A Healthy Guide To Cape Town


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This new years I was fortunate enough to travel to Cape Town in South Africa. I have always wanted to visit South Africa and heard great things about it. The great thing was we were going at peak season so we had a great guarantee of sunshine – something very valued when considering the long english winters. Cape Town is so unique in its location, driving down Camps Bay I couldnt stop staring from left to right; Table Top Mountain on one side and the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen on the other. The cool winds keep temperature down. Clifton beach is a picturesque beach spot with white sand and crashing waves and boulders beach just out of town homes over 3000 penguins! There is a fantastic sense of community, I felt safe and welcome. Bo-Kapp was one pocket of Cape Town where the colourful homes lined the street. Read below to discover some of my highlights in Cape Town…


  • Grand Africa: great for sushi but be sure to book in advance.
  • The Cod Father: Despite the cheesy name, this was one of the best restaurants I went to in terms of quality and price.
  • Roundhouse: is a great restaurant which I would recommend for Lunch – but be sure to book in advance! – With a picnic vibe on a UNESCO world heritage site, its one to remember. I would even recommend tying it before a hike up lions head if you are short on time
  • Haiku: was very good for a selection of East Asian cuisine.
  • Nu café: This is in Sea Point and is good for food on the go. The service wasn’t exactly exemplary but the food is healthy, on trend and quick! With alfalfa sprouts  sesame salmon and rye, and  a selection of amazing shakes – Its a health foodies paradise.
  • ORANJEZICHT City FarmOranjezicht (which means orange view in Afrikaans) is a non-profit farm project celebrating local food, culture and community through urban agriculture. It takes place every Saturday from 9am-2pm.
  • Sexy Food: This was my top pick for Cape Town – Located on Bree Street, this vegan cafe had the best selection of fermented food I’ve seen in ages. 100% organic with Kombucha on tap and some of the most interesting smoothies I found in Cape Town this is a must visit spot.
  • N.b. Plant Cafe just opened mid january but I didnt get a chance to visit- I hear good things though so any vegan or vegetarian should pay it a visit.


Move Your Body:

  • Nature: There are many gorgeous hikes to do whilst in Cape Town. I enjoyed the Lions Head hike and would recommend anyone doing this to go either at 5.30 am or 5.30 pm. This is so you skip the cues as at the very peak of Lions head there is a one line system, meaning you could be stuck at the top in the heat for hours. I chose the later option and found it to be a nice temperature. It took us almost 2 hours to do the hike at a leisurely pace. This hike is for intermediate levels. Another hike is up Table Mountain and whilst I didn’t do this one personally, friends of mine really enjoyed it. This hike is far more advanced and dangerous but the views are exquisite. I took the lift up to the top of Table mountain and walked around there instead, which I would recommend.
  • Fitness studios: The first studio I visited came at the recommendation of a friend. Described as insane, fun and super tough SWITCH by Steve Uria was definitely the hottest studio out there. Steve has been in the fitness industry for almost 26 years and was voted by Vogue magazine as one of the 50 top trainers in the USA. You arrive at SWITCH and are given a number, this will match with another to make up your team. You will then go to the correlating station and start. There are about 22 + stations and each one is overseen by a PT. These varied from TRK to weight lifting, to boxing to floor work. It was full on but you only had 2 minutes at each station before you… Switched. I really enjoyed this class and I went three times during my time. The next studio I found out from another gym goer at SWITCH. Under hushed tones she mentioned that SWITCH was devised after Steve Uria and the Rothschild brothers had a disagreement. But it is here is where it all began. Set up in 2010 Sweat 1000 is a revolution in fitness, filled with locals and like nothing Ive ever experienced before. The name relates to the amount of calories you can aim to burn per session. If you like Barry’s Bootcamp – this ones for you! The HIIT aspect of the training programme includes treadmills overlooking sea point; which then lower and plunge the room into fluorescent lighting in time for the floor exercises which are core, functional and resistance based. Another great studio that came highly recommended was Hot Dog Yoga. This studio was located in Sea Point and offered a great selection of classes for most capabilities.


And Beyond

  • Take a one hour ride down to Franschoek  to the wine region of South Africa. Book in advance for the Delaire Graff estate in Stellenbosch if you can – certainly book in for lunch either way. We left our booking until the last minute and came across a very quaint and nice vineyard called Boschendal. This is a perfect way to either begin or end your time in Cape Town as its 20 minutes from the airport and the scenery is unreal.




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The demands of modern living often leave us exhausted and deprived of real food. This can lead to displaced feelings of hunger. The word diet is misunderstood as deprivation and suffering, when really it is just referring to the food we digest every day. With so many extraneous factors leading us to feel hunger, we can find ourselves losing track of our eating habits and making poor choices. Sugar can be a temporary energy booster, but it will just leave you with lower energy levels hours later once those insulin levels drop. These tips are here to help you rediscover the joy of healthy eating and equip you with the tools to combat fake hunger. The first step is down to you; you have to use common sense to establish if you are truly hungry or if there could be another factor at play. If you think the latter, then  you may be experiencing boredom, emotional hunger, exhaustion or sugar addiction. Try incorporating some of the below foods and methods into your daily life for a more balanced approach to nutrition.

