 is lunch, without fail, I’m starving by this point and I would have had a 10zise snack. 1pm I pick up the young’un from nursery and bring him home and put him down for a nap so I can continue working. 3pm, I wake him up and get him ready to do the school run. 4pm home or park or something with the kids, 5pm cook dinner for the fam, 6pm kids bath time, 7pm kids bed time, and then my evening begins, usually with a glass of wine, unless I’m going to a gym class.
How I keep motivated? I feel great when I’ve achieved a lot in my day. So even when I don’t feel that inspired to do anything, I just remind myself that I don’t actually have much time to get things done in. And also that sitting doing nothing is not going to get me anywhere. "
How has being married with 2 children changed life for you and from your own experiences is there anything you would want or wouldn't want for your children?
"For me, getting married didn’t change anything in my life in a physical way, more an emotional way. Its pretty extraordinary to find someone that wants to spend the rest of their life with you, with all the good and bad parts of you. Having children however, flipped my life on its head. I decided to stay at home and raise them, which I found incredibly hard. I always knew I wanted a family but I didn’t find it easy or natural at all when having babies. But now they are truly amazing! Mostly I just want them to be healthy and happy. We’ve gotten them into the sports that we love and they seem to enjoy them, which is cool. But I wouldn’t push them to do something they didn’t want to do."
Ok, so we are really jealous about your hot bod! Could you give me a few tips or advice?
"Haha thanks guys ☺ I have always done loads of sport and been slim and fit. I had to over haul my diet when I was 17 due to acne, then I overhauled it again at 19 following knee surgery, which made me focus on what I was putting into my body and what made it function better. So I tend to stay away from processed foods most of the time, but of course I give into cravings. I had to step things up a gear after both babies, the second time was definitely harder but this is it; no more babies and this body is the body that is going to see me through, so I want it looking good and feeling healthy!"
So! Wake Daze… Wow! It is amazing to see the successful events that you have been putting on for other inspirational ladies out there.
"Ah thanks! Its been pretty crazy!"
Can you tell us a little bit about Wake Daze and what was your inspiration to set it up?
"You might know I’ve been organizing and hosting, Ladies Mornings, Girls Days etc for over a decade now and Wake Daze just feels right. I always knew I was working towards something but I never knew what that actually was. Over the years I have worked alongside different lakes to run events and over last winter, Club Wake Park and I were discussing Girls Events. I’ve wanted to bring the yoga into the day for a while now and so this was the perfect chance, as they wanted to do something different as well which was great! So I was at work planning the days like normal and one morning I literally woke up and said to my husband ‘I’m going to brand them Wake Daze!’ And that was kind of it! So this summer, they have been awesome days down at CWP, which were filled, with Wakeboarding with one-to-one coaching from yours truly, lakeside yoga headed up by Parker Rose, Nalu Beads workshops, hot tubbing and loads more! "
Who is your target audience/ demographic?
"Currently its girls of any age, eight to eighty… You can be a complete beginner or a seasoned pro, there is always something new to learn".
Once you had the idea, how did you go about implementing it?
"I had a few meetings over the winter (*cough* pub lunches) with CWP to get the dates sorted and how the day would run and fit in with their set up. But once I had decided to call it Wake Daze, that was it, the social media accounts went live, I built a website and blog for it and just started advertising from there."
Tell us about setting up a business, what challenges you have faced and what keeps you going?
"Omg, so much stress! As I’m sure you know IF ☺ The anxiety that comes with planning events, worrying that no one will come, and if they do that they won’t enjoy themselves. It might seem that this has happened extremely quickly, but this has really been years in the making. Even back at secondary school I used to help out with the junior gymnastic sessions, and then I worked as a watersports instructor at my local lake for six summers, then the ladies mornings and the coaching qualification, the BWSW development squad, its all been building up over the years. So no matter how scary it feels, I know that I can do it; I’ve been training to do this for a long time."
What advice would you give to anyone planning to set up their own business?
"Find something that you love and roll with it. People will be extremely negative towards you when you start doing well and you need to have a thick skin towards that. Surround yourself with people who will keep you grounded but also support you. Be prepared to work hard. No one else is going to do it for you."
What is next for Wake Daze and how can we get involved?
"So we’re just simmering down following the 2017 events and getting our thoughts together ready to go into 2018. We’ll have more events, and possibly a few other locations and different activities on the days. We also have some merchandise coming through.. lots going on! And to all the wake babes out there, you can get involved! Keep an eye out for the 2018 dates which will start being released over the winter. You can check us out on www.wakedaze.co.uk, or follow us on insta: @_wakedaze_ and also on FB: Wake Daze!"
At Island Feather our mission is to support others to “find their Freedom” - a term we use to describe living in pursuit of your happiness. What does life mean to you and what is your freedom?
"The most honest answer I can give is to not give a **** what anyone else thinks. If you love it then go for it and be confident in yourself. I used to be so worried about things like acne or what to wear, or what career choices I’d made, or the way I look on a wakeboard; but whether its since having kids or turning 30, its just like, as long as I like it, that’s cool, if no one else does, that’s cool too. Everyone should be a little bit weird in their own right. Life is epic, each and every one of us are lucky to be here and we should bloody love it."
Can you tell us who inspired your journey?
"No one person in particular, I guess. I was always looking up to older girls. There were two girls, both about five years older than me, who did gymnastics at school and they were really good and just seemed to have this amazing confidence about them that I didn’t have. They didn’t compete with it, but did it for fun. They were just cool and always stoked. And then one of my instructors when I was about 11 on a watersports week, she had yellow nail polish on which was pretty ballsey back then, but the happy confidence she had was awesome. Just people like that, who were doing what they wanted and loving it. And now everyone is getting a little bit older, school and uni mates are doing so well in their careers and that’s super inspiring as well. Like were all becoming adults finally haha!"
And finally, what piece of advice would you give anyone to wishing to achieve their dreams?
"Don’t try to fit in. Be weird. Work your ass off. Be ready to take harsh criticism. Be ready to keep going when people say you’ll never achieve it. Be ready to invest money in your passion, be ready to lose money. Be ready to fail. Be ready to succeed."
We hope through Lex's story you are empowered to continue to follow what your heart tells you, do what warms your soul, do things differently and live a life finding your freedom.