Live Ride at 1Rebel

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Recently I have been in an ongoing battle with myself and keeping fit. There’s a part of me who wants to be that girl at the gym, with that wonderful flat stomach, lifting weights and really enjoying it. Then there is the other part of me who wants to be that girl on the sofa, with that wonderful stuffed crust pizza, lifting another slice into her mouth and really enjoying it. When it comes down to it the latter usually wins the fight. Because of this I haven’t been particularly happy with my physical appearance, but there is no woe is me here – this is of my own doing. I came to the conclusion that maybe the gym isn’t for me and I should try other ways to get fit – explore some classes and see what I enjoy.

I have only ever been to one spin class and it was interesting. Spin classes are usually in dark lit rooms, with very loud dance music and an instructor reassuringly shouting at you, all very modern and cool, if a little scary. I did enjoy my only experience so when I discovered 1Rebel I thought I would give it a try. That and they offer a free taster class. I booked myself in for a ‘Live Ride’ on a Monday night.

One of the most annoying things I found about going to the gym is the amount of stuff I had to lug around with me – change of clothes, towel, shower stuff, trainers, drink, locker key, headphones…. In addition to carting my laptop and everything else I need, it’s a real chore. This was one of the first and favourite things I noticed about 1Rebel. Everything you need is there for you and complimentary. Shoes that work specifically with the bikes, towels, a free bottle of water and the lockers don’t need keys or change. I could have gone with just a change of clothing and would have had everything else I needed right there. This is a massive plus point for me.

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Once in, changed and on my designated bike a lovely gent came over to make sure I was all settled properly and comfortable. The studio was impressive – modern and stylish, a projection screen and stage in front of me, surrounded by high-tech equipment, club like lighting and of course, a top of the range speaker system.

The workout lasted around 45 minutes and the instructor did all he could to encourage us throughout – even when we were clearly flagging. Not only did we do a set of high intensity bike exercises, dumb bells were provided so that when our legs were having a ‘rest’ we were working on our arms. The variation of this was great and I felt that my whole body was getting attention. From spin sprinting as fast as we could to turning the resistance right up and climbing hills, the instructor kept it interesting and encouraged us to workout in time with the music, which was a combination of house, dance, pop and hip-hop – from remixes of John Legend through to Lady Gaga and even throwing in some Sneakbo, it was a good mix. Oh and the reason they call this session the ‘Live Ride’ is because throughout the whole workout we have Marco on the stage whaling on his saxophone. Yes, that’s right! –  A live saxophonist during a spin class. It was something a little different and entertaining. I never thought I would be spinning along to ‘212’ whilst a saxophonist blares out a solo – Weird yet brilliant.

Overall the experience at 1Rebel was great – as a studio it has everything you need, there is also a gym and a ‘roots and bulbs’ bar serving juices and healthy food. The people gave it that extra charm with everyone being friendly and helpful. The environment is perfect and the workout did exactly what it supposed to – I was dripping with sweat but having a good time!

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1Rebel is located near Liverpool Street so perfect for those city workers but they plan to open studios all over London, with their next one arriving in Broadgate. This is the ideal place for time strapped people who need a workout that’s invigorating and offering something different after a busy day.

You can book yourself a free session here http://www.1rebel.co.uk/#classes following that a ride session is £20 each.

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Afternoon Tea at Sketch

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For me, afternoon tea is one of those occasions where you want to be taken away from reality for a couple of hours. A little bit of glamour, a lot of indulgence and a sprinkle of fantasy. London boasts a host of afternoon teas, from the classic scone and tea cup affair right through to the weird and wonderful. Whatever you fancy, it’s there with a tier of finger sandwiches and mini pastries for you to spoil yourself. I’m no expert but I imagine Sketch is up there with the best of them in the city.

Situated in Mayfair on Conduit Street, right in the centre of everything, Sketch offers all you want from an afternoon tea experience – exclusivity, fascination, indulgence, charm and the perfect setting to lap up the luxury. Walking through the black curtains, across the chalk hopscotch and through the enchanted forest themed Grace Room; there is something to marvel at with every glance.

After leaving my coat and bag in the cloak room I was taken through to the gallery, a room to keep all senses entertained at all times. Everything is draped in a dusky pink, the velvet chairs lined with a rose gold trim base, a grand circular skylight overlooking the room and the walls covered in David Shrigleys signature art – simple, slightly absurd and full of humour.