  1. GINGER has been used for centuries due to its digestive properties. It is a stimulant that energises the body and improves the digestive system – thus making you feel less hungry. Chop some up and brew in a tea with lemon and warm water.
  2. WATER is key! A lot of times you are not really hungry but thirsty. 8oz of water a day is required to keep the body hydrated. The same part of your brain is responsible for interpreting hunger and thirst signals. Some people are adverse to drinking lots of water due to the fear of water retention but this is the worst thing to do if you are looking to slim down! Water retention and bloating is a symptom of dehydration as your body is clinging to all liquid. Water and hydration is key for lymphatic drainage and fat loss.
  3. PSYLLIUM HUSK is a firm favourite of mine and those who put up with my endless health chat will know I am a huge advocate of this seed for weight loss. I often suggest people take it when accompanying a juice cleanse as it is extremely high in fibre and therefore you feel satiated for longer. I personally take a tablespoon with alkaline water if I find myself reaching for sweet treats. It honestly works every time for me. You can find it online or in most health shops.
  4. LEAN PROTEIN was the subject of this study, which I think will say it better than I can. Researchers at Pennington Biomedical Research Center compared weight loss in dieters who ate either two eggs or a bagel for breakfast. The two breakfast meals were identical in calories and volume, but the egg breakfast was much higher in protein. “Compared to the bagel eaters, overweight women who ate two eggs for breakfast five times a week for eight weeks, as part of a low-fat, reduced-calorie diet, lost 65% more weight, reduced waist circumference by 83%, reported higher energy levels, and had no significant difference in their … bloodcholesterol or triglyceride levels,” reports researcher Nikhil V. Dhurandhar, PhD
  5. BREAKFAST really is the most important meal of the day in my books! I always make time for it, even if it means waking up extra early. Places like CRUSH make it really easy for those who do not want to cook, with their low G.I. scrambled eggs and breakfast pots. The reason breakfast is so key is because it kick starts your metabolism and sets you up to not snack later on. There was this saying I used to always hear when I was younger “Eat like a King for breakfast, Lunch like a prince and have dinner like a pauper”.
  6. MINDFUL EATING is a favourite of mine. All you need for this effective technique is a focused mind. People who eat their meals mindfully lose far more weight than those who eat with their phone, paper or television on. It is recommended you take 30 minutes to finish a meal, really savouring the flavours and chewing thoroughly. It will allow the brain to receive signals from the stomach that it is full. Always try and wait 30 minutes until after eating before you even consider dessert.


The Kayla Itsines BBG Review


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To those unfamiliar with Kayla Itsines, she is the Instagram sensation with a cool 4 million followers and creator of the Bikini Body Guide. Kayla is a young Australian based personal trainer, whose e-book inspired communities and positive transformation. A quick scroll through Instagram hashtags #KaylasArmy or #KaylasGirls bring millions of hits and give insight into just what the driving force behind the internet superstars success. I came across Kayla via a transformation picture when I was looking for a programme to condition my fitness. I had a long break due to a broken hip and wanted to have small attainable goals.

What Is it?

It is a 12 week programme with interval circuit training. You are expected to train for 30 minutes a session, three times a week. Divided into Upper body, Lower Body, Core or Total Body; the programme grows with you and at the end you are introducing LISS and HIIT. LISS stands for Long Intensity Slow Steady training, and just correlates to walking for 45 minutes three times a week. HIIT is a 15 minute session of High Intensity Interval Training. But new comers to fitness shouldn’t feel intimidated as there is a pre-training programme also. I found my cardiovascular endurance at an all time high after completing Kayla’s guide. The guide is available as an ebook from the website or as an app. I used both and would personally recommend the SWEAT app, as the timer and exercises are included. It makes for a compact training system and keeps you motivated. Below is an example of the kind of workouts you will encounter.

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My Results

I gained weight on the scale, but this was a very significant moment in my fitness journey. It taught me to not even look at a scale, as physically I looked better, stronger and healthier. I could also run for an hour without breaking; something which even at my peak I had never been able to do. The workouts are tough, I went into the first session thinking that it would be a breeze as it was only 28 minutes of my day – but it was a pleasant surprise when I finished sweating and red in the face. The best thing about BBG is that it creates short attainable goals. I just focused on completing every four weeks when I would need to take a progress picture. This showed me that even though I may not have felt it, I really was improving. The circuits were always fun and I am very happy to say I never missed one! My results were not as dramatic as some that you may see online, but I am very pleased. It has motivated me and inspired me to keep moving and being healthy. The one comment I do have is that if you are not a member of a gym you may need to invest in some equipment. I managed to make alternatives if I was travelling, i.e. using two chairs for raised tricep dips – but a lot of the exercises need a gym setting. I also did not use the diet attached or really integrate in the online community as much as others. I think to anyone starting their fitness journey, having a community can really help.






How to do the splits


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I’ve had to hang my hat up when it comes to using the splits as a go-to party trick and instead respect this pose as one that should be warmed into. The benefits of the splits, or as we call it yoga – Hanumanasana, are ten fold. It is a deep thigh stretcher and the best for hip opening. As part of my rehab on a fractured hip (eek!) I made sure to slowly warm up into the splits weekly. However the best part of this pose? It develops a patience and perserverance. I am still mastering Hanumanasana with my right foot in front. The joy is in the practice. Below are some examples of how to work towards mastering this pose.


Step One: Pigeon Pose is a variation on advanced yoga asan Eka Pada Rajakapotasana. Get into this posistion trying to keep the front shin parallel and hold for 30 seconds + on each side


Step Two: Straddle Posistion is known in yoga as Upavistha Konasana and is a level one asana. Sit wide legged and slowly reach forward with your arms. Ideally you want to reach your head to the floor. Hold this pose for over one minute.


