I’ll Be There | Fare Healthy Festival | Shoreditch (4th – 5th February)

For the first time ever I have succeeded in keeping January a dry month! #DRYJANUARY SUCCESS! And having felt so good for it I haven’t even poured an Espresso Martini down my throat this morning and convinced myself it was breakfast (as I’d initially been counting down the days to do).

*the fact that I was lucky enough to spend January in India, where alcohol is either out of date, tastes like paint stripper or not available was enormously helpful…

Nonetheless I’m really feeling inspired to keep on the healthy path of sobriety, meaning that instead of ending the grape depression (I’m here all week) by reaching for the nearest class of wine, I’ll be heading to Shoreditch’s Truman Brewery for the third annual Fare Healthy Festival – the UKs first and foremost food, fitness and wellbeing festival.

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Perfectly timed to keep those new year good intentions going, the two-day event will once again inspire, educate, entertain and motivate attendees to eat, move, think, and, as a result, #feelbetter.

Open from 9.30am until 5.30pm, the festival is unique in combining food, fitness and wellbeing, with pop-up restaurants and bars, exercise classes, expert panel talks, cookery demonstrations, a bookstore, alongside a market place featuring over 100 brands.

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Fare Healthy has something for everyone with a series of varied exercise classes including Ballet Barre with Naturally Sassy, the renowned SBC experience with Russell Bateman, and yoga classes from two of my favourite teachers; Michael Wong from Boys of Yoga, and the lovely lady I’m lucky enough to have as amy mindful mentor, Annie Clarke of Mind Body Bowl (pre-order her new book here)

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FARE HEALTHY ROOT TO FRUIT BANQUET

For those more interested in the foodie side of the festival, Fare Healthy is also teaming up with four renowned British chefs to launch the festival’s first ever supper club, ‘A Root To Fruit Banquet’, on Saturday 4th February. The Root to Fruit chefs are pledging to create a meal that use zero-packaging to create a zero waste dining experience.

Chefs cooking on the night will be:

● Tom Hunt, eco chef, food waste activist and chef patron of Poco restaurant
● Gill Meller, head chef of River Cottage and author of new book Gather
● Justin Horne, chef and founder of Tiny Leaf, London’s first zero waste restaurant
● Tess Ward, chef, food writer and author of The Naked Diet cookbook
● Peardrop London, catering company & lunch delivery service set up by chef Rose Lloyd Owen, founder of Fare Healthy

The four course menu will be entirely organic, vegetarian, agro-ecological, 100% British and most importantly, will use ingredients in their entirety, from their roots to their stalks, demonstrating how much of our food is thrown away. Cocktails will be available at the Sipsmith and Jax Coco Bar and Pure ionic water will also be available

Root to Fruit Eating means to eat mindfully, reconnecting with our foods origin and nature in order to value our food, the planet and the farmers who produce our ingredients.

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Fare Healthy was created in autumn 2014, a collaboration between self-taught chef Rose Lloyd Owen and a small selection of chefs, bloggers, and fitness instructors. Since it’s inception and launch event in January 2015, Fare Healthy has amassed a loyal following of fans, and tickets for previous events have sold out in less than an hour.

Tickets are on sale now, priced at £25 per person for the festival and at £50 per person for the banquet. The Root to Fruit banquet begins at 7.30pm.

New Year’s Resolutions: Fitness Round-Up

New Year’s resolutions are supposed to be good for us; a chance to reflect on the past and a good excuse to set the bar for the year, declaring what you want for the future.

Resolutions can be tricky to keep if they are too specific or too unachievable, inevitably abandoned early in the year, so I mix up things like health aspirations and financial plans with my travel, career, photography and writing ambitions.

 

As health and seem to be a big focus for most of us in January, I have rounded-up a few reviews of my favourite workout classes across London, from the gruelling Skinny Bitch Collective, favoured by A-listers, to more calming yoga sessions at the top of The Shard, to hopefully inspire a more fun approach to exercise in 2015…

The Skinny Bitch Collective

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The Skinny Bitch Collective  is an elite, intense 50-minute circuits style class, championed by a commando squad of body con beauties including Millie Mackintosh and Suri Waterhouse. The classes involve whipping, crab walking and bear crawling and is spearheaded by personal trainer, Russell Bateman.

From January 2015, you too will be able to get in on the Skinny Bitch action as Russell launches a program of 360 online daily work out videos including signature moves from his classes (that’s crab crawling and upside down burpees) at an annual fee of £240.

While a one-off fee of £240 may appear pricy, when you compare this to the average price of a monthly gym membership (£50 / month), this is not only incredibly good value for money, but a work out you can do in your own home, using your own body weight, discipline and determination.

Barrecore

Barrecore Review Sweaty Betty Bianca Capstick www.picapicastyle.com

Born in Chelsea, and with a second site in Mayfair, in by Niki Rein, who brought her passion for barre and dance based fitness from the US over to London in November 2011; Barrecore is a ballet-Pilates hybrid focusing on isometric movements (small, pulsing motions repeated at intervals to build muscle).

Don’t be fooled by the graceful nature of the name, however! Barrecore is more single leg squats on your toes, while balancing a small squidgy ball between your glutes, and bicep curling a 1lb hand-weight in your hand, than gentle demi-pliés and stretches over a barre.

Barrecore mirros the same balletic work out techniques which gives ballerinas their enviably strong and toned physiques, using concentrated pulses and isometric holds to work those seemingly un-toneable areas – the inner thigh, glutes and lower abs. So while Reim’s regime may be grueling, it certainly achieves results.

