Monday, 2 May 2016

ClassPass London: A Review

Now let me start by saying, I am not a 'gym goer'. Prior to joining ClassPass I could count on my hands the number of times I'd stepped inside a gym, preferring instead to work out (very sporadically) at home using weird 80s YouTube videos. But one of my friends had waxed lyrical about all the amazing classes she was going to, and when the opportunity of a two-week trial for £19 arose I thought I'd see what all the fuss was about. Three months of proper membership on, and countless classes later, I'm officially a ClassPass convert.

The current plan is £80 a month and you can take unlimited classes - but a max of three per month in each studio. Without ClassPass, they range from about £15-£25 each, so it's a hell of a deal. My favourite thing about the app is how simple it is, booking on your phone is a breeze - especially with the search function. Fancy Pilates between 10-2 around East London next Thursday? Filter your searches and find one that fits in with your schedule in seconds. You can book up to a week in advance, and have four total bookings on the go at once.

To be honest, the only downside is the late cancellation fees. If you cancel less than 12 hours before the class is due to start, you're charged £12, and £15 if you're a no show. I think it's pretty fair that they do this, but can be slightly inconvenient. I tend to book my classes in the morning before work, so it doesn't matter if something comes up last minute in the afternoon or evening.

Onto the classes! I had no idea there were so many great gyms around East London and it's brilliant being able to try them all - like a fitness pick 'n' mix. Read on below for a list of my faves...

Blok, Clapton - Small, but perfectly formed, this place has quickly become my weekend haunt. Their barre class (check out the studio in the photo above) is one of the best I've tried - hard, but worth it - plus their smoothie bar and choice of healthy shots and drinks is next level.

The Refinery, Hackney - All things yoga in a modern-yet-cosy setting. Even sitting down for a cup of complementary herbal tea in the candlelit reception is enough to relax me, and the classes are great - with a whole range of yoga styles to choose from. The chakra balancing class is a must-try.

1Rebel, City - It's official, I'm a spin class convert. The 'Ride' class - dark room, awesome music, pyrotechnics - is like being in a club, except you're working out. And it's AMAZING. You may sweat like you've never sweat before, but their changing rooms (pictured above) are the flashiest in London. We're talking GHDs, high-end beauty products and showers you won't want to leave.

Tempo Pilates, Hackney and Shoreditch - Reformer Pilates machines may look terrifying, but they give an incredible low impact workout. Out of all the reformer places I've tried, Tempo Pilates is the best. It's fast paced, but effective - the instructors really know what they're doing and the hour-long class flies by. The perfect class to take before work as it leaves you super energised.

Good Vibes, Fitzrovia - This little, tucked away studio is super near my work so I stop by on a lunchbreak most weeks. Both the mat Pilates and yoga classes are rad - plus, the rooms are heated with infrared. Not quite Bikram levels of swelteringness, but enough to help you sweat out everything horrible in your life, probably.

Friday, 4 March 2016

Brunch At Rawduck In Hackney

Although I've lived in Hackney for almost two years, it seems there's always an abundance of new places to visit. But Rawduck has been here for longer than I have - and I've only just been there - so perhaps I've just been super unadventurous. The sister restaurant of Soho's Duck Soup, which I've also never been too (this is why I'm not a food blogger), Raw Duck is a sun-drenched, plant-filled eatery on Richmond Road. A stone's throw away from London Fields, and a short walk from Hackney Central, it's a great spot to start your day - or finish it, as they also serve dinner.

The reason I opted for brunch was Rawduck's extensive menu of healthy drinks. A varied and unusual drinks menu will often excite me far more than any food on offer so, naturally, I wanted to try everything. In the end, I opted for their ginger flavoured 'drinking vinegar' (they have a whole list of different flavour raw and unpasteurised apple cider vinegars, heaven!), iced almond milk with house made matcha, and hot apple cider vinegar with raw ginger and heather honey. Love me some vinegar (seriously, they're packed with good enzymes and probiotics which help create good gut flora).

To eat, I went for the harissa eggs on charred flat bread with greek yoghurt and coriander. It was great, but seriously, those drinks. The best part about Raw Duck (apart from the drinks) are the huge windows, which soak in all the sunlight so you can dose up on vitamin D. Did I mention they also sell a hibiscus flavoured kombucha? It's top of the list for my next visit...

Monday, 22 February 2016

London Fashion Week: Sophia Webster AW16

This February marks my second ever Fashion Week since starting at The Huffington Post UK and it's been such an incredible experience! As I've been so busy writing (click here to check out all our LFW coverage), I haven't really had time to put anything up on the blog - but I thought I'd make an exception for Sophia Webster. The super-cute shoe designer Sophia Webster kicked off day four of London Fashion Week with her presentation 'I Myself, Am Strange and Unusual'.

Her autumn/winter 2016 showcase was, you guessed it, 'Beetlejuice'-themed - as Webster's muse for the new season was Lydia Deetz (the character played by Winona Ryder in the 1988 film). AW16 played heavily on gothic romance - embracing a rich palette, decadent textures and embellishment that explored a darker side. Ethereal tulle and satin clothing creations by Edward Meadham complemented the collection, along with mesmerising headpieces by Jo Miller. While makeup artist Lisa Potter-Dixon for Benefit Cosmetics created an luxe-yet-eerie beauty look with feral brows and dark, blown-out smoky eyes.

The location couldn't have been more fitting either - held at the chapel of Soho's House of St Barnabas, with an installation of dried flowers and butterflies by artist Rebecca L Law. The most incredible part IMO? Webster's jaw-dropping 'Corpse Bride' installation - a spooky play on her classic 'Wifey For Lifey' slogan. Arghh I want it all! Would happily settle for the 'To Die For' beaded clutch bag though, as it is just that.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Too Faced Mr. Right Brush

Valentine's Day may be over, but I'm still in love! With a makeup brush. I know, I know...

Spending the day in the company of my boyfriend and best friends (they don't call it 'Galentine's Day' for no reason) was even more than I could ask for, but I also got spoiled silly by some wonderful beauty companies. Aside from my living room currently looking like a florists, one of the best perks was opening this parcel from Too Faced - it's a brush called Mr. Right and, boy, does it live up to the name.

I'm always on the hunt for new brushes as I like to switch to a clean one every couple of uses and having a bigger collection means actually washing them less (lazy, but true). So why is Mr. Right 'the one'? Firstly, Too Faced's brushes are cruelty-free, made from silky-soft synthetic hair that can be used both wet and dry. Secondly, the size and slightly tapered shape means the brush lends itself to any product - foundation, powder, bronzer, blush, you name it! It's even neat enough to set under-eye concealer.

It's perfect for popping in your makeup bag for a day on the go, rather than lugging round a number of one-product brushes. Although, admittedly, Mr. Right is taking pride of place in my dressing table brush holder for the time being. I mean, it's wearing a bow-tie for crying out loud.
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