Step Three: Forward bending triangle pose is a fantastic hamstring opener. Alot of flexibility is needed in this area in order to achieve the splits. Also known as parsvottanasana you want to make sure your chest is directly over your thigh and slowly try and bring your forehead to the shin. Breathe deeply and take it slow. Start with 30 seconds on each side and slowly reach one minute per leg.


Step Four: Going back to floor poses for the final step is the revolved head of knee pose – Parivrttra Janu Sirsana. To do this correctly you will want to make sure your foot is flexed and knee facing skywards; keep reaching with the crown of your head and try and open up with your body. Hold this asana for up to a minute on each leg.


Step Five: The Splits. Remember to only attempt this after practice the above four steps for a while and being fully warmed up. If you are not quite ready to express this move fully, then make sure you use blocks where necessary.


The Principles of Pilates


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The Origins of Pilates

Joseph Pilates, the creator of the Pilates method, famously said “In 10 sessions you will feel the difference, in 20 you will see the difference. In 30 you will be on your way to having a whole new body.” A former boxer and gymnast, Joseph developed the concept of the reformer in during World War I using rigged hospital bed springs. He enabled bedridden patients of the war to exercise against resistance. Once returning to the States his method was adopted by the dance community – eventually evolving to become one of the most sought after methods of training today. If you like yoga and an emphasis on the core… this workout is for you. The focus on strength and flexibility with good posture meant there was a much lower chance of injury. Form is key and each instructor and class elaborates on the original method to create an engaging and challenging workout. Read on for the 6 defining principles of Pilates…



  1. Control: This is considered the primary principle of Pilates, so much so the original name was “Contrology”. Josephs philosophy revolved around the idea that few movements performed correctly were more effective than many repetitions performed sloppily. This principle applies to all movement. The relationship between breathe and movement is key when applying control.
  2. Concentration: Carrying on from the above, Pilates requests a deep focus. Joseph asked for “complete coordination of body, mind and spirit” The micro-movements in Pilates require a lot of concentration so in a class you will often be made aware of your breathe. Many people find Pilates not only a great physical workout, but also relaxing due to the emphasis on mindfulness.
  3. Centering: Energy in movement “flows from a strong center” By drawing in the belly “Navel to Spine” and tightening the muscles around the waist , the spine is supported and strong. This is referred to as the powerhouse: the upper abdominals, buttocks, and inner thigh muscles. Try to lift up your pelvic floor, pause at the end of each movement and activate your center.
  4. Precision: the goal is to execute each movement in a mindful and precise manner. Alignment is key for this workout as is a focused approach to each breathe and movement. No part of the exercise should be an afterthought or met with preference.
  5. Breath: Lateral breathing is the preferred method for Pilates. This includes breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth – but activating the bodys back and sides. You should feel your ribcage expand at the sides not your belly rising forward. This allows you to focus on the principle of centering. Movement and breath are very much synchronised in this workout.
  6. Flow: In Pilates, the flow of movement is essential. You should operate each movement as if you are working with a metronome. The fluidity of the practice is why the dance community were such avid adopters. The seamless nature of transitional movements allow for no wasted time and a full body workout.

The 5 stages of a juice cleanse


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With the new year come resolutions and aspirations for a healthier start to 2016. The popularity of Dry January and influx of gym goers is a reaction to the over indulgent holiday season. I like to begin my year with a 3 day juice cleanse, using a door to door service. Having worked for some of the leading juice companies in London I am well versed to walk you through what to expect when cleansing. For 10% off your PRESS  cleanse quote SOPHIE10 at check out

1. Blind optimism So your cleanse has arrived, beautifully packaged and straight to your door. Your instagram is a shrine to #Clean #Healthy #Living and your childhood Tetris skills have been put to good use stocking your fridge with dozens of juice bottles. This is a well warranted feeling as often taking that first step and commitment can be the hardest. Believing you can stick to the cleanse is key for success, make sure you really plan out your day – making sure that you are able to stock your juices in the office fridge and not committing to strenuous workouts for the next two days.

2. Reality Bites By the evening of the first day, you may start to feel hungry. This is due to your digestive system not being fully at rest and also the habitual comfort of eating in the evening. Make sure you drink lots of water and the feeling will pass. I suggest mixing psyllium husk with your juices as a high fibre content will leave you feeling fuller. By the time you wake up in the morning, you will feel a lot better.

3. Lead Me Not Into Temptation…So remember stage one where you were the poster child for #CleanLiving ? Wave goodbye to that serenity as you start fantasising about food constantly. You will never realise how many adverts there are for food until you are on your second or third day of a juice cleanse. There are two ways to go about this; you either become an fervent user of the #FoodPorn movement hanging on the words of Nigella or implement a wave of totalitarianism into your household- where no one can mention food or eat it in front of you. Neither are particularly conducive to a burgeoning social life but fortunately everyone is extremely boring during #DryJan so just apologise in february and buy them a drink.

4. Victory! You complete your cleanse. Be it three day or three weeks, the sense of satisfaction that comes with finishing a cleanse is incomparable. You’ve just spent a considerable amount of time abstaining from food and visualising this moment here. You will experience glowing skin and a lightness in your step. At this point you will be sleeping better, due to a decreased amount of toxins in your body. Your energy levels should have picked up and your mind feel clearer. Don’t focus on the skinny, focus on the healthy.