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I joined my friend Stacey at our table and from the second we sat down, we were looked after – our every need attended to. Because it was 1pm on a Monday afternoon we played well-behaved and opted not to have a glass of bubbly but stick to a sugar high for our poison of the afternoon. As we waited for our treats we noticed that even the tableware had something to offer thanks to Shrigley.  Stylish, white, ceramic and all with a message to share – again in true Shrigley signature style; simple and playful. Our favourite being the ‘Forget About It’ memo at the bottom of our cups.

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Once settled I wanted to satisfy my curiosity about the famous Sketch toilets that people have talked about. From the hazy pink glow of the gallery I walked through to the bright white lights of the toilets and followed the sound of farmyard animals (yes, you read that right) up a large white staircase to be met with a futuristic wonderland – a space age, farm-yard, disco dancing room that fills you with imagination, almost making you forget that you are there to pee. A giant bird’s nest sits under a brightly coloured ceiling that looks over the space age cocoons topped with geese (not real ones) – you enter a pod to use the loo and are greeted with the sound of geese whilst you do your business – strange but true. Even the sinks had their own flare with wall sculptures, plinths, and quotes to see you on your way right.

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Returning to a tower of delicacies, the mini offerings were an exploration in themselves. The classic finger sandwiches of cucumber, salmon and egg were jazzed up with caviar, a warm quail’s egg and fresh ricotta cheese. Warm cheese pastries wrapped up in paper and a yellow bow, tiny circular apple crumbles, mini macaroons and blueberry éclairs – all tasting too good not to say yes to a second round when asked by our waitress (who was also lovely). Although I opted for coffee as I’m not a tea fan they had a wide selection of really amazing sounding teas to go along with the finger food.  We finished off with a fresh scone served with homemade jam and cream.

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Sketch is a work of art, an experience to remember and definitely one worth trying. It’s a must for any afternoon tea lover. To be honest, I would advise you to go – even if it’s just to check out the toilets. This is another glorious London gem.

https://sketch.london

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Burger & Lobster

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When I finally got the opportunity to go to Burger and Lobster, it felt like I was the last one on the boat. Most people I know had been and the hype around it was huge. Despite being renowned for its lengthy waiting times as well as its lobster roll, my lovely friend Stacey and I decided to accept the over an hour wait challenge and go see what all the fuss is about.

A good idea which I think other restaurants should take note of, if you do have a long waiting time for a table, the B&L team take your mobile number and give you a call 5 minutes before its ready. That way you’re not just standing around waiting and can go and grab a drink somewhere close by. Burger and Lobster is in the heart of Soho so there are plenty of options.

When we were shown to our table the menu offering was pretty straight forward. Burger or Lobster all at the same price of £20. You can have you lobster boiled, fried, baked or in a lobster roll. I went for the roll as it was the pinup of the menu. Arriving very sharpish on a tray served with fries, salad and a garlic sauce the delectable lobster roll is chopped lobster with a special sauce served in a brioche bun. It’s difficult to describe just how glorious it was. The combination of the slightly sweet brioche with the fresh lobster was perfection. No faults at all!

We finished up with puddings, of course. I got some chocolate pudding concoction and Stacey got the cheesecake. The puddings were great but if I’m honest, I was still back with the lobster. I could have eaten it all again.

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So, should you believe the hype? In a nutshell, yes!

Yes, there are long waiting times and it’s very busy but the lobster more than makes up for it. On my next trip I will be going for the baked lobster. I want to go and try lobster in every way there is to try lobster. I feel you should too! Lobster is excellent.

Also, as a note, the drinks menu is very cool and even includes a list of non-alcoholic cocktails for us non-drinkers.

If you haven’t been yet, go armed with snacks for the long wait and be ready to be rocked by the lobster. (sorry)

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‘APPily Obsessed – TED

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I have regular conversations with my younger, not so smaller, brother about apps that we have discovered. This has spawned a little obsession and I would say, on average, I fall in love with a new app about once a month.

This month’s app is that of the TED talks website. If you are not familiar with TED then prepare to have your mind blown. It is an incredible platform for people to share ideas, usually in the form of a short and powerful talk at a TED conference. These conferences are recorded and the videos are placed online for anyone and everyone to view, for free. It’s one of the greatest things that has happened to anyone ever.

The TED app is an extension of their website; where you can watch talks, download them for offline use, star your favourite talk and of course share with your social networks. The reason why I am so obsessed with the app is because I can download talks to watch whilst I’m on the tube, at the gym or just when I’m in the need for some great entertainment. I like to think that having my mind opened to learning something amazing for fifteen minutes is better than playing The Sims… right?

