Monday, 29 June 2015

Working It - Lomax, Chelsea

If you watch Made In Chelsea (I don't) then you might have seen the characters (/cast?) training at Lomax Chelsea. I actually first heard of it reading Steph's blog and got myself signed up for a free trial of their Cycle Blast class. I love how much the fitness industry in London has changed recently - a standard gym membership seems a bit dull when you can class hop around different studios and do a spin class here, a hot yoga class there. It definitely allows for a bit more flexibility, especially if, like me, you'd rather spend the warmer months exercising outdoors than in a sweaty gym.

Lomax is on the Fulham Road and is a small but bright studio packing a lot in. Lomax offers group classes (from intense Blast classes to Pilates), personal training, nutrition advice and has a small but perfectly formed cafe and chill out space. The changing rooms are awesome with private shower rooms laden with Ren toiletries and complimentary towels. I did a Cycle Blast class which was an intense 45 minutes in the underground cycle studio. The class was fast paced but the soundtrack and instructor were awesome so the time flew by  - unlike my usual spin class a few tracks incorporated arm weights which added a new element of challenge (the weights were only 2.5kg but for someone who never uses free weights this felt quite heavy!). Be warned - it does get very sweaty but thank goodness for the complimentary water, it was needed!

The Grill Market cafe provided the perfect post-class (and post-shower!) refuel. I opted for a green protein smoothie but was very tempted by the protein pancakes. The lunch options looked great too and it makes a nice change from my old gym which had a vending machine containing crisps and fizzy drinks in the entrance. The range of juices, nut butters and healthy baked goods means that if I lived more locally I'd definitely be popping in often.

Lomax Chelsea Review
Gym #OOTD - New Balance leggings, Forever 21 top. I bought so much gym kit in the US where it was all super cheap!
Lomax Chelsea Review
The upstairs space features gym equipment and a small studio for classes.
Lomax Chelsea Review
Imbibery cold pressed juices and a paleo Scotch eggs. 
Lomax Chelsea Review
The underground spin studio.
Lomax Chelsea Review
Great post-class food options in the Grill Market cafe.
Lomax Chelsea Review
My ombre green protein shake.

What's your favourite workout?

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Wednesday, 24 June 2015

#SaladSecrets with Florette

Those of you who follow me on Instagram will have seen the delightfully instagrammable venue in which Florette held their #SaladSecrets event. After being greeted with a kale-tail (a cocktail containing kale, duh) we were treated to a salad making demo by the girls from Lunch Bxd and a talk on the health benefits of salad by The Lean Machines (while trying not to be distracted by taking a sneaky peak at their Instagram account...).

Then it was on to the food. Salad definitely isn't a bland diet food -we sampled a quinoa veggie tagine, a ceasar salad and a  peppercress and lime cheesecake. With summer and lighter evenings here, salads are a perfect quick and easy lunch or dinner. The key is to make them colourful and varied and the Florette leaves are a great base to get creative with (and a huge time saver).

Florette Salad Recipe
The healthiest cocktail I've ever had.
Florette Salad Recipe
The conservatory at Bourne and Hollingsworth buildings was the perfect setting for a salad event - look at all that greenery!
Florette Salad Recipe
Super yummy quinoa tagine.
Florette Salad Recipe
A classic caesar salad.
Florette Salad Recipe
Peppercress and lime cheesecake - a very decadent way to eat salad ingredients!
With Wimbledon coming up this month, I've created a tennis-inspired salad for some mid-match munching. We all know that Wimbledon means Pimms but while it's fruit-packed its not exactly healthy... Here is my Pimms-inspired salad for a healthy, tasty tennis treat- glass of Pimms on the side optional!

Florette Salad Recipe


Florette Salad Recipe

So easy to make and it tastes so summery:

1. Arrange Florette Peppery Crispy leaves on a plate. The peppery leaves tone down the sweet strawberries and are the perfect texture and flavour contrast (the key to an interesting and satisfying salad).

2. Halve and de-seed half a cucumber, halve or quarter your strawberries and tear up some mint leaves - scatter on top of the salad leaves.

3. Dress with balsamic vinegar to off-set the sweet strawberries and you're ready to get back to the tennis watching!

What's your favourite salad?

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Saturday, 20 June 2015

A Weekend In Lisbon

Two weekends ago, I was playing in a football tournament in Lisbon. Reading that back, I still can't quite believe it either. Having not played team sports for at least ten years (and by "played" I mean doing everything I could possibly do to actively participate as little as possible) I never thought I'd find myself on a football pitch in Portugal in 33 degree heat actually, kind of, playing football. I still need a lot of practice when it comes to my ball skills but in terms of an awesome weekend and stepping way out of my comfort zone this certainly did the trick! Even while packing my bags to go I was terrified - despite running a marathon I still feel totally un-sporty and I hardly knew anyone else going - but all my fears were totally unfounded, I had so much fun despite being a terrible footballer and speaking to new people isn't as terrifying as I'd built it up to be.