5. Life after Juice The final stage of any cleanse is how you continue afterwards. The greatest opportunity for change comes here. During a detox you remove toxins from your body and most importantly, you remove dependencies on processed food and sugars. This means you now have the greatest chance to break poor habits and quit for good! The most important thing to do now is to transition slowly and sustainably. This would mean eating a raw and began diet for the first day, chewing all food over 20 times as your digestive system has been at rest. The second day post cleanse you can reintroduce organic food and day three back to normal – but hopefully with a renewed interest in clean eating.

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After cutting out dairy I thought this signalled the end of chocolate, when in fact in only opened up the doors to many sustainable and vegan brands. (I list the benefits of cutting out dairy here) One brand that was recommended by a friend was Ocelot Chocolate. The packaging in itself is gorgeous and the story behind it even better.


This brand has organic chocolate from either the Peruvian mountains or East Congo jungles. They align themselves with suppliers who ensure that the cacao farmers are all fair trade. There are strong ethics to the brand, all farming is sustainable to both the environment and the local communities. For every 3 bars brought, 2 cocoa trees are planted. The people behind the brand are Matt and Ish – a young married couple from Scotland who run this small business themselves. Both started out as chefs and left their jobs to create Ocelot with one goal in mind – to great the most delicious and pure chocolate. Every single product is hand made by themselves and they are active examples of ethical business practice. They create, draw and design the engaging packaging and artwork. This was a pleasant suprise as it usually takes a large budget to stand out from the crowd. The innate love that Matt and Ish have for their product really shines through.

Follow them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.


5 Natural remedies for a Hangover


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“I am never drinking again” – this is often muttered the morning after a very fun night. While over the counter medicine has become a common reliever for a hangover, they are not well suited to alcohol and may not be as beneficial as once hoped. Aspiring is a blood thinner, much like alcohol, and thus when combined can effect the bloods coagulation properties. Acetaminophen has an adverse affect on your liver and Ibuprofen has been linked to stomach bleeding. We all know time is the greatest healer – but if you aren’t able to sit it out here are some natural remedies for your hangover this season:

  1. Water is the obvious cure for a hangover, but try to avoid taking pain relieving medicines such as ibuprofen if you can. These tend to mask symptoms and do not actually help with the root cause of a hangover. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it makes you urinate more and therefore makes you lose water. It does this by suppressing our body’s antidiuretic hormone vasopressin. This eventually results in you losing about 4 times more liquid then you gain, causing dehydration, headaches and a dry mouth. The headaches are actually a result of your organs being so “thirsty” that they steal water from your brain causing it to shrink. Drink a few large glasses before you sleep and all throughout the next day.
  2. Alkalise by drinking plenty of lemon throughout the day. Lemon actually turns alkaline in the body and will greatly help with the symptoms of a hangover. By adding two teaspoons of freshly squeezed lemon to a warm glass of water (add manuka honey for taste) you will control symptoms such as queasiness, dizziness, light and sound sensitivity and muscular pain. By making the above drink and having it 4 times that day you will control the blood sugar and pH levels. Put down the coffee which will only dehydrate you further and have this first thing instead.
  3.  The high glycemic index of alcohol will lead to some serious sugar cravings the next day – make sure you pre prep your meals to include high levels of protein and unprocessed foods. Bananas are a great source of potassium. When you experience a hangover you are also depleted in key minerals due to the vasopressin hormone being suppressed. This leads to the body losing a lot of salt, potassium and magnesium – All of which are integral for homeostasis and bodily functions. A great option is to include them in a smoothie with sources of omega 3 fatty acids, these will help with  inflammation. Natural sources of omega 3 fatty acids include avocado, coconut, nuts and seeds.
  4. Support your liver by increasing the production of Glutathione. This antioxidant protects your liver, which is responsible for alcohol breakdown. The liver needs dehydrogenase to break down any booze in the system and glutathione helps a lot. Increase intake of turmeric and milk thistle in which Silymarin, an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, is the main active ingredient. Make sure you are eating a diet rich in dark green vegetables, onions, tomatoes and garlic the night before.
  5. Tiger balm to soothe your wounds. This is my favourite topical remedy I picked up living in Asia. It is multi purpose and made from camphor, menthol, cajuput and clove oil. Its known to assist in blood flow and has analgesic properties- fantastic for liver detoxing and relieve inflammation. I find it helps with a hangover when curing headaches, simply rub into neck and temples and relax into the feeling. I also suggest for the braver few to go to a yoga class as many asanas are focused around aiding the release of toxins from the liver. Try any of these poses.

Farm Girl Cafe


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Opening hours: Monday to Friday – 8am – 5 pm  / Saturday – 9 am – 5pm / Sunday – 10 am – 4pm

What we ordered: Winter Kale Salad (Quinoa, mango, pistachio & an orange zest dressing) & White Devon Crab Cakes (pomegranate, green leaf salad & a spicy lime yoghurt dressing)

Tucked away at the top of Portobello Road is the amazing Farm Girl Cafe. Offering nutritious food in the most beautiful of settings. Just on face value you can feel a sense of the attention to detail and passion the owners have poured into their cafe. The interiors are designed by Beata Heuman with iconic turquoise tiled walls accented by Pang London grafitti. Your matcha latte will be served in handmade cups and your menu filled with exceptionally delicious options. Overseeing the menu is fellow naturopath Melly Loud of Liquorice Lifestyle as well as Benoit Marmoiton of Le Baron fame. Needless to say I am a huge fan, with a creative menu and such a stylistic approach I can see Farm Girl putting nutritious and whole food back on the map.