If you don’t know about TED then download the app and prepare to be in awe. If you do already know about TED then fill your boots with as many awesome talks as possible as often as you wish.

Download the app here… https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/ted/id376183339?mt=8

I have also left you with one of my all-time favourite TED talks. Enjoy!

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Designer Dreaming – Brian Lichtenberg

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I think there’s always a part of a girl that enjoys dressing up. Putting on the heels, the lippy and adding a bit of glam! It does feel good. BUT personally, I can be as easily excited by a good pair of jeans, trainers and a casual jumper.

High on my list for casual jumpers is Brian Lichtenberg. The LA-based designer takes well-known brands and phrases, puts his own cheeky spin on them and adds some colour.  I’ve never been a huge fan of slogan tees or jumpers but these are what I would describe as fun, if I was ever going to describe an item of clothing in that way.

See below some of my favourite pieces…

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Brian’s collections boast many fans in the fashion and music world including Cara Delevigne, Wiz Khalifa and Rihanna.

Find out more… http://www.brianlichtenberg.com/

 

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Rate That Roast – The Beard Of Tail, Shoreditch

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There are a few golden rules when it comes to a good roast. One of those rules is in relation to pork. If someone orders the pork belly, unless they state otherwise, they absolutely DO want crackling with their pork, especially if they have a northern accent. It’s very important to us northerners!

As you can probably tell from that rant, my roast at The Beard of Tail in Shoreditch came without pork crackling, not a good start. It didn’t get much better after that either. The roast potatoes were cold, the Yorkshire was hard and they served pak choi as one of the vegetables, which was just a little bit odd.

The underwhelming roast was followed by a point saving chocolate brownie and ice cream which sweetened the sour a little bit.

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Would I go again? No.

Should you go? No.

That Roast Rating – 3 / 10

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Six Smoking Suggestions

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That title suggests I am going to advise you about the best cigarettes on the market doesn’t it? Well I’m not! It’s gross and it’s not cool and you should quit you naughty little hedonist!! That’s the tough love bit over with. Now for some actual suggestions that helped me when I quit a year and a half ago.

I had smoked for 10 years and genuinely thought I would never quit. I had tried a few times but only because I thought I should and not because I really wanted to. I would always end up going back. I even remember saying the words to friends “I just love smoking, I don’t want to quit”. I thought I would be a smoker for life.

I’m not sure what triggered the change of heart but when I decided to quit last time I really, really wanted to quit. I had had enough. I remember frequently thinking whilst smoking, “why am I doing this? I don’t even enjoy it any more” So I decided to quit. One day I just decided that would be it and I wouldn’t smoke any more. Then of course my cravings had other ideas so I joined a no smoking clinic. Not everyone has time for that though. Especially the people I know living in London. Everyone is always too busy.

So as its No Smoking Day today so I thought I would share some of the things that helped me to quit.

1 – The NHS quit smoking app is REALLY helpful. Not only does it give you handy tips and info but it also tells you how much money you’re saving.

2 – Mint mouth spray. This one may sound a little weird and not work for everyone but spritzing a mint mouth spray really helped me with cravings following using the Nicorette spray.

3 – Reward yourself. It could be weekly or monthly but reward your efforts. This is important! For every month I stuck with it I treated myself to something I considered a treat. From massages to a new pair of shoes or just something to eat that I REALLY enjoy and wouldn’t normally have, it helped knowing I would have that treat at the end of the month.

4 – Lollipops can help but obviously you don’t want to end up with a massive sugar addiction so be careful. I used to find that a lollipop kept my hands and mouth busy and away from reaching for the fag.

5 – Cut down on Alcohol. Every smoker knows that this is the biggest trigger. I quit drinking around the same time I quit smoking so it didn’t affect me too much. I would advise trying to take it easy on the booze for the first few weeks until you’re over the hump with the cigarettes. I also found coffee was a trigger for me so had to watch it with that as well.

6 – Deep breathing. Stress is another massive factor or at least that’s what we tell ourselves. Spray some of that mint mouth spray into your mouth and take a few deep breathes to relieve that stress. It will go away without the cigarettes.

I also warned everyone that I was quitting and that they should expect a Godzilla like presence for the first few weeks. You might want to do the same.

