Saturday, 24 September 2016

My favourite healthy food places in Kensington and Chelsea

There seem to be quite a few clean eating places popping up around London. I am not gluten or lactose intolerant and I'm not vegan, but sometimes it is nice to be able to go to a restaurant that has lots of healthy options and uses high quality ingredients.

1. Jusu Brothers. JB have a really interesting menu, most of which I have no idea what it is. I had something called a "red smoothie oryoki" made from Acaï/guarana, banana berries, almond milk, topped with home-made granola, Dragon fruit, coconut, chia seeds, sesame seeds and agave. Even after eating it, I'm still pretty confused about what this actually is, but I guess it can best be described as a sort of breakfast bowl, and it's absolutely delicious! I also love the juices, which are freshly prepared.

Location: 147-149 Westbourne Grove, W11 2RS

2. Redemption. Although open all day, this place has a great evening vibe and is one of the few healthy food places to stay open in the evening. It's the perfect place to go for a drink when you don't want to have alcohol. I realise that may be a niche interest, but I love it! They have a really great menu of non-alcoholic drinks that makes me really happy! They also host some interesting events, such as "Soul food: meditation + lunch" or the "Sugar free jam". Check the website or the Facebook page for updates.

Location: 6 Chepstow Road, W2 5BH
Note on opening times: Redemption is closed on Sundays.

3. Farm Girl. This is a really cute café tucked away off Portobello Road. They do delicious food with lots of "free from" options and have a really interesting selection of teas and other hot drinks.

Location: 59a Portobello Rd, W11 3DB

4. Nama. Nama is a little raw food restaurant in Notting Hill. The food is vegan, organic and unprocessed. I had toast and smashed avocado, which was absolutely delicious.

Location: 110 Talbot Road, W11 1JR

5. Tanya's. Another little raw food restaurant, this one is in Chelsea. The venue is really beautiful with high ceilings and potted plants all around. All the food is raw living, plant-based, hand-picked, organically grown, ethically sources and free from refined sugar, dairy or gluten. And in spite of this, it's delicious! My favourite is
 the cheezecakes, which is vegan cheesecake!

Location: 35 Ixworth Place, SW3 3QX

Friday, 16 September 2016

Fitness classes in New York

I was recently in New York for a holiday and decided to try a few exercise classes while I was there. I love learning about new fitness trends, and I feel like New York is always a little ahead of London. I did some research in advance and ended up going to five different classes. 

1. Power Journey Beats at Lyons Den. This class came up repeatedly when I googled "best fitness classes in NYC", so I figured I had to give it a try. Power Journey Beats is a 1 hour, fast-paced, Vinyasa style yoga class in a slightly heated room with music. I thought it was meh. If you want hot yoga do Bikram. If you want Vinyasa yoga, do a proper class at centre for yoga. This class was ok, but it felt like a fad, and for $29.25 for an introductory drop-in class I wouldn't necessarily recommend it. 

2. Sculpt at modelFIT. This is another class that came up repeatedly during my research. Apparently it's where all the models go. I can confirm that this is true, but it is definitely NOT one of the best fitness classes in NYC. In fact, it is one of the worst. It literally did nothing for me. I didn't break a sweat, my muscles barely twitched. And yet, I was by far the fattest person in the room (I'm a size 10 btw). Normally I would interpret that as a sign that the class is effective, but in this case I think it's just a class where already skinny people come to hang out and stretch a bit. A single class costs a crazy $40, and I can only say, please save your money! 
3. Barre at Pure Barre. This studio was actually recommended to me by someone I fell into conversation with at the airport. I love barre (and will do a blog specifically about this soon), so I figured I would give it a try. As a bonus, this class was on Class Pass, so I didn't have to pay extra for it. I went to the Thursday 10.30 am class with Taylor at the Park Slope Brooklyn location. This class was great. The people at the studio, and particularly Taylor, were very friendly, and the studio was lovely. The only negative is that they didn't have showers. You don't sweat much in this class (though unlike modelFIT you work your muscles until they are literally shaking), so it's not the worst thing, but you know I have a thing for fancy facilities...

4. Barre at Exhale. I had already been to barre classes at Exhale on previous trips to NY and liked them so much that I decided to go again. Exhale have several studios around Manhattan, and one observation I have is that they vary quite widely when it comes to facilities. The Soho studio has no showers, whereas the Gramercy studio has two bathrooms with showers, but no separate changing rooms, which stressed me out a bit because I was worried about keeping other people waiting. The Upper East Side location, on the other hand, is absolutely amazing, with big, beautiful changing rooms where everything is provided, from shower gel to fluffy bath robes. So if you want a great barre class plus the fancy facilities experience, this is the place! 

5. Spinning at Soul Cycle - I'm not really into spinning, but I had heard so much about Soul Cycle, I was really curious to find out what the hype was about... and I totally get it now. This class was EPIC! I went to the Friday 10.30 am class with Isabel (who is the coolest girl I've ever met). If you've never heard of Soul Cycle before, it's basically spinning turned into a religion. The class takes place in the dark to flashing lights and really loud music - it's like being at a rave. The goal is to cycle to the beat, and when everyone is cycling in unison, and the lights are flashing, and the music is filling up your ears, and you're dying a little bit but you keep going because you feel so pumped, it feels almost transcendent. There were actually people in the class spontaneously woohooing! I would definitely recommend this class!

Let me know if you have other classes in NY you would recommend for my next trip!