Instagram/Twitter: @FarmGirlCafe

Visit Now



The: Rum Based Vegan Eggnog


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I know, how can you make eggnog with no egg? The festive season is upon us and there are some beverages one associates closely with it… Eggnog being one. Every season, this traditional beverage is brought out, conjuring up the smell of christmas, I thought that those who are dairy free or vegan for ethical or dietary reasons should have a version and so the below is the vegan alternative. The no-eggnog is fun to serve at drinks parties or even whip up as a special treat. I make sure to only use high quality ingredients like organic medjool dates to try keep the glycemic index low; what this means is your body can break it down more effectively and it will be absorbed slowly into the blood stream – resulting in a steady rise in blood sugar and insulin levels. So no spikes and crashes, leading to better satiation and less cravings. My fiancee runs Rum Kitchen, a totally fabulous Caribbean bar and restaurant in Soho and Notting Hill. Seeing as he managed to introduce a wonderful Vegan and Vegetarian range in the menu I thought I would return the favour and make the below with Rum.  Thats my kind of compromise.


  • 2 cups of non dairy milk (I suggest a thick Cashew milk)
  • 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup  cashew nuts (soak in Rum for 30 minutes)
  • 6 Medjool dates
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • dash of cinammon, ground cloves and himalayan salt
  • 1 cup of rum

Place all of the above  bar the rum into a blender and mix until nice and creamy. Once blended, stir in the Rum and serve. I like to put a fresh cinnamon stick into the cups as I think it looks and smells lovely! Serves 4. GF, DF.



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What: This boutique gym offers small focused classes that push you to your limit. No two classes are ever the same and theres nowhere to hide! I guarantee you will leave Gymclass feeling like you’ve worked out hard. The classes are an explosive mix of resistance and HIIT [ High Intensity Interval Training]. Classes are a mix of both male and female and whilst it is a challenging workout, all levels are welcome.

Where: 168 Holland Park Avenue, W11 4UH

Cost: Intro offer of £20 as well as an array of membership options

Opening hours: Monday-Friday 6am-8.30pm, Saturday 8.30am-5pm, Sunday 9am-4.30pm.

Why:  HIIT is one of the best fat burners due to the production of excess post- oxygen consumption [EPOC] This essentially means that after an HIIT session, your resting metabolic rate is increased for the next day! So you’ll be burning fat whilst sitting at your desk. I find myself here once a week in the lead up to New Years as I not only get a great fat burn but Im also pushed to the limit by the highly qualified array of teachers at GymClass. The resistance training component is a key factor, its great to see so many women be exposed to weight and strength training.

Who: As well as a huge selection of amazing trainers, be sure to book into owner Helle Hammonds class. Helle is the stunning super trainer and mastermind behind GymClass. I first met her when she was running a killer Barrys Bootcamp class and so when I heard she was opening her own concept near me in West London I followed. I had a set back with injury and couldn’t run anymore so Gymclass has been an amazing tool for getting me back in shape and avoiding injury. P.s.She is also the ultimate #Fitspo

Book now




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Kale had a hot minute there. From Beyonce brandishing it on a sweater to becoming the worlds first hipster vegetable. According to Bon Appetit almost 300 americans named their child KALE last year. Actually. So what is behind this cruciferous plants take over? Perhaps its the endless pun potential or the fact there is even a twitter dedicated to making fun of kale.


It’s safe to say that Kale infiltrated mainstream and caused a huge discourse about healthy eating, albeit in a playful and engaging manner. Jokes aside, Kale consumption since 2011 has increased by 710%. So if you’re a convert, an old hand or just curious to gather a bit of background info into the cultural phenomenon, read on. Below are the top 10 reasons this vegetable is kaling it (couldn’t resist)

  1. Kale is one of the best sources of the blood building vitamin K. Vitamin K was named after the German word for blood clotting (koagulation) and is necessary for their formation. This complex process is needed in the body and requires over 12 proteins to function before the clotting process can be completed. Four of these protein clotting factors require vitamin K for their activity.The benefits of this correlate to bone, skin and cardiovascular health.
  2. Kale is the most nutrient dense food on earth. See below:
    • Vitamin A: 206% of the RDA (from beta-carotene).
    • Vitamin K: 684% of the RDA.
    • Vitamin C: 134% of the RDA.
    • Vitamin B6: 9% of the RDA.
    • Manganese: 26% of the RDA.
    • Calcium: 9% of the RDA.
    • Copper: 10% of the RDA.
    • Potassium: 9% of the RDA.
    • Magnesium: 6% of the RDA.
    • 3% or more of the RDA for Vitamin B1 (Thiamin), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Iron and Phosphorus.
  3. Low Calorie. If you are trying to control calorie intake and defecits, Kale is a great choice. In approx 2.4 ounces of kale there are only 33 calories. When you consider its nutrient density it means you will be well nourished at minimum calorific content.
  4. Full of Antioxidants! This is where it really starts to earn its superfood status. Antioxidants counteract oxidative damage by free radicals in the body; which means it can deter against diseases and aging.
  5. Enter Vitamin C. Often people associate oranges with Vitamin C but kale actually has far more! Vitamin C is water soluble and an antioxidant that is needed all around the body. Collagen synthesize is dependant upon Vit C and as this is the most abundant structural protein in the body, we need this for skin, bone and dead cell reproduction.
  6. Kale has Cancer busting potential. There are several properties in Kale that are linked to stopping the formation of cancer at the molecular level such as sulforaphane (1, 2, 3, 4) and indole-3-carbinol (5)
  7. It supports the body’s detoxification system. Within Kale there are Isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from glucosinolates and these are shown to help regulate detox at a genetic level. Kale juice on a hangover it is!
  8. Filled with Beta-Carotene. This is eventually turned into vitamin A as seen in point 2. We need vitamin A for overall good health so beta carotene is key in the diet.
  9. Kale is full of minerals many people do not often get in their daily diets I.E Calcium which is necessary for bone health and cellular functions, Magnesium which is very healing and beneficial for type 2 diabetes prevention and heart disease, Potassium which is key for electrolyte balance and due to low inoxalate levels it means these minerals are better absorbed!
  10. Lower Cholesterol. This was shown in a study where the daily consumption of kale juice for 12 weeks increased HDL cholesterol by 27% and lowered LDL levels by 10%, while also improving antioxidant status.