Lisbon is quite a small city and while I didn't get a chance to see everything it was a great place to spend a weekend. I'm  actually back in a few weeks for my friend's wedding so can't wait to do some more exploring!

Weekend in Lisbon
The I'd-usually-be-in-the-office-rn holiday smug shot
Weekend in Lisbon
Old fortress on the sea front
After getting an 8.30am flight out of London, by 2pm we were on the beach! So awesome - there's nothing like the sound of the waves and the sun to give your mood a total 180 flip. After only a few hours of beach time I felt like I'd been on holiday for a week. We went to Carcavelos beach which was lovely, not busy and with a few cute beach bars.

Weekend in Lisbon
The view from our dinner spot 
Weekend in Lisbon
Eggs and avocado - football fuel!
Weekend in Lisbon
The Bica Elevator tram - so cute!
On Friday night my teammates and I went for dinner at Santa Bica - we ate outside as the sun went down and feasted on tapas and the most amazing chocolate mousse. Be warned - the streets around here are super steep so maybe leave the heels at home! Like true sportswomen, we popped into a couple of bars to sample the local cocktails although the locals seemed to be outnumbered by British stag-do groups!

Weekend in Lisbon
On the football pitch!

Weekend in Lisbon
The view from our hotel room
Weekend in Lisbon
Sadly no pictures of me in football kit (!) but here's me looking like a non-sweaty girl again!

Weekend in Lisbon
Well deserved post-football treat! I'd never actually tried one of these before but it was good!
Saturday was a packed day of football - it was so hot that even the air was shimmering. After a much-needed shower it was party time at Ministerium in Lisbon's main square where G&Ts and pastel-de-natas were well-earned! The heat was crazy - even at 9pm it was probably hotter than its been in London all summer!

Weekend in Lisbon

Weekend in Lisbon

Sunday and the Mercado Da Ribeira was our first stop for a relaxed day of sightseeing - so many delicious foods under one roof! I picked up a super refreshing green smoothie and am definitely book-marking this spot for my return to the city. After the market we wandered around Bairro Alto and spotted another yellow tram before taking in the amazing views of the sea and the city and then catching the last plane back to London.

Have you visited Lisbon?

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Thursday, 18 June 2015

Insta Outfits - Is it Summer Yet?

I'm a terrible outfit blogger but when the sun shone for a week back in April I thought I'd start trying to document more of my outfits. Sadly its currently a dull shade of grey this morning (although I'm typing this as I'm stuck indoors after saying goodbye wisdom so who knows what it's like now) and my wardrobe feels just as confused as the seasons but here is what I've been wearing:

summer 2015 outfit post
Vintage top, ASOS Skirt (similar)
For: a sunny day in the office
summer 2015 outfit post
Topshop dress
For: The London Marathon expo (wow, this was a long time ago!)
summer 2015 outfit post
Oasis dress
For: the office and drive-in cinema
summer 2015 outfit post
Asos dress
For: the office (again)
summer 2015 outfit post
Yumi dress
For: can you guess?
summer 2015 outfit post
Banana Republic dress
For: a day exploring Vegas 
summer 2015 outfit post
H&M dress
For: Exploring Vegas 
summer 2015 outfit post
Mummy Lipstick - Somerset by Alice Temperley dress
Me - Zara dress, Marc by Marc Jacobs bag
For: our last night in Vegas
How are you dressing for this British summer?

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Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Exhibition: Lights of Soho - City Lights

I'm a huge fan of neon signs and neon art. Back in January I visited Gods Own Junkyard at Lights of Soho and bought my first art print (like, really, am I a proper grown up now?) and in Vegas the neon signs and Neon Museum were awesome. Lights of Soho currently have a new neon exhibition - whereas with Gods Own Junkyard the neon art took a backseat to the vintage signs, with "City Lights" the focus is much more on neon art and with pieces by established artists like Tracey Emin and new talent like Rebecca Mason - I bought her "Error" print after seeing the original at the first exhibition (although less proper grown up that I still haven't framed it!).

The exhibition is free to enter and there's a lovely bar inside for grabbing a coffee or a cocktail and free wifi too for catching up with the world. City Lights runs until 5th July so there's still plenty of time to visit!

lights of soho city lights exhibition

lights of soho city lights exhibition

lights of soho city lights exhibition

lights of soho city lights exhibition

lights of soho city lights exhibition

What other exhibitions do I need to visit this summer?

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Saturday, 13 June 2015

Las Vegas - Pinball Hall of Fame

I'm always looking for slightly different things to do in new cities. The sort of 'off-the-beaten-track-but-still-in-the-guide-book' places are always my favourites. Feeling slightly disappointed by the modern-day computerised slot machines (actually saw a woman on a drip playing a slot machine - yeah, Vegas sure is crazy!), we went in search of some old-skool gaming at the Pinball Hall of Fame.

The Pinball Hall of Fame is just off of the strip (if you are in a car) or an hour-ish walk from the middle of the Strip if not. Heading away from the strip on foot the hotels get less grand, no dancing fountains or erupting volcanos here. After passing the university, several fast food outlets, some rather run down looking motels and starting to get a little worried that we were in the wrong place and had no chance of getting back to civilisation (and lunch) the Pinball Hall of Fame materialised.

