Gal about town…my April highlights

Morning Glory

I think I’m a tad late to the party with this restaurant find, but perhaps you’ve not heard of it either, it is pretty hidden behind the hustle and bustle of Marble Arch after all. The little gem that is Daisy Green is located on Seymour Street, and gets a thumbs up for a number of reasons. Firstly, anywhere with Matcha on the menu is my kind of eatery, secondly the breakfast menu is packed full of delicious dishes from super healthy varieties like Summer Porridge (coconut, quinoa, chia & flaxseed porridge with fresh berries, activated almonds, candied seeds, freeze dried berries, flowers & bee pollen) to more indulgent options like the Famous Banana Bread Sandwich, (two slices of their award winning banana bread loaded with mascarpone, fresh berries, flaked almonds & honey). Oh and I can’t not mention their charcoal bread. Yes, it looks like the toast has been chargrilled and is totally inedible, but the sourdough doesn’t taste ‘burnt’ and the black stuff which is actually cold fermented activated charcoal, absorbs toxins and impurities in the body, and alleviates gas and bloating. I went for the Shakshouka (baked free range eggs with spiced tomatoes & labne served with charcoal bread) on my first visit, as I needed a pre-workout protein fix and although it wasn’t the best one I’ve ever had (that accolade is reserved for Roni’s, Belsize village), it definitely ranked in my top 5.

 

Curvy Girls

I love Lomax Bespoke Fitness. The founder Jonathan Lomax, reignited my passion for fitness (when we worked together on my year long fitness column that featured in Psychologies Magazine), introduced me to weight training, and I honestly would be lost without this world class gym in my life. The first of it’s kind, Lomax is a pod based gym, where all you need for a full body workout can be found within your private pod (train alone or with one of their incredible PT’s). They do group workouts too, and their latest ‘Booty’ Workout class designed by Maria Samoshenkova focuses on the glutes, hamstrings and core to help you develop lean muscle, reduce fat and sculpt the hourglass figure you’ve always wanted. I was lucky enough to get a preview of the class before it launched and it was not easy! During the session Maria got a lot of eye rolling thrown her way (I am literally incapable of hiding how I feel – my face says it all), and post workout I actively avoided stairs for a full 24hrs. Now, for someone who trains regularly, I was actually really impressed and pleased that I felt the burn, because I knew that the mix of banded, kettle bell and barbell moves were activating muscles I clearly hadn’t been engaging. I’m excited to see how these new exercises will help shape my body. I may not get my teenage derrière back, but by shredding around my shoulders, stomach and waist, and activating all the muscles in and around my glutes as well as the glutes themselves I’m definitely on the road to a more sculpted, rounder, firmer bottom and an accentuated hourglass physic – hooray!

Hope to see you at a class soon.

 

Facial Aerobics

When I book in for a facial, I either want something that’s more ‘medical’ (extractions, peels, microdermabrasion etc), or I want my face massaged for as long as possible (I can put a face mask on at home, so unless it’s more potent than ones I can purchase I’d rather pay for services and products that I can’t do/use myself). So, to be able to have my face massaged for around 30 minutes during my Signature Electrical Treatment at Facegym’s flagship studio on the King’s Road, was the dream. It stands to reason that if working out at the gym helps strengthen and tone the muscles in the body and in turn improve our appearance, then ‘exercising’ the 40+ muscles in your face will have a positive effect on the way we look too.

Touted as the ‘ultimate natural face lift’, their ‘facial workout’ starts with a warm-up, followed by a cardio and sculpting session, and ends with a cool down, all performed by your personal ‘face trainer’ who uses a mixture of strokes to detoxify the skin, boost blood circulation and collagen production, as well as sculpt, lift, tighten and tone the face. Plus, there’s electrical muscle stimulation by way of their own EMS device that emits mild, yet forceful electrical waves to stimulate muscles, contour cheekbones and restore skin’s elasticity.

It all started gently enough, the warm-up comprised of cleansing, stretching, exfoliating and gentle massage. The cardio and strength segments were by no means relaxing (not that I minded), at times I felt like I was being slapped in the face (albeit not painfully) thanks to the fast whipping strokes, while the vigorous deep knuckle movements felt a tad intrusive. However, they managed to kneed out the tension in my jaw and the results speak for themselves. Halfway through after working on just one side of my face I was handed a mirror to examine my reflection, the right hand side was visibly more toned (around the jaw line, and cheekbones) and de-puffed (especially around the eye area) and when I was handed the mirror again at the end of the treatment, my skin glowed, my eyes looked wide awake, everything seemed to have moved an inch higher and my skin even felt firmer. For lasting results it’s best to go regularly and include facial massage into your everyday skincare routine. P.s you can buy the FaceGym Pro (the EMS device used in the treatment) so there’s no need to fret re your facial massage skills or lack thereof.