Enjoy! Follow my instagram @Sophie_Batch for recipes and tips x


5 tips for shopping in Istanbul

When visiting Istanbul, shopping is a must. With textiles, homewares, food, teas, coffee, delicacies, desserts, cottons, ceramics, tiles, leather, silverware and more there is something for everyone. Shopping here is part of the culture and within the bazaars bargaining can be great fun. Try to get 40% off the price originally quoted and feign disinterest. The Grand Bazaar has over 4000 shops and is largely considered the worlds first mall. To see my weekend guide click here and for my top tips read on..

  1. Follow the Locals: There may be a bunch of stalls within the markets that are set up beautifully, just begging to be taken a photo of. These are wonderful snapshots for your album, however my tip is suss out where the locals are shopping. These are the shops that will be more likely to have better quality products and prices.
  2. Try before you buy: This is my favourite bit of advice as you get to try all the flavours on offer. In Istanbul vendors are very generous and allow you to try most of the goods on sale. Have a try of each nut variety and take up offers for tea. The thing I liked most is there seems to be no obligation to buying and vendors are very respectful.
  3. Go for High Turn over suppliers: This ensures maximum freshness as well as quality, as it means they are not only successful but reputable.There are key commercial districts for each specialised item so definitely ask your concierge or consult online for recommended retailers. If you follow the first step you won’t go wrong.
  4. Pay in Lira: Paying in local currency is actually said to be more beneficial for tourists. Whilst most places do happen to accept Euros or Dollars, the exchange rate is not regulated and often not in your favour.
  5. Vacuum wrap: I brought so many teas that if I hadn’t vacuum wrapped I would have lost a lot of freshness. It also makes it easier for transport and customs. This is a free service offered in most of the stores.

Weekend Guide to Istanbul


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Istanbul is a city where you can seek out both culture and a myriad of wonderful activities to do. Despite an  approximate population of 15 million the culturally rich city still feels like a well kept secret. With Turkish Bath Hammams and Gran Bazaars selling all the spices, textiles and crafts you could ever want; Istanbul is truly becoming the next big destination. We flew into Asia and drove over the Bosphorus to the European part where we checked into the newly opened Soho House

With a Cecconis on the side, a cowshed hammam in the basement and two pools on each roof; Soho House Istanbul is raising the playing field. Here are some of the things I enjoyed in Istanbul and suggest adding to your To Do list should you ever visit the city.

A hammam is a traditional turkish bath and a ritual of many Middle Eastern cultures. It is both a pivotal part of both the cultural heritage and social lives of locals. Taking up to three hours at a time, a hammam is a wonderfully immersive experience where male and females are separated and you are cleaned by an attendant top to toe. Not for the shy but certainly worth the trip. I recommend the Aya Sofya Hurrem Sultan.


It is convenient that the historical sights are all within walking distance of one another. Pop along to the Haghia Sophia across from the Blue Mosque and squeeze in some time at the Topkapi Palace Museum. I loved exploring the Basilica Cistern and seeing the upside down Medusa head. A tip I can offer is to definitely take up the offer of a local tour guide who can jump the cues for you, not only does this save you a lot of time but you will also get a lot more insight into the sights. Suleymaniye mosque is extremely impressive and right across from the Grand Bazaar which I would certainly recommend visiting even if you are not a huge shopper as it is very impressive. If you are a fan of the interiors of Soho House Istanbul or Oka you will find the original prints here for a fraction of the price. Another must do is a boat trip down the Bosphorus river, to sail between two continents is something so surreal and special. 


Following on from the Grand Bazaar my absolute highlight was visiting the Spice Bazaar. It used to be one of the most predominant spice market in medivial times and is set under a large domed roof, overlooking the Bosphorus. In terms of vendours I recommend Arifoğlu (#31) for traditional Turkish flavours and Malatya Pazari (#40 and #44) for delicious treats.