The studios are clean, stylish and fragrant, the Mayfair site in very close proximity to Oxford Circus, with warm showers, soft towels and superbly stocked washroom (bobbles, dry shampoo, combs and hair straighteners are all at your fingertips); as you’d expect for a high end, rewarding regime that could set you back up between £250 to £2,900 annually.

The variety of memberships also include £28 for a single class, bulk class packages and newcomer special offers.

Yogasphere

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While yogis of past have tried to levitate to higher spheres, Yogasphere is literally bringing sky-high yoga to London with eight weekly classes on the 72nd floor of The Shard.

As the tallest building in Europe at a height of 1,016ft, Yogasphere at the Shard offers yoga classes with unrivalled 360 degree views of the capital’s skyline at £40 a session. If practicing yoga 800ft about London at 8:30am doesn’t wake you up, then nothing will!

Mats are provided for your use and goodie bags are given at the end of the class.

£40 advance booking

Blue Cow Yoga

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Blue Cow was created by former professionals with passion for yoga and a simple intention: to build an inclusive community within the Square Mile that’s committed to improving lives through health and wellbeing.

Blue Cow was created because the City deserves great yoga.  Yoga that’s for everybody.  Yoga that’s inclusive, accessible and fits into our busy lives no matter who we are or what we do.

Yoga taught by passionate instructors who care what makes us tick, why we’re here and what we’d love to get out of it.  Fun yoga that lifts us up and gives us a lasting slice of balance without the smells and bells.

Blue Cow Yoga is running a two-week trial for £20 in January!

 

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Fierce Grace Yoga Review

Heralding from Michele Pernetta – the woman who brought Bikram yoga to London in the early 90s, Fierce Grace Yoga is (literally) the hottest way to practice yoga, setting pulses raising across London.

With six studios across the capital, Fierce Grace yoga classes give practitioners the chance to achieve the ultimate blend of strength and flexibility for both body and mind.

Fierce Grace’s unique sequences, which range from 50 to 90 minute classes, adhere to ancient yogic principles, based on classical Hatha, Bikram and Ashtanga yoga; conducted in a 35-40 degree room, allowing for optimum results in the minimum amount of time.

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Despite being led by some of the best yoga teachers in the business, Fierce Grace’s playful and empowering mantra; “Yoga is not about perfecting a pose, or eating tofu. Yoga is being courageous. Yoga is about being happy, being who you are now, even if that doesn’t look perfect;” has made for a series of five classes which are accessible and effective for everyone.

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These five classes are Core, Classic, Fierce Grace, Fierce (aka The Beast) and The Fix, and this variety gives practitioners different options to suit their experience, schedule and mood whilst still working together as a whole.

I’m a huge fan of the 90 minute Fierce Grace class, which pushes you, works up a serious sweat and leaves you relaxed and at inner peace thanks to its meditation stage towards the end of the class.

Fierce Grace (80 – 90 minutes) The 49 Steps to peak fitness and health. This challenging but user-friendly general level class, with hip openers, upper body strength, bum toners and core stability for a fully rounded workout.

A fun and expanded general level class working 100% of the body, this class combines the central poses of classical hatha yoga, Bikram, Power and Ashtanga Yoga and is designed to bring peak fitness, strength, flexibility and alignment.

Working arms, core and bum, combined with deep hip, shoulder and leg stretches, this class will help you gain cardiovascular fitness, stamina and flexibility while realigning your skeletal system.

This class is performed to relaxing music to help you get out of your mind and in tune with your body, it is eighty minutes with an optional ten minutes relaxation/meditation. Be prepared to work hard and sweat!

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The Other Classes

Core (75 minutes) is a deep, slow class designed to open you and de-stress you on every level. An intense warm up prepares you for long, deep floor stretches to realign, resolve and release.

The deepest stretch out there. For the burned out, unfit, injured or those who want to take the time to stretch the parts other classes do not reach.

This is a class created with a chilled out vibe that focuses on deep realignment. Newcomers to hot power yoga or the very unfit are advised to do 3 Core classes before joining the general class. Everyone is advised to do Core once or twice a week to remind the body of correct alignment, deep breathing, continuously work on deep-seated musculo-skeletal issues and to totally de-stress.

Classic 39 – (90 minutes and 39 poses) is their traditional hot yoga class. The Classic brings deep alignment, stamina-building, strength and flexibility. A great whole body workout.

The class brings you a chance to try some pose variations, expand your yoga experience and have fun, in a no-frills, motivating style. Be prepared to sweat!

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Fierce (aka The Beast – 1hr 45 minutes) An advanced class which is tough but friendly to take you to the next level in strength, flexibility, balance and patience delivered with a sense of humour.

For the next generation of yogis, this class is guaranteed to take your yoga practice to new heights with arm balancing poses, deep hip opening, inversions, lotus, shoulder opening, deep backbends and deeper meditation.

Taught in an encouraging atmosphere, the general level practitioner is encouraged to work at their own pace while they are learning the correct stages of entry into these poses, whilst the advanced practitioner is encouraged to explore new horizons under expert guidance. “Fierce” makes us superhuman with its wide alphabet of physical, emotional and spiritual expression.

The Fix (50 minutes).The condensed version of everything with some added surprises. This is a super-charged 50-minutes designed to get you fitter faster.

This 50-minute class whips you into shape faster than you can say ‘Namaste’. For the motivated person on a tight schedule, this is an effective no-frills yoga class combining cardiovascular sweat-inducing poses, strength, flexibility, body sculpting, and stress-release through breath and relaxation.

Do it in your lunch hour, or on your way home from work and your energy levels will soar. Thirty minutes standing, twenty minutes floor work to leave you revitalised and raring to go.

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Ideal for those looking to get fit or take up yoga, Fierce Grace has an Introductory offer of 30 consecutive days for only £35 – Find a studio close to you