Wonderwoman Life Hacks for the Time-Poor Londoner

life hacks london
No time to get a manicure or pedicure?
Being a “creative”, my life is filled with impromptu meetings and manic, inconsistent work schedules. Planning non-professional appointments of any kind feels like a nightmare when work is your priority, let alone for time-sensitive services like blow dries and waxing.

Thankfully, Wonderwomen of the same ilk have created CitySwish. The app makes last-minute, in-home beauty services – even massage and tanning – possible with just a few swipes. Last week, I had a classic pedicure while blogging and a salon-perfect gel manicure while catching up on The Office (#indulgence). All from the comfort of my own office.

No time to snack healthy?
With healthy home delivery meal services like Fresh Flavours and restaurants like Maple & Fitz popping up all over London, we are all enabled to dine healthy but much less inclined to snack healthy.

As a lack of hydration is often confused for hunger, my first stop is Chi. I am a coconut water purist and, in my opinion, preservative-free Chi is the only brand that nails the fresh-from-a-Thai-beach taste while delivering raw potassium (double that of a banana) and bioactive enzymes (a digestive system’s BFF).

On the food front, I have recently become a thankful customer of two healthy snack companies. The first – The Giving Tree – have created a range of freeze-dried and vacuum-fried fruit and vegetable crisps (everything from peach to pumpkin) that satisfy sugar and crisp cravings better than any other.

The second – EarlyBird – takes snacking to a new level. The subscription snack service comes in beautifully-illustrated boxes and features five healthy snacks and two teas in each box with the option to customise your deliveries. With a plethora of gluten-free and vegan-friendly options (even brownies!), EarlyBird takes all possible stress and boredom out of healthy snacking as we know it.

No time to get your roots done?
The second I went platinum, the fear of roots was instilled in me. Though I’ve been every hair colour under the sun, nothing is quite as noticeable as white on auburn and it is a scheduling impossibility to head in for a bleach every other week.

The ColourWow Root Cover Up is an absolute godsend. Using the small powder compact, roots and regrowth disappear in minutes and stay hidden until your next hair wash without feeling sticky, oily, or clumpy. The water-resistant pressed powders (which come in a variety of colours) contain a number of pigments and reflective particles to ensure a natural match and – when using the kit’s special brush – even blend seamlessly with highlights. It is the most ingenious hair colour product of the decade.

No time to look after your skin?
I was introduced to Skin Design London during a wonderful facial at Azamay skin clinic and, after a few weeks of use, now consider two of their products to be impeccable difference-makers.

As a top-tier team, Retinol 01 Creme and Sleeping Beauty Night Cream are powerful enough to perfect the skin of even the laziest Wonderwoman. Used in the morning alongside an SPF, the anti-ageing Retinol Creme utilizes Palmytol Tripeptide-3 (SYN-COLL) 3% to mimic your skin’s collagen production while hydrating and smoothing to an intensive standard.

After cleansing in the evening, Sleeping Beauty then pampers your skin with a revitalising blend of jojoba oil, collagen, green tea, red tea, white tea, acai berry, rosehip oil, avocado oil, vitamin E, vitamin C, and Omega 3, 6, & 9. It is the overnight secret to supple, vibrant skin.

In Review: Maple & Fitz, London

maple and fitz
While I appreciate the fortune of a life peppered in Michelin stars and gargantuan tasting menus, my most genuine foodie thrill is the discovery of places like Maple & Fitz. The pint-sized cafe occupies a small space in Fitzrovia and serves the most fresh, healthy, and delicious meals around.

I chose to embark on my first visit with a fellow clean eating-lover in tow and my most health-conscious hat on. For the amount of skanky ‘salads’ (dressing with leaves) and ‘smoothies’ (pre-prepared, pasteurised sugar snacks) you can get in the area, I have long been searching for a truly nutritious lunchtime soulmate.

Maple & Fitz is The One.

With emphasis on the gluten-free, their freshly-prepared salads can be mixed and matched to your preference and topped with your choice of free-range chicken breast, salmon, tofu, poached eggs, grilled halloumi, or grilled avocado.