Superfood sundays – Maca


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Maca is a form of root derived from the Peruvian Andes of South America and has been cultivated for almost 3000 years. The invasion by the Incan Empire led to them inheriting these regions and it is often said that Incan warriors would consume maca pre battle to summon strength, but be banned from using it afterwards to protect the women from excessive sexual desires; hence the nickname Andes Aphrodisiac. Today the Quechua people grow the superfood at 9,000-10,000 feet above sea level; its natural altitude making it the highest altitude crop in existence. The health conscious movement in the West and Asia has led to the resurrection of this superfood, but in 1979 the cultivation of maca in Peru had almost died out. The Peruvian government have put a lot of effort into the redevelopment of maca agriculture following the rediscovery of its superfood status.


Maca is a great adaptogen, meaning it has the ability to regulate the body’s glandular-hormonal system, nervous system, cardiovascular system and musculature. Other adaptogens include AFA algae, goji berries and ginseng. Adaptogens are nontoxic in the body and produce an adaptive response to stress, maintaining a level of homeostasis in the body. Maca has been proven to increase energy levels, libido, hormonal and endocrine systems and increase the amount of oxygen in the blood. Maca is fantastic for dealing with stress due to this ability to increase blood oxygen content, the fact it is cultivated at high altitudes lends itself to those dealing with altitude sickness and when mixed in with a coca tea all symptoms dissipate within the hour. Aside from this maca also works on the hypothalamus, the main brain gland, and secretes luteinizing hormones and stimulation. The study by Dr. Gloria Chacon de Popovici PhD suggests that this stimulation activates testosterone, progesterone and DHEA. Essentially these are key hormones for the endocrine system and when these are in balance the human body is able to handle stress, increase energy and libido. Talking of libido, it seems most studies revolve around the aphrodisiac qualities of maca… sex sells after all! The high quality of nutrients, amino acids and fatty acids have a great effect on the cellular level, but its real power comes in its ability to improve semen count and have a great affect on fertility. If taken post pregnancy it can help women express more breast milk. When looking at all of the above qualities its clear to see how maca earned its superfood status.

At Home Use

If you are convinced by the properties of maca then rest assured that its adaptogen qualities mean it can be used sustainably for long periods of times. In health food shops you will often find powdered versions, a tablespoon of which is wonderful in coffee, smoothies, juices and teas. An interesting fact about maca is how it reacts to Cacao. When taken together they boost one an others qualities, this is why you will often find maca desserts and treats, its sweet flavour meaning you can use less sweetener or natural sugars.


A Guide To Ethical Fashion


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With global summits such as the UN  talking about the fashion industry and its social responsibility there is a  conversation happening about what it means to be sustainable and ethical as a fashion brand today. Houses such as Gucci and Oscar De La Renta are opening up a discourse and leading the shift in paradigm. The objective is to make sure green isn’t just the new black…but the new rule. Take british fashion for example, it has shown itself time again to be resilient in the face of a recession and a key area of growth for the services sectors responsible for our economic recovery. This can perhaps be an indication of why we often overlook the social responsibility that should be upheld. The British Fashion Council estimated that the direct value of the UK fashion industry to the UK economy is £26 billion –  up from £21 billion in 2009, a nominal increase of 22%. When compared to Oxford Economics measurement of jobs supported by the UK fashion industry which has decreased there is indication that the fashion industry is outsourcing manufacturing for increased productivity. This creates a conundrum when assessing how we respond to the UK fashion industry, on one respect it is pivotal for our economy and sustainability as a global player, yet on the other hand if the productivity is rising then the questions of ethics are sometimes ignored. We live in a society of fast fashion, where consumers are conscious of trends not ethics. One look at the Bangladesh sweat shop disaster where thousands of people lost their lives for less than minimum wage, and it is with great irony that we assess the label “fashion victim”.

ethical fashion

So the question arises, what constitutes ethical fashion? The EFF, or Ethical Fashion Forum, says that it represents an approach to the design, sourcing and manufacture of clothing which maximises benefits to people and communities while minimising impact on the environment. For the EFF, the meaning of ethical goes beyond doing no harm, representing an approach which strives to take an active role in poverty reduction, sustainable livelihood creation, minimising and counteracting environmental concerns. This includes animal safety. The importance of such organisations is mirrored by the TNS Worldpanel Fashion Study where over 7 million consumers say ethical issues are important to them but feel availability of such items is poor. The same study found that 60% of consumers under the age of 25 did not care about the ethics of their clothing. The clothes we wear on a daily basis can be sociological signifiers, but the value is misplaced solely on the aesthetic. The fact that young adults are increasingly unaffected by a lack of ethics is a symptom of the tactics and budget spent by fashion houses. Fashion advertising is huge business and often times shocking tactics are a way to engage a consumer in a very competitive market. Chanel designer Karl Lagerfield said:

“To do this job you must be able to accept injustice. If you want social justice, be a public servant. Fashion is ephermeral, dangerous and unfair.”

With such messages being advertised to our young there are generations at risk of becoming detached and materialistic. There is often a dissolution of responsibility placed from consumer to manufacturers and this is a statement on the wests relationship with fast fashion. The perfect mixture of consumerism and capitalism has led to us becoming “slaves” to trends, but fortunately there are various houses who endeavour to ignite an honest conversation. Green fashion is no longer the preserve of niche markets, with designers such as Stella McCartney leading the way for sustainable luxury.  The challenge lies in engaging the consumer with an ethical message and validating their higher price point. The fashion industry has often been driven by desire, but it seems the tides are changing with LVMH chairman Bernard Aurnalt saying

“LVMH is committed to advancing both the social and environmental aspects of sustainable development, which plays an intrinsic role in the development of our brands.” 