 

Drink-up

I’ve spent many an evening out in West Hampstead, with so many restaurants and bars there’s no need to venture into central London for a decent cocktail and a fun night out. Bobby Fitzpatrick is the new kid on the block. It’s a 70’s themed tongue-in-cheek, pizza, rum and cocktail eatery, bar and lounge that feels like you’ve stepped back in time and walked into someone house – think shag carpet, patterned wallpaper and an at-home bar. I’d personally eat elsewhere, but the drinks are top notch. There’s an extensive rum selection inspired by Fitzpatrick’s travels to the Caribbean, try the Alison Mahoney a spiced rum cocktail named after his senior prom date. The Sandford University, a mix of vodka and cherry cola reduction that is surprisingly not sweet at all, or my favourite the Tequila Sunrise (who doesn’t love an alcoholic slushie).

 

Deep Freeze

There is nothing that appeals to me about launching myself into an ice bath post working-out, but if most top athletes do it there must be something to it, right? Well there is, but thanks to 111CRYO you can get all the benefits of cryotherapy in less than 5 minutes. Exposure to extreme cold induces our primal ‘fight or flight’ response, that kick starts a hormonal cocktail of feel good endorphins and energising adrenaline to flood the body. The heart begins to pump harder too, increasing blood circulation and pushing oxygen more productively around the body. Post workout muscle recovery is sped up and the colds anti-inflammatory effect helps reduce swelling and alleviated pain. Not to mention in one session you can burn up to 800 calories, as the body uses more energy to keep itself warm. It’s also great at shrinking pores, reducing cellulite, boosting the immune system and helps kick jet-lags arse.

Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge, is the home of 111CRYO, where you’ll find chambers set to -111F/-85C. These chambers are designed to be stood in for 3-5 minutes max while you don as little clothing a possible; gloves, ear muffs, slippers and a surgical mask (sexy it is not). As you can imagine it was freezing, three minutes felt far longer than normal, and by the final minute my legs felt like blocks of ice and a tad painful if I’m honest. This is where I began to dance around like a crazy person and ask myself why I insist on testing weird and wacky treatments on a regular basis. But before I could answer, the latch was released and I was let out of the chamber. I didn’t notice much of a difference at first, but when I jumped out of bed the next day (this is very unlike me – if I could avoid ‘doing’ mornings I would), felt no twinges in my back (common for me post workout), and my arthritic left foot felt the same as my right (OK I sound like an OAP right now), I began to realise there is definitely something to this cryo malarkey.

 

Two become One

I was lucky enough to be invited to the exclusive press launch of the new Barrecore and Digme studios, housed under one gorgeously designed roof in Moorgate, London. The 800 square foot space contains two barrecore studios, a retail area, juice bar and Digme spin studio. I love a good spin session and having never tried a Digme spin class before, I was pleasantly surprised. Each to their own, but I personally hate overly choreographed classes, or ones that make you ride ridiculously fast at all times. I much prefer a realistic ride, with hill climbs, and standing and seated sprints that majorly engage your glutes (I am dedicated to achieving the bum of my dreams!) and perhaps a few press-ups at a push – so this suited me down to the ground. Music is also another important factor, so I’m happy to report that Digme past the test. I loved the high-tech nature of the class too. All bikes are synched into a computer system so riders can see on the screens (at the front of the room) where they rank throughout the class. I came third (number one was a male PT) – yay. I’ve previously shied away from these type of classes as who wants to be last on the board and have everyone know it! But I realised that it actually brought out my competitive nature, not with others, but with myself. It really pushed me to work harder during the class, even though it was my 4th workout of the day!

I went from being top three to bottom three (I imagine), when it came to the Signature Express Barrecore class. A ballet, pilates and yoga inspired workout set to music, Barrecore uses your body weight as resistance to work the entire body. The mix of high-intensity, and low-impact fat burning exercises, that focus on tiny isometric movements with static stretches, ensure every muscle group is given an effective workout to increase strength and flexibility whilst also burning body fat. Whenever I do a class I get frustrated (in a motivational, must get better kind of way). How can I deadlift 50 kilos yet find it so difficult to pulsate one leg in the air!? I soon realised that I have a ways to go on my fitness journey, and that I need to mix it up more and refrain from just sticking to the forms of exercise that I’m good at. I’m determined to get better at Barrecore, so watch this space!

 

Ax

pic credits: holding shot @lorrainesorlet - Barrecore/Digme Luke Ayling

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