For 15 years Rayna Gillott-Mulcahy gave her heart and soul to the skies, employed as a friendly face to greet you when flying Virgin.
It was there she'd met her pilot husband and made many life-long friends. But like thousands of other airline employees, 2020 was a tough year and subsequently pushed her to taking a redundancy.
The silver-lining was the opportunity to finally pursue a long-held dream of opening her own reformer pilates studio in Fairy Meadow, after teaching pilates and yoga for the last decade.
Two of her old Virgin colleagues have also joined in, ready for the opening of Pilates Haus this week.
She said like many people during this the last year she "reassessed her life" and didn't want to move forward with any regrets.
"I initially went looking for spaces six years ago and then we were trying for a baby and started doing IVF so it was put on the back-burner," Mrs Gillott-Mulcahy said.
"It's such a big financial commitment and time commitment, I've always been wanting to do it but I've been a little bit too scared."
It wasn't easy and quite an expensive venture with each machine costing thousands of dollars, while her bank turned down a loan application.
Money stress is now starting to die down with her husband finally back flying, leaving his delivery-driver side-job by the wayside, and people have already taking a chance on the new studio buying memberships prior to opening.
"The good thing with a pilates studio there's only eight [reformer machines and members] in the studio ... and it's not like that sweaty gym atmosphere," the entrepreneur said.
"It will definitely enhance peoples lives - not only their physical wellbeing but their mental wellbeing as well."
One service she feels fills a void in the northern Illawarra is having dedicated "mums-and-bubs" classes, especially as in-person mothers' groups have become scarce since the pandemic hit.
"It's definitely needed because mums need to connect with other mums, and they're like-minded mums - generally the kids are the same age so they can talk about their problems and what's going on," she said.
"Also it gives them time to exercise and stretch and feel like a normal person, and start to feel like they used to before having a baby.
"It's really important to me that the studio is welcoming and inclusive for everybody."
The next dream to fulfill for Mrs Gillott-Mulcahy is to turn her business into a "wellness studio" and bring other health-minded professionals under one roof, including massage and organic coffee.
The next mums and Bubs course starts on 1 February, it's a six-week course on Mondays at 11:15am (suited to babies aged six-weeks to crawling).
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