An important step towards changing the way fashion houses work would be to correctly define what it means to be ethical. According to the Collins dictionary “If you describe something as ethical, you mean that is morally right or morally acceptable” but this is too broad a definition when you put into the mix the question of sustainability and all the ways in which we can interpret this. The answer to this complex question lies in brand transparency which then returns responsibility back to the consumer. The way in which to still partake in the luxury market as a fashion brand is to continue speaking its language. If we take Stella McCartney as a case study and assess her comments to The Business of Fashion, McCartney was clear about her priorities:

“Obviously, I don’t use any animals which has a huge impact on the planet. But my first job is to make desirable, luxurious, beautiful clothing for women to want to buy. Then I ask myself: can I do this in a more environmental way without sacrificing design? If I can, then there is no reason not to. I think that women buy my product because they like how it looks, feels, fits and being sustainable is an added extra bonus.”

11201854_10153008947599864_6551384311386934818_nIn my opinion to truly affect great change within an area, you must be engaged with it to a certain degree. Niche brands who defy and crituqe the fashion industry may find it harder to effect consumer habits than brands like Stella McCartney or Edun who play to the rules, then bend them. They create on trend pieces with factors such as fit and design as equal a priority as manufacturing and ethics.This is why I believe that it is so great to see the prevalence of faux fur on the catwalk. McCartney has created beautiful timeless faux fur pieces, as have Shrimps and Charlotte Simone. Other brands of note are Beulah, Adolfo Dominguez, Matt + Natt, Polly Wales and Blackscore. I’ve never seen a woman more beautiful in fur than the animal on whom it belongs but instead of preaching, allow for there to be alternatives at all ends of the spectrum. The challenge comes in making sure that green fashion is not just another trend discarded by the fashion industry, that we create the language in which to discuss it appropriately and we become more aware as consumers of the brands we engage with.



10 Signs You Need A Detox


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The Human body is the greatest detoxification tool in existence; with our liver, kidneys and colon constantly removing the body of toxins. With London coming in as the most toxic town on earth, we are constantly exposed to both external and internal pollutants. This build up can manifest in the form of various negative symptoms. Learn to read these signals and react in kind by treating your body to a detox, cleanse or clean eating regime.

  1. Low Energy Levels: These can be related to over exposure to caffeine and taurine; stimulants which will cause you to crash eventually. They burden the liver and block the colon.
  2. Constipation: This is a key sign your digestive system is not working well. Try to increase fibre in your cleanse or diet by adding flaxseeds, chia seeds or psyllium husk. I would also suggest a colonic before embarking on any detoxification regime. I recommend visiting The Hale Clinic.
  3. Lack of focus: By self medicating with stimulants and caffeine, the issue can only be exasperated. A cleanse can be focused to rid the body of candida which are overgrown cultures of yeast within us. It thrives off refined sugars. Remember to take a course of probiotics after any cleanse, colonic or detox.
  4. Unhealthy Cravings: An advanced Harvard study showed that eating foods such as refined starches, white flour and sugars raise your glycemic index and trigger the nucleus accumbens region. This has been strongly associated with conventional addictions such as drugs and alcohol. Processed foods artificially stimulate dopamine, the pleasure neurotransmitter. A detox will help rid your body of these signals and dependencies.
  5. Skin Ailments: Issues such as Eczema and Acne are often linked to toxic buildup. It can be linked to misbalances in the gut flora which can be aided through healthy regimes and probiotics.
  6. Depressive Feelings: This can be a sign of toxicity in the bowels, liver and brain. Enemas and colonics are great for cleansing the bowels and ingest high chlorophyll foods to aid in detoxing the brain.
  7. Insomnia: This is often linked to a build up of hormones such as Oestrogen or over activated nervous system. These are signs your liver, which releases hormones, may not be functioning at its best. Broccoli is a great food for liver rebalancing.
  8. Malodour: Your lymphatic system is one of the bodies greatest tools for detox, but if your odour is particularly more potent than usual it would be a good idea to cut down on animal fats, embark on a bowel cleansing regime and add in a course of probiotics.
  9. Weight Gain: This seems to be the symptom people are most reactive to; often ignoring far bigger indicators until a cleanse is used as an aesthetic remedy. Weight gain is often linked to toxicity and adrenal fatigue in the body. P.s. If embarking on a juice cleanse there are some evangelists who believe the presence of fruit is bad due to natural sugars from fructose – however fruits are a fantastic deep tissue and liver cleanser so I do recommend including them in your regime.
  10. Recurrent Illness: If you find yourself catching every cold and flu going, it could be a sign your immune system is already over stretching itself by fighting off toxins. Your diet is highly linked to your immune system, and how well its functioning. Give yourself the best chance by ingesting whole, organic foods and taking the time to reset your body.

So if you feel you may need a body M.O.T. the next step is to assess what programme is correct for you. I have partaken in juice cleanses for the last decade and use them not as weight loss tool but rather as a rebooting system for poor habits and internal functioning. Juice cleanses can help detox from dependencies on processed foods and refined sugars for example. It is an ancient practice that can be interpreted incorrectly as a fad diet. When approached from an informed and realistic standpoint, cleanses can certainly help rebalance. For exclusive discounts on PRESS juice cleanses or Nutri Centre vitamins please do get in touch or email sophie@batchbody.com