 

 

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Everything is free in the Ziferblat Cafe…except the time

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The self-proclaimed “tree-house for grown-ups” or “everyone’s living room­­” ­ Ziferblat Café is indeed a welcoming place. Situated in the centre of all that is hipster, the pay-per minute café can be found on Old Street in Shoreditch. I decided after reading about it online to hold a meeting there and see what all the fuss is about. After buzzing the doorbell and walking up two flights of stairs we were greeted by Jonah, a lovely man wearing an even lovelier jumper. He showed us how the system of the café worked, around the help-yourself kitchen and left us to do our thing amongst the dried hanging flowers and mismatched furniture.

So, how does it work? Well, you grab a clock of your choice from the display when you enter. Ours was a little red one called Audrey. You then grab a slip of paper; write down the clocks name, your name and the time. Everything is then at your disposal; teas, coffee and the free wifi. There’s even a communal table where people can leave stuff they want to share. It was busier than I expected and the atmosphere was cool and definitely that of a ‘bustling creative hub’.

Another great thing is that you can take any food and drink that you want with you, so if you’re trying to save money you could take some lunch along, set up camp and enjoy the unlimited amount of free wifi and hot beverages. Price wise you pay 2p a minute each, so I paid around £3.50 for my freelancing buddy and I to have our hour or so long meeting.

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The Ziferblat café is a really novel and cool idea. It fits Shoreditch like a perfectly snug vintage outfit from Brick Lane. Lovely! It’s somewhere to work, possibly meet other freelancers and cool artistic types, not have to spend a fortune on drinks or food and not feel guilty about just hanging around enjoying a nice cold glass of tap water. Something all struggling freelancers should be entitled to enjoy!

If you haven’t been yet, definitely give it a try.

For more info check out the website http://ziferblat.net/ and follow them on Twitter https://twitter.com/ziferblatlondon/ 

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Designer Dreaming: Ashish

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I’m not usually a fan of slogan clothing but after seeing the ‘Have A Nice Day’ jumper from designer Ashish I was intrigued. Now he is firmly on my ‘Designer Dreaming’ list (yes I have a list, please don’t judge).

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I also never thought I would enjoy a jogging bottom and sequin ensemble but there’s something very cool about the way Ashish Gupta put’s his casual yet glamorous pieces together, along with an added cheeky humour.

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Check out the Ashish website to find out what I mean and see his current collections: http://www.ashish.co.uk/

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THE CHICKEN SHOP

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It has been described by a few as a ‘swish Nandos with less on the menu’, but The Chicken Shop is so much more than that. I am a big fan of Nandos, in fact, Im a big fan of chicken, so when my flatmate came home one night and told me a rather swanky looking chicken shop was opening down the road in Tooting I knew it wouldn’t be long before I paid it a visit.

There were four of us that went on a Saturday night at around 6.30pm which seems to be the best time before the mad dinner rush. The Chicken Shop isn’t that big and its very popular so if you do go, be prepared for a wait.

The menu is simple, a choice of quarter, half or full spit-roast chicken and an option of sides including fries, corn on the cob, salad and coleslaw. They also have the option of hot or smoky sauce.

The décor was cool, had a rustic feel to it and there were nice ornamental chickens scattered about. I probably would have stolen one if they weren’t glued down. They saw me coming! The place was dimly lit and the spit roast chicken action was right in the centre of things for all to see. This provided us with a cool atmosphere but perhaps a little too dark; when the food came we could hardly see what we were eating. To be honest though, that didn’t matter (too much).

There are only a few words you can really use to describe good chicken. Succulent, moist, cooked to perfection, delectable and so on. The chicken that was put in front of me was all of the above. I would go as far as saying it was one of the best bits of chicken I have ever eaten and I’ve had my fair share. The chips and coleslaw were also excellent and my bottle of coke came in a glass bottle. Yes, I’m that cool person who gets excited about that sort of thing.

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The portion sizes were huge and I left that house of chicken heaven feeling pretty damn happy with myself. My only grievance was that I couldn’t bring myself to try a pudding because I was so stuffed.

I would definitely advise paying the place a visit if you like your chicken, the original is in Kentish Town and the new one, in Tooting.

A few tips for you if you are going to go….

1 – Try and go before the 7pm rush.

2 – Share sides, the portions are big.

3 – Take a torch or some candles.

I also asked my friends who came with me to describe their experience of The Chicken Shop in one word so that’s what I will leave you with.

“Tasty”, “Satisfying” and “Chicken” = The Chicken Shop.

www.chickenshop.com

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