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The Resident, Jen Benfield

By Clare Barker Wells

This month, our Resident Jen Benfield lives in Mosman and is the founder and owner of Wiser & Well, a company she set up to help support women, 40+, with their changing health needs. Jen is a health coach and wellness consultant and offers coaching that restores her clients vitality and health. Her clients have a broad range of health issues, such as weight control, perimenopause/menopause, chronic health conditions like ulcerative colitis, digestive disorders, improving diet and exercise and supporting those on a cancer journey.

She’s also a key supporter of the Melanoma Institute and has raised over $50,000 for research, features in their national campaigns and speaks on television and radio about melanoma awareness. The ‘Melanoma March’, carried out annually across Australia in the month of March, has seen Jen and her family and friends marching for a cure and raising much needed funds for clinical trials. Having battled stage IV melanoma cancer herself, she knows how to look after her health and has come through thriving.

Jen has two children who went to Mosman Public, is married to Mark, and has a very loved cavoodle dog named Sophie (the Mosman Mascot as Jen calls her!). Jen shares her local favourites with us, everything she loves about living in Mosman, and shares with us why being involved with Melanoma fundraising is so important to her .

You currently reside in Mosman, how long have you lived here and what do you love about the area?

We relocated to Mosman around 12 years ago from Paddington, and whilst we lived offshore in New York for a few years, which was an incredible experience for our family, we were lucky enough to be able to come back to our home and absolutely love living in Mosman. I never thought I’d love it as much as I do coming from Paddington with all the great things that area offers. But I found that Mosman suits us better as a family with its generous natural surroundings, magnificent waterways, leafy streets and a lovely, supportive community.  Balmoral Beach, Clifton Gardens and Sirius Cove are just magical spots to visit and can be enjoyed throughout the whole year. And if you have a dog, there are some excellent dog park options for them to roam and play whilst you either exercise or take in Sydney harbour. We are truly lucky to live in such a beautiful, safe place.

Anything you don’t love?

We found during lockdown that we were bike riding regularly and thoroughly enjoyed it. However, not all the people of Mosman enjoyed us riding! Perhaps Mosman needs to consider some safe bike tracks where people can enjoy riding safely.

Can you share with us your favourite spot for a coffee in the area?

My all time favourite coffee spot is Heirloom and they offer delicious and healthy food too. (Although I have been spotted eating one of their scones with jam and cream every once in a while!) The other place I love is Berkelo. I order my unique Macchiato with coconut milk and they don’t laugh at me! They have the best artisan bread too. Our favourite is the Spelt Sourdough. And all their food is hard to choose from as everything looks so good!! My favourite is their Avocado Jar. It has mashed avocado, leafy greens, fermented vegetables and a boiled egg. A healthy eat on the run meal!

And for a meal?

I have a few that stand out. You can’t go past ‘Kazzi, Beach Greek’. It is seriously delicious and has something for all age ranges and happens to be located right on Balmoral Beach. I’m a big fan of ‘Bistro Mosman’ too. Excellent service, beautiful food and stunning decor. For breakfast, ‘Cafe Mosman’ has great food and lovely owners along with ‘August The Old Place’ and the newest restaurant to the Mosman area, ‘Niche’ with their XO Chilli Prawn Omelette – so good!! For a special occasion, we love the Public Dining Room. The view, the service, the food – all outstanding. And lastly, you will often find us walking with Sophie up to Frenchy’s Cafe. The food is exceptional and so is the coffee! The kids can have a run around and everyone is happy! We are spoiled for choice in Mosman. 

Any local hidden gems you’d be kind enough to share with us?

Ooo, yes, I do! One of the things I’m loving in Mosman right now are all the wellness businesses opening up! We have ‘City Cave’ where you can go and have an infrared sauna, float and massage. We have ‘Tsavo Wellness’ that’s also just opened with all sorts of lovely therapies like Cryotherapy, red light therapy and more! Mosman has become the wellness hub! But the best thing I love to do is walk around the Georges Heights headland where it feels like you’ve left the city completely and can really take in nature.

What’s your favourite room in your home?

The kitchen as I love to cook (mostly!). It’s also where everyone congregates to chat and share their day and plans. It’s where I spend most of the time apart from my desk! 

Describe your ideal weekend… 

We all look forward to Friday nights when it’s take away night in our house. That means no one in the kitchen cooking and enjoying family movie night together. Then, an ideal Saturday and Sunday would look like being up and exercising early at Fitness First, then having a quick macchiato from Berkelo. Picking up any food bits and pieces at the Fourth Village while I’m up that way. Taking Sophie (the dog!) out walking up to Rawson with the kids and having lunch at Frenchy’s in the sunshine. Throwing the ball around or playing handball together with friends. Going to City Cave for a sauna and float! Sunday is a organisation day where we get everything ready for the week ahead, food, diaries, logistics and workflow.  Each day would start with some exercise and a walk with Sophie and then it’s family night always on Sunday night when my Mum comes over for dinner. Early to bed to face the new week!

Finally, we know you are a key supporter of Melanoma March, can you tell us more about why it’s important to you and how we can get involved?

It’s everything to me. The only way melanoma patients like me can get ahead of this disease is through the ground breaking research and development work they are doing at  the Melanoma Institute of Australia (MIA). Trials alone cost a lot of money. Just one trial could cost more than $1million. Globally, MIA are at the forefront of melanoma research and they are right here on the north shore. Sadly, my mother in law passed away from Melanoma so it sits on both sides of our family. My greatest concern is for my children as their risk factor doubles. However, my hope is that the education work that my family is helping with, along with the fundraising, that it results in far fewer people being diagnosed and of course, that an all important cure is found. 

To get involved with helping people with melanoma, you can do a few things:

Register to be involved in the ‘Melanoma March’ in your local area in the month of March.  The march itself is all outside. I can honestly say from experience that everyone walks away feeling good after being involved in Melanoma March. You are doing good and helping others. What better way to spend the morning? It’s a great time together to walk and be outside and is very family friendly. You can either create a team or just get involved on the day.  Come join us for the Manly one in 2023! 

melanomamarch.org.au

Donate to Melanoma Institute of Australia. You can give monthly, support a fundraiser, create your own fundraiser, set up a tribute page or even gift in a will. Anything you can give is so appreciated. 

melanoma.org.au/donate/

Find out more about Jen here, wiserandwell.com

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