Wanting to try a bit of everything, I mixed the Julius Caesar (shredded kale, romaine, mangetout, toasted buckwheat, cabbage, toasted pumpkin & sunflower seeds, pecorino, Dijon-lemon yogurt dressing) with the Cauli in Mumbai (quinoa, roasted spiced cauliflower, shredded carrot, peppery rocket, white shallot vinaigrette) and Mexican Standoff (bulgur wheat, avocado, black beans, grape tomatoes, fresh jalapenos, red onion, coriander lime pesto dressing), then topped it with chicken and washed each bite down with a sip of their cold-pressed Green Queen juice (spinach, parsley, lemon, cucumber, celery, ginger). It was the best lunch of my life.

Having wooed the both of us, we took the staff’s naughty gluten-free brownie recommendation, paired it with two raw cacao energy balls (medjool dates, almonds, raw cocoa, chia seeds and coconut), and split the loot over flat whites and work chat.

When my lunch date brought up the desire for another brownie less than two hours later (recoiling at their 5pm closing time – “…but no other brownie is as good!”), Maple & Fitz gained official hidden gem status.

A photo posted by Lela London (@lelalondon) on

maple and fitz
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Stick Out Your Personality

mikado blogger
I have been in a serious relationship with Mikado for four wonderful years. It all started when I was looking for a heat-friendly chocolate fix while living in South East Asia and we have been going strong ever since.

When I was approached to work with the company on their Stick Out Your Personality campaign, I could hardly say no. These 11-calorie sticks of chocolate-covered biscuit are something to shout about.

Especially when armed with a larger-than-life box of Mikado and a post-workout craving.

Competition time! For the chance to win a Mikado selfie stick and some delicious treats of your own, simply upload a Mikado-themed selfie to Twitter or Instagram, tagging @Mikado_UK and #MikadoBy. I will announce the winner on September 4th. Good luck!

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Blogstock – What To Pack

BLOGSTOCK what to wear
With just under two weeks left until I share The Secrets of Lifestyle Blogging with the wonderful attendees of Blogstock, I felt it was time to start thinking about getting the packing essentials lined up (and helping you along the way!).

As a blogging festival, the typical festival packing list goes through a few solid tweaks for Blogstock. You’ll want your wellies and sunnies, of course, but would benefit from spending a bit more time packing your ‘equipment’ than you would otherwise.

For clothing options, a few dresses and/or neutral-toned seperates wrapped up in your sleeping bag will be more than enough. I would advise keeping things as comfortable and cool as possible, throwing in a colourful cardigan for night-time mingling.

For the daytime, however, a good quality backpack (one that will hold your SLR/GoPro/laptop/power banks) will prove as imperative as SPF and a bottle of water. You can thank me later.

Items featured:
Special Fit Super Duper Strength Sunglasses from Karen Walker
Le Dix backpack from Balenciaga
Stud wellies from Valentino
Button-front swing dress from ASOS
Lime batwing shawl cardigan from Oasap

Learning to Swing Dance at Old Bengal Bar, London

old bengal bar swing dance
I’ve wanted to learn how to swing dance since the day I discovered swing dance. In fact, I’ve wanted to learn everything I possibly could about the 1940s since that fateful, patriotic watch of Hellzapoppin’.

My long-awaited introduction took place at Old Bengal Bar over the weekend and the whole evening was a leg-kicking, hand-clapping dream.

Until the 29th of August, Fridays and Saturdays at OBB are a living, breathing ode to be best of retro Americana; swing dancing classes with Swing Patrol, Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches by The Liberty Cheesesteak Company and swing-themed cocktails from the Old Bengal Bar themselves (the Swing Out – El Jimador Blanco, St Germain, sugar syrup, lemon juice, with fresh raspberry, blackberry & mint – is a thing of perfection).

For two hours a welcome mix of lindy-hopping noobs and swing dancing pros mingled, learned, drank and danced, only stopping to refuel on original, Liberty Wiz-packed cheesesteaks (wit’ onions or it doesn’t count). I’m not sure I ever felt so proud to be an American. But that may have been the Swing Outs.

old bengal bar swing dance
old bengal bar swing dance
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