Entry is free and all of the quarters you spend go to charity. We had so much fun playing the retro games - each one has a little story about where it was from and when it was made - and its nice to know that your quarters are doing some good rather than being frittered away. The machines have all been restored by the museum and in doing so a piece of Vegas and US gaming history is being preserved. I'd definitely recommend a visit - it was super quiet when we visited (getting in the door just as it opened at 11am) but is open all day until late and is definitely a good diversion from the Strip. Maybe just take a taxi if you don't enjoy long, hot walks where you're the only pedestrians in the road!

las vegas pinball hall of fame
Pinballin' Away
las vegas pinball hall of fame
American Sweets.
las vegas pinball hall of fame
25c for two Skittles - good winnings!
las vegas pinball hall of fame
1970s machines.
las vegas pinball hall of fame
Fuzzy Face Moustaches are apparently "HOT!"
las vegas pinball hall of fame
Best 25c spent - and its delicious and nutritious! 
las vegas pinball hall of fame

Are you a pinball fan?

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Friday, 12 June 2015

Las Vegas - The Food

How could I blog about Vegas and not mention the food? As a tourist destination, the Strip is heaving with food options. There's definitely something to suit all budgets and all tastes. I had a couple of "must-visits" but otherwise its fun just to wander along and find somewhere that takes your fancy. Due to the huge amount of restaurants, most don't need booking and don't have a long wait for a table which is ideal when you realise that that a "1 inch" walk on Googlemaps actually takes over an hour...

We didn't have breakfast at our hotel and started our day with a visit to Starbucks instead which got us up and out nice and early (American hotels don't seem to do the "tea-making facilities thing") and saved calories for a few indulgences...

I am a massive fan of Food Network UK - especially Diners, Drive-ins and Dives (as is Mummy Lipstick). We walked past Guy Fieri's Vegas Bar and Kitchen on our first day and headed back for dinner on our second. If you're a fan of the show then this place is awesome and even if you've never seen the show and love burgers, wings and big portions then you'll love it too. Quick warning - there isn't really anything vegetarian on the menu and it's not exactly "healthy" but this was such a fun meal and we even bought the book on our way out! While it's more expensive than some of the "Dives" on the show, our meal was great value and service was really good - we had a constant supply of Diet Cokes with new ones appearing even before we'd finish the first glasses.

las vegas food
Turkey picnic roll and quad fries. Taking advantage of being a "sort of, kind of, flexible" type vegetarian.
las vegas food
Mummy Lipstick had a burger with bacon and mac and cheese because she'd never tried mac and cheese before (!!) and it's always a big hit on the show.
las vegas food
I don't think this picture really conveys how big everything was!
las vegas food
We obviously didn't *need* dessert but who does need a deep fried brioche s'more sandwich? 
Snack options are not hard to find, it's pretty much impossible to go hungry in Vegas. Froyo, ice cream and the ubiquitous frozen margaritas are good bets given how hot it is on the Strip. We also popped into Walgreens for fruit because and water because even my sweet tooth can only handle so much.

las vegas food
Froyo for lunch - there are loads of places for froyo on the strip. This was from the self service counter at Wallgreens and was $5 which makes me never want to buy London froyo again.
las vegas food
Another s'more - this time from the Hershey's Cafe at New York New York (almost feel like we spent more time at this hotel than our own!).
After failing to go to In-N-Out (it was only a mile from the end of the Strip but a car mile not a walking mile) we went to Shake Shack at New York New York. Two giant sodas, two Shackburgers and a portion of fries to share made for the perfect lunch after a two hour round walking trip to the Pinball museum!

las vegas food
I love how everything is made fresh in Shake Shack and despite it looking fast-food-y there's none of the fast food "ugh" factor.
las vegas food
First proper burger for a LONG time. 

The Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace was our favourite shopping destination. We had dinner in Trevi, opposite a replica Roman fountain and under a sky which is permanently at that moment when day becomes night.

las vegas food
Coconut mojito and pomegranite cosmo.

las vegas food
Salads, American style.
For our last dinner in Vegas, I channelled my "oh, hey, I'm a proper adult now" self and booked Mizumi at the Wynn as a treat for us both. The setting was perfect with our table looking out to a waterfall and open sky. We shared sushi, tempora and yakitori all washed down with Grey Goose cocktails and the most amazing dessert I've ever seen. The Wynn serves vegan and vegetarian options at all of its restaurants and this restaurant was the perfect antidote to the bright lights, giant portions and constant noise of the strip.

las vegas food
Perfect setting for our last supper in Vegas.
las vegas food
Salted edamame while pondering the menu. Um, can I have it all..? Wait...I'm paying.
las vegas food
The famous 'chocolate' mask dessert was *almost* too beautiful to eat. We also shared a vegan dessert - a pineapple tart (what else?!) which tasted far too creamy and decadent to be vegan. 


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