From Adelaide to Barcelona

Natalia Laing and Mandy Kellor. Friday afternoons on El Punt Avui TV, Nicole chats with an English-speaking expat. Here she interviews two Australians, Mandy and Natalia.
You're my first Australian guests, though Barcelona is now your home. How did you arrive here?
Mandy: Well, I came here first when I was 27, and I just had this incredible desire that I needed to come to Barcelona. I got on a tour from Australia and then took a bus in Venice and decided to make my way here and met this lady in Milan who got on the bus. And after about half an hour she came up to me and said “where are you going?” in Spanish and I said “I don't speak Spanish” and she said in English “where are you going?” and I said “to Barcelona”. So we became sort of sisters on the trip here and arrived here. She was studying to be a concert pianist and she took me back to her flat and I slept under her grand piano for three weeks while I was here and we're still very good friends. Then I had to go back to Australia and I promised myself that I'd come back here when I was forty, and that's what I did. I knew inside of me that I had to live here; my soul lives here. For me, this is home. I love Australia and I have two children there, and I was studying my career as a builder, but my heart lived here.
Natalia: I fell madly in love with Mandy and followed her here, basically.
Had you been to Barcelona before?
N: No. But Mandy said “I'm going to Barcelona, do you want to come?” and I said yes. And that was it. I absolutely love it; this is my home now. It was a massive jump, but incredibly exciting, and we came here with eight suitcases and from the moment we arrived doors just started opening up for us. It just fit.
How long have both of you been here in Barcelona?
M.: Ten years in October. And I came here thinking I was going to build. Actually, I came here six months before we moved and set up my building company. Two weeks after we got here we had a meeting but we walked out of it and I said to Natalia “we are going to start a pilates studio”.
N: The original plan was that I was going to come over and dance, because I was a professional dancer, and Mandy would open the building company. About three months into the plan I said to Mandy “I can't give up pilates, I don't think I can live without pilates, maybe we should have a pilates studio”. I knew we were going to do that.
M: So four months after we got here that's what we did.
N: Our first studio was in Enric Granados. Now we've been living there for over 10 years and I don't really want to live anywhere else.
You (Mandy) said that something was missing when you came here.
M: Australia is quite advanced in holistic and complementary health, and the UK is very similar as well. But we realised that we couldn't find it here.
How did you know it was going to work?
M: We knew that we had a good studio to start with, we had enough clients coming who use the services, and I completely changed career so I had to do my apprenticeship in the industry. It didn't just happen overnight; it's been nine years now.
Your Studio is called Studio Australia Barcelona. Is pilates still the main focus?
N: Pilates is definitely the core of the centre. We have 12 practices; we're multi-skilled.
What are the 12 practices that you have?
M: We do physical therapy, osteopathy, and so on. Natalia specialises in disconiation.
N: My sister is a pilates instructor, too. She created the first pilates studio in Adelaide and I started teaching under her as an apprentice. We came up with a particular technique that I can pretty much guarantee would make you pain free within one or two sessions. And this wasn't something that I learnt from the pilates school, this is something that my sister and I designed together. I just love that feeling that I can help someone quickly, especially when you get people coming to you saying “I've been in pain for two years; nothing helps”, and I love that feeling when at the end of the class they feel better and they go “wow, that was magic”. It's pilates, but it's my pilates method.
That's amazing.
M: We also have the rehabilitation side of the centre. We have an amazing massage therapist , also raike, acupuncture, wellness massage, inner health, colon hydrotherapy, diet & nutrition, detox programmes, and the pilates side.
You mentioned detox. Let's move to your latest project.
M & N: We found people here didn't understand what detox was. It's a foundation about how you eat. For us it's was all just about food. So I've rewritten a book called The Detox Journey, and the idea is to help people who've never detoxed before, who want to change their lifestyle and their habits. We've created a really beautiful menu, so it's learning all about your body and its balance.
Sign in. Sign in if you are already a verified reader. I want to become verified reader. To leave comments on the website you must be a verified reader.
Note: To leave comments on the website you must be a verified reader and accept the conditions of use.