fitness blogger
As a petite woman with non-petite extremities (we’re talking boobs and bums here, babes), I have always found fitness wear rather aggravating. Sports bras tend to do one of two things; 1) suffocate me or 2) look amazing but offer absolutely. Until last week, I had resigned myself to believe my typical HIIT-intense routine would keep me in baggy shirts and tiny shorts while my yoga-loving friends could parade around in Instagram-worthy bra and legging sets.

Then I found Simply Be’s uber curve-friendly offerings and had an epiphany; buying a sports bra in my actual bra size and a higher neck could almost make a sports bra modest as outerwear on a curvy woman.

I have ran, jumped, danced, and burpee-d in this new wardrobe addition and could not be happier. No mothers covering their children’s eyes in parks, no discomfort, and no more crazy sweat-filled cover ups.

What I Wore:
Puma Clash leggings
Naturally Close High Impact Non Wired Print Sports Bra
Smith & Canova Mint blue leather handbag
White Nike Air Huarache Run Ultra Trainers

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micro scooter fitness
Full disclaimer: I reacted ever so judgementally when I started to see trend-following adults riding scooters around the City of London.

There is something undeniably alarming about a man in a suit commuting atop the one thing your 11 year old self prayed for on her Christmas list.

But I get it. I do. Scooters are fast, fun, compact and get you from point A to B without the storage or road danger hassles of cycling.

Unexpectedly…I wanted one, too.

Scouring each and every Micro Scooter available (my childhood fantasy), I even found a loophole to justify my inner child’s new intrigue: fitness.

It turns out that scooters also double up as incredibly portable gyms. My little Flex Deluxe in Matt Black can burn up to 160 calories in ten minutes, stabilize my core, build leg strength, and even act as a support for rolling yoga stretches.

Scootercise: for the adult who would rather sleep in, do single leg squats, and whiz around with Kendrick Lamar in my ear on the way to their first meeting than wake up an hour early and walk to literally nowhere on a treadmill.

The cherry on top? Every similarly judgemental adult I come across has the time of their life when I offer them a ride.

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the chapel candle
I have a confession to make. Though I been doing the “feminist as f*ck” thing for a number of years – all “Girl Power!”, “Love yourself!”, “Equality and kindness for women!” – I am very rarely kind to myself.

Do I believe I deserve as much as anyone else? Sure. Believe I’m a good person? Absolutely. Ever take time out for myself? Uh…no.

And it wasn’t until I went to the launch event of The Chapel‘s new incredible product range that I realized as such.

Rather than inviting 300 members of the press to take Snapchats of her new products and shove as many overpriced canapes as possible down our throats, Amanda (Dicker, The Chapel Founder) asked a handful of us ’round to her Islington Salon, fed us from fresh sharing platters on her own china, poured us her favourite tipples, and led an all-empowering feminist pow-wow.

The entire logic behind expanding her award-winning hair, beauty and lifestyle business was to encourage people to take the brand’s renowned “haven” status home with them. To reclaim time outside of the salon (the only place most of us allow ourselves “me time”) and put themselves first.

“Too often these days we mistake a hectic schedule for a full life, yet the time thattruly belongs to us is the moment when we pause…” – Amanda Dicker, Founder of The Chapel and all-round Wonderwoman

It was a much needed wake-up call for me. As our makeshift circle of trust shared personal stories, I related with patterns my own sacrifice, insecurity, and societal pressure. “Me Time” is long overdue. And The Chapel’s products are the perfect gateway drug.

The three products – candles, hand cream & pulse point fragrances – come in three fragrances; Oparus (Bergamot, Geranium, Sandalwood, etc), Mellifera (Apple, Tuberose, Vanilla, etc), and Noctula (my favourite – Mandarin, Violet, Patchouli, etc).

Though I fell in lust with all three scents I, naturally, went for the “hot red lips” (Noctula) scented candle as when you complete the 80 hour burn time you can use the exquisite ceramic candle holder as a home accessory.

That has “me” written all over it.

cheers

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dance class london
Y’all know how I feel about dance classes. They are truly the one thing that I can drag myself into a sweat for, bar none, and I do a lot of them. In fact, I’ve spent over 20 hours dancing this month alone and have found so many incredible gems I had to share some of my favourites with you.

So, here they are: the current best dance classes in London

One Day Salsa Masterclass
I’m not sure I had properly considered how much dancing would be done in the seven-hour Salsa Rapido 1-Day Intensive Course, but it is – eponymously – intensive.

The point of the class is to leave with the ability to dance salsa anytime, anywhere – whether it’s your first or fiftieth time doing so. Hence the intensity (but don’t let me scare you off, it is fun as hell and there are two rest breaks in addition to a break for lunch).

The creator and expert of a dance teacher, Alastair Sadler, is a laugh-a-minute and keeps you on your toes from start to finish. Quite literally. These intensive workshops have been 15 years of salsa dancing in the making for him.

Though the spacious basement of Bar Salsa! may welcomes you as – let’s be honest – pretty hopeless, time flies before it bids you adieu when the bar opens to the public, somehow confident enough to dazzle anyone with your one-two-three step.

Do you need a partner? No. (Every leader and followers swaps around during the class to keep everyone learning).
Do you need to have dance experience? No. But it also wasn’t boring for someone with dance experience. There were even a few people who had done the class before and wanted to refine their skills.
Do you need to bring a change of shoes? Absolutely. You’ll thank me later.

Whether you’re prepping for a trip to Cuba or simply want to burn 2000 calories feeling sexy, Salsa Rapido is an absolute must.

Swing dance
If anyone knows anything about Swing Dance, it’s London’s Swing Patrol. The ever-expanding group of swing classes and socials have been the city’s calling card for all things hip and Lindy-hoppy for years; I could hardly pass up their Swing Dance Class for Two steal when I found it on Not On The High Street.

Having already done the salsa masterclass a week prior, the four hour masterclass seemed like a piece of cake. Until I was there. Sweating out of my eyeballs.

Despite its cuteness, swing dance is not a cakewalk. The session introduces you to the six-beat swing, the eight-beat (or Lindy Hop), and the Charleston but – even with fifteen minute breaks between each – takes no prisoners. It is deliriously fun and a HIIT workout for the musically inclined.

Grab your swishiest skirt, best pal, and head out on Swing Patrol. Quick. While you’re trying to secretly become Emma Stone in La La Land…

Last but not least Nonstop Dirty Dancing
…of the non-twerking variety. We’re talking O.G. Baby and Johnny Dirty Dancing. Now at Pineapple Dance Studio.

This was, by far, the most difficult and dancer-friendly class of the three. One for the guys and dolls working towards a body that makes ‘That Lift’ a possibility.

‘Non-stop Dirty Dancing’ is exactly what it says on the tin; constant movement, constant Swayze-worthy tunes, and constant access to the brilliant dance tutelage of Paul Kitson – the first British actor and dancing to play the leading role of Johnny Castle in the original London West-End musical.

Blending salsa (thank you, Alastair!), cha cha, mambo, Latin, jazz, and other iconic moves from the film itself, the class is a treat for superfans and dancers alike.

The class runs every Tuesday at 6pm and, if you feel so inclined, you even have the opportunity to practice The Lift of Dreams before you put yourself – crumpled – in the corner.

(Can you tell I’ve spent my entire life wanting to become Baby?)

budget ski trip
If your bank account isn’t completely cleaned out after Christmas, you might just be thinking of going on a ski trip this winter. Luckily, as the season ‘slows’, there are an abundance of resorts to choose from at the moment; skiers old and new can pick between luxury and basic ski holidays to suit your every need. Gone are the days when skiing was reserved for the super-rich – everyone can do it now that the wider ski holiday market is aware of brilliant but well-priced resorts in Poland, Czech Republic, and Bulgaria (to name only a few convenient to Londoners!).

Am I convincing you as much as I’m convincing myself? I hope so. Skiing is the most relaxing and rewarding sports available adjacent to hot tubs and hot toddys. That is, of course, as long as you remember the essentials…

Prescription Eyewear
If you’re skiing on a budget, you probably won’t be travelling with your own ski gear and will have to rent your equipment; ski boots, skis, helmets… perhaps even your snow-ready outerwear.

While this means great things for luggage space, rented ski goggles will almost definitely not be made for your prescription, so it’s always advisable to bring along your prescription glasses and pop them underneath. In fact,  a nice pair of prescription sunglasses will often become the one thing that make you feel snazzy or “dressed” behind layers of marshmallowed fabric. If you’re looking for something new, online retailers like Red Hot Sunglasses have special deals and sales in the winter to encourage customers, so have a look at their prescription sunglasses collection (I have been swooning over those freaking Clubmasters for about two years, haha). Ski trip or not, it’s a great idea to get your sunglasses in the winter as they’re so much cheaper (and a good pair will always last well through summertime!).

Snow Boots
You’ll obviously get ski boots when you rent your equipment, but you won’t get snow boots, which you’ll need to get around the place when you aren’t skiing. A good pair of hiking boots might do the trick if you already have them; otherwise, make sure to pick up a cheap pair from a trusted retailer (reviews can be a lifesaver in this sense!). If you’re budget focused, it is also a great idea to try on a pair of snow boots in a real-life store before ordering them for less from an online store.

Warm Clothing!
Does it need to be said? Yes. I’ve forgotten a few essentials almost every time I’ve hit the freeze. You should always bring warm clothing with you when you go skiing (and trust me when I tell you that you’ll need more than you think). It’s not enough to bring a few warm jumpers and a decent ski jacket; look to bring all or all of the following items…

– Long underwear
– Thermal base layers
– A tight scarf that is unlikely to blow off you or catch on anything when you’re skiing
– Gloves that will give you a good grip on the ski sticks
– A polo neck
– A back-up scarf when you inevitably lose the first one
– Thermal socks

Note: if you have the option, go for waterproof clothing as the snow will melt on you quicker than you think. The cold water will almost literally chill you to your core if you’re not careful! You’ll probably have a waterproof ski jacket, but waterproof ski trousers are almost more important.

A Smartphone Packed Full of Skiing Apps
There is a plethora of helpful apps built for skiers these days. While you can do a little research before you go and get the right one for you, a few of the best ski apps available include:

Avanet – a great iOS app that focuses on skiing and wilderness safety. It’s a crowd-sourced platform, so users all make an effort to include helpful information for other skiers and snowboarders in their area. The app uses your iPhone’s GPS to tell you if anyone has left advice for a particular area or ski slope.

Snocru – an Android and iOS app that allows you to keep in touch with other skiers at your resort, making it easier for you to keep in touch with other people you’re skiing or snowboarding with as well as meeting new people while you’re out there. The great thing about Snocru is that you can turn your day on the slopes into a competition where you can enter in a series of different statistics which will be compared against your pals.

Ski Tracks is a great app for both iOS and Android. It uses your phone’s GPS to track your skiing sessions and allows you to compare your times against your previous attempts and your friends’. It’s easy to use and it gives you a lot of different metrics about your ski session.

Cheap GoPro Alternatives
This is not an essential (hence its position on this list), but a tough, mounted, waterproof camera is a brilliant gadget to take on any ski trip and while a GoPro is notoriously the best in the bunch, it is by no means the only option out there. A few options that you’ll find below £100 include the Drift Stealth 2, Xiaoyi Yi Action Camera, and Mobius.

(Note: Videos might feel a tad excessive in addition to photos, but you’ll love looking back on them as the years go by!)

That’s all the advice I have time for today, but do send me a tweet if you have any questions (@lelalondon)! Otherwise, have a brilliant time skiing; stay safe, warm, and fill your Instagram